Into the Kennebec Highlands to find blue stripes

I hiked into the Kennebec Highlands on Sunday March 8 to find the Mountain Maple bark with thread shaped blue colored lichen I found last year on March 21. I was worried that our warm winter weather might have accelerated the appearance of the brightly colored lichen. It’s an hour walk through the snow to that tree. At first glance the bark was dull, the blue lichen (or whatever it is) was so pale it almost seemed white and the other lichens were equally dull. I had come prepared to capture it with my macro lens and almost didn’t take the time to shoot the disappointing bark. But my husband encouraged me to shoot it anyway. Good thing! I discovered as I looked through the lens that the smurf-blue hue of the lichen was more apparent when magnified.

The light is afternoon open shade. I had a tripod and remote so that I could take the image at slow shutter speeds to allow myself maximum depth of field ( f22, ISO 500, and 0.7 seconds with my macro lens on my Canon EOS 5D Mark III). I changed perspectives to attempt to find the best vantage point to capture a good image. I wanted the texture of the bark completely sharp throughout the image but the round shape of the tree trunk made it difficult to find such an area. Mountain Maples are an understory tree and remain relatively small.


Using Adobe Lightroom I made adjustments that intensified the saturation of the colors but nothing like they will become as the season warms up.

My husband took a photograph of me with his iPad when I stopped, as he requested, to photograph a pair of trees with contrasting bark. He doesn’t usually accompany me on my walks in the woods citing poor physical condition. He actually did better than I did when we crossed several small brooks and had to step on rocks or logs to get across them.  Below is the bark of the two trees I am photographing above.


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