Banana Blossom Buffet


Story by Rita Goldman | Photo by Zane Mathias  

banana fruit blossom

Maui photographer Zane Mathias has been playing with light since the 1950s, and at eighty-two, still has an eight-year-old’s enthusiasm for technology and whimsy. So how did he get this image?

“I affixed my Nikon to a window, aimed at the seedpod outside, and set the timer to shoot every ten minutes, all night. The flash has to be flush with the window to avoid glare. Thank God we don’t have neighbors!”

For his master image, Zane first photographed the banana flower uninhabited. As the camera kept clicking through the night, it captured visitors stopping by for a bite, creating a sequential menagerie for Zane to play with in Photoshop.

“I chose a windless night, and because I wasn’t touching the camera, the seedpod was the only thing that didn’t move.” After choosing his subjects, Zane overlaid each on the master, exactly where it had been on the blossom. “I could not do this, were it not for my Wacom Cintiq 21UX monitor,” he says. “I can draw on it with a stylus, cut out the image, copy and paste it on the master.

Zane Mathias camera setup
Zane’s camera setup to create this composite image.

“It’s a composite image,” he adds, “but every creature you see was there.” Among them: a cardinal, assorted lizards, and a Japanese white-eye. “It’s invasive,” Zane says, part sadly, part admiringly. “It’s like a hummingbird with a nuclear engine.”


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