From More Than a Rock: Essays on Art, Creativity, Photography, Nature, and Life by Guy Tal:
“Attention is crucial to experience. The less of it we assign to any one activity, the less capable we are of appreciating it, of being aware of all its nuances and dimensions and, ultimately, the less significant and satisfying our experience of it is. A meal eaten in front of the television will not be as rewarding as a meal experienced as a primary focus of attention, savored slowly and deliberately. A virtuous violin performance among the clamor of a subway station will not be as moving as one experienced in the quiet darkness of a concert hall. The same is true for experiencing the wild: the more distractions we bring into it — sounds and scents and anxieties and social interactions — the less of it we experience and the more prone we are to dismiss it as lacking. This is not attention deficit; it’s attention overload. We invest our awareness in too many things and, not surprisingly, we get little return from each of them….”
“So often I find myself engaged in a composition, thinking and refining and contemplating, when my subject remains static, when nothing other than my thoughts is changing … and yet I am so elated and immersed in the experience that no other thought even enters my mind. Worries and anxieties disappear, small discomforts never register in my conscious mind, and nothing else deserves attention until after the click of the shutter, and sometimes beyond as I consider other possibilities. To me, the making of an image is a slow and meticulous process, not because it has to be, but because I find it most rewarding as such. By the time the image is realized I have no reason or desire to enter it into any kind of contest or offer it for anyone’s critical evaluation beyond just sharing it with the world in the hope that someone else may find it of some use. I already won the greatest prize the image could have garnered me by virtue of the transcendent, and deliberately prolonged, experience of making it.”
A few days ago, I sat down to write the fourth post to go with a fourth gallery of daffodils from Oakland Cemetery’s gardens — when I realized I didn’t actually have any more daffodil photos. WTF! How did that happen!! So after an hour of hesitation, I put a fresh battery in the camera and headed back over to the cemetery, which in my imagination — given that everyone had been cooped up home-working and home-schooling all week, and most places were closed — was going to be packed with Saturday morning flaneurs, making it difficult to maintain proper distance. Well, that didn’t happen: I only saw a couple dozen people on the entire 66 acres — and staying clear of each other was easy there, given that each acre of the property is bisected by multiple sidewalks or paths, and by redirecting your steps you could end out at the same spot with just a short detour. It was a strange thing to realize that the centuries old, somewhat random layout of this property — with two wide entrances and a series of connected mazes that have emerged over time — was more suited to current conditions than newer urban spaces that tend to force people through small openings onto linear trails or roadways. Places like the zoo or the botanical gardens, for example, might afford ample opportunities for distance-keeping once people are on the property, but no one can get in without funneling first through entry gates, turnstiles, or other narrow entrances — an efficiency for access control and fee collection that suddenly seems (at least temporarily, yet with an unknown end date) obsolete.
Taking nature photos during a pandemic feels incongruous at times, and it seemed to take longer to get into the flow than I’m accustomed to. Still, I spent about three hours wandering the property, hunting down new daffodils since those featured in previous posts — early bloomers I found on the first few acres near the cemetery’s entrance — were mostly spent and getting crowded out by irises preparing to bloom. Deeper onto the property, farther from the entrances where the sun strikes later in the morning, I did find several nice assemblies and ended out with a few dozen photos to create these last daffodil galleries for this final day of March.
The previous daffodil posts are:
Spring 2020: March is for Daffodils (1 of 4); and
Spring 2020: March is for Daffodils (2 of 4); and
Spring 2020: March is for Daffodils (3 of 4).
All of my spring posts and photos are tagged Spring 2020.
Thanks for reading and taking a look!
The daffs are beautiful. So glad you had that three hours to wander, enjoy nature, and not worry about crowds. Just what the doctor ordered, I bet.
Thank you! It was a real nice morning for sure. Big rains coming in today for just one day to wash away all the pollen … so will head back and see what’s new (!!) toward the end of the week.
Thanks for the comment, as always! 🙂
Daffodils are an annual ritual for me. I go out and I say “those dils sure are daffy.“ This year, not a single decent shot. Yours, however, are magnificent. And you know how I feel about a single flower against black.
Thank you! The daffydils have been especially effluvient this year, so I was pleased to have gotten opportunities to pose them for these photographs. A few tried to turn their backs on me — shy, I guess — but I took their pictures anyway. The creamy whites and oranges did come out well against black backgrounds; I may do a few more like that.
Glad you liked them, and thanks for the comment!
The shots with the flowers bracketed by an old iron bench are really interesting, very cool, but the ones with black backgrounds really have the “wow” factor.
Thank you! There are a bunch of benches (!!) on the property, but this was the only one with some daffodils growing around it. Couldn’t get any closer, though, without walking on top of some … uh … underground people.
I liked the black background ones too! They’re fun to do, though take some patience because you have to keep zooming in and out in Lightroom to see if there are any little pixels of color bleeding through. But still … the results seem worth it!
Thanks for the comment! 🙂