“Spruce Cone & False Hellebore”

Spruce Cone & False Hellebore, Taylor Mesa, SW Colorado (c) Mike Utley

F64-1(S)–Spruce Cone & False Hellebore, Taylor Mesa, SW Colorado
A cluster of false hellebore was growing beneath a tall spruce and this cone was nestled within the folds of this particular plant. This was a “found image”–the spruce cone wasn’t placed there by me but arrived there of its own accord, via gravity. I liked how the lines, curves and soft color palette of the false hellebore contrasted with the rough texture of the cone, as well as how the plant seemed to gently and protectively cradle the lone cone. (Canon gear, Fuji Velvia ISO 50)

25 thoughts on ““Spruce Cone & False Hellebore”

    1. Thanks, David. It’s those little things nature throws at us sometimes that really make us ponder the majesty of the natural world. Sometimes it’s enough to make us laugh or cry or just sit there for an hour in quiet contemplation. Even on days where my hiking didn’t yield any images, it was still worth it just to see what the wilderness had to show me. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Lamittan. It was such a serene scene, the false hellebore surrounded by spruce and pine, ferns and flowers and wild strawberries…and the scent of green, living things. I remember it as if it were yesterday. I appreciate your kind words. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Mark. It certainly was a serendipitous find. I imagine you’ve had a few of these delightful discoveries during your nature walks so you know what it’s like to be pleasantly surprised by what’s sometimes up nature’s sleeve. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Grace. I agree–it’s sort of been adopted by the plant. I was recently watching YouTube videos where animals had adopted infants of different species as their own–dogs nursing kittens, cats caring for puppies, etc. This scene reminds me of that inclusiveness found in nature, that we’re all in this together. (Of course, don’t try telling that to the gazelle that’s being chased by the cheetah…) 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. A beautiful click, Mike. Looks like a mother’s arms holding her baby. The contrasting appearances suggest even more that mothers love their children no matter how they look. It looks like this photograph was taken with great care. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Terveen. Cool thing was there were a couple of other cones snagged in other plants in this cluster as well. It was sort of like a baby spruce cone nursery ward! This particular cone and plant combo was the most aesthetically pleasing to me. I like your take on this, how mothers love their children no matter what. I was intrigued by how all the lines seem to converge on the cone, drawing the viewer’s eye to it. It was a nice discovery. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Xenia. Sometimes when I’d go out shooting, I’d have some vague idea or concept of what I wanted to find. This was unexpected. I’ve always enjoyed the intimate aspects of nature. The grand vistas are breath-taking, but sometimes the little “micro-scenics” like this speak more loudly to me, and in a language I can better understand. It’s why I loved wild flower photography (and macro photography in general) so much. There’s so much more intimacy when you’re up-close to a natural subject. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the kind words. The “mother” metaphor is all the more apt when considering the seeds of those stately spruces lie within that little cone nestled in the arms of the plant. Nature has so many interconnections, many of which we never notice but are just as important as those we do. It’s a good reason for all of us to care for and protect our world. Everything matters, even a random spruce cone in the arms of a nondescript plant in an out-of-the-way area no one really knows about or will ever see. 🙂


      1. this reminds me of a recent poem of mine: Nature, in which I took a different angle to the contemplation over it.:


        when the light turns into molten steel

        on its way down a narrow path,

        the rocks will start to multiply.

        paint brushes, will become exhibits

        displayed in the museum, with

        an address that one can’t go wrong

        at a large open air concert

        piano concerto is in progress.

        with invitations that have not yet expired

        audience step into the remaining empty seats.

        the piano played is a half sunken hull, and the

        orchestral instruments is the sea water pouring into it

        the book of last edition

        will be pictures in old memory;

        will be tourists inside the halls.

        the story of the ancient wings is

        a restored bird to people’s mind

        Liked by 2 people

    2. I love this poem. It’s so thoughtfully melancholic. I keep coming back to “the book of last edition,” which holds such a feeling of finality to it, an ending of all things, a book of mourning for what was lost that shall never be again. Your imagery, as always, is stunning and provocative. Such rich visuals and somber narrative. Wonderful stuff, and thank you for posting this here–I appreciate it! 🙂


    1. Thanks, Jeff. When I got heavily into nature photography, I found myself seeing everything in a new way. Things looked different, more vivid and alive, and suddenly all those ordinary things I took for granted for so long seemed to gain importance. I think my hearing loss played a part as well because I had to rely on my eyes to a much greater extent to navigate my world. It was quite an enlightening experience. My time time spent living in Oregon was another chapter in the sense that there were so many things up there that I’d never experienced here, such as my own personal OMG! moment when is saw the ocean for the first time near Coos Bay at age 31. I felt as though I’d finally come home. 🙂


    1. Thanks so much, Rhyan. This means a lot to me, coming from you. I’m a sucker for contemplative imagery and words, and this sort of image really speaks to me. Thanks for such kindness, good sir. Much appreciated! 🙂


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