A project I undertook in 2012 to share one photograph I took each day of that leap year. The subjects are diverse and show the development of my own photographic skills as I learned how to use my camera and compose photographs as I wanted them to be seen and enjoyed.
One of my favourite subjects to photograph is the magnolia tree outside our back door. It is beautiful in flower, but equally intriguing and beautiful are the seed pods. In my 366 project I featured photographs of it more than once and here is one of them (with a bonus image).
October 25, 2012 – 298/366 – *The Magnolia Candy Monster
I have lived with this magnolia tree in our garden and walked past it many, many times a day over the past 15 years. It is just outside our door. Every spring we have admired and photographed the flowers. Every day in the spring and summer, I have refilled the bird bath/drinker that sits in the shelter of its broad green leaves. Never before have I noticed this extraordinary display of the appearance of the seeds as I have today. I have not done anything to the colour of this. It is just as it is. Polka dot pink with bright red, almost clashing berries. And see the strange appearance like eyes in different places. How astonishing that we don’t see these things when they are right under our noses, don’t you think? And aren’t they wonderful when we do, finally notice them?
I took two photographs that I liked of magnolia berries, but will post the other in a separate post, as the 366 project is only one a day and this one was chosen for this project.
This is image #297 for my participation in the Creative 366 project on Google+
Here is the additional image I took of magnolia seed, in closeup detail.
I have been watching these plants with their seed heads for some time, as they were along the side of one of the paths that Joni and I take on our walks. My friend Linda and I walked it together a week or so ago and she told me that she has also been curious as to what they are.
She said that the flowers only open for a very brief period early in the morning (which was why I had never observed that 😉 ). She also said that most of the heads simply shut up and die. Only a very few turn into these large and intricate seed heads which are very similar to dandelions. But these are much larger, about 3" across. And the stems they are on are between 2 and 3 feet high. I have no idea what they are, but I am really glad that I photographed this specimen as the other day an over enthusiastic village worker went through and mowed down all of the wild flowers and grasses next to the path, including these. So they are all gone.
'Civilization' Fights Back
The field that I photographed the other day (https://plus.google.com/105804664540125819976/posts/fd6X1K1A4ZA) has also been mown completely flat. All of the wild roses, all of the lupins, all of the tiny wild strawberry plants, the milkweed flowers – monarch butterfly nurseries – as well as the wild blackberries have all been cut down and destroyed. I guess the village was threatened by all of this natural beauty. I could have cried. I am only glad that I caught it with my camera before this happened.
On the same walk with my friend Linda, she (without her camera) spotted this preoccupied pair. I wonder where that spider's web is leading, too, but think that it would have to be a brave spider to interrupt these two. I was particularly intrigued by the 'eye' spots.
That's tropical storm Arthur, in case you wondered…
For those who are wondering what the destruction was like and why it took so long for power to be restored to so many customers in the Maritimes, I thought I should post this picture. (Again, out of order, but who cares? Not me.) There were many downed power lines and phone lines caused by the huge number of trees that fell. This translated into a loss of electricity for up to 5 days (see +Steven Kennard's post here https://plus.google.com/104584322313471697637/posts/AnJXk24VAnh for exactly what that means in this region). A good friend of ours even put his back out badly hauling water for his family from a nearby stream. Roads were blocked by fallen trees and the loss of telephone land-lines put at risk those people who have no mobile/cell phone coverage in their area (quite a lot near us) and the elderly or those who choose not to have such phones but might have been in need of medical attention.
Power and the phones were restored, but in seemingly random ways. One family had the electricity restored to their house but not to the one next door. So they ran an extension cable to 'lend' electricity during the outage. Our neighbour called to offer to share his generator with us, if we needed it, to keep our fridge and freezer from thawing. People helped each other and got on with life as best they could. Now comes the cleanup. _Oh, and don't touch the red wire! 😉 This was taken the night of the storm when there was a lull.
I was walking at the edge of this field a couple of weeks ago when this rich array of wildflowers drew me to walk right into the middle of it. There were lupins of white, purple, blue and pink, white and red wild roses, and so many more flowers that I couldn't name. All of these were crawling with beautifully marked spiders, insects, tiny butterflies and bees. Now and again, underfoot, there was a crumbling bit of concrete which was the only evidence that a school, complete with large parking lot had stood there only a few short years ago. It reminded me of the poem by Shelley, "Ozymandias" which has the line "Look on my works ye mighty and despair". (link to the poem below for those who don't know it).
The earth has such wonderful restorative powers that it quickly produces great beauty and fruitfulness in places formerly occupied by dull, ugly and heavy concrete structures. Such healing of the scars left here really touched me.
This is for my friend Levy, who tells me that she reads all of my posts and loves them, though she is not on G+ herself. Thank you for that, Levy. This is for you.
I have got myself into a downward spiral of not publishing my photos. They might not seem 'good enough' or it might be that I don't want to show one more floral image, or I might be too tired (most frequent) or it might be too late. Whatever the reason, I knew I had to break the cycle and just upload and share. This peony, one of my favourite flowers, was resting on the path, so splendid in its unfurling pinkness, so sweet in its wonderful perfume, it too easily might have been trodden underfoot. It's just as lovely as those standing proud above it. So (for my friend Joyce) here it is. 😀
I’m completely out of order here, but … hey! It’s my project and I’ll do what I want! 🙂
Today was Joni’s first day at the beach. It was hot and sunny and Arya’s owner called to see if we wanted to bring her down to play with their dog (1 year old) and introduce Joni to the ocean. The tide comes in at a terrific rate here and we had to time it before high tide, when the beach disappears completely under water. We all had a great time, with the two dogs playing and swimming in the waves and rolling about in the sand. When, after only a short time, we looked up, we had become cut off from our escape route back up the beach. After soaking my shoes in wading through the shallowest part of the water, I had to scramble up onto the rocks to work my way around the shore back to the exit. Joni went through the shallows below (which were not too bad, just too deep for shoes) and we met up at what remained of the dry part of the beach, making our way up to the boardwalk where the cars were.
Here you see Joni (left) with Arya on the right. Aria was obsessed with catching the Frisbee, Joni was just obsessed with having fun. And with catching Arya. I think I probably got a bit sunburned. I’ll know later. 😀 Incidentally, there was plenty of room for us all on this beach – people and dogs. There is no overcrowding on our sandy beaches.
Thanks for all of your great comments. I will get to them as soon as I can. Life is so busy just at the moment and summer is too short to spend longer than I need to at the computer.
This flower, from a wild blackberry just seems like a tiny world, so much going on, the closer you look. And this holds the promise of fruit for the summer. It's going to be a good year for them as they are everywhere in the hedges and at the edge of the woods. Plenty for the birds and us to eat and freeze.
Sometimes you just have to get down at ground level and look up to see the best things. These hang their heads and so the only way to see them and appreciate their full beauty is to do just that. I love Aquilegia, (Granny's Bonnet, or Columbine). These grow randomly in our gardens and self-set in clusters that surprise us early each summer.