16 White Oaks, sitting in our back yard, waiting for a good home. Not a great photo but it helps to explain the ones below.
It’s been about 6 weeks since we transplanted the acorns. Most are doing very well. The 14″ deep containers will hopefully allow them to develop a deep tap root. The whole thing gets covered with a wooden frame and wire mesh to keep the squirrels and racoons away.
Here’s #15 on May 21, the day we transplanted all of those which had survived the winter. The double tap root structure was common to many of the seedlings we dug up.
This is Oak seedling #15 on May 20. My wife found about 20 White Oak acorns in High Park last fall and wanted to see if they would grow. Over the winter we kept them in our back yard covered with oak leaves and chicken wire. Squirrels can smell the good acorns and eat most of them. Even if they do manage to survive and take root, they are very difficult to transplant, due to their extremely long and delicate tap root.
Here’s my wife standing at the head of the Mizzy Lake Trail in Algonquin. We went out just before dawn with hopes of meeting some of the wildlife and were richly rewarded. I remember the mist flowing over the lake; the dense cool air that permeated the entire landscape. It seemed to carry a reminder of ancient daily cycles that started with the dawn of our planet, and will continue (I hope) long after we’re gone.
The beveled top of the tree on the right is actually the trail head marker. I love the way it mirrors my wife’s upward gaze and baseball cap.
Nikon D80; zoomed to a focal length of 34mm; 1/100 sec @ f5.
This is one of about 20 seedlings I photographed for my wife. She’s working on a series of botanical paintings to document the life cycle of the White Oak, Quercus alba.
The photo was taken May 21, 2010, the day we transplanted the seedlings to their separate pots. Digging them up gently allowed for a rare view of their root structure, and the process by which the outer shell of the acorn splits away.
The set up was: Nikon D80 with 105mm macro lens, 1/200 sec @ f36. I used two bounced speedlights inside a box made of foamcore mounting board. On some of the other photos (to be posted later on) I added a sheet of white paper in the lower foreground which helped a lot to reflect some light to the underside of the seedlings. I used a fresh sheet of paper under each new specimen and supported them with a paper clip pushed through the mounting board. They were all very muddy, but changing the paper really helped to make them look professional.
Another part of this set up was that I had my camera tethered to my laptop, and used a free software called Sofortbild to view the images full screen immediately after tripping the shutter. This is a huge help when small details are critical, and you can’t repeat the set up a second time. The software even provides a remote shutter release using your mouse/touchpad. Very neat.