A Surfside Accident
Sometimes the best photographs are accidental. Imagine a young sailor on V-J Day in New York City with a random nurse in his arms exchanging an impromptu, celebratory smooch. My pictures lack that level of notoriety, but occasionally, they capture a moment in time equally. In fact, somewhere along the way, I took a photo on the shores of the Pacific Ocean that I thought would aptly capture the setting where I paused to take in the late-afternoon scenery at the end of Mulholland Drive (see Mulholland Drive from December 2011). The image that resulted included a small wildflower in the foreground. How simple. How lovely. How duplicatable. It became a trend that started as an accident, but led me to a theme throughout my visual media.
Scrolling through my favorite images, without much exaggeration, one in four includes flowers. At the very least, they include greenery. While not the primary object of the image, the blooms hold their own against national parks, architecture, bodies of water, and skylines. I will alternate whether the background or the foreground appears in focus, although, I usually take both and decide later, but keep them all. The enormous vista at the Badlands National Park belayed the blooms after a brutal summer drought. A lily at Logan’s Pass (see Went-To-The-Sun Road from February 2012) and a pod at sea level both include water – one a trickle and the other an entire ocean. I cannot resist.
One And Only
My photographic behavior and inclination offer me a gift beyond the images I save for the rest of my lifetime on my external drive. There’s a trope about stopping and smelling that fits in this story. I now look diligently for blooms whenever I am inspired to capture a moment digitally. I’m intent on seeking out the flora, usually blooming in yellows or purples, occasionally with a hint of red, but always with some shade of complementary green. And I stop, and notice, and I savor the simple moment, and the basic blossom, whether awaiting its full glory, or clinging to its few remaining petals. Whether I smell them or not, I stop for the flowers.
Early on the morning following our nation’s independence, I stroll in solitude along the National Mall. The throngs from the previous night left their debris in stacks at the EPA, ironically, and the few blades of grass on the Mall are mashed and mushed into the mud. Even the morning dew cannot redeem the impact of hundreds of thousands of Americans gazing at the fireworks above the Washington Monument. I weave my way across the footbridge to Constitutions Gardens, in name only given the traffic from the previous night, and I find one tiny, bit of yellow – just a weed – which happened to evade the stomping and celebrating of the previous night. No doubt, Americans celebrated last night, as they did in August 1945, and I happened to catch this one little flower remaining after the Independence revelers’ onslaught, capturing a fleeting moment in time.