My earlier spring photographs have been bright and full of color. But today’s photo is more of a pastel, with shades of blue and purple. I was at the spring flower show at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory today. And just as cloudy and gray as the skies were outside, the flower show was full of colors – blues, pinks, reds, and greens. It was a wonderful sight and yet the colors were almost too many and too much. My eye was drawn to this lovely crocus that was stretching skyward and set off by the blue hydrangea behind it. The subtlety of the colors was wonderful and the bit of orange that the crocus threw skyward was the perfect accent color. The blues reminded me of the bluest of skies that we can get after a spring rain as well as the lovely blue lakes that grace the landscape here in Minnesota. So I’m now adding pastels to my palette of colors of springtime.
I’ve been trying to understand why I am drawn to photographing flowers when there are so many other things that one could use as a photographic subject. Flowers are generally available, although in Minnesota they are not in their “own” environment during our snowy winter months, but can be found in the humidity and warmth of a conservatory or a floral shop. Yet just because a particular flower is blooming does not mean that a beautiful photograph can be made of it. The best conclusion I have come to is that I am drawn to color — the bright colors, the subtle colors, the hues and shades, and the combinations of multiples colors together. This photo is of a plant that many people would not even consider growing for its beauty — catmint. It can become big and it can become floppy. And yet in its own way it is a beautiful combination of shades of lavender and purple. Today I found this stand of catmint near some salmon-colored poppies. The two seemed to be subtly and beautifully complimenting each other in the soft and wonderful way that only nature can provide.
The one color that sums up everything about spring is yellow. It’s the color of sunshine, the color of warmth, and the color of daffodils. These bright flowers shine with color and promise and brighten any day. Although we don’t have daffodils blooming outside just yet, I was fortunate to find these lovely blooms at the McNeely Conservatory in Como Park. They speak to me of warmer temperatures, the end of winter, the hope of spring, and the promise of summer.
It’s now been two weeks since I slipped on our notorious Minnesota ice and badly sprained my right wrist. Much like the camellia in this photo, I am starting to emerge from this injury although I’m still seeking some protection as I do so. I realize though, that I’ve certainly learned some lessons from my injury: (1.) Appreciate all the things you take for granted. Until now I haven’t realized all the things, big and small, that I do with my hands. (2.) Trying to do things with a non-dominant hand is not as easy as one would think. OK….I tried to get my brain to talk to my left hand and tell it how to move and what to do, but of course the message wasn’t getting through completely. I have humbled myself many times as I fumbled trying to do simple tasks. (3.) Mindfulness is really important, and not second-nature. I have learned to pay more attention to what I am doing at a specific time. If I’m outside walking, I try to concentrate on my walking — one foot in front of the other. How easy it is to be distracted with thoughts of how cold it is, where I’m going, what I’m going to be doing there, what the roads are going to be like, what I’m having for lunch, etc, etc, etc. Live in the present!! (4.) When walking on ice or slippery surfaces, always carry things in your dominant hand. I read this tip the day after I injured my right wrist. If you have something in your dominant hand and you fall, you will most likely use your non-dominant hand to break your fall. OK, you just might injure it badly, but you will not be nearly as incapacitated as you would be with injuring your dominant hand. (5.) Everything takes longer when you have an injury, and patience is something to strive for. I haven’t been able to tie my boots, put a glove on my right hand, or turn the key in the car ignition without some assistance from either my left hand or from the willing two hands of a friend. My frustration would get the best of me at times. And photographing with a tripod and a dominant-hand injury forces me to slow down — look, observe, envision the shot, and only then do I spend the five minutes to mount the appropriate lens, place the polarizing filter, set the camera on the tripod, adjust the tripod legs, attach the cable release, focus, and then make the image. And just maybe, that’s not a bad thing.