photo of the week

Propensity for Perfection

Its reproductive work nearly complete, this back-yard gone-to-seed dandelion bloom has done its part to see that the next generation of dandelions sprouts and grows before it is ripped to shreds by a lawn mower.  Even in its nearly nude condition, the dandelion still shows Mother Nature's propensity for organizational perfection.

Looking Around and Down

Sunday, January 5, 2014
Pine Buff, Arkansas

Author’s Note:

This article will be posted online during the evening of January 5 when a big chunk of the lower 48 will kick off a couple of windy, sub-zero days.  Even here in LA (Lower Arkansas), the prognostication for tomorrow's high is a shivering 21 degrees.  Under those conditions it is good to remember that in a scant seven weeks, spring will be in evidence — that is, if the normal seasonal swings perform as they have in the past.  For a tidbit of momentary relief, we are recalling our article of March 25, 2012.  Mother Nature had begun her spring rejuvenation a few weeks earlier and was then moving ahead at full throttle.  See more of that season at Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.

Stay warm and well, 

Joe Dempsey 

a white bloom

A Surprise Discovery

This tiny poesy is a scant 1/8-inch across by my best estimate, despite the size you see here.  It was an on-my-hands-and-knees discovery while shooting a larger wildflower nearby — a get-lucky bonus — but then you had to be groveling first.

Fisrt Published on Sunday, March 25, 2012
Pine Buff, Arkansas

Looking down: A search for scenic splendor does not necessarily require extensive travel.  In fact, using the two primary transportation modes of an infantryman — that is, one's left foot and right foot — on one's home turf can reveal hidden treasures, some so small that stooping, squatting, or getting on one's hands and knees is necessary to absorb the entire visual message.  What you can see is almost always worth the grunts and groans.

spring beauty

Spring Beauty

Until you get up close, Spring Beauties can fool you into thinking they are all white.  Close inspection reveals their variegated patterns.

One sure sign of spring is a yard full of Spring Beauties, the small ubiquitous white-with-purple-veins flowers that sprout en-masse in almost everyone's yard.  They don't last long, but their message is clear:  Winter is over (with any kind of luck).

pink blossom

Azalea Freckles

Check out the azalea freckles, not available for observation from the street or across the yard.

Looking around:  Most yard blooms require closer inspection to get the whole story.  For example, your average solid citizen when doing a drive-by observation will remark on the brilliance of a growth of healthy blooming azaleas and subsequently congratulate themselves on being so observant.  In so doing, they have missed a delightful detail:  azalea freckles.  My more astute horticultural friends probably have a name for these specks, but for me, they are azalea freckles.  They are well worth the extra effort to observe.

Take a closer look.  There's no telling what you will find.  [But for now, gripped by the bitter chill of a particularly cold winter, we'll just look ahead.… knowing that spring will find its way here eventually.]

Photo Notes

Nikon D300, ISO 200, AF Mirco Nikkor 60mm, all. Spent dandelion, f2.8D, 1/320@f5.6; Spring Beauty, same lens 1/50@f14; Teen-tiny star flower, 1/250@f5.6. Azalea, 1/100@f14. Post processed in Photoshop CS5 Extended.


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Step inside the dandelion at
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.
You'll find some small yellow flowers,
dogwoods, and more products
of your friendly local spring season.
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