16aug ~ Lotus coming and going

     Note: with the book off my desk and spending more time
      afield than at a computer, I will from time to time use this
     double image format.  If the images are too large or
      otherwise this email is not a good experience, please drop
      me a line 

Often, when I take a picture… 

When I take a picture, I never know what I’ll get—its sort of like having a fish on the line—its tugging, but you don’t know what it is. You know a lot of what it won’t be.

The first image is one of those.  The flower was too tall to look into, and too far into the pond—besides, the bottom is slippery and I’ve been in this pond before, unintentionally, so using a 105mm macro lens, and the wild abandon of not having to buy film, I held the camera high over my head (like the paparazzi), aimed it in the general direction of the flower, and after a few shots that I could never have immediately accessed with a film camera, I zeroed in on this one.  Mu humility doesn’t keep me from thinking that this is a powerful image.

The internal structure was completely new to me.  I’ve seen lots of pictures of lotus, but not just at the opening to see the receptacle—and never one that looks down at the receptacle. Individual ova. each with its own stigma that sit right on the ovum—no style between them for the germinating pollen to navigate.

There are hundreds of pollen-bearing anthers on hidden filaments, the anthers looking like they have been crimped around the edge, like an pie crust.  If you look at last week’s photo, one stamen, both anther and filament is hanging from the lowest petal of the flower.

What a difference a couple of days make. About 2 or 3 days after the picture I posted on Aug 9th — the one that make me think of Carol Channing’s hair— this is how that same flower head looked, wearing a chic mosquito on her periphery. Only two petals remain, shriveled, faded and behind the plane of focus. And not a trace of the male parts. All of those 15 seeds will eventually separate from the receptacle, rattle around in the sockets, fall out, and be eaten by a duck.  Well, the ducks only get a few of them, but that is the most probable explanation as to how the lotus arrived in our isolated little pond in the first place.

The mosquito is one of those more typical surprises that I find when I get the image on the screen.  You’d think I would have noticed it, but my attention is entirely on focal plane.

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