Nature often creates patterns for artists and photographers to find, capture, or utilize as befits their imaginations. I love the sweeping arcs the simple weed in my Curvature piece displayed. The individual hairs from the wind ready seeds create an impression of sparkles and shooting light. Perhaps from a magic wand or a sparkler that has been brought up and circled counterclockwise.
While it has a bit of a torch look to it, the curves on the weed in Natural Number have combined in a way that appears to create the number three. All of them have wonderful bokeh behind them, but this piece has the most fall-like color as I positioned the camera to take advantage of the reddish brown needles from a background tree. The high level of detail allows individual hairs to be seen on all of these works.
The focal point used in Wind Ready allows you to peer down inside the subject’s head of seeds. Though these are a different type of seed, they share similarities with my Rainbow Seeds piece and display a reduced, but still visible, prism-like effect. I like how the seed hairs shoot out like star bursts and they remind me of sparkles from fireworks. Those small hairs have tiny, thinner and shorter hairs coming off from them that can be perceived as individual strands since a high level of detail was captured.
By focusing near the center of the subject in Eversion, I was able to create an abstract composition that allows what is normally hidden beneath its fluffy hairs to be seen; effectively turning it inside out. The outwardly radiating feeling is enhanced by, and gains an edgy attitude from, the ribs in and barbs along the seed blades. The high level of detail allows surface texture, contours, and individual teeth-like spikes to be seen.
I can see how a thistle could be a controversial subject. On one hand, some folks may feel it’s ugly. In part, their reasoning might be based on the fact that it is a weed and, by default, weeds are hated, despised, and should be eradicated. I would concede that, despite being a nice purple color, the sharp thorns on the subject in Phinizy Thistle aren’t doing anything to help its pretty quotient. And I would agree that for golf courses and other sites that wish to maintain pristine grassy areas, controlling the weed population is essential. But where this subject was found, I would argue that they are just as important to the ecosystem as anything else. I focused my attention on it because it had a nice flower and because it permitted me to alter the perspective so that I could maximize the amount of yellow in the background. Being a flowering weed that is both pretty and ugly, perhaps thistle is just inherently contentious. The high level of detail allows pieces of pollen, surface texture, contours, individual hairs, and thorn points to be seen.
I was creating abstract compositions of an open pod of seeds one spring afternoon in the Phinizy Swamp Nature Park when the light changed to a perfect amount and angle. This was one of those serendipitous moments that photographers out in the field occasionally enjoy. The tiny little hairs in Rainbow Seeds caught the light in a way that allowed a prism-like effect to occur. I don’t believe it lasted more than two minutes, and I was already set up, focused, and ready to create when it happened. The result was shimmering streaks of colors all through the composition. The experience could very well be compared to some origins of riddles and tales of yore. For example, you’ve no doubt heard that there is a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow? Well, these little seeds could just as easily be picked up by the wind, carried to and planted in their final destination, then during the right sun and rain mix, sprout rainbows. Who knows what Mother Nature is capable of? 😉 The high level of detail allows surface texture and contours on some seeds as well as glassy strands and very thin individual hairs to be seen.
Shortly after composing the wild honeysuckle pieces I wrote about here, I wandered along the road searching for additional subjects while heading toward the entrance. Not far from the honeysuckle, I discovered some scary looking weeds. They were fairly tall and covered in thorns. Not something you would want to run into or fall on if you were wearing shorts.
Though not pretty per se (I do like the red bands and the yellowish tips), it certainly met my criteria of being interesting. As I began to more closely explore the subject in Barbed, I favored an abstract composition. To create a mixture of antagonism and beauty, I found a perspective that felt like I was looking down into a pain inducing tunnel or the throat of a monster. The reds, yellows, and spikes endow the piece with a menacing feeling while the greens and softer looking hairs help calm that back down. At the focal point, the high level of detail allows surface texture, individual hairs, and the sharpness of the barbs to be visible.
I found the subject in Thorny just a few paces away from the one in Barbed. With a decidedly less hostile look and feel (thanks in part to the colder purples and glowing greens), the sword-like thorns and sharp tips sticking out along its edges still give it an intimidating demeanor. I used a perspective that captured my intrigue with how each successive layer, moving away from the focal point into the background, repeats the pattern above it in a larger size. The high level of detail, at the focal point, permits surface texture, individual hairs, and the points of the prickly thorns to be seen.
The third full day of my SC AIR trip was fantastic. That was due, in large part, to how awesome the Cuddo East Unit of Santee NWR is. The diversity of that area is fantastic and offered many photographic opportunities as well as several highlights of the entire trip. Hearing the coyotes howl and carry on near dusk, watching a herd of wild pigs, realizing that the noise that sounded like truck tires singing on a nearby highway that continued to grow louder the darker it got was actually coming from millions of mosquitos, seeing the largest gator since moving to the CSRA after checking out a whole family of them (babies, mother, and siblings) in Alligator Alley are all events that I will never forget.
I was lucky that my schedule put me in Cuddo East just before the maintenance folks came through with their brush hog and chopped down everything that was growing along the driving trails. Spring had definitely sprung in that area and the fields were full of different types of flowering weeds. Access was easy since the plants were just a couple of steps off the road. The hardest part (which wasn’t that difficult and would have been even easier with a truck or an SUV) was finding a suitable location to park so that the driving trail wasn’t being blocked.
The seeds in the head of Hair Ball got my initial attention because they formed such a thick, round, full shape. It reminded me of a Dandelion, but was much more robust. Zooming down into it gives a fascinating look at what is waiting to be carried off by the wind and results in an abstract composition full of lines, arcs, and sweeping hairs.