Thursday, April 28, 2011

THE LIFE CYCLE OF A MAGNOLIA FLOWER IN PICTURES


At the request of one of our readers, Ma Faye Liana Balatbat, today's blog is on something different, at least for me. Fay asked if I would show some of my flower pictures, the only problem with that is I didn't have any. I just do not photograph flowers. Don't take that wrong. I love flowers. I have had gardens in every home I have lived in. It is just that they do not inspire me to point my lens in their direction. 

As I thought about what I would find interesting to photograph, I saw the magnolia tree in our yard. As I looked out our dining room window, I noticed it was getting ready for its first bloom of the season. We had been living here at the very end of the season and I had noticed that while the flowers are beautiful in full bloom, they only stay that way for about twenty four hours. Then they start drying out and turning a pretty ugly brown. 
Here are some fun facts on magnolias:
Magnolia is a large genus of about 210[1] flowering plant species in the subfamily Magnolioideae of the family Magnoliaceae. It is named after French botanist Pierre Magnol.
Magnolia is an ancient genus. Having evolved before bees appeared, the flowers developed to encourage pollination by beetles. As a result, the carpels of Magnolia flowers are tough, to avoid damage by eating and crawling beetles. Fossilised specimens of M. acuminata have been found dating to 20 million years ago, and of plants identifiably belonging to the Magnoliaceae dating to 95 million years ago[citation needed]. Another primitive aspect of Magnolias is their lack of distinct sepals or petals.
The natural range of Magnolia species is a disjunct distribution, with a main center in east and southeast Asia and a secondary center in eastern North AmericaCentral America, the West Indies, and some species in South America.

I found the fact that they evolved before bees fascinating and that they developed to encourage pollination by beetles to be equally fascinating. 
Now a flower interested me!!! I wanted to photograph the life cycle of this beautiful flower. That this flower could bloom into this large white beauty and then die so quickly seemed almost romantic. I thought if I was going to do this, I would try and do it in my style. I would not just document it. I wanted to add a little style, a little art to my images. I hope you enjoy them, I would have had them sooner but there is usually a little breeze here in Port Saint Lucie, Florida. I kept waiting for a still day and waiting and waiting. I finally decided to go for it. I used two different lenses: a 105 macro and my trusty 70-200 VR zoom. I also used my tripod, focusing on a flower and then waiting for a lull in the breeze. The lull never really came but I think I captured some interesting images. I am hoping you do too:)

The pod is the first stage. 
                    The bud shows a little hint of the beauty that is coming.
                                  This shows the flower just starting to open.
           A view from the side showing the delicate lines of the flower.
         This flower had a visitor, actually all the blooms were being attacked by bees. Thankfully they left me alone.
    In full bloom this flower is about 4-5 inches across. I think they are really beautiful flowers.
  There is a certain sadness, that its life is so short that within a day the beauty quickly fades.
  It is like seeing a physically beautiful man or woman grow old in front of your eyes in a matter of hours; turning from a young beauty to a very old person. 


  Alas the beauty's gone but like people the beauty is never forgotten and the cycle starts again.
   The seed pod, the fruit from where new life starts.

23 comments:

Healing Morning said...

I didn't know the thing about magnolias being around before bees hit the world; that was fascinating! I guess I never even gave thought to there being a time when bees didn't exist, and I had no idea that other critters could cross polinate. I love learning stuff like this!

The photographs are beautiful, as always, Jim. Magnolia trees are such a constant here in the south and the fragrance during the blooming season is unlike any other. For a guy who doesn't photograph flowers, the results are breathtaking. :)

~ Dawn

Ann said...

These are beautiful! I never realized the pod was so fuzzy on the outside.

Mitzi said...

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post...could it be because I LOVE Magnolia's? We had them at our wedding....may have to find some images for my Photo blog & link up to this one...

Motifs said...

It is like seeing a physically beautiful man or woman grow old in front of your eyes in a matter of hours; turning from a young beauty to a very old person...how beautifully said,Jim. These pictures of yours are award winning...I really don't have words to describe their beauty. I have always been partial to magnolias,grew up with one in my hometown Kalimpong(this is near Darjeeling)in fact the tree is still there. The beauty of these flowers never fail to amaze me.

Monu Awalla said...

impeccable! wat a lovely treat to see all these pics.. hat's off Jim.. :)

Abhisek Panda said...

I can see a lot of patience in these photographs...but to capture such beauty one have to be patient.Beautiful photographs Jim and some interesting info also :D

fantacy in practicality said...

i just saw a mangolian flower bloom, attracting bee flies.
white petals opening to comfort her eyes.
time spares to love the natures doll.
bees suck the taste of the preferred call.
slowly she drips her life to unrest,
white into cream then brownish decade,
dull still beautiful before her last call breath.

Jenni said...

I don't know what is more attractive; a man who knows about flowers or a man who can capture the beauty of a flower even when it's on it's deathbed. You, Dearest Jim should photograph everything you see. Well, maybe no everything. LOL But, in all seriousness between your photos and your words you create a magical place for someone to just zone out and feel like hey are elsewhere. If I wasn't married I would surely marry this blog for I am truly in love with what you do on here.

JIM said...

What a wonderful thing to say..thank you so much.. Your words are really kind.
by the way this blog does not mind if your married we can just meet here and keep it to ourselves. Who would know lol

Jim

Jenni said...

I think everyone who follows you might figure out that I am slutfully throwing myself at your blog. LMAO

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

Beautiful and one of my favorite flowers! I think the Magnolias in the South are the most stunning of all.

Hostel Tinktinkie, Santa Rosa de Calamuchita said...

That is so sad to see this beauty dying in front of my eyes. Your photos are awesome!

melissa said...

hi jim, i could only eat photos not marry them, my heart is set on...:P...

my eyes feasted at the sight of those magnolias... it's wonderful to call a flower by its name...now i could refer to it as "magnolia"...not just any flower...

i looked at the meaning of magnolias...

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/magnolia-flower-meaning.html

since yours is white...it means 'purity and perfection'... but the author says that it also means 'sweetness and love for nature'...that's basically you (are you a magnolia jim?)

i'm not sure if you chose it or it chose you to photograph it but i love the way it has unfolded its beauty right before your eyes...then to ours...

i really thank you for sharing it with us... i've watched nature mostly on discovery channel... but your post makes it more personalized...

even the light green effect of the background contributed to the post's subtlety...

dark green... then delicately transforming into a bright yellow green...like an explosion of life...then a tinge of brown as it dies... it might also be perhaps because of the whole time you were capturing the images... but i like it anyways, it seems intentional...

i looked carefully at the details... that flower looks very luscious to the bee... :P

and like a very beautiful story... you kept me focused... from beginning,middle to end...

always always life giving posts jim... thank you :)

Jorie Pacli said...

Those are absolutely jaw-dropping pictures my friend! They almost pop out of my computer screen btw...lol Lovely shots as always.... ;)

vaisakhi said...

beautiful clicks...hats off to ur Patience.....i ve never seen mangolias in real....but now i just want to thanx to u....:)....loved them...:)

p.s.-do give a visit...
http://vaisakhimishra.blogspot.com/2011/04/love-confession.html

baldychaz said...

Wow Jim wonderful ;) my hat is doffed to you sir!

Alfandi said...

nice..sharp and smooth..the only missing element is the smell..

Rimly said...

Reading about Magnoilias brought back memories of the magnolia tree we had at home when my dad was working in upper Assam. I remember it was a thing of beauty and had this love fragrance. Your pictures Jim are so lifelike. I could almost smell that flower with the bee in it. Just beautiful.

JP Brandano Photography said...

I really want to thank everyone for your great comments. I was blown away by them. I also noticed that we went over 10,000 page views. Wow thank you all.
I really enjoyed writing and photographing this post.
For the readers who like the image with the bee, so did I . So much so we are going to print it and hang it in our office. We are also going to issue a limited ( very limited) print for sale at a greatly reduced rate.

Thank You again and again

Jidhu Jose said...

Superb.

Aaron said...

Jim,
I loved your take on photographing the magnolia. What a wonderful story and the pictures are beautiful. I really liked the picture of the bee.

FAYErydust said...

I've been waiting for this and tada .. here it is alas! I was touched. :) I really love everything. (speechless) Thank you for all the informations,the fun facts and the beautiful snaps. Those things reminds me that life is beautiful if you're only going to learn how to appreciate things. It makes me smile. Knowing that even if the world has it's flaws and all, there are things like this that gives us courage to continue living. :) Thank you for this post Jim.
Lots of love,
FAYE :)

FAYErydust said...

I've been waiting for this and tada .. here it is alas! I was touched. :) I really love everything. (speechless) Thank you for all the informations,the fun facts and the beautiful snaps. Those things reminds me that life is beautiful if you're only going to learn how to appreciate things. It makes me smile. Knowing that even if the world has it's flaws and all, there are things like this that gives us courage to continue living. :) Thank you for this post Jim.
Lots of love,
FAYE :)