Macro Monday: The Lightbulb

The other day on Twitter I went on a bit of a tear about how I’d gotten away from photography over the last few years. Since the TINY HUMAN was born and with deadlines out the no-no-hole, it’s been tough securing say, an hour or two just to wander in the woods and take random-ass photos. I’m not a professional photog (though I do have a few lucky pro credits to my name, surprisingly), but I find there is intrinsic value in having creative outlets that aren’t writing. Not only does it clear my head from writing and give me a low-pressure mode of expression, but for me photography triggers the visual side of the creative spectrum, which can only (I hope) accentuate the written one. Macro photography in particular is a passion: itty-bitty worlds writ large! A simple waterdrop on top of a shampoo cap can look like a whole other world.

As such, I thought, well, fuck it. I’m gonna get back into it. I’ll make the time. I’ll take the time, rather — I cannot excrete hours from my pores. ONLY THE DREADED CHRONOVORE CAN DO THAT. Plus, I’m upgrading my camera game a little bit. New camera, new photos, a new year.

Every Monday for the foreseeable future, I’ll pop in here and post a macro photo.

Maybe I’ll add commentary sometimes.

Some weeks I probably won’t.

If you want to use the photo for story inspiration, go for it.

If you want to ignore it entirely, I dig that.

But this will be here, I think, as a fixture this year of reminding me to get off my ass and go wander the world a little bit with a camera in my hand. Sometimes I’ll post new photos. Sometimes I’ll dig back through the archives to find some cool ones. You’ll see a lot of macros, I think: waterdrops, fungi, flowers, random shit, foodie shit, and most definitely, bugs.

I won’t post any spider ones directly for you arachnophobes.

But I may offer links to them, like to this little lady right here.

I own all photos. I took them all. Copyright me, goddamnit.

Today’s photo:

The Lightbulb.

Really, just a waterdrop hanging from a withered nubbin of poison ivy vine.

But to me, it looks like a goddamn lightbulb.

It’s not the greatest photo. Clarity could be tighter. But I like it just the same.

Please to enjoy.


  • Q: How many photographers does it take to change a lightbulb?
    A. If they’re old fashioned film photographers – none. They prefer a dark room.

  • Kudos for reminding us that we can actually stimulate our creativity in all areas by doing anything sensory. Changing colors of pens or fonts, going to a fabric store (even if you don’t sew). Loved the photo and it even tells a story, a profound one. Poison ivy makes us weep with pain, it makes our skin weep. Your shot caught it in a moment of secret personal tears.

  • “But to me, it looks like a goddamn waterdrop.”

    You might mean, “But to me, it looks like a goddamn lightbulb.”

    I gave up on photography. Too many other hobbies. Just today I bottled two carboys of wine (a chardonnay and a moscato). Sometime whenever I get my workshop organized and cleaned up (in terrible disarray since moving), I’m going to get back into woodworking.

  • Like the photo and, what’s more, it has book cover potential for a mystery writer out there. I know that’s not why you take them, however. Don’t sell yourself short on this stuff just because you lack time. You obviously know what you’re doing when you do find the time to do it.

  • Wise choice, not posting spider photos. I once dropped a picture of a huge Huntsman spider on my blog (it accompanied a short story I actually shared there) and freaked people completely out. Spiders and snakes, sure-fire way to have people stampeding for the exits. Nice pics!

  • Thank you for more beauty and inspiration, Sensei. I also appreciate your sensitivity for others by not springing spiders on unsuspecting viewers. Always knew you were a cool dude. Happy, productive new year.

  • What camera family are you upgrading to? I’m saving for a Pentax K-3 myself. I love that the entry/mid-level Pentax bodies are weather sealed. I know the lens options are not as robust as Nikon or Canon families, but I’ll never be NatGeo pro level haha, so I figured it would be a good option.

    I’m looking forward to your future macro posts. I currently shoot with an Olympus SLR and my macro lens is on more often than not. I find other people’s images very inspiring, you’ve already inspired me to start making my photography a priority again. Happy picture taking!

  • I have a blog that’s just photography and writing prompts. I think creating things that tickle our senses makes us a more artistic conveyor of human experience. I mean, everything, everything, everything informs writing, but creation in one area feels like the secret sauce of inspiration in other areas. Anyway, nice lightbulb! :)

  • Cool photo. And agreed on the need for an alternate creative outlet. Mine is knitting. It’s both visual and tactile – and with any luck, I have something fun to wear when I’m done. :)

  • Nice! Beautiful work.

    I also used to do a lot of photography and have drifted away from it. Acclimating to a new city, I’m trying to get back to it, and Denver is a fun city to shoot in, what with the juxtapositions of neoclassical and modern architecture all over downtown, the mountains, the Victorian neighborhoods, just lots of neat stuff.

  • I just want to say THANk YOU for not posting the bug photos directly. People really don’t understand how utterly terrifying it is to suddenly be presented with that when you have a major phobia of something. Seeing the word unexpectedly is bad enough, photos are instance panic attacks. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

    • Don’t thank me too hard, yet, as I probably will post bug photos directly — but they won’t be creepy ones, and they won’t be spiders. Those I’ll nest (/verbchoice) behind links.

  • Cool, I can’t wait to see some of your photos.

    I used to like to take random-ass photos too, but once I started getting bills I just kinda…stopped. I think I will pick up the habit again though, thanks to you sir.

    You’re right, it is a low commitment way to let a bit of creativity flow. Thanks Chuck!

  • So you’re really poking me to get over my performance anxiety, break out my oil paints, and paint that darn picture that’s been in my mind ever since I started writing this book, right? Either it will become the book cover, or… it won’t. Either way, I’ll have fun at it :-)

  • Good to hear you are returning to photography. I, too, let it slip for a few years due to writing and deadlines and plan to revive it again this year. I love nature photgraphy and Black and white film photgraphy as well. Having a creative outlet aside from writing does help us in our writing, I have learned. I have returned to art as in sketching and pastels and the relaxing action brings in writing ideas. My newest camera is a 2007 Olympus so I need to camera shop, too. I will be following your photography posts. Go Chuck!

  • Oh, God, thank you for not posting spiders directly *tries not to panic* Spiders aside, this is wonderful! I look forward to seeing your photos!

    I love taking pics, although I’m awful at it. I’m also a crochetter, my very first hobby.

  • This is stunning! I have no other creative outlet apart from the writing. Must seek out something I can do, that is manageable from a health pov. I’m hopeless at photography. Unable to walk any distance too well. Any suggestions? Oh. wait! Any suggestions that I don’t need bail money before trying?

  • Oooooooh, now I have a whole new reason to get excited about Mondays! (‘Cause if any day needs excitement it’s that one.)

    Loving today’s. by the way. I’m imagining collecting a load of them all together at a later date into one massive, multi-pieced collage – maybe even arranging them to utilise the colours into making another, big picture of some other crazy-cool thing…. *eyes go all ‘adventure-time sparkly’*…

  • Thank you thank you thank you for not posting the spider ones. *sweaty palms* I can’t wait to see the rest, though! I like seeing the non-writing creative outlets of my authorly friends.

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