The flowers, scents and music filled the sanctuary this morning at herchurch in San Francisco. And as adults and children chaotically gathered around a cross made from the trunks of old Christmas trees they transformed it from a symbol of death to a symbol of life. Tulips, Calla Lilies, Iris, Hyacinth, gladiolus, roses, orchids. jasmine, daffodils and other flowers were placed in the hundred or so two inch stables.
Yes, out of chaos came beauty, as from the tomb came life. Organ music, a brass quintet and a women’s drumming circle added sacred sounds to the holy proclamation – that the Christ-Sophia is risen. Mother earth again shakes and trembles and surprises us by bursting forth with life after times that seemed lifeless.
Again close to the earth and ocean this week I felt the life of the great mother bursting forth in multiple colors. The first images that transported me into great joy were among the poppies blooming abundantly at Abbotts Lagoon in Pt. Reyes National Seashore. Indeed, they blossom forth in golden beauty and dance and play in the wind. These are Coastal Poppies.
If you start fairly early in the morning you can see the poppies move from their closed state to opening fully as the sun coaxes them to unfurl. Usually the fog of the night before is still providing water drops.
I was particularly drawn to a poppy that had just one petal left after obviously be chewed up by some sort of bug. But it was not to be passed by because the shape was beautiful and the center gorgeous. I chose a shallow depth of field, using a wide open aperture (f/2.8) to render most of the image soft or out of focus. The extra yellow glow is the result of my 100 mm lens catching pieces of poppy petals close to it.
“Flowering within us this Eastertide: that, opening to new life, we leave death behind forever. Tender of the Gardens of our Souls, Ephemeral One, You are the Perennial who brings us into life eternal.” -Rev. Kathleen Speegle Schmitt, from a portion of an Easter prayer in “Seasons of the Feminine Divine.”
Fortunately a rock crab was enjoying her day on the beach. Using a wide angle lens I was able to get this grand vista. With a 3 stop graduated neutral density filter I kept the details in the bright clouds from blowing out. I used a 10mm lens on my 7D which renders the lens a 16.5 mm equivalent.
A small aperture (f/22) provides for a great deal of depth of field (that which is in focus from the closest to the farthest points in the image). You can view some of my other coastline favorites in my portfolio called “At the Water’s Edge.”
Thanks to Leila France (1917) we can sing the California Poppy Song:
- Poppies, golden Poppies, gleaming in the sun.
- Closing up at evening, when the day is done.
- Pride of California, flower of our state.
- Growing from the mountains, to the Golden Gate!