Airbnb for Birds and Butterflies

I want to provide a home for some butterfly or moth larvae, and the Eastern Columbine has got it covered.

The Eastern Columbine is a herbaceous perennial plant that stole my heart with its delicate, lobed leaves and unique bell-shaped flowers the first time I saw it growing in the garden at Leonard J. Buck Garden. The flowers are a fiery red and yellow combo, sometimes an alluring all-red or all-yellow look. These beauties bloom in the spring and early summer.

Hummingbirds can't resist its sweet nectar, nor can bees, butterflies, or hawk moths. I want to provide a home for some butterfly or moth larvae, and the Eastern Columbine has got it covered. It's even a tasty treat for birds like finches and buntings. Eastern Columbine is a self-seeder. Several colonies have formed in every one of my garden planters and have spread to the small garden at the front of my home. Eastern Columbine will stick around for the long haul.

Eastern Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
Eastern Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) · Sunday 7 May 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR

Eastern Columbine is an easy-to-grow plant that thrives in various habitats, including woodlands, meadows, and even along roadsides. I'm not a seasoned gardener, but I can enjoy the lovely flowers in the container garden meadow I planted. The container garden is set up to provide the meadow plants with well-draining soil. The west-facing patio gives the container meadows partial shade from the roof of our home in the morning, but the containers bask in full sun in the afternoon.

Isolation Photo Project, Day 58

Around 3 PM I got up from my desk, grabbed my Asahi Optical Co. Pentax ES II and went for a “photo walk” around my neighbourhood. Earlier I had loaded a roll of Kodak ColorPlus film into the camera, and I wanted to use it.

The fresh, bright green leaves of early spring were gone, replaced by the darker green of more mature leaves. The sidewalk, fringed by thick green grass, was shaded from the green-leafed trees; everywhere was green.

I walked around behind the tennis courts toward my secret woodland space. I saw two people relaxing in lawn chairs in the grassy area behind the tennis courts. I concurred my urge to take a photograph.

The woods were devoid of wildflowers and the sun no longer filtered through the branches to the ground. The wind blew, and I shivered with no sunlight to warm me against the chill wind. The flowers that grew near the stream were all gone, replaced by “nothing”. Spring has gone, and we are headed toward the hot and humid and green days and nights of summer.

Today I read an article written by Graham Taylor for Fuji Love Magazine

When we allow ourselves to once again use our ability to see what is around us, then maybe we can re-ignite the passion and connect with what attracted us to photography in the first place. The love of capturing an image, no matter what the genre, that speaks to us about a moment in time. Once we achieve this, we have again found our photographic Nirvana!

As I walked up the driveway to my front door I noticed that the Eastern red columbine, a native plant species that I had purchased a few years ago, and that I had recently transplanted from my deck planter, had bloomed.

I need to either avoid blogs and magazines where the author makes claims about camera gear that are proveable biased, or I need to call out the writer's bias. The "mirrorless is lighter" mantra is false. As a former Nikon shooter, I think the whole “lightweight and small size” thing is overplayed. The combination of the Fujifilm X-T3 and Fujifilm XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS lens weighs (and cost) more than a Nikon D500 with AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II lens. Both cameras have APS-C sensor cameras. Heck, my Fujifilm X-T2 and Fujinon XF16-55mmF2.8 lens is a heavy combination. But I prefer the ergonomics (knobs) of the Fuji cameras.

Camera Sensor size Weight (g) Cost Lens Weight (g) Cost Total Weight Total cost
Nikon 850 35mm FF 915 $2,150.00 AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR 1070 $1,897.00 1985 $4,047.00
Sony a7R IV 35mm FF 665 $3,498.00 Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens 890 $2,198.00 1555 $5,696.00
Nikon D500 APS-C 560 $1,497.00 AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II 210 $200.00 770 $1,697.00
Fujifilm X-T3 APS-C 539 $1,200.00 Fujifilm Fujinon XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR 657 $900.00 1196 $2,100.00
Fujifilm X-T3 APS-C 539 $1,200.00 Fujifilm XF18-55mmF2. 8-4 R LM OIS 310 $700.00 849 $1,900.00

I think this paragraph in Thom Hogan's lengthy analysis of Fujifilm X-cameras gets it just right; at least from where I come into Fujifilm.

As I noted, the X-T3 and X-H1—the most desirable of the Fujifilm bodies—start to get close to as big and heavy as the lightest full-frame offerings, particularly when you load the Fujifilms up with faster lenses. It would be difficult for me personally to justify an X-T3 over a [Nikon] Z6 or [Sony] A7m3 because of that.

Submitted as part of the 100DaysToOffload project.

Delicate Columbine

Sherry Felix recently shared a blog entry showcasing an array of flowers and plants in Central Park's heart. I took the opportunity to engage in the discussion, mentioning that I had previously nurtured some Aquilegia canadensis, commonly known as the delightful Wild Columbine, within a balcony garden planter. Considering the prospect of relocating these blooms to my garden, I considered Sherry's advice on potential concerns, particularly regarding the delicate wildflowers falling prey to deer. Sherry offered her insights, allaying any worries by highlighting the deer-resistant nature of the Columbine. This particular variety was sourced from a reputable native plant nursery.

The Wild Columbine, a native herbaceous perennial, thrives within woodlands and adorns rocky slopes with its resplendent presence. While my hikes through the Sourland Mountain Preserve have yet to unveil the sight of Columbine in its natural habitat, I remain optimistic that these blooms might be discovered off the beaten trail. The region's rugged terrain seems custom-made for this species' flourishing as it ascends to a height of approximately 91cm.

Curiously, this week aligns with the theme of Delicate in the Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge, hosted by the talented Ann-Christine/Leya. Instantly, my thoughts gravitated towards the charming columbine plants that have found a place in my garden haven.

While my photographic kit lacks a dedicated macro lens, the images I captured were through the lens of my Fujinon XF16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR. The versatility of this lens allowed me to capture the beauty of the wildflowers with precision, albeit without the details that a macro lens would offer.

FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (55 mm, 0.001 sec at f/5.6, ISO400), © Khürt L. Williams
Columbine —FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (55 mm, 0.003 sec at f/5.6, ISO400), © Khürt L. Williams
Columbine —FujiFilm X-T2 + XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ (55 mm, 0.001 sec at f/5.6, ISO400), © Khürt L. Williams