Late Summer Wildflowers,
finding local wild spaces

Although camping is supposed to be one of the safest activities during COVID, the half-assed car camping we do, which involves buying gas, ice, and groceries, (not to mention the locals’ habits of using our favourite campground as a cheap beer-drinking venue until 2 in the morning, because quiet time is for losers) made it not worth it this year. (Yeah, I'm still bitter, and yeah 2020 sucks.)[1]

So, I've needed to find that quiet uncurling space closer to home.

daisy fleabane, Erigeron spp. f1.7 1/800sec, iso200; all images this page are from 3 sep 2020, shot with a panasonic LX100. This one is cropped only.

And the thing is, I can find beauty, if I could just be bothered to look, for such spaces, however chopped up, both spatially and temporally, do exist, like weeds growing in crevices. I've lived in the same neighborhood for going on close to 20 years, and have actually walked down this path, part of a small, local nature preserve, at least once before: I have vague, autumnal memories of photographing milkweeds in a brown landscape, possibly of a monarch as well....[2]

f 3.5, 1/1000sec 03sep20 iso200, LX100, cropped. You're gonna have to click for those water droplets to be in proper focus. Setaria spp, probably either gold or green foxtail: an invasive.

Considering how lucky I am—despite living in a fairly populous county, I can get to farm fields in less than 20 minutes by bike[3] —it's kind of embarrassing to admit this, cuz compared to most, I really didn't have to look very hard: those spaces are everywhere, like the common daisy fleabane, pictured above. But they're so ordinary, so obvious, they often just slide by my consciousness, that focuses instead the irritants—litter, the roar of an airplane, and of course the ubiquitous vehicular traffic.

Black eyed susans. Cropped, slightly darkened.

But sometimes, everything comes together for a specially magical time: in this case, we'd been having high, hot temps, which had abruptly cooled, meaning dew lay heavy on everything. Not only that, I could futz around getting shots, alone, uninterrupted by others. —It was a great gift, and perhaps the happiest time of my summer.

colour adjusted—panasonic LX100 1/640s f2.8 ISO 200—and one of the very rare images for which the downsizing algorithm did a good job.

This picture is mostly out of focus, excepting for some hairs on the sepal of the uppermost purple buds on the left, which I think gives the image its subtle (ahem) focus. Or focal point. At any rate, I like this imperfect shot of Greater Blue Lobelia, Lobelia siphilitica. —Btw, the foxtail (some sort of Setaria) is evidently a noxious weed, but fleabane, rudbeckia and lobelia are all natives.

In a sense, this page is a gift: of a place always pretty, but briefly, in the confluence of light, season and water, an enchanted one;[4] and of a happy memory. I hope it brings you the same peace it did me.

[1]I am so looking forward to the day, a year, a decade— something hence, and going: man, 2020 was awful. So glad things got better and boring again...the fear, of course, is that I'll instead be saying, really, 2020 wasn't so bad! Talk about your nightmares...

[2]Which tells you right there that this is a fantasy, because the monarchs have departed for warmer climes by the time everything turns brown. Ergo, either things weren't brown, or there weren't monarchs....

[3]Without having to ride on dangerous, 55 mph roads, to boot

[4]In a sense the intense focus on the photography, provided by the light and water, was what made it so intensely ...literally...enchanting.