Hidden in plain sight

A few notes about finding a fascinating photo subject, right in front my nose, entirely by chance.

The story begins with some old honey. Been lying around for a while, in need of heating and filtering to put in jars.

When hot and runny, it looks like this…


Then it goes on through a finer sieve, and into a jar…


Hang on, what’s that irregular ‘bump’ there – just there – where the stream of honey hits the surface?


Looks like a little pile of honey, or a spiral of some sort. Wow. Weird.

At this point I ditched the 40mm pancake lens I’d used for the kitchen snaps above. Time for a closer look. On with the 100mm macro…

(Oh yeah, click on any of these pics to see them nice and big)


Well, that’s not much use. Thing about macro photography is you need tons of light. You can widen the aperture to get a bright enough pic, but at those distances, the depth of field effects mean that very little of the image is in focus. But there’s enough there to see the beginnings of some interesting details. Out with a simple off-camera flash and wireless trigger.

With the help of a nearby small boy, holding the light up and to the left, I had what I needed.


Gone is the flat colour of the previous shot. The flash can pump light through the liquid, through the bubbles and imperfections, and through those strange coils…

With a macro lens you can get really, really close, of course. So let’s see what that spiral thing is all about, and with a bit of shuffling of the stand to make some room, we see…


…and getting right in there, this strange beauty:


So there it is. Five minutes of spotting something unusual, going after it, five more minutes processing the results, and out pops something you’ve seen plenty of times before in jars of jam and honey, tins of syrup, and so on. But with a splendour I had absolutely no idea existed.


Bonus pictures – next morning, really bright sun backlighting the honey as it dripped off the spoon…