The Overlooked, the Unnoticed, the Underappreciated

Last night was a cold one. When I got up this morning, the house was a chilly 55°F, and outside it was even chillier—dead calm and two below zero.

It was cold enough for a frosty garden on the storm window in my bedroom.

But by the time I went outside to take more pictures—around 10:00 a.m.—the temperature had risen to 18°F.  Not balmy, to be sure, but  warm enough to take pictures without wearing gloves.

As many readers know, we live in the woods, and in the winter little cones, twigs, leaves, and branches are blown into the snow. Easy to pass by without seeing their modest beauty.

While I love scenic photography as much as the next person, I have always been interested in nature’s small vignettes—the overlooked, the unnoticed, the underappreciated.

Imagine my delight, then, when thanks to John Poole’s piece on NPR, I came across the photographer Janelle Lynch.

At first glance, you might see a jumble of weeds, a thicket of twigs, a heap of dying leaves. You might be inclined to stop looking at this point.

Janelle Lynch invites you to look closer, and slower. She’d want you to see each image as a world in itself — not an accidental grouping of plant matter, but a well-ordered composition created by nature and fixed in time and space by her 8-by-10-inch large-format camera.

Her implicit message is that one needs only to be still, take your time and pay close attention to find the beauty that surrounds you. But, like meditation, this seemingly simple act is often more difficult than it appears.

How I was drawn by Lynch’s exquisite photos, and how I would love to have a bigger camera, which would allow me to take better pictures.

But I have the camera I have, and despite its small size, my wee camera does a pretty good job of capturing nature’s tiny delights. Therefore, out I will go in weather cold, mild, and hot, looking for the overlooked and making do with what I have. After all, that is the Maine way.

I will, of course, also take pictures that are broader in scope, to give readers a sense of what central Maine is like. But Lynch has inspired me to continue following my inclination for the small.






55 thoughts on “The Overlooked, the Unnoticed, the Underappreciated”

  1. Macro photography is a form of meditation, I do believe. It gets us out of our heads and into the present moment, connecting us to the beauty that is all around us if we only take the time to slow down and notice. Let’s hope it’s becoming a trend – we need it!

    1. We think it’s jolly cold, too. However, we northern New Englanders specialize in understatement, and we would call it “brisk.” No, my wee camera does just fine in cold weather. It’s the battery that sometimes balks.

  2. I like your phrase – nature’s small vignettes. I am one that needs to look past the obvious and see things like this – the over looked, the unnoticed and underappreciated. I think we all need to learn to be still. Thanks you.

  3. I enjoyed all your photos, but the first one is just lovely…yes, continue with the small but beautiful pieces in the snow!
    I recently went to a photographer’s talk on Micro photography…the photos were absolutely beautiful, and makes you look at the world in quite a different way.

  4. Beautiful images Laurie! I love looking at the small details and zoom out again from time to time to see what surrounds us all in the landscape. Everything on your doorstep is a treat to see throughout the seasons and a bigger camera isn’t always better 💗 xxx

  5. I think we’d say it was ‘brisk’ on your outing. 🙂 It is easy to tell the northern folks from the southern folks down here just by the outerwear when the temps drop. It is a balmy 27°F here this morning, and then mid week it is going to be 70. Hmm.

    1. Yes, brisk! That is quite a variation in temperature you are having. Although it’s about the same here, just lower on the cold end and not so high on the hot end. 😉

  6. Camera envy can be a terrible thing — akin to travel envy. But all that’s needed is present in your photos: time, an appreciative eye, and an opennness to the ordinary. Most of the time, proper framing can reveal that the ordinary — isn’t.

    1. Thanks for the reminder. Most of the time, I don’t have camera envy, but oh those photos that Janelle Lynch took! And, yes, proper framing reminds us that the ordinary is anything but.

  7. A friend once called this kind of photography “intimate landscapes.” It’s the kind I am drawn to, too. It does tend to make us stop for a minute, doesn’t it? Your images are beautiful. 🙂

  8. I love your photos. The ability to see something small and artful is a gift and a skill. I must look up Janelle Lynch, as the idea of photography as meditation is appealing. As for camera envy, I bought a nice one a few years ago and still like my small point and shoot better. My goodness, I’m glad not to be waking up to below zero temps!!! Good for you venturing out to photograph.

  9. Thank you for the reminder. We just took a walk along our beautiful Guadalupe River (at a balmy high-40s, but windy!). It’s all very wintry–bare branches, lots of sticks and rocks, but there is a stark beauty to that, especially with our brilliant, clear Texas Hill Country sky. To quote one of my favorite movie lines (from American Beauty): “There is beauty everywhere.” Keep looking, and appreciating!

  10. Your morning temperature would be a little too chilly for me as I am a bit of a namby-pamby 😉 Having said that; I can tolerate dry cold much better that wet cold which does terrible things to my joints. I love looking at the small things and the over-looked and when I was a child I’d search on hands and knees for miniscule flowers and tiny toadstools. I love that first photo of yours of the flower-like cone! Thanks so much for the link to Janelle Lynch’s work.

    1. My pleasure! Her work is sheer delight to me. I love picturing Clare as a child on her hands and knees looking for minuscule flowers and toadstools. Enchanting!

  11. A friend of mine, Alan, takes beautiful pictures of the tops of wooden fence posts – miniature worlds of mosses and lichens that are truly entrancing. Such perspective on nature makes me appreciate even more the world around me.

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