Late December + moutains + fog + 1000 mile journey + friends + camera = these postcards--quick gratification after the tedium of setting up a series of year-long, solstice-to-solstice exposures. I have decided that 2015 will be a year of such diverse approaches to image making--from extreme long exposures to a monthly postcard series.
It could be said I wasted an entire day of my shooting time in Ontario this July teaching myself how to photograph dragonflies. If you haven't tried to do it you really should, and you should do so while perched on a rock in a boggy, buggy corner of a beautiful river that also happens to be the nesting ground for a large family of extremely territorial watersnakes who are quite fond of the rock you are standing on for their all-day sunbathing. All morning I tried and failed. At lunch I unloaded my cards full of bad shots and recalculated what I would try next. And back to the Rock I went with a new card and a fresh battery and found the snakes had retaken their position--they would only be defeated by being mock-beaten with a swim noodle ( a task undertaken by someone not myself). Things improved. I have a lot of shots of dragonflies too, thank you, but the real gain was this: the settings I used for the dragonflies opened up a world of possibilities for seeing the river anew. Once again I am reminded of the magnificence of Samuel Beckett: "Ever Tried? Ever Failed? No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail Better!"
The dew point is in the 70s this fine Iowa morning after a night of sirens and what seemed like near misses for Iowa City. Route One north of town washed out after five inches of rain fell. Tornados are due this afternoon. I went outside into the tropical rainforest that used to be my garden to try and catch up on last month's weeding and nature just laughed a big fat nature laugh and let a little more rain pour down on us, and so I hightailed it inside to finish some seriously backlogged editing that harkens back to my favorite time of year in my favorite place. I don't think there could be a landscape any more beautiful than a frozen sea in the light of the long slow dawn like that off the coast of Kotzebue. I love that winter moon that scuds along the horizon. I love that it takes almost six hours for the light to shift from the lavender of twilight to the true sunrise which occurs a little before noon. I will send a crisp ten dollar bill to anyone who can find the polar bear lurking in these pictures! A wildlife photographer I will never be--except by most unfortunate accident! Stay cool Iowa friends.
The last three weeks have been all about water--or sky--or possibly both. Good thing I have good chest waders! Moving between the still icy shores of Lake Superior and a lovely river in Ontario I find myself once again becoming hopelessly lyrical, as in these little delicacies shot when the light in Canada kept turning into an homage to Turner. This is apparently what happens when I swear off the poetical. Next time I'll renounce the prosaic and see what happens!
If you walk a mile or so off shore out across the Chukchi Sea you will see some amazing things. Close to the village the frozen chop looks like a 3D lesson in geometry, fat planks of ice jutting up at right angles--triangles, rectangles, parallelograms of frozen sea. Close to shore the ice formations bring to mind polar bears--for every odalisk of ice seems to have a great hulking body of white just behind it--but no, you tell yourself, you are just imagining things. Just because the largest polar bear ever killed was killed right there in Kotzebue, weighing in at over 2,000 pounds--that was a long time ago--and the polar bears of today are well off shore, out where the ice gives way to open water again.Read More