Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for September 1st, 2020

Zooms, not blooms

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A few other photographers I’m familiar with have recently shown pictures created with intentional camera movement, which often means sliding or swiveling the camera from side to side while the shutter is open. In this post’s pictures I took a different approach, holding the camera body as still as I could while zooming the lens during the time the shutter stayed open. In the first picture I zoomed my 24–105mm lens during a one-second exposure. The vine climbing the rough-barked tree trunk was poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), which caught my attention because the summer drought had turned some of its leaves red.

On the morning of August 19th while it was still dark I went back to the fountain you saw here recently, hoping to get some warm colors in the water at sunrise. Eventually the sun came up but the water never did—at least not by 7:10, when I left to do more-conventional portraits because it was already light out. The visit wasn’t in vain, though, because while I was hanging around waiting I experimented with some more zooms. The next picture, in which I zoomed my 100–400mm lens for two seconds, strikes me as intriguingly mysterious and abstract.

I also looked in the opposite direction from the pond, at the power lines and poles across the road,
which I portrayed in a three-second exposure that conveniently caught the layered colors of dawn:

And here are not one, not two, not three, but four similar and timely quotations from the founding era of the American republic:

“… Nothing could be more ill-judged than that intolerant spirit which has, at all times, characterized political parties. For in politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution.” — Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers, No. 1, published October 27, 1787.

“The common and continual mischief’s [sic] of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and the duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it. It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passion.” — George Washington in his farewell address delivered to Congress on September 19, 1796.

“There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.” — John Adams in a letter to Jonathan Jackson on October 2, 1780.

“If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would rather not go at all.” — Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Francis Hopkinson on March 13, 1789.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 1, 2020 at 4:43 AM

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