Photographer Jack Long’s Vessels and Blooms: A Liquid Explosion of Sudden Bouquets

Photo by Jack Long

I seem to find the most amazing things when boredom-surfing on the net.  My latest boredom-killing spree yielded up a thrilling and unexpected gem; the amazing unique photographic talents of Jack Long.  Take a look at one of his photographs.  Yes, that’s right.  It’s a photograph.  And no Photoshopping here except maybe a basic tools clean-up.  The images themselves are not composites.  They’re liquid suspensions captured with high speed photography.

Photo by Jack Long

What Jack does takes meticulous planning and testing to perfect just one picture.  What you’re looking at is a moment in time that can never be duplicated.

Photo by Jack Long

Jack, 53 from Wisconsin, is very tight-lipped about his unique technique.  What he’s been willing to share is he uses water mixed with thickeners, pigments and dyes launched or dropped through the air.  An electronic flash is then used to capture his sudden floral masterpieces.  He calls his work “Vessels and Blooms”.

Photo by Jack Long

Jack loves working with liquids as his medium.  He said: “I love working with liquids because of their incredible versatility when creating high speed photography.  It is as much chance as it is preparation and planning. They are all different.”

“I like to use a lot of colors, variations and mixes of red, blue and yellow and green. The work takes a great amount of planning, set building and testing.”

“This series was a culmination of months of planning and testing. Hundreds of captures are made in testing and then many more during the actual final capture stage. A very few stand out as being the best.”

“All of my images are created in one single capture. One picture. I do not make composites from multiple images, unless otherwise noted. All of my fluid flowers are as captured. Photoshop is only used to ‘clean up’ the image and to enhance the image with basic tools.”

Photo by Jack Long

So, hats off to Jack for beautifully illustrating the merits of patience and creativity and giving us a new way of looking at the world.

Photo by Jack Long

Photo by Jack Long

Photo by Jack Long

Photo by Jack Long

Please visit Jack’s official website, Long Shots, to enjoy these and more of his latest work.
If you enjoyed this, you may also enjoy looking at these:

Delicate Divas:  The Floral Portraiture of Warwick Orme
Tiny Wonders
Picasso with a Bushy Tail?
The Power of “Awwww!” — Baby Animals


Plucking Petals

Your absence sits in the corner, a sulking beast that scowls.  I dare not look at it but it’s there just the same.  It’s staring at me.  Daring me to feel something I don’t want to.  Alone.  It’s a despicable word.  Empty.  Even worse.  Weren’t these supposed to be crucial elements to finding bliss?  Bliss isn’t here at the moment.  Leave a message.

The hole left where you were but aren’t now threatens to swallow me.  Sometimes I don’t want to resist it.  Sometimes I just want to dive in it headfirst and abandon the silence that becomes a screaming mockery in this room.  I want to, but I’m afraid.  Afraid it’s going to hurt.  I know all the things you would say, but I’m not you.  My emotion is a noisy specter.  I still fear it sometimes.

“An emotion is experienced.  Nothing more nothing less.  It passes like smoke in the wind,” you say.

Yadda, yadda, yadda.  I know this, yet there’s this ghost with it’s tongue in my ear whispering, “Oh yes.  It’s going to hurt.  And you’re going to hate it.”

I already hate it.

“We live in duality,” you say; “if you invite happiness you also invite misery.”

Well, together also invited apart.  The whole brought along only half.  I wrestle with my being in this miasma of philosophic existential muck.  My being wants to sit happily on a waterlily contemplating The Big Nothingness, but there’s this beast in the corner, you see.  It keeps staring at me.

Sometimes it laughs and says, “Stupid woman.  You can’t see the poetry of a flower by plucking off its petals to examine them more closely.”  Sometimes I find the strength to agree.

So I sit here in the screaming silence at the edge of the hole you left with this stupid specter.  Your absence is still scowling at me from the corner.  I’m just plucking petals and wishing you’d come home.

What is Love?

A lifetime can be spent trying to define and understand “love” but the realization of what Love is can come in an instant of inner stillness.  It’s not something you or another being can make or will to be.  It doesn’t exist in the realm of the intellect, so it isn’t born of the mind.  Instead, it’s feeling the experience of Existence’s awareness that you, in your uniqueness, also exist.  This Love Force flows through you and is reflected back to you always in the vast spectrum of your life.  It’s only through self-inflicted delusions that you are ever apart from it. To be conscious of it is to be Love incarnate.  Suffering melts away and all that’s left is the soft glow of Love.  Like the most pleasantly warm healing water, it surrounds us and carries us, from beginning to end and beyond.  Be Love and you shine forth like a beacon lighting the way for others.


The Awakening of a Dreamer

To be a seeker is much akin to a dreamer who has awakened from a dream to find their self drifting inside another one called “waking life”.  Inevitably, an inquiry creeps into the dreamer’s mind.  Where am I?  What is the meaning of this life?  How do I know what’s real?  Why am I here?  Who am I?  In the dawning of the questioning moment, the journey out of dreams has begun.  The inquiry may change, but the light it emits remains steadfastly unchanging lighting the way.  If the seeker remains focused on this light, it becomes the key to every locked door, every conundrum, until finally the doors, the locks, the key, the inquiries and the seeker all begin to dissolve into the Unspoken Truth of the Answer.  Then, and only then, the dreamer has awakened.

Irony Had a Gun

Here is my entry for this week’s 100-Word Challenge for Adults.  The prompt is:

….The flame flickered before….

A rock fell.  Was that a footstep?  My heart hammered like fists against my ribs.  The cave seemed my escape.  No way he saw me duck in here.  Right?

The fire was the mistake.  A dead giveaway.  Don’t bother excusing the pun.  I’m afraid of the dark.

No one messed with Dirty O’Neill and lived to tell about it.  I wouldn’t be breaking that trend either.  All for 50 grand.  Stupid.

The flame flickered before the shadow appeared.  It had a gun.  No time.  I threw myself on the flames.  Pitch black.  Fear’s the only hope and the irony burns.


To see my other 100-Word-Challenge entries go here.  To learn more about the 100-Word Challenge for Adults, and to see what this week’s prompt was, go here.

People of Another Rain


We’re all just little drops of dew clinging tentatively to Nature’s design

People of another rain

With faces reflecting their existence

Ever turned toward the embrace of warming rays

Awaiting the release of inevitable evaporation in a sigh

To merge with the evanescent clouds of the cosmos

Until it’s time to fall again in the eternal rain called Life

Delicate Divas: The Floral Portraiture of Warwick Orme

Bluemoon by Warwick Orme, Floranova

I’m a flower lover.  There’s just something in the color and delicacy of the bloom that touches something deep in me.  I find unspeakable power in the frailty and impermanence.  Someone asked me once if I could choose what I would be in my next life, what would I choose?  Without hesitation my reply was, “A flower.”  To live with such splendor, grace and fragrance for but a short time would outrival the glory of a thousand human lifetimes.

Thanks to Claire of Word by Word, I’ve been introduced to the works of Warwick Orme.  If you’re a flower lover or a lover of natural art and aren’t familiar with his work, I’ve included a few of them here. To quote Warwick’s website Floranova:

“If Joseph Banks and a light-box could bear a child (and not for want of trying), that child would be Warwick Orme. Moving from a career in fashion to the calmer waters of floral portraiture, the hard drive of his computer reads like the herbarium of London’s Natural History Museum.”

Warwick was born in Australia in 1961.  Through the love of his family’s garden a lifelong passion for all things growing was born.  His passion for photography bloomed in high school as a distraction from more tedious schoolwork but a wise and well-loved art teacher helped steer his endeavors into a productive direction in the form of photography competitions and work for the school magazine.  His talents blossomed even further during his college years.

Launching into a career in fashion he became best known for his high-art technique of shooting models against a black background producing flawless and timeless picturesque divas.  This same vision was later translated to his portraiture of flowers.

Below are a few examples of his work.  Please visit Floranova to see much more of his work.

Stevie by Warwick Orme, Floranova

Delp by Warwick Orme, Floranova

mtb by Warwick Orme, Floranova

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy Beautiful Illusion and Tiny Wonders.

How Much Water Exists On, In and Above Planet Earth?

Credit: Illustration by Jack Cook, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

What you’re looking at is a little blue sphere which represents all of the water in all its forms on the planet Earth by volume.  This includes ice, liquid, freshwater and saltwater.  a diameter of about 860 miles (about 1,385 kilometers) , with a volume of about 332,500,000 cubic miles (1,386,000,000 cubic kilometers).

If it seems small, you need to consider that water represents only a thin film on or under the surface of our planet.  This sphere includes all the water in the oceans, seas, ice caps, lakes and rivers as well as groundwater, atmospheric water, and even the water in you and other living organisms.

To see more information regarding this picture, go here for the original article from the USGS.

Interestingly, only 4% of the water by volume on the planet is usable to human beings and most other life forms.  It’s always in some form of motion, whether it be evaporating, condensing, flowing, freezing, thawing, being consumed or being expelled.

Another interesting fact is that the majority of freshwater is not on the surface of the planet.  It’s in the groundwater and aquifers which flow under the surface.

If you want to know more about our Earth’s water, visit this article on the USGS website.

The Chapter of 50

In less than 2 months I’ll be turning 50.  I can’t quite get my head around this.  I think I’ve avoided giving it much thought.  I can be a coward this way, but unfortunately, and you’d think I would’ve learned this by now, you can’t avoid the inevitable.

So, here I am; about to climb this mountain called “50”.  I’ve climbed the hill of 20, the butte of 30, the foothill of 40, but nothing compares by far to this.  If I want to be ready I’d better saddle up and get on with it.

So, as I clear my head and contemplate the next chapter in the Book of My Life I need to review what’s driven the plot to this point.  When I was young, life was a vast and limitless expanse without boundary and without end.  Anything was possible and there was no sense of urgency.  I had the luxury to be aimless.  This was just my nature no matter how hard I tried to be goal-oriented and structured.  To try to be anything else usually ended badly; running smack into that proverbial brick wall.

I’ve made some huge and tragic blunders along the way.  I still carry a heavy sack of regrets behind me but this too is my nature and part of this journey.  I haven’t yet learned to leave the baggage behind.  Something inside has yet to be discovered.

I’ve learned what may appear to others only a thimble full of things, but I know I’ve learned much more than a few buckets can hold, although not yet enough to fill the ocean.  They say this is called wisdom.  Well, sometimes those buckets spill and can’t always be banked on.  Not just yet.  Thankfully, buckets can be refilled.

So now I’m preparing to climb this mountain.  It doesn’t look impossible but it demands a different approach and different skills.  When I reach the top the End will finally appear somewhere on the horizon and will never leave my sight again.  I have no clue how close or how far it will be.  Oddly, it causes a giddiness to flutter inside of me.  Something whispers, “you’re almost there.”

I recall long ago reading that in Native folklore a woman wasn’t considered to be fully mature until she reached 50.  At the time, I didn’t consider what it meant beyond a good excuse to remain immature in a lot of the things I thought and how I handled myself then.  Now I’ve seen a glimmer of what that means and even that little glimmer is dazzling.  Maybe it’s just the glinting of the water in those buckets.

That quiet voice inside is telling me that the Chapter of 50 will be the best so far.  The anticipation of finally seeing the End appear isn’t something to fear.  It’s a candle in the dim world of youthful aimlessness; a brilliant point of focus.  Now, with my baggage and my buckets it’s time to climb the mountain and begin to fill the ocean.  Setting goals won’t bind me in unreasonable chains.  It will be kindling to stoke the fires of some unknown engine which will carry me to exactly where I’ve always wanted to go.  It’s now finally time to take the potential out of my pocket and fly it like a flag at the summit.  The woman inside is ready to take existence to her bosom with wisdom and without fear.  It’s finally time.

The inspiration behind these thoughts was fueled by a wonderful post on the blog Cancerkillingrecipe by a lovely woman named Anna.  The post is entitled My 65-th Birthday.  I encourage you to visit her world.  It’s an amazing place.