Pho Trablogger has a weekly challenge asking people to photograph the beauty in mundane, everyday things. Entrants have the rest of the week to enter, until the following Monday.
This type of challenge appeals to me. I have to say, this theme–mundane, everyday objects–describes most of my photography. I never expected that having an iPhone camera would result in my taking as many pictures as I do. I still remember film cameras–heck, I still remember Polaroid cameras. I have some pictures from those, and even posted scans of them for another challenge.
Here are some 25-year-old pictures from when I lived in California the first time, from my blog post, “Gandalf’s Knock.”
Their reddish color balance and faded, uneven fuzziness work well to represent the passage of time.
And here are some even older ones, taken with my first Polaroid camera on the Outer Banks of North Carolina when I was 10, from my blog post, “Sand Circles.”
As limited and mundane as the composition of these pictures is, I still remember how much thought went into composing and taking them. I would choose only the special moments, have everyone look at me, “say cheese” if appropriate. I would ration my pictures because I only had so much film.
Now, for 99-cents a month, I have what seems like unlimited storage in the cloud for whatever photographic experiments I want to try.
I took this picture of a patch of someone’s front yard in downtown San Jose while I was finding a geocache. I’ve noticed this flower around here (SF Bay area) a lot in the past few weeks. I think it is an attractive plant: the bright yellow flowers, the clover-shaped leaves.
At the time I took the picture, I didn’t know what it was. But it did seem mundane, one of those plants you don’t have to cultivate or water or fertilize or do anything at all special to get it to grow, even in an urban setting during a drought. I thought I might even prefer it to the boring and water-intensive grass that we inherited in our own front yard in Mountain View.
But, it turns out this plant is Oxalis pes-caprae (Bermuda Buttercup or Sour Grass), an invasive species from South Africa. According to this Bay Nature article, “A Natural History of that Little Yellow Flower that’s Everywhere Right Now,” oxalis crowds out native wildflowers and prevents other plants from gaining a foothold. Once it takes over, the wildlife that depends on native flowers (coyotes, hawks, owls, mission blue butterflies) moves on, leaving nothing but oxalis in its wake, and bare ground during the six months of the year oxalis doesn’t flower.
Don’t think I’ll be encouraging it in my own yard after all. But it’s still pretty to look at.