Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Joys of June

Wildflower photography in June brings a whole new gallery of wildflowers to the fore. The spring beauties, hepaticas, trout lilies and trilliums are gone, but the forest is still full of new flowers. Unfortunately, it also brings a host of bugs -- mosquitos, black flies, deer flies, horse flies and inumerable other creatures make the forest a very difficult place to make photographs.

This morning I got up with the sun and headed west -- I hadn't made up my mind exactly where, but I decided to let the weather make up my mind for me. It was mostly cloudy, with the kind of high cloud that makes landscapes difficult. So, I decided to head for the Marlborough Forest, just south-west of Ottawa. I had read about a trail in that forest that had a good variety of wildflowers, including Ram's Head Orchids which I have never seen.

I knew the area would be wet and that is the perfect condition to also breed lots of mosquitos and other insects. I wore my usual mosquito protection -- a hat, long pants, and bug spray on everything exposed, except for my hands. Bug spray is very corrosive, so I have to sacrifice my hands to save my equipment.

I thought I was well prepared, but I didn't account for the heat and humidity. We're in the middle of the first heat wave of the season. Early this morning it was only 18 degrees (Celsius) when I got up, but the high for the day was over 31, so it heated up very quickly. By the time I was in the forest looking for orchids, I was sweating profusely. The mosquitos were ecstatic! Every time I stopped, they lit on any unprotected area. They bit through my shirt, through my pants, on my hands, around my watch (which I also didn't spray with repellant), and twice around my eyes.

I was lucky enough to find Yellow Lady's Slippers -- also a flower that I have never photographed before, as well as a number of Columbine and Canada Anenome. No Ram's Heads, though. All in all, some good photography, and some very happy mosquitos.

. . . Rob Williams