Cobweb/Leeks (Estimation)

Cobweb/Leeks I (Estimation)

What are you photographing?

I have containers outdoors filled with sempervivum (“live forever” or “house leeks”), and a mix of sedums. Sedum album ‘Murale’ is in bloom now. So, I thought I would photograph that.

Taken by the delicacy of its bloom against the coarse sedum and sempervivum, I varied my depth of field and my exposure until the flowers floated above their environment. (This purely rational, analytical response is “common sense”, or “reason” in action.)

As often happens when I begin to photograph a subject, I become more aware of other details.  Some are distractions. Some point to more picture opportunities. Today, I noticed a thread of spider web clinging to the flowers.

I began to photograph the web, loving its delicacy even more than that of the white flowers.

Thinking about our camouflage exercise, I sought the spider. When I saw him lurking in a photo I’d already taken, I jumped a little.  I spent my next two dozen shots reframing the spider, hoping he would remain camouflaged, yet become suddenly visible if you looked long enough.

Now, thinking about delicacy and camouflage, I built a photograph with layers of delicacy: the ghost of my initial idea (the white flowers in the lower left corner);  the muted colors; the veil of fragile web; the drops of moisture and dust; the spider in all his intricacy; his airy perch; the downy hairs of the sempervivum leaves; the soft repetition of form and color becoming a starry web of another sort.

In this way, the photograph becomes less about an object, and more about recreating my discovery so that you could share in the experience.  (I may go back later today, and if the spider cooperates, work with artificial lighting to enhance the effect, now that I know what I’m trying to create.)

What are you photographing?

Cobweb/Leeks II (Estimation)

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