Last weekend, I went to Merrimac Farm Wildlife Management Area (WMA) to photograph the Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica). Virginia Bluebells are bulbous perennial plants that only grow in early spring before the canopy closes (i.e., the trees are leafed out and shade the forest floor). After the canopy closes, the Bluebell plants totally disappear until next spring. Therefore, the opportunity to photograph them is very short.
At Merrimac Farm WMA, the Bluebells grow in the flood plain of the Cedar Run. The deep green of the Bluebell plants with their blue and occasional pink flowers is a brilliant and beautiful sight and contrast to the otherwise dormant forest.
On the morning that I was there, it was very overcast and eventually began to rain. The filtered light actually worked well by limiting the dynamic range of dark and light tones. Unfortunately, I had to stop photographing when the rain started, but it held off long enough for me to get the images in this blog article.
This visit to Merrimac Farm WMA also was my first opportunity to use my new Nikon camera body, the D800, which I picked up two days before. As I am discovering from its use and confirmed by recent independent test reports, the Nikon D800 is a fantastic camera, which is evidenced by the images in this blog article. (These are low resolution images for the Web and not the high resolution images captured by the D800.)
If you live in the northern Virginia area, on April 15, the Prince William Conservation Alliance will be holding its annual Bluebell Festival. I encourage you to attend to see the Bluebells and enjoy the festival, as well as some of my photography, which I will be exhibiting at the festival.
While photographing the Bluebells, I also photographed some of the Spring Beauties (below) with my Nikon 105mm macro lens. Spring Beauties are tiny flowers that also bloom in the spring. They are about 1/4 inch in size, and their unique beauty, when viewed up close, is most likely how they got their name.