June 16, 2019
Yesterday I followed and unfollowed paths around my immediate neighborhood. I found baby oak leaves overlooking tall grasses; a willow tree behind goldenrod plants and before cattails sprinkled with pseudacris; a path through a wooded area dotted with daisies; very young films of Leptothrix discophora, some in front of a small outcrop of sedge; a duckweed-covered pond rising to meet hanging branches of another oak tree; and more duckweed in a different pond in the rain. I also took another stab at Intentional Camera Movement.
May 28, 2019
Many of you know that I don’t photograph flowers—except when I do. Two photographs of flowers play bookends here to the rest of my haul from walking in Schoepfle Garden a week ago Saturday. In between are lichens on a low retaining wall and some favorite trees along the Vermilion River. Elsewhere in the park, I wasn’t surprised to see this stump; the tree had been visibly ailing. But I was surprised that someone had painted the edges of the stump with orange paint. Drawing closer, however, I saw that it wasn’t orange paint but a bright-orange fungus. None of my photographs of the fungus up close came out. I wonder if the brightness could have thrown off my camera’s focussing ability. Had I done more chimping, I might have noticed that the fungus was not in focus. Maybe I would even have thought to try manual focus. At least the section of the stump that is spalted turned out. The next photograph is in monotone because it was too confusing in color. Moving in, thus cutting down on the number of elements in the frame, the subject could handle color. I found some Leptothrix discophora along the river, but we’ve had so much rain that it was quite young (previous films having been washed down toward Lake Erie) and probably is all gone by now. Even though this film is very young, you know you’re looking at L. discophora when the water reflects the surrounding foliage so brilliantly. The opening flower photograph is of dogwood, but I don’t know the name of the closing flower. Maybe one or more of you do. The last image is a crop of the previous one. Click on it to see it larger.
May 22, 2019
Last April I posted three photographs of a rock I see whenever I go to the Schoepfle Garden. In the Comments, Alan Goldsmith asked if I’d thought of photographing the rock from the same place every time. I confess that I’d only been trying to find the most interesting composition each time. But his comment lodged in my brain, and I have since tried to stick with the same view or two when I visit. So here are two photographs I took of the rock Saturday. Following those are some photos I’d taken of the rock from the same vantage points on June 2 and July 14, 2018.
Shortly after posting photos of this rock last April, I named the rock Table Rock. Now I can keyword this specific rock in Lightroom and call up its photos easily. But there’s another advantage in naming features in the landscape. For me, attaching words increases the intimacy I feel with the named thing. I can’t say why this is so. Perhaps some of you have some relevant ideas.
May 4, 2019
In February my friend Lynda and I went to Fort DeSoto Park, which is sort-of near St. Petersburg (the one in Florida). I was having a hard time finding something photograph-worthy until I gave into my fondness for dying and dead palm fronds. Then I couldn’t get enough of them.
April 21, 2019
This collection of photographs begins, in a way, where the last post left off: with trees of life. The plants growing on these trees seem a little different from the ones shown in the last post—perhaps because they immediately border the water. Two photographs separate the trees of life from reflections in the creek: one I think of as essence of tiger—a small stream on its way to the creek—and an arrangement of dead leaves.
April 15, 2019
The way that life grows on other life may be especially visible in semitropical and tropical locations. In Florida festooned trees draw my attention and wonder. A walk this winter in the Myakka River State Park with my friend Jean provided more instances of such complexities than usual—probably because Jean pointed out some beautiful examples at the very beginning of our wandering. The culmination was a tree and its inhabitants that Jean calls her favorite tree. Perched bromeliads (some people call them air plants, though that is a misnomer) and mosses growing on trees are easy to spot and appreciate. So are many species of lichens, which are not plants at all but hybrid life forms that combine fungi and (usually) green algae or cyanobacteria. Jean’s favorite tree is special for hosting a variety of lichens, including the subtlest—pale washes of color that make you lean in to see if you can catch when one faint hue gives way to another. Even a short walk through a forest of growth on top of growth may be enough to make you marvel at the connectedness of life, perhaps even to recall the John Donne poem.
And a detail of the photo above:
April 8, 2019
In four trips to Cortez this winter I amassed quite a few photographs of fish bins and boat hulls, as well as a few random subjects, as you can see below. The plant growing up the tree is a close relative of the night-blooming cereus. I’ve never seen it bloom, probably partly because it also does so at night. But with stems like these, who needs flowers? (I know, I know.)
I prefer the version with the blue color cast, but this is probably closer to how the refrigerated truck looked:
December 23, 2018
On December 8, shortly after arriving in Sarasota for the winter, I took my first trip to South Lido Park this season. This is perhaps my favorite park in the county, largely because it contains a variety of ecosystems. The bonus is that it’s only about 15 minutes from home. On my first visit of the season there I always search with apprehension to see if a little stump I’ve named R2D2 is still standing. Every year, I think it has disappeared, only to realize it’s only further down the path. And so it went this year. R2D2 (in the first four photos) seems more colorful than it has been in the past, but that may be my imagination. The fifth photo is probably the first of others you’ll see over the next couple of months showing a dead sabal palm leaf, which I find more graceful in senescence than on the tree. The sixth photograph is another perennial favorite: backlit leaves of the seagrape bush. The last photograph shows my photographing friend Lynda and me.
December 13, 2018
When I went dumpster hunting last month (see the small haul), I stopped by the old bank drive-through that has entertained me so often. I’d never been there in freezing weather, and icy new appearances awaited me. The last three photographs are what I will enter into the FAVA Six-State Photography show early next year, hoping one will be juried in.
November 13, 2018
A week ago Friday I was in the parking lot of our nearby drug store, waiting for my passenger to finish her shopping. It’s boring just to wait for someone. Enter my iPhone! It had just finished raining. What lucky timing. These are not Leptothrix discophora films but thin films of oil or gasoline on the puddles, which is what L. discophora films are often taken for. You can see why. Both exhibit color interference, also called thin-film interference. These films—unlike films of L. discophora—have no fracturing. (Compare with images in the previous post.)
Fabian Oefner is an artist who uses thin films of oil in his work.