I follow several hundred photographers, models and friends on Instagram, and I find it interesting to note themes in what people are posting each day. As a photographer, it gives me ideas and reminds me of what is happening seasonally. For example, recently, many people have been posting photos of lotus blossoms. Last year, I took photos of the lotus growing in the pond in Idaka Ryokuchi Koen (our local woods), but somehow haven't been able to get over there this year and figured I'd probably missed my chance (as last year they stsarted blooming in June). But on a bike ride two days ago I happened upon a field of lotus I'd never noticed before. While waiting at a traffic light I glanced over to my right, and there was a field of the distinctive pink and white blooms.
Fortunately, I had brought my camera along on the ride, equipped with my compact 50mm prime. I locked up my bike and walked into the field. Often lotus grow in rivers or ponds, but in this case it was a shallow, flooded muddy area, like a rice field just before planting. There was a board walkway winding through the plants, with a sign in front that read simply, "Watch your step." Taking that to mean it was OK to enter, I carefully waded through the chest high plants.
The lotus is an odd plant in several ways. It can live over a thousand years and has been a symbol of rebirth in India because the flowers close up and go under water at night, and then come up out of the water to open again in the morning. The lotus is also said to be able to generate its own heat, keeping the blossoms at a constant temperature. And, it produces flowers and fruit simultaneously, the fruit growing from the middle of the flower before its petals fall.
When planted in shallow water, the plants can grow quite tall. Because it was mid-morning when I discovered the field the sun was already relatively high in the sky so I decided to squat down on the boards and take photos from a low perspective. I feel like this draws the viewer into the photo, while also cutting some of the harsh light.
Once the petals of the flower have fallen, the lotus seed heads continue to grow and become increasingly bizarre looking. Some people, like my wife, become uneasy when looking at them. In fact, there is a name for the phobia associated with a fear of things with small holes, called Trypophobia, and lotus seed heads are a prime example. I don't have the phobia, but I do find them fascinating in a macabre way. In Japan, people also eat them. Dried out, with the seeds removed, they become renkon, which can be cooked in many ways and when sliced, make a decorative garnish, as in the last photo (courtesy of Google Image Search).
Finally, as I was getting ready to leave, I noticed a dragonfly on a lotus flower and decided to get in a couple more shots.
I tend to not travel much and rarely visit spectacular places, but if you keep your eye open, and have your camera ready, you can find photographic opportunities all around you.