We filter out a lot of information, visual and otherwise. Much of our immediate environment isn’t really seen. Simple shadows on a wall, matted grass on the ground, the landscape as it zips past the car window, the flooring at your feet – all are worth studying.
Maybe the ceiling is holding the light in a particular way that you’ve never seen before, right now.
I may be preaching to the choir here, because I know that many people who look at this blog already pay close attention to things that others miss. Well, here’s to widening the pool of folks who care to attend to the world a bit more keenly, and here’s to questioning received wisdom and nurturing a different view. Let’s leave our preoccupations and preconceptions at the door, and simply attend to the world.
- These nets protect fruit trees from hungry deer and birds at the Washington State University Discovery Garden, an agricultural research center and display garden. The flowers in the display garden are eye-catching, but the nets, yes the nets, they’re interesting in and of themselves, if you really look.
- Behind this net are apple trees grown in the espalier style, which conserves space, can increase exposure to sun and can make picking easier. They are also at the local research center gardens.
- I went to a small art fair on a nearby island. Sorry to say, the art wasn’t very good, but the matted grass and old rusty bits of equipment next to the road caught my eye.
- The view from Mt. Erie is spectacular, taking in a lake, forests, water, and islands. (A photo of the view is towards the end of the post before this one). If you take your eyes away from the view and look around, you may find trees casting strong shadows on the rough wall of a steep rock face. You may find a lot more.
- Sometimes a blurred phone shot of the scenery rushing by conveys the essence of a place as nicely as a carefully composed camera image.
- I’m not sure why a steel plate was put down on this old wooden floor, maybe the floorboards wore through. The worn and scuffed surfaces made a satisfying composition in subdued tones.
- Tied up like a big present, another apple tree at the research center has turned into outdoor sculpture, in my eyes anyway.
- Wood fragments that might be useful someday were stacked in a corner of the artist’s yard, a perfect foil for deep summer shadows.
- The door to the artist’s studio was open so I strolled in. People were pulling prints, laughing, and having a great time. My eyes closed as I inhaled the nostalgic fragrance of printing ink. The glass door pane concealed, revealed and reflected, in a complex dance of what is and what might be.
- Barns and farm buildings race by as you drive on the flat valley roads here in Skagit County. Switch the camera to shutter priority, choose a slow speed, and with a little luck, you have an image that carries back the sense of the land floating past you.
- The nets again. Do we automatically want to focus on the net, or on the tree behind it? I like the idea of foregrounding the barrier that gets between us and the subject. It’s another view.
- The same idea again, this time at home. Focus on the window screen grid and let the tree trunks meld into the landscape. Let go of the names of things, the “shoulds” in your head. Feel the color.