Close to Home: Photographing the Same Place Over Time

Dramatic Sky over Brodie Field, Austin, Texas © Theresa DiMenno
Brodie Field, Austin, Texas © Theresa DiMenno

By Theresa DiMenno

In early autumn, I returned to a field close to home that I’d stumbled upon in late March of 2020, during the early days of the pandemic. As wildflower season flourished, the virus followed suit and I remained in Austin instead of traversing Texas back roads in search of peak bloomsI photographed the field countless times through mid-June, observing the evolution of acres of bluebonnets replaced by firewheel, prairie coneflower and a variety of other native plants. Slowing down and documenting the changing season from flower to seed, was a deeply moving experience. Photographing the same location over many months gave me a greater understanding and appreciation for the complexity and interconnectedness of all living things. 

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Bluebonnets and the Blues

A field of Bluebonnet flowers.

Story & photo by Theresa DiMenno

It’s easy … and understandable … to be sucked into the vortex of fear, anxiety and hopelessness. Numerous issues trouble me of late and not solely the coronavirus, although covid-19 is the darkest force among us.

Spring in Texas is my favorite shooting season. At times lately, my desire to photograph wildflowers is at war with feeling it’s a trivial pursuit. Traveling Texas back roads isn’t viable right now, not in the way I typically roam the landscape. Lodging and dining out has become problematic.

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Delicate Balance: Monarch Migration

Monarch in flight. Houston TX.
Monarch in flight. Houston TX.

Story & photos by Theresa DiMenno

As I settle in to write this piece, the monarch butterflies are filtering through the central  flyway of Texas. It is a chilly morning in Austin as we had our first cold front of the  season last evening. Fifty degrees feels like forty five, cloudy with twenty mph winds, and sporadic drizzle. The northern breeze could push the monarchs along their  southern migratory journey to Mexico, but the cold and rain will keep them in place until  the weather clears. They prefer a moderate to warm temperature, and rain on the wing  is not a butterfly’s friend.

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Beneath the Surface: Photographing Texas Wildflowers

Bluebonnets, Terry Hershey Park, Bee

Bluebonnets, Terry Hershey Park, Bee.

Story and photos by Theresa DiMenno

In the natural world, beneath the surface speaks to what is concealed or goes unnoticed. It bestows a sense of wonder, reverence or deep connection. In photography, it refers to moving in closer and being intimate with a scene. Observing a monarch butterfly emerge from a chrysalis is a transformative experience. Watching a bee extract nectar from the wing petal of a bluebonnet is an exquisite example of the interconnectedness of life. Look closely at the veins of a flower petal. Notice the gentle arc of prairie grass swaying in the late afternoon light.

I’ve been aware of the power of nature since I was a three year old, lying on my back in the gravel driveway of our San Antonio home, watching clouds pass across the sun. I knew with certainty when the daylight changed its tone that it would return with a profusion of light sweeping across the landscape. I didn’t know why, I just knew the light would return. I’ve been watching clouds and light ever since those very early beginnings.

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