Photographing the milkweed seedpods was a wonderful experience. The process of creating these images was not as I anticipated. I always plan my photographs very precisely. While I grow most of the flowers that I photograph, in this case I collected the milkweed seedpods from a field in the country. My husband and I went out on a fall day and gathered an abundant supply of the milkweed pods still attached to the stems. I took the dried plants to my studio and set up the pods with background and lighting, all carefully planned.
Everything went as expected until the pods became heated under the photographic lights. Due to their increasing temperature, the pods started to open and the seeds were released even before I could complete the first photograph. It was so wonderful to watch the miraculous little structure break open and reveal its incredibly engineered storage of hundreds of seeds, all geometrically arranged within the pod structure. In a few minutes all of the seeds floated out of the pod. Once the process of release started, it could not be controlled or halted. I had a great day capturing on film this small aspect of nature recreated in my studio. By the end of the day I had created series of photographs depicting the release of milkweed seeds from their pods and a studio covered with this delicate bounty. I have dispersed some of the seeds into my garden and the rest I saved to remember the moment.
Daffodils, crocuses, and hyacinths are blooming. Warm days have replaced frosty mornings, and the rustle of nature is apparent. New Year’s Day should be the first day of the year when each person becomes aware of nature’s cyclical rejuvenation.
Photograph of early spring daffodil
William Wordsworth’s poem reflects the mood of spring.
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the Milky Way, They stretched in never-ending line Along the margin of a bay: Ten thousand saw I at a glance, Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced, but they Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: A Poet could not but be gay, In such a jocund company: I gazed—and gazed—but little thought What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood, They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude; And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils.
Plants have universal appeal. Living in an environment rich with botanical life, humans developed a close relationship with the surrounding vegetation, whose nutritional wealth and diversity enabled mankind to thrive. As cultures emerged, people began to perceive and celebrate floral beauty. This aesthetic became a focus for artistic and social expression. We are fortunate to have eyes and intellect that can interpret form and color in ways that engage our emotions.