A nice Saturday morning – sunny and cool. A typical mid Atlantic November day. Huntley Meadows beckoned. It’s never a good sign when you get there a half hour after sunrise and people are leaving. And truth be told, it was three hours of looking for something other than a red winged blackbird. You can hear the kingfisher, but it was far away. You can see the mergansers but they were far away. A blue heron flew in but it was far away. Heck, I probably should have stayed far away from Huntley as well, and catch a few more ZZZs. Oh well, at least there was a collection of water on the ground over some leaves. You just go with the flow. Even if the water is at a standstill (or nearly so).
The world of macro photography, that is.
Last Saturday morning, I woke up shortly after the sun had awakened and Huntley Meadows, one of the local wildlife refuges, beckoned. There was only one thing that made me think that maybe, just maybe, I should stay in bed. The sky was overcast and the weather casters predicted about two inches of rain for the weekend. I was pretty sure I wanted to just go out, go for a short hike, and take some pictures. There was, however, something weighing on my mind. It was grey. It was dull. What pictures were there to take in such a day as this? In short, while I knew what I wanted to do, how will the reality of the on and off drizzle mesh with my idea of taking pictures of birds in spring? My heart said go ahead. My head asked why? How so?
Sometimes the head wins out. Sometimes the heart flutters too much and like the sweet smell of sampaguitas, the feeling envelops you, and the world feels new. Is new. The dawn of a new day. A little muted, perhaps, but alive with possibilities.
And so it was that three hours was spent walking around in the on and off sprinkles from the sky. And sometimes, the sun decided to tease a little warmth into the cool May morning. The heart may be a lonely hunter at times, but then again, it can only be so. For in the ups and downs and ups in life, we find our way to life lived, a life lived well.
How so? The answer is simple. Make it so. And here are the pictures to prove it.
Spring is tulip season in the mid Atlantic region. With days getting warmer, rainfall is also bountiful. Life giving water. It makes the grass green. The mood a little melancholy. The ground, saturated by the drops of rain falling from the skies, is a little soft. Maybe even muddy. Grey skies indeed. And in what can only be described as a pleasant contrast, shades of red, pink and yellow adorn countless gardens in all the neighborhoods. The colors, saturated by the clouds diffusing light as it falls from our star, are vibrant. Droplets of water cling to every flower. And through each miniature lens, beauty is magnified.
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!
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.