Welcome to Your Simulation

** BREAKING NEWS ** Reality is not real. We’re living in a simulation. Thank you for your patience and understanding. The regular scheduled programming will begin shortly.

We can't trust our senses or perception,
it's just five types of natural deception.

Nobody can hit this off button,
that's the distinction,
between playin' PlayStation or livin' in a simulation.

Sleep, wake up, shower, eat.
Rinse and repeat.
No pause or delay.
Programmed to do it all again the next day.
Our dreams are someone else's whims,
we're played like digital characters in The Sims.

No proof. 
No reason to believe any of it.
Too smart for any of that bullshit.
Not a believer,
or victim of a grand deceiver,
the universe can't be squeezed inside a quantum computer.

It's inevitable.
It's eventual.
Look close enough and you'll see a tiny pixel.

Don't study this rhyme.
Look up at the stars. 
Travel back in time.

How many options? None.
How many choices? One.
No destiny.
You're living a lifetime of coded monotony.
That's the realization,
when you're livin' in a simulation.

Welcome to the place where everything you have ever done...
...has been done once before.

Halloween 2022: Fun-sized Variety Pack

A tiny devil desecrated my neighbor’s tree with toilet paper…it must be Halloween. Stay away from vampires smoking cigarettes in the local graveyard. Trust me. You now have an excuse to cover your head with a bedsheet and nobody can judge you. Boo.

This fun-sized variety pack contains photographs, short story snippets, poetry, and a video clip.

(Don’t wolf down the whole bag or something bad’s gonna happen)

Sink your fangs into this treat filled with words. The original short story won’t fit inside this post. I sliced, chopped, and diced the narrative, but it’s still too damn chunky. However, at the risk of being an asshole, I can’t reveal too much, because it would defeat the purpose of reading the story. Hell, I shouldn’t even share this much. Oh well. Too late.

Bird Brain

(Short Story Excerpt)

I drop his smoldering filter inside an iridescent puddle. A blue wave of illumination ignites across the chromatic surface. Flames crawl toward the front porch while dry grass combusts near their front porch. A vision of Louwanda fills the void inside my mind as I stare inside that insatiable flame. They ate my family. Now it’s the fire’s turn to have a midnight snack (To Be Continued).

This next treat has a motion picture in its center. The original Creepshow movie depicts a strange story written by Stephen King. Take a look for yourself…if you got the guts.

Do you know what kind of candy this is? Because I don’t. You may want to ask your mommy to check for something that’s not supposed to be there. Inspired by historical New England witches, this poem-lyrical-thing may or may not go down well. Eat at your own risk.

Dark night, summon fright.
Silver light, Devil's might.
That which belongs in hell—
rises above the ground when we cast our spell.
...Wanna hang with the witches? Click here!

Here’s a handful of Halloween flavored photographs, which may give your eyes a stomach ache.

There you go, that’s all I got. Please save your Angel Soft TP for somebody else. Thank you and have a wonderful night.

Want more candy? Go to Poet Rummager’s place!

Hanging with the Witches

Shhh…take some early Halloween candy. Sink your plastic fangs into this lyrical creation inspired by historical New England witch trials. Watch out. Don’t let your neighbors see you park that broomstick in the garage, or the last necklace you wear might be made from rope.

Go where the midnight moon glows,
feel cold earth under your toes.
Beyond where they lay the living to rest,
take the hand of shadows dancing in the forest.

Dark night, summon fright.
Silver light, Devil's might.
That which belongs in hell—
rises above the ground when we cast our spell.

Branded a liar,
set on fire.
Deny your trial,
add more weight to the pile...
...press your bones... 
...with heavy stones.
Old woman who lives outside of town,
tie her up—see if she'll float or drown.

Can't escape God's judgement and suspicion,
or the people's accusation and persecution.
We never believed any of that,
hang us and you may be visited by a black cat.

Here we are, alive when the midnight moon glows.
There they are, spreading hollow rumors below the gallows.
Conjoined by an unholy union, promised another chance,
let's join hands and show everyone our last forest dance.

Written by –FlyTrapMan–

Want more bite-sized candy? Hop on your broomstick and fly to Poet Rummager’s place!

This is Why Mars Sucks. Again.

Did you stock up on sunblock and petroleum jelly while it was on sale? Ladies and gentlemen, strap yourself in, this one is going to be a real burner. Prepare for your eyes to bulge out of their sockets…we’re going to Mars. Again.

The BIGGEST Disappointment in the Solar System

Here’s something they don’t teach people in kindergarten: Mars isn’t the biggest planet in the solar system, it’s the biggest disappointment.

First, let’s start with an obvious problem. Mars isn’t “right next door to Earth”, like it’s often described in Nickelodeon cartoons.

Mars, on a good day, is about 140 MILLION miles away from Earth.

Not impressed? Mars could be even further away, up to a whopping 249 million miles. However, to be fair, at its closest approach, Mars is only a stone’s throw away: 33.9 million miles. So there’s that.

Check this out, Earth’s moon, on average, is about 238,855 miles away, which means you can put an empty fishbowl on your head, stuff yourself inside a soda can, and make about 586 single trips to the Moon, by the time you reach Mars, once.

Image depicts relational distance between Earth, Mars, and the Moon.
So Close! Image Credit: BBC

You can also travel to the Moon in less than four days, however, a trip to Mars may cost you between six or nine months (depending on fuel and orbital dynamics). You decide which world is closer.

Wanna know what really chaps my ass? It’s practical to visit Mars at specific times during its orbit. Yes, you read that correctly. Something to do with orbital resonace. Don’t feel like getting into it.

Image shows average distance between Earth and Mars

Your definition of “right next door” might be different. Imagine if you ran out of Froot Loops and traveled 149 million miles, just to hear your neighbor say, “Cereal? I haven’t had any since 1988”. That’s exactly like Mars. Think about it.

What would it be like if Mars, today, was filled with magical ferns, dinosaurs, Boney M, and wild Jacuzzis? We’d have a reason to go there.

The Water Park is Closed. Go Home.

Ancient Martian rocks spilled the beans: the Dead Planet used to be a real bitchin’ place to live! Filled with water parks, slides, rides, lazy rivers, and all sorts of aquatic attractions, you could have brought your family and experienced a wholesome fun time.

Not anymore.

Watch Mars turn to dust / Credit: NASA

Just like that time when Aunt Beth had one too many piña coladas and dropped Little Jimmy on his noggin, Mars suffered a critical error during its developmental period.

You see, Mars’ waistline is only about half the diameter of Earth.

Jupiter, the widest load in the solar system, stuffed its gaseous mouth with scrumptious cosmic cakes, leaving Mars to nibble on rocky crumbs.

In other words: Jupiter packed on pounds as it sucked up gas, dust, rocks, bricks, nails, trash cans, license plates—Jupiter don’t care—growing large and in charge as it meandered across the solar system, swiping food off Mars’ plate. That’s exactly what happened. Look it up.

Image depicts relational core size between Earth, Mars, and the Moon
Got Cores? Image Credit: Researchgate.net

Frozen to the Core

Here’s the dealio—Mars doesn’t have enough fat (mass). After billions of years has expired, its outer core cooled, and then the planet’s magnetic field just stopped working.

Planetary magnetic fields take one for the team by interacting with something nobody wants to interact with: the solar wind.

The solar wind is kind of like those creepy satanists who hang out in nasty caves.

You know they’re in there, somewhere, you just avoid them, otherwise your heart might be extracted from your chest. Yeah…the solar wind is a lot like that.

Graphic shows a model of the solar wind
No wind like the solar wind / image credit: NASA

Or more precisely: the Sun emits a constant stream of excitable protons, electrons, and other stuff, throughout the solar system and beyond.

If there’s one thing the solar wind loves to kill, it’s helpless atmospheres.

Graphic shows a creative perspective on the solar wind and Mars
This is how the solar wind works / Image Credit: Me

Without a planetary magnetic field, wild subatomic particles take small bites out of fragile atmospheres. The moment when Mars’ outer core got a case of the shivers, its bright future disintegrated into red dust.

Yes, we know, Mars technically has a dinky atmosphere, but that’s just one more strike against it, and proves that Mars is a basket case.

Here’s another reason why we need to blow up Mars—it’s being used and abused by a cartoonish jerkwad to immortalize his entitled place in world history.

Where We’re Going, We Need Servants

Elon Musk, the richest mannequin in the world, sprouted angel wings and has vowed to save Homo sapiens.

Here’s how: endangered servitude, risking the lives of naive and gullible fanatics, union busting, receiving government tax credits, and blowing cold smoke up the entire world’s swollen ass.

Mars is the most dangerous planet in the solar system because it provides social psychos a way to pretend to be human.

Photograph shows Mars glowing above some trees
See that red dot? Don’t go there / Image Credit: me

Not done yet.

Before saving everyone, in the mean time, Elon snacks on other people’s wives (ask Johnny), is an expert on being a pedo (his words, not mine), pollutes communities (big dick rockets), claims to be an alpha (ask his wife), takes credit for other people’s work (Tesla), and tried to be funny on SNL. Gross.

Elon’s SNL appearance scared the absolute bejesus out of everybody on planet Earth, and if anyone should go to Mars…it’s Elon…alone **Queue laugh track **

Watch at your own risk

Why haven’t you soiled your britches?

It’s just a matter of time before a disgruntled asteroid slaps Earth back into the Dark Ages. We have to colonize Mars as soon as possible, or we’re gonna lose power for a very, very long time.

Itsy-bitsy problem: Comets and asteroids hate Mars, too.

Don’t believe it? Take a closer look at these Martian battle scars and you’ll see a history of confrontation between Mars’ face and an asteroid’s fist.

What’s the grand plan when a blazing rock roasts all the potato farms on Mars?

With less resources and places to hide, Martian colonists may as well toast their own soul over an open fire…if they could build a fire.

Graphic shows Elon thinking about smoking Mars

Wait a minute.

Mars loiters closer to the asteroid belt than Earth, right? Does that mean it’s at greater risk of an impact? Seems logical, we’ll just assume that’s true. Mars earns another red strike.

Mars is the most dangerous planet in the solar system because it provides social psychos a way to pretend to be human.

We can’t allow cartoonish jerkwads to warp our future into their vision of what they believe is right. I see you Jeff Bezos, you’re next.

It’s not possible to save humanity by going to Mars, just in case you haven’t been paying attention.

If you want to figure out how to become impact proof, rub two brain cells together. You’ll soon discover that humans should spread throughout the entire solar system, like butter on a piece of burned toast.

Got Space?

It’s in poor taste to point out all the ugly flaws about Mars and not provide a solution. So here’s a solution.

What’s one thing planets and moons have in abundance? Space!

Venus, for example, is closer than Mars, but its surface isn’t compatible with complex life, or metal.

The Venusian orbit is pretty brisk, though. And last time anyone checked, volcanoes don’t float in space, so let’s go ahead and park a modular space station in its orbit. Problem solved.

Infographic depicts distance and time between inner solar system objects

Mercury also has plenty of vacant orbital space, but just because it’s closer than Mars, doesn’t mean Mercury it’s easy to explore. Because it’s not.

According to that lovely infographic, traveling to Mercury can cost up to several years. In that same time frame, you can make about 14 single trips to Mars. Ain’t that a bitch.

Let’s not bring up the Moon because this is getting embarrassing for everybody. Or Earth’s orbit.

Yes, Earth’s orbit is a viable option. If there were enough space stations or modular habitats, people could just populate Earth’s backyard.

Somebody’s probably thinking, “Excuse me, I know where you’re going with this. The International Space Station cost about 150 billion bucks, plus upkeep. It’s far too expensive to build more space stations.”

Let’s examine that wonderful thought.

Infographic shows the cost between four Martian rovers

Take a quick gander at that fancy infographic.

Whoa, Rovers ain’t cheap. Add it all up, that’s about $6 billion buckaroos dedicated to studying Martian quakes, dry lake beds, and red rocks.

The last mission to the Moon occurred in 1972, and the total cost of all previous missions combined: $28 billion USD, or $280 billion when adjusted for inflation. Expensive or a bargain? Who knows.

This much we do know: nobody cares about Martian helicopters if they’re deader than disco.

Image shows an animation of a Martian helicopter
Look ma, no backup plan

Calculate all the past missions to Mars, that’s billions of green backs dedicated to studying things we currently don’t need to study.

Besides…how come Mars gets all the damn rovers? Shit.

True, if NASA received a proper smidgen of the US Department of Defense budget, nobody would have to pinch pennies.

Ready to get pissed off? A single aircraft carrier, like this massive bastard, the USS Ford, costs about $13.3 billion USD.

How many rovers can we build with that kind of money?

New age death machines burn holes in our pockets. We’re not going anywhere.

Priority Sells…But Who’s Buying?

Legendary scientific experiments have been conducted on the ISS. Take a quick glance at this list.

  1. Disease studies
  2. How-to purify scrumptious water
  3. Prevent bone and muscle loss
  4. future smart people working with orbiting labs
  5. Growing tasty food!

NASA already compiled a list of greatest scientific experiments. Read it.

Microgravity environments are worth more than their weight in gold. Any compromised nerd who says it’s a waste of money to maintain the ISS, needs to stop watching Marvel movies. Immediately.

Sorry guys and gals, tights or capes don’t grant people the ability to breathe in outer space! Time to grow up…sheesh (anyone see the latest Spider-man movie? Tom Holland was great).

While floating way up high, do you want to see if somebody gets a bad case of space madness? Go to the ISS.

Would you like to know how tomatoes grow in a microgravity environment? Go to the ISS.

Perhaps you want to know if bacteria can throw a party in space? Go to the ISS.

Want to observe if a poor soul can survive a mission to Mars? Go to the freakin’ ISS. You get the idea. Hopefully.

Image shows a painting by John Berkey
Looks comfy / image credit: John Berkey

Here’s the entertaining part—Tom Cruise is going to blast off into space—and then film action scenes inside a modular movie set. Try duct taping a modular movie set to Mars and see what happens.

Space stations can have a variety of shapes and purposes. Planets generally have one shape, you can guess which shape that is.

With enough technical know-how, electrical wizardry, and magical materials, space stations will someday be limited by our imagination. Planets are limited by nature until we heat ’em up.

Have you heard of this neat trick? While orbiting a celestial body, space stations can boost to a higher altitude, dodging an incoming jab from a rocky invader or piece of space trash. Try boosting a planet and see what happens.

Graphic shows Tom Cruise doing his own stunts

So, if going to Mars is really about saving our sweet asses, capable nations (or private industries), instead, would build more space stations and park them much closer than Mars. Duh.

Besides, there’s a better planet than Mars, and it’s almost just as far away.

Icier Things to Do

Did you know our solar system has a secret planet?

Somewhere in the asteroid belt, 257 million miles away, is a dwarf planet, smaller than Earth and Mars, but don’t you dare underestimate its diminutive stature.

Ceres is flush with the good stuff: water, cryovolcanoes, salt, ice, and even a rinky-dink atmosphere.

Unlike Mars, this planet’s peculiar axis of rotation guarantee seasons never exist. Awesome.

Here’s the best part: no dust.

Images depicts the dwarf planet Ceres
Shhh…don’t tell anybody about this planet

Ceres has more accessible resources than Mars because its outer surface is rather icy. Martian water, by comparison, is mostly confined to its polar ice caps.

According to NASA Dawn measurements, Ceres could be comprised of 25% water, which is more than the planet you’re currently living on, and sure as hell more than Mars.

Ceres also has major salt deposits, which can be used for something…think about all the things you can do with salt.

Colonizing Ceres, just for the sake of preserving our species, is straight up dumb, since we have better things to do. But it’s a smarter wetter choice than Mars and almost the same distance.

Graphic animation shows a region of salt located on Ceres
Enough salt for everybody: map shows major salt deposit on Ceres / Image Credit: NASA

Do advanced eggheads renovate cosmic crack houses, or do they build their own habitats in space? An intelligent species builds, a wasteful species moves.

Even if a gang of devoted fanboys go to Mars and put up with the abysmal living conditions, who’s supporting the colony?

Who’s paying for all the future bottle rockets?

Who’s sending astronaut ice cream?

What happens when Earthlings get into a heated argument and throw water balloons each other? By balloons, of course, I mean bombs. Lots and lots of bombs.

What happens when Justin Bieber releases a number one hit single and people stop giving a flying fuck about Mars?


Let’s enjoy this much needed recap.

  1. Mars is, like, really, far away, man
  2. Mars has a highly eccentric orbit
  3. Mars, once again, has a major problem with its core
  4. Ceres is a smarter planet to colonize (still a dumb idea)
  5. Funding Martian missions is a waste of limited resources
  6. To preserve our species, we currently don’t need to study Mars
  7. Space stations are more versatile and valuable than a Martian colony
  8. Mars has been used and abused by asteroids, too
  9. What happened to priority? We should populate the Moon and Earth’s orbit before colonizing Mars
  10. Everybody spends way too much cash on death machines
  11. Elon Musk. Enough Said.

Not like any of this bullshit matters.

How much cash does each nation spend on machines of death? Remember, just a single American aircraft carrier costs almost $14 billion USD, and they just float in the water, like a lethal rubber ducky.

Oh, by the way, good ol’ USA owns eleven lethal rubber duckies. Bring it on.

The ISS had been scheduled to be decommissioned in the near future, that’s just a fancy of saying we’re going to slam dunk the ISS into the ocean, because that’s what we do.

This ain’t about affordability, it’s about priority.

Image shows an infographic of 2021 DOD budget
Infographic Credit: Me

In the year 2021, for example, the DOD suggested we blow through $740.5 billion USD, in order to protect our freedoms and vaporize terrorists.

For the same amount of cheddar, it’s possible to build about five space stations or 600 Martian rovers. Take your pick.

Humanity has more than enough resources to build modular space habitats, lunar bungalows, and lakeside Martian condos. But we’d rather throw missiles at each other instead. Fun times.

Based on the cold reality we live in, Mars is a pie in the sky, fatal distraction, that wastes limited resources, while privileged individuals seek to profit from modernized doomsday schemes.

Infographic shows a hypothetical space budget

Saying the world will someday be walloped by an asteroid, is the same as saying the Four Horsemen may throw a massive block party in 2045.

Four Horsemen may or may not exist, and an asteroid may or may not cause an extinction…in the next million years.

Hey, since the Four Horsemen may ride into town, you’ll no longer need any earthly possessions, right? Send all your cool stuff to me. I’ll take care of it. Promise.

Come on, man. Do you believe billionaires give a fat comet’s ass about your pet gerbil, planet Earth, Mars, or the future of humanity?

Here’s the answer to the test: they care about vacuuming fat wads of cash into the belly of their piggy bank.

Space, Mars, and everything in between, is just an untapped source of revenue, tourism, or entertainment. Welcome to the future.

Image shows an ERRTH recruitment poster

Prepare for Reentry

Phew, that was a bumpy ride. Our heat shields took a beating, but we somehow made it back home. I’m in the mood for a donut.

We learned a thing or two about planetary cores, weight gain, magnetic fields, Tom Cruise, Ceres, the solar wind, space stations, and, of course, why Mars sucks. Again.

It’s been a long journey, compadre. Sad to see you go. Feels like we really went to Mars and back.

Congratulations! You should feel a little less worthless, Earthling. You earned it.

What’s going on? Do you think I’m totally wrong about Mars or have something against space stations? Perhaps you have a smarter plan? Leave your thoughts in the comment section and your great idea may save humanity.

This is a guestbook

References & Resources

BBC/Mars infographic

NASA/infographics, videos, DAWN measurements, list of greatest scientific experiments

Researchgate.net/planetary cores

Navytimes.com/cost of USS Big Bastard Ford

Planetary.org/Apollo programs

nymag.com/ Elon’s fantastic alpha quote

defense.gov/ Fiscal year 2021 budget proposal

Yo, don’t go to Mars

You’re still here? This is getting weird.

The Future Looks a Little Like the Past

What’s going on? Long time, no see. Earth is going to hell in a hand basket, so I may as well give you an update while the glaciers still exist. For the record, no, I’m not pushing up daisies. Sorry for your disappointment.

Changes Nobody Asked For

You may have noticed the different domain. Long story short: A technical complication, which I caused, encouraged me to change my website domain.

Good. Great. Fantastic. We got those annoying formalities out of the way.

Everything is not in order, though. You’ll notice errors, strange things, odd blob creatures, and more. Try to ignore my odd blob creatures. They help me.

Soon you’ll see a behind-the-scenes view of current photographic experiments and creative concepts.

You’ll also still encounter my unusual variety show: free-form nonsense, no budget “films”, tips you never asked for, dating advice, and other shit.

Sound enticing? Stock up on sunblock and Vaseline. You’re gonna need it.

A Quick Glimpse of the Future

Got a minute to waste? Take a quick gander at this.

What’s the minimum amount of light needed for glass to remain visible? Don’t know? Well, neither do I. I’m trying to figure that out. Obviously.

Let’s take a look at another quick one.

Eat me

…Hungry? Most of you have stuffed your piehole with this type of food. Many times. You’re looking at a piece of pasta, just in case you’re baffled and mortified.

In other words: not much has changed.

You’ve seen this all before. Future posts will look more slick because I care about each and every one of you. If you’re going to come here and waste your time, damn it, you may as well be comfortable.

That’s enough. Let’s not spoil your dessert.

Free Nightmares For Everybody

Boo! If you’re expecting a treat, wait until you fall asleep—your sweet nightmares may contain a nougat center…if you’re lucky. Dark chocolate? Nope, just dark, because some ghouls people are allergic, and everybody must suffer equally. You understand.

Here’s a little something for all you vampires and ghosts. Feast your eyes on my basket of spooky images. Please keep your rolls of toilet paper to yourself. Thank you.

Images Created By Dark Focus Photography

dark focus photography.com

Dark Focus Photography.com

Do you need help focusing on the dark? Don’t worry! Let us do the focusing and you’ll spend more time in the light. Guaranteed. Making something out of nothing ain’t easy. You sacrificed your life force to create a unique idea or product, and so it would be our honor to illuminate your vision. For more information, visit our contact page.

Flower Power: A Close-up Examination of Wild Plants

Flowers have been blooming for at least 130 million years, and most people ignore them. How many times have you trampled over a bed of innocent buttercups? Probably a whole bunch of times. Admit it. Flowers wilted into the backdrop of our lives, just like mailboxes, houses, stores, signs, and every other mundane detail that’s taking up space.

I decided to remedy that problem, by photographing wildflowers. Which one? Well…all of them.

I gave this project some water and it sprouted into a fool’s errand. Damn things kept on blooming and I couldn’t keep up with Mother Nature. My body absorbed enough ultraviolet radiation to make Bruce Banner blush, however, that’s besides the point.

Let’s get a few things straight, compadre.

  • Photograph wildflowers/plants (invasive, native, non-native)
  • Hybrid flowers not included (flowers specifically created to exhibit certain colors, for example.)
  • Leafs and buds may be photographed (for identification purposes)

Potted plants were not allowed to be documented. Each plant must have been plugged into Planet Earth, even if it was same species that happened to reside inside a comfy pot. Don’t ask. Rules are rules.

Project Objective: Gain a broader understanding of wild plants, through firsthand experience, while documenting all species. This article is an accumulation of my current experience.

This article is not for the faint of heart. If you’re expecting less than 1000 words, leave now. Navigate the mouse cursor toward the right hand corner of your internet browser, then click on the little ‘x’. You’re falling toward the event horizon, and once you’re in…you’re in. Got it? Good. And one more thing—I recommend reading this article on a real computer.

Brief History Lesson: since the beginning of time, humans selectively bred plants We love to create colorful abominations that would otherwise not exist in this universe. Hybrid flowers thrive inside a gardening catalog —their colors extract money from wallets.

Many common fruits and vegetables are selectively bred, to get rid of nasty traits and retain desirable traits. Wild plants are smaller, bitter, and probably full of seeds. Would you buy a banana…if half the weight consisted of seeds? Exactly.

Or how ’bout this: Have you ever scarfed down an apple and wondered how it tasted so damn good? Blame selective breeding.

Wild plants, or if you prefer to be disrespectful, “weeds”, are different than cultivated plants. The wild version of popular fruits (or vegetables) have undesirable properties, but in the context of living in a natural environment, being full of seeds ain’t so bad.

Documentation Process

read how photographs were taken

Before we venture deeper into the woods, let’s examine a few more details.

In order to properly document wildflowers, I adhered to a certain standard. Have you ever seen a rogues gallery of hard-boiled criminals? Each lovely portrait was composed the same way, because the overall process was efficient at identifying ne’er-do-wells.

If each mugshot was photographed under different lighting conditions (or a different environment) then subtle details might not be visible. I applied that same philosophy to plants.

  • Remove unnecessary details (use clear backgrounds)
  • Minimal processing (contrast/brightness/saturation)
  • Wildflower interaction (move selected specimens to a controlled area)

I designated a specific location to conduct most of the documentation process. Below is a photograph of the location—Wildflower Studio. The rock served as a natural reflector, clear(ish) backdrop, and a platform to rest objects of interest.

Wildflower Studio

I didn’t bend over and stuff a lens in the flower’s face. I picked certain specimens and moved them to a controlled location. Don’t worry—there was plenty to go around.

Truth be told: I made a shit-ton of mistakes during this project. It’s not easy identifying plants, and I’m still learning or making corrections. Do your own research.

Disclaimer: I’m not a trained naturalist, scientist, specialist, biologist, botanist, or even a boy scout. Continue at your own risk.

Lenses/camera used during wildflower documentation process: Canon compact macro 50mm, Canon USM macro 100mm, Canon D70. Reversed-coupled macro photography utilized for close-up images.

Location: New England (Connecticut)

Date: 3/1/2020—7/16/2020


common hazards found while exploring planet earth

Listen up—flowers are pretty but they’re deceptive. Subtle differences separate harmless plants from homicidal plants. Many dangerous species appear harmless, however, common varieties inflict nightmarish amounts of pain, or they cause disfigurement. Forever.

Wild parsnip, for example, looks like an unassuming yellow wimp. But if you brush against that yellow wimp, then go suntanning, dark magic unfolds. Wild parsnip oozes photosensitive sap (furanocoumarin), and when sunshine touches that devilish substance, something bad happens.

A diabolical reaction scorches soft tissue, causing puke-inducing burns, blisters and boils. Other plants have that lovely ability, too, just in case you’re not yet scared shitless. If you’re inclined to see what kind of damage a yellow wimp can do, take a quick gander at this article (graphic imagery).

Poison ivy, perhaps the most infamous noxious plant, is not easy to identify. Poison ivy has many defining characteristics, which means it would be asinine to simply rely on leaf morphology, because the exact shape isn’t constant.

So, before you go skipping in the forest, remember this:

Leaves of three, let it be

If you encounter a plant that has 3 leaves, don’t let it touch you…unless you’re willing to pay the potential price.

Practical Tips & Tricks

  • Wear pants/elevated boots/gloves (when physically interacting with plants)
  • Keep arms covered or wear multiple layers
  • Don’t touch eyes or face
  • Wash everything
  • Trust nothing

Still afraid of getting burned by parsley? Don’t shed a single tear! Sacrifice $14.99 and get yourself a Grill Glove. Problem solved.

When exploring an arid environment, ‘shade hop’. Look before you walk. Find all the shade in a particular area, then plan your route. Don’t march across the scorched badlands, like you’re a Terminator, because you’ll find out that you’re not Arnold Schwarzenegger…the hard way. Hasta la vista, baby.

You’ll encounter a variety of hazards: ticks, snakes, scorpions, mosquitoes, hippos, bot flies, tornadoes, ultraviolet radiation, psychopaths, lightning, allergic reactions, rashes, diseases, and everything else that loves to make life a living hell.

The most common monster you’ll likely encounter is a dog (insert your favorite vicious breed here). Think about all the people who own at least three canine, and then multiply that number by a few hundred million…that’s a whole lot of pups! Some pups despise leashes. And you. Because you’re just minding your own beeswax, and Cujo can’t fathom that concept. Accidentally trespass onto a piss-soaked field, well…that’s how hikers become dog chow.

** If you order an unpleasant meal at a prairie buffet, it’s on you, my hungry friend. You’ve been warned. Don’t nibble on wildflowers or plants. **

Alright, this article is becoming a long hike. Take a breather while watching this quick video.

Short video of some wildflowers

The Purpose of it All

Flowers are colorful. Everybody knows that. But why do colors attract certain kinds of wildlife? Why do animals give a damn about color? Colors are purposeful—not just pretty. Hummingbirds dig the color red, so it’s no surprise that specific types of honeysuckle are red, as are artificial hummingbird feeders. But…why? Pollination, that’s why. Flowers manipulate animals to do their dirty work, by offering delicious presents, such as nectar.

Question of the year: would dandelions be more or less successful, if the flowers were a different color? Think about it.

There are still mysteries surrounding the topic of colors. Some arthropods (bees, for example) perceive ultraviolet radiation, so that most likely explains why some flowers appear to be colorful, at least to our eyes.

Let’s not forget about that sweet aroma. Certain smells attract, you guessed it, certain kinds of pollinators.

Besides color—plants have other recognizable features.

Many wild plants intimidate, invade and are unpleasant…three character flaws that most people don’t tolerate. Wildflowers can’t sit on their roots all day and hope that someone picks them up from the garden pound, just because they look cute. Natural plants have to live in the real world, competing for territory, resources and sunlight.

To increase their chance of survival, wild plants developed specialized tactics. Some plants grow tall. Some plants have thorns. Some plants taste like dog shit. Smarter plants cut to the chase and stockpile poison.

Speaking of poison: In 399 BC, a trial ordered Socrates to have a meeting with the Grim Reaper, and to make sure he was on time for that deadly appointment, Socrates gulped a mug full of tasty hemlock, giving him a one way ticket to the nether world.

Image description: dandelions secrete bitter-tasting latex, to deter ruminants from eating leaves or stems.

Bored? Conduct this science experiment: snap a dandelion in half and watch as a disgusting substance accumulates along the rim of the stem. Dandelions (and other plants) secrete bitter-tasting latex which discourages gluttonous animals from gorging on the entire plant.

We take advantage of these properties, when it suits our best interest, of course.

Fall down and get a booboo? Purchase bandages at the local apothecary. Problem solved.

If you tripped over a curb during the 1800s, a careless mistake like that could cost your life. But that doesn’t mean medicine wasn’t available, if you bumped your delicate noggin.

Image description: red clover

Once upon a time, Homo sapiens used plants to treat wounds or illness. Most medicinal herbs aren’t rare—some of them are probably loitering on your property or along the roadside.

Red clover, found in many parts of the world, was used to “cure” many ailments. The laundry list of miracles is long enough to impress deities. Got a sore throat? Sip red clover tea. Got a blood infection? Red clover has your back. Got the sniffles? Red clover clears that up, too. Grim Reaper knockin’ on your door? Give that creep a red clover bouquet and you’ll live forever.

The effectiveness of medicinal herbs is debatable, but let’s not forget that most modern medicine is still derived from plants.

Wild plants have more uses than just fixing booboos.

If you saddled up in the Wild West, you had to be tougher than dirt. When Mother Nature came callin’, desperate desperadoes reached for a roll of Cowboy Toilet Paper—all natural, softer than Charmin, and best of all—it’s free. If you’re an outlaw on the run and gotta belly full of beans and black coffee, regular ol’ paper ain’t enough, partner. Heehaw.

Cowboy Toilet Paper, also called by it’s more proper name, common mullein, has a long history of being useful.

A piece of cowboy toilet paper

Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, right? Desperate times call for desperate measures, especially during these uncertain times, because instead of a diverse selection of toiletry products, you’re more likely to find a tumbleweed rollin’ down aisle 8…and that’s if someone didn’t wipe their ass with it.

Nature is a giant warehouse full of goodies, but we forgot how to fill our cart with products. Civilized folk eat pharmaceuticals—not plants. When an entire civilization is spoon-fed sugary bits of technology, who needs to sip red clover tea?

People believe flowers are weak and delicate, in fact, some of the cruelest insults were inspired by flowers. Perhaps flowers are weak and delicate, however, they’re also strong and determined. After all—step on a flower—it rises the next day. Sever a flower from the rest of its body and it grows more roots. Flowers leave it all on the line, and that’s the true embodiment of strength. So, the next time someone calls you a pansy, smile and say, “thank you very much”.

Congratulations! You reached the end of the article. We learned a little about wildflowers, colors, medicinal herbs, Socrates, natural toilet paper…even poison. But the hike isn’t over. Continue down the tail and see what else the woods has to offer. I’ll meet you there.

What’s your favorite flower? Have a story you’d like to share? Express yourself in the comment section, and if you notice a critical error, please let me know. Thanks.

Send questions or comments: flytrappman@gmail.com

Bonus content: Feel free to stop reading. You reached the end of the article. I wrote a quick guide on flower photography—based on my experience while creating this article. Read it. Don’t read it. Your choice.

Wildflower Photography Guide

Tips, ideas & advice

Do you want to try this out for yourself? I’ll share a few tidbits. Depending on your own ideas, gear selection, and philosophies, certain techniques may not be applicable.

This flower photography guide was designed to be used with macro lenses (100mm is ideal).

All eight sections contain technical information, advice, or thought processes.

Wildflower Photography Guide

Natural Backdrops

Simplify images by removing unnecessary details. Physically position flowers behind a natural backdrop, or put a piece of paper behind the subject. Natural backdrops include: sky, shadows, roads, rocks, walls, and other objects that provide a reflective surface. “Natural”, in this context, means anything that can be improvised as a backdrop.

Anything is a potential backdrop—scour the planet for objects that provide a diffused hue or texture, like a rusted sewer cap, for example. Some objects are highly reflective or don’t have much texture, so use that to your advantage, too.

Distance matters. If the backdrop is faraway, while focusing closely on the subject, the backdrop becomes diffused or soft (depending on the specific f/stop).

Using Natural Backdrops

Imagine you’re standing above a rusted sewer cap—bright sunshine falls from a clear blue sky. With a flower in one hand, and a camera in the other, hold your subject in front of the rusted sewer cap and then take the shot. The rusted sewer cap, depending on the aperture or f/stop, provides a diffused, dark or textured backdrop.

Keep this in mind: noise is more apparent in the shadows or dark areas of an image. If ISO is high, experiment using a lighter backdrop, because noise will be less apparent.

Anything can be used as a backdrop, and the overall process doesn’t change: hold your subject in front of the backdrop and then take the shot. Use different aperture, ISO, and exposure settings, and don’t forget to experiment with distance.

  • Handheld Exposure length: no longer than 1/250 seconds. 1/400 seconds is ideal (100mm macro lenses).
  • Use selective focus
  • Set macro focusing distance (numbers labeled on the barrel)

Some backdrops provide better contrast for bright flowers, while other backdrops are better suited for dark flowers. Personally, I used electrical generators, steel, grass, shade, yes…even a rusted sewer cap. When using a macro lens, anything can be used as a clear(ish) backdrop. Ignite your imagination.

If the exposure length is longer than 1/250 seconds, vibration or camera shake may be recorded, especially if you’re operating the camera with one hand.


You think you seen it all? Drag your jaded eyes across the dirt.

You’ll notice tiny threads of reality—a tiny flower down here…a strange plant over there…investigate everything—even if it don’t look too pretty. Never trust your first glance.

Before photographing wildflowers, search the area for other specimens. Overtime, rain and natural elements damage petals or other recognizable features. Depending on the context, consider documenting a pristine subject, if you can find one.

And here’s another thing: don’t stick your hand into places where it don’t belong. Why? Because that’s where rats and snakes hangout. Before you stick your hand into a strange place, knock first and see if you’re intruding inside a vermin’s apartment. You’ll thank me later.

Exploration & Finding Subjects

When hunting for wildflowers or plants, slow down.

Massacre a lot of time, and don’t proceed until you photographed everything in the area. If you end up walking in circles, you’re doing something right. If your neighbors think you have some kind of disorder, congratulations! You’re doing something right.

Some wild plants are not apparent—even after staring at the same damn trail for two solid months. After awhile, we become blind. Not literally, of course. Common objects blend into the tapestry of our reality and we stop paying attention to the same old threads. Seeing is not enough. Open your eyes.

How many things do you see and not even realize it? Think about it. Life is not a cheap coloring book, filled between the lines by our preconceived notions or expectations.

There’s a mystery hiding somewhere in the ordinary. Find it.

Image description: certain wild plants grow along trails or within disturbed areas
  • Locate disturbed areas or trails
  • Search along rural roadsides
  • Locate areas that are mowed or moderately landscaped

If there’s a lot of competition in the local area, certain kinds of plants can’t thrive. Specific species of plants grow near the edge of trails, roadsides, or disturbed areas (chicory root, for example). When driving in a rural area, pay attention to wild plants growing along the roadside.

Don’t forget to investigate shaded areas, as well as sunlit lawns or fields. Some wild plants prefer filtered sunlight.

Image Composition

Now is the time to pay attention to photographic composition.

Don’t just place a wildflower in the center of the frame, like some lazy bastard, and call it a day. Let’s face the cold hard facts—you lost a few points, just because you chose to photograph flowers. Compose an eyesore and you’ll solidify the notion that people shouldn’t photograph flowers.

This is a high-risk, no-reward endeavor.

  • Make sure petals don’t clip against the frame
  • Give flowers room to breathe
  • Don’t cram flowers inside the frame (if it don’t fit, it don’t fit)

Listen. I’m not some know-it-all-asshole, who’s barking needless orders. I’m still making mistakes and still paying the price. The principles of proper composition are undeniable. If anyone says otherwise, well…they’re still making mistakes.

Dandelion Eclipsing Sun (Image description: find unusual perspectives and be open to ideas)

Find unusual perspectives or unique ways to light the subject. But don’t sacrifice the composition, just because you think the image looks cooler than Vanilla Ice, because nothing is cooler than Vanilla Ice. Remember that or write it down. Pronto.


Mother Nature has been on a schedule for at least 4.5 billion years. Don’t feel like sweating up a storm? Too bad. Suffer. Can’t breathe because it’s too hot? Too bad. Suffer. Notice a pattern?

Flowers don’t last forever. Here one day and gone the next. If you want to “see it all”, never let your foot off the gas pedal. One excuse leads to another. One month leads to another. One season leads to another. One years leads to another. You wake up one day and realize all the flowers have wilted. Don’t save anything for tomorrow.

This is the most important section. If you can’t commit, don’t bother trying. Stay home and watch Cops. This ain’t for you.

Processing/Developing Images

Processing should be minimal, to preserve natural characteristics of the plant or wildflower. Don’t thoughtlessly increase color saturation or sharpness too much—artifacts become apparent.

Also, too much color saturation changes how the subject originally appeared, however, depending on lighting conditions, increased saturation makes the subject appear more natural (instead of faded or dull).

Take a quick gander at the image below this sentence. The photograph is over-saturated. Not much. But enough to make the flower seem artificial. Yup, the flower was yellow, but it wasn’t that yellow…if you know what I mean. With great saturation comes great responsibility. Remember that.

Image description: over-saturated wildflower. Yuck.

Increasing contrast levels, to purposely darken the background, is usually inadvisable. I broke this rule many times but, for the most part, don’t heavily rely on manipulating contrast.

With that being said, if the background is relatively dark, increasing contrast won’t negatively impact the overall image.

Recommended Gear

Macro lenses : Canon Compact Macro 50mm/Canon USM Macro 100mm

Camera: Canon D70 (or any DSLR)

A camera that takes images, and video, is a versatile tool, so consider using a camera that has both options.

100mm macro lenses get the most flower for your buck. A Canon Compact 50mm macro lens costs about $179.99, however, the 100mm macro lens, costs about $600, but it’s a true macro lens (1:1 ratio). It would be a crying shame to buy a 50mm macro lens, only to be pissed off by its inability to get a closer view. I’m no math wiz but I’m pretty sure buying both macro lenses costs more than purchasing a single 100mm macro lens. Think about it.

Additional Resources



Michigan State University

Consuming this content is like sipping on a fine glass of lemonade: sugary, tangy and just the right amount of sourness. If you enjoyed the taste of this article, toss a few coins into the lemonade jar.

Still Here

My neighbor’s dog wasn’t eating cicadas—it was eating…something else. I don’t remember going outside. Videographic data proves my senses are still grasped upon the fine edge of reality, because the sky appears not to be playing by the same old rules. What the hell do I know about such things? Decide for yourself.

How much is a single slice of normality worth to you? For some people, it’s worth the price of getting their bangs trimmed or the cost of a six pack of beer. The past can’t be revived but that doesn’t mean buried memories won’t crawl out of the graveyard inside our mind. We relive perished moments because it makes us feel a little more human and a little less like a caged animal.


Alright. Fun’s over. In case you haven’t notice, my latest posts are a work of fiction. I’m not really running in the woods, and my neighbor’s pup is not really chowing down on cicadas. Well…I filmed the footage, so I suppose I was really running in the woods, but you know what I mean. I hope.

I may expand upon this idea in the future, however, the narrative will have a slightly different format. The new format may gradually evolve into just video (text, if needed, will be placed in the video). Future posts won’t include any narrative that’s related to the story.

There are currently 6 available post—here’s what’s been revealed about the narrative…so far.


  • Events take place during a dystopian future (exact date is unknown).
  • First-person narrative is somewhat based on current events. Obviously.
  • It’s not known if the main character can be trusted, or if certain perceptions are caused by insomnia, paranoia, or something else.
  • Broadcast stations exist but their motives are unclear or dangerous.
  • The entire human population could be decreased by at least 50%. The totality has not been overtly expressed.
  • Aliens? Maybe.

If you have nothing better to do with your life, nuke a bag of popcorn and then watch the last available episode. Feel free to express your own thoughts about the narrative but don’t get butter and salt all over your keyboard.

Turn it Off

A microchip won’t stop blinking—faint light pulses from a tiny triangular lens.

Last night I bashed a hammer against my radio’s head until I couldn’t breathe. But that damn microchip never stopped blinking. You should turn off your radio, too. Permanently.

A few dying words spewed from my radio’s broken mouth. I don’t know…the broadcast announced another mass exodus. Some people are infected with a different kind of fever. A free prick in the arm can’t inoculate an individual from isolation, boredom or paranoia.

Can you keep a secret? I snuck outside and recorded something that can’t be described in science textbooks. Take a look for yourself, while the video still works.

Think Twice

When the sun goes down, shadows can’t be trusted. Paranoia warps darkness into a canvas that stretches beyond the borders of reality, while our fears use nightmarish colors to paint obscure visions upon the void. Watch out.

The NWU may have been compromised. I don’t know…some of the emergency broadcasts contradict each other. Our gut is only thing we can trust.

I recorded what I saw outside my window but electrical interference is still messing with my electronics. Don’t let anyone catch you watching the video or something bad will happen.