Sun Mallow

Early one morning not long ago, while videotaping dew on Musk Mallow (Malva moschata) petals, I noticed sun reflections from a small trickling brook in the background. With great care, I positioned my camcorder in order to capture the miraculous play of light as it interacted with the flower. I am quite pleased with the result, which combines my own experience of the scene with the creative impact of the camera itself.

The two clips featured in my Sun Mallow video show what happened as the reflections moved into a position directly behind the flower. I find this absolutely fascinating, in large measure because of the unpredictability involved.

In the first clip, the flower itself is receiving direct sunlight and the background reflection makes it look like it’s on fire. The intense reflected sunlight appears both above and below the petal, and arcs across the petal and stamens as time passes … a veritable dance of light!

In the second clip, the sun is no longer on the flower itself, but there are some wonderful reflections coming from the water in the background. You’ll notice amazing out-of-focus blobs drifting across the frame, usually from left to right. Yet another surprising dance of light!

I absolutely love to search out this kind of phenomenon … where concentrated background light, either caused by direct sunlight or else sun reflections, create sparkling motion effects. It is as if I’ve reached out and plucked a bit of magic from the ongoing kaleidoscope of experience, depositing it in the container of nature cinematography where others can experience it as well.

The camcorder itself generates a unique experience. While the human visual experience can be extremely powerful and magical, placing the camera lens between human and subject frames the scene and produces its own effect … a pleasing distortion of reality. Depth-of-field comes into play and the design of lens and diaphragm influence how out-of-focus areas and corresponding highlights are rendered. The result is often powerfully moving in its own right.

I’m hoping that Sun Mallow will mark the beginning of a series of “Sun Flower” videos, where the sun itself is always visible in the scene, either directly or via reflections. My gosh, it’s already mid-summer, so I’d better get crackin’ before the flowers have wilted and disappeared.


  1. Hello Lang,

    What a nice summer treat. Your perception of beauty shows through here. Perhaps this is also a lesson in patience for all of us. This would not have been captured without it. Thank you for sharing it. I have been enjoying all of your work that you have been sending.

    • Hope: Glad you enjoyed it. I also got other non-sun footage of the species, so I hope to expand the video into a more formal NatureWatch profile. That is … when I find the time to work on it! Right now many other of my video subjects are hankering to be rendered for NatureWatch.

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