Friday, September 27, 2013


Almost any kid on almost any playground across the eastern half of the country has played with helicopters. I know I did. With giant handfuls, we chucked them into the air as hard and as high as we could.........and just watched them spin to the ground. The more in your hands, the better the effect.

Of course, most kids in elementary school aren't going to call them an achene from an Acer species.  That's what they really are, ya know. A winged seed from a maple tree.

The idea is simple. If the seed has little wings, the wind can carry it away from the parent tree.  It's the same idea as cottonwood fuzz and dandelion parachutes.

If you pulled me aside as a kid in the late 1970's and told me "Hey, you're gonna take a picture of one of those helicopters in the park where you work when you're all grown up...", I would have thought you were crazy. 

If you told me, again as a kid, that the black background was simply the shadows in the distance, but the branch and seed, lit from behind by the sun, were properly lit for the image by adjusting the exposure compensation by -2/3, I would have no idea what in the hell you were talkin' about.

That's all kinda neat,  if you ask me. The same exact thing seen two different ways by the same guy at the bookends of his life (so far).  I'm sorry, that's just kinda neat.

Oh, don't be confused here. Sure, I have a biology degree.....

.....but they're still helicopters.  


Mark Wloch said...

Good eye, to notice that.

Paul said...

Thanks! That image is now my new favorite.