Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Gallery: Fauna: Coyote, Fire & Fantastic Flora Fotos

Chicano Photography Foto Gallery by Michael Sedano.
(click on foto to see large size slide show)

Fauna • Animal Life
Urban Coyote

This beast and his familia live in the neighborhood. Residents do not alarm themselves at the presence of coyotes, and vice versa. When a coyote spots me on my walkabouts it's likely to cross the street then start to trot as I draw near. See those ears? The better to hear a camera shutter sound from across the wide city avenue. This means I'll get one candid foto of the unaware beast.

Coyote passes by daily on a semi-regular schedule. This his just-before 4 a.m. stroll, unaware someone sits with a lens in a nearby window, passing time in plague-time, not watching for Coyote, but aware of any motion appearing in the picture window.

With the first shutter noise the coyote looks my way, identifies unnatural noise. He swerves across the street engaging his exit behavior, wary of my eyes.

Half an hour passes and the female passes headed in the same direction. I do not have the lens ready for a grab today.

Fauna: Fire

Fire lives. Fire is alive. Fire produces infinitely variable sets of images. Set up the fuel, ignite, flames. No flame has the same shape and color as any other, nor does a flame hold a single form and size, nor last long. Once it's burned itself away no other flame will look like that one. From 1/1000th of a second to 1/1000th of a second, a flame shifts and changes color, shape, intensity, reach. Photographing fire speaks its own name, writing with light, things written with light.

Photographs of fire contain the total essence of that word, photo graph, a thing written with light.

Physicists can wax eloquently on the superheated gas plasmas that give fire its lives. I've probably made ten errors in those three words, "superheated gas plasmas," but damnit, Jim, I'm not a physicist.

As to the claim of life for fire, the photograph below captures not some mere daemon of fire, butt Hephaestus' nalgas making a quick exit from the chiminea. I kid you not. Seeing is believing.

This is Summer, the Solstice has had its dances and the crops have begun to seek the sun. And California's June Gloom persists all day. All day, Casa Sedano burns a fire against the chill.

Fire has life. This fire is noble; I burn hundred-years-old wood ripped out of the skeleton of a South Pasadena home being remodeled from its 1920s spaces. Old growth redwood trees probably went to the mill and got sawed into lath and furring strips. Chunks of 2"x4", not modern dimensional stuff but wood two inches by four inches, not salvaged but Sawzall'd into clean-up. It used to be good lumber. It's good firewood. Some ash will go into the garden.

Copper burns green and blue. Wire scrap made its way into the clean-up pile. I'm happy to see it. Environmentally, burning insulation releases deleterious gasses. It's those gasses that get superheated and catch fire, leaping blue and green flames snaking and winding their way around the yellow orange light of hundred year-old flora, and millions of years-old Cu, number 29 on the atomic table. The mineral comes alive and breathes blue light when it sparks into life.

Flora: White on White, White At Night, White In Color.

White on White. Starry Stigma and Anthers, Epiphyllum

White At Night

The dark phase of photosynthesis happens when there's no light. Which has nothing to do with the wondrous flowers some plants produce and open them only after there's no light. These flowers come in one color, chlorophylless white. At night, the plant doesn't need it. You can see I dropped Botany 1A at the midterm in 1963.

Photographers, however, need light, day or night. And those flowers need photographing.

Twins. Rat-tail Cereus, White and Yellow Night-blooming.

This Rat-tail Cerus produces fat, 10-inch buds that begin to unravel in the light of late afternoon. The flower begins as a fuzzy inconspicuous ball on the spiky ridged pencas. Over a month the bolitas grow into a rolled-up tight trumpet. The tips show yellow color the day the flower opens.

During the twilight and gloaming the flower takes shape, its promise evident in those early unfoldings. When light has completely evacuated the 4th Direction, the flower has opened to its near-fullest. Discerning eyes, or many photographs, see the changes and the stasis. Around 9 p.m. the flower exudes a gentle ethereal perfume, enchantingly indescribably impossible to memorize. Every year, I have to wait until that flower opens all the way once again to breathe its scent. Some years she opens at 1 a.m.

Rat-tail Cereus, White and Yellow Night-blooming.

The near-fully opened trumpet offers photogenic profiles and, with modern digital cameras, ample light over half a minute on a tripod.

A near-full flower. The trumpet flattens as the flower petals spread to their welcoming widest. What night critter she seeks I don't know. Bat? Moth? Ants? A fertilized ephiphyllum produces pitaya fruit. This cactus has bloomed seven years in a row now and not yet a pitaya. She remains uncourted.

The flower now 90% fully opened, the trumpet flattened, the petalia spread twelve inches or more. Pure white petals contrast against the yellow sepals, the outside wrappers of the bud.

The fully-opened flower. The scent creates hypnotic moments, breathing in deeply until lungs can expand to no greater volume, you must stop smelling the perfume.

Illumination comes from a distant garage light. The still night air allows good sharp focus over a minute writing with available light.

White In Color
There's no color at night, so nature decided not to expend energy on the spectacles of daylight showy blossoms. Night-blooming Cereus and other species cactus challenge a photographer to make a sharp picture when there's no light except the stars, the moon, a garage or porch.

Computers write with light and silicon and rare earths down that periodic table. Light means little to the camera's eye. Push the camera's file through a Macintosh iPhoto program and tell it to find certain lightwaves and make them big.

The light is there. The photograph is not real. But interesting in numerous variations. A ver...

What makes it "Chicano Photography"?
See "Chicano bologna sandwich".

1 comment:

Juliana said...

Love this.