Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Freakishly Fantastic Fractals

AMID THE messiness and chaos, there are patterns that emerge in our world that some might view as fractals. A fractal, as I understand it, can be defined as a similar pattern repeated at different scales indefinitely.

Although we rely on our senses to find geometric patterns in nature, there are also hidden shapes, unseen until intensely magnified, at the very fabric (or energy) of existence.

I would not be surprised if masters of physics that rely on technology, microscopes and mathematics will one day unlock life's greatest mysteries and explain what reality truly is in provocative and completely new ways.

Recently, I had fun searching for aspects of fractals in the environment and found broccoli in my fridge. Anyone who chops up this vegetable knows there is broccoli within broccoli, within broccoli, within broccoli.

Fragments of trees, snow, clouds and mountains that I love to photograph duplicate the whole, even though each of the smaller parts is unique in its own right. Looking out and within there is a sense that the finite world is more deeply entrenched in the realm of infinity than we imagine.

William Blake might have been freakishly intuitive as well as poetic when he wrote those famous words: “To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour.”

From grains of sand to ever smaller branches resembling blood vessels in the human body, remarkable replicating shrinking shapes are everywhere.

For more design repetitions see my homemade kaleidoscope HERE.

Visit Postcards From Penelope Puddle to view more BC scenes.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms


  1. These are beautiful images… I love the way nature repeats… one within one within one.

  2. My goodness this blog of yours showed up this morning and noticed three posts I have not seen yet. I was out for a short walk the other day and was noticing shapes of leaves and such, taking photos. I like your brocoli idea for Fractuals. Great post and beautiful images.

  3. Dear Penelope - You offered some rally interesting and insightful remarks based on your
    observations. One within one, one within one… interestingly reminded me of Russian Matryoshka dolls. I will remember William Blake’s words. My favorite image this time is the fourth one. Thank you for this post.


  4. This is a fascinating post, something to ponder. I'm wondering what got you thinking about fractals. Hmmm. Now I'll be looking for evidence of repeat patterns in different scales. I'm wondering if it happens more frequently in the plant world than in the animal world.

  5. Gorgeous shots - I love nature's fractals!

  6. Beautiful shots and narrative.

  7. Gorgeous photos When you look at all the detail in nature it is so amazing

  8. Hello, again, Penelope! Right after I closed this page last time, I remembered a poem by Misuzu Kaneko which tells about infinity in the smallest thing. This is it.

    Bee’s inside the flower,
    Flower’s inside the garden,
    Garden’s inside the fence,
    Fence’s in town,
    Town’s in Japan,
    Japan’s in the world,
    World’s in God.

    And…and, God’s inside
    A little bitty bee.

    It must have snowed in Wako City today, if it is in Saitama Prefecture.


  9. I enjoyed this post ... and for a minute or two there I thought I understood fractals. You did better than most of my teachers ever did; I have such a lazy mind for math and science.

    But I love Kaleidoscopes -- I'm looking at my small collection as I type here. One of the very few 'stuff' collections I couldn't bear to store or sell when we sold out to travel. I wish I could add your pictures to that collection (from your old post) -- I could look at those all day I swear! Thanks for linking to it.


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