July 21, 2019
A week ago Sunday David and I walked downriver along the Vermilion. We’d had very little rain in Oberlin for maybe two weeks and expected the river to be low. We had forgotten that, even though the locations are only eight miles apart, weather at Schoepfle Garden—where we approach the river—and weather in Oberlin don’t always match. Alas, they must have had rain we didn’t. The river was too high, too fast, too wide, and the bedrock shale probably too slippery to walk across. I prefer the other side because it is where I always find lovely outbreaks of Leptothrix discophora films as well as interesting shale formations. On the less-interesting side we saw a little film, but nothing spectacular. Casting about for something that would warrant the rather tortuous trek along the river, I became fascinated by the shale at my feet where we usually cross over. Even there, the rock fractures along lines that look human made. I’d love to know why it does that.
June 30, 2019
Once again I must thank Stephen Tomasko for sending me information about a photography show curated by Paula Tognarelli, executive director and curator of the Griffin Museum of Photography. (Thanks to Stephen, I answered the Griffin’s earlier call for entry to Abstraction Attraction. See my December 10, 2019 post.) Now my photograph “The Magic of Leptothrix discophora” has been accepted into the exhibition In Your Mother Tongue: A Word and Image Dialogue. If you were reading this blog back in August 2014, you may remember reading the poem that accompanies my photograph in this show. Like the photographs for Abstraction Attraction, all 45 entries are displayed in the Passageway of the Lafayette City Center in Boston. (The Passageway links Macy’s with the Hyatt Regency Hotel.) In Your Mother Tongue is up now through September 14, 2019.
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.
June 9, 2019
It’s happened again: the feeling that I’ve gone stale, taken my life’s quota of decent photographs, and all that’s left is to repeat myself. It doesn’t help that we’ve had so much rain that I can’t even get close to the river, let alone walk across it to the other side, where all the good photographs are. (You may recall the fence on the other side of which the grass is always greener.) I was in Schoepfle Garden yesterday hoping to discover something. I was prepared to try intentional camera movement if nothing came along. And it didn’t. ICM is always a crapshoot (think of the ways you can read that word). So when I downloaded, I didn’t expect to find a lot of treasures. But I did think I’d find a few. What I found was very few—so I tried going black and white with the best ones. The B&Ws may be my favorites. I wonder what you think. I also wonder if it will ever stop raining long enough for me to get next to the river. I need to get out of this slump . . . maybe a completely new location . . . or is that the fence with the greener grass on the other side, too . . .
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.
August 18, 2018
August 17, 2018