Photo Contest 2000 | Palo Alto Online |

Deborah Plumley

Poppy Plume

Third place Peninsula Images

Though she spends most of her day managing a worldwide program for Hewlett-Packard Co., a part of Deborah Plumley yearns to be outside, immersed in nature. She expresses a great appreciation for the beauty found there.

Seated in her office, Plumley's mind sometimes wanders in search of the perfect nature photograph. She knows her mind doesn't have far to go.

"Poppy Plume" is evidence that one doesn't have to travel to far-off exotic places to find something wonderful in nature. Often, the most beautiful things are those right in front of us. One just has to look at the world in a slightly different way.

One spring morning, Plumley wandered out to Edgewood Park in Redwood City, where she was struck by a colorful group of flowers. Using a Nikon 200 macro lens and a magnifying lens, she quickly found herself up close and personal with a gloriously radiant poppy.

"It was backlit, and there was just some kind of beautiful simplicity to it," she explains. With the light radiating through the orange petals of the poppy, Plumley gazed with wonder at the ethereal sight before snapping her picture.

Though she took many pictures of poppies that day, this one was her favorite. The shallow depth-of-field allowed her to give the photograph a very soft quality, with only a portion of the image in sharp focus.

"I'm really interested in close-up pictures of nature," she says. "I'm interested in the patterns and abstractions, the simplicity of it all."

Plumley has been pursuing photography for almost 10 years, but unfortunately, her job keeps her from putting as much time into her hobby as she'd like.

"I'm really an amateur," she says. "It's just something that I do for fun and to share with other people."

In the future, she hopes to spend a lot more time working on photography, possibly even starting a little business to sell some of her work. Until then, she'll be keeping her eyes open for the simplistic beauty all around her.

--Steven Raphael

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