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January 29, 2008

Ginkgo, oh Ginkgo, come blow your horn. Since the windchill is tipping -35 and headed for -43, I thought this might be a good evening to try some light box shots with a single flash. In trying to find out what species this is, I found that Gingkos are considered "Living Fossils: as they occupy a single class and order of taxonomy and the genus Ginkgo and is the only living species within this group. Ginkgoales are not known to exist in the fossil record after the Pliocene period. Not only that, they are hardy trees well suited for urban areas. So much so that on August 6, 1945 the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and later after the plants and trees in the area around the epicentre were examined, among the survivors were four Ginkgo biloba trees. They were situated within 1300 meters of the blast center and appeared to bud after the blast without major deformations, and are still alive today.
Therefore the Ginkgo is regarded as the 'bearer of hope'.

Next is one of my favorite creeping plants, the seed pod of the Wild Cucumber vine. Tho probably not the most ecologically friendly specimen, it is very unique in that when it dries out, being still on the vine in the fall, the tapered end of the seed pod (shown) which can be nearly translucent at this point, literally expodes in the sun and curls back, dropping the (usually three) bean-like seeds to the wind. Inside the pod is a open-weave fibrous clothlike material that looks exactly like the mantle in a Coleman gas camping lantern. When dry, there is probably no better tinder to start your fire from: whether you be flint, match, or lighter.


Julie Adele said...

Hey, Tim!

This is Julie Ostrander. I would love to chat with you more about photography if you get the chance to. Let me know when there's another class coming up! I made a blog and I'm going to try to start a picture a day, like you said. Well, TTYL.

dignature said...

Hi Julie! Welcome, and I'm honored to have played a small part in inspiring you to a picture a day. As I've said, as long as it inspires someone to take that one picture they wouldn't have anyway, I call that a success. And the blog format is great for chronicling the process and inviting comment. I knew I'd figure out something to do with it someday, and Well, here we are.
The next DigitalNature class is Februrary 17th, at 6 PM on the Refuge's Long Meadow Trails. It will be something a little different this time: A Winter Moonlight Hike on boots or snowshoes depending on conditions.
I have a powerful headlamp, and I encourage everyone to bring their flashlights. I will provide as many as possible as well.

Also, bring cameras with flashes. We'll try some night snow pictures, and look for winter animals and tracks while hiking around the Long Meadow Trails.
Start in front of the Refuge visitor center in Bloomington.

Sunday - 02/17/2008
6 - 7:30 PM
Long Meadow Trails

I heard some weird bird (I think) down at the mouth of M'haha creek and the Miss River tonight right at dark, possibly a screech owl...? Will try to ID it later. But yes, I'd love to talk photography anytime. Maybe we should have a group coffeeshop yak session for everybody and shoot at Lake Nokomis or something... Hmmm...
More later.