Friday, 3 September 2010

Seeing Is Believing Department: Bees and Flowers and the Impression That Is Larger Than Reality

The air seemed to be full of the buzzing of bees the other morning when I was out. Another hot, hazy day was shaping up, and obviously these lavendar plants had attracted a wonder of bees. They flitted around, going from flower to flower as they collected nectar and spread pollen. It seemed to me to be the epitome of a summer day.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I downloaded the photos and discovered that I couldn't see a bee anywhere. It took playing around with Photoshop, enlarging the image by a factor of three, and then carefully going over it, centimeter by centimeter, before I saw the busy little honey-makers. Yet the impression I had, as my delighted eyes flitted from flower to flower, was that the air was full of bees.

There's a lesson here: what we see depends upon where we look and what we register can be greater than what one individual glance can contain. It's something to consider when trying to make sense of the world.

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