07 Apr The Little Things
Sometimes it’s the little things in life that deserves some attention. Seriously, like… the literal little things. 🙂 It would be nice to always take moments everyday to stop and smell the roses, but rarely do we. We are all guilty of our priorities not being exactly in the order they should, wrapped up in the business of the day, the getting to and from work, the addictive twitch we start forming if we haven’t gotten our facebook fix in the last 15 minutes, the overall obsession to “maximize” our every day. It’s less and less I think we all observe the world around us, the one that surrounds us from all angles, yet our noses always pointed into some form of a glowing screen, regardless it’s size, has become our world. “Why go walk around in the local woods and check things out when I can just google it!?” People from the PNW bitchin’ cause it rains so much… really, as if you aren’t going to be consumed by your electronics regardless of the precipitation conditions. You’re not foolin’ anybody, so shut your yapper and get back to tweetin’ your pals about what you just had for lunch. I kid, but seriously… I think we call could use a little less networking and a little more fresh air.
It still amazes me, the things you can capture with a keen eye and a macro lens. It brings viewers into a whole other world, where insects can lift 100 times their body weight, fall off a ledge 100 times their height and walk away just fine, and have the ability to fly. It’s like a micro world of super heros. The plant life is also equally amazing, every specie finding a way to make it through another day, no matter what mother nature tosses its way. To see all this cool stuff all it takes is keeping your head down, not looking at a phone, but at the world you are walking past, over, and on top of. Heck, we probably unknowingly step on more bugs every year than we stop to pay attention to.
On one particular occasion for me the other day, it wasn’t really keeping my head down, but more just like I got lucky when my eye caught something. The late morning sun was casting itself onto the concrete steps outside my kitchen window. Steps which had an accumulation of moss, which was bathing in the warm light. The moss was backlit (from my angle of view), and it put off this glow my direction. Now, I’m no plant life expert so I’m going to be worthless when it comes to explaining this thing, but this moss had these little red-tipped stocks growing out of the green base which gave me a cool visual to capture. I snagged the camera and slapped on my macro lens to take advantage of the light hitting this plant just right.
I’d obviously seen moss before, knew it was green and all, and maybe I could say that I guess I’ve noticed little thingers growing out of it, but I’ve never really paid any attention to it, i mean… come on, it’s moss. Well, this guy had all kinds of thingers sprouting, and the light really exaggerated it, a plant that I would have never paid any attention to otherwise.
I got real low to photograph this guy, which the steps made easy for me to get a ground level POV. So what you are seeing are the little stalks (thingers), sprouting out of the moss. The light really making the colors pop. To give you a sense of scale, I’d say that the stalks are between 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch tall.
Depth of field (the depth of what is in focus) is typically very shallow in macro photography, a common theme since you are so close to your subjects. It really played to my advantage as the stalks in the foreground and background blurred very quickly, yet painted fun colors into the composition. Imagine if you will, a set of stairs, the moss halfway ducking out of the light because of the angle of light and the stair above it blocking the light. So you have half of the moss in very bright light, the other half in shadow. Playing with both the light and shadow areas, and focusing the lens on different parts, you can dramatically change the composition
The photo at the top of the page is mainly focused on the front of the moss patch. The later photos have the focus adjusted further to the back, the camera was not moved at all, nor did the lens zoom change. As the focus transitions from the front of the moss (where all the light is) to the back of the moss (where the moss is in shadow), the foreground moss takes on almost a flame-like appearance. Bright red and orange blurs give away to darker green tones, which adds quite the color contrast to the photos.
So, Matt, what’s the whole point of this blog post? There isn’t really one I guess. If anything, take away from this post that photography subjects are all around us all the time. The pile of moss looks like a menace most hours of the day, more of a slipping hazard than anything, but in the right light it looks kinda cool. I’m sure there are all kinds of interesting things around your living space, but a lot of the time it’s just waiting for the right kind of light to make it come to life. Sure, I took the time to actually write a whole post on a lump of moss that lives on my stairs, but at the same time… I wrote a post about moss on my stairs, so that’s gotta count for something. It doesn’t always need to be the big important things that only deserve for you to stop and take a photo of it. Sometimes stopping to smell the roses can create some pretty fun photographs too.