Catching the fleeting scenes of many splendored life with a camera.
'Look closely. The beautiful may be small' — Kant

29 November 2012

Geometry of Shadows

Back in my university days my favourite part of Descriptive Geometry (although I basically slept through the course, I still managed to pass the exam with flying colours) was its application for construction of projected shadows and perspective. Shadows provide a great deal of nuances and undertones both in painting and photography, with the former being superior to the latter in terms of subtlety, thus creating atmospheres and moods.

In photography, which is essentially recording patterns of light, shade, and colour (while painting is the individual’s interpretation of these patterns, hence its unparalleled subtlety), "highlights" and "shadows" are the brightest and darkest parts of a scene or image. The challenge for a photographer is to adjust photographic exposure (unless you want special effects) so that the film or sensor, which has limited dynamic range, records detail without clipping the shadows and highlights.

Geometry of shadows. Wicker chair
(© 2012 LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

22 November 2012

Summer Colours, Pink.
Zimbabwe creeper (Podranea brycei)

Podranea brycei or Zimbabwe Creeper is a beautiful climber, native to South Africa that produces cascading bunches of pale pink flowers, with thin lined hairy throats, hanging at the ends of the long, thin stems that grow up to 15 feet. If you lean towards the flowers you'll smell their delicate lemon scented fragrance.
It propagates from spring-sown seed or cuttings and grows rapidly, easily scaling walls or a framework.

A sunny position is preferred although too much heat, as well as too much water and mulchy soil could have a negative effect on the flowering.
At this time of the year it's still in full bloom.

Zimbabwe creeper, Podranea brycei flowers
(© 2012 LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

17 November 2012

Autumn Treats. Pomegranates and Feijoas.

I harvested these delicious fruits while walking around in the local park.
Pomegranate (Punica granatum), is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing between five and eight meters tall.
Native to the area of modern day Iraq and Iran, the pomegranate has been cultivated in the Caucasus since ancient times. From there it spread to the Himalayas in Northern India. Today, it is widely cultivated throughout the Mediterranean region of southern Europe, the Middle East, northern Africa and tropical Africa, Indian subcontinent and the drier parts of Southeast Asia. It was introduced into Latin America and California by Spanish settlers in 1769.

The fruit of this beautiful tree is extremely beneficial for health — in the Indian subcontinent's ancient Ayurveda system of medicine, the pomegranate has been used as a source of traditional remedies for thousands of years.
The rind of the fruit and the bark of the pomegranate tree is used as a traditional remedy against diarrhoea, dysentery and intestinal parasites. The seeds and juice are considered a tonic for the heart and throat, and the astringent qualities of the flower juice, rind and tree bark are considered valuable for a variety of purposes, such as stopping nose bleeds and gum bleeds, toning skin, (mixed with mustard oil) firming-up sagging breasts and treating haemorrhoids. Pomegranate juice (of specific fruit strains) is also used as eye drops as it is believed to slow the development of cataracts.

Pomegranate has been used as a contraceptive and abortifacient by means of consuming the seeds, or rind, as well as by using the rind as a vaginal suppository. This practice is recorded in ancient Indian literature, in Medieval sources, and in modern folk medicine.
A lot of natural remedies would probably do just as well as the pill without its side effects (such as cardiovascular diseases or breast cancer, to name but few), but the pharmaceutical industry would flip its collective lid since that would make it lose part of its succulent benefits.

Pomegranate aril juice provides about 16% of an adult's daily vitamin C requirement per 100 ml serving, and is a good source of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), potassium and natural phenols, such as ellagitannins and flavonoids.
The edible seeds are rich in fibre and unsaturated oils and other micronutrients.
Juice of the pomegranate may be effective in reducing heart disease risk factors.
In a limited study of hypertensive patients, consumption of pomegranate juice for two weeks was shown to reduce systolic blood pressure by inhibiting serum angiotensin-converting enzyme. Juice consumption may also inhibit viral infections while pomegranate extracts have antibacterial effects against dental plaque.

Feijoa or Acca sellowiana, a species of flowering plant in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae, is native to the highlands of southern Brazil, eastern Paraguay, Uruguay, northern Argentina and Colombia.
Not only is feijoa fruit an exquisite treat, but also its pulp is used in some natural cosmetic products as an exfoliant, what is more, the sweet scent of the fruit resembles fine perfume.

Pineapple guava (Feijoa sellowiana) fruits and pomegranates (Punica granatum)
(© 2012 LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

16 November 2012

Geometry of Perspective

Perspective, in the context of vision and visual perception, is the way in which objects appear to the eye based on their spatial attributes. Perspective foreshortening is essential to our depth perception (among other depth cues) —the visual ability to perceive the world in three dimensions and the distance of an object.
Perspective foreshortening is caused by the way the human eye perceives the world due to its physical structure (for example, excitation of cone cells in the retina), and to the optical geometry of light rays (due to the nature of light itself).
As objects become more distant, they appear smaller because their visual angle decreases. The eye is at the vertex of a triangle with the object at its base, so the greater the distance of the object from the eye, the greater is the height of this triangle, and the less the visual angle (Euclidean geometry).

Canopied footway in perspective
(© 2012 LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

6 November 2012

Summer Colours: Red.
Flowering Trees, Flame Tree (Brachychiton Acerifolius)

Brachychiton acerifolius, commonly known as the Illawarra Flame Tree, is a large tree of the family Malvaceae native to subtropical regions on the east coast of Australia. It is famous for the bright scarlet red bell-shaped flowers that often cover the whole tree when it is leafless. Along with other members of the genus Brachychiton, it is commonly referred to as a Kurrajong.

The flowers with 5 partially fused petals resemble baroque lampshades. The pod-like dark brown boat-shaped fruits (technically known as follicles) contain masses of thin bristles that stick in the skin, as well as yellow seeds which are nutritious and were eaten by Aborigines after toasting.
When in full bloom this splendid tree is an expression of joy of life that brightens up any view. If I had my way, I'd plant this tree in every street.

Flame tree (Brachychiton Acerifolius) in full blossom
(© 2012 LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

5 November 2012

Insects. Red-Veined Darter, Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria aegeria), Giant Slant-Faced Grasshopper, Six-spot Burnet (Zygaena filipendulae)

To my eye, dragonflies are nature's idea of a helicopter, although their flight mechanics are quite different (flapping flight vs. propeller flight). Or it's rather the other way round, chopper is humans' idea of a dragonfly. Apart from red, local dragonflies come in yellow, green and blue, glittering in the sun like Christmas tree baubles.

The Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) is a dragonfly of the genus Sympetrum. It is a common species in southern Europe, including most Mediterranean islands; in Africa, the Middle East and south-western Asia including India, Sri Lanka, and Mongolia; Azores, on the Canary islands and Madeira.

Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) male
(© 2012 LightColourShade. All rights reserved)
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