Though I’d taken the odd photograph of a bird or butterfly in the past, my fascination toward nature had long been toward trees, rocks and wildflowers, which I suppose is the odd part. With so many wildflower photos under my belt, you’d think I would have developed more than a cursory awareness of the creatures that flitted among the flowers each season to… well, basically make much of nature possible. Yet in my focused attention toward the sculptural beauty of plants and stones, little else had caught my attention—until the yellow butterfly.
As one of the showiest butterflies that came each year to my stepfather’s farm, the big yellow creatures were always hard to miss, even if I sort of had missed them. Yet at the start of this summer, they piqued my interest in a way that I can’t quite explain. A few nice close-ups segued to a few good video clips, and the next thing I knew, I was hooked. With camera in hand, I began a summer meadow adventure to find and photograph as many different butterflies that I could find. Along the way, I discovered all sorts of other amazing creatures—toads nestled in mossy gardens, moths with polka-dot wings and shimmering-blue bodies, silver-black dragonflies and so much more—and while I couldn’t include all my footage in this short video, the clips represent some very special moments. Indeed, so enchanting was the experience for me that I called the video Meadow-earth, an obvious nod to the name Middle-earth but also an acknowledgment that, as wondrous as fantastical Tolkien-esque imaginings can be, my summer meadow adventure reminded me of just how wondrous it is right here on Earth.
Aside from being my first nature video, I experimented with a new approach toward freeze-framing. Instead of simply capturing still images from clips and placing them into video with little or no treatment (with a blur affect being the most common), I exported stills into Photoshop and worked with them in multiple, textural layers to produce artwork-style stills (shown below). Dropping these back into the video, I set barn-door transitions around the images for presentation effect. I normally shy away from barn-door transitions, but the image of doors opening felt appropriate for the ethereal style I was going for—a sort of trip through the rabbit hole and exploration of some of the rooms to be found there.
Note: The stone circle featured in the video is a real, little-known stone circle found in Ontario, though obviously not set on blue grass. I added that tint in the video as a break from all the yellows and greens.
Royalty-free soundtrack “Reflektion” courtesy of FreePlay Music and adheres to all usage guidelines. All images and video by Xristopher Bland, save the footage of the large grey-and-white moth, shot by Mary Beth Bruce and used with permission. Copyright © 2015, Xristopher Bland for ABM Creative.