We are saddened to hear that our friend Denis Manchon has passed away. He was a frequent visitor to Natural Lands Trust’s Mariton, Crow’s Nest, and Fulshaw Craeg Preserves who took amazing photos of the wildflowers here (you can view a thumbnails slideshow of just a few of them above).
These photographs changed the way we look at the preserves; they are artistically beautiful but also unique in how they capture individual wildflowers—some of the resources we are protecting on our preserves. The images also document the flora of the preserves, not only that these wildflowers are present in this place and time but also on what date they reached peak bloom.
Denis was a perfectionist in getting the photo. He corresponded with us and followed this weblog to know what was coming into bloom. Photography wasn’t passive for him: when he arrived he would crawl around the flowers to get the perfect composition. And he sought out the best specimens: the ones the insects hadn’t chewed on yet, that time and weather had not faded. One time he spotted a better cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) across French Creek from the ones he was photographing, so he just waded right in the water to get the better photo.
Denis was also generous with his expertise. He donated albums and digital media of his photographs for Natural Lands Trust to use to further our conservation mission (you can see the albums at Mariton and Crow's Nest). And he helped us with our own photography efforts, offering encouragement and advice.
We’ll really miss Denis. We are grateful for the time he spent on the preserves and hope you also enjoy seeing his work. Seeing flowers like these on a day as cold as this one is a reminder that spring will come and that those wildflowers are out there now and will be ready to return.