A patch of fertile land in the vast surrounding forest.
Another picture of pennywort flowers, I know. But they are very photogenic and make good subjects for macro photography. So let me tell you how this picture was taken.
This is my gear, the same that I had for the last 15 years, from the time when digital photography was all the hype and everyone wanted to be a photographer.
The Nikon D300, 105mm macro lens and the external flash would cost you around 350€ used today (disregard the 18-200m zoom lens). They work great together and can give very sharp and beautiful results.
There are however a few things to do before pressing the shutter release.
This way I usually get the picture that I had in mind with quite little effort.
Last night I finally finished building my Lego Science Tower. The set is not official but originates from a crowd-funding effort by Bricklink. The sealed box had been sitting in my office for two years until I recently brought it home to have some fun with it.
You can see Newton's apple in the tree and Mendel's garden in front of the tower. The telescope on the top rotates and tilts by turning the knobs. Inside there is Pawlov's dog, Schrödinger's cat, a library and a chemistry lab, among other things. Overall a lovely design with ingenious attention to detail!
I was recently reminded of thispersondoesnotexist.com which is a site that displays a new computer-generated face every time you reload it. There are still some artefacts that give away the artificial origin (I chose two examples with few glitches for the picture above) but I think it is fair to say that these faces look convincingly real.
This means that they trigger the same reactions in our minds that pictures of real people do. I found myself reloading the page for at least ten minutes, becoming more and more mesmerized, reacting to facial expressions, sometimes falsely recognizing someone I know, and generally unable to convince the automatic parts of the brain that these are not people.
Do I have a point? Should we become even more sceptical of media than we already are? I don't know. But being a somewhat aware of the way we cannot help but react to faces, real or not, cannot be such a bad thing, a kind of meta awareness that hopefully contributes to resilience against manipulation.