Seedy Clematis II

Yet again I have stopped to photograph the clematis seed heads at the end of a morning of photography along the Harling Point waterfront. They are just down the street from my house so I often pass by on my way back. This was on Friday, after taking some long water exposures at sunrise (which I expect you will see some of later this week), and then the lichen-on-chimney shots that I started showing yesterday. I had set my tripod down at the end of the driveway and was photographing from behind the hedge when my neighbour walked through the gate that passes beneath this clematis. I gave her quite a fright I am sorry to say. She had come to see why there was a tripod in her driveway and move it to a safer location until the owner came back for it.

She told me a funny story of how a photographer relative of hers was visiting recently and how he was in the garden along the fence line trying to get pictures of berries, causing the neighbour to call the police, thinking he was a voyeur. Urban photographers face such different hazards than the nature buff who tries to capture a mountain goat on the side of a cliff lit by the polar lights while being hounded across a steep and pregnant avalanche chute by a pack of wolves with a ski harness about to give way and unfeelingly dropping minor body parts, such as ears, as frostbite sets in. Rough as that kind of shoot is, and tough as they certainly are, at least wilderness photographers don’t have to contend with gun-toting police, radios and Kevlar crackling with menace, breathing heavy fumes of coffee while on a mission to keep a sleepy municipality clear of vermin like them.

Ouch (shakes head). Not sure what happened just then – intracranial aurora perhaps.

Getting back to my reality – I have posted pictures of these seeds from this same plant twice in December – Seedy Clematis and Clematis Seed. I find it interesting to watch the seeds slowly deteriorate through winter, although they retain their beauty and fascination and are an awfully fine stand-in for blossoms. I can’t believe that they have survived last week’s storms so well, nor a couple of months of winter.

I had never looked at clematis seeds closely before, let alone as a ‘longitudinal’ study, so this is another example of the benefit of viewing the world through the eyepiece of a camera. Notwithstanding biting frost, canids and ursines.

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Canon EOS 5D Mkii, Canon 50mm/f1.4 lens, ISO500, polarizing filter. Top: f16, 1/100th. Middle: f4.5, 1/160th. Bottom: f8, 1/200th.

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26 thoughts on “Seedy Clematis II

  1. I totally share your feelings on authorities and their effect on urban photography. Not all of us are up to nefarious deeds; some of us are busy creating art… nothing more! Great set of shots here, my friend, I will never look at the Clematis the same again that’s for sure! Great captures, I loved them all.

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    • Hi Toad – I suspect that you are sometimes “asking” for the authorities to intervene in your art by being in places they would prefer you stayed out of. But you get great shots, like your recent series from the abandoned Tillicum Lodge.
      I too will always have a different view of Clematis. It definitely does not stop with the blossoms.

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  2. “… breathing heavy fumes of coffee…” Hahahaa, you totally crack me up! Lucky for me (as I knock on some wood), my dealings with the local police force has been kept to a minimum. I will say that I have had a few stop and watch me for awhile, other than that, nada (whew)! These images immediately made me think of Dr. Seuss, perhaps the hair on Thing 1 and Thing 2, or (more likely) the tree’s in The Lorax…either way, brought back some good childhood memories of reading, thanx! 😀

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    • Hi David – they do have a Dr. Seuss air to them. I wonder if he was inspired by things in nature – you would not think so on first glance, but perhaps parts are from the more mundane world and that is what makes them resonate?

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    • Thanks Ryan. Glad you like the story as well as the photos. I was amused to be told the story, I doubt I would have been had I not been carrying a big camera like my neighbour’s visitor has.

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    • Hi David – thanks 🙂 I am poking fun at myself in all this – I have a tendency when describing local outings that are a bit uncomfortable to make it sound like far more of an adventure than warranted. Compared to getting out to take some of those nature shots in remote places I really have nothing to complain about, police included. Besides, I hate needles so getting the testosterone shots 😉 first pretty much precludes that kind of photography for me.
      The big risks of urban photography probably come from some of the people that might not like having their photos taken, especially those that are unwell and living on the streets. I almost never take people photos, so that manages that risk.

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    • Thanks skadhu – I try not to have those too often, they can shine light into corners that are better off in shadow. Especially so when writing memos at work, or even email to colleagues.

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  3. These shots are superb. All of them.

    Taking frequent walks with a camera to the same places gives you a new perspective of how nature cycles. Funny how walking without the camera changes how we see things, but it does. We don’t take the time to really look at things most of the time unless we are thinking about how we’ll shoot it.

    I’ve had a few encounters with police wondering what I was doing, but most of the officers in my small town know me now and just view me as an eccentric instead of a criminal. I miss a lot of great shots with people though because I don’t want to risk getting slugged, but I’m becoming more aggressive in my approach. I’ve found most people will at least tolerate me photographing them and many are flattered that I have interest in what they’re doing.

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    • Hello Doug – thanks for your compliments 🙂 Too true about walking with and without a camera – driving too. Small towns police are usually more personable, and stick around long enough to get to know you. Except for many parts of Canada which are served by the RCMP, a federal police force, who don’t want their members to become too integrated with a community (!?!?!) and swap them out every few years.

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