Feathers are one of the most complex protective appendages of vertebrates. They are formed of keratin proteins. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014, shot with iPhone 4 and edited with Aviary Ultimate Photo Editor.
The Big T found an unusual greeny-blue feather outside his office. It’s now bull-dog clipped to the edge of my desk – transformed from the moultings of an unknown bird into something symbolic of the journey we’ve embarked upon to change our living arrangements and change our lives.
The central shaft of this vaned feather is called a rachis. The branches themselves have little branchlets (or barbules). Photo: Su Leslie, 2014, shot with iPhone4 and edited with Aviary Ultimate Photo Editor.
Without colour, it’s easier to focus on the feather’s structure; to pay attention to the detail of how things fit together. This is something I need to do right now – to focus on essential detail and not be distracted by the pretty things.
“In some birds, feather colors may be created, or altered, by secretions from the uropygial gland, also called the preen gland. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feather). Photo: Su Leslie, 2014, shot with iPhone 4 and edited with Aviary Ultimate Photo Editor.
Birds use feather colour as both camouflage and in mating behaviour. Humans also use colour for these reasons – though our camouflage is often more symbolic than actual. Do yellow filters make the shot seem more cheerful and hopeful?
“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”
— Emily Dickinson
I first learned of the Emily Dickinson poem from Woody Allen’s book Without Feathers (1975). I discovered it as a teenager and loved the cynicism and neurotic humour.
“How wrong Emily Dickinson was! Hope is not “the thing with feathers.” The thing with feathers has turned out to be my nephew. I must take him to a specialist in Zurich.”
― Woody Allen
“Striking differences in feather patterns and colors are part of the sexual didimorphism of many bird species and are particularly important in selection of mating pairs.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feather). Photo: Su Leslie 2014, shot on iPhone 4 and edited with Aviary Ultimate Photo Editor.
I love the textures, the colour palette, the mix of blurring and relief in this shot. It represents the transformation we’re making in our lives.
This post was written for Sally’s weekly phonography challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally. You can find out more here.
Or check out some of the other marco-themed posts from this challenge: