Milkweed PodS @ Davidsons Mill Pond Park

We went to Davidsons Mill Pond Park to see what we could find to photograph in the fields and to get in a walk on a nice sunny day. In one area there there is a field with a lot of Milkweed Plants along with other plants & flowers. They are past their prime now, but still had an interesting look to them. I was using an Olympus OM-D mk 1 with a Panasonic 14-140mm lens. The featured image is a 9 image handheld panorama taken @ 140mm, f/8. When shooting a multi-image Panorama handheld, I shoot many more images than if I was using a tripod. It just seems to blend better with more images when hand holding for some reason. I was looking online about Milkweed plants and found an interesting fact about Milkweed plants. The milkweed offers crucial habitat to the monarch butterfly. But in 1944 military planners used the plant as a raw material in the war against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Milkweed seeds have white, wispy hairs know as floss. Before the use of synthetic fibers, the value of milkweed floss was its buoyancy. The armed forces used it in the manufacture of life preservers for the soldiers, airman & sailors. Life preservers were critical, since so much of the war was fought on & over the seas. Milkweed was not the first choice for life preservers. During World War II, the Japanese gained control of the Dutch East Indies, cutting off the U.S. supply of floss. Milkweed proved an acceptable substitute. Schoolchildren spent the hours walking roadsides and railroad right of ways gathering milkweed. Before the war it was considered a weed. Bags were supplied to carry the collected pods, and children received 15 cents per bag. You needed 2 bags of Milkweed pod floss for one life jacket. The U.S. military called for the collection of 2 million pounds of floss which was enough to fill 1.2 million life jackets.

Milkweed Pod with Milkweed Bugs – 140mm, m43 OM-D, f/8
Milkweed Pod with Milkweed Bug – 140mm, m43 OM-D, f/8

Fall Milkweed At Davidsons Mill Pond

We went to a local park, Davidsons Mill Pond Park, to look for photo subjects. The Milkweed Plants were starting to look the worse for wear, but that is what happens this time of year. I liked the weathered “look” of the plants and the “feathery” pods as the season is coming to a close. I was using a 300mm close focusing lens for these to try to capture the fine detail of the weathered pods and keep the backgrounds somewhat softer. These are a series of images taken from 1 image each up to 4 handheld images which I then aligned and combined in Photoshop.┬áIt was windy so it was difficult to get some of the series to blend well, but I got quite a few. The next series will feature the Milkweed with Large & Small Milkweed Bugs, which adds some color but not good for the plants. The Milkweed is a favorite for Monarch Butterflies.

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Large Milkweed Bugs

It is the time of year to find large amounts of Large Milkweed Bugs out in the fields. They are colorful bugs, bright orange & black, usually found on old Milkweed Pods. But you can find them on other plants around the Milkweeds.

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Milkweed Bugs on a Milkweed Pod

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