* * * *
Photography’s gift isn’t its ability to show the world we already know, photography’s gift is its ability to reveal a world we haven’t imagined.
I found this poppy on a visit to Point Reyes about nine years ago, just one of thousands sprinkled among a collage of swaying wildflowers. Before this day I’d aborted any attempt to photograph poppies that hadn’t yet opened to the sun, but with the fog showing no sign of lifting, I dropped to my knees for a closer look at this poppy furled tightly against the morning chill. Despite all the visual activity to distract my eyes, my camera distilled the scene’s kaleidoscope of color a single poppy’s buttery swirl.
With an extension tube and 100mm macro lens, my camera provided a far more intimate view than my eyes were capable of. Setting my aperture wide open, I focused on the poppy’s outer edge and blurred the rest of the poppy to liquid gold. The resulting image was nothing like what I saw on my hike that morning, but because my camera’s reality is no less valid than my own, I now know poppies just a little better than I did before this image.