November 29, 2019
My friend Lynda invited me to visit her in Falmouth, Massachusetts, this September. We are both photographers, and she took me places where we could enjoy nature with our cameras. All but the last photograph in this post—which I took in Woods Hole—are from Falmouth and environs.
Update of December 4, 2019
A niece of a friend found the lichens shown in #18 on the Bigelow Building at 98 Water Street, just around the corner from the Aquarium. (I had not taken the time to note the exact location.) “Bigelow,” my friend says, “was constructed in 1930, the first building erected for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution that was established in the same year. There are older brick buildings (and walls and gravestones) in Woods Hole but the north side of Bigelow may be particularly favorable for growth because north walls do not receive direct sunlight nor most of the prevailing winds, which would dry them out.”
1 You may think you’ve seen this photo before. I just love the look of light at the end of a tunnel and have taken many similar photographs.
3 There are so many varieties of goldenrod. I don’t know which one this is, but it was growing in a wooded area.
4 This is another kind of goldenrod, punctuated by iron weed.
5 My resident botanist says this is a composite he’s not familiar with. He says it doesn’t grow in Ohio. (I thought it looked just like one of our Ohio wildflowers.)
6 Until I saw them growing wild on Cape Cod, I’d only ever seen porcelain berries as cultivated nursery plants.
7 These wild rose hips were the size of small apples. The wild rose hips I’ve seen in northern Ohio are no bigger than the size of peas.
11 These rocks are remnants of an old wall.
12 Here’s a new rock wall.
15 This and the rocks in the following photographs were beside the park trail, not part of a wall.
18 As other photos in this post also show, lichens like Cape Cod.
November 18, 2019
This post—a continuation of yesterday’s—is about the waterfall David and I visit when we walk downriver in northern Ohio’s Vermilion River, which we do most Septembers.
Update of November 22, 2019: In the Comments section, Steve Gingold asked if I’d thought of stitching together photographs 6 and 7. Look below photograph 7 to see how that worked.
1 This photograph is from August 2006. I had heard about a waterfall not far from Schoepfle Garden that could be accessed from the river. Here is my first view of it. As pretty as this small waterfall was, I was a little disappointed.
2 David thought there might be more, so he clambered up the cliff to have a look.
3 This year, when I saw the base of the cliff, I was not disappointed because I knew what was coming.
4 I could happily linger here.
5 This was our destination. From the top of the cliff to the pool, the water falls about 20 feet. It’s not spectacular as waterfalls go, but it counts as a real waterfall to me.
6 and 7 stitched together in Photoshop, per Steve Gingold’s suggestion. It almost works.
November 17, 2019
This post might have included 34 photographs, but my better judgement intervened. I still want to show you a lot of what I saw on the annual fall downriver walk that my husband and I take. But I’ll break up the photos into three separate posts, one today, one tomorrow, and one Tuesday. This batch is all about the iridescent evidence I saw of the benign bacterium Leptothrix discophora. As you know if you’ve followed this blog for very long, the iron bacteria, of which L. discophora is one, are obsessions of mine (and the subject of my book They Breath Iron: Artistic and Scientific Encounters with an Ancient Life Form). So here we go again: 19 images of L. discophora films, preceded by an overall photograph of the river as it flows downstream.
12 The orange material you see on the ground beneath the water in this photograph and others is iron oxide, which L.discophora precipitates out of the water.
14 This photograph and the one following show L. discophora‘s film on top of a pudding-like substance that is probably the product of another iron bacterium called Leptothrix ochracea.
16 Notice the iridescence on the leaf- and algae-covered shale in the middle of the photograph. It indicates that the film-covered water recently receded from this area. Click on the photograph to see it larger.
19 This is a crop of the previous photo.
20 And this is a tighter crop. Click on the photograph to see even more detail.
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
August 16, 2018
August 15, 2018
August 14, 2018
August 13, 2018
More tamely than taking the little detour illustrated in yesterday’s post, a person can walk over to a bridge and look down on the solid-rock bed of Cucumber Run before the stream falls over the edge of the earth.
August 12, 2018
Walking back up the stairs from the place of dark rocks and reflecting pools, you notice that the trail’s low wooden guard rail could very easily be breached and that you could, if you wanted, walk over to where Cucumber Run runs over the edge of the cliff. Hmmm.
August 11, 2018
Here you can see the Youghiogheny River in the distance, muddy from recent rains.
August 10, 2018
Strictly speaking, this photograph does not show the falls but the pooled and slowly moving water of Cucumber Run between the falls and the Youghiogheny River. The colors in the water are reflected trees and sky.
August 8, 2018
The second photograph is a long view of the area that featured the Leptothrix discophora films July 14.
August 7, 2018
August 6, 2018
When the water level recedes, it leaves traces of the Leptothrix discophora film on the rocks and mud. The close crop shows the iridescence best. Click on it to see the image even bigger. (The paw prints are from a raccoon.)
August 5, 2018