I would be the first to say that my crocus photo is nothing to write home to Mom about. But these flowers are significant to me for two reasons: first, they are the first flowers to appear in my wife’s garden this spring. And given that we have endured a fairly long winter here in South Dakota, even little yellow flowers are cause for celebration.
The other reason is that this photo is one of about 240 photos of the same subject over a two hour period that I took as part of a time lapse study. This was my first effort at this kind of photography and though I don’t know that I have the patience to do it often, I am happy with my first attempt. Here’s the exciting YouTube video, soon to go viral, no doubt. Incidentally, the two hours have been compressed into 14 seconds.
In case you think I’m finding real beds of flowers popping up through the permafrost of South Dakota, I’m not. But I do have photos of beds of flower, like these, which I found at the Mission at San Juan Capistrano in southern California.
Regular readers of this blog might have noticed that what I call “A Photo A Day” has recently been “A Photo Once and A While.” Quite honestly, I’m fighting through the worst “blogging slump” I’ve had in four years. I can’t say why except that I’m a little jaded right now. I enjoy teaching photography at Lake Area Technical Institute, and I love my students but I am realizing that as much as teaching photography has given me, it also takes something away. I’m not complaining and I’ll have plenty of time to recharge in a few short weeks.
I will also admit that I’m a little bored with the dew dappled flower photos I post. But I posting one today, mainly because yet another winter storm has hit South Dakota and I’m looking out my window at at least 8 inches of new snow with more coming down. So my impulse was to find something colorful, and a set of iris photos I took last spring jumped out at me. I hope you like the one I’ve “developed.”
And, before I leave, a word about words. . .
Finding a title for my photos is sometimes hard. And it could be that even my title today is a bit redundant. But I like the word “aspiration,” which has the Greek word “spiro” as its root. Spiro means “to breathe.” Per-spire literally means “to breathe through.” Re-spire means “breathe again.” But “aspire,” or as in the title, “aspiration”, is a little more complicated. I’ll take the dictionary definition: an aspiration is “a hope or ambition of achieving something.” This iris aspires but probably doesn’t know it, especially today as it sleeps beneath a soft blanket of fresh, white snow.
Do I dare say that I am inspired (look that one up!) by what I just wrote. Today I have hopes and ambitions. I hope you do, too.
You may have noticed that I revisit the same subjects and scenes in my photography. It could be that I do that because I have limited access to new subjects and scenes. Or it could be that I both lazy and have limited vision.
But it occurs to me this morning that, though there may be a grain (or a bolder) of truth in in this, the real reason is that as I improve as a photographer, I keep wanting to go back and improve on the photos I have taken. Whether the improvements are visible or worth the time and effort, I can’t say. I’ll admit that photography for me is sometimes more about the experience and process than it is about the result. Talk about right brained. . . .
What I like about this “ordinary rose” is the texture in the catchlights in several of the drops of water. How did that happen? By accident, of course. In the process of experimenting with a honeycomb grid on a medium soft box, I discovered that the grid shows up like window panes in several of the focused drops. I like it even if you don’t.
I also like how I spent 10 minutes in Photoshop moving one of the drops because I thought the balance in the photo would be improved. I figure that the drop is less than 3mm in size. But in the macro world, that is pretty big. Which drop? I’m not telling. . . . It ends up being one of the “1000 unseen details.”
Red roses are a symbol of love in our culture. So sending roses is an act of love, I guess. And I’ll admit that fresh, red roses beautifully arranged are hard to beat. But they’re expensive. And they are ephemeral: if a fresh rose symbolizes love, what does a wilted, drooping rose suggest? I’m not even going to suggest the possible answers to that question.
But these roses will never wilt. So that’s why they are “better than the real thing.” Feel free to share them with someone you love. . . .
This cactus lives on a shelf in our main bathroom and during much of the year it just sits there. But once a year, spurred on by forces a photographer like me could never comprehend, it blooms.
And when I went into the bathroom a few minutes ago, I wasn’t thinking about macro photography. But I couldn’t ignore the blooms, which were backlit by soft sunlight filter through thin clouds in the winter sky. And so I abandoned my original mission, and got my camera.
Incidentally, this is a Christmas cactus, but given that it is January 30, I think this one is a bit of a nonconformist.
When I wandered out into my wife’s dormant flower garden, I noticed the cornflowers first, mainly because they are still standing. Bare and brown, they still shout, “Look at me!”
ALF is an acronym made popular by a sitcom that Robin Williams starred in a long time ago. It means “alien life form.” And that’s what I see when I see these cornflower hulks: they look like something from another place. And close up, they remind me of the evil Death Star in the Star Wars movie.
Such is the nature of my imagination when I put the camera to my eye. . . .
This purple and gold flower was a single bloom in a bouquet of cut garden flowers my wife bought at our local famers’ market. Amongst all of the flowers in the arrangement, this one jumped out at me. And so, when our back deck was bathed in soft late afternoon light, I took a few photos.
When I looked at what I had taken this morning, I noticed that a close view of this flower showed its imperfections. And so I had a dilemma: should I retouch it like I might a human portrait or should I leave it alone?
This post is the answer. Aside from the standard corrections I make on many photos (contrast, sharpening, vibrancy, etc.) I left it alone.