Spring Wildflowers 2019

Pennington Bog

My photo buddy John and I made a short trip to the Itasca State Park area in northern Minnesota.  It was late May and John wanted to get some images of the Calypso Orchid.  We started our search at the Pennington Bog.  Pennington is a nature area that requires a permit to enter.  It is a delicate area with a variety of wildflowers throughout the spring and summer.  Our goal was to photograph the Calypsos in a group (John has single flower images from a prior visit, but no group shots).  We spent most of the morning in the bog fighting mosquitoes and ticks.  Wearing the "bug tamer" and using repellents helped but the bugs were still a nuisance.

Our efforts resulted in spotting about a dozen Calypsos, but none in a nice group.  We photographed what we could and called it a morning.  The Calypso is a beautiful orchid living in a challenging area.

Fairy-slipper (Calypso bulbosa)

These guys are tiny, 3-6 inches tall and a challenge to photograph (the old knees feel it after a morning of kneeling down).

Lake Bemidji State Park

After a quick lunch in the car (the bugs were so bad, we couldn't use the picnic area!), we headed to Lake Bemidji State Park to see if we could find the Calypso in the Big Bog Lake area of the park.  No luck, but a nice day for a hike.  The trail in this bog is restricted to a boardwalk, so it is tough to do any photography even if we did find the flower.

Big Bog Lake

Itasca State Park

The remainder of our two-day visit was spent in Itasca State Park. This is one of my favorite Minnesota state parks.  It has great trails, a variety of flowers, and many activities year round.  The park employees are friendly and do a great job of making this a fun place to visit.  

We hiked the Nicollet trail searching for the Calypso, but once again we were skunked.  We did find some other wildflowers and had a good time shooting them.  

Round-lobed hepatica

Large-flowered bellwort
The bellworts were everywhere in the park.  We found multiple areas to shoot them in.

We also saw plenty of trillium.  There were carpets of them in many spots along the road.  We came back one evening to shoot them in the nice soft sunset light.  We also got a nice sunset over the lake.  The sun was bright orange due to some wildfires in Canada.  The only thing missing was some nice clouds.

Snow Trillium

Bellworts near a Hobbit house

Fishing at sunset
The first night of our stay was cool and clear, so we decided to do a night shoot at the headwaters of the Mississippi.  We sat in the car for about an hour and a half until the night sky appeared.  We wanted to get a shot of the milky way and had to wait until midnight when the fat part of the galaxy rose over the horizon.  We also tried some star trail photography.

The Mississippi River headwaters

The milky way over the Mississippi River headwaters

A composite of 60 thirty second images
The Northstar is the focal point that the others rotate around.
I really enjoy night photography, but it sure is nice having a companion with in case the bears' attack!!

Another fun trip with my pal John.  The flowers were a little out of synch due to the weather we had this spring.  But, all-in-all, we had a great time.  

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