For my birthday earlier this month, my family gave me a new toy: a Nikkor 40mm micro lens.
I developed a hankering for this special glass after my friend Mari at My Little Corner of the World posted a picture of the inner workings of a snowflake.
A single snowflake! I drooled. Not over the snowflake, but over the sort of lens that could photograph a snowflake and make it worth your while.
Never mind that I have no snowflakes to photograph. There are other things in nature that bear up very well indeed under close photographic scrutiny.
As in, you almost feel you've never seen them until you see them this way!
I speak of flower petals and stamens and tiny budding things and raindrops hanging like jewels from the edges of leaves, and of the purple veins of ground cover no bigger than a fairy's pinky fingernail.
In search of these types of photo opportunities, and the weather being particularly lovely, I set out a few days ago for a stroll around my yard.
Out front, to the left of the garage, I concentrated on the infinitesimal tightly-wrapped magenta-colored buds swaying in the breeze on an azalea bush.
Next I crossed the yard so as to invade the inner life of our lush twelve-foot-tall viburnum (snowball) hedge, the creamy faces of which only nodded vaguely to acknowledge me.
From there, I got a bee in my bonnet to capture the breathtaking beauty of our fluffy pink dogwood tree, which stands sentinel at the point where our road makes a sharp dogleg curve.
(Our white dogwood, closer to the house, had a rough spring due to the vagaries of the elements and only produced flowers on the tallest branches. The lower ones are bare.)
I don't know why.
But across the street from our heavily-laden pink dogwood is a white dogwood with so many snowy-showy flowers, it's basically a blizzard of blooms.
Having been under the weather lately but feeling very happy and good in the gentle sunshine, I crossed the street to get all up in that dogwood's grill.
I looked both ways. There was a car coming but its driver was in no hurry and I had plenty of time.
Stepping fourteen inches, give or take, past the curb and into our across-the-street neighbors' yard, I found my nose in the white dogwood branches.
I lifted my camera to my eye and zoomed in on a white petal. I snapped but it was breezy and the branch was moving so I waited.
It was then that I heard the car approaching. And stopping. Behind me.
An unfriendly female voice said: Can I help you?
Not nice! She did not say it nice. You can say Can I help you? nice but she did not. She said it aggravated and annoyed.
I turned around. Can you help me? I answered her question with another question, because I was truly confused. Did I look as though I needed help?
My neighbor (to whom technically I've never been introduced and to whom I have never before spoken, although both she and her husband know TG) glared up at me.
You're taking pictures of my house, she said.
Uh, no, I corrected her. I'm taking pictures of this here tree.
She declined to respond, only powered her passenger window back up and proceeded into her driveway.
Sorry if I offended, I said to her right-rear bumper.
I should tell you now: The lady's not from around here. Hails from way, way up north. And not in a good way.
Sorry not sorry.
So I took my devious skulking trespassing self back across the street and up my driveway and into my house. I closed the garage door. I may have pouted for a moment or two.
I wished I'd said: Ma'am, if you knew anything about photography, you'd know that I wouldn't stand in a tree with flowers practically up my nostrils to take a picture of the house behind it.
I wished I'd said: Ma'am, I can look at your house any time I want by glancing out of my front window or stepping onto my porch. I have no need for pictures of it.
I wished I'd said: Lady, what if I WAS taking pictures of your house? How exactly could that harm or even affect the house, or you? What could I do with those pictures? Do you think anybody would want them?
I wished I'd said: Lady, I go to great lengths when taking photos in my yard, to make sure your house is never in them. So why would I lurk in the dogwood at high noon to capture your domicile in digital?
But I shook it off. Consider the source, I said. Some people aren't happy unless they're unhappy.
I went out back where I gathered a flossy not-quite-blown dandelion and some tiny purple ground cover with its green accoutrement. I also took pictures of the inside of a riotously blooming hot pink azalea.
The stamen tips look as though they've been dipped in mercury!
The next day, it rained a lovely spring rain.
Afterwards, I went into the back yard to capture dripping ivy leaves, that same azalea full of raindrops, and the ruffled petals of a rain-spangled dianthus given to me earlier in the week.
If you come over, I may have to aim my new lens inside your eye! So look out. We'll find just the right light.
And if I trespass by attempting to photograph the brain behind your pretty eye, I'm sure you'll let me know.
And that is all for now. I'd better remind Mr. DeMille that I'm ready for my closeup.
Happy Friday :: Happy Weekend :: Happy April