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.
Beautiful bluebells … especially love the close-ups of the flowers! The grouping of the flowers in the first close-up showing their veins and textures remind me of little girl crinolines. How wonderful to be showing your photographs at the Festival. Good luck with that experience!
Thank you Anne. I have printed some of my favorite images and getting some Bluebell pictures printed too (using a professional lab) — in different sizes, mounted, matted and sealed in clear plastic. I am working on my festival presentation display, and have had a banner printed, as well as new business cards. Going to do this right.
Beautiful Steve, love spring wildflowers! I’m jealous!!
All the best,
Thank you Irene. Great hearing from you! I am definitely enjoying spring, and winter wasn’t even that bad this year.
Your perseverance and professional ability are again demonstrated when viewing the Bluebells in their finest array. It is so gratifying to just sit and stare and stare some more. You have given us a glimmer as to the wonders of nature, up close.and in all its beautiful splendor.
These bluebells are such beautiful flowers and your closeups are gorgeous! Good luck with your festival exhibit. I learn so much in your blog posts…didn’t know they came in pink too. These bluebells remind me of the Texas bluebonnets where my family lives. Makes me wonder if there are pink bluebonnets somewhere out there…
Thank you Betty. Besides the occasional pink bluebells, there were a few very rare white ones. I did not see any this year, but I did last year.
Steve — these are too lovely to believe, if I hadn’t see your photos with my own eyes! What an experience seeing such color in early spring!
As a child, I used to roam the woods behind and near my own house but have never experiences a field of flowers of this sort!
I shot the bluebells last year too, and until then, I too had not seen anything like it before. Spring and all of its new growth is my favorite time of year, and not just for photography.