February Week 3 – Stars in the Forest and in the Sky

Feb 3 - Trillium copyWalking into the redwoods on Mt. Tamalpias always provides a sensual experience: the feel of the soft-needled floor of the forest, the smell of the bay leaves, the sounds of silence interrupted by the call of the raven, the sight of everything green and the cool of the brisk still-winter morning air.

Since I don’t take extensive notes of these forays I pay special attention to the few that I have written down.  “April was a bit late for the western trillium. Try next year mid-February.”  Since I was returning to a familiar location I had in mind to present the western trillium differently.

Having grown up in New York I was accustomed to seeing trilliums in the forest that had broad petals some 3-6 inches long.  Or maybe they grew larger in my imagination.  But the western trilliums in the Bay Area seem to be quite small with each thin petal about one or two inches long.

Feb wk 3 - tril 2 copyThey stand only  8 – 12 inches high so you best commune with this exquisite plant by lying down on the ground.

As the trilliums (three petals and three sepals) under the coastal redwoods begin to fade they will go from white to pink to cranberry-ish colors.  This progression prompts me to remember that aging can be seen as beautiful transformations rather than something to cover up, dread and fear.

The first image of this newly blossomed trillium is up close and personal and made with a very shallow depth-of-field so that only a few edges of the stamen are in focus.  I encourage you to enter its beauty through those sharp edges and linger in the soft out-of-focus areas to get a feel for the essence of this plant.  (My tools included a Canon 7D, 100mm macro lens, ring-light flash and tripod.)

Feb 3 - her galaxy webMy second image is called “Her-Galaxy” and started as a photo I made of a detail on the Palace of Fine Art.  I created a double exposure, de-saturated the image and added a filter that is called “snow.”  But I am hoping the white orbs will be viewed as a galaxy of planets. (My tools for this image included my iPhone and a couple of Aps.)

While doomsday deadline is approaching on Capitol Hill, the western trillium continue to bloom on our local hills and the stars in the heavens shine brightly at night.  What do we need to learn from the wisdom of the earth and the vast galaxies around her?

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