What I See

– Posted in: Garden Design, Garden Photography

Where do I begin to describe the wonders that I see?  My world is new and changing daily.

The following set of photos were taken a few weeks ago, between the two eye surgeries.

I began with this Camellia sasanqua ‘Apple Blossom’ quite by accident because at first I simply had to get outdoors, to get some fresh air, to escape the dreary thoughts and worry that accompanied my fear when first eye surgery did not work.  I worked the garden.  I clumsily planted a few things and began warily to look at things with my blurry left eye.

Whether or not it can be explained by the Nitrous Oxide bubble in my eye, I could see virtually nothing.  I small branch of the Camellia swatted me as I lurched through a shrub border.  “Hey!”  Was it scolding me or inviting me ? I put my face completely up to this white flower and its yellow stamens to drink in its delicate scent, rubbing it against my eyebrow feeling like our sensuous and languid Beatrice the cat, who rubs my pant leg to invite her meal.

I was apprehensive about getting my camera, but knew I must.  It was a moment I needed to record or I would forget the scent, forget the gray color of white, forget I could see a hint of the red on the lip of the petal, forget I was forgetting my troubles.

I used my little G11 camera.  The very model my great friend David Perry allowed me to use in a shoot-off we had in Seattle a couple years ago.  It has a wonderful swivel back that allows you to hold the camera at funny angles and still see the screen.  And it shoots Raw.  I am giddy with its potential.

“What can I see ?”  I was determined to study my condition with the camera.  With two eyes, one good and one bad, it became an exploration of perceptions.  I needed to put my face really close to something for my left eye to see anything but the right eye couldn’t quite understand this new perspective.  Nor could the camera capture it.  But this is where PhotoShop excels – changing reality.  Or creating reality as the photographer wants it presented.  The Camera Always Lies.

I put my face into my Magnolia campbellii and looked down at the leaves on the ground.  The leaves had little color looking through the gas bubble in my eye, and the camera captured way too much in focus, no matter what setting I tried.  And the leaves on the ground looked watery, due to the dual vision I suppose, but there was no way the camera was going to give me what I saw.

But I knew what I wanted to get.  I could previsualize what I knew what PhotoShop could do – so I took a bunch of pictures not sure what was in focus.  I could hardly tell anyway.  It turns out the most important thing was to have the foreground soft focus so I could play with the rest in PhotoShop Layers.

leaves Magnolia campbellii, viewed with m'eyes recuperating, enhanced photoshop

I won’t go into the details here but, and I hereby announce, I now have my own blog.  I have been telling myself for years I should have my own blog, but wondered how I would fill it up beyond my twice monthly postings here on KapliPRO.  But now I have so much to say.  I am exploding with new ideas.  In my next post here I will let you know where to find my personal blog, but these are the teasers.

pink flowers Camellia sasanqua 'Kanjiro' for m'eyes recuperating

Camellia sasanqua ‘Kanjiro’.  ‘Apple Blossom’ made me start this process, but I need strong color.  I also need a bigger scale to show the real affect.  Can you tell the center of this photo is softer than the edges?

In this one it is more obvious:

pink flowers Camellia sasanqua 'Kanjiro' for m'eyes recuperating

And simply an in-your-face composition with a leaf adding a dominant counterpoint.

pink flower and green leaf of Camellia sasanqua 'Kanjiro' for m'eyes recuperating

And just a lovely, lovely pink:

pink flowers Camellia sasanqua 'Kanjiro' for m'eyes recuperating

The last two photos here, of Dogwood leaves, were taken the same day as the others, but are not exactly what I saw.   I have enhanced them with the knowledge I now have from photos taken just in this past week.  The photos I have taken recently, since the big surgery, have altered how I remember.

fall leaves of dogwood tree, Cornus florida for m'eyes recuperating photoshop

I can not explain what I am doing or what I see.  I don’t have the words today.  But I have lots of new photos and my world is changing daily.

fall leaves of dogwood tree, Cornus florida for m'eyes recuperating 2 photoshop

My eyes are seeing dualities I never recognized.

narrow crack of focus,fall leaves of dogwood tree, Cornus florida for m'eyes recuperating

More to come.  I am in the garden every day recording new perceptions, and my sight should be “normal” in 4-5 weeks.

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Saxon Holt

Saxon Holt

Saxon Holt is the owner of PhotoBotanic.com, a garden picture resource for photographs, on-line workshops, and garden photography stories. An award winning photojournalist and Fellow of The Garden Writers Association with more than 25 garden books, he lives and gardens in Northern California. PhotoBotanic - Garden Photography online at www.photobotanic.com. https://photobotanic.com
Saxon Holt

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