13 October 2014
Let me know which you prefer and why.
Pens: The tail end of August is the time that native hibiscus bloom and quickly begin to wane. They are ethereal and transparent in the sun, and their short existence makes it imperative to catch them as soon as they open. Their large petals act as a tunnel for hummingbirds and other insects; they simultaneously lure nature and human nature.
One of my small passions is gathering and preserving specific flowers. Some passions are on a continuum: scaled with affection and devotion as well as time sensitive in their execution.
As I spied on each hibiscus flowerhead, I began to surmise how they might appear dried. For decades I’ve admired this floral native, and watched as each blossom disappears in a day’s showing. But I’ve never brought them inside with the sole purpose of air drying them.
As each flower closed, I allowed them to linger as others unfolded and displayed their delicate bold colors and wispy shapes. Then each fell onto the garden floor, where I gathered and placed them gently on a sturdy thick sheet of paper. Then set them on a shelf.
As the petals slowly dehydrated, their original color of orangey red began a glacial change toward deep richly-shaded pinky purple. Suddenly I noticed that they appeared almost black. I was in love.
But something unexpected occurred. The usual five-petal flower, which has huge petals, became close-knit, so close that they clung to each other and became one. They curled and intertwined and reminded me of a swirl. They shrunk to 4″ long x 1″ wide, and continued to spark my attention.
While many flowers are attractive in their spent state, not all keep their eloquence and grace. The hibiscus does, especially under LED lights, which allows color and details to emerge.
In the Lens section are four of my photographs that depict a few of the half-dozen dried hibiscus. Because it is macro week, it took successive photo shoots to accomplish something close to my goal.
The petals were now wrapped around each other, so it made it hard to see the layers of this new twisted form. I decided to slowly peel away a petal. What transpired was an ability to show a small section or a few petals at once.
As light broke through the paper-thin surface, I observed extraordinary designs that are unseen by the human eye. A rich panorama of veins and hues came into view. Lines and shapes intersected and became an abstract canvas. A few of them mimicked the landscape and mountainous forms.
Their once trumpet shape was now tubular, which only added another level of charm, and has me thinking about how much I already miss their presence. As a luscious example of Mother Nature, these beauties benefit from light filtering through their tissue-like petals.
Macro week coerced me to experiment. The result allowed me to feast on the visual abundance provided by the native hibiscus. Instead of composting these flower heads, I was able to enjoy another phase of their existence. My reward is boundless.
Tip of the Week: This week I’d like to introduce you to biker 11, who focuses much of his photographic portfolio on nature’s insects. In the following quote he describes what draws him to a part of nature that is barely seen by our naked eye:
“It’s another world, which can be seen under our feet. We can discover a world of small monsters. Each fly, bee and spider is a perfect predator or a warring victim in this empire. It`s always a big surprise for me to find out how many species, forms and colors exist in this kingdom. I see the things around me a bit differently after each visit in this micro-world…It is best to go out in the early morning around 5 – 5,30 hrs. It must be coolish ( 6-10 C) and dewy. Insects will rise at dawn, with a bit of luck. You need to like and be kind to insects, because I take pictures only with live insects. The most important aspect of macro is light. The secret to good macro is cardinal light. DOF (depth of focus) is very small in macro and so you need to arrange 2 or more pictures to get a good looking shot.” Click here to see his work.
View other entries for this week’s challenge:
If you’d like to join the Photo Challenge, please click here for details. If you have any questions, please contact me. Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming Photo Challenges:
1st Monday: Nature.
2nd Monday: Macro.
3rd Monday: Black and White.
4th Monday Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Animals, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Objects, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).
5th Monday: Editing and Processing with Various Apps Using Themes from the Fourth Week.