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Monthly Archives: September 2009

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Sometimes half the fun is in the editing!

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Sometimes, things just capture my eye.  If it happens here, in this mostly colorless landscape, I have to take a few shots.  One evening, in just the right light, my vision scanned the mounds of Bougainvillea blossoms.  Their color is very sensuous to me.  I’m not sure why, but it moves me and I’m drawn to photograph them over and over.  In the middle of all their lush, almost self-indulgent prettiness, there was this solitary blossom – almost out of place.   I looked at it for a moment, then realized the simplicity of this one, single blossom was actually what had caught my eye.  In the most understated of ways it, alone, made the shot.  It made the reds redder.  It made the textures more delicate.  It made the moment more memorable.  I’ve had a handful of those moments in my life, where a single instant defined an existence and moved mountains and changed the course of my path.  Some of those moments lasted longer than others, but I will always remember the instant I knew.

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I did something silly while reviewing and editing pictures for this post:  I checked the extended weather forecast and saw more triple digit temps, and it makes me tired.  And homesick.  I find myself always thinking, “Will it ever end?  Please, just let it end soon!   I want this to be over.”  The forecast had a lot to do with selecting this picture, taken in the woods in Northern Michigan this summer.  It has very much the opposite effect on me, as did the whole experience surrounding when and where it was shot – a solitary hike in a beautiful place, the buzz of a mosquito, the smell of damp soil and moss, the enveloping hug of sunlight filtered through thousands of green leaves, the sound of water cascading through a small stream at my feet.  I knew I was home, and all I could think was, “I need to hold on to this.  Please don’t let this end.  I want this to last forever.”

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Eye catching in a most coy, but provocative, peek-a-boo sort of way.  The other blossoms around it were mostly holding their petals tightly to themselves.  But in the moment I found this one, it had unwrapped itself, almost as if it knew I would find the moment completely irresistable.

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Neighbors a few doors down live in California most of the year, which means the cactus in their yard are fair game.  I trespass and shoot there on a regular basis.  Anyway, they have a Saguaro that stands probably 11 feet tall.  From a distance, it simply looks statuesque.  Proud.  A gentle giant.  Dare I say, a little phallic?  The perspective changes the closer I get, though; which is one of the things I love about macro photography.  You can see things for what they are; the danger, the menace, the painful reality of what it might be like to be spiked by one of the razor sharp spines.  I love perspective.

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The Bougainvilleas bloom year round.  Their blossoms have the most delicate, papery texture of any flower I know.  The pool in my yard has five large bushes along one side.  When the wind blows, which it does with some frequency, the weakest of the blossoms tear loose and collect in the corners, or against the house, or in the pool.  This morning, Kat and I skimmed out as many as we could, and then I shot a series of pictures of the remainder; the casualties of wind in their watery grave.

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Sometimes when I’m hiking, I have this irrational fear I’ll stumble off the trail into a Cholla or a Prickly Pear.  This cactus is neither of those, but I don’t want to stumble off the trail into it, either.  I don’t want to stumble off the trail into any cactus. If I’m stumbling on the trail, I probably shouldn’t be there, right?   But, despite my irrational fears of being mercilessly stung by their barbs, they can be (a recent conclusion I’ve come to) stunningly beautiful.  Get close enough.  You’ll see.

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A nice pinot, candlelight, reflections off glass.  What better way to entice the creative juices.

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Have you ever seen the movie Tinkerbell?  Well, despite the fact I never, in my wildest imagination, would have thought I’d ever say this…I have.  Many times.  Many, many times.  Dumbfounding, I know.  Much the way I felt when the Baby Fairies came along and said, “Hey, guess what?”  Huh?  Anyway, Kat and I were out in the yard this morning and I, of course, was toting along my camera.  Out of the blue she asked which of the fairies in Tinkerbell were my favorites.  Being a Michigan girl, I knew immediately they were the Water Fairies.  And then we both turned, almost at the same time, and saw the grass lit up with thousands of water droplets and she said, “They’ve been here.”

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I’m feeling a little desperate for photo ops lately.  The desert, a.k.a., God’s Brown Earth, is giving me nothing.  A few cactus are blooming but the ambient light is so shocking I don’t even try.  So I culled the archives for some shots I took of a floral bouquet (thank God for the flower department at Safeway).  I’m deeply envious of my Michigan compadres shooting glorious pictures at their local farmers’ markets all lush with mums and succulent fall fruits and veggies.  Did I say I’m getting a little desperate?  Yes.  And losing my sunny disposition.  Summer can end any time now.