It’s high summer, good haying weather — and the mornings are foggy here in Northern New England. Though some of the nights this summer have been hotter than usual, this week we’ve got cool nights — so good fog.
This photo is from a past summer morning; could be now but it’s not.
I don’t think I’ve posted an infrared photo here for a while, and I haven’t been exposing quite so many recently. Funny. Well, here’s one.
It’s hot here on the east coast, and that has almost gotten me to post more winter snow and ice abstracts. Not that it’s hard to get me to do that. After getting a bit sick of snow and ice a couple of months ago (photographically, as well as experientially), I’m lately finding that when those images come up on my screen I feel an, “Ahh.”
I’ve actually been working with peony images since the last post here, organizing, tagging, and starting to rate the images, which were just sprawled out through the years, coming up every June in the flow of thumbnails. In a very nice way.
Today deciding to really post a winter shot, I was struck by this peony. It’s cool, despite the summer soltice-ey time of year. It’s cool not just because of the water drops and soft colors, but because it’s a splash, in the composition. The splash makes it sort of cool and hot at the same time.
If the heat keeps up (Jeff Masters, meteorologist for the Weather Underground, says this is the warmest 12 months ever. Again.) — if it keeps up I will post some ice.
Stay cool! Enjoy the summer, it flies by.
I’ve played with this as a subject/composition for years. Without going through all of my attempts, I’ve decided to let this arrow fly from the bow, fresh from the camera, without too much over-thinking.
Hope you can get some fresh local organic strawberries at a farm stand near you, in a thin wooden carton with light coming through the edges.
I think this is a Blue Tailed Damselfly, Ischnura elegans. If anyone knows better, feel free to let me know.
This weeks post is a meditation on image size, among other things. I’m finding the iPad to be really helpful in giving a fresh view of images, and I think especially for images that should not be seen at a large size.
Photography is funny; on the one hand we’ve got a two dimensional image that need to live and die by what happens in that flat space. On the other hand, the image is tied to something we might see in the so called real world. And it does seem often that an image won’t work if represented larger than real life — but then again it can, and sometimes it’s better for it. But I’m finding that in looking through photos in Lightroom on the big and oh so beautiful monitor, that some look worse at that size and in that space than they do on the iPad. Of course I can give a long rant about trying to use the iPad for photography, when images are inconveniently de-coupled from the concept of files. It’s impossible to find the damn image to actually work with it or print it in full resolution or anything. What a pain!
Some of my images, for instance One Cow, Thirteen Hay Bales; Iceland, really are best at a huge size. That image is all about space, and it helps to really throw some real space into the mix. It should be a big print, about 40″ long. Postcards of Robert Motherwell paintings are a tragic misrepresentation. On the other hand, this image, also sort of about space, seems better when more intimate.
(speaking of space, it turns out that this image doesn’t work as well for me in a tighter frame. There’s something about the insect’s relationship to the space around it that is significant.
I’ll include this in my iPad images collection. If anyone wants an iPad resolution version of an image for a lock screen before I get it together to make an app, please email me.
I’ve got some exciting stuff going on in photography right now. Getting to know a new and better printer, a big Epson pigment ink beast. Also trying some new beautiful papers. And working on an ambitious piece, which it’s probably better to wait and see on. Hopefully I can pull it off.
Looking for something else entirely, I happened upon this image, which is an altogether different time and place and latitude from the trellis window girl in the last post. But also a child in an interesting space, with a trellis roof above, open to sky. This will definitely do for now!
I think it’s probably best to let this image just be there without analyzing it or giving it context.
I’ll give a little ancient and recent meta-info though.
I had been photographing only with a 4 x 5 view camera for years up to about this time. Then I bought a used and inexpensive twin lens reflex camera. I loved the fact that I could suddenly make images like the one above but still have quality that wasn’t a total compromise. Not as good as the 4 x 5, but a new world of possibilities. I also loved that the camera looked so funky and non-threatening, like something you’d find in your grandfather’s attic. Funky, stealthy, and retro. (Though something half the size of a toaster can only be called stealthy when compared to a view camera, and only by virtue of its non-threatening appearance).
The up to the minute context for this image is that I haven’t yet re-found the negative. I don’t know if it’s still buried after my most recent move, two years ago, or if it got mis-filed and buried in an earlier move, or independent of a move. “I’ll just tuck these really important negatives inside the dictionary, under “R” for Really Important. I’ll never forget that!”
So here, I scanned a silver print from the darkroom days. I’ve got a handful of silver silver prints of this image. I like it a lot. Since it wasn’t easy to print, I printed a handful while I was at it. I’m so glad at least I’ve got the prints, and hopefully soon I’ll have a nice high res scan of the negative too.
I’m working in a few directions with photography these days, but this is the image making it up here for almost-explicable reasons. I’m working on scanning some old black and white film, which is amazing. These old pieces of sheet film remind me of the first time I saw a Van Gogh painting up close. I had a shock of recognition: Van Gogh had managed to put some kind of energy — the energy of his mind, his experience, his contact with the world; something intangible but palpable — he had put that energy into each brush stroke. I could feel it, standing there in front of the painting. And I realized that what I was trying to do then as a young man was possible. I didn’t know exactly how to do it, but I had the strong aspiration to contain some kind of energy and awareness into the physical objects, print and film.
I think I sometimes pulled it off, and sometimes still do. These old big pieces of film that I haven’t looked at for many years hit me with a little jolt sometimes, when I get a sense of that some-kind-of-energy trapped in the surface of the silver crystals. But this scanning project is a process just barely underway, and hampered by the same thing my life with sheet film always was — how to find the thing I’m looking for?
The other thread in my thinking is continuing with my interest in the Ukiyo-e, “floating world” composition and aesthetic. I have one of those from last week, new, but I’m not positive it’s good enough to go live.
Anyway, this new image, “dandelion with centurea” is from this spring/early summer. It’s been haunting me a little bit, and I felt compelled to put it online. I like the way it shows the moment as a precarious dot in the space of time. The dandelion gone to seed is at the edge of what it has been, starting the wind-born journey to what it will be. It’s moment is all but gone, yet clearly in focus, master of the moment. And moving into its own is the blue of the early summer garden flower, more than holding its own against the weed.
The other morning I was in the garden, and I saw some beautiful light on flowers. I thought I should go get my camera, but I had a lot of other things to do that morning. I thought, “Maybe I’ll photograph tomorrow instead.” And it hit me — “Now. Right now. There is no tomorrow for this light on these flowers.” The main thing that photography has taught me is that there is no tomorrow. The light shining on flower petals in dew will not be the same in ten minutes, yet alone tomorrow. I’ve known this well for a long time, but still I always forget and have to remember it again. To us it seems as if things are solid, they’ll still be there for us, we can take them for granted. It seems that life is solid.
When I was in college, so busy and my mind full of thoughts and tasks in the transition to spring; I would look up while walking between classes and realize that the trees had leafed out. Suddenly it was spring, and I had barely noticed it had happened. I had missed so much while lost in thoughts. Of course, we’re always in transition, and we barely notice it.
And so it is with peony season. The days have gotten longer, the birds have been singing. Iris have come and gone. We should have noticed enough to know that THIS would come, that the world would be so rich and lush, the days so long and full of light and color. If we’re lucky it registers, we really notice; but the petals are already falling, the days already getting shorter. Look! And then it’s already gone.
Remember the flowers, the passing of time, and the people in your life.