Marsha Stanley of the Upper Saranac Lake Sekon Association dropped me a note to say that she has spent the summer posting the history of Fish Rock Camp, believed to be the first of the great camps built on Upper Saranac in 1893. Marsha’s work included digitizing and placing online the camp’s guest register from 1905 to 1915. The guest book is replete with sketches of life at the camp, including the vignette at left from 1905, “Alfred in his Auto.” » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Center for Writing (ACW) will end its annual Summer Program Series with the one-woman performance of Irish writer and actor Eithne McGuinnes as Typhoid Mary. The event, which will be held at Bluseed Studios in Saranac Lake tonight, August 31 at 7pm is free and open to the public.
About Typhoid Mary (from an AWC Press Release) – In 1907, Mary Mallon, an Irish immigrant, who had, ‘worked her way up from nothing’, to cook for New York’s finest, was seized from her place of work by the NY Board of Health. Accused of being the carrier of typhoid fever, Mary was imprisoned without a trial on an island in the middle of the East River. Totally isolated, a mere ten minute ferry ride from her former home in the Bronx, Mary became a scapegoat; sacrificed to quell the rising public fear that a typhoid epidemic could spread beyond the poor. She became a pawn in the larger ambitions of George Soper; health official who was desperate to identify the first human typhoid carrier in North America. Was Mary maligned? Could she, as the authorities insisted, have carried typhoid, if she herself had never been ill with the disease? Here is the captivating story of a brave Irish peasant who fought tooth and nail for her freedom and took on the very powerful state of New York.
Eithne McGuinnes is an Irish writer and actor. Her plays include: Miss Delicious, workshopped at Abbey Theatre, Dublin 2007; Tin Cans, commissioned by Dublin City Council, 2006; Limbo, Dublin Fringe Festival, 2000 and 2001; A Glorious Day, public reading, Abbey Theatre, 2000; and Typhoid Mary, Dublin Fringe Festival, 1997, broadcast on RTE Radio, 1998 and revived in 2004. Published short stories: Feather Bed (Scéalta), Anthology of Irish Women Writers, Telegram Books, 2006. The Boat Train, Something Sensational to Read on the Train, Lemon Soap Press, 2005. Her favorite acting roles include: Mary Mallon, Typhoid Mary, 2004 and 1997; Sr.Clementine, The Magdalene Sisters (Golden Lion 2002), Gracie Tracy, Glenroe (RTE Television). Recent theatre: Meg, The Hostage, Wonderland, Dublin, 2009; Olive, Dirty Dusting, Tivoli Theatre, Dublin; and Earth Mother, Menopause the Musical, 2008. Recent TV: The Roaring Twenties, No Laughing Matter, 2008. Other theatre includes: The House of Bernarda Alba, 2002 and The Marriage of Figaro, 1997, at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin. Cell, best production, Dublin Theatre Festival 1999 and Dublin Trilogy, Passion Machine – best new play, DTF 1998.
In conjunction with The Hyde Collection’s exhibition Degas & Music, the Museum (in Glens Falls) is hosting its 7th Annual A Taste of Art … A Wine and Food Experience on Friday, September 18 from 6:30 – 9:30 PM. In keeping with French Impressionist Edgar Degas’ lifelong interest in all things musical, the wine tasting décor will evoke the feeling of a 19th century ‘café concert’ – a popular form of musical entertainment of the period featured in the exhibition.
The evening offerings include a combination of various wines, complementary foods, and lively entertainment. Putnam Wine (Saratoga Springs) and Uncorked (Glens Falls) work together to bring in a wide selection of wines from New York and other US wine producing regions, as well as vintages from Europe, South America, and Australia. The wines are complemented by food samplings from a number of area restaurants including Adirondack Community College’s Culinary Program, The Anvil, Cherry Tomato, The Farmhouse Restaurant, Friends’ Lake Inn, Fifty South, GG Mama’s, Grist Mill, Luisa’s Italian Bistro, and The Sagamore. Davidson Brothers Restaurant and Brewery will host the beer garden in the Museum’s Hoopes Gallery.
Attendees will be entertained by two musical groups – The Dick Caselli Trio and Alambic, as well a silent auction featuring music, food, and art-related items.
Tickets for ‘A Taste of Art’ are $75 per person. Reservations are required and accepted on a first-come, first served basis. Those interested in attending should call 518-792-1761 ext. 23 or email [email protected] A special master class is open to Connoisseur Committee members (those contributing an additional $250 to the event). This year’s master class will focus on the wines which would have been familiar to Edgar Degas and his contemporaries. Because of the limited master class space, those wishing to join the Connoisseur Committee should contact the Museum at their earliest convenience.
All proceeds from the wine tasting event will benefit The Hyde Collection’s exhibitions and educational programs through the Museum’s Annual Fund.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of John Brown’s October 16, 1859 anti-slavery raid, during which he led 19 men in an attack on the Harpers Ferry Armory. He was charged with murder, conspiring with slaves to rebel, and treason against Virginia (West Virginia was not yet a state) and after a week-long trial was sentenced to death in early November. Brown was hanged on December 2nd (John Wilkes Booth snuck in to watch) and his body was afterward carried to North Elba in Essex County to “moulder in his grave.” » Continue Reading.
Spinning, weaving, knitting, quilting, music, and North Country artisans will be featured at the Adirondack Museum‘s celebration of traditional and contemporary fiber arts, the Adirondack Fabric & Fiber Arts Festival, on Saturday, September 12, 2009. The event will run from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.; admission is included in the price of general museum admission.
The Festival will include demonstrations, textile appraisal, songs and stories about quilts, an artisan marketplace, a “knit-in” as well as the museum’s new exhibit, “Common Threads: 150 Years of Adirondack Quilts and Comforters.”
The celebration will also showcase a special display, “Artifacts of Almanzo Wilder’s Time,” featuring coverlets, linsey-woolseys, and hands-on activities. The presentation is made possible by the Wilder Homestead. The Homestead, located between Malone and Chateaugay, N.Y. was the boyhood home of Almanzo Wilder who was born and raised there from 1857-1875. Interpretation of the site is based on the classic book, Farmer Boy, written by Almanzo’s wife Laura Ingalls Wilder, as he described his recollections of his life at the farm to her.
Demonstrations will include the Serendipity Spinners, members of the community-based needlework group Northern Needles, the Adirondack Regional Textile Artist’s Association, as well as felt makers and fiber artists Sandy Cirillo and Robin Blakney Carlson.
Two sessions of a musical program will be offered at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Peggy Lynn and Dan Duggan will present “A Stitch in Time Songs Celebrating the Art and Heritage of Quilting.” The duo will be joined by museum Curator Hallie Bond.
Peggy Lynn has been featured at the Bluebird Café in Nashville, and in 1996, Peggy was named “Adirondack Woman of the Year.” Peggy’s song about Mary Brown, the wife of abolitionist John Brown, was selected as the cover piece in Songs for Peace Magazine and was also recorded by the folk duo Magpie on their Sword of the Spirit album. Peggy has co-authored a book with Sandra Weber titled Breaking Trail: Remarkable Women of the Adirondacks and released an album of new ballads about strong women called “Stand a Chance,” produced by Dan Duggan. In 2005, the
Adirondack Mountain Club honored Peggy with their Arthur E. Newkirk Education Award.
Dan Duggan is known nationally for his work on hammered dulcimer and flat-picking guitar, and is the recipient of the National Hammered Dulcimer Championship. Adding to his array of recordings, Dan has recently released a new album of original airs and waltzes called “Once in a Blue Moon.”
Dan and Peggy have released a trio album with Dan Berggren, called “Ten Miles to Saturday Night,” and as a duo have released two recordings: “Keeping Christmas,” and “A Stitch in Time: Songs Celebrating the Art and Heritage of Quilting.” Dan’s children’s album, “Pieces of Our Life,” earned a Parent’s Choice Award in 1998. His dulcimer work can also be heard on Paul Simon’s CD “You’re The One”, released in October of 2000.
Museum visitors can discover more about personal antique and collectible fabric pieces with textile appraiser and historian Rabbit Goody of Thistle Hill Weavers, Cherry Valley, N.Y. For a small donation to the Adirondack Museum ($5 is suggested) she will examine vintage textiles and evaluate them for historical importance and value in an “Antiques Roadshow” setting. Appraisals will be held from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
Goody is a nationally recognized textile historian and expert in the identification of historic textiles. She is the founder, owner, and director of Thistle Hill Weavers, a commercial weaving mill that produces reproduction historic textiles for museums, designers, private homeowners, and the film industry. Textiles created by Thistle Hill have appeared in more than thirty major motion pictures. For more about Thistle Hill Weavers, visit http://www.rabbitgoody.com/.
The Fabric and Fiber Festival will feature a “knit-in” in the Visitor Center from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Folklorist and knitter Jill Breit will host the activity. This will be an opportunity for knitters to work on a project in the company of other knitting enthusiasts, and to exchange tips with participants about how to tackle tricky techniques. Knitters are encouraged to bring finished projects to display, as well as works in progress. While the group knits, Jill will talk about popular styles of knitting in the Adirondacks, a resurgence of interest in handspun
yarn, and the role of knitting groups in this traditional fiber art.
Jill Breit is Executive Director of Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, an organization devoted to documentation and presentation of folklife in the North Country. She is the curator of the exhibition “Repeat from Here: Knitting in the North Country” and author of an article Knitting It Together: A Case Study of a Sweater.
Regional artisans and crafters will offer handmade and specialty items for
sale in a day-long marketplace at the Adirondack Fabric and Fiber Arts Festival.
Visitors of all ages can use vintage treadle sewing machines to make souvenir balsam sachets in the Mark W. Potter Education Center from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
Photo: Album quilt made by Huldah Harrington, near Wevertown, N.Y., 1868.
Whenever I mention growing garlic, I encounter people who tell me “you can’t grow garlic up here.” What? I’ve grown garlic successfully now for two years (can’t say as much for onions and leeks)! After conversations with folks, though, I think I have discovered the answer: timing.
Garlic is something you plant in the fall. Don’t try planting it in the spring with your seeds and transplants. You may get lovely stalks, but you won’t get bulbs. Once you discover this, you’ll find growing garlic is a cinch.
First, find some good bulbs. Around these parts, you probably should stick to hardneck garlic. The stuff you buy in the grocery store is softneck garlic, and it is comprised of a bulb that is clove after clove right down to the center (and it probably comes from China or India). Hardneck, on the other hand, has a hard stem in the center which is surrounded by six to twelve cloves, depending on the variety. You don’t get as many cloves, but you get something that is hardier and grows well in our northern climate.
You can purchase garlic from many gardening/seed catalogues. If you place your garlic order in February with your seed order, don’t expect it to arrive with your seeds. Any company worth its salt will not ship garlic until the fall.
I discovered, however, that catalogue garlic is really expensive. For a mere fraction of the cost, you can go to a garlic festival (like the one in Sharon Springs, which I just found out is cancelled this year) to purchase bulbs. This is what I did last year. The comparison is amazing. Catalogue garlic: get about 20 cloves, pay over $20. Garlic Fest garlic: get 100 cloves, pay about $8. It’s well worth the trip to a festival. The nearest garlic festival I could find this year is probably the Mohawk Valley Garlic and Herb Festival in Mohawk on 12 September, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM.
Once you have your garlic, wait until October to plant. The later the better. You’ll want to prep your bed, removing weeds, adding compost, etc. When the day arrives to plant, you’ll want to be ready, so have your bulbs sorted – choose only the largest bulbs and the largest cloves.
It’s planting day. Separate the bulbs into individual cloves. Press each one about two inches into your soil (with the pointy end of the clove upwards) and cover with soil. Space them three or so inches apart. When you have the bed filled, cover it with about six inches of grass clippings – good mulch. Last year I used leaves and I don’t think they worked as well. For one thing, they decomposed and blew away a lot more readily than grass clippings will.
Do not panic if you start to see green shoots poking out of the mulch before the snow flies. This is normal.
Next spring, the shoots will grow (or continue to grow). Just let them do their thing, making sure the soil stays evenly moist (but don’t over-water). Garlic is pretty low maintenance. As summer progresses, the tips of the stalks will loop around a couple of times and develop swellings at the end. These are called garlic scapes and they are quite attractive. They are also edible and are considered a gourmet item, but I I found I couldn’t give ’em away this year! No one wanted to even try them. You can steam them and serve with melted butter like asparagus, or you can cook them in a stir fry; I’m sure the internet is full of recipes just waiting to be tried. I’ve even read you can store scapes in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to three months. If you don’t plan to eat them, however, be sure to pinch them off. Otherwise, they will develop into bulbils, tiny bulbs, taking energy away from the main bulb underground. You want the plant to put its energy into the main bulb, so eliminate all competitors.
Sometime around mid-July, the stalks will start to turn brown. When the bottom three or four leaves are brown, but the leaves at the top are still green, it is time to harvest your garlic. You will want to stop watering a few weeks before this – this will make your garlic better for storage.
Pull up your garlic gently and by hand. You want to be careful not to bruise the bulbs, and don’t leave them in the sun. Trim the roots, and gently brush off the soil. Then you you need to place them in a well-ventilated, but out of the sun location to cure. Curing takes about two weeks and hardens the bulbs up for storage. After curing you can trim the stems and move the garlic into storage. Hardneck garlic doesn’t braid well, thanks to those hard stems. So, instead of long decorative braids, I cut the stems short and stick the bulbs in old onion bags I’ve scrounged from friends.
Never store your garlic in the fridge. Room temperature is good, or in a root cellar where temps are about 32-35 degrees Fahrenheit. Low humidity is also a plus. A fridge is simply too warm and may cause your garlic to sprout prematurely.
Garlic has a history that stretches back more than 5000 years. Coming to us from central Asia, this bulb is full of good stuff that our bodies need. You don’t have to go overboard like me and plant a couple hundred cloves, but everyone with a small garden should at least give it a try.
The 22nd Annual Rustic Furniture Fair will be held at the Adirondack Museum on September 5, 2009 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and on September 6, 2009 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. More than fifty-six artisans, including eight new craftsmen, will showcase their original furniture and accessories.
According to the a press release issued by the museum, the Adirondack Museum’s Rustic Furniture Fair is recognized as the premier “rustic” show in the country. This showcase of talented artisans includes both traditional and contemporary styles of furniture design. “You will not see mass produced pieces,” the museum says.
There will be entertainment all weekend with by the Lime Hollow Boys on Saturday. The band plays country and folk tunes combining bass, guitar, fiddle, and harmonica. Sunday will feature traditional fiddling by Frank Orsini. Orsini’s repertoire includes: Celtic music, Elizabethan or early music selections, old-time fiddle tunes from the Southern mountain tradition, New England and Canadian dance tunes, bluegrass and country classics, Cajun, and blues selections, as well as Urban and Western swing standards.
Demonstrations of furniture making, wood carving and painting will take place both days. Rustic furniture artist and painter, Barney Bellinger of Sampson Bog Studio, Mayfield, N.Y., will work on an original piece during the Preview & Benefit and Rustic Furniture Fair. Barney’s work will be sold in a silent auction; the winner to be announced at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 6.
All Rustic Fair activities and demonstrations are included in the price of regular museum admission. All museum exhibits will be open.
On Friday, September 4, the museum will host the Rustic Fair Preview Benefit, offering a special chance to meet the rustic artisans and shop for the perfect treasure for home or camp. The museum will be closed to the public on Friday, September 4, 2009 for the Preview. For more information, call (518) 352-7311 ext. 119.
Invasive species are everywhere: birds, bugs, fish, flowers, fungi. It seems that every time you turn around, a new invasive species has sprung up, each with its own inherent threat on the local ecosystem. What we don’t hear about, however, is often the solutions that are applied to address the problem.
Take for example the Japanese beetles in this photograph. What do you notice about them that is unusual? The white dots on their thoraxes. I pondered these, wondering if they were parasite eggs, warts or merely beauty marks. The number of dots differs on individual beetles, and some have none at all. Because of this variation, and the fact I had never seen them before, I was leaning towards parasites. » Continue Reading.
Who could pass up a book titled Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln’s Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities? Certainly not I! Not only is the title attention-getting, but the book is a bilious acid green, the perfect color for poisonings!
I first heard about this book on the radio, and after about a month of waiting, I was able to borrow a copy from the library. After reading it, I had to get a copy for myself; no self-respecting naturalist’s arsenal of natural history reference books would be complete without it!
This tiny tome is chocked full of interesting information about some of nature’s most dangerous plants, many of which surprised me. For example, these days the news is smattered with dire warnings about giant hogweed and wild parsnip (members of the carrot family, yet capable of causing painful blisters and phototoxicity to those who brush up against them), but who knew that cashews could be problematic if not prepared correctly? Yes, cashews are related to poison ivy, poison sumac and poison oak. If eaten raw, or if they are contaminated with bits of the nut shells, the person consuming them can break out in a serious rash, which could be exacerbated if one is strongly allergic to urushiol, the irritating oil.
While many of the plants mentioned in this book by Amy Stewart come from lands far from the Adirondacks, there are a fair number that can be found within the Blue Line. Take, for example, elderberry. I remember collecting elderberry blossoms for my grandfather down along the railroad tracks that follow the Mohawk River. He used to make wine from the lacy white flowers. Well, it turns out that most of the plant’s parts (leaves, roots, stems, etc.) contain cyanide. This is especially true of the raw fruits. Cooked, the fruits are rendered more or less harmless, but when consumed raw they could send one to the hospital in a great deal of pain and discomfort.
How about cardinal flower? This brilliantly scarlet member of the genus Lobelia is found fairly commonly along waterways within the Park. As lovely as it is, the red color should be a warning. It contains poisons that are similar to nicotine, and if one were to eat it (although I don’t know why one would), one would likely suffer from tremors, nausea and vomiting, paralysis, and heart problems.
Not only does Ms. Stewart point out plants that are deadly, she includes those that are destructive (like purple loosestrife and kudzu), those that are offensive to the nose (purple trillium and skunk cabbage, among others), and those that actively cause problems (killer algae and gas plant).
I was so surprised at some of the nastiness that Mother Nature has in store for us that I was hesitant to burn the invasive honeysuckles we cut down last year. What if this aggressive non-native plant harbored some sort of chemical that was dangerous when set on fire? Nonetheless, burn it we did (the cut logs had started to sprout and had to be destroyed), and I can report that although I got a snoot full of smoke on several occasions, I have not suffered any ill effects.
Whether you are a plant aficionado, or a nature enthusiast in general, you will not want to pass up this delightful little book.
As summer is winding down the music scene is still hopping. This weekend the big event is the Mountain Music Meltdown. However, there are bunches of good musical events taking place all over — everything from free outdoor concerts to a documentary about the origins of the banjo — starting tonight.
Tonight at LPCA the movie Throw Down your Heart will be shown at 7:30 pm. Banjo player extraordinaire Bela Fleck took a trip through Africa to explore the origins of the banjo. Director Sascha Paladino captured the journey.
Also tonight in Raquette Lake at 7 pm, Steve Gillette and Cindy Mangsen will be performing at St. Williams Church on Long Point. This is only accessible by boat so call (315) 354-4265 to find out how to get there. These two are wonderful musicians who’ve been performing together for years.
On Friday the 28th there will be a bagpipe and fiddle concert in Keene. This free concert will be held at The Keene Community Center Pavilion starting at 7 pm. Tim Cummings plays the pipes and Pete Sutherland plays the fiddle. Both are extremely accomplished and Keene is very lucky to have them. There will be hotdogs, hamburgers, soda and baked goods for sale starting at 6 pm. For more information about this and upcoming events check out East Branch Friends of The Arts.
So here we are, Saturday’s Mountain Music Meltdown day. The festival takes place near Saranac Lake off of Rt. 3 on the way to Bloomingdale. Featuring nine bands, this all-day event is sure to be worth the $25+ it’ll cost you to get in. Here are just a few of the acts that are going to be there; the day starts at 11 am with Roy Hurd, and ends with Leon Russell who takes the stage at 8 pm. In between you have Raisinhead and my favorite “not to be missed” act is Joe Costa and his band Kikazaru who will be playing at 2 pm. Joe is a resident of Rainbow Lake. He plays banjo and sings traditional songs with a contemporary flair. You can pick up their excellent CD at Ampersound in Saranac Lake, the only music store left in the Tri-Lakes region. If you buy the CD there not only are you giving yourself great music but you’re supporting a local business as well. Also a cool bit of local trivia is that the cover of the CD was created by resident photographer Aaron Hobson.
On Saturday at the Village Green in Jay locals Drew and Annie Sprague are giving a free concert with their friends Suave and Maddy from The Blindspots. It starts at 6:30 pm. Drew is a great guitarist and singer who’s been performing in and around the Adirondacks for years. He was with The South Catherine Street Jug Band and is now with The Stoneman Blues Band. Annie plays the violin beautifully and enhances any music project she participates in. This is a JEMS production.
Later, at the Waterhole in Saranac Lake, Mike Suave and The Blindspots ride again. Doors open at 9 pm for cocktails and the show usually starts at 10 pm. You might recognize Mike from The South Catherine Street Jug Band and The Nitecrawlers, both North Country favorites. Their female vocalist Maddy Walsh is a native of Ithaca, NY.
Open Mic at Quackenbush’s Long View Wilderness Lodge in Long Lake this Saturday starts around 8-8:30pm. This is a great opportunity to get together with musicians who live way out there and don’t usually make it in for the regular open mics in the larger towns.
Other open mic news: the open jam that I speak so highly of at The Shamrock is taking a break for the next two weeks as the Shamrock does some renovating to their kitchen. If all goes well the jam will resume on the 16th of September.
photo: Joe Costa’s CD Cover by Aaron Hobson
Goat’s milk cheeses from Asgaard Dairy of Au Sable Forks collected second place awards in National and New York State competitions earlier this month. Such achievements in the first full year of production took owners Rhonda Butler and David Brunner and cheesemaker Kirsten Sandler by surprise.
At the National Cheese Society annual meeting in Austin, Texas, August 7, the dairy took silver for its goat’s milk feta. “It’s kind of like the Academy Awards of cheese,” said Butler. Last week at the New York State Fair in Syracuse, the placing entry was a fresh chevre with cilantro, hot pepper and garlic—all from the Asgaard garden.
Butler and Brunner, with help from daughter Johanna operate the dairy from the iconic Adirondack farm once owned by artist and political activist Rockwell Kent. They retail their cheeses and a new line of goat’s milk soap direct from the farm, at farm markets in Elizabethtown, Keene and Lake Placid, and at natural food markets in Keene, Lake Placid and Saranac Lake. Lake Placid Lodge also features Asgaard’s “Whiteface” chevre on its menu.
Looking forward, this year the family plans to add ten more milking goats to their herd of twenty. The sudden success arrives at a bittersweet moment: the family lost one of their original two goats—Kelly (pictured above with Johanna)—this spring.
A debate between candidates in the Essex County District Attorney election will be held tonight at the Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School in Elizabethtown beginning at 6 pm. The race between Kristy Sprague and Julie Garcia has heated up after a failed attempt by some local pols to have Sprague removed from the ballot. Sprague, who is endorsed by the Republican committee, and Garcia, the incumbent who was elected as a Republican in 2005, will square off in the Republican primary September 15th. Garcia has raised thousands more then her opponent, and if she wins, it’s likely she’ll have both party lines in the November election.
The debate is being sponsored by local media outlets and moderated by the following three men, who are all accepting questions via e-mail. “These journalists are inviting their readers and listeners to suggest questions to them any time before the event, instead of letting people ask or submit questions at the event,” according to the media’s media release.
Send your questions to:
Lohr McKinstry of the Press Republican ([email protected])
John Gereau of Denton Publications ([email protected])
Peter Crowley of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise ([email protected])
Chris Morris of Mountain Communications Radio News ([email protected])
I really love macro photography. You need a good lens, you need a good tripod, and you need to be willing to get dirty and wet. But when you get right down to it, you discover some of the most interesting things.
Anyone can take a photo of a landscape, or of Billy with jam on his face. But it takes a special kind of person to get up-close photographs of Mother Nature. This person needs patience and a whole lot of determination.
What I love most about close-up shots of tiny things is that it opens up a whole new world. Take this photo, for example. It’s a catmint flower from my garden. Catmint has pale green leaves and a bright aromatic scent. The flowers are small and purple. But until I took this photo and enlarged it on the computer, I had no idea just how beautiful the flowers are. Why, it practically looks like an orchid!
Now that I have a camera available 24/7, I find myself lurking in the gardens, stalking roadside ditches, crawling along the forest floor on my belly – all in search of tiny things to photograph.
Macrophotography can also make identification easier, at least with things like insects. Insects rarely hold still for very long, making field ID difficult. A close-up photograph and enlargement capabilities can tip the scales in the naturalist’s favor. And it’s a nice alternative to the old naturalist’s standby: capture and preserve for later ID. True, there are times when having the specimen on hand is important, but for most of us, a photograph is all we need.
Spiders are another great subject for the close-up photographer. I find that most spiders up close are really rather beautiful. Okay, maybe most of you don’t feel this way, but you’ve got to admit that up close they are, at the very least, interesting. And photographs don’t bite, or sting, or jump!
Every naturalist needs a field kit, and in amongst the field guides and rulers, hand lenses and note paper, it should include a camera with close-up capabilities. Get yourself one of these and you won’t regret it (once you learn how to use it).
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