The Book Corner: Flower Power
Sitting in our yards this summer, we'll all be witness to the strange and wonderful power of pollination.
We think that all those “buzzers” and “flutterers” are in charge of the magic we know as pollination. But, one look at Naturalist Photographer Heather Angel's most recent book, “Pollination Power”, lets us in on a fantastic secret—it's those annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees that hold all the power over the bees, birds, butterflies and other creatures—luring them at the exact moment in time to come over, capture their pollen, and take it to far-flung points around the globe.
What an amazing concept. And, Ms. Angel's sumptuous photography documents this “power-play” over and over again by exposing the process in macrophtography. Here we see not just creatures dipping and sipping in flowers, but the instant release of pollen from the plant. According to Rachel Nuwer of the New York Times, Angel's technical expertise made these images possible. She used an ultraviolet flash to expose the brilliant petal pattern and fluorescing nectar that many flowers produce for the benefit of their pollinators, normally invisible to the human eye. A red light allowed her to photograph nocturnal moth pollinators.
What this reveals is that plants are not the passive players that we once thought about during the pollination process. Some flowers even change color when pollinations is complete, signaling their visitors that it's time to move on! Others open and close to control the timing of the act. All of the plants “provide some form of enticement for pollinators: sugary nectar, pollen, a place to find a mate or just shelter.” Ms. Angels has even observed five male bees just snoozing on a flower!
This is Heather Angel's 60th book! She is truly a master photographer and has a way with dramatic captions for each image, as well. This would be a magnificent addition to any gardener's book collection. It's truly a “birds-eye view” of the wonders of nature.