Life on a Leaf

I found some time today to create this fun image, featuring a few key ingredients put together in just the right combination: a purple barberry leaf sprayed with water, a multi-coloured gazania in the background, and a Green Immigrant Leaf Weevil that was very cooperative for this composition!

We have a few of these little weevils hanging around our garden. I suppose they are technically a pest but they are not in sufficient numbers to cause a big problem, and they are delightful to photograph. They don’t move quickly, and eagerly walk onto a piece of straw if it’s placed in their path. It’s pretty easy to move them into position onto a leaf. This little guy (or gal?) climbed into the perfect spot and then stayed put for at least a minute, with only minor movements. This allowed me to focus stack the image with less trouble than an actively moving insect would introduce.

I had noticed an interesting behaviour of the purple barberry plants we have in our yard. More noticeable in the early spring (but still effective now), the edges of the leaves create a nice assortment of spherical water droplets. It would make a perfect “ingredient” in one of these images, but I hadn’t used it before now! I typically spray these things with a spray bottle set to “mist”, but my garden hose as a mist setting as well which worked very nicely here, since the image was taken outside.

I usually use daisy-like flowers with flat, radially symmetric petals. Gazanias fit the bill, with some of them offering up some very vibrant colours. I first saw these flowers in my neighbour’s yard and after inquiring about what they were called, immediately set out to buy some. Got these ones at Lowe’s, though I’m certain that most garden stores would carry them in the spring.

Put all of these ingredients together, and the droplets act like lenses and showcase the flower through each of them with a direct view of the background. Physics dressed up as magic!

click image for larger version