“Hoverfly on Timothy Grass Blossom”
The more often we see the things around us – even the beautiful and wonderful things – the more they become invisible to us. That is why we often take for granted the beauty of this world: the flowers, the trees, the birds, the clouds – even those we love. Because we see things so often, we see them less and less.
– Joseph B. Wirthlin
The quote above really resonates with me. I have often commented about how my brain has learned to ‘filter’ out so much of what I see. Just how clever our brains can be came to light in a very real way a few months ago when I underwent a surgical procedure on both my eyes called an iridotomy. Essentially, a laser is used to drill small drain holes in my irises to prevent pressure build up behind the lense, which is a hereditary trait in my family, and a real issue for me as a photographer.
After the surgery, these small holes allowed additional light into my eyes and caused bright lights to create a secondary ‘ghost’ image. This ‘ghosting ‘ lasted about four week and my brain gradually filtered it out. Now, I can’t see the ‘ghost’ even when I try. The brain is that powerful.
So, I am making it a point to re-see the world around me and try to remove some of those filters. Photography is a huge enabler to the process.
If you look closely, you’ll see the tiny purple blossoms, which are clearly attracting yet another hoverfly. A whole new world is opening to me this summer, as I make images of the flora and fauna in the small meadow at the end of my street.
I’m discovering a complex network of life in this mundane place, which is mundane no more. Even on a quiet morning, the place is alive with activity and colour, you have bt to look for it and once you see it, there is no going back.
It does look odd to the outside observer, as I focus my camera on a stem of grass, but that observer would have no idea of the wonder I am seeing. So be it. Too often I hear photographers saying they live in an area that is boring, that there is nothing worth photographing. Well, this small meadow is an example of just how untrue statements like that are. They have stopped seeing. I am learning to re-see, with the same fascination I had as a child and it feels great.
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/100 sec, f/16.0 ISO 200
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Such a beautiful and powerful message! Thank you! 💚
You are most welcome.
I agree wholeheartedly-there is so much around us that is so amazing!
Learning to see is such a beautiful and powerful tool. When I took up painting, I read that I would need to “unlearn” so many things. We are taught “how” to see things as children in school. Sky is blue, sun a round yellow ball, trees are brown trunks with round green crowns.
Perhaps an over-simplification as it applies to truly seeing in its grander sense.
I have been concentrating daily, for a number of years now,
to learn to see again.
Wonderful post, Ed! Thank you for sharing.