"Pay attention to the world." -- Susan Sontag
Winter Shapes and Forms (2 of 3)

Winter Shapes and Forms (2 of 3)

From “If Thou Indeed Derive Thy Light From Heaven” in Selected Poetry of William Wordsworth, edited by Mark Van Doren:

If thou indeed derive thy light from Heaven,
Then, to the measure of that heaven-born light,
Shine, Poet! in thy place, and be content:–
The stars pre-eminent in magnitude,
And they that from the zenith dart their beams,
(visible though they be to half the earth,
Though half a sphere by conscious of their brightness)
Are yet of no diviner origin,
No purer essence, than the one that burns,
Like an untended watch-fire on the ridge
Of some dark mountain; or than those which seem
Humbly to hang, like twinkling winter lamps,
Among the branches of the leafless trees.
All are the undying offspring of one Sire:
Then, to the measure of the light vouchsafed,
Shine, Poet! in thy place, and be content.

From “The Recluse” in Selected Poetry of William Wordsworth, edited by Mark Van Doren:

“[The] gates of Spring
Are opened; churlish winter hath given leave….”

This is the second post in a three-part series showing some natural shapes and forms revealed by winter. The first post is here: Winter Shapes and Forms (1 of 3).

With daytime temperatures here in the southeast reaching the sixties and seventies over the past couple of weeks … spring is sprouting all over the place! I’ve already accumulated batches of daffodil, plum blossom, cherry blossom, snowdrop, and unidentified flower photos — all in the early stages of post-processing. With fabulous weather, though, I’ll admit it’s a little hard to sit still and work indoors in Lightroom, when every day ever more plants are just screaming at me to take their pictures. But I’ll try to balance my indoor and outdoor time to get some work done while still adding to my backlog….

Some of the photos in this post were experiments … like these two shots isolating one branch of what might be wintering baby’s breath, followed by a single “blossom” from the same branch. I took them just to see if I could pull it off: the branches waved in the slightest breeze, even moreso as I moved back and forth while taking several dozen photos to get something in focus. The images that worked best — the scene was lit with full sun — were actually over-exposed with high ISO, a high shutter speed, and a shallow depth of field — which rendered most of the background as shadows and highlights, that I reduced as far as possible in Lightroom to produce the dark backgrounds.

Capturing these bead-sized white flowers was a similar experiment — and a challenge! — though in this case I kept the backgrounds intact (slightly softening them in Lightroom) to retain the impression that the buds were suspended among a mass of twisted vines — exactly how I saw the scenes in real life.

I think the first two photos here are a tiny rose, that started to open on one of the warmer February days, then got zapped by some freezing weather. No idea what kind of plant that is in the third photo; I just like to contrast between the stone wall in the background, the orange/yellow leaves, and the tiny dark blue berry clusters.

New growth on old wood in nature is always interesting; here you can see three views of the same petal and leaf cluster just making its late winter or early spring appearance. I plan to go back and check on this same batch of shrubs on a later visit; there are quite a few buds just getting ready to open, and once they do, I might have some luck identifying the plant species.

Thanks for reading and taking a look!

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