Photography 101: Natural World

Capture a moment, big or small, and pay attention to the lines and curves produced by nature.

A good photographer is a constant observer: always watching and studying a scene, from patterns in city traffic to movements in nature. A photographer notices big, sweeping changes — like the sky at dusk — but also the tiniest details, like the subtle bends in bare branches in the Nevada desert:

Capture the natural world with your camera: document a moment outside, big or small. From a panorama snapped during your morning forest hike to a close-up of a leaf on the sidewalk, we invite you to document this wondrous world around us.

These photos were taken yesterday while visiting the Wrigley Memorial and Botanic Garden at Santa Catalina Island in Avalon, CA.

Bear Grass
Xerophyllum tenax is a perennial monocot in the family Melanthiaceae, closely related to lilies. It is known by a few common names, including bear grass, squaw grass, soap grass, quip-quip, and Indian basket grass. (Wikipedia)
Bear Grass
It can grow to 15-150 cm in height and grows in bunches with the leaves wrapped around and extending from a small stem at ground level. The leaves are 30-100 cm long and 2-6 mm wide, dull olive-green with toothed edges. The slightly fragrant white flowers emerge from a tall stalk that bolts from the base. When the flowers are in bloom they are tightly packed at the tip of the stalk like an upright club. The plant is found mostly in western North America from British Columbia south to California and east to Wyoming, in subalpine meadows and coastal mountains, and also on low ground in the California coastal fog belt. It is common on the Olympic Peninsula and in the Cascades, northern Sierra Nevada and Rockies. (Wikipedia)
For some reason the color of this one is much lighter than the others.
For some reason the color of this one is much lighter than the others.

Bear Grass
Common Names: Indian Basket Grass, Soap Grass, Squaw Grass
Genus: Xerophyllum
Species: tenax
Parts Used: roots and leaves are used in weaving

Bear Grass looks like a grass, but really belongs to the lily family. It is about 4.5 feet tall. Its olive-colored, grass-like leaves grow from the base of the plant and are tough and wiry. The outside leaves clasp around the stem. The leaves have toothed margins, and grow about 35 inches long, getting shorter as they near the flowers, looking very much like a fan.

The flowers of bear grass grow on a stalk that can be 6 feet tall with many small flowers. Each flower is creamy white, and saucer-shaped, and has a sweet aroma. The lowest flowers bloom first, creating a tight knot of buds at the top. The entire flower looks a little like fluffy, upside down ice cream cone. Bear grass tends to flower in 5 to 7 year cycles. After the fruit sets, the plant dies. It reproduces by seed, and by sending out offshoots from its rhizomes.

Bear grass is found in open forests and meadows at sub alpine and low alpine elevations in the western United States. It is commonly found under alpine larch (Larix lyallii) and whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) stands on cold, rocky sites at upper timberlines.

Bear grass is a fire-resistant species that is the first plant to grow after a fire. Bear grass, and many other native plants, need periodic burns to produce strong, new growth. After a fire bear grass sprouts from its rhizomes which lie just under the surface. Light fires of short duration are best. Intense fires which linger in the same place for a long time will kill the rhizomes under the ground, and prevent the bear grass from growing back.Bear grass is found in open forests and meadows at sub alpine and low alpine elevations in the western United States. It is commonly found under alpine larch (Larix lyallii) and whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) stands on cold, rocky sites at upper timberlines.aroma. The lowest flowers bloom first, creating a tight knot of buds at the top. The entire flower looks a little like fluffy, upside down ice cream cone. Bear grass tends to flower in 5 to 7 year cycles. After the fruit sets, the plant dies. It reproduces by seed, and by sending out offshoots from its rhizomes.

Native Americans in Oregon, Washington state, and British Columbia have traditionally made beautiful baskets with the stems and roots of bear grass. When the leaves are dried in the sun in preparation for making baskets, they turn a creamy white. Combined with other materials of different colors, beautiful designs were woven into the baskets. Hats and other practical objects were also made of bear grass. A wonderful site to find out more about Native American basket weaving is: http://www.kstrom.net/isk/art/basket/baskmenu.html (Source)

 

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