Spoils of spring – Western Salsify puffballs

I carefully picked some Western Salsify puffballs and started photographing the seeds in my home studio. It takes a long time to place the seeds in such a way that they look relatively isolated, while in the same time making the frame look naturally messy.

As I arranged the seeds and broken puffballs to represent the final dissolution, the spread of parts, aspirations, dreams and drama back to the earth, to give life a fresh start- my mind questioned: how long do I have, and why do I spend so much of my precious time left, and resources, making photographs? Should I use my free time more wisely? Should I go on more hikes, spend more time with family, see friends more often, read more books? Time flies, and soon this puffball is I.

I left the spoils and broken seeds on the table of my studio. Maybe I’ll work on them later. Maybe not.

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Published by Alessandra Chaves

Photographer with a preference for nature photography in black and white and other abstractions.

20 thoughts on “Spoils of spring – Western Salsify puffballs

  1. Photography is being in the moment with a singular mission. The end result. It may require helpers, but they must be captured within the mission focus.
    The drive for this need to create was assigned to muse goddesses in ancient times. Like outside forces driving our thoughts and actions. That’s how strong it is
    Yes, we should all be more in the moment with everyone else to the exclusion of this madness. And yes, many times we will ignore that reason to bring those “everyone else” something beautiful and meaningful…thoughtful.
    It is a tightrope.

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  2. Great composition Alessandra, but its much more challenging to shoot them outside on a windy day. 🌬 Of course I am a masochist. 🤨

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  3. Only a real photographer would have broken-up puffballs laying on their work table. Not long ago, I had a cattail, and had similar thoughts about the project. But here you put together a good photo.

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  4. Interesting question. I’ve given up creating concept stock photos, such as a mock-up of blood tests for monkeypox, even though they probably would have sold. I’d rather be out and about and focused on images that people may actually like. I think your image above does fall into that latter category though. Very nicely composed and shot. But do spend more time with family and just out in the world as well!

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    1. Thank you. I feel like a have soooo many pictures already. Sometimes I feel like I don’t need anymore. I wish I’d concentrated more on concept stock photos but I never felt the excitement of it. I work already so when I take photos I want the activity to be pleasurable.

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  5. The math teacher will point out that even if we lived a thousand years, any finite number is still as nothing compared to infinity. As someone a good deal older than you, I’ve asked myself the same questions you posed here, and have likewise weighed photography against other uses of my time. So far I’ve chosen to still keep going out and taking pictures. For how much longer, who knows?

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  6. What a perfect follow up to a book I literally just finished reading yesterday. The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. It’s all about free will, religion, the meaning of life, but in story form. There’s a quote I got from it that I love …..something like ‘all that ever was will always be and all that will be always was’.

    I think in the end we need to do some things that are just for us and bring us enjoyment. If it’s photography it’s photography.

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  7. Working in a studio isn’t for me; I’d rather be outdoors, where nature creates the messiness. That said, whichever form(s) of photography we prefer, surely enjoyment should be one result of our investment of time. Often enough, I’ll tell someone, “Each of us has all the time there is. What differs are the decisions we make about how to use it.” I remind myself of that occasionally.

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  8. Each person has to decide what is important. I don’t worry about how much time I have left. At 74 I could be gone at any time or not for a while. Steve S and I were just joking about that. We all would like to think that we have lots to look forward to. I do photography because i enjoy it and it gives my life a little more meaning than without. There are always other things to attract our attention, or demand it, so we make our priorities. I am pretty sure that Mary Beth will not do much with my photographs if I proceed her so posterity isn’t in the equation. Enjoy whatever you pursue. If it becomes burdensome move on.
    This is a nice experiment. Making indoor arrangements is not my style but I do enjoy those you have presented to us. Keep at it and you’ll have a nice portfolio full of your creations that are unlike anyone else’s work.

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