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Goatsbeard or Yellow Salsify

I know this plant as goatsbeard, but it is also called yellow salsify and is related to the edible purple salsify. It resembles a very large dandelion and forms a dry seed head about the size of a baseball. It isn’t native to north America and you’ll most often encounter it on land that has been disturbed in some way, like old farm fields. I came across this one while exploring a Little Traverse Conservancy preserve near Lake Charlevoix.

Since I don’t do a lot of close-up photography, I don’t carry a special macro lens. Instead I took this shot with my Sigma 70-200mm zoom lens set at the longest focal length of 200mm. Normally it wouldn’t focus this close, but I carry a Canon 500D close-up lens that screws onto the front of the Sigma lens like a filter and  functions like a high quality magnifying glass. It’s probably the funnest toy in my bag of tricks and I always enjoy bringing it out–especially when it helps me capture a stunning image of unexpected beauty.

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