Dancing Flame

Taking a picture of a candle isn’t particularly exciting.  To add a little zest to the standard lit candle image, I used a macro lens and a longer than one second exposure to capture the flame moving around.  And since the picture was indoors, blowing on the candle ever so slightly introduced the requisite amount of motion to capture the dancing candle light.

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Yellow, but not Totally

As I was leaving Green Spring Gardens, I noticed a nicely backlit hedge of yellow flowers.  After a few pictures of the flowers (from behind), I walked up the short incline to take a closer look at the flowers.  Thin clouds close to the horizon diffused the light emanating from the afternoon sun.  Still hints of directionality, but much less harsh.   A good opportunity to take some flower close ups.  In the midst of all the yellow, there were insects hovering about. Before I started taking pictures with my macro lens, I never really paid attention to the bees flying about.  I was more concerend about that random bee sting not being so random.  It turns out that bees, for the most part, are more intent on sipping nectar than aiming that stinger on an unsuspecting photographer.  And, they are pretty good models to boot.  Just don’t touch them.

I have to say it.  Mellow yellow, with a twist.

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Autumn Leaves

A warm autumn day.  A walk at Green Spring Gardens.  Leaves, different in shape, color, state of decay.  Still clinging, soon to fall.  Why not take a look.  Sometimes, very closely.

The most colorful time of the year is also the time of great changes.  Birds migrate to warmer climes.  Bears are busy foraging in preparation for their winter sleep.  The squirrels store their treasures and in the process dig up the yards and gardens of the suburban (and urban) dweller.  The leaves, once green and infused with chlorophyll, gain their yellow, red, orange, and brownish coloration.  The trees too, will slumber.  Soon, gravity will pull the dying leaves from their branches, leaving trees threadbare, wintering in place, waiting for the warm spring sun to begin the cycle anew.  As the leaves fall to the ground, they will perform one last function in the cycle of life.    Decay leaves to breakdown;  what was of the earth becomes earthen once more.  And from the earth, life will begin anew, rising in triumph, death vanquished.

Beauty in Everything

We are surrounded by beauty.  Often times, we look at everything at the most superficial level.  We see a pretty face, a pretty dress, a beautiful landscape, a stunning sunset.  We travel all over the world to see the Andean glaciers, the auroras in Iceland, the arches and hoodoos of the American southwest, the water wonderland that is Guilin.  We dream of going to far off places, depicted so beautifully by thousands of photographers and artists who share the same passion of seeing, drawing, photographing the places and things that have been universally deemed as beautiful.

We ignore the innate beauty around us.  From a child gazing longingly at the candy cane in the window, the grandmother being escorted by a loving grandchild as they cross a busy street, to a homeless man grateful for a cup of coffee that a stranger provides.  There is so much beauty in the world, if we could only look beyond our preconceptions and prejudices.  And wonder at the beauty that is everyday life.

The bluebird singing.  The stars in the night sky forming patterns that have guided mankind’s journey throughout the ages.  That feather in the grass. Pick it up and look closely.  You may be amazed at what you see.

Wet and Wonderful

It was a rainy Saturday afternoon in early September.  I’ve become quite keen on macro photography lately, and with the intermittent nature of the showers, it was time to explore the flowers at Meadowlark Gardens in Vienna, Virginia.  Raindrops are beautiful when viewed closely, especially when the world around them is refracted and reflected in unpredictable ways.

The garden was not as quiet as I thought it would be.  On the Atrium at the garden, a wedding reception was getting under way.  My first thought was – well, I wonder what kind of wedding pictures the photographer will be able to take.  With a heavy overcast and the rain fairly steady, the wedding party wasn’t spending a lot of time in the beautiful garden.  Sometimes, the best laid plans are thrown asunder by water droplets from the sky.  Still.  A wedding is a celebration, after all.  I suppose wedding photographers will have contingency plans for times like this.  I am glad I am taking pictures of flowers, raindrops, and dew laden plants and not have to worry about pleasing clients on their wedding day.  I wish the newlyweds joy and happiness in their new life.  And may their special day be captured in a special way.

Back to the garden.  The overcast skies made the colors of the flowers really pop out.  It was a feast for the eyes.  The colors!

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Orange, yellow, pinks, purple, red hues, deeply saturated.  The flowers, holding the moisture in their petals. Insects, weighed down by the moisture, slowly drying themselves out in the open air.  Each droplet beckoned to be photograph.  I felt like a bee, moving from flower, to flower, getting ever closer, looking at a familiar world made even more beautiful by the transient beading of water from the sky.

Closer.  Closer still.  Until the world around the flowers can be seen reflected in the droplets that hang precariously on a ledge.  In an instant, a droplet would separate itself from a leaf, from a petal, the reflection rendered so beautifully being pulled down by the invisible force of gravity.  A drip here, a drip there.  Beading, elongating, falling.  Focus.  Focus.  Images go in and out of focus as the lens points excitedly to yet another seemingly frozen moment of time.  Click.  Click. Click.  Each drop a picture.  Each drop a memory.  Nature paused and I was transfixed.

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