photography from the ground up

Archive for July, 2022

Abstract Reality

The images included here are abstractions in that their relationship to their environment is limited by the frame of the photograph. In other words while they can be recognized for what they are, they cannot readily be associated with their surroundings.

The interactions between the thicker prmary branches and the thinner, more fragile branches, along with the changes in color and tone are the elements that catch the eye, and hold this photograph together.

The patterns and shapes which are given form by the colors in this image are tied together by the lines formed by the branches. What may, at first, look like a jumble of twigs becomes, with a practiced eye, a cohesive image.

This image splits the difference between an abstraction and a more conventional intimate landscape. The soft colors and patterns of the willows in the lower half of the photograph give way to the more solid and, readily recognizable, branches of the cottonwood tree. The snow on the branches of the tree lend just the right amount of softening which ties it all together.


Random Spontaneity

…strange how old, obsolete buildings and plants and mills, the technology of fifty or a hundred years ago, always seems to look so much better than the new stuff…Nature has a non-Euclidian geometry of her own that seems to soften the deliberate objectivity of these buildings with a kind of random spontaneity that architects would do well to study.

Robert Pirsig

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Random spontaneity; you can’t get much more un-deliberate than that. Robert Pirsig hit the nail right on the head with that one. Time and the elements have a way of blurring the lines, by the weathering of old wood, by the erosion of brick and adobe, and by the desaturation of colors that seem to make these old, ruined structures a cohesive part of the landscape.

I’ve driven for hours over backroads and two lane blacktops that (refreshingly) haven’t been repaved for decades. One of those roads brought me to Claunch. The village still has a functioning post office, but not much else. This old adobe with just the right amount of color added sits alone waiting for passersby to whom it can tell its story.

The front of this small bungalow near the village of Cerrillos is a hodge-podge of materials; stucco, fake brick, and, underlying it all, plywood. The door is beautifully weathered and the textures are all the more evident due to that weathering.

The thing I like best about this photograph is the cutaway caused by erosion of the adobe wall. It’s like a glimpse into the lives of the long gone inhabitants. The double doors were obviously a replacement of a larger one. The melting adobe gives it all an organic feeling.  To me, these elements speak of lives lived here in times past.

This old wooden shed has been surrounded by Chinese Elm trees. They have grown around its perimeter in an opening gambit to reclaim the ground on which it sits. The scene has a sense of serene finality about it.


Fleeting Moments

There are occurences in nature that are as beautiful as they are short-lived. These small ephemeral miracles are everywhere around us if we take the time to look for them.

Apache Plume puts forth its feathery tendrils after the flower petals drop. These are the seeds which are dispersed by the wind, but when you find them just beginning to grow from their stalks, they appear to be suspended in some hidden undersea world.

Barley Grass seeds have a beautifully complicated, interwoven, geometric structure which to me is more interesting than anything built by man. A couple days after I made this photograph, the seeds were mere husks.

This Cliffrose blossom had some rain drops trapped in its petals and the backlit effect was a diaphonous glow which caused the droplets to show through the petals and accentuate their fragile elegance.