Photography by J. Mita Studios

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Misty Morning At Crandall Park - 5/5/2012

It looked like a poor morning for photography, but I decided to head for Crandall Park anyway. 
There is a magical light that seems to exist on a misty morning.  At 7:30, I arrived at the park and was grateful there was no rain.  My favorite place to park when I am heading out on a walk is always Crandall Park II.  As I parked next to the backside of the pond, I headed up the dirt roadway and took a right onto the short path that runs up to The Lodge.  The azaleas are blooming profusely now, as the wonderful shrubs around The Lodge revealed.  The path crosses a bridge that was built a number of years ago, and my morning of delights began.

I had the entire park to myself.  Everybody was taking their morning coffee at Dunkin Donuts' where I stopped prior to heading to the park.  The air was very cool as it penetrated my heavy sweatshirt, but the humidity clung to my skin.  The trees were alive with birdsongs, but the dim light did not reveal any immediate wings fluttering about. 

As I walked I started seeing some of the wild shrubs that the park is teeming with.  One of the first shrubs I saw may have been a blueberry, but I am not sure.  It was lovely, though, so I snapped a photo. 

Crandall Park also has a concentration of wild azaleas.  As a child, I called them honeysuckle, but I discovered many years ago they were actually azaleas.  Like mountain laurel, azaleas also prefer a moist location with very acidic soil.  Since Crandall Park is largely swampy, the azalea has decided it a hospitable environment to grow in. 

There is a trail just past the dock that heads up an oak hillside.  It is there that many lady slippers grow.  I did see the leaves of the wild orchid, but no flower.  It is probably that I missed the bloom.  The other possibility, which I don't like to think, is that the flowers were picked.  How can any little one that is under 4 resist picking a lady slipper?  I know how many I picked as a young child.  Of course it seemed there were many more back then. 

Disappointed at not finding any blooms, I continued on my walk around the hill.  As I approached the other side, much to my delight I stumbled upon an entire family of Canadian Geese.  Now geese are no big deal, and most see them as nothing more than a nuisance, but I was happy to see the babies swimming alongside their mom and dad.

The light was so low,  but still the sense of serenity and peace, and being alone with the natural home of the geese was not lost on me.  The quiet glide as the family moved out to the center of the pond left a glistening light on the surface of the water.  I bumped into a person a little later with her dog, and she said they usually honked and put up a ruckus when anyone got near.

I guess I was lucky that they seemed quite comfortable even though I got very close on the pond bank.  I guess the geese wanted their photos taken.

The geese had found a private paradise, with no competition from any other geese.  I don't know if the geese chase off all others, and that is why they are the only ones, but after seeing the numerous geese at Walker Reservoir in Vernon, CT., it seems they do often share space. 
Well, this family owned the pond, and the babies were as safe and happy as they could be.
As I begrudingly left the goose family, I set my sights once again on the floral abundance of the park.  The birds were becoming more active as I walked.  There were several red winged blackbirds, some catbirds, a mockingbird pair, a field swallow, and a purple martin.  Of course, there was no way to get a high enough shutter to photograph any of them, so I simply enjoyed their flight across the pond and their songs, from squawks to pretty tunes. 

I focused once more on flowers, and came across what looked like a type of cherry.  Perhaps it is a chokecherry, but it was a relatively short shrub which grew along the edge of the pond.  The pond lilies are also beginning to spread their way across the surface. 
The lily pads have no blooms yet, but I found this yellow one just beginning to pop up.  It is the only lily with a bloom on the whole pond.  I could see rings forming all around the lilies.  I did see a few frogs swimming around the edges, but most disappeared before I had a chance to get very close.  This particular ring of water probably happened from a fish, which the pond also has many of. 

Another row of wild azaleas along the trail drew my attention, and I had to take one more photo of this lovely spring flower.  

Nearing the end of my walk, I came across dozens of new ferns uncurling along the bank.  Ferns are lovely when they are completely opened and you see them on a hot summer day, but springtime ferns just beginning to open have a wonderful form.    

With a few drops of dew clinging, is there anything more delicious and fragrant then new ferns?  I wonder at people that have never seen a fern. Is there anywhere that ferns don't grow? Perhaps in the desert. Ferns mean moist richness.
They always have a cooling effect on anybody who stumbles upon them. There is something that echoes in our brains as we look at ferns. We hear happy streams tinkling through the woods.
We imagine the sweet scent of earth and lush green. Ferns bend in the wind when they are fully opened, and even the slightest breeze will move them.  On a hot summer day, seeing bending ferns mean a breeze, and we should always stop a moment to catch it, and feel the brief relief that comes with a slight breeze.   Springtime ferns are just pretty. 

While my attention was directed to the ferns, I was in for one more delight.  As I bent to get some great closeups of the ferns, a motion in my peripheral vision caused me to look toward the opposite bank.  There, perched like one waiting for his portrait to be taken, a mallard duck stood on a rock in the water.  The duck just watched me, and didn't fly as I moved closer to get a better angle.  Finally I found a spot that did not have any branches blocking my view, and I just bent there, using my knee to keep my camera steady, and took a few more photos.

To get the softened look, I applied an orton effect in post processing.  The orginal was nice and sharp, but I liked the orton look better. 

One last picture leant itself as I walked back toward the car.  A flicker of movement on the trees showed a cute little nuthatch seeking breakfast.  Unfortunately the bugger was too jerky and fast to get a nice clear shot, but even a blurry nuthatch is cute.

It was a wonderful morning, as many misty overcast mornings can be.  Getting home, I put on a fresh pot of coffee and dived into my doughnuts.  No guilt as I bit into the sweet, gooey chocolate of my boston cream doughnut.  After all, I had been out for about 1 1/2 hours.  Nothing like a nice reward after taking on the cool, moist air.

Crandall Park is located on Cider Mill Rd. in Tolland, CT.  It is open from sunrise to sunset.  There are about 6 miles of trails throughout the park.  The beauty of the trails is that you can't get lost.  Sooner or later you will find your way back to the main park.

1 comment:

  1. Nice blog entry, June - and some of your best photos, ever! Our woods behind the house looked like a fairyland this morning, too! ;-)