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Springs Early Risers.
Winters in Manitoba Canada can be harsh, for people animals and plants.
Overnight lows as low as −40 °C (−40 °F) occur on several days each winter, and the temperature may remain below −18 °C (0 °F) for weeks. Southern Manitoba falls into the humid continental climate zone.
As the white colourless winter fades into a brown spring life one again peaks through. Geese return from the south animals awake from hibernation and the first flowers of the year spring up wild on the prairies.
The wild Crocus is the Provincial flower of Manitoba getting harder to find on the Prairies.
The prairie crocus (Pulsatilla ludoviciana)—also known as anemone patens, the pasque-flower, the windflower (because of its furry petals) and the gosling plant—was officially adopted as the official flower of Manitoba in 1906.Interest had first been aroused by the Manitoba Horticultural Society. A subsequent vote among schoolchildren put the crocus in first place, the prairie lily second and the wild rose third.It carries one flower with purple petals and yellow stamens, on top of each stem, other are white or blue. Exposed to Chinooks the Crocus thrives on well drained soil, growing about 4 inches tall in April early May.
In search of Springs Early Risers
My personal challenge for this year was to find and photograph the elusive flower. I went for many walks to places I thought they may grow but to no avail.
I posted a request on my Face Book page asking if anyone could point me in the direction of wild Crocus. I had many replies and eventually found a perfect spot but not the best of lighting conditions.Thank you to all who gave me tips on where to find these ever elusive flowers, your secret is safe with me.
I followed one lead, on the lower side of the hill it was boggy muddy and hard walking, at one point the mud seeped into my boots and I squished the rest of the way uphill. I was rewarded, the ground there dusty a light breeze blowing the soil but behold a host of crocus.
The lighting was flat and using a white reflector set to photographing the flowers. I lay prone eating dust I should have worn old clothes but heck I was focused on crocus, and dirty clothes not a problem, that is what a washing machine is for.
Being so close to an object is always a challenge so used aperture priority to maintain the maximum depth of field. This in simple terms means a way to have the maximum amount in focus.
Auto focus tends to search a lot in these conditions so I reverted to manual focus, and enjoyed the experience.
Back home I found the photographs a little flay due to the soft light and via an editor just increased the Gamma. To get the results I wanted.
The results and bigger selection can be seen on http://davidmatthews.me
It was well worth the effort I already have an award for one of the photographs and another will be featured, on Television Global News by Meteorologist Tiffany Lizee