A Shot in the Dark

I captured a cactus flower blooming in the dark! Believe me, it wasn’t easy, using only my kit lens.  Matter of fact it is one of the hardest things I have attempted since I got my Nikon. Ranks right up there with silky misty water and spider webs.

I love how the petals look like feathers.

Cactus bloom
Cactus bloom

My friend has had this six-foot cactus for 25 years or more and it has bloomed maybe the last 12 of those years. Not in the Southwest, but right here in the Midwest!

This year it had about eight buds, each one only blooming once, at night. Come dawn, they close up, wither and die.

My first attempt I arrived at her house too late – at dawn – and the flower had started to close. Aug. 28 was my second chance to capture the bloom in the dark. So this time I went to her house at night and only this bud was in full bloom by 11 p.m. No tripod; I had to stand on a chair to get level with this bloom while she held a flashlight for me to adjust settings on my camera.

So this is as good as it gets. Read more …

Cactus blooming in the dark.
Cactus blooming in the dark.

Bird’s Nest

According to a Web search, a mature seed head of Queen Anne’s Lace will close up upon itself to form a bowl looking somewhat like a bird’s nest. I captured this one before it turned a brownish color, another reason why it also is called Bird’s Nest Plant.

Queen Anne's Lace
Queen Anne’s Lace

An important side note: Queen Anne’s Lace is host to the Black Swallowtail butterfly,  which could account for it being one of the few common large butterflies left.

Black Swallowtail