To Look Upon a Flower

To look upon a flower, I mean really look at a flower. 

Every single species of a flowering plant is different. They have different colors, shapes, sizes, scents, and actually different functions and designs. They will grow in different soils; wet, dry, or a mixture, and some will stay dormant in the absence of fire. 

Their leaves are different; some are oblong, straight, curved, thick, furry, and even thorny. On some flowering plants, leaves do not grow on the stem but at the ground’s base, and stems can be round or square, short, thick, thin, or tall and even twisted. Finally, that leads us to the most complex and intricate design created naturally by nature- the Flower.

As I mentioned, not all flowering plants are the same, which means not all flowers are the same. Some are curved, tubular, domed, and many other shapes, colors, sizes, and textures.

Let’s take a tiny dip into botany here. There are topics in botany where it gets complicated, like really complicated. So, for now, I will skip diving into the details for another day. 

Another item added to my list to learn is botany. I would like to be certified as a field botanist because I have a ton of questions, and I love going to different habitats and identifying plants!😏

The simplistic parts of a flowering plant are the roots, stem, leaves, and the flower itself. Of course, we can’t leave out the flower’s essential elements needed to create more flowering plants. 

  • Sepal: The outer parts of the flower that enclose a developing bud
  • Stamen: The pollen-producing part of a flower 
  • Anther: The part of the stamen where pollen is produced. 
  • Stigma: The part of the pistil where pollen germinates. 
  • Pistil: The ovule producing part of a flower. The ovary often supports a long style, topped by a stigma. The mature ovary is a fruit, and the mature ovule is a seed. 
  • Ovary: The enlarged basal portion of the pistil where ovules are produced.

Pollination can occur by self or cross-pollination as well as other forms such as insects, wind, animals, or people.

-Pollinate is to deposit pollen on (a stigma, ovule, flower, or plant) and so allow fertilization

-Self-pollination is the anther and stigma pollinate its own flower. Usually by an insect crawling over the flower

 -Cross-pollination is when the anther from one flower reaches the stigma from another flower of the same species. For example, picture a field of wildflowers, and as the wind blows, the flowers will knock into each other. Some may receive pollination, and some may not

Flowers are at the forefront for many predator insects like crab and green lynx spiders, robber flies, and ambush bugs. Without them, many insects wouldn’t survive, which would affect many other wildlife species. So keep that in mind when you are examining the flower you are photographing.

As a nature photographer and a love for macro photography, flowers are vividly inspiring, and a more prominent subject to photograph than people may believe.

Now it’s time to indulge deeper into photographing a flower and seeing it from a whole new perspective.

You take a photo, it’s a great photo, and you are happy, but are you really, really looking at the flower? Well, if you aren’t, start! Why you ask because you are missing so much stuff!

Why? Seriously, that’s the question you will be asking yourself over and over again. As you begin to take that extra time to photograph a flower, you will become so perplexed. Hence the-Why?

Check out the gallery of photos to get a glimpse of what you may have been missing.

You will also realize that not all of the flower’s reproductive system looks the same, making it even more confusing and frustrating because it is a learning curve for many of us. Do not fret dear photo friends! Photography can be a way to help you learn not only about different ways to ‘see’ nature but help you learn more ‘about’ nature.   

Take your time to examine the flowers. If your camera has live view, use it! Just because you don’t look through the viewfinder doesn’t make you less of a nature photographer. Make sure you have extra batteries on hand because live view mode tends to drain the battery quicker. Plus, having a tabletop tripod is handy as well. 

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a camping stool or a small blanket for sitting or kneeling. It might just make your day more pleasing, and you never know what might decide to land on the flower you are photographing.

I never heard a photographer say, “Gosh, look at that anther!” But when you start browsing through your photographs on your computer, you will say, “What! Why? What’s that for?” And oh, the most common is: “I didn’t even see that.” Remember, insects can be very tiny. They also can blend in with the flower’s coloration. When I was photographing a bracken fern leaf and didn’t even see a mantis staring straight at me less than an inch from the spot I was focusing on, and I was using my 60mm macro lens!

Eastern Silver Aster
Eastern Silver Aster

I believe no one may ever have the real answer on how nature evolves. Let’s all just remember to be mindful and do what we can to protect it, no matter how weird, strange, or odd, these flowering plants can be. They grow where they need to grow for whatever reason that may be. 

Hopefully, this article will have you take another look and see that a flower is more than a flower. It’s not just about the beauty and color it brings to nature; it’s about how you can see beyond that to fill your photographic eyes with curiosity.

Stay safe in your travels.

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