Saturday, July 25, 2015


The concept of previsualization in photography is where the photographer can see the final print before the image has been captured. Ansel Adams dedicates the beginning of his first book to previsualization, and is often quoted as saying “Visualization is the single most important factor in photography” - From Graham Clark Photography

I have been driving past this scene for years.  The tree has been there, slowly growing taller and fuller.  Many times I would wish I had my camera with me so I could capture the scene I had in my mind.  Today, June and I were heading that way and I remembered before getting too far from the house.

I really like minimalist photography where a photo will have a single subject with lots of empty space in the photo.  They are very simple photos that can be beautiful.   I imagined the photo with this tree on the top of the hill with lots of sky behind it being the empty space.  

When I made the shot today, the sky wasn't empty but had some pretty interesting clouds, which were not in my imaginary photo.   I took several shot from two different locations.  Some in portrait orientation and others in the landscape orientation.  In the end, I liked this composition best because I could use the clouds on the right to balance the tree on the left.  I cropped off much of the hill below the tree because it didn't really add that much to the photo.  This is a graphic image that seemed to me to be a good candidate for black and white.

Lone Tree
The end photo is not exactly what I had previsualized in my mind.   With the clouds in the background, it doesn't have the minimalist feel I was hoping for.  I still have something else in mind.  I'll just have to keep driving that road and remembering to bring my camera along for the ride.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Ghost Volunteer.

I know this as Indian Pipes.  It’s also known as Ghost Plant.  It showed up in our flower bed this past week, which was a big surprise to me.  I’ve only seen these in the forest, and only rarely. For a big stand, see the last photo taken on Vancouver Island in British Columbia last year.

Indian Pipes

Otherwise known as a Ghost Plant

The plant’s scientific name is Monotropa uniflora.   It might be mistaken for a fungus because it’s white and grows close to the ground.  It’s white because it doesn't have any chlorophyll, but it is not a fungus at all!  It's really a flowering plant-- in the blueberry family! The flower is pointed directly down at the ground, making it impossible to photograph the inside without breaking the plant.  June and I were able to check out a dying flower earlier and sure enough, it is a beautiful flower with orange Stamen inside.  This is one of about 3000 species of non-photosynthetic (i.e. heterotrophic) flowering plants. 

How does this plant survive without chlorophyll??

Like all monotropes it is parasitic on fungi! These fungi feed off photosynthetic trees, and thus the energy ultimately comes from photosynthesis of the tree, passing through the fungus on the way to the Monotropa.  So, this one is getting energy from the Dogwood it is growing under courtesy of some fungus in the mulch.

Indian Pipes on Vancouver Island, BC
You never know what you'll find if you look around!