Carol A. Hand
The privileged language of different disciplines never ceases to fascinate me. Today’s photography challenge is “Treasure – Zoom In.” In other words, a “Macro” shot. I remember when I first started visiting photography blogs. I was puzzled by the label “macro” applied to close-up pictures of tiny things. When I saw that label, I was expecting expansive seascapes or sweeping landscape vistas, not a flower or a tiny insect.
In the type of social work I practiced, I was known as a “macro practitioner” – someone who focuses on community organizing, organizational change, or political advocacy. I didn’t focus in on individual “clients.” I looked at the bigger picture, the contextual forces that influence life circumstances and choices for many.
Macro photography does fascinate me, but I’ve had little success trying to capture tiny beings in photos. By the time I focus, they’re usually long gone. Or my hands shake. Or the breeze blows before the photo clicks. I’m left with many interesting abstract blurs. Thank goodness for digital cameras.
Last year, I did get a shot or two of a bee or a butterfly.
But this year, bees and butterflies are noticeably and alarmingly absent. Even the bumble bees that made their presence known earlier in the spring are rare.
This is where the two disciplines of macro practice interface. I remember reading that the state of Wisconsin was going to be spraying for gypsy moths. One of the areas being sprayed is less than five miles away, just across the St. Louis River to the east.
“Residents of 21 central and western Wisconsin counties can expect to hear and see loud, low-flying planes as early as sunrise, depending on weather conditions, starting in May. Small, yellow planes will be spraying for gypsy moth caterpillars. These invasive pests defoliate trees during their caterpillar stage, causing stress and potentially tree death.” (Wisconsin DNR)
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (edited to add Duluth, MN)
Perhaps it’s just an unlucky coincidence. I don’t claim to be an expert in the science of the chemicals that are being sprayed from “small yellow planes.” I only know that last year, many kinds of bees and butterflies filled the air and feasted on the flowers in my garden.
This year, pollinators are a rare sight here.
As a once long ago biology major who wanted to be an ecologist before science welcomed women, I am certain there are many other solutions that could save both trees and pollinators. As a retired social work macro practitioner, my educated guess is that other options won’t be implemented until there’s a perceived financial profit for petro-chemical producers and logging companies.
For today, the best I can do is “zoom in” on flowers.
I hope the future will give me other options to practice macro skills as an amateur photographer. Sadly, I know skilled and experienced social justice macro practitioners will have too many opportunities to apply their craft in the years to come.
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