Photo 101, Day 16: Treasure + Close-up
There are times when what we want is not what we are able to achieve. Take the photos on this post, for instance. The assignment: find the treasure(s) in a close-up. There was not a whole lot of coices for me today to photograph. It was one of my stay-at-home days because of migraine-induced visual perception problems. The pets would not cooperate for a close-up, and so I attached the macro lens and went out to see what I could find among my sun-burned and heat-stoked plants on the back porch. Somehow, the caladiums managed to continue growing into this heat wave–well, not exactly a heat wave as such; it’s always horribly hot in the summer in the Caribbean. If you can’t be nearer to the beach, you simply roast. There are no two ways about that. Even the cats decided to stick around in the air conditioning, which they generally hate. But allowing me to take a photo of them? Well, that was a different story.
That the caladiums are still setting out leaves on days like this, therefore, is even more amazing, as they are not heat lovers, and prefer the milder winters we have here. By now, I should have had–at the most–sprouts letting me know where next year’s plants would spring up. Usually, by February and March, I have pots of gorgeous colorful heart-shaped leaves. But this winter was a bit warmer than most, and it was a bad winter for the family all around, especially for me…and somehow the plants were neglected for long enough that the usual late-winter to early-spring color blasts were more like scraggly spindles with oddly-shaped leaves.
Part of the heat was not the weather itself, though. I hope to get a chance to show you the wonderful view we have in this condo of the ancient back of the casino next door to the gated community some day. But not today.
When we moved here, there were plenty of trees and tropical plants hiding the less glitzy side of casinos–not just on the island, but everywhere casinos spring up. There are the tourist scenes, and then there are the back streets and alleys behind the buildings with the beautiful facades. For us, we hadn’t realized what our view actually was until all the trees between us and the casino behind us came down. The worst part is that the casino air conditioner exhaust is even with our sliding glass door. When they cut down the curtain of trees and wild plants at the request of our community power base, it left our home exposed to tremendous heat from the climbing morning sun and the exhaust from the casino A/C. I like to have fresh breezes coming into the house, but with the trees gone, the doors were shut tight, and the plants were forgotten too often. I was lucky to get any color at all from my caladiums.
So when a poor little neglected plant set out beautiful huge green marbled new leaves during the past week or two, I was delighted. That the colored plants also set out some leaves was a gift. And I decided to get up close and personal with them with the help of my macro lens. Because there was a bit of a breeze today while I took the photos, you an make out the mysterious objects in the background that look suspiciously like fingers trying to shelter the leaves from a breeze that followed a mid-day sprinkle. But the color is sensational, and the variation caught by the lens was, to me, something glorious. Not the best shot in the world, but a delight to me.
Then I zoomed in on the green and white plant next to it that gave me the illusion of stained glass windows in a cathedral, even though they are only green and white. The interesting patterns that fade so quickly from the point of focus when using a macro lens intrigued me nonetheless.
I love the patterns formed by the leaves, and although this is far from the best shot i could have taken, the rain began to fall again, blowing onto the camera, and generally making me fearful of the circuits shorting if too much water decided to be carried in by the wind. At some later point, I’ll take more and better shots, maybe using the regular lens and a zoom rather than the macro lense. But I’ve always found treasures in the simplest things, and the patterns on the leaves of these glorious plants is one of my simple pleasures.