(Link to the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage 2013)
The first session today was on Forest Foods and Pharmacy led by Ila Warren and Brittney Hughes (Naturalist, DeSoto State Park in AL). We met at Metcalf Bottoms and walked to the Greenbrier School. Here are things we saw and info about some of them.
1. Witch Hazel (by bridge and water) - astringent, used for water dowsing; loves its feet in water, seed pods burst, beins are not symmetrical.
2. Solomon’s Seal - cut rhizome in a cross section and Star of David Appears.
3. Fleabane - new can be pink or blue; pregnant women planted this to predict sex of babies.
4. Rattlesnake Weed - green leaves with purple veins, in the dandelion family
5. Cinquefoil - yellow bloom, aka Barren Strawberry; 5 leaflets not leaves.
6. Poison ivy - leaves of 3
7. Galax - aka Beetleweed or Fairy wand, smells stinky, pollinated by ants.
8. Spotted Wintergreen
9. Christmas fern - eat fiddleheads by parboiling and then sauté.
10. White Pine - source of Vitamin C and calcium. Limbs are in a circle. Add to Yellowroot and make a salve using lard and oil. Fry with needles, cinquefoil, and yellowroot. Use on poison ivy and bug bites.
11. English plantain and jewelweed can be used for poison ivy too.
12. Dog hobble
13. Dog wood - bloom is actually yellow. Flowers are modified brachs. Use dogwood berries - parch and ground; used for quinine to treat yellow fever during the Civil War
14. Violets -edible blooms; leaves have to be cooked.
15. English Plantain - aka White Man’s Foot - use in a salve; use instantly on bug bites by crushing and rubbing on bites; young are edible in a salad along with dandelion, chickweed, and violets. Seeds are great fiber source.
16. Wild Ramps - industrial onion; lots of sulphur, false hellebore leaves look the same and cooking them could kill you.
17. Morel mushroom - $35-$40/lb. tastes like steak or fishy; can stuff and back, can bread and fry. Leatherback mushroom is also good in the fall even though it is smelly, it tastes good.
18. Wild Woodruff - whirled leaves
19. Spanish Dagger - aka yucca; take finber to make cordage; blooms are edible right off the plant.
20. Trailing Arbutus -once they bloom, they put off new foliage.
21. Partridge Berry - aka squawvine. Berries are edible; have 2 belly buttons, 2 blooms with a fused ovary.
22. Buffalo nut - aka oil nut; oil used for lamps; put wicks in oil to make them last longer.
23. Poke salad - eat leaves but parboiled several times; eat berries whole; roots are poisonous
24. Wild Cherry - never pick and let leaves wilt because arsenic becomes concentrated; use leaves immediately when they are fresh; leaves used in cough medicine
25. Yarrow - staunching wounds and bleeding
26. Halbred leaf violet - yellow bloom
27. New York Fern - tapered on each end, wide in the middle, big spread of them
28. Wild Geranium - palmate leaf with a lot of vines; seed pods burst when touched; pollinated by ants; ants carry off seeds, eat oily covering and the rest germinates.
29. Wood Anemone
30. Rattlesnake Plantain - orchid family
31. Lemon scented trillium
32. Dwarf Iris
33. Chickweed - use leaves in salad for weight loss
34. Monarda - Wild mint; square stems, Bee balm
35. Vetch - goat’s rue
36. Wild Yam - women’s medicine; estrogen, uses roots
37. Stonecrop sedum
38. Bloodroot - blooms early
39. Ironwood - see “tendons” in the bark that looks like human muscles
40. Vasey’s Trillium
41. Sassafras - spring tonic (SSS tonic - Sassafras, sweet birch, and spicebush); boil and simmer roots to make tea; blood thinner so be careful if you have high blood pressure; weak tea; cleansing and tastes good.
42. Yellowroot - looks like parsley; help kidney ailments, mouth ailments, antibiotic
43. Cutleaf Toothwort - peppery; mountain wasabi; used for toothaches, tastes like horseradish; if it ends in -wort usually has healing properties.
44. Sweet Birch - smells like wintergreen; 2 leaves at one place and 2 buds; aspirin like properties; lightly boil or simmer; aka toothbrush tree; refreshes plain water.
45. Woody stems - simmer; leaves - steep
46. Lycopodium - running cedar
Our next session was on Wildflower Photography using an SLR camera. This was led by Jack Carman ( author of Wildflowers of Tennessee) and Bob Hutson (co-author of Wildflowers of the Great Smoky Mountains). We were also in their class on the first day and this really added to what I learned on the first day.
1. Focal length divided by camera’s multiplication factor (Nikon = 1.5)
2. Manification talked about in terms of life size: 35mm =1x1.5=life size; ¼ life size = 4x6”
3. SLR shopping - look for Depth of Field Preview, Live View, manual or aperture priority, cable release, mirror lockup, Nikon or Canon
1. macro lenses are the Cadillac of photography; life size without accessories; 100mm or 180 mm-200mm which is better; goes to life size but not as flexible as a soom lens for other uses and cost.
2. Zoom Lenses - work well for flower photography, use a diopter or extension tubes for magnification beyond ¼ life size; 70-200mm or 70-300mm works well
3. Diopters - fits in front of lens, 2 elements are high quality; magnification is the focal length of lens divided by focal length of diopter; positives (no light lost, low cost); negatives (minimum optical degradation)
4. Extension Tubes - hollow tubs between lens and camera; magnification is length of tube divided by focal length of lens; Positives (no optical degradation and relatively inexpensive); negative (loses light)
5. Multipliers - 1.4x (1 stop) or 2x (2 stop) are best; fits between lens and camera; increases focal length but maintains the original close focusing distances; positive (longer focal length); negatives (some optical degradation and major light loss; should not be used with zoom lens)
1. Tripod - goes flat to the ground; Eye height without use of a center column; minimum 4 lbs if made of carbon fiber ($$-$$$) or 5 lbs. if made of aluminum ($); legs move independently; 3 secions stronger; Brands - Bogen Gitzo, Induro, RRS
2. Tripod Heads - ball head most commonly used; camera placed and locked by a single knob, quick release; ara - Swiss
3. Cable Release
4. Angle View Finder
7. Dark Cloth
8. LCD Views - old slide fild , 4x Loupe, Hoodman 1x loupe; newer model collapses
9. Plant holder (pipe cleaners, ties)
10. Commercial stakes to hold accessories
11. Camera cases
1. Use standard TTL flash unit
2. Flash used mostly as fill with a flash compensation setting of 2 stops
3. Used with a diffuser
Batter Powered LED Lights
1. See results before you take the picture
2. More control than reflector
3. Video broad light like a reflector
4. Flashlight, spotlight, or special effects
5. Video Lights have more color cast
6. Correct with gel or filter provide
7. Flashlight has greater color cast
8. Inexpensive video lights ($40); available such as CN-160 from Amazon
(Note: Get Light Source in close light up subject not the background.)
1. Rain umbrella - 36 inches
2. Collapsible Translucent - 32 inches
3. Photographic umbrella - 60 inches
Shading Tools - Black piece of cloth over umbrella
Depth of Field (DOF)
1. Use manual focus
2. Depth of Field - difference between the closest point in acceptable focus and farthest point in acceptable focus.
3. DOF is a function of
4. The magnification of subject - mag. Increases, DOF decreases
5. F stop - f stop increases, DOF increases
6. DOF is not a function of lens focal length
7. Maximize DOF
8. Camera back should be parallel to the plane of your subject
9. Selective focus
Depth of Field Preview
1. Lens is normally at its max opening, min. DOF when you look through view finder
2. Use DOF preview button to stop the lens down to the picture taking aperture
3. DOF preview with live view
4. Focus with live view
I had a great time at the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage 2013. If you have never been to it, I highly recommend it! Maybe I’ll see you next year!
Original Photo by Pat Hensley