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Studies in the Beauty of Decay
time-lapse videos
In the fall of 2013, I began creating a series of time lapse videos of cut flowers decaying.  The inspiration for this series started when my wife placed 2 hosta leaves in a small vase next to my sink in the bathroom.  Every morning I would get up and be confronted by those two leaves as they slowly turned yellow.  She wanted to remove them once the leaves had fully yellowed, but I asked her to leave them so that I could continue enjoying watching them as they changed every day as if in time lapse.  In my daily life I seem to be surrounded by friends that are at least 10 years older than me, and thus I am forced to confront my own aging at age 59. I have come to think of the physical aspects of the aging process as adding a layer of beauty that evokes the wisdom that has been acquired as our bodies change.  It has become a case of life informing art - and art informing life.

To create these videos, I dug out my father's old heavy steel tripod that was originally designed for large format cameras and I made a shutter button trigger from a solenoid mounted to a bent piece of metal.  I programmed a microcontroller chip that triggers the camera at timed intervals and used an LCD that shows the number of frames taken, and the number of minutes and seconds until the next frame will be taken.  I used my old Nikon Coolpix digital camera,  and adapted it to trigger a studio flash with umbrella for lighting.  This guarantees a consistent exposure with enough light to provide sufficient depth of field for this close-up photography.

I curtained off a section of my attic workspace to prevent exterior lights and sunlight from affecting the exposure.  Then I placed a small LED floodlight off to the left  that provides just enough light for the camera to focus on the flowers.

Once I set up a new arrangement, I check in on it daily and download all of the frames and assemble them into a video to see how it is coming along.  Each video has surprised me with the unique characteristics of the way in which the leaves and flowers move and change color over time.

Below you will see the videos that I have created to date, most were shot at 10 minute intervals over a period of several days to several weeks.   You can also see all of these videos on my YouTube channel.




Study in the Beauty of Decay #8 -  Jonquils
Study in the Beauty of Decay #7 -  Lilies
Study in the Beauty of Decay #6 -   White Tulips
Study in the Beauty of Decay #5 - 3 Tulips
Study in the Beauty of Decay #4 - Tulip
A Study in the Beauty in Decay #3 - yellow Chrysanthemums
A Study in the Beauty of Decay #2
A Study In the Beauty of Decay #1, 2 Hosta leaves