Thursday, March 17, 2011


Dear Friends

I have mentioned before, that it is very important to learn about the subject you are going to photograph, as it may make your picture taking more meaningful. Well, I have been photographing the same botanical Gardens (Jardines Ecologicos Topotepuy) for almost 4 years. Before that, I thought, that plants were a bore, until I started reading David Attenborough’s book THE SECRET LIFE OF PLANTS. Then, I became obsessed with the plant/animal interactions and my views changed radically. Now, miniature photo safaris take a lot of my time.

As a person trained in field biology SEMELPARY was not an unfamiliar term, however, it was way back in the last drawers of my memory of my college years. Thus, to make a big word simple, it means creatures that die after reproduction.

Just to name a few examples salmon, squids, bamboo and agaves are within this category. As it turns out, I was in Topotepuy, and an Agave that is beginning to bloom, was shown to me by one of the landscape architects who is responsible for the place. Its flower stalk was about ten feet in height and I was so impressed with this, that I took the first batch of pictures of this plant. After the shoot, I did a little research and found out, that this event would make a great photo challenge, as it was once in a life time occurrence for this plant and me. Now, I am planning to follow through with a series of photographs in order to document the event.

It may not be as exiting as photographing salmon, by having to fly into the Alaska’s wilderness and having to worry about grisly and black bears, but I’ll learn about this desert plant, its pollinators and whatever happens along the way. My adventure will be...driving through Caracas' traffic, dodging crazy bikers on their steel burros, and hoping that it does not rain while I am taking the pictures. It may not be a NATGEO show, but I will settle with a NATLEO ;-) Well you get my drift.

Hopefully I will learn:

Why does a plant bloom once and dies?

What is the evolutionary advantage for a desert plant to assume this reproductive strategy?

And what sort of clue, if any, triggers this reproductive behavior in so many living creatures.

I know, that a single picture will not answer all of these questions, however, it will serve as a visual document of its occurrence. And at least, this AGAVE, will have several CLICKS to immortalize its last days as a living organism, teaching us a bit more about the secret life of plants.

I’ll keep you posted.


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