Fresh Looks

What do these images have in common? They were all made in the last month or two, in the same part of the world, and there are obvious connections between some of them, but you might say it’s a motley crew overall. Some are in color, some are monochrome, some were taken with a phone, some with a camera. What I hope they do have in common is a sense of seeing the world with fresh curiosity and genuine appreciation.

 

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The Photos:

  1. This is Boot (BOOTIE! to me), an American pit bull terrier, a breed that strikes so much fear into the hearts of some people that it has been banned in entire cities. Boot is a sweetie, believe me. Here, I caught his rear end with my phone camera, as he relaxed on the grass at an Ultimate Frisbee Tournament where his master was playing. Boot has his own Instagram page if you want to see his front end.
  2. A rock formation at Larrabee State Park which is on the Salish Sea about 15 miles south of the US – Canada border. The softly eroded, curvy rock is sandstone that was deposited here around 50 million years ago. This type of weathering is called honeycomb weathering, and the round perforations often seen in honeycombed rocks are sometimes called tafoni. The original photo was in sharper focus. I chose to slightly blur it to bring out the graceful, curving form. More photos of Larrabee’s intricate geology are shown in previous posts here and here.
  3. Branches trailing in the water or hanging just above it draw complex, meandering reflections at Whistle Lake, on Fidalgo Island. By the time I took this photograph it was after 5pm and rather dark at the lake’s edge, so I boosted the brightness in Lightroom several different ways: by increasing the whites (basic panel), applying a slight “S” tone curve, and increasing the luminance of individual colors. Small increases in contrast, clarity, saturation and vibrancy also helped brighten and define the image.
  4. A piece of detritus on a pier in Anacortes. The photo was taken with my phone on the evening of an art opening at the historic Port of Anacortes transit shed, a huge 85-year-old wooden building once used to store goods in transit into and out of the region. It was possible on this evening to walk through a big show of quality painting, photography and sculpture, and then wander outside directly onto a pier, where we had an interesting conversation with the first mate of a tugboat tied up at port while waiting for orders. For solid working culture and the arts to share space like that – well, to me, it was heaven.
  5. More detritus, this time on a beach at Bowman Bay on Fidalgo Island. The shell may be a Bent-nosed clam, a small, edible clam. The seaweed is probably Eelgrass (Zostera marina), an important plant that provides nourishment and habitat for waterfowl, crabs, shrimp, fish, shellfish and probably more creatures I’m not aware of. Eelgrass is declining in some places in Puget Sound; the causes are complex.
  6. A friendly reminder seen on an old warehouse in Anacortes. The photo was processed in Color Efex pro and Lightroom.
  7. This appears to be an unfinished roof. It’s attached to a small building at the site of a weekly Farmer’s Market in Edison, Washington (population 133 in 2010). As I pulled over to photograph the dramatic sky through the beams, two black cats scurried down a dirt road, probably in pursuit of sparrows, and somewhere overhead, an eagle cried that distinctive, high-pitched whinny.
  8. I saw a sign advertising an art show one summer afternoon while driving through the Skagit Valley countryside. I drove over to the Samish Island Arts Festival to investigate. The art was almost all crafts – jewelry, hand knit clothes, etc. –Β  and it didn’t appeal to me. But there was an interesting group of ramshackle wooden buildings there, across from a small oyster business. There was no fence, not even a “Keep Out” sign, so I spent some time photographing abandoned odds and ends. It was clearly a place where work went on, but it was hard to tell what exactly happened there. Rope, wood, rust and tarps were plentiful. I told myself I’d come back to “work the scene” again.
  9. Barbed wire fence keeps the rabble away from three unmarked silos in Anacortes. The town has enough intriguing industrial sites to keep me busy for a while. This photo was taken with my phone.
  10. This photo was taken on a bluff overlooking the Salish Sea during a prolonged dry spell. We hadn’t had any rain for many weeks; the grass was bone dry. I used a vintage Super Takumar 50mm lens and made a few adjustments in Lightroom.
  11. My teapot is getting old and if you ask me, it’s more and more likeable. We found it years ago at a Catholic church bazaar on Staten Island, NYC, and paid 50 cents, if I remember correctly. I make strong Irish tea in it each morning. Over time, cracks in the pot have grown and darkened, and eventually it will leak, and we won’t be able to use it. For now though, it’s a perfect example of wabi-sabi, that wonderful Japanese aesthetic that encapsulates acceptance of imperfection as well as the impermanence of all things. The photo was taken with another vintage Super Takumar lens – a 28mm f3.5.
  12. Do you see that this is a corn stalk? It’s growing at the WSU Discovery Garden, a demonstration garden put together by the Washington State University Master Gardeners, who are trained volunteers. Lucky for me, the garden is just 15 minutes away, so if I ever tire of wild flora (unlikely!) I can go have my fill of cultivated plants. The original photo is in color and it was converted to black and white in Silver Efex Pro and finished in Lightroom.
  13. Why are these buildings just inches apart? I suppose it has to do with the lot sizes or building codes. Ever since I first visited Edison back in 2012, I’ve been intrigued by this little slice of strangeness a few doors down from my favorite bakery. There are always ferns growing in that dark little space! The photo was taken with my phone and processed in Lightroom.
  14. This photo was taken the same day as #3, at Whistle Lake, part of the Anacortes Community Forest Lands. A rocky, rooty trail along the lake swings down level with the water in places, allowing you close views of sinuous tree reflections in the placid waters. Photographing reflections in water always depends on a variety of conditions, and sometimes they come together perfectly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


79 comments

    • Thanks so much, Laura, I’m happy you enjoyed the series, and it’s interesting you chose the offbeat #8. I DO need to go back to that place and see what else strikes me. Have a good weekend!

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    • And I absolutely enjoy hearing from you, and reading your comment! It all started with a desire to show some photos that I,didn’t seem to relate to one another in any obvious way. Then I said, why not just put them in one place and see what happens, so I did, and I began to to see relationships. A few were added, a few rejected, and it was done….so it’s especially gratifying to see the words “familiarity and kinship” here.

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      • You are absolutely right. I have kinships that feel very comfortable, even though I don’t see, touch, smell or hear.

        Curious that it works so well, that art feels tangible enough to open the door.

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  1. I was a bit surprised to see Bootie’s bootie in picture form on your blog…it’s not something that we usually find here…but fun anyway. πŸ™‚

    I rather enjoy #10…the dried grasses with the broken branches…something I like to photograph, as well.

    Very nice post, Lynn….

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    • That’s why I led with that photo – it’s not my usual subject matter. πŸ˜‰ #10 is in a place I think you’d love – that dry bluff overlooks the water – it’s a gorgeous spot. I took the photo of the rock almost obscured by grasses in the previous post on the same day. It’s your kind of image, I know! Thanks Scott!

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  2. Boot is adorable! Animal Instagram pages are just as addictive as cat videos — I monitor usage so as not to fall down the rabbit hole too often πŸ˜‰ I actually like these anything-and-everything posts, it gives one the sense that they’re wandering around with you. I’m drawn to the water reflection shots, but I’m really curious about those buildings being so close together! Who’s responsible for taking care of it? Both? Neither? You’ll have to let us know if you find out!

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    • Oh, how nice to know – not that you manage to keep from wandering down the rabbit hole (that’s good too, maybe) – but that you like the grab bag approach. Excellent question about the space between the buildings, you made me laugh! You know, that’s a NY question. In the town where that was taken people get along so well and are so easy going (and probably live there so long) that I bet it never comes up. Bottom line though – if something went wrong in there, who’s responsible? Let’s imagine the two building’s owners would work together, Like good Dems and Republicans, to right the wrong. πŸ™‚

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  3. Now then, Lynn, this is a very interesting collection – and it mirrors to some extent what I’m trying to do with my Outer Suburbs series. I like image 5, but then there are four other images that really blow me away – 6, 7, 9 and 13. 6 is probably my out and out favourite, 7 is surreal (Rene Magrite???), and I absolutely LOVE that small patch of rust in the centre of 9 >>> all very inspiring stuff!!! Adrian πŸ™‚

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    • You choices are so interesting….that door at #6 is pretty funny, and there’s a staircase to the second floor – an outside one – that’s missing stairs, also interesting. That building will serve well for return trips. I have to admit that it was the arc I was photographing with the barbed wire, but when I noticed the rust later, I liked it. So glad you liked the post, and it’s fun to hear that your outer ‘burbs project is moving along similar lines.

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  4. I am seeing a common thread of a line in each photo. This is really an exciting set of images. I’m picking #14 as my favorite as I know how elusive a reflective image in water can be and this is soooo nice. Sorry to say, I have to put Boot in second place but a good pit bull will be very happy with it.

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    • Boot will be fine with second place, as long as he gets his dinner….and as long as things aren’t too complicated, as he’s very sensitive. I really appreciate your thoughts, especially on the overall scope. As for the water reflection, sometimes you are there at the right time. Over the last two months I’ve been going out in the later afternoon a lot, often staying out until around dinner time, when the light is getting better and better. But now we’re fast approaching equinox time and things are changing….

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  5. Gosh I’ve been enjoying these, went through the album three times and will look at them again tonight. Even the Keep Out shot, which so subtly communicates a sense of, oh, I don’t know, perhaps, KEEP OUT! πŸ™‚ (And makes me laugh, somehow.)
    Honestly most of us just don’t β€œsee” some of these things – wonderful striations in a cornstalk, the cellphone shot, with it’s elegant arc of barbed wire, and the #8 tarp & weathered plywood, forming a detail from a classical painting. Pretty neat.
    #2 is my 2nd favorite, at first glance, I thought it was a morel, since I’m currently obsessed with fungi, but then the sand/stone became evident, and hard not to run your fingers over the pockets. And happy to learn the word tafoni.
    But #3 is just so cool. A pool of mercury, crisp leaves, shadows, and someone’s elaborate design in ink. Just terrific bunch of shots.

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    • Wow, is that gratifying, knowing you looked through more than once. Thank you. I think you’re an eclectic soul, too, Robert, so maybe that’s part of it. The “Keep Out” location is very intriguing. I’ve photographed there several times, never saw anyone. But the mystery person is adamant. πŸ˜‰ I agree that many people don’t see a lot of what I notice – I’ve experienced that when walking with people, for better and worse (not everyone appreciates the delay) ! I also felt #8 carries a sense of a classic, romantic still life, so I’m happy you registered that. Currently obsessed with fungi – what IS it about fungi that causes folks to obsess? I’ve been there! I would be even more obsessed with lichens if only I could ID more of them. FYI that sandstone in #2 is very rough to the touch and provides terrific handholds and good traction, luckily. A very precarious place, that one. Do you know horsehair pottery? That’s what Joe said #3 reminds him of. and it makes sense. Thanks VERY much Robert!

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  6. As Berenice Abbott says, “Photography helps people to see.” You have done that so beautifully, Lynn. Your lead shot just made me smile, love the tarp, rope and wood, the reflection is a gem and the corn stalk is a stunner. Wonderful series! πŸ™‚

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    • Another quote. πŸ™‚ It’s good that Bootie made you smile, even without his sweet mug. That’s why I put that one first, to get things going nicely. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for singling out the rustic still life (#8) or whatever that is, the reflections and the corn stalk. It’s my pleasure to take them, work on them, share them, and read your comments. But you know that.

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  7. I really like the way you see things, Lynn, it is such a different view than mine – I think this is why I get so mesmerized by your posts and photos. Stunning and so admirable. Cheers to a great week ahead.

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    • Good to hear, Randall! I really hope that people might see a little differently, a little more, after viewing my work. There’s a lot more than what we are programmed to respond to. I makes my day to read a comment like yours, too. Thank you!

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  8. Great images, Lynn πŸ™‚ I love how you mix different subjects and techniques in your posts, yet they’re all very Lynn-y – I mean that in the best possible way of course! It’s such a pleasure to drop in here, and always find something interesting!

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    • What a joy to read a comment like that, Camilla, thank you for being here. It’s my pleasure, as I was saying to Jane above, to take the photos and work on them, then to share them, and to impact someone in the way you’re describing, well, it’s the tops!

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  9. Not a motley crew, or crue, at all. I enjoyed them all, both because they are well seen and done and because, with one or two exceptions, I would not have made them, which I always appreciate. I don’t know which is my favorite, as if that matters, but I was intrigued by the faces in number 3. I always enjoy what your eye sees, Lynn…well, both of them. πŸ™‚

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  10. my revisit here Lynn…always appreciate your fine photography (1 and 12) 😊 but they’re all so beautiful in their own ways…and your narratives of knowing are clever/smart…and then you compose posts that feel like a book to me…I love the palettes you work with and I also love what your eye sees…many smiles from etown ~ hedy β˜ΊοΈπŸ’«β€οΈ

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    • I’m very pleased that the post feels like a book to you, a narrative queen. Palettes are often so much a part or reflection of where we live, don’t you think? As for what I see, that’s informed by a much longer history than my time in this area, and it’s all, hopefully, under continual review. πŸ™‚

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      • Yes for me it’s a mood or a feeling thing of that experience…although as I travel to different spaces I also see different light…here in etown it’s typically hard white and bright blue…Lisboa is golden and yellow…etc….I’ve learned this from playing with my little black box…πŸ€“

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  11. I like your “fresh looks” and curiosity and the contrasts you chose! The first one probably puts a smile on everybodies face, so cute πŸ™‚ Number 7 is excellent! I love its ambiguity! Good night for now – its rather late here πŸ™‚

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    • Boot is cute, even without his sweet face. πŸ™‚ Regarding #7, I love finding things like that along the roadside, and it’s wonderful to be able to stop and photogrpah them – many times in the past, I was working and couldn’t take the time to stop. Thank you Almuth!

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      • And I am very glad you find the time now! I love it to follow your impressions, pictures, descriptions and ideas. It is alltogether very inspiring and as you just said it in your latest post, it is refreshing! I always can leave your blog with new thouhgts πŸ™‚

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  12. How often have I seen dogs lie down like Bootie did hereβ€”and never thought to take a photograph. I would never have guessed that #2 was a rock formation; the shapes look organic. Nice processing of #3!! I always like it when the shadow or reflection of something combines with the thing itself to create an appealing image, as happens here. Love the graphic looks of #s 5, 6, and 7. About #8, here’s what I love: the curves in the tarp, the way you’ve broken the space, the colors, the look of the weathered wood, the color contrasts. I think this is my favorite. There’s a watercolor look (Andrew Wyeth?) to #10. Love that every-which-way grass and the colors. That’s a loving portrait of your teapot. Your secret fernery works so well in the middle of the composition.

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    • You would have thought to take a photo of Bootie though, I’m sure you would. There’s something very photogenic about him. Those sedimentary, weathered rocks are extremely organic looking. They’re a delight for the eyes, but can be hard to photograph – that particular place is right up against the water so you have to climb a bit, the footing can be tricky, and the light is often very harsh. #3 didn’t require very much processing. I agree that it’s wonderful when subject and shadow or reflection merge into one flat plane. It does my heart good to know you “get” #8. The final sharpening, using masking, really made it work because the canvas stayed smooth while the wood stayed rough. #10 would be a dry-brush technique watercolor. πŸ˜‰ Very dry. Thank you for all these musings, Linda, including the loving teapot portrait (yes!) and secret fernery.

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      • I don’t think I know how to use masking in sharpening, unless that’s what I’m doing occasionally in Lightroom with the brush thingie. How did you do it? As you describe using the mask, it sounds very useful.

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      • I use Windows, so initially, before doing any sharpening, I hold “alt” down while sliding the masking slider (under sharpening). You use a Mac, right? I think it’s the option key you need to hold down as you slide the masking slider to the right. You’ll see a black & white depiction showing which areas will be sharpened: fewer and fewer parts of the image, as you slide to the right. Usually when you slide all the way to the right, only a few select areas are highlighted. Only those areas will be sharpened.
        Then (and only then) you sharpen your image, using amount, radius and detail. You’ll find that you can sharpen more (i.e. slide the amount slider further to the right, radius to the left, detail to the right, etc.) because you’re not sharpening the whole picture, you’re only sharpening the areas you selected by choosing where to anchor the masking slider. Hope that makes sense!
        And if the masking slider is grayed out and you can’t use it, just push the amount slider a bit to the right, and masking will light up.

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  13. It is good to try to get new perspectives on life, Lynn. It is hard to pick favorites, but number 2 made me think of fossilized vertebrae, which took me to Dinosaur National Park, which will always be a favorite destination, so I thank thee. 😊

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  14. Number three stopped me dead in my tracks. I don’t know what better evocation there could be of Al Hirschfeld, caricaturing en plein air. I like the teapot, too — perhaps because I’m a little crazed, myself. Actually, it reminded me of my years of selling antique china — cleaning pieces up with 30 or 40 volume hydrogen peroxide. It was great fun to watch the process, and see those cracks disappear. As for #12, I guess my grass classes took, at least a bit. I took one look at that and thought, “Ligule!”

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    • I did love Al Hirschfiled. We got the Sunday Times and every week he would have a drawing on the front page of the Arts section, if I remember right. I used to look at them with great fascination, so thank you for that connection. I love it. It’s good to know I could easily get the stains off the teapot, but as you’d guess, for now, it stays that way. Ligule – very impressive! I remember you talking about the grasses class. Whatever their names, plant structures are a most wonderful part of our world, aren’t they?

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    • πŸ™‚ I’m glad you singled out that one, Otto – that’s my attempt at photojournalism! (Not really, I just saw and clicked because it was appealing). If I were around Boot more I’d probably be able to put together a series. I’ll try more the next time I see him.

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  15. Ditto what Dalo (Randall) said! What a fun exercise, puzzling out what some of these were. Favorites without a doubt are #3 & 14. There’s just something about water reflections that gets me every time! Oh, and the pit bull… it’s the folks who get the breed for all the wrong reasons that give the breed a bad name. They certainly can be very sweet given the right family. Others where the aggressive streak they’ve been bred for has been encouraged, not so much.

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    • Sorry for the delay in replying, Gunta – September just totally got away from me. It seems to me that your attraction to, and mastery of photographing water scenes is relevant to the favorites you chose here. At least I think so – water, water! πŸ™‚ And dear Boot – yes, sometimes people move to the other side of the sidewalk when they see him coming but usually he draws an adoring crowd. It’s probably the handling as much as the breeding that makes some dogs mean.

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      • Know what you mean about September flying by. Hard to believe tomorrow is October already and pretty soon we have to switch the clocks again… sigh!
        I do have an attraction to water and reflections add to the thrill. Catching those beaches where the sunset colors are reflected on the wet sand are a special treat.
        As for Boot, I suspect there are people who would do very well with the breed, but are discouraged by the reputation they’ve earned. My experience is that too many folks who WANT an aggressive dog tend to adopt pit-bulls, turning them into something dangerous, thus perpetuating the bad rep. There have been times when I’ve encountered pit-bulls on the beach and actually watched as they go into that stalking mode. Adding to the problem is that the owners quite often can’t seem to control the dogs. Another reason it’s handy to have someone with a ‘walking’ stick around. πŸ˜‰

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  16. Excellent job, Lynne! What an eye opener and such a beautiful invitation to “seeing the world with fresh curiosity and genuine appreciation.” That’s exactly the feeling I have now. I love your approach to the various objects. Looking at your images the first time I particularly enjoyed number 8, the second time number 14 and number 1, the third number 12 and now it’s impossible to pick a favourite. The theme- the thread is what I appreciate the most, the shapes, patterns and textures and genuinely fresh perspectives.

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