Tag Archives: observation

“The Humble Fleabane”

“The Humble Flea-Bane”

“With the utmost love and attention the man who walks must study and observe every smallest living thing, be it a child, a dog, a fly, a butterfly, a sparrow, a worm, a flower, a man, a house, a tree, a hedge, a snail, a mouse, a cloud, a hill, a leaf, or no more than a poor discarded scrap of paper on which, perhaps, a dear good child at school has written his first clumsy letters. The highest and the lowest, the most serious and the most hilarious things are to him equally beloved, beautiful, and valuable.”
― Robert Walser

There is such beauty in even the most common of wildflowers, even this small member of the daisy family. I was going to title this First Fleabane of the season, since it is that, but I wanted to focus on commonplace beauty.

Over the past year or so of photography, my perspective on what beauty is has shifted dramatically. I’m now finding a richness in the more diminutive flowers, in dead or dying blossoms, the way light plays on a shrivelled leaf. Objects, that at first glance, don’t seem worthy of a second glance, or a more careful inspection.

I’ve become increasingly aware of how much of my world my brain filters out as ‘inconsequential’, causing me to pass it by. The more deliberate I become in observation, the more my world opens up to experiences I have missed in the past. Even at this, I’m still left baffled at what I’m missing. Through photography, I’m able to freeze that moment and really take the time to fully experience an image and my hope is that those moments are resonating with my readers.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/2500 sec, f/5.0 ISO 100

High Resolution Image on 500px

for more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/EdLehming
or my website (some images available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“Tender Pinks”

“Tender Pinks”

“Have you noticed how nobody ever looks up? Nobody looks at chimneys, or trees against the sky, or the tops of buildings. Everybody just looks down at the pavement or their shoes. The whole world could pass them by and most people wouldn’t notice.”
― Julie Andrews Edwards

While not quite the ‘punchy’ neon of yesterday’s dahlia, this more subdued blossom is still a stunner. The thing I enjoy most about these floral macros is the incredible detail.

Despite spending time looking at flowers, trying to observe the same, I find my eyes darting around and my brain ‘filtering’. It’s not till the image is locked in and isolated that I’m able to really see the details. I’m wondering if that’s unique to me, though I expect its how we’re all wired.

In this day and age of instant gratification and cell phones, I’m concerned that society in general is losing the skill of observation and true appreciation of the wonders in our world. Even images like this, garner a quick glance and a like. After all, with technology, we can always go back to it.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
6.0 sec, f/45.0 ISO 100

High Resolution image on 500px

or more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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or my website (some images available for purchase)
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“Dutchman’s Breeches”

“Dutchman’s Breeches”

“A little piece of everywhere I go becomes a big part of everything I do.”
― Richie Norton

Spring, has to be my favorite time of year. Not just because of the warming weather, but because every day has new discoveries, sometimes many. Having spent most of my life outdoors, I’m finding myself continually amazed at just how much of my world I casually ignored.

Becoming a deliberate photographer has transformed my world and how I see it. As the quote above puts it so succinctly, these little pieces of my experience have transformed me, they have become a part of who I am. Through my photography, I’m seeing the world in news ways, appreciating life in new ways, and loving it.

I think I also need to clarify a point above. By referring to myself as a ‘deliberate’ photographer, I mean I set out with a purpose. So, rather than just snapshots of events or casual observations of my day, I set out to really ‘see’ the world around me. I take the time to study a scene and compose my images to fully express what I have seen, with the hopes that this is conveyed to my audience. At minimum, it allows me time with the scene, allowing me to fully appreciate it.

In the case of the Dutchman’s Breeches above, I’ve seen photos of the plant in books, knew it grew around here, and looked for it, with no success. I made images of a close relative to it, Squirrel Corn, last year and did not notice that the plant in this photo was only a few meters away, as well as the bloodroot I shared earlier. Now I’m spending time observing associated plants and their related growing patterns. I can honestly say that I am learning something new every day and truly enjoying the journey.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/100 sec, f/18.0 ISO 100

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/EdLehming
or my website (some images available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“Pussy Willow Close Up”

“Pussy Willow Close Up”

I KNOW A LITTLE PUSSY”
I know a little pussy
Her coat is silver gray
She lives down in the meadow
Not very far away.

Though she is a pussy
She’ll never be a cat.
She is a pussy willow.
Now what do you think of that”
– Author Unknown

Finally, a taste of spring, though still store bought, it focuses my attention on something other than snow and ice, which I have had about enough of.

The included poem is a traditional school poem that my late father-in-law, Maurice used to quote, frequently. He’s embellish it with the closing line of meow, meow, meow, SCAT! It’s a fond memory of him, especially for my kids.

This is another one of those photos that really makes me question just how observant I am. I had no idea that the bases of the cat-toes were yellow. That would make sense, since this is the willow “flower” and thus, should enable pollination. The world of macro photography has a firm grip on me, as I explore the world around me with new vision.

How such a simple thing can be so beautiful brings a smile to my face and has me asking new questions about how the natural systems around me actually work. For example, now that I have noticed the pollen, I wonder how they are pollinated. Is it the wind, birds, bees, or other insects. It bears further investigation.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
0.8sec, f/360, ISO 200

Hi Resolution image on 500px

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/EdLehming
or my website (some images available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“Enfolded Within”

“Enfolded Within”

“Nobody sees a flower – really – it is so small it takes time – we haven’t time – and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.”
― Georgia O’Keeffe

These tulips are providing me with lots of interesting angles. As I’ve said so many times before, until you really take the time to ‘look’ at something, so much is missed.

We’ve had tulips in our gardens since I was a child. They sat on our kitchen table, as cut flowers, for much of the spring. Of course, we ‘noticed’ them but never observed them in their totality.

That, is one of my greatest joys with photography; being able to capture good images that I can spend time with at a later date. Blogging has made that experience more significant because now I’m able to consider my images further and more deliberately and be able to express those feelings, to the best of my ability, in words, hopefully inspiring others along the way.

I’m often entranced with some of the simpler images, those of mundane things, and the sheer detail that’s often present there, overlooked by the casual eye.

This image, a single shot, was made at a fairly extreme aperture, as I tried to capture the depth of the flower, without the need for focus stacking or other techniques.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1.0 sec, f/45.0, ISO 200

Hi Resolution image on 500px

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/EdLehming
or my website (some images available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“Floral Door Hardware” – Hotel California, Todos Santos

“Floral Door Hardware” -  Hotel Caifornia, Todos Santos

“When you take the time to look carefully, deliberately, to really ‘observe’, the fine details missed by our busy, ever filtering consciousness, expand our vision and engrave that memory more permanently.”
 – Ed Lehming

It’s the details, those little things our brains tend to file away as inconsequential within the broader experience, that fascinate and perplex me. Our eyes see it all, but very little is retained, unlike the camera, which keeps a permanent record of everything. But, as I said in my quote above, you have to take the time to look for those details and consciously remember them, or the details are purged, as we hurry to take everything in. Are we really taking everything in? Yes, but so much more is lost. That’s just how our brains are wired.

I find that to be the saddest thing in our busy world, at least in western cultures. We save up and vacation in the locales of our imagining. But, when we get there we, and I’m speaking generally here, tend to go to the places we have seen images of and drink in a larger experience than the photos or videos of others provide. That is quite fulfilling as we are now seeing ‘more’. Yet, how often do we stand in a place and really experience it? Taking in every fine detail?

My example above is a piece of hardware on a rustic door at Hotel California, in the Mexican village of Todos Santos. We had spent quite a bit of time touring this well-known tourist destination. But, it was not till I was standing outside the door, waiting for the rest of my family to finish their various activities, that I noticed this beautiful, handcrafted door hardware. In the shape of a coneflower, the petals are brass, stamped with yet more detail and the centre, is forged iron. In my opinion, a wonderful addition to the weathered wooden doors leading to the gift shop. Then there’s the wood itself, with it’s complex grain and subtle colour hues. Who saw the staple? No cheating.

Had I not been standing there, I might have noticed them, but not the details. I’ve had the same  experience when I take a hike with someone and find them surprised at the number of photos I have made of wildflowers and other items along the way that they missed, even though the believed they were taking it all in.

If you want to be an observer and savour and experience fully, you need to slow down, just like enjoying a good meal. Take it in, one small bite at a time and let the image fill your senses.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/80 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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or my website (some images available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

 

“Simple Elegance”

“Simple Elegance”

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
― Clare Boothe Luce

Today, the roses in the bouquet opened up a bit more, including this beauty, which was tightly closed yesterday, now partially open and looking marvelous and nearly flawless.

I’ve spoken before about the wonderment that I experience when making these macro images and I ask myself why I have missed these wonderful details all these years. The fine structures of a simple rose petal is absolutely stunning. When you look closer, you can even see the ridge created by the overlying petal as the flower was still tightly closed, the warm translucency of the petals, as the overlap, and the soft glow along the petal edges.

Isolating the blossom against the black background forces the eye into that detail, with no background to distract the eye. The rose, is the singular focus, and as the eye drifts over the surface, more and more detail becomes noticeable. I know I will never look at flowers the same way.

My photography is beginning to change how I see the world, not that I have ever been overly casual about nature, but now I’d add ‘deliberate’ to that description. I’m forcing myself to slow down, observe carefully, and truly appreciate the intricate systems in play in our natural world.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
0.6sec, f/25.0, ISO 100

High Resolution image on 500px

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/EdLehming
or my website (some images available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com