Since Joe’s working from home during the Covid-19 quarantine and I’m in the last stages of completing my Ph.D., he and I decided to expand our backyard potted garden. There’s immense satisfaction in growing your own food, and it’s also a huge responsibility to be conscious stewards of an ecosystem that you’ve established. We appreciate the balance that is sometimes very tricky to maintain. Insects start eating leaves, but the birds pick through the herbs to forage for a meal of grubs or caterpillars. They did this often when they were feeding a nest of youngsters. The lizards eat excess insects. Spiders set up webs and feed off various garden pests. But we’ve also had to wrestle with leaf miners, who decimate the foliage on our cucumber plants. We wrapped the concord grapevine with bird netting, but that meant they couldn’t pick off the borer that’s now attacking the grapevine. And let me tell you all about fungus….black fungus, powdery white fungus, rusty-looking fungus. Basil leaves can get fungus. Who knew? But then you get a bowlful of beautiful vegetables like these bell peppers, and how could I disrespect such a vibrant green by shooting them in black and white.
Most of the time, I work in black and white. For me, color can be a distraction and with black and white, a subject is reduced to its essence, to its light and shadows. This subject, however, demanded to be seen in all its resplended hues. Yesterday, this dragonfly landed on a leaf of our bird of paradise outside a living room window. He stayed there, clinging to its perch as the wind swayed the leaf back and forth in the strong afternoon light. During lulls in the breeze, I reached for my telephoto lens and took some shots. With the dark background, this already brilliantly colored being seemed to pop off the screen. The color feels extravagant, almost painful, even after I reduced some of the saturation. There’s an impulse to shade my eyes against this radiant red. Still, what a glittering, beautiful jewel…..
Today, I transformed this being into black and white. It’s not the same image, but something more delicate and surprisingly ethereal. For me, there is something about black and white images (barring extremely high key processing) that provides respite for the eye from the daily bombardment of a rioting world of color.
In memory of Judy McCabe, friend and photographer. Thank you for sharing your world through your lens, and for being the wonderful person you were. Your loss is deeply felt by many.
Judy loved shooting flowers, capturing their rich, vibrant colors. So today, I post this lily in color in honor of her.
Sometimes keeping a camera handy pays off. I shot this hummingbird through the living room window late one afternoon when the sun was angled just so, illuminating the bird and the bee balm while the background remained in shade.