~ Life & Death ~
This post is a matter of life and death. I went out of town last week to help a cousin of mine put in order her affairs. My Grandmother's sister passed away recently in the great state of Louisiana and her daughter was in disarray. My mother and i went from Texas to our sister state to help make the proper arrangements.
It's interesting to me how death has such an effect on the living. I always say "dying is easy... but living is the hardest thing we will ever do. Life goes on for the living." Louisiana was struck with a hurricane as well as tornadoes and my family's properties were directly stricken. As if death and the natural order of dealing with things weren't enough to deal with... nature had a final say.
I was tasked to pull up carpet from a house that will probably never be filled with the life and love that it once held for so long! After accomplishing the task at hand i took some time to appreciate and capture the beauty around me. The first day we arrived i noticed tiny red dots sprinkled in the midst of the grass.
I asked around and apparently, i was the only one that noticed these red orbs polka-dotting the ground cover. I pulled one to see if it had a scent or taste. I didn't eat one but it had no smell or taste to speak of. They had an uncanny likeness to wild strawberries... but i feel as though there is no true relation. I could be totally wrong and probably am based on the leaves and texture of the red globes.
More than anything i tried to capture the beauty of these little beads. The shadow and light shining and shading these tiny little balls is what i wanted to share with you all. I used the macro setting on my Nikkon Coolpix P.O.S. model. The interesting thing is how small these things were. The photo makes them all look big... but i assure you they were smaller than your pinky finger-nail.
I even enjoyed how the shadows and transparent light were revealed in and on the blades of grass. I had a difficult time with the focus as you can tell on the next image. Either way i was fairly happy with the way these shots turned out as a whole.
Spring could not be Sprung with new life if it weren't for the death and decay that comes from Fall and Winter. This is a microcosm of life in general. Life and Death is a cycle of Death and Life. I try to value life as it arises anew each year. I never really considered myself a flower person until recent years. I think that is mostly because of a newfound appreciation for life. Death seems to dwell in the length and breadth of life. The longer you live the more experience with death you will have.
~ Shadow of Things To Come ~
After taking some shots of the red orbs i found these yellow flowers. They were super tiny and fairly insignificant. They also happened to be in a shady spot. I thought i would give them a go too since i was in the photography mood after all the work was done for the day. I thought it was particularly cool that hey were growing in star spirals. I didn't notice that until after i had taken a number of shots!
Yellow always seems to be a color that gives me some issues when taking photographs. Like the tiny red globes... these yellow flower bundles were quite small. Don't let the macro captures fool you into thinking these are some regular-sized flora to be observed. Each yellow bud was even smaller than the red orbs.
I couldn't help but feel the sacred geometry behind the design of life once i did notice the star structure to these yellow clusters of flowers. Stars within stars! The whole experience of helping out and laboring for the living dealing with their dead was quite bittersweet. This was a moment of clarity and serenity that should be appreciated.
To capture that beautiful moment in visual life while reflecting upon death and how those that remain process the possessions that can't go with you was a thing of beauty... in more ways than one. It would have been all too easy to miss the heavenly glory focusing on the vibe of the overall experience and purpose of being there. I truly feel like taking time to experience the experience is and was vitally important in honoring and celebrating life and death. Death is waiting for us all and life and beauty are fleeting.
~ Rose For Aponia ~
There were many Roses that i saw in Louisiana while i was there. A vast majority of them were a strange color. They seemed to be caught between a red and pink colorization. This pink and red fluctuation seemed to make the Roses glow with a luminescence. I am not exaggerating when i tell you this.
I tried my best to shoot and edit to translate the best experience of this glowing red/pink with you. Much like yellow, red and this red/pink colorization seems to give my crappy camera a hard time. I would call the color more in line with magenta or fuschia... but it was genuinely a glowing red but more towards the pink side.
This series of photos were all taken during the afternoon when the sun is setting. I really enjoyed how the shadows created a deeper depth of richness in the color tones. The neighbor of my late great aunt had a Rose tree lining the fence to the driveway. I say tree because the bush had probably been growing for more years than i have been alive.
One of my favorite qualities of Roses is the layers of unfolding petals. The different planes of perspective give a lot of shape, contour, and depth of field. I love the way some of the petals at a frontward orientation seem to bend, curve, and flip to encompass the flower bud. Layer by layer the petals unfold and present themselves to the Sun.
Sometimes the petals spike out while they are in their newer states of unfolding. As these petals unfurl they seem to take on a shape contradictory to the softness they are so well known for. You would often think they may be different flowers or plants based on what stages of life or death you observe them in.
Roses have never been my favorite flowers although they do have a newerfound value in my life. I have never particularly smelled much of a fragrance from the Rose flowers... for better or worse. But, i must say, these did have a particularly pleasant smell. I was pretty surprised by the fragrance to be honest.
I did edit these photographs to make them look less washed out, so i toned down the direct sunlight a bit. I tried to get the values to come across a little better not in exaggerating the color but accentuating the shadows. I hope you all take the time to zoom into your favorite shots in order to fully appreciate the cropping and focal points.
I gained and lost my daughter in April of 2012. It's always a difficult time of year for me to be honest. Some of these shots were taken on her birthday. Her middle name was Rose so i can't help but to think of her whenever i see a Rose. I would consider that a blessing and a curse.
Her name was Rowan which means little red one. Ironically, many if not most Roses are red of some sort. I felt as though this experience was helping take care of the dead while i thought about and tended to my own dead. So, capturing the seasonal life seemed important to me in this process. It's too easy to lose sight of the beauty all around us if we choose to focus on the bleakness of death alone.
I titled this section what i did because my daughter lived every moment of her short life in pain. I held her in my arms as my Little Red One turned blue. If i should ever be blessed enough to have another daughter... i believe i will name her Aponia. I didn't know until today but Aponia means absence or freedom from pain.
Aponia is a beautiful name and Roses encompass everything beautiful about flowers. I didn't want to make just a generic post about photos of flowers... although it's that time of year. I have more flower shots i will share in the near future... and with a lot less reading involved!
Notice the shadows. the contours, the folds, and the shades of pink and red. I really tried my best to capture the glow but feel i fell short. I think it's impossible sometimes to take what one sees with their eyes and to translate that directly with photography.
I have heard it said that photography is like painting with light. To capture the light reflecting and the shadows cast is an art. In this digital age, photography has been given a new augmented life. It's still an art to capture and share the beauty that surrounds us all the time. The real magic is noticing the beauty that needs to be captured and shared to begin with!
~ Ears That Hears ~
On the side of this house grew a giant old batch of Lamb's Ear. This has always been one of my favorite plants. I am a very tactile person and Lamb's Ear is extremely soft to the touch. I have no idea how long this batch had grown there... but i wouldn't be surprised if these Lamb's Ears were older than i am.
I thought bringing home to Texas some of these Lamb's Ears would be a great way to, in life with life, honor the dead. I would imagine that these dudes were planted intentionally and with a purpose. Now, they are dwelling here with me!
I read somewhere before the advent of toilet paper that this plant was a natural alternative that provided a soft experience in cleaning the buttocks. I could see why after feeling it with my own hands.
I have always enjoyed how soft the leaves are on the Lamb's Ear. I don't think i have ever rubbed a Lamb's actual ear... but if i did... it probably wouldn't be as soft as the leaves of this plant.
I think it's a fitting name given the characteristics. I tried to capture the beauty, texture, and softness visually. So far they have done quite well with the transplant and having traversed one state to another. I hope they grow super big and strong!
Hair has always been a thing that blows my mind. A plant having hair seems to go against conventional wisdom. But if you think about it... hair can be super small and compact, which is how/why many plants are soft. Many insects have hair and even on a cellular level Flagella act as hair with a purpose.
Ears to hear are important if you want to listen to what life has to say. Fuzz can help make the message smoother i would imagine if your hair was that of a Lamb's Ear!
I love the pseudo-serrated edges of these leaves. Like, it's going to cut you if you come too close. Until you realize it's hairy and about the softest thing you have ever brushed against your skin! Now that is some camouflage!!!
Life and Death aren't always comfortable. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Learning how to manage and navigate the uncomfortable formalities of life and death is an earmark of what it is to endure and truly live. Listening with ears to hear is one of the best tactics you can apply to your strategy in persevering in this life. Lamb's and sheep know their shepherd's voice.
Life is good if you take time to appreciate the beauty that is all around you. Even the difficult and ugly times of life will be surrounded by beauty! It was my pleasure to capture that beauty and share it with you all here. During my personal pain and struggle, i didn't let the opportunity to value, appreciate, and capture beauty escape me.
This speaks to the human condition to overcome. But i will say that the ability to overcome genuinely stems from the opportunity to see and experience things from a proper perspective. Photography is a challenge that calls for balance and perspective to culminate into a visual that expresses the essence of what it is that's being shared. I hope that you all can appreciate the value of the essence of these photographic expressions!
~ A Surprise Awaits ~
Last year a mystery plant found itself in my backyard. It's will to live surpassed any and all expectations. The beauty it brought was a wonder to behold. We weren't sure if it would return and i even took some seeds and planted them to assure future beauty. The seed i planted did not endure but the plant did and here we are. A surprise awaits us all as we wait for this wildflower to bloom.
Thanks for taking the time to at least check out my photos. Even more thanks to those that read this far into the post! If i was wearing a hat it would be off to you! I hope you all appreciated the beauty!
Thanks again for stopping by and taking the time to appreciate the beauty!
Spring has truly Sprung!