Last week I left home all bundled up, walked through cold blowing snow, opened a door, and entered the warm verdant stillness of a forest of fig, lipstick and butterfly trees. In the understory grew bromeliads, bamboos, orchids, and plants I remembered from our yard in California long ago. It was a magical transition!
Bird-of-paradise awakened childhood memories. Photo by Betsy Jo Moore.
Betsy and I spent several hours in the Williams Conservatory (University of Wyoming), intent on improving our camera skills. We didn’t look at all that many plants, waylaid as we were by technicalities. But it hardly mattered—there still was so much to see!
All around were splashes of bright colors. Betsy captured them in beautiful flower portraits.
Photo by Betsy Jo Moore.
Photo by Betsy Jo Moore.
Photo of Betsy Jo Moore.
Meanwhile, I fell down a rabbit-hole into a wonderland of leafy abstraction.
Several years ago I blogged about abstract photography—Plants in the Abstract. Things haven't changed; it's still just as fun and satisfying. The abstract photographer looks at plants in non-traditional ways, seeking things like pattern, line, form and texture. It’s a fascinating experience, full of discovery. Immerse yourself in it, and you can escape whatever reality you’re currently stuck in.
This is obviously a plant. But high-lighted curving lines feel like the subject to me.
I entered a miniature Enchanted Forest …
… atop a giant barrel cactus!
The umbrella sedges (Cyperus alternifolius) looked like the ones we had in our backyard as kids. It was here that I took my only flower photos.
|Flower head shot with macro as telephoto (100 mm).|
|Many tiny flowers in a cluster of spikes.|
By making close carefully-framed compositions, I came away with a greater appreciation for the plants than my eyes alone would have provided. Will this ever be possible without a camera?
How to look closely—one of life’s persistent questions.
My escape didn’t end when I left the Conservatory. At home, I discovered more details after downloading the photos. I cropped profusely, and played around with post-processing.
It was fun to experiment, even to the point of creating surrealistic images from subjects that were quite real. I was reminded of one of Ann McKinnell's recent photo tips (#4): “Give yourself permission to play! Sometimes you just need to allow yourself to experiment with new subjects and techniques without the pressure of making good images.”