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Berry Season

Berry Season
Photo Information
Copyright: Sandy Garfinkel (messenger1) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 741 W: 39 N: 1513] (7055)
Genre: Places
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-09-12
Categories: Nature, Macro
Camera: Canon EOS 50D, Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/250 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2009-09-13 4:07
Viewed: 943
Points: 12
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Taken on a hike through Beechwood Farms, a nature preserve in Western Pennsylvania owned by the Audubon Society. I did not know what these were called, but TL member Werner Dirla ("werdir") was kind enough to convey that he had been told they are called polk berries. A quick search on Wikipedia led me to an entry called "Pokeweed," which produces pokeberries.

"Pokeweed contains phytolaccatoxin and phytolaccigenin, which are poisonous to mammals. However, the berries are eaten by birds, which are not affected by the toxin because the small seeds with very hard outer shells remain intact in the digestive system and are eliminated whole. Since pioneer times, pokeweed has been used as a folk remedy to treat many ailments. It can be applied topically or taken internally. Topical treatments have been used for acne and other ailments. Internal treatments include tonsilitis, swollen glands and weight loss. Grated pokeroot was used by Native Americans as a poultice to treat inflammations and rashes of the breast. Independent researchers are investigating phytolacca's use in treating AIDS and cancer patients. Especially to those who have not been properly trained in its use, pokeweed should be considered dangerous and possibly deadly. All parts of pokeweed are toxic except the aboveground leaves sprouting in the early spring. The poisonous principles are found in highest concentrations in the rootstock, less in the mature leaves and stems, and least in the fruits. Young leaves, if collected before acquiring a red color, are edible if boiled for 5 minutes, rinsed, and reboiled. Berries are toxic when raw but edible when cooked." (-Wikipedia)

Note the unripe green one at the lower left corner - most of the branches had only green berries, but this one was mostly ripe. There are also tiny pink flowers between some of the berries.

A slight breeze periodically made this branch sway, so I used a tripod and my best IS lens (which happens to be my 70-300 mm) and set up about 4 meters away, waiting for the wind to die down and the branch to steady.

werdir, chrisJ, yopiefranz, MT900spg has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To werdir: Polk Berriesmessenger1 1 09-13 04:18
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Sandy,

Not too long ago I posted a photo of the same berries and I asked TL members to let me know what they were. Shelly (ShellyOB) let me know they are Polk Berries and the seeds are highly toxic to mammals. There was a song quite a long time ago called Polk Salad Annie that described folks eating the leaves.

Your macro is excellent. They look delish, but unless you're a bird, stay away.


  • Great 
  • chrisJ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4430 W: 637 N: 9632] (55124)
  • [2009-09-13 4:21]

Hi Sandy

Good repetition of the berries, with a wonderful mix of colors, & good use of a shallow dof. The wide angled, horizontal frame, suits the subject very well. Tfs!

Hi Sandy
Good focus on the top of branch with gradually blurred of the rest
The bokeh of BG has excellent, the colors are natural
Thank you

  • Great 
  • Nokin Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 109 W: 0 N: 110] (1385)
  • [2009-09-13 5:26]

Hallo Sandy,

Tolles Makro !! Schärfe und Farben sind perfekt, Details super zu erkennen. Guter Schuss.

Gruß Detlef

Hi Sandy,
Nice photo with great dof, colors and diagonal composition.

Hi Sandy,
I really like the diagonal composition, vivid color and detail in this image. They look a lot like the huckleberries that we have out in the northwest. The narrow depth of field really helps to show off the details of the berries. TFS

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