i.e. Stop and Smell the Roses – or maybe the Columbines
More than a few years back, Hippocrates said, “Hiking is a man’s best medicine.”
Beyond the fitness and wellness benefits, I found that when hiking I am totally in the present, I see things I would have missed if I were just trying to power up a hill at maximum speed. The real fun comes from connecting with the natural surroundings.
There are many picture books, some in the form of handbooks, helping to identify the wildflowers and sometimes some interesting facts. Using a handbook can be tedious and it adds weight. If you are within cell phone range, Google now has a great feature called Google Lens that will identify a wildflower with two taps on the smart phone. There are other apps also providing the answers. Now everyone can be a wildflower expert.
You know what these are, but let’s say we didn’t. As we hike along, if we are looking, we are arrested by the beauty of these flowers and in such a natural setting.
We take out our phone and fire up Google.
Notice the icon to the left of the microphone icon. That is Google Lens. Tap it – (the first tap):
That will start up the phone’s camera. Aim at the flowers, and tap the magnifying glass icon (the second tap) …
… on the bottom of the screen, voila! You see that this is the Colorado Blue Columbine.
We knew it was a Columbine, didn’t we? But did we also know this very Colorado Blue Columbine is the State Flower of Colorado as declared in the year 1899? We are looking at history right there in its native beauty and setting. This flower (technically Aquilegia coerulea, in the buttercup family) is native to the Rocky Mountains and despite its delicate appearance, thrives in elevations from 7000 to 12,000 feet!
I was hiking along on the way up a mountain near a stream of snow-melt runoff.
I looked up and felt like Rick in Wonderland. Did someone plant those flowers to be so color coordinated? Did that someone know I graduated from the University of Michigan (go Maize and Blue!)? That sight was clearly worth stopping for, thinking about the natural art that is found in nature–and surely taking a photo.
Views like these could make a non-photographer like me pretend I’m a pro. So maybe I want to open my eyes further to other photo opportunities.