The bewitching display of the Aurora Borealis or the Northern Lights danced with a lightness through the skies. We’d set off from Tromsø (Latitude:69° 38′ 57.1369″. Longitude:18° 57′ 19.1657), Norway in the late evening hoping that the we’d be lucky to find the ‘lights’.
Hell, it was cold: -14*C but there we were well bundled up in layers and finally after three hours of driving, we came to an open area, an iced over lake where we were being treated to a magnificent show of nature’s natural alchemy. An ethereal airiness, whispy trails gathered into waves which flickered and glowed. It was so stunningly beautiful.
What causes all this energy? “When charged particles from the sun strike atoms in Earth’s atmosphere, they cause electrons in the atoms to move to a higher-energy state. When the electrons drop back to a lower energy state, they release a photon: light. This process creates the beautiful aurora, or northern lights.”earthsky.org
Today we had rain in the drought stricken Cape and in a spirit of celebration: a gallery of all shades of green. Colour, form and texture add to nature’s rejuvenation. Summer’s relentless heat and drought finally gives way to cooler autumn.
WPC: It IS easy being green
It happens sometimes, when nature inspires that figures emerge in sundappled forest glades; those magical places where otherwordly spirits reside.
Some time ago thanks to a recommendation by Jude, who inspires through her blog posts on gardens and all things green and flowering, I got to visit the The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall. The history of the estate – how it fell into neglect and the story of it’s revival, is inspiring. The place is imbued with a sense of enchantment and one can linger through different spaces imagining the levels of it’s past.
The moss earth sculptures were created by talented sister and brother duo, Sue and Peter Hill. The “Giant’s Head” is a creation which was transformed from the massive root stock of old oaks which had been uprooted in the devastating Great Storm of 1990 while ” Mud Maid” was crafted through a purpose-built hollow frame. She lies enfolded in greenery, sleeping peacefully in a dappled woodland glade. With a bit of transmogrification one can conjure up midnight scenes of nymphs and sprites awakening to a celebratory dance of woodland delight.
Jude is calling for flower portraiture this month – capturing the beauty of a single bloom and she kicks off the challenge with the stunningly beautiful Turquoise Ixia (Ixia viridiflora).
It’s worth taking a peek at her blog post as it is quite the most gorgeous colours. She describes the bloom as having “one of the rarest and most beautiful colours in the plant world. The satiny purple centres and yellow anthers contrast beautifully with the turquoise petals. This one is flowering in the garden at St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall. It took my breath away when I first saw it.”
I’ve chosen to showcase the strelizia, or as it is commonly known, the Bird of Paradise plant. They do well in our garden holding up in galeforce wind and they’re popular too in the nectar stakes. I’ve gone for a different approach dissecting a flower to abstract it’s hidden beauty. I hope to show up it’s striking form and various colours. I enjoyed experimenting with different camera techniques – double exposure in camera and ICM; then did a bit of editing using filters. I look forward to reading comments on the overall effect and hope it’s not all a bit OTT.
Visit Jude’s Garden photography page here to see further examples of prized blooms.
Jude calls for Wild flowers in May; though it’s spring in the northern hemisphere, the autumn months in the Cape also bring a wealth of showy species. It’s the start of the rainy season and the plants in flower tend to be structural and sturdy like the aloes, sugarbush, red hot pokers. Varieties of erica are also flowering, and the blombos continues to add it’s piquant fragrance. Not to be too boastful about our incredible wild flower heritage, the Cape has some 9000 flowering species and falls under the Cape Floristic Region – one of the world’s six floral kingdoms. It’s a stunning wealth and nowhere else in the world is there such profusion of endemism and concentration of species. How fortunate we are to have so many different species flowering throughout the year. I’ll be back with more!