The Seed Pod

Seed Pod

Seed Pod

One of the unintended consequences of shooting macro is what might be called “everything is interesting syndrome.”  This happens when you suddenly realize you can take a picture of something miniature and see it in striking detail.  The fascination with just seeing that detail for the first time makes everything interesting.

Of course, setting up for a macro shot takes quite a bit of time.  At least, for me it does.  First, there’s spreading out the trash bag to have a dry spot to kneel on.  Second there’s the positioning of the tripod to get the lens at the optimal distance from the subject.  This is the part that seems to take me the longest.  Then there’s the realization that the subject you’re trying to shoot is hopelessly blowing in the wind and you could kneel there taking shots for hours and not one of them will be in focus.  This leads to trying to find a new subject that is not blowing in said wind.

That’s pretty much how I ended up shooting seed pods.  They were laying in various places on the ground near the yellow berries in yesterday’s post.  While not very colorful, there’s something hopeful about a seed pod–especially in late January.  I also liked the pattern of brown spots where the seeds caused the pod to bulge.  It doesn’t quite look natural to me, yet every seed pod had that same pattern.

I can’t explain why I like this photo.  It’s not particularly artistic.  It has no striking colors.  I like the framing less than I thought I did when I took it.  The only explanation I can come up with is the aspect of revelation.

The revelation of information I didn’t have before I stuck my lens about an inch from this seed pod and created an image of it.  The subtle stripes of light orange amongst the brown.  The almost black spots speckling the length of the pod.  The brown, dried “string” running around the outside of the pod.  The dipping surface of the pod that then swells again over the hidden seeds.

All of this detail suddenly visible when I couldn’t see it before–not with the naked eye, not with my glasses, not even looking through my lens.  Only seeing the image exposed the mysteries of the seed pod to me.

So, it is not the photo that I love.  It is the experience of having discovered something new to me.  The experience of uncloaking a simple seed pod is not unlike discovering a magnolia warbler for the first time.

It was a bird that had probably been within sight hundreds of times in my life but until the fateful day it perched on a branch outside my office window, I had no idea it existed.  Granted, the Magnolia Warbler is quite a bit more colorful than a seed pod.  But, the seed pod is far more cooperative when it comes to shooting–even with the wind.

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