Linda Grashoff's Photography Adventures

Posts tagged “photography

Walking Downriver in September—1


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


Playing with the October Landscape at Schoepfle Garden


November 10, 2019

Fall color was past its prime by the time I got out to Schoepfle Garden October 29. Still, some lovely remnants remained. Besides photographing them as is, I played around with intentional camera movement (ICM) again. That I took the fourth photo here is thanks to Steve Schwartzman, who asked in the comments section of the last post, “In any of these, did you zoom your lens while you moved the camera?” I had not, but at Steve’s prompt, I tried it on this trip. Will try it again. What fun.

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Playing with the Wisconsin Landscape


October 27, 2019

To close out the photographs taken in Wisconsin this summer, here are four experiments in intentional camera movement (ICM). That is, the first four are Wisconsin; the others, from the archives, are Ohio and Florida.

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A Few Garden Finds


October 21, 2019

Here are a few photographs taken in August at the Olbrich Botanical Garden in Madison, Wisconsin.

1 The red splashes are cardinal flowers, Lobelia cardinalis.

2 Here is a birch—I don’t presume to know which one.

3 Here’s another birch, overlooking two inviting chairs.

4 I’m not sure why I’m drawn to empty chairs. Maybe they represent possibilities . . .

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Garver Feed Mill—Renaissance and Memory


October 6, 2019

Twelve years ago during a walk to find photographs in Madison, Wisconsin, where I was visiting, I passed what looked like an abandoned building. On it was painted the name Garver. I have a friend whose last name is Garver, so of course I took a snapshot to show her. This summer my daughter and daughter-in-law treated me to a return visit to the building—vacant for two decades before renovation began in 2017. They didn’t know I had photographed it in 2007 but thought I would find the Garver Feed Mill interesting. (They are great scouts!) This time I photographed in earnest,  trying hard not to wish I had been witness to many more of the building’s iterations. A plaque outside one of the doors gave information about the building, and putting this post together I learned more. I find it interesting that the Wisconsin State Capitol and the Garver Feed Mill were completed in the same year. And it’s fun to see that remnants of old graffiti add an artistic touch to the cleaned masonry. I like buildings that hold visual evidence of their past; this one also included bricked-in doorways and windows, patched walls, sheared-off I-beams, and what must be gouges from former industrial activity. If you’d like to know more about the Garver Feed Mill, don’t miss the Wisconsin State Journal article that features photographs taken through the years, going back to 1924. Also of interest are an article in the Wisconsin State Farmer and two links on a City of Madison web page: the Garver Final Report and a presentation by the restoration architects.

1 This is the photograph I took in 2007.

2 This is the photograph I took of the same wall this August.

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This is steel (I think) cladding on a newer part of the facade. The next two photographs are from nearby sections of the wall.

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11 I learned from my reading that the white bricks indicate water damage.

12 Were these patches on an interior wall made lately or in older times? My guess is older times.

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20 Even the new women’s room’s concrete floor has artistic appeal.

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The Wisconsin State Capitol, Revisited


September 24, 2019

Last year I posted photographs of the Wisconsin State Capitol building, dividing the photos over two days. Returning to Madison this August, I was again enthralled with the beauty and majesty of this edifice. Some friends say they are made uncomfortable by the richness of this structure and think about how taxpayers were made to fund its original construction as well as its renovation. I see their point, but I’m still seduced. I ease my guilty pleasure with the thought that all this magnificence belongs to the people of Wisconsin. That has to count for something. I am loading this blog post with 21 photographs. Don’t feel you have to look at them all. I will tell you, though, that the last one is pretty cute. For those of you not familiar with such things as official state animals in the U.S., I’ll point out that the creature depicted is a badger.

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August on the Vermilion River, 2019 Version


September 16, 2019

Leptothrix discophora was in splender when I drove out to the Schoepfle Garden August 11. I didn’t see huge patches of it, but enough medium-size patches to satisfy me. The handiwork of L. discophora and other iron bacteria was also in evidence as great gushy trails down to the water. Along my walk I dallied over some rocks I considered first among equals. Number 9 is mudstone that held some kind of salts that left pits as they washed out in the river.

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The Farmhouse Grounds in 2019


August 25, 2019

While I love photographing inside my friend’s farmhouse, the grounds are likewise appealing. One of the traditions for farmhouse owners and guests is going out after dinner to watch the sun set over the fields and trees. As I was walking to the viewing spot, I turned around and saw where the late-day sun had flung warm patches of light into the darkening woods. While I was at the farm, the sunsets were modest, but the shared experience of anticipating, then viewing them brought joy nonetheless. Photograph #6 is of the threshold to the viewing spot, proving that you don’t need a sunset to appreciate the view, even if it is obscured by trees. The next two photographs prove that you don’t need clear skies and copious sunshine to photograph the outdoors. This grouping ends with my find on the property of some of my favorite things: hoses. You can do a search of this blog on hoses if you like; you’ll get more hits than you might imagine.

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The Farmhouse in 2019—3


August 18, 2019

Could I see anything new in my fourth visit to my friend’s Pennsylvania farmhouse? I won’t say this was a worry, but it was a wonder. Earlier views of the farmhouse interior begin here and here and here. I guess I needn’t have wondered.

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Cucumber Falls 6


July 28, 2019

Last week I spent another glorious time at my friend’s farmstead in Pennsylvania. Repeating what we had done in previous years, we went on two outings to the Youghiogheny River—to Cucumber Falls one day and Ohiopyle Falls another. Looking at last year’s photos of Cucumber Falls, I see that the same views appealed to me this year. Rather than post nearly exact repetitions, I refer you to this and this and this and this and this post from 2018. Below are some photographs of and around Cucumber Falls that don’t repeat last year’s catch, at least not much.

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Too Much Water but Enough Shale


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.

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The Farmhouse in 2019—2


July 14, 2019

This potpourri of farmhouse views includes those of cooking necessities, partially made beds-in-waiting, and hand-hewn beams holding up the front porch.

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The Farmhouse in 2019—1


July 7, 2019

Last month for the third year in a row my husband and I were delighted to accept our friends’ invitation to a long weekend at the wife’s ancestral home in rural southwest Pennsylvania. Of course I took my camera. Earlier series of farmhouse photos begin here (2017) and here (2018). This time I took more detail shots. Patches of light have always attracted my attention—probably starting before I was able to even hold a camera. And gazing at and out windows seemed like such a lazy summery thing to do, befitting the ambiance of the weekend. We ate and ate, talked and talked, took walks, and completed two jigsaw puzzles.

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If You Go to Boston, Again


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.


Taking a Stroll around the Grounds


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.

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Playing with the Landscape at Schoepfle Garden


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 . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Except When I Do


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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Revisiting Table Rock


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.

 

 

 

 


Observing Beauty in Senescence


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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


A Walk along Myakkahatchee Creek


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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Trees of Life


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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fish Bins and Miscellaneous Cortezian Treasures


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:

 

 

 


Old Boats Are Best—2


March 31, 2019

Three days before I photographed old boats following the map that Karen Bell drew for me, I was in Cortez photographing old boats in a different location. So for those of you who didn’t see enough of them in the last post, here are more old boats. If you haven’t already, I urge you to read the comments on the last post. (Scroll way way down.) So many of you with so much to say!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Old Boats Are Best—1


Old boats are the best boats—at least to photograph. While we were waiting for latecomers to join the tour that Karen Bell was to give of the A.P Bell fish house, Karen told me she loved the look of old boats. I said (of course) that I did, too. After the tour Karen drew me a map of where I could find nearby old boats to photograph. Below (way below) are the boat photographs I took that day.

The other day I happened upon the work of Richard Alan Cohen, who also photographs old boat hulls. His web site includes a link to a review of his work by Kat Kiernan, editor-in-chief of the photography magazine Don’t Take Pictures. It’s short, and I’ve pasted it here:

“I never want to see another abstract photograph of a distressed surface. Camera lenses pointed close enough to a subject will turn almost anything into an abstract photograph. A camera is unable to produce a true abstraction—it can only record what is in front of it. This forces the conversation to revolve around what the subject matter is. Most photographers making abstract pictures will say that the what doesn’t matter and that their image is only about line, form, texture, and so on. Too often, these types of photographs feel like a cheap way to get the look of an abstract painting without having to actually paint. And too often, they feel flat—lacking the depth and texture needed to pull off the illusion. Richard Alan Cohen takes a different approach.

“In his series Waterlines, Cohen makes no attempts at abstraction for its own sake. His “what” is right there in the series title and is a perfect subject matter for the “why.” He photographs distressed boat hulls not with the intention of reducing them into just lines, shapes, and colors, but instead explores the minimal elements required to form a landscape in the mind’s eye. He is not trying to hide the fact that these photographs are of the undersides of boats. Instead, he uses their waterlines to create an entirely new one—one that only exists through Cohen’s careful framing and our own psychological search for recognition. In Cohen’s photographs, the waterline becomes a coastline, corroded fiberglass becomes weather, and the footprints of barnacles become stars. He embraces the subject matter beautifully by making a strong conceptual connection between the subject—a boat—and the final image—an abstract photograph reminiscent of a seascape.”

Well, ouch.

Kiernan may have based some of what she writes about Cohen’s work on what he says on his website:

“Pausing to study this evidence of where the boat has been, one perceives that the waterline provides an horizon. Above and below that are details of imagined landscapes, perhaps those that could be seen from the boats themselves when they sailed on the water. In developing these images, I share my own imagination and provide the seed for each viewer to form their own remembered landscapes. This project is ultimately an exploration of the minimal elements required to form a landscape in the mind’s eye – the waterline as coastline, the texture as weather, the footprint of barnacles as stars.”

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“The color and forms introduced by the interaction of the pollutants with the boat’s bottom paint provide iconic symbols of man’s disturbance of nature, and are inescapable evidence of the downside of the sailor’s voyage upon the sea.”

I urge you to read more of what Cohen says in his recent Lenscratch interview.

Here are some questions Kiernan’s review has prompted me to consider. I wonder, dear reader, what you think.

  1. How much do we miss out on a larger conversation about photography because we don’t think deeply enough about what we are doing?
  2. How can we learn to think deeply?
  3. Can we even learn to think deeply, or is that an ability we either have or don’t?
  4. How much do we hold back our work from greater exposure because we aren’t willing or don’t know how to talk about it?
  5. I absolutely don’t mean to impugn Cohen’s work, which I admire along with his stated intent, so forgive my cynicism (or not): How much verbiage about art, especially photography, is based on associations discovered or devised after the painting or photograph was made? And would this practice be legitimate?
  6. If we are not deep thinkers or writers, can we nonetheless entertain hopes of making noteworthy photographs?