January week 5 – Seeing Red (and Pink)!

Jan 5 -EaredGrebe WEBIn the last post I suggested that you think of a color and then focus on it for the week. Sometimes the color just comes to me, and the fifth week of January was about seeing red.  Maybe it was the color lead-in to Chinese New Year’s, thinking of red for firecrackers and joy and those lovely envelopes that are given and received.

It is still the winter migratory bird season as various waterfowl continue to make their way up and down local coastal areas. The grebes and the coots have flirtatiously bright red eyes.  When photographing birds and other animals the key is to get the eyes in focus and try to photograph them at eye level.  Obviously this is a challenge unless you are able to wade into the water.  But sitting on a dock or beach is a good substitute for wading.

I am envious of the new Canon 200-400 mm lens with the built in 1.4 extender.  It isn’t as heavy as the 500 mm lens, and, in a pinch with well-lit scenes, I suspect it can be hand-held.  However, with a price tag over $11,000, it is way out of my price range.  What is Canon thinking????   So for those of us using a reasonably priced, yet good telephoto lens we just have to find those opportunities where the birds allow us closer viewing.  And on a good day we will see the reds of their eyes.

Right now another pink/white/red subject is the lovely stand of magnolia trees blooming in the Golden Gate Arboretum and scattered throughout the park.  Since we are not seeing many rainy and cloudy days, finding a location in open shade is a good way to acquire even light on the beautiful magnolia petals.

Jan 5 -Magnolia WEBThe unfolding magnolia blossoms resemble the Sufi dance of the whirling dervishes who often clothe themselves in flowing white robes and red conical headgear. Sufi dance essentially rotates about its own axis, and through this movement the dancers experience alternate states of consciousness and mystical ecstasy. Like the heart of the magnolia bloom, the Sufi soul seems to emerge from earthly ties to enter the realm of the divine.

Pink is one of the most common colors for magnolia blossoms. The shade of pink will vary from tree to tree. The flowers may be pale pink to bright fuchsia.  Pink blossoms are most commonly found growing on the saucer variety of the magnolia tree. Even more common than pink are white or cream-colored flowers. These flowers will range in color from pure, stark white to an almost yellow-toned cream. Like all other colors of magnolia blossoms, white and cream-colored blossoms are highly fragrant.

Let us dance with the magnolias and the whirling dervishes for global protection of the environment and for peace!

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