Sunflower Study Part 1, 5 pics

Sunflower and Bumble Bee Composition 1
Sunflower and Bumble Bee Composition 1

For the past several weeks, I’ve enjoyed the sunflower plantings on my route to work each day.  Last week I decided to stop and capture these wonderful flowers in their morning glory.  This post, and the next, feature several different visual approaches along with some very interesting tidbits about the common sunflower (Helianthus annuus).

Sunflower and Bumble Bee Composition 2
Sunflower and Bumble Bee Composition 2

Each plant will typically bear one or more large, wide flower heads (capitula).  The flower head is actually a compound flower.  The outside consist of bright yellow ray florets, while the inside disc contains yellow orange disc florets. In the photo above and below, you can see at the center, the zone of unopened disc floret buds.  Just outside the unopened zone, you can see the next zone of new disc florets in their male pollen phase.  Here is where the bumble bees are most active.  After a few days, the disc florets enter their female phase. They extend in the third zone out to the edges of the flower disk.

Sunflower and Bumble Bee Composition 5
Sunflower and Bumble Bee Composition 5

When the flower blooms, all the disc florets are unopened, tiny buds.  The disc florets first open in their male phase on the outside of the disc.  Over several days, the male phase disc florets seem to move as a wave towards the disc center. During the growing period, sunflowers will tilt during the day to track the sun.  As the flower begins to bloom, this tracking will stop.  Once the flower matures, they will generally face the east.  I was amazed when I read about this.  My route to work runs from east to west; so I really noticed these east facing flowers in the morning as I traveled west.

Pop Art Sunflower and Bumble Bee Composition 4
Pop Art Sunflower and Bumble Bee Composition 4

One of the most fascinating features of the sunflower is the method in which the disc head uses to disperse disc florets.  From the center of the disc, a mathematically brilliant spiral technique packs the maximum number of disc floret buds across the surface area of the disc head.  This spiral is known as the Fibonacci Spiral, which in turn is based on the Fibonacci Sequence.  I wrote about this in my An Elegant, Intelligent Design post.  Perhaps I’ll discuss it in more detail in the second part of this post.

Stylized Sunflower and Bumble Bee Composition 8
Stylized Sunflower and Bumble Bee Composition 8

This series was shot with my Nikon 28mm – 300mm lens, using manual focus.  Several times, I had to slightly lean back when I reached the minimum close up focus point.  Perhaps I’ll try renting a macro lens in the future.  I appreciate you stopping by today.  For the best viewing experience, click on an image to see a high resolution version.

Cheers,

C. S.

Dramatic Seascapes from Ocean Isle Beach Part 1, 2 pics

The east end of Ocean Isle Beach remains undeveloped and retains much of the characteristics of a southeastern US barrier island.  This seascape is forever changing, and each time I visit, there is some new to discover .  Below is a view of a tidal pool looking from the Intracostal Waterway side of the island back towards the seaward side.

Ocean Isle Beach Tide Pool Composition
Ocean Isle Beach Tide Pool Composition

 

Below is a sunrise view looking east towards Holden Beach, another North Carolina barrier island.

East Ocean Isle Beach Sunrise
East Ocean Isle Beach Sunrise

Thanks for taking time to view this post.  For the best viewing experience, click on an image to see a high resolution version from my portfolio site.

Cheers,

C. S.

Majestic Southern Live Oaks, 5 pics

Live Oak Tree Composition 1 Detail

 

Live Oak Tree Composition 1
Live Oak Tree Composition 1

The southern live oak, quercus virginiana, is a large majestic oak tree species native to the southeastern United States coastline.  While some other species are loosely referred to as live oaks, the southern live oak is an iconic part of the Old South.  The term “live” refers to the tree’s evergreen characteristic – its leaves remain nearly year-round.  Over a period of days, leaves fall off in the spring as new leaves begin to emerge.

Live Oak Tree Composition 3
Live Oak Tree Composition 3

The tree is anchored by a deep tap-root which develops into an extensive root system.  Lower branches will reach out to the ground and then turn upward.  These features, along with a low center of gravity, allow southern live oak to withstand strong sustained costal winds – hurricanes.  Several live oaks have been certified to be over 1000 years old!

Live Oak Tree Composition 2
Live Oak Tree Composition 2

It prefers well drained sandy soils below 300ft above sea level. Their broad, dense canopy discourages flammable undergrowth.  As such, the tree can usually withstand fires because the flames are unlikely to reach the crown.  If burned, the crown and roots respond with vigorous growth.

Live Oak Tree Composition 1 Detail
Live Oak Tree Composition 1 Detail

Though not suitable for planking, the live oak’s hard, strong and curved wood was a preferred source of sailing ship framework timbers.  The frame of the famous USS Constitution was constructed from southern live oak harvested from the state of Georgia.  The density of wood grain helped the ship survive cannon fire during The War of 1812, earning it the nickname “Old Ironsides”.

Live Oak and Young Bucks
Live Oak and Young Bucks

Today, the southern live oak provides shelter and food to local wildlife.  I captured this series, including the white tail bucks above foraging for live oak acorns, on the Intracostal Waterway near Holden Beach, North Carolina.

Danville River District

Earlier this summer, I attended the wedding of a friend and fellow Scout leader in Danville, Virginia.  After the reception, I had the opportunity to visit the local tobacco warehouse district, near the Dan River, which is into it’s initial phases of urban renewal – the Danville River District.  The late afternoon afforded some nice lighting.  I plan to return soon to shoot in the early morning light.

Danville Riverfront Tobacco District 4
Danville Riverfront Tobacco District 4
Danville Tobacco District Composition 3
Danville Tobacco District Composition 3
Danville Tobacco District Composition 2
Danville Tobacco District Composition 2
Danville Tobacco District Composition 1
Danville Tobacco District Composition 1
Danville Tobacco District Composition 5
Danville Tobacco District Composition 5

Thanks for taking time to visit my blog!  Click on an image to see a higher resolution version from my portfolio site.

Cheers,

C. S.