Isolation Antidotes (31): Frangipani Fantasy

As our New Zealand pandemic risk status steadily diminishes, I’m very eager to offer a few more favorite images from my archive files. One in particular stands out in my mind that I want to be sure to include. Not only does it hold a very special place in my heart, but also it is one of my most successful in a broader sense. I made the original photo during a work-related trip to Australia in February 1994. I was in Brisbane, nearing the end of the trip, and I had the luxury of a few hours free before my taxi would arrive for my flight to Canberra for final meetings. I used the time to take a stroll in a nearby park and came across two beautiful trees growing next to each other. One was a frangipani (genus Plumeria), much-loved for its elegant flowers, which are famous for their popularity in hair adornment and leis (the traditional Hawaiian flower necklaces). The other was a maritime (or cluster) pine (Pinus pinaster), which fascinated me because of its naturally puzzle-like bark sections. In a moment of artistic whimsy, I picked up one of the perfect frangipani blossoms from where it had fallen and placed it carefully into one of the openings left by a fallen piece of the pine bark, and I had the image I had visualized.
Several years later, while we were living in Washington, D.C., I entered this in the annual photo contest by the Washington Post and, to my great delight, it earned the accolade of Best in Show. I have posted this once before (here), in my description of my transition from conventional to digital photography. I have saved the manual log that I was keeping and have just consulted it: My camera was a Pentax PZ-1, my film Fujichrome Velvia with 50 ISO, my lens a Pentax 28-105, and my exposure 0.7 second at f/22, and I also used a polarizing filter and a tripod. I hope you enjoy my sharing this wonderful memory of mine.

About krikitarts

Welcome to Krikit Arts! I'm a veterinarian; photographer; finger-style guitarist, composer, instructor, and singer/songwriter; fisherman; and fly-tyer. Please enjoy--and please respect my full rights to all photos on this Website!
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29 Responses to Isolation Antidotes (31): Frangipani Fantasy

  1. Ms. Liz says:

    Enjoyed this photo very much Gary, it’s stunning!

  2. It’s an eye-grabbing image. At first I thought this was one of those occasional occurrences in nature where one thing gets implausibly caught on or in another (like the one you commented on that I recently came across). Then I read that you helped chance along.

    • krikitarts says:

      With a small nature still life, I’ll remove a disturbing piece of detritus, but I (almost) never add anything that wasn’t there when I first saw it, and if I do, I’ll say so! In this case, I had picked up the fallen flower and as I was studying its perfection, the pine happened to be behind it, and the pine spoke to me and said, “Put it here!” No, really!

  3. That is a beautiful composition. Love the bark and the flower combination.

  4. Peter Klopp says:

    This is truly a fascinating shot. No wonder it grabbed the best photo award by the Washington Post!

  5. Helen Cherry says:

    I love this.. brilliant shot Gary

  6. That is rather smart

  7. Adrian Lewis says:

    Yes, certainly, very enjoyable to hear this story – and what a beautiful flower! Do you think you will continue to show images from your archives if and when you feel unthreatened by the virus so that you are able to get out and about for photography? I for one would like to see more. :)

    • krikitarts says:

      Yes. certainly! I do, indeed, plan to continue the archives category. There are many more that I’d like to share, and I fully intend to continue to do so. Thanks once more for your much-appreciated feedback and support!

  8. shoreacres says:

    It’s a beautiful image of a favorite flower. I grew frangipani for several years, until I moved to a place that didn’t have enough sunlight for them, and I gave them away. You’ve also reminded me of how I foiled frangipani thieves. They were selling for a good price at the time, and whole pots would disappear at night. I got smart, and had a guy with a machine shop produce some 3/4″ rebar rods with 90 degree bends in one end. I emptied the pots, drilled 3/4″ holes in the bottom, secured them to the ground with the rebar, and repotted the plants. No more disappearances. I still laugh to think of it.

    • krikitarts says:

      Wow, what a memory, frangipani thieves? Where and when was that? Happy to see that you came up with a satisfactory solution!

      • shoreacres says:

        Seabrook, Texas, in an apartment along NASA Rd I. That was the era of the sod rustlers, too. People would get new sod laid on Wednesday, go to bed, and find it gone on Thursday morning. What a world!

      • krikitarts says:

        Again, wow. From frangipani thieves to sod rustlers. Hard to imagine. There must have been some really desperate folks in the alternative universe of Texas. I’ve been there twice, and both times found it rather other-worldly. I think it would take some time (and that it would be well worth it) to feel really comfortable there.

  9. Minna says:

    very beautiful combination, no wonder that you won 👍

  10. bluebrightly says:

    Beautiful image and such an interesting narrative. The light on both flower and bark is exquisite!

  11. It immediately reminded me of this. I don’t recall reading about whether it was happenstance or Ansel did as you did and placed it there. Great thinkers alike and apparently the Post thought so too.

    • krikitarts says:

      I know this is Rose and Driftwood masterpiece very well, indeed, and am delighted that mine reminded you of this. I believe that he mentioned, in “The Print,” that he placed the two together, but I can’t confirm that, as I don’t know where that book is just now. Whatever, I’m really grateful for this high compliment.

      • My memory failed me for a moment but then reminded me that he spoke of this composition in “Examples The Making of 40 Photographs”. Maybe in “The Print” also but I only looked in the one book.
        If you have that book it is on page 32-3. His mother gave him the rose from the garden and he placed it on the wood. If Saint Ansel, although he probably had not acquired sainthood yet, can create a masterpiece in that way then it is good enough for us. :-)

      • krikitarts says:

        A resounding amen to that–and he’s definitely a saint in my book!

  12. Alexa says:

    I love this shot. Simplicity of the background and elegance of the flower. Beautiful ! :-)

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