Samur forest and Caspian shore

Caspian Sea shoreline
Caspian Sea shoreline. EF 17–40mm f/4L USM, , ƒ/9 ISO, 200, 1/200″.

We all could not wait the trip to Samur forest. Wildlife photographer Valery Moseykin, “Photo Expedition” leader and the author and guide of the first eco-tour in Dagestan, was talking about this wonderful forest with admiration since the very beginning. So with expectations that high, the long way from Mahachkala to Samur river actually looked not that long at all. In addition, we saw endless water space of azure and calm Caspian Sea to the left, and Caucasian foothills to the right. Finally we found ourselves at the southernmost point of Russia, almost at the border with Azerbaijan.

Ophrys oestrifera, botfly orchis
Ophrys oestrifera, Ophrys oestrifera. EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM, , ƒ/11 ISO, 200, 1/13″.

Looks surprising, there is an asphalt road through the south-eastern side of the Samur forest. Locals take it to get to Primorsky settlement which is in 350 meters from Azerbaijan. And this road led us right to the heart of the forest.
As soon as we got out of the car, we saw adorable orchids, a species from Orchis genus. Two other species were hiding in the forest next to the glade.

Saturnia pyri, giant emperor moth Sturgeons at the fish breeding farm
Saturnia pyri, giant emperor moth. Sturgeons at the fish breeding farm. EF 17–40mm f/4L USM, , ƒ/9 ISO, 200, 1/200″.
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Erythronium in the wilds of space-time

Эритроний в дебрях пространства-времени | Erythronium in the wilds of space-time
Erythronium in the wilds of space-time. Meyer-Optik Görlitz Trioplan 100mm f/2.8, , ƒ/2.8 ISO, 100, 1/100″.

The Spring in Mountains of Caucasus is bright and very dynamic season. While the snow is thawing, snowdrop flowers appear above it, and other primrose species impatiently follow. When you step down on a knee, you feel admired with these graceful adder's-tongue flowers. They silently explode like a white flock through last year's grass together with some subtle fresh stalks. Flowers are truly lost in spring turbulence of space-time. To further underline this, I use to wait for an interesting light angle and make the picture with a vintage triplet lens from post-war Germany.
These Erythronium caucasicum species are endangered plants and belong to The Red Book. However, adder's-tongue flowers may appear locally abundant in places which are unfavorable for agriculture and other human activities, such as these thorny thickets along a mountain slope.

Marble textures in Ruskeala

Photographers and other tourists are attracted by this half-flooded marble quarry in Ruskeala settlement. However, it′s not as easy to get here as to the north-western part of Ladoga skerries. In fact, Ruskeala is even more to the north than the city of Petrozavodsk.

Texture of marble rock wall above waters of a small lake in Ruskeala
Texture of marble rock wall above waters of a small lake in Ruskeala. Fujifilm X100T, Fujinon 23mm f/2.0 Aspherical Super EBC, , ƒ/6.4 ISO, 400, 1/80″.

I would not say I feel very familiar with what Ruskeala quarries may offer for landscape photography. Anyway it′s quite hard to get known to the place in just one day. But for sure I am impressed with various marble textures, patterns and surface types. These things may be photographed from both the boat and land.

Texture of marble rock wall above waters of a small lake in Ruskeala
Texture of marble rock wall above waters of a small lake in Ruskeala. , ƒ/5.6 ISO, 400, 1/80″.

Texture of marble rock wall Texture of marble rock wall
Texture of marble rock. , ƒ/5.6 ISO, 400, 1/60″.
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Iris flowers in Yamskaya Steppe

Iris flower
Dwarf iris flower, Iris pumila. Sigma 150mm f/2.8 Macro EX DG HSM, , ƒ/4 ISO, 500, 1/200″.

The great thing about places you are already familiar with is that you are always aware of what to photograph once you get there. Nevertheless, these places continue to surprise.
It was like that in Yamskaya Steppe this time. Feather grass hasn′t yet started to flower, while all the primroses were gone, but lots of splendid dwarf iris flowers appeared here and there in the steppe.

Iris in Yamskaya Steppe Iris in Yamskaya Steppe
Iris at sunset in Yamskaya Steppe. Sigma 150mm f/2.8 Macro EX DG HSM, , ƒ/4 ISO, 200, 1/100″.
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Orchids in a spruce forest

Cypripedium calceolus, lady's-slipper orchid
Cypripedium calceolus, lady′s-slipper orchid. Sigma 150mm f/2.8 Macro EX DG HSM, , ƒ/11 ISO, 200, 1/160″.

Every creature was glad for such a hot summer weather in the very end of May. Most important, orchids were glad, too! I haven′t photographed them for such a long time, especially not far from St. Petersburg.

So today are some photos of lady′s slipper, Cypripedium calceolus, which likes spruce forests on soils rich in carbonates.
The number of these orchids in that particular location is absolutely incredible! And I′m very happy with that, because our orchids are all endangered and in general very subtle and susceptible to human barbarous approach to nature.

Cypripedium calceolus, lady's-slipper orchid Cypripedium calceolus, lady's-slipper orchid
Lady′s-slipper orchid. Meyer-Optik Görlitz Trioplan 100mm f/2.8, , ƒ/2.8 ISO, 400, 1/100″.

Star Sky in Karelia

Aurora Borealis glow over Lehtisinsaari island in Ladoga lake
Aurora Borealis glow over Lehtisinsaari island in Ladoga lake. EF 17–40mm f/4L USM, , ƒ/4 ISO, 12800, 30″.

Karelia never stops to excite! Even I was surprised. Northern lights above Lehtisinsaari isle, Milky Way rising between Priozersk and Kuznechnoye.
Russia, Republic of Karelia, Ladoga lake, first weekend this September.

Milky Way rising above Kilpolansaari island Central part of Milky Way galaxy
Milky Way rising above Kilpolansaari island. EF 17–40mm f/4L USM, , ƒ/4 ISO, 12800, 30″.