March 30, 2014

Scenes from the path: A beginner’s photos of Chisholm Creek Park

I bought a bicycle last year. All I wanted was exercise.

I bought a bicycle last year. All I wanted was exercise.

I stuck my smartphone in my pocket. For emergencies. And I rode.

This was in May. I rode south to Chisholm Creek Park, where a bike path traverses the park east-west.

Two things happened: I noticed wild animals and wildflowers again. And I took my smartphone out of my pocket. Thousands of times.

Photographers like The Eagle’s Travis Heying used to poke fun of photos I posted. But after shooting thousands of frames at Chisholm Creek last year, I got better. So — as Outdoors writer Michael Pearce said — the photos here will show what one simple imbecile can do with a smartphone and daily effort.

Chisholm Creek contains hundreds of acres of prairie with dozens of species of wildflowers that bloom in a cycle.

Nature parks give us public access, deep inside city limits. Pearce says our wildflowers show more colors than a box of crayons. He loves the annual display, as does Cynthia Abbott, a local master gardener who identified the flowers in my photos.

I rode every day before work. I timed my arrival for sunrise because Travis had shown me how low light paints colors.

I shot most of these photos from right off the bike path, or the smaller walking trails. Watching a season closely means watching a giant masterpiece take shape — the pinks of gayfeathers, the rich yellows of sunflowers, the rust color of tallgrass. I studied the blossoms and fragile tendrils of wild flowers up close, and saw the sunlight bathe them. I sometimes shot more than a hundred frames of one flower, as the light changed, from every angle — high, low and from the sides.

Along the way I saw baby deer start as wobbly-legged fawns in spring, then outrun their mothers in fall.

Most people drive past all this, poor souls.

The first blossoms open soon.

Take a camera.

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