A Walk in the Woods
I went for a walk in the woods the other day. It was way too easy to get around when you consider that there really should be a lot of snow on the ground at this elevation for this time of year. Here in Southwest Montana we are experiencing a dismal year for snowpack. I actually made this adventure in my running shoes. I stepped in some snow deeper than my ankles, but for the most part by feet stayed dry.
It was a fun adventure nonetheless. As with many areas that are primarily inhabited by Lodgepole Pine Trees, there were a lot of fallen trees. It’s like walking through a life-size game of “Pick up Sticks”. I had fun walking along the fallen trees, being careful to choose paths that would not become teeter-totters and dump me off! I came across other areas that were nearly clear of snow. Soft moss covered the ground, their feathery structures protruding through the old icy snow crystals.
I love to stop and just listen to the forest as I wander. There was a slight breeze creating a soft rushing sound at the top of the trees. Occasionally, a stronger burst would cause a trees to sway a little harder. When another tree has fallen and leaned against another standing tree, this creates all sorts of wonderful creaks and groans that can be alarming to an over-active imagination. I’m pretty good at convincing myself that it was “just a tree”! I heard a bird calling with a repetitive soft high pitched call. I was pretty sure it was an owl of some sort so I recorded the sound for later identification. After reviewing sounds, I am certain that it was a Northern Pygmy Owl, but I won’t know for sure because, while on my search for the bird, I promptly stepped on a branch. The loud snap was the end of the calling, so I gave up my search and started paying more attention to things around me.
Thats when I found this dried up bit of old flowers on a bush in front of me. Macro wildflower photography is one of my favorite ways to portray the little gems of Springtime, so I thought why not try a wintertime dried flower arrangement with the ol’ macro lens. I found a particularly compelling clump of nodding flowers and set up the tripod to get the lens in position. When you’re a few inches from your subject, this lens really blurs the background. The blue/gray fading to a yellowish light is the tall trunks of the pines with sunlight on a distant hillside showing through. I honesty don’t know what kind of bush this is. It was about 4 feet tall with many of these clumps of dried flowers on it.
After shooting several images here and more of the sunlight now beginning to filter through the trees around me, I followed the path of several Deer, a very large Moose, and a Coyote. I discovered that I cannot rely on my jumping abilities the way that a Deer can, and had to go around several fallen trees that the Deer had jumped right over. I eventually got back to my truck. It’s strange to feel sad that an adventure is over when you’ve enjoyed it so much. Still, I often feel a twinge of longing to return to where I just came from when I get back to where an adventure had started.