|Tellima grandiflora (with a visitor), Miwok Trail, Marin County, February 2015.|
Tellima grandiflora, or fringecups, is one of the gems of Marin County's native flora. Like many, it shows itself in the spring, adding color that is easily overlooked to the woodland understory and streambanks. But upon closer study, one notices a transition in color from the base of the panicle (flower spike) to the top; looking closer, one can see delicate fringes on the tips of its petals. It's kind of a marvel. It is the kind of thing that makes me wonder -- why? Why the detail? Does this help this plant survive somehow? Maybe it doesn't matter; beauty is subjective. But, perhaps it has made it this far in the face of so deleterious a species as the human being because of its beauty. Perhaps it will help save woodlands and streambanks from the pressures we put on their native ecosystem types.
Then again, maybe its beauty has led to it being planted elsewhere in the world, outside of its native range. And, maybe now, like other plants that have performed similar feats, it has become invasive somewhere and loathed by native plant community defenders elsewhere in the world. I am pleased that a quick google for "tellima grandiflora invasive" only yielded results indicating that fringecups is a desired plant that must be saved from invasives.
At any rate, when I encountered a few individuals of this species on the Miwok Trail a few miles from my house, I was faced with a challenge. I only had one lens -- a 90mm. But I wanted to get as close to the flower as possible. I got a few individuals from many angles. On the one below, I took four separate shots and changed the focus as I stood above it. I started at the bottom and began focusing my way up the top. Light was limited and I had no tripod, so I needed to keep my shutter speed no slower than 1/60 second. So I opened up my aperture all the way and embraced my narrow depth of field (could that be a metaphor for something?).
Then, after developing my film and receiving my photos on CD from Photoworks SF, I combined the four images into an animated.gif with the free software PhotoScape. (The animation repeats continuously.)
|Tellima DOF GIF, Marin County, February 2015.|
For the full length HD link to PBS' documentary adaptation of Michael Pollan's The Botany of Desire -- click here.