This week’s best shot came from the short walk that I took through the Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge is located in north-central Massachusetts, approximately 35 miles (56 km) northwest of Boston, Massachusetts. The Refuge lies within the towns of Ayer and Shirley in Middlesex County and the towns of Harvard and Lancaster in Worcester County. The Refuge consists of approximately 1,667 acres (6.75 km2) of upland, southern New England floodplain forest, and wetland communities along nearly 8 miles (13 km) of the Nashua River corridor.
The ideal way to see more of the Refuge will be to kayak or canoe along the Nashua river to explore ll the wetlands, as they are best accessed in that manner. At this time of year new growth is everywhere to see, as green is taking a tentative hold on the landscape, which should take over within a matter of weeks.
This image is a detail of plants that live right on the water line in the swampy areas that are everywhere in the Refuge. The leaves show wonderful structure that comes out when they are backlit.
This image was captured with Canon EOS 5D Mk III using an EF 100mm f/2.8 lens. Exposure settings were 1/100 second at f/9 and 800 ISO.
As promised for this week’s photo challenge, I have had my camera nearby and an appropriate lens attached, so this morning I went for a short walk in the Oxbow Wildlife Refuge, which is close to my normal morning commute.
The simple leaf stands out against its background in the quiet morning, as the green is beginning to show up around us.
This photo was captured with a Canon EOS 5D Mk III using an EF 100 mm f/2.8 lens. Exposure settings were 1/100 second at f/13 and 400 ISO. Some minor cropping was done in the OS X Photos app, as I didn’t have my own system nearby (I may just present a slightly better adjusted version later, but I do like the softness of this image).
In this post, I’d like to get things back to some of the very basics of Nature, which has no shortage of amazing, wonder-worthy attributes.
The leaf is a a rather everyday item that we encounter in many places. However, lest we forget that leaves are the powerhouse of plants. In most plants, leaves are the major site of food production for the plant. Structures within a leaf convert the energy in sunlight into chemical energy that the plant can use as food. Chlorophyll is the molecule in leaves that uses the energy in sunlight to turn water (H2O) and carbon dioxide gas (CO2) into sugar and oxygen gas (O2).
A leaf is made of many layers that are sandwiched between two layers of tough skin cells (called the epidermis). The epidermis also secretes a waxy substance called the cuticle. These layers protect the leaf from insects, bacteria, and other pests. Among the epidermal cells are pairs of sausage-shaped guard cells. Each pair of guard cells forms a pore (called stoma; the plural is stomata). Gases enter and exit the leaf through the stomata.
Most food production takes place in elongated cells called palisade mesophyll. Gas exchange occurs in the air spaces between the oddly-shaped cells of the spongy mesophyll.
Veins support the leaf and are filled with vessels that transport food, water, and minerals to the plant.
And, if this is not enough to amaze you, leaves are things of beauty as well.
Hope you enjoyed this!!
This image was captured with a Canon EOS 5D Mk III using an EF 24-105mm f/4L lens with a circular polarizer. Exposure was at 1/320 second at f/8 and 320 ISO.