Share |
Chokecherry blossoms at Palisades State Park near Garretson.
Chokecherry blossoms at Palisades State Park near Garretson.
Shooting stars at Fort Meade Recreation Area near Sturgis.
Shooting stars at Fort Meade Recreation Area near Sturgis.
Nodding trillium at Sica Hollow State Park near Sisseton.
Nodding trillium at Sica Hollow State Park near Sisseton.
Prairie smoke near Lake Hendricks in Brookings County.
Prairie smoke near Lake Hendricks in Brookings County.
A curious badger I accidentally disturbed while getting ready to shoot the prairie smoke flower.
A curious badger I accidentally disturbed while getting ready to shoot the prairie smoke flower.
Smooth Solomon’s Seal at the Dells of the Big Sioux near Dell Rapids.
Smooth Solomon’s Seal at the Dells of the Big Sioux near Dell Rapids.
Thimbleweed in bloom at Makoce Washte Native Prairie Preserve near Wall Lake.
Thimbleweed in bloom at Makoce Washte Native Prairie Preserve near Wall Lake.
A prairie rose close-up at Makoce Washte Native Prairie Preserve near Wall Lake.
A prairie rose close-up at Makoce Washte Native Prairie Preserve near Wall Lake.
Inside a Canada anenome at Makoce Washte Native Prairie Preserve near Wall Lake.
Inside a Canada anenome at Makoce Washte Native Prairie Preserve near Wall Lake.
A dickcissel singing in the minutes just before sunset at Makoce Washte Native Prairie Preserve near Wall Lake.
A dickcissel singing in the minutes just before sunset at Makoce Washte Native Prairie Preserve near Wall Lake.
Sunset at Makoce Washte Native Prairie Preserve near Wall Lake.
Sunset at Makoce Washte Native Prairie Preserve near Wall Lake.
Damselfly at Oakwood Lakes State Park near Bruce.
Damselfly at Oakwood Lakes State Park near Bruce.
Fleabane at Oakwood Lakes State Park near Bruce.
Fleabane at Oakwood Lakes State Park near Bruce.
Raindrops on a newly blooming Black-eyed Susan at Lake Vermillion Recreation Area near Canistota.
Raindrops on a newly blooming Black-eyed Susan at Lake Vermillion Recreation Area near Canistota.
Raindrops on a prairie rose at Lake Vermillion Recreation Area near Canistota.
Raindrops on a prairie rose at Lake Vermillion Recreation Area near Canistota.
Raindrops on tall grass at Lake Vermillion Recreation Area near Canistota.
Raindrops on tall grass at Lake Vermillion Recreation Area near Canistota.
Raindrops on common milkweed flowers at Lake Vermillion Recreation Area near Canistota.
Raindrops on common milkweed flowers at Lake Vermillion Recreation Area near Canistota.
Raindrops on hedge bindweed blossom at Lake Vermillion Recreation Area near Canistota.
Raindrops on hedge bindweed blossom at Lake Vermillion Recreation Area near Canistota.
Monarch butterfly on a blooming butterfly weed at Spirit Mound Historic Prairie near Vermillion.
Monarch butterfly on a blooming butterfly weed at Spirit Mound Historic Prairie near Vermillion.
Leadplant beginning to bloom at Spirit Mound Historic Prairie near Vermillion.
Leadplant beginning to bloom at Spirit Mound Historic Prairie near Vermillion.
Bee on leadplant bloom at Spirit Mound Historic Prairie near Vermillion.
Bee on leadplant bloom at Spirit Mound Historic Prairie near Vermillion.
Purple Prairie Clover at Spirit Mound Historic Prairie near Vermillion.
Purple Prairie Clover at Spirit Mound Historic Prairie near Vermillion.
Close-up of leadplant blooms at Spirit Mound Historic Prairie near Vermillion.
Close-up of leadplant blooms at Spirit Mound Historic Prairie near Vermillion.
Leadplant with butterfly weeds in the background at Spirit Mound Historic Prairie near Vermillion.
Leadplant with butterfly weeds in the background at Spirit Mound Historic Prairie near Vermillion.

Down and Dirty

Jun 27, 2018

This June, I’ve reacquainted myself with my macro lens. In doing so, I experienced a brief stare down with a badger and I discovered flowers that I’d never knew existed with names like Nodding Trillium and Smooth Solomon’s Seal. Whoever came up with those flower names must have had poetic sensibilities.

Personally, I struggle to write sound poetry, but I do try from time to time. Often the muse is the simple beauty found in the prairies and hills we call home. While I may labor to describe the pleasures of spring with words, the camera lens has no such dilemma. So, as the days lengthen and the earth turns green, it’s hard for me to stay indoors and not explore what is out beyond the next hill.

An old photography adage says that the worst in weather produces the best photos. We’ve had a lot of rain here in southeastern South Dakota this spring and one evening after work, I couldn’t resist the rain-induced cabin fever that had grown for most of the week. So I grabbed the macro lens, a powerful handheld LED flashlight and headed for Lake Vermillion Recreation Area near Canistota. The walking trail there has always produced wildflowers in June. It is easy to find and photograph prairie coneflowers, Black-eyed Susan as well as prairie rose and common milkweed. Since it was raining steadily, I took a second jacket to cover my camera when not in use and I took the flashlight to add some artificial light to the raindrops adorning the tall grass and flower petals. An hour later and drenched, I happily tumbled back into my truck. The cabin fever was gone, and I discovered the prairie was as beautiful as ever adorned and accented with raindrops.

Macro photography isn’t always easy. I have the grass stains and ripped jeans to prove it. Even a gentle breeze can cause the roses and clover to dance and sway, often away from the perfect focus or composition. Ants, spiders, beetles and bugs abound in the undergrowth, too. A photographer must put away any insect squeamishness to get down and dirty in the macro world. Actually, these tiny creatures turn out to be surprisingly interesting to look at through the macro lens. Some are quite beautiful to photograph.

My favorite time this June was sitting quietly for over an hour on a small hillside in Oakwood Lakes State Park in a patch of white petaled Canada anemones. Small orange butterflies (who were quite skilled at avoiding the camera) fluttered about, and bright blue damselflies perched on tall stems riding out the strongest of breezes. I can’t remember the last time I sat down in a patch of prairie like that, just taking in all of nature’s bounty, looking for beauty in the details and finding it everywhere I turned.

Christian Begeman grew up in Isabel and now lives in Sioux Falls. When he's not working at Midcontinent Communications he is often on the road photographing South Dakota’s prettiest spots. Follow Begeman on his blog.

Comments

07:22 am - Sun, July 1 2018
Jeff said:
Really enjoyed this. I shared to the SD plants and wildlife Facebook group. You should so be a member.
07:36 am - Mon, July 2 2018
Christian said:
Thanks Jeff. I will do so. There are many times where I'm looking for help with IDing plants and species. Google knows a lot, but not all, nor it is always accurate it seems.

Share your thoughts, post a comment to this story:

Your Name:
Your Email Address:  
Your Website:
Comment:  
2000 characters remaining
Captcha
Web Design by LVSYS