Posted by: mew | January 5, 2010

pure white

Inspired by Pip over at Capturing Beauty, I’m presenting you with a week’s worth of photos.  His theme for the month of January is the purity of white.

I was so glad to see “pure white” as a theme instead of snow, ice, and frost.  Finally, something in which those of us who have yet to see a snowflake can participate.  I started with my bathroom towel hanging in the path of a ray of pale, early morning sun.

Here’s the stuff that keeps those towels so nice and white.  And yes, sadly, in spite of being very motivated to make changes on behalf of the environment — and on behalf of me and all the other people and animals I love, since you can’t separate us — I have not yet quit using bleach.

Not only am I a borderline hippie, but like many actual hippies I am still a renter, and that means no clotheslines allowed.  So until I can naturally whiten my linens out in a blast of sunshine (and believe me, I can’t wait for that day), bleach it is.

I thought I was being pretty persuasive to get the landlord to agree to a garden — and then to let us keep the garden when he saw it taking up portions of the front yard, half the back, and a chunk of the side yard that doesn’t technically seem to belong to this unit.  So I’m not about to push my luck begging for a clothesline.

Well, not yet.

Some of the whites were not as pure as they’d looked to my naked eye.  A sort of bluish smudge had developed on the side of this seashell. It had lain in a decorative bowl for ages with two edges lifted up to catch the dust.

The plain white rice turned out to be not so plain or so white when its container was placed on the window ledge for better light.  It lit up like a tiny sunset in a jar, and previously hidden details within the grains were revealed.

Nothing is quite so pure as an eggshell’s white.  But having spent the summer with truly free-range* eggs in a range of colors and sizes, some of them pale blue, green, and pink, not to mention many different browns and tans, and many of those with a smattering of freckles, I find the cartons of grocery store eggs rather washed out and monotonous.

I had too much fun playing with the photos of whipped cream on my photo editing software.  Not having had too much (read: any) experience with photo editing, I can easily amuse myself with the special effects function.  This dreamy creamscape has been rendered black & white, then given a glow, then a soft focus.

Here is what the whipped cream looked like without all the fancy editing.  See, it’s not really pure white, either.  It’s… cream.

The funny thing about photographing whipped cream was, well, it kept melting into the hot chocolate.  And so I kept adding more, and finally, when the mug was almost overflowing, I stopped shooting.

And then someone had to drink all that delicious, creamy hot chocolate.

Oh, and F. was not at home.


These photos are further evidence of my efforts to stay Creative Every Day in 2010.  I’m having such fun so far, and there’s still plenty of days in the year left for you to join in on Leah Piken Kolidas’ brilliant artist-brainchild blog party.

*How free-range were these chickens, you ask?

Well, the first time we pulled up to the farm, one of the Araucana roosters was hightailing it across the road to try and make it with the hens over there.  He shot by our feet so fast that I only had a split second to exclaim to F., “Oh my God, he’s gorgeous, I want one!”  (I have serious fowl lust, especially for heritage breeds.  Some of them are like eye candy to me.)

Farmer Bill (yes, his actual name) was rolling his eyes and saying someone was about ready for the stewpot, with his female-chasing adolescent antics that made trouble with the neighbor.

But even some of the chickens could handily jump a low spot in their fencing and wander in the nearby organic pasture and some parts of the vegetable plot.  (Bill says they’re pretty good for pest control in every crop but lettuces.)

And for those lazybones or young ‘uns who stayed in the perimeter of the fence, well, there was plenty of grass and bugs and grubs and grains for all.



  1. Thanks for visiting my blog, I LOVE your pictures!

    • Aw, thanks! I’ll be visiting again soon 🙂

  2. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Please come again. I play in all types of art but always come back to the digital pictures and playing with them. It is such fun to see what you can do to a picture. Once my granddaughter asked me if there were purple lizards. I took a picture of a green anole and then turned him purple for her. She thought it was really cool.
    I love the DOF on the towel picture, the detail in the rice, and the whipped cream looks scrumptious in both pictures.

    • Ninnie, that’s so cool! I’m not sure I’d know how to turn a lizard purple… I am just discovering editing software, period, and I’ve only recently realized I’m really into the digital photography. Kind of a happy accident that I discovered it in the course of two other passions (gardening and writing).

      To give you an idea of how new to all this I am, I had to look up DOF this morning 🙂 Thank you so much for the compliments. They made me smile.

  3. I feel like I really need to photograph whipped cream in hot chocolate Except I have no whipped cream. And it’s raining. Sniffle. I do wish they’d invent something that allowed you to virtually taste things.

    • LOL, elizabeth. I know the feeling. 🙂 I regularly see blog entries on certain blogs where it’s like, why hasn’t someone invented the teleporter yet? I want to be there!

  4. love the photo of the rice!

    and i too cannot give up the bleach :p

    • Alisha, so glad I’m not alone on the bleach thing! I know you, too, care about the earth. We just have to make the changes we can, I suppose. Thanks for making me feel better.

      That rice really surprised me, with all that was going on once it saw the light of day. I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  5. That looks so yummy,I like the white pictures.I just washed my white coat tonight,and I was thinking why did I buy white? As it came out of the washing machine,I really liked how it looked when it’s clean.

    • White is a pain to keep clean, but so worth it sometimes. I have white and black accents for my bathroom, which is perfect if you’re renting and have to move, as it matches nearly everything. But keeping the floor mat and shower curtain clean can be a challenge.

      Glad you found it yummy, Tammy 🙂

  6. How I LOVE your photos! The whipped cream I couldn’t figure what it was, and I thought the towel was maybe a rug! Which made it fun…The rice is fascinating, and I love those shells, which we don’t get here. Are they sand dollars, or is that something else? I’ve always wondered. I think you are very creative!

    Thanks for visiting my place as otherwise I’d not have seen your lovely photos!

    • Macros are fun like that. They might be labeled “Guess what I am” sometimes 🙂

      I think it’s a sea biscuit. I got it on Saint Simon’s Island, Georgia, long ago. I know you can dive for sand dollars there, because I’ve done it. But I don’t know if the sea biscuits are native.

      I’m sure I’ll stop by again, Heckerty. Thanks for the compliments!

  7. What a delightful post, ME! I loved every single photo, but the real whipped cream really did me in, being a certified hotchocolataholic, always with whipped cream. White is not always that bleached white, whiter than white that clorox claims. We use bleach sparingly here too, like to sterilize the hummingbird feeders and wash down the greenhouse when the plants all go outside for the summer. Mold is a bad thing, in some places. Love the chicken story. My daughter raises chickens and they are the most beautiful of creatures, although they are destructive to the garden plants.

  8. The whipped cream…it makes me want hot chocolate. 🙂

    • I think I’ve set off a craving in the blog-o-sphere. I’ve heard that a couple of times now! Hope you got some. 🙂

  9. Love the first shot, great focus.

    • I’m so glad you commented on that one. That was my favorite, too, and all F. said about it was, “It’s okay,” making me wonder if my choice was totally out of left field.

  10. Thanks for visiting my blog. I just had a quick view at yours. Happy Creativity!

    • Oh, thanks, Meinhild. It was a pleasure visiting.

  11. well, whatever you did with the whipped cream photo worked for me, because i just bought a new can of reddi whip yesterday and i’m going to bust out the hot cocoa right now!

    • Oh, that’s wonderful news. Maybe I should do ads for the whipped cream and cocoa manufacturers. It seems to have worked a treat! 😉

  12. It is all about free range eggs. And chickens are awesome. Now that you live in a small town, are you going to get any?

    (Thanks for your encouragement, btw. Here’s hoping we can both stick to the challenge for the entirety of 2010!)

    • Unfortunately, no. 😦 We’re only here for another 8 to 12 months, the time for F. to finish his ph.D., and we rent, so no chickens allowed. I wish, though.

      And thanks for the good wishes. Same to you! 🙂

  13. Isn’t renting the pits at times?! We are supposed to ask our Property Manager – in writing – if we want to put a nail in the wall to hang a picture. High rents with virtually no say seems so unfair to me. I feel there should be allowance for some flexibility as long as you are looking after the property well and not causing any damage. I look forward to the day when we are living in our OWN home.

    As for your photos, I love them all, Meredith! I think the rice pic is my fave. I have always found it interesting that natural white is supposedly a mix of all colours in the spectrum while pure white can only be achieved by the addition of chemical agents, such as bleach.

    Just a question – Are we still doing the Pay It Forward challenge?

    • It is, Serena. It has some definite drawbacks. We don’t have to ask for permission to put a nail in the wall, thank goodness. That is really extreme. 😦 And I’m sure you care for your place really well.

      Thank you for the compliment. The rice amazed even me. 🙂

      We are doing the pay-it-forward, and your package went in the mail on Tuesday. No telling how long it will take to make it across the big blue, though…

  14. I meant to add that, I too, haven’t quite been able to give up using bleach for cleaning ~ 😦

    • It’s a tough thing to eliminate, I’m afraid. 😦

  15. Meredith your photos are stunning.
    Looking around for pure white sounds like a fun challenge.

    • Oh, thank you, gemma. You are too kind. 🙂

  16. Lovely white…and the textures and other colors that appeared in the photos is a beautiful thing

    • Thank you! I appreciate the compliments. 🙂

  17. […] for photography, I joined in on Capturing Beauty’s January theme of pure white and enjoyed it thoroughly.  Later in the week, I took my camera with me to the Botanical Garden.  […]

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