Secrets of a Dead Flower
Aug 21, 2020
You can see a lot just by looking.
~ Yogi Berra ~
I absolutely love to photograph dead flowers. I know…weird, but that said, they have so much still to tell. What have they been through on their journey? What did they experience from the time they were a seedling? Again…a little woo woo for some folks, but think about it. Nature is nature and we all know that everything has energy, so why not a flower - even at the end of its cycle?
When I shot this flower, I placed it on my light table to see if any light would shine through. It didn’t. But it did give it a wholly new color. Away from the light source, it was dull and had kind of a brownish gray color to it. The center was slightly warmer than cream colored. The fact that the light table issued forth new light and color within the flower was nothing short of amazing. It was almost as if it regained some of its lost life.
Shooting with a macro lens can be trying, but at its best can be exceedingly rewarding. I don’t usually shoot with a tripod unless it’s a really windy day and I’m outside. Plus I always shoot in manual mode. As you probably know, auto focus is absolutely useless when it comes to macro. When I’m in my studio, I always shoot handheld as well. At least that way I get the selective focus I want and I’m in control. There’s that “c” word again…but I digress.
When I looked through the lens, I was utterly dumbfounded at what I saw. The curvy-ness of the petals, which I love, were vibrant and alive even though I knew for sure they were long dead. They had dried that way, though I know they weren’t like that when the flower was in the vase. The center is spiky and dry, but when it was alive it was more silky than spiky. So overall, the entire flower changed it’s presentation in this state and I wanted to capture it.
I want anyone who looks at this image to understand that the shapes, textures and lines all changed from the beginning of its cycle when it was soft and silky to the end of its cycle when it was curvy, spiky and full of texture it didn’t have before.
It’s kind of like people…we start out with soft, creamy skin, no lines, no character, no texture, all smoothness. As we age, we get lines (my mother used to call them character lines rather than wrinkles, but I know better!), textures, our faces take on a shape of their own, we have dry, oily or normal skin or a combination of all of that, and…it all changes continually as we age further. You have to love Mother Nature! Or not…
So next time you’re shooting a flower, have a care about what stage it’s in and treat it accordingly. It may just offer up a really beautiful rendition of its former self. You can see a lot just by looking.
Until next time . . .