Patterns, textures, and shapes are all around us. Whether it’s some leaves on the ground or some avocado toast masquerading as sushi, I try to stay alert for beauty and hidden surprises. One of the advantages of having a camera phone all the time is the ability to snap a photo when I see something worthwhile. Some of these are abstract and others are things that caught my attention while I was passing nearby.
What do these pictures have in common? I did not seek out any of them. They came to me as I was waiting or casually walking somewhere. And as I noticed the beauty, I pulled out my camera for the snap. Several of these are relatively recent, while others go back a few years. Some are plain, some flashy, and together they span various environments.
(1) Shelf Mushrooms
The original image is above. Here, I made it monochromatic and then tinted it blue, just for fun. I always love seeing shelf mushrooms. They have a nice look and they are good at recycling nutrients from old wood back into the forest. Some woodland fungi are edible and others are poisonous; I’ll leave that for the forest creatures to determine.
(2) Autumn Leaves on a Street
Concrete sidewalks, manicured lawns: it looks like suburbia. Cover it with leaves and you have an interesting composition, even if it's fairly plain.
If you’ve ever tried to take care of a yard that has ivy, you might agree with me that this stuff is a pain in the ass. Whatever you try to do to eliminate ivy, it always seems to come back. But it’s also quite pretty when it grows upward on a fence or tree trunk, which must be why someone planted it there in the first place. Beautiful leaves, colors, and patterns.
(4) Beach Stuff
Some children had strewn their stuff on the beach. Then they ran off to play nearby. I liked the composition with these minion sandals, even though the light was too flat for a great picture.
(5) Mud Stains
These are some mud stains on the fender of a parked car. As I recall, I was waiting for some other family members to get out of the car as we were visiting some place. Bored, I noticed the muddy fender and took a snap. It’s an ordinary image, yet what makes modern paint splash art any more profound than mud stains?
(6) Avocado Toast
Or is it sushi? Beautiful colors and presentation. I’m sure it was delicious to eat also, though it wasn’t mine. Living in California, I’ve been eating avocado all my life, but it’s really nice to see how popular this food has become in other regions. It is a healthy food, though $11 for some avo toast still seems excessive. It’s fairly simple to make at home.
(7) Square Peg in a Round Hole?
I think not. There’s been much ado about this expression, since a square peg does not fit well in a round hole. But that’s such a linear way to approach the situation. Think outside of the box. If the square peg or post doesn’t fit, then why not chisel yourself a square hole? Genius!
(8) Some Grasses
In my region, winters are wet (if we’re lucky) and summers are dry (always a certainty). I love the spring colors of vibrant green grasses, plants, and trees. They also are pretty in their golden brown hues later on once the sun has baked them dry. Here, you can see some foxtails and rye.
(9) Under a Hot Tin Roof
This was at a farm we were visiting. The weather was exceedingly hot. While the horse barn offered some shade, those metal roofs can make it cook underneath. The structure of the ceiling and rafters made for a nice pattern.
(10) Swan’s Nest
A few years ago, I was waiting at a bus stop near a bridge. When I looked over the side, there was a creek below with some reeds on the bank. And you can see what I spied there in the reeds: a swan’s nest! These are such elegant birds and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen them nesting before. Nice surprise.
(11) Lots of Garlic
Outside a market, someone had a large crate of garlic. It’s a great way to keep Dracula away. It also helps the immune system and helps prevent inflammation, not to mention that it makes most foods taste a whole lot better. An extra clove of garlic will improve most dishes. Visually, it’s much more stunning when the tops are braided or twisted together, but seeing this much garlic in one place made me want to take a picture.
What a perfect name for these fish. This was at an aquarium. We had just about finished there, but as I was waiting for my family near the restroom, I noticed these patterns and took a quick snap.
(13) A Rose By Any Other Name
Ask this fly whether it would smell just as sweet. When roses are in full bloom, it’s hard to conceive of anything much more beautiful. They all have a pretty scent as well, but often it’s the lesser beauties with the deepest aroma. This rose had enough to attract a fly. Job well done, since anything with wings can be a pollinator.
(14) Stick House
On a hike in the forest, there was this creepy house that someone had built with sticks. It’s pretty neat, actually, but still creepy in that I don’t know who built it or why. Blair Witch stuff. Nevertheless, it’s a testament to the time and dedication someone took to collect and assemble all of these sticks into a structure.
The wind and sun were making nice patterns in the water of a river beyond this thicket of bushes. If I’d had time and wanted to climb around, I probably could have found a better vantage point for the perfect composition. But I love the light and patterns here.
All images taken by the author or family members (the latter used with permission).