Black and white photo of umbrella-shaped seed heads
Lens-Artists,  Photographic techniques,  Themed galleries,  Wildlife and nature

Gallery: nature by design

There is no better designer than nature

Alexander McQueen

I am sure Alexander McQueen is not the first person to suggest that nature is the best designer. Indeed, as far back as the Ancient Greeks similar things were being said:

Art takes nature as its model

Aristotle

For this week’s Lens Artist Challenge Patti proposes that we take a closer look at shapes and designs. I’m choosing to highlight the wonderful designs to be found in the natural world. Most are plant details; I am often intrigued by the shapes and patterns created by stamen, petals, leaves and seed heads. But there are a few animals and geological shapes too.

And to make the design element more apparent, I’ve opted for monochrome edits. That may also compensate for the fact that I’ve used some of these images in previous posts! Most were shot originally in colour and edited in Silver Efex Pro 2.

Plant and animal designs

Black and white photo of rushes reflected in water

Rushes in the Okavango Delta, Botswana

Grass seeds and Bear Grass in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State

Black and white photo of dandelion clock

Dandelion clock near my home in Ealing, west London

Black and white photo of three teasel heads in silhouette

A trio of teasels at Druridge Bay in Northumberland, UK

Black and white photo of large leaf

Close-up of a banana leaf in Kerala, India

Black and white photo of centre of a poppy

A poppy growing in Adlestrop, a Cotswold village in England

Black and white photo of delicate flower

Taken at Kew Gardens, west London; I’m unsure what flower this is but the design is just perfect!

Black and white photo of large cactus

A cactus at Kew Gardens, west London

Black and white photo of cut surface of tree trunk

A fallen tree in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State

Black and white photo of seaweed hanging from a wall

Seaweed on a groyne in Whitstable, England

Black and white photo of web with raindrops

Raindrops on a spider’s web near Craster, Northumberland, UK (we can’t talk about designs in nature without mentioning spiders’ webs!)

Black and white photo of elephant's trunk curled over his head

Elephant’s trunk detail, taken in Chobe National Park, Botswana

Black and white photo of zebra's neck and mane

Zebra’s mane detail, also taken in Chobe National Park, Botswana

Black and white photo of owl's face

A Grey Owl at a birds of prey rescue centre in England

The work of water

So far I have focused on shapes that can be discovered in the details of plants and animals. I want to finish with a few examples of interesting shapes created instead by water, soil and rock.

Aerial view of a river delta in black and white

Above the Okavango Delta in Botswana

Black and white photo of river banks

Looking down on the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe, from a helicopter; I was struck by how much the shape of the promontory in the river resembled the crocodile resting on it!

Black and white photo of mangroves reflected in a river

On the Gambia River just before sunset; another ‘crocodile’ ready to pounce on an unsuspecting fisherman?

Black and white photo of rock reflected in water

Rock erosion at Wadi Bani Khalid in Oman

Black and white photo of of rock layers reflected in water

Rock formations at Mount Paektu, North Korea, reflected in the crater lake

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