“The deeper one looks into what appears simple, the more complex it really is. Even the very delicate and wispy structures show there is more to them than meets the casual eye.” – Ed Lehming
The natural world is continually amazing. The simple and commonplace are not what they appear. Living forms are incredible in their diversity and design.
Take the simple dandelion seed head. It looks like a fluff ball, a novelty for children and adults alike. But really look at it. Look deeply and deliberately and it’s absolutely stunning how it’s designed. Hundreds of seeds per flower, each with their own feathery parachute, wait for a breeze strong enough to disperse them far from the parent plant. The wind creates just enough of a pull to dislodge the seed from the base. Not enough wind and the seed remains anchored.
For this image I first had to find a seedhead that was largely intact. Not an easy task as it has been quite breezy the past few days. Ideal for the dandelion, not so much for me. When I found a good specimen, I had to decide on my composition and depth of field. Getting the right depth of field also meant I needed good light, as I also had to contend with a slight breeze, meaning I also needed a fairly fast shutter speed. Not so simple a task when shooting without the benefit of a tripod.
In the end I got a couple of images that I was happy with. If I wanted to do more, like have the entire seed head in focus, I would have to bring one into my studio for a much longer exposure and some focus stacking. Perhaps another day. For now, I’m pleased that the detail is there while still keeping the image a touch soft, matchined the image title nicely.
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm 1/160 sec, f/22.0, ISO 400
“I don’t think there’s anything on this planet that more trumpets life that the sunflower. For me that’s because of the reason behind its name. Not because it looks like the sun but because it follows the sun. During the course of the day, the head tracks the journey of the sun across the sky. A satellite dish for sunshine. Wherever light is, no matter how weak, these flowers will find it. And that’s such an admirable thing. And such a lesson in life.” – Helen Mirren
A simple presentation of a sunflower blossom. I say simple, yet on further viewing, it is so also so intricately complex. From the shape of the petals, to the beautiful patterns on the face. Not to mention the radiant colour of the blossom itself. I’ve quoted Georgia O’Keefe her a few times, and her insights are so true, the closer you look at flowers, or anything in nature, I mean, REALLY look at it, the more incredible it becomes. It draws you in and you see details that at first you may have missed.
Take moment and look deep into the face of this blossom…
Amazing, isn’ it? The things we miss at first glance.
“…lace is formed from the absence of substance; it is imagined in the spaces between the threads. Lace is a thing like hope. It lived, it survived, and it was desired for what it was not. If faith, as the nuns said, was the substance of things hoped for, then lace was the outline – the suggestion – of things not seen.” ― Iris Anthony
How appropriate is the name of this common wildflower, with it’s beautiful. complex flowers. You’d expect to see them pressed flat as doilies, under fine teacups.
I’ve observed them and photographed them on many occasions, but it was not till I used this black background technique that I noticed the complexity of the small flowerettes that make up the larger bloom that we see. As with many of my recent photos, I’ll never see them the same way again.
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD@ 200 mm 1/4 sec, f/25.0, ISO 200
“In June as many as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day. No man can heed all of these anniversaries; no man can ignore all of them.” – Aldo Leopold
Late spring, and green palettes are dotted with bright pinks, yellows, and whites, like patches of icing. They fairly glow in the bright sunshine. On closer inspection, these splashes of brightness are surprisingly complex.
I would not have expected the structures in the dogwood blossoms and have never really taken the time to look at them carefully. The cluster above was deliberately isolated from the rest by balancing my aperture to keep the cluster in the foreground in focus, while blurring the background and having the light trail off from white to black.
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom- @300mm 1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 200
Though my preference is really nature and outdoors images, I also, occasionally, have a ‘thing’ for patterns and urban scenes. Today, after a day spent in several corporate offices, I took a walk through ‘underground Montreal’. It’s a series of connected shopping complexes that reaches several kilometers under downtown Montreal.
During the day, this is a very busy place, full of commuters on their way to work, students, attending the adjacent McGill University and shoppers, out for a bargain. In the evening, it is essentially vacant, and I find it a nice place to walk and stretch my legs after a day sitting through meetings.
Today, I made my way to the upper level of this section of the complex, the Montreal Eatons Centre, to get a view of the complex from a higher vantage point. The above image is the result. I like the strong lines and flow of the place and added a bit of ‘posterizing’ to accentuate that effect.
iPhone 5s back camera 4.15mm f/2.2 1/40 sec, f/2.2, ISO 40