Ahhh, synchronising the ebb and flow of energy and opportunity! There's a lot to be said for learning to wait for the right moment, as I'm discovering in taking photographs. I have to have the opportunity, the subjects in their best light, and the right conditions. I think I have realised just how patient good garden photographers must be!
I have been itching to get out and take pictures but when I have the opportunity it is so windy! Winter is nibbling at the pretties and whipping all the leaves away... so in defiance of Weather, I've decided to try taking pics anyway!
So I visited a lovely garden in Hobart several days ago, and made the best of the opportunity to learn. Thank you to Minuet, who shared her garden and photographic tips! These are some of the images, after learning the basics of some digital processing tricks. My attitude has changed - just a week ago I thought everything except cropping was cheating, now I know that the decisions made in processing to obtain a 'finished' image are just as much a part of the photographer's sensibilities as taking the raw images. I never thought I would see digital 'enhancement' as a creative process! (Hint: did I not notice it was called "processing"?) Now I hope to process creatively!
I'd like to know what you guys think of these images; any good, bad or ugly feedback to help me understand how to improve:
And this is my attempt at a 'quick' post, because my opportunities to do the deep mental processing and writing have been somewhat scarce lately. :D
dellac said:Oh yes! And on! I fact, due to my propensity to waffle, I have to re-post this response as today's blog.
It's one of the reasons I'm not prolific in writing and posting. When I read something I want to reply to, or have virtual essays of thought on, before I begin to type I have to check my available resources - do I have enough time, will I be interrupted, am I feeling cogent enough... etc ? - then weigh up the costs against any possible return. Don't want to break the bank trying to participate!
Not that it's an odious task to write. I love it. I'm just almost congenitally unable to write a short message. I try. I have another mode, which is something like 'quip mode' (polite term), in which I attempt to say something brief but which is, to me anyway, not serious.
But anyway, if the words start to flow they don't easily stop and I lose sense of time. Then if I get interrupted I have to start the thought process again at the beginning.... As it is, every thought gives rise to tangents I want to follow. But, can't. I mean... must resist!
Ahhhh..... I thought about beginning a blog about discovering the spectrum as an adult, but I worry I don't have the capacity (resources) to post regularly, and there are already some good ones out there anyway. Since plants (and the light shining through them) have been Special Things since my very early memories, and I have such a jungle of thoughts that grow from those seeds, I finally decided to begin mapping that inner terrain from here. This is my trainer-wheel blog.
In the outer world I'm learning to use digital photography to match the clarity and experience of light I perceive subjectively, and (I really hope!) convey the love I experience for my subjects. I am not technically proficient. I expect it will be a long journey!
But it's funny, growing up around neurodivergent folk, I knew we were different but didn't know our kind of different had a name. Not until I had to help my 14 year old son through his own ASD diagnosis. Then the light came on. What still amazes me, is that the world isn't this way for neurotypical folk. How do they survive?
I did read - a lot - to ensure I wasn't just mislead, but I missed Tony Attwood. I'll search out his writing. I decided against a formal diagnosis, because after the process with my son and once I began digging into the lives of autistic folk, I realised I knew more than the specialists I might talk to. I just knew.
It's a little like the taxonomy dilemma we have in botany. For centuries we used evaluations of form and function to create classifications. What is the plant used for? Where does it grow? How does it appear to us? Our concept of a 'species' relies upon an old functional definition. Can they interbreed and produce viable offspring, are they geographically discreet, and so on. NOT ON THE INTRINSIC NATURE OF A THING. Now, phylogenetic revision changes that. We're learning about the true nature of relationships between things.
Anyway, in assessing ASD we rely on an evaluation of dysfunction from the view of observers. Not on the intrinsic nature of a thing. You might guess, I'm interested in The Intrinsic Nature of Things, so I gave the evaluation a miss. In doing so I had to give up a yearning for external validation of all my life's pains. Tough decision, but I made it. :p Might have been a growth moment there.
Upstairs, downstairs? Round and round in circles?
Oh the monstrous inconsistencies of naming! Imagine what Linnaeus faced when he decided to clean up the mess before him! I do enjoy taxonomy; I loved cladistics... I toyed with the idea of becoming a taxonomist and went as far as studying latin for a year to facilitate that. But really, enough mud didn't stick (the teaching philosophy of my latin professor!) and I had become enchanted with geography - the geography of plants, humans, earth, knowledge, experience, perception. Phenomenology. Basically, The Nature of Things. What is real?
A name is a powerful thing because it allows us to share a map. It allows us to navigate.
Change a name, do you change the terrain?
Where am I going? I'm exploring the relationships between plants and all those other features of an idiosyncratic mental garden that have captivated me. Minds are such peculiar things. Do you know that it is now possible to generate maps of neural connections? They're called connectomes. How awesome is that?
I can't generate a literal connectome, but maybe I'm trying to uncover a phylomemetic map of a mind... mine, because, well, I just haven't managed to keep anyone elses long enough in captivity to study! Ok... it's debatable as to whether I have kept mine. Ok, I haven't. It's feral. But it visits me sometimes. When it's cold out.
How can something as fascinating as phylogenetic research lead to so much Disturbance in the Force of Names? Because our prior knowledge was incomplete. What was in the Liliaceae last week, is somewhere else today. (Alas, Gloriosa, where art thee?) And over time as our understanding grows, we adjust our pictures of the world. But steps in phylogenetic knowledge can be jumps. We lose frames and suddenly lurch around where we expected a friend to be, only to find they have been moved way out on some other limb. Isn't it funny when the need to understand the true nature of relationships between taxa clashes up against the need for continuity? If it really comes down to it though, I think that gaining a true picture of the tree of life is more enchanting to me. It's a moving world.
Common names though represent something other than relationships between plants. They represent generations of relationships between human cultures and plants. They are names with fascinating stories. I'd like to explore those too.
I have a feeling I haven't made much sense, but that's me. I'm hoping to develop the discipline to write and post pictures regularly, so I must let things go without the multiple checks and rechecks. Ha, anxiety, take that!
Nerines without a name, but just as sweet.
What is a lily?
When I started growing lilies, somewhere around the 10-11yr mark, it was impressed upon me that only members of the genus Lilium were true lilies. But I was raised in a scholarly, proper plant-collecting lady household. We used proper GASP! latin names and read Royal Horticultural Society journals. We also wore gumboots, pulled stuck calves out of labouring cows, bathed in muddy creek water and had dirt under our nails. This, I thought, was pretty normal.
Apparently, it isn't. Apparently, a lily is any damn thing you wish to call a lily. But a rose is a rose. Unless it's an Adenium or a Hibiscus. Now, there's a limit to the confusion around names I can withstand, because names are Special Things. I'm an aspie, you see, and ask any aspie: we have Special Things. And one of the unwritten rules that the world at large does not seem to understand, is One May Not Violate The Sanctity of Special Things. But! Plants are also Special Things. More than that, they are people. And I want to talk about my people. What am I to do?
Well, I slowly learned that in order to talk about the people I love (Plants) with people who also love Plants, (but weren't raised on the same latin-at-breakfast cereal of life), I have had to call them (Plants!) by any variety of romantic (irony, the Romans spoke latin...) handles. Not that I lack imagination. I love the wild and fabulous imagery of so many common names. I mean... Grim-the-Collier (Pilosella aurantiaca, Hieracium aurantiacum), how awesome is that? Ohhh, taxonomists changing names... obviously, the Name-I-Learned-It-By-First is the Right Name. So let's not go there :p
Umm, oh, right. I later learned to call a Lilium a lily... and I learned to call many other plants lilies. I may cringe inside, but I call them lilies. I'm announcing to the world, I love lilies. All sorts. I also love taking pictures of lilies. Very recently I acquired my first ever 'real' digital camera, and in utter ignorance am out to teach myself to take real photos (except, well, they're not really, are they?)
So! In learning to make digital images of my beloved friends, I managed to get a shot of Nerine 'Gloaming' that I really rather like. Ooohh, I'll put it in the ATP* data base, thoughts I; I want to share it. Search.... plant-specific databases? Nerine. Nerine? Nerine where are you? Do Americans not grow Nerines? Whole sections for, oh I don't know, Anise hyssops? How many different Anise hyssops can there be? But no Nerine. *sigh*
Wait, let's just type in "Nerine"... oh! What? "Guernsey Lily"? "Cape Lily"? "Cape Flower"?
So, what is a lily? A Nerine is a lily, silly. I love lilies.
*ATP, I say! Not, never NGA! ATP stands for Adenosine Triphosphate, without which we would die, while NGA stands for, oh, I don't know... No Good Acronym. So there.