Friday, 01 June 2018 07:34

New Life in Old

They are one of my favorite flowers on the planet, both for their own beauty and for the feelings/memories they evoke. These diminutive relatives of the dogwood (Cornus florida) travel by the unassuming name of bunchberry (Cornus canadensis), and they are one of the primary ground cover species of the Great North Woods, including the awesome coastline of Acadia National Park. More than this, they were often the subject of Eliot Porter's camera as he explored the Maine Coast; they grace the cover of the retrospective of his work, Eliot Porter. They remind me that in the face of the chaos in our lives, the world is still a beautiful place.

Early morning light was just beginning to peek through the trees when I came on this scene. A focal length of 123mm, still short-telephoto, from a distance of about 3' allowed bunchberry and decaying stump to come together in intimate landscape. An aperture of f/16 provided depth-of-field, and a shutter speed of 2.0 seconds in windless air at ISO 100 gave me an overall medium exposure.

There are many reasons I fell in love with Acadia; this tiny flower is one of the big ones.

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5 comments

  • Comment Link Donald McGowan Thursday, 07 June 2018 13:03 posted by Donald McGowan

    Good afternoon Everyone. Thank you all for joining me for this conversation. I recall the first time I saw the dust jacket image of the retrospective of Eliot Porter's work, published by the New York Graphic Society/Amon Carter Museum in 1987, and titled "Eliot Porter." In that moment the loveliness of the bunchberry, (Cornus canadensis), found its way into my heart. I have often wondered why this species did not come along when its boreal forest found their way down the ridges of the Appalachians during the most recent ice age; but it did not, and when the climate warmed it was left for us to have to make the journey northward to find its springtime beauty in places like Michigan's Upper Peninsula and the Northwoods of Maine.
    Hey John. It's great to hear from you. I trust you've had a wonderful spring, and I very much appreciate your kind comments. With the width and depth of your photography travels, I hope you have had the opportunity to spend time with this tiny beauty; and if not, I encourage you to make some time for it.
    Hi Beverly. Thank you very much for being with us. I hope you've had a beautiful spring season in these old hills, and I appreciate your thoughtful word. A laconic comment will always capture my attention, for brevity is, indeed, the soul of many good things. Walk in Beauty.
    Hey Joani. We will, indeed, gladly enjoy Mount Desert Island on your behalf and wish you and Mark were with us. I can't imagine a more beautiful place on earth in which to begin a life together; and 45 years later it has served you quite well. Hope you are hack on the trails.
    Hi Horace. Your description of the principles and elements of this composition were exactly what drew me to it, and I am grateful for your kind words. There are locations in Acadia that are reminiscent of places in our mountains, and I am always struck by the similarities. Bunchberry is one of those beautiful exceptions that make the Northwoods special.
    Thank you all, again, for your kind responses to this effort. I wish you were going to be with us.

  • Comment Link Horace Hamilton Sunday, 03 June 2018 10:31 posted by Horace Hamilton

    Love everything about this... Composition,contrast of color and texture. Beautiful image.

  • Comment Link Joani Sunday, 03 June 2018 08:32 posted by Joani

    Mark and I began our life together here 45 years ago. We love this place, and its four season beauty. Enjoy for me!

  • Comment Link Beverly Slone Sunday, 03 June 2018 08:20 posted by Beverly Slone

    Beautiful

  • Comment Link John D. Roach Sunday, 03 June 2018 08:06 posted by John D. Roach

    Lovely image....thank you for sharing.

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