The Tlingit name for Baranof Island is Shè. This trip began in Sitka, on the west coast of Shè, and we spent our first full morning transiting a narrow passage over the top of and into an anchorage called Hanus Bay, located at the northeastern tip of the island. A crab- and mussel-hungry brown bear and a few humpback whales peppered the transit from west to east, but rainforest hikes were in our future.
Lake Eva is a well-maintained Forest Service trail that winds nearly three miles up to the lake’s namesake. This snow-fed body of water was the destination of many, and temperatures in the upper 70s made hiking through the forest canopy an absolute joy. Thousands of paper-white queen’s cups were in full bloom. Bright yellow western buttercups lined the forest edge, and light cream columns of false lily of the valley flowers offset their deep green, heart-shaped leaves.
In an attempt to see the world as a fly, bee, bird, or other pollinator would, we took to the forest with a UV (aka: black) light today. The included photos are the result of a studio shoot to better reveal which of these flowers fluoresced when subjected to the glow of a UV light, simulating how a pollinator may see the flowers. Fluorescence happens when a fraction of the light illuminating an object is absorbed and then re-emitted as a different color.
We all have our perceptions of the world, so sometimes it’s fun to think outside the bounds of what we see and know and try to imagine the world as others might perceive it, whether that someone be vertebrate or invertebrate. Human or otherwise.