Back-lit Flora

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I was late taking Wally out this morning after a late night in the studio. I have had a lot of Real Estate work (FotoSul) over the last few days and I’d rather process the photos at night!

It was 10am before we headed out and many of the bird life, apart from the Bee-Eaters were quiet due to the already above 30 deg heat. The sun at 10am is strong and high at this time of year, so I used it to capture from back-lit shots of some of the plant life. Here are 4 that I captured. Each photo is taken with -2EV (Exposure Compensation) dialled in. The dark background is provided by some distant trees blocking the sunlight.

First up, one of Emma’s favourite plants, the Allium.

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Back-lit Allium
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The Springtime Flora In The Algarve Hills

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I don’t normally photograph plants and flowers but the overcast and rainy day gave my favourite light for flowers as I think it adds a nice mood and really helps with the “highlights” not being too bright.

The hills are covered in flowering Esteva (known in English as Gum Rock Rose) and I love the way the rain drops sit on the petals. The Esteva plant smells amazing due to the resin in the plants, but of course this resin in flammable which doesn’t help with the summer fires. It used to be used in the production of perfume, but these days it’s mainly used for starting fires in the winter as it makes great kindling. I also use it to start my BBQ!

Rain Drops on an Esteva (Gum Rock Rose) FlowerContinue reading >>

Morning Dog Walk: Honey Bees On Illyrian Scotch Thistle

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I take a camera along on my Dog Walks to bring you some of the sightings that I see on my morning walks, these photos are rarely going to be great quality as its hard enough keeping an energetic Dog entertained and get close enough to anything. They also help me identify where species are so that I can plan to return.

This morning, I couldn’t help notice the size of the Illyrian Scotch Thistles that are now flowering, they are huge! The Honey Bees are going crazy for them, so I stopped and took a few shots. Yet again, we had very overcast skies, so the light wasn’t great.

One question I have is why are these Thistles White? Is it a slight variance? I’m pretty sure they are Illyrian Scotch Thistles as the way the bracts turn down almost like it’s been peeled, but usually these flowers are purple. Please help!

UPDATE: I have since (sort of) solved the mystery with the Flower, more HERE.

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Honey Bee Approaching An Illyrian Scotch Thistle
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Spot The Difference – Esteva Flowers

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Last year someone told me that there are two different variants of the Esteva plant (Portuguese name, not to be confused with the Stevia plant), commonly known in English as the Gum Rockrose. It was mentioned that there is a version that has no spots. I had never seen one until this morning, I’m certainly no plant expert, but it’s great when you stumble across something new.

The scientific name for the Esteva is Cistus ladanifer and the two sub-species are ladanifer and sulcatus. The landanifer has the purple markings where the sulcatus does not, however, they appear to be identical plants.

Cistus ladanifer subspecies ladanifer

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