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On the Wings…

It’s easy to see why the wings of birds were appropriated for heavenly messengers in early religious art. Their combination of delicacy and strength — of grace and sinewy power — is mesmerizing. There were no wings donned by angels in the earliest Christian art, however. Beginning in the 4th Century, halos were replaced with wings to represent heavenly figures, and any creature of the divine. But it was during the Renaissance and Baroque periods when the winged angelic messenger really took root in the artistic and cultural mindset.

Here, two separate cormorants stretch their wings to dry after fishing in the South Florida wetlands bordering the Everglades. Similar to the cormorant-like anhingas, their feathers don’t possess the waterproofing oil of other seabirds, and they must dry their feathers after each fishing trip.

Cormorant Wings, Florida Wetlands

Cormorant Wings, Florida Wetlands

Tintoretto’s Annunciation Angel

22 Comments Post a comment
  1. Loving your photos – birds are beautiful creatures for sure! Have a Wonderful Day!

    June 20, 2012
    • Thanks so very much! Have a lovely day, as well (it’s a bit drizzly here, but I love that too…). 🙂

      June 20, 2012
  2. How beautiful! Bird feathers mesmerize me, especially all those tiny ones around their faces… Thank you for sharing such a great shot!

    June 20, 2012
    • Thanks so very much! Ditto…. I often visit our wetlands, and just sit and stare at our abundant birds — not that I’m a birder by any means, or an Audubon expert — but I adore the beauty, pageantry and power of their feathers and wings.

      June 21, 2012
  3. Bella Remy Photography #

    So beautiful!

    June 20, 2012
    • Thanks so much! I have a soft spot for their wings… 🙂

      June 21, 2012
  4. Pam #

    Gorgeous feathers! The eyes of cormorants are stunning during breeding season – they are an incredible blue-green.

    June 20, 2012
    • I’m always in awe of birds’ wings and feathers… I’ll sit and stare for what seems like hours at our wetlands. 🙂

      And oh yes, their eyes: MAGNIFICENT! I devoted a post to a guy I captured, and his lovely teal eye: https://serenityspell.com/2012/05/01/a-calm-cormorant-2/

      June 21, 2012
      • Pam #

        Oh….PERFECT capture of the eye!!! I’ve never gotten close enough to get it just right. Wonderful!

        June 21, 2012
      • Hee, thanks so much! Some of these guys will let you saunter right by them in our wetlands, if you’re calm enough — so I snuck in a shot. 🙂 I don’t think the image does the eye color justice, though.

        June 21, 2012
  5. In your abstract photographs the wings look to me as if they’re metallic.

    Steve Schwartzman
    http://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com

    June 21, 2012
    • Interesting! When I first saw them, I was reminded of a Steampunk snapshot…

      June 21, 2012
  6. harleybird #

    Interesting. I am pretty sure the Bible has always described angels as having wings. I could be wrong. Great post.

    June 21, 2012
  7. Thanks! It was always one of my interests in school. Cherubim and seraphim are mentioned as having wings in the Bible, but no angel is mentioned as wearing them. But by the 4th Century, Western artists really started incorporating them (at least, that’s when the first example was discovered by art historians). Some people think they looked to the Greeks for inspiration (using their winged deities)…

    June 21, 2012
  8. Fascinating observation. I’ll have to look at cormorants in a whole new way.

    June 21, 2012
  9. 🙂 Thanks — Even the most common birds (at least, cormorants are common here) provide opportunities to gawk at their lovely wings and feathers, especially when they’re on display, drying.

    June 22, 2012
  10. Those photographs are AMAZING! You really should put out a book… or have you already?

    June 23, 2012
    • You’re so KIND! I actually did write a kids’ book (I have a background in educational publishing, so it was kinda natural), but I quickly gave up navigating the difficulties of traditional publishing. I *have* been playing around with thoughts of doing something with these photos, though… Your sweet comment may give me the confidence and kick-in-the-heinie to do so. 🙂

      June 24, 2012
      • Yay!! I would definitely buy a coffee table book of your photos. You could even add your blog entries to the pages, to give further background to the pics… Just a thought…..

        June 24, 2012
      • Yay!! I would definitely buy a coffee table book of your photos. You could even add your blog entries to the pages, to give further background to the pics… Just a thought….. Oh, and I do actually pin some of your photos to my pinterest, thereby increasing your reach (I hope).

        June 24, 2012
      • You’re so sweet… 🙂 I definitely would like to do something with them — I need to get off my lazy heinie and FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS! I also do the Pinterest thing, but I need to do more (you’re GREAT for pinning me!). Many thanks again for the vote of confidence; it means so much. ♥

        June 25, 2012

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