Floral Studies

Some new additions to my tiny photo project – nature photography in close-up.

 

From a creamy white rose…

rose

 

To a scarlet lily. I love that you can actually see the texture of the black spots on the waxy red petals.

lily

 

and the austere whiteness of a half-opened magnolia blossom. The interior looks like an exotic sea creature to me. Maybe I need to go to the beach?

magnolia

Blue Planet II Inspiration

I’ve been in love with the Planet Earth and Blue Planet series for what seems like forever, and I’m not kidding when I say I’ve watched all the episodes about a hundred and eleventy times. The stunning images combined with David Attenborough’s sly narration – “He’s had an enjoyable lunch, but now it’s time to find a MATE!” will rivet me to the couch for hours. Really, David Attenborough could do the narration for someone breaking down the transmission on a 1997 Honda Element, and I would sit through the whole thing, completely enrapt.

268x0w

 

So in celebration of Blue Planet II being finally released in the U.S. – you lucky Brits got it months ago – I thought I’d revisit some of my favorite photos that I’ve taken of our watery world.

One of my goals this year is to improve my underwater photography, so hopefully by Blue Planet III I’ll have some images taken from beneath the surface.

IMG_1277

Until then, I’ll just continue to peer into ocean from the surface.

IMG_0968

 

The Tiny Photo Project

New images from a photo project I’m currently working on. I’m not traveling at the moment and it’s hard not to feel a pang when you look on the internets and see all the lush, panoramic landscape shots that people are taking. There are some amazing artists out there doing beautiful work.

IMG_2731

Since I’m currently chained to the editing station, I decided to find a challenge that I could do without wandering too far, and decided to do a macro photography project. I have to be honest, it’s kind of amazing. I expected it to be a stop-gap project, something to fill space until I could get out to the grand vistas again, and I wasn’t sure I could come up with enough subjects to work with.
IMG_2885
Instead I feel like I’m seeing a whole other layer of my surroundings, just by looking at things from a texture/color perspective. I’ve photographed everything from Star Wars figurines to a raccoon print in snow to a skeletonized frog I found in a houseplant (have NO idea how that got there)
IMG_2757
IMG_2996
My notes app is full of ideas so I’m sure you’ll be seeing more of these. I’ll try to stay away from creepy skeleton things and do more like this sea glass…
IMG_2858

The place I knew

12049718_10153494655020033_2067963326596633638_n

I’m sure everyone has heard this by now, but I am still shell-shocked to see the damage that is ongoing in Puerto Rico. I’ve been to the island many times – I was fortunate enough to go every year for a good stretch of time – and often considered making a second home there, or retiring in that region.

IMG_4314 copy

As of now, those plans are on indefinite hold. I have no idea if Puerto Rico, and the towns of Isabella and Playa Jobos where I spent most of my time there, will ever be the places I knew again. Right now all I can see and hear are the terrible stories of suffering and uncertainty from good people who shared their island home with me.

IMG_4315 copy

Is the Los Morillos Lighthouse still there? Are the Rangers who maintained the surrounding park safe? Did the nameless family that helped me when I got lost down a dead-end street in Isabella lose their home? Is Junior’s Pizza, always our first stop in Playa Jobos, even standing? People are telling stories of the long, winding route down 66, which used to wend through a dense tunnel of jungle foliage, now looking like a moonscape, with all the vegetation stripped away. Of El Yunque, the only rainforest that is part of the United States, scrubbed to bare rock.

I know everyone has compassion fatigue. There are so many horrible things right now. Houston. Miami. The Island of Barbuda completely uninhabitable. Earthquakes in Mexico. Volcanos in Indonesia. It feels like the earth is trying to shake humanity off, like a dog with a bad case of fleas. You feel – I feel – utterly helpless.

But please. If you have any ability, consider donating to one of these organizations to help the people of Puerto Rico, who so desperately need it.

OneAmericaAppeal.org  – led by five former presidents of the US

Unidos – run by the Hispanic Federation

GoFundMe – crowdsourced donations from individual groups. There is no good way to say this – the US government has fumbled this situation terribly and is causing active delays in aid. Small groups of concerned citizens – many with personal links on the island – are stepping into that space to try to make up for it.

All Hands Volunteers and PRVOAD are actively looking for volunteers to help. (The PRVOAD site is in Spanish, but can be translated through GoogleTranslate.)

IMG_2793 copy

I’ve written before about the sickening feeling of watching a loved place descend into chaos, the gut wrenching knowledge that things will never be the same again. I also wrote about my immense relief when it turned out that I was wrong, and that people and places are more resilient than I had ever dared hope. I want so badly to be proven wrong again.

Be safe, and hold on to what you can.

IMG_1184 copy