Zinger

SSA Photography (140 of 400)

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am less comfortable taking portraits of anyone except my son, who is a willing subject.  This portrait, however, is one of my all time favorites.  Zinger was born just as the Red Sox clinched the 2004 World Series.  I was home from college, and I watched him being born to our sweet girl Hannah.  She nipped his umbilical cord too close to him, and he was left bleeding profusely.  My sister took him in her arms and staunched the blood for hours until he healed.  He was hers from that moment forward.  He loved the water, and he loved North Carolina – which is where I found him in this photograph.  We had to say goodbye to Zinger a few months ago, but he will always occupy a warm place in our hearts.

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Iridescence

SSA Photography (129 of 400)

This photograph is a macro shot of an Augochlora Pura (Green Sweat Bee) on a Monarda Fistulosa (a wild bergamot or bee balm).  As the title of the post suggests, I was captivated (and I still am) by the iridescence of the sweat bee’s green head and thorax, and his purple wings that look like stained glass.  This photograph was taken in Brevard, North Carolina on the property of a family friend.  I had to be terribly patient to get this shot, but in the end it paid off with a beautiful capture.

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Oaken Post

SSA Photography (160 of 400)

This photograph was taken in the Pisgah National Forest outside of Asheville, North Carolina.  The hollowed stump was in a grove of chestnut oaks (Quercus Prinus), and the cavity had become a repository for layers upon layers of chestnut oak leaves, where a small seedling was beginning to grow from an acorn, which had fallen in just the right spot.  As I spoke about the ephemerality of nature in the Emergence post, just days ago, I am also astounded by the rhythm and circularity of nature.  In the chaos of the ferns and brambles, an old hollowed stump sheltered and fostered a month-old seedling, which will some day soon overtake the stump and take root itself.

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Stepped Ruins

SSA Photography (107 of 400)

This photograph was taken in Brevard, North Carolina.  The property was once home to a summer camp and hippie commune, and was frequented by Woodie Guthrie, Pete Seeger and their ilk.  All that remains of this cabin are low walls and these steps.  Though I usually opt for monochrome photographs, the colors of the stones were so unique that I did not want to lose them in converting the photograph to black and white.

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Rhododendron

SSA Photography (157 of 400)

This photograph of a rhododendron bulb was one of the first macro photographs that I ever took.  It was taken in Deep Gap, North Carolina (near Brevard and Cashiers) on the property of a very close friend where my family spends two weeks in July and again at Christmas each year.   The word rhododendron is Greek for “rose tree” and counts azaleas among its many varietals.  The beautiful white-petaled flowers on this Rhododendron Maximum (“Rosebay” or “American” Rhododendron) had not yet emerged on the trees on the property, but the compact tulip-like bulbs were ripe to bloom very soon thereafter.

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Pisgah Bridge

SSA Photography (114 of 400)

This photograph was taken in the Pisgah National Forest in western North Carolina, near Asheville and Hendersonville.  The Pisgah, as it is known, is a stunning forest with dozens if not hundreds of waterfalls and scenic trails.  There are multiple creeks and rivers running through the forest, with the Davidson being the primary tributary to the French Broad that runs the length of the forest.  The simple beauty and shadow-play of this stone bridge struck me to such a degree that I pulled off the side of the road to try to capture the chiaroscuro in a photograph. I may have nearly fallen down the embankment, but I got the picture…

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Stepping Stones

SSA Photography (108 of 400)

The first step, my son, which one makes in the world,
is the one on which depends the rest of our days.

-Voltaire

 

This photograph, like many I have posted lately, was taken in North Carolina on a friend’s property outside of Brevard.  The rustic stones are not remarkable in and of themselves, but the thoughts they evoked for me made me snap this photograph as I was wandering the gardens with my macro lens taking pictures of the needles of a short-leaf pine, or the bloom of a bergamot bee balm.  I have taken millions of steps in my life, some far more important than others.  The first step is always the most important, as one cannot fully embrace the others on the journey without a solid beginning.  In recovery, the first step is acceptance, and in grief, mourning; without recognizing the importance of the first step, the others will be shaky at best, and at worst wholly ineffectual.  This is by no means my most beautifully composed shot, nor the most interesting one I have taken, but it is evocative of a life’s journey.  This allusion is what made me pause and even consider the steps, which I had passed hundreds of times before on my way up to the cabin.  As Voltaire noted, the first step we take on any journey is the one which will determine the rest of our days.  I have taken many a first step, some multiple times after failing on the journey, but whether acceptance or mourning, the first step is the foundation upon which everything else can be built.

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