07.20.2019 Return to Lawrence Swamp Meadow

We can access this meadow with a short hike on a path that starts at Station Road in Amherst and forks in some pines.  One direction goes more easterly and joins the Jan Dizard Trail and eventually the Robert Frost Trail through Lawrence Swamp and beyond. To the more westerly the trail ends at a large meadow, usually quite wet with standing water, that is periodically brush hogged by the town to keep it from becoming wooded as well. I often see white-tail deer across in a mist during early morning. But lately we’ve not had much rain and the meadow is fairly dry…I could kneel without getting wet.

I hadn’t been able to do my annual visit to the meadow as the town has been replacing an old bridge deemed unsafe and the road was closed for quite a while.  Recently, a temporary bridge was installed and that opened this past week. I managed to get there just in time for what appeared to be the last blooming Tuberous Grass Pink-Calopogon tuberosus orchid of the summer in the meadow.

I’ve posted several of these over the years but almost missed this year entirely.  I added a subtle white vignette and then added another soft black vignette that allows the bloom to project a bit.

What is at its peak right now is the Virginia Meadow Beauty-Rhexia virginica.  There were at least dozens if not numbers in the hundreds…I did not survey the entire acreage.

This also received the subtle vignette.  While more numerous than the Grass Pinks, these are also winding down…probably a little ahead of schedule due to the lack of rain.

The usual paths through the meadow have not been trod because of the difficulty accessing the swamp in this location so for the time being bushwhacking is the order of the day.

No yard work today.  It’s closing in on 100° and the humidity is building.  Thank you Willis Carrier for your gift of air conditioning. ❤

About Steve Gingold

I am a Nature Photographer with interests in all things related. Water, flowers, insects and fungi are my main interests but I am happy to photograph wildlife and landscapes and all other of Nature's subjects.
This entry was posted in Amherst, Closeup Photography, Flora, Nature Photography, Western Massachusetts, wildflower portrait, Wildflowers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to 07.20.2019 Return to Lawrence Swamp Meadow

  1. Ann Mackay says:

    The orchid is so beautiful – I’m glad you managed to catch it before it disappeared for the year.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Two similar colors, two excellent portraits.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. bluebrightly says:

    Stay cool Steve! maybe it’s a tad better today….what a beauty that Grass pink is, another wildflower I’m not at all familiar with. And it’s another orchid. 🙂 The meadow beauty I do remember, I used to love coming across it. I’m glad you caught a glimpse anyway! I’m curious – did you add the vignettes you mention in photoshop? They are very effective, but I’m not sure how the darker one would be added to the top photos in Lightroom.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yesterday, although forecast for the 90’s again, was more of a comfortable day. We received rain at about 2:00 in the afternoon and now at 3:40 a.m. are still being rained upon. Very happy to finally get a good soaking here. I wish it was later in the week so I could take advantage of some cascades but maybe we’ll get more Thursday.

      There is one other orchid, long past at this date, in the meadow, Rose Pogonia, which you can see here. Later in the summer there are nodding ladies’ tresses, one other orchid that resembles the rattlesnake plantains.


      • bluebrightly says:

        Rose Pogonia – the name is very familiar, I know it’s a really special one. I will look. I used to see Ladies’ tresses once in a while upstate (NY) in various places. And maybe in western NC, where my parents retired. I don’t know which species, Slender maybe. I remember the thrill when I saw it for the first time – that spiral!
        There’s a book – do you have it? Wild Orchids Across America by Philip Keenan (Timber Press). It’s old but it’s a great resource. Many photos, though the quality isn’t always good, and a very enjoyable text as the author travels across the country searching for native orchids. If you don’t have it, get it, by all means.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The rose pogonia is also known as snakemouth which is obvious once you hear the name. No, I don’t have that nook but will see if it’s available. A lot of older books have what was thought to be decent photographs at the time but which don’t hold up over time. Some do though…say a guy named Adams.

        Liked by 1 person

      • bluebrightly says:

        🙂 The book is a really in-depth look at many, many different orchids, and it’s very readable. B&N has a used copy for just $2.00, and there are 12 chapters on New England. 🙂 OK I’ll stop now!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Amazon had several at a low price, but I went for one a little higher…about $8 which was rated very good from a vendor with a 100% approval and fulfilled by Amazon. It’ll be here next week. You’ve got me pretty hyped up for the book. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  4. bluebrightly says:

    I should have explained – it seemed the darker vignette is right behind the flower, which it also seems would be hard to do in just Lightroom.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I apply most adjustments in Photoshop. Lightroom I generally just use the same as I did ACR with a few extra tweaks occasionally. For the vignettes, I either use the vignette filter in Nik or else one of Tony Kuyper’s actions. Occasionally I brush one in by “hand” with PS’s paint brush.


      • bluebrightly says:

        We all have such different paths, it’s interesting to read about the specifics. I don’t use PS but I do use vignettes in Color Efex and Silver Efex sometimes. Tony Kuyper – I took a quick look – the luminosity masks look like excellent tools, but I have to draw the line somewhere, and it’s drawn at diving into PS now. Not something I’m willing to do. 🙂 Thank you Steve, and I’m glad you got some rain!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I can understand that. You have your workflow and there’s no real need to take on something else unless you feel it will benefit. A lot of successful photographers shoot only jpegs with excellent results so PS can be overkill for some. I’ve been using it for about 15 years and resisted LR for several years before finally succumbing. Having it included at no additional charge with my PS subscription (that is not a happy story) made it more attractive.If you do get in to PS then Tony’s actions are a must.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. shoreacres says:

    I might have guessed that the meadow beauty would be the second flower. When I found the grass pinks, there also were meadow beauties all around; the flowers seem to enjoy keeping company, no matter their location. I found another Rhexia in east Texas — R. lutea — that’s a lovely yellow.

    I noticed quite a bit of color variation in the grass pinks, but not so much in the meadow beauties. The orchids ranged from a true pink to a pretty lavender — more like the one you’ve shown in this photo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yellow Meadow Beauty is indeed a beauty. We don’t get them here so I have to settle for our red species which I am not complaining about. I’ve seen grass pinks from soft pink to a strong violet/lavender. Their seasons overlap with the grass pinks about a week or two before the meadow beauties here in WMass.


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