April 2, 2018 · 1:35 pm
Strangler Fig, Big Cypress Swamp, Florida.
In the photograph above, a strangler fig embraces a cypress tree in Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida. The strangler fig is (Ficus aurea) one of the most striking plants in the Big Cypress swamp in Florida. It grows around the host tree, actually strangling its host over time.
The strangler fig is an epiphyte, a plant that grows on another plant but is not parasitic, such as the numerous ferns, bromeliads, air plants, and orchids growing on tree trunks in tropical rainforests. However, the strangler fig is the only epiphyte that will affect the host in which it grows. The strangler fig grows very slowly as it matures, extracting water and nutrients directly from the atmosphere. As the plant gets larger, it may grow both up and down the trunk of the host tree. Eventually, the strangler fig will reach the ground and start growing more rapidly. The strangler fig encircles the roots of the host tree, eventually killing it. As the host tree rots away, a hollow void is left with the strangler fig standing alone.
Each of the 750 fig tree species found throughout the world are pollinated by a wasp specific to each fig, according to the Big Cypress National Preserve official website. The fresh waters of the Big Cypress Swamp, essential to the health of the neighboring Everglades, support the rich marine estuaries along Florida’s southwest coast. Protecting over 729,000 acres of this vast swamp, Big Cypress National Preserve contains a mixture of tropical and temperate plant communities that are home to a diversity of wildlife, including the elusive Florida panther.
Filed under Biology, Environment, National Parks, Natural History, Nature, Photography, Travel
Tagged as Big Cypress, Big Cypress Nature Preserve, Big Cypress Swamp, botany, Epiphyte, Ficus aurea, Fig, Florida, Natural History, Plants, Strangler Fig, Swamp, Tree, Tropical
December 12, 2016 · 1:06 pm
“Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?”
(“Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen)
This is my photograph of the Episcopal Church in Island Pond, Vermont, after removing electrical wires and poles and adding a watercolor filter in Photoshop. Click on the photo to see it in a larger size.
On a recent trip to Vermont, my fantasy was to find a quintessential New England church that was surrounded by trees glowing with brilliant Autumn colors. I found the tree in the Northern Kingdom of Vermont, but it was also surrounded by more than a dozen strings of electrical wires and one large utility pole.
As a long-time journalist, I hesitate to change reality in a photograph, even though the camera does lie somewhat with lens distortion, not capturing true color and other defects, but as an artist I didn’t hesitate one second to remove all of the electrical debris. Easier said than done, though. When you remove an element from a photograph, the deleted spots must be replaced by pixels that look natural. I used the clone brush to make the changes. I didn’t do it all at once, but in about half-hour increments over a series of weeks, because the work was incredibly tedious. I also straightened the photo a little to fix lens distortion.
After many hours, I’m happy with the result. Hope my fantasy looks real! And thanks to my husband Mike and friend Phil who were very patient while I wandered around Island Pond with my camera. There was a gorgeous shot everywhere I looked! I posted these photographs on a couple of websites.
Be sure to click on my post “Fauxtography” Altering reality in a photograph, linked below.
This is my original photograph of the Episcopal Church in Island Pond, Vermont, before I did any editing. Note all of the wires and the guardrail of the street in front of the church. I removed all of that with Photoshop.
“Fauxtography” Altering reality in a photograph.
Filed under Journalism, Personal, Photography, Travel
Tagged as Autumn, Church, Fauxtography, Foliage, Island Pond, Leaves, New England, Northeast Kingdom, Northern Kingdom, Photo Editing, Photography, Photoshop, Travel, Tree, Trees, Vermont