Monday, February 04, 2008

Surprise #1 or #2

"Surprise #1"
Proboscidea parviflora
Devil's Claw

"Surprise #2"
Proboscidea parviflora
Devil's Claw

The surprise is what striking portraits I think these devil's claws make. Their latin name, Proboscidea, means "like an elephant trunk."

I pick up all kinds of seed pods while out on photo safaris, including the likes of these sharp devil's claws and even cockleburs. Apparently sometimes I don't always get them all home: fingertips have accidentally found some left behind under car seats. (Sorry, Donna!)

The Have Camera Will Shoot suggestion of "surprise" is from a dear friend of mine, Ria who submitted it to me via email. She doesn't have a blog (yet). Ria and I met in Brummana, Lebanon in the summer of 1974. (Sheeze. You know you are old when that just doesn't seem all that long ago.) Sadly, after the war, we lost touch. But God bless the Internet! And, of course, God bless girlfriends.

Photo info --
These are "staged" photos, taken tonight at home on the kitchen table. I ironed (only half-heartedly) a white sheet for the back drop. I used the one lamp I have that is still fitted with an incandescent bulb and pointed it indirectly. Both were taking in B&W setting (rather than taking in color and then converting to B&W). I resized for the blog, sharpened at 50%, and did an Auto Contrast, and then a fade down to 50% on that as well. On photo # 1 I did some playing with the curves. When I saw that almost tintype-look I liked it and kept it.


Sweet Irene said...

Oh, I am the first one to comment!

I am picking number one, because it technically is the best photograph.

It seems like an alien sort of creature that hitchhiked home with you after it landed in the prairie somewhere. No, I guess in Texas you don't have a prairie, do you? I mean out in the bush somewhere, the great outback that is the state of Texas.

You sure do have some very strange vegetation there and so large too. I guess it is true what they say about everything being larger there. Mmm, that makes me hungry for a big T-bone steak...

Neda said...

Debi, I owe you an apology. When I was in Beirut, your blog took very long to load (like all blogs with photos I guess) and I was unable to comment. I congratulate from all my heart for your baby's new baby. How lucky to be born in such a great family.Wish I could just come over and hug y'all!

I will try to catch up, my dear friend :) Good luck with everything!!!

Bobbie said...

I like #1 because of it's graceful curves and the little hummingbird-like beak. #2 seems almost like a skeleton, which it is anyway :) I like it that they are both done in black in white.

Anonymous said...

From Jesus to the devil - both b& is strong compositon = almost beetle insect like scientiifc splendsor and two has an amazing longhorns shaddow.

I take one by a short hair.

I am going Anonymous, baby....

D.C. Confidential said...

These remind me of a horrible little artifact my Texas-born grandmother has had hanging in her kitchen all my life. I think this plant, some glued on feathers, and corn for eyes were thrown together to make a Texas Tse-tse Fly. Glad to know where that awful little bugger came from!

As for these two pictures, I think I like no. 1. And I love your technique! I do the same thing: a sheet and a lamp. It works, right? Nice job doing a staged piece, Debi!

Anonymous said...

Hey! What a surprise-- (LOL!) Love how you turn such a humble little briar into an extraordinary sculpture, and the shadows it casts. Been thinkin about you, and that little grandbaby.. I'll call you. Sure would like to hitch a ride with you on one of your photo safaris! Abrazos, Ria.

nelda said...

I haven't seen one of those in years! I can remember stepping on them and getting them hung up on my shoes when I was a kid. I like #1 best, but both are interesting photos. What do you do with all the treasures you collect? After taking pictures of them, I mean.

Frances said...

the first.
the second looks interesting when I enlarge it but the first makes a lovely picture anyhow.

Frances said...

PS Good news about Carson - what a joy and how happy Katlynn is

dianeclancy said...

Hi Debi,

These are lovely! I am going for #1 because of the grace of the image.

Both are lovely.

~ Diane Clancy

Bev said...

These do look very devilish and spooky. They also remind me a little of the steer's skull which you took a while back.

I like two best. For a seed pod, it is quite evocative and frightening. And the backdrop shows a few creases and has obviously been improperly ironed. I like that lol

Andi said...

I choose #1. It's beautiful and strange.

Sweet Irene said...

Debi, there is an award for you over at my place.

Rima said...

the computer ate my comment! (from yesterday?)
they look like some fantasmagorical sceptres! amazing - the photography is superb as well - well done
not choosing!