Through the Gates

They aren’t snapshots;

they don’t happen quick as a snap

of the fingers, and unlike shots,

they’re not propelled outward

in search of a target. Rather they are

admissions.

Admissions of light and love.

Light that traveled 92 million miles

through vast emptiness

to filter down through clouds, bounce

around between objects, reflect off water

or rock, or the fine threads of lichens,

the fierce eyes of a hummingbird.

And with a shutter click

the light is absorbed,

admitted,

into my camera and mind. The gates.

The un-snapshots are

admissions

of light and love,

love for a world so exquisite

that we drink again

and again.

 

 

1. Short-eared owl stares me down; Farm to Market Road, Edison, Washington.

 

2. Licorice fern fronds on the Goose Rock Perimeter trail, Deception Pass State Park.

 

3. Window reflections and paint swatches on a warehouse in Edison.

 

4. Rain in December.

 

5. Dried Bracken fern; Heart Lake, Fidalgo Island, Washington

 

6. Sword fern decomposing at Sharpe Park, Fidalgo Island.

 

7. Cattails and tree trunks reflect in the still water of a shallow pond at Bowman Bay; Deception Pass State Park.

 

8. Rainy evening in January; Edison.

 

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9. Yellow lichens grow thickly on a damp cliff at North Beach; Deception Pass State Park.

 

10. Low tide at West Beach; Deception Pass State Park.

 

11. Driftwood on West Beach, with the San Juan Islands in the distance.

 

12. A resting branch frames a group of lichens, including a species of Parmelia slowly reaching across the bark like coral; West Beach.

 

13. Playing Santa at a small town Christmas parade; Anacortes, Washington.

 

14. Belgian draft horses at rest after the Christmas parade; Anacortes.

 

15. Roadside flooding and last summer’s Queen Anne’s Lace in the rain; Guemes Channel, March Point.

 

16. Dried Sword fern showing spore dots, or sori, at Sharpe Park.

 

17. The Granery; Edison.

 

18. The Granery lights; Edison.

 

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19. Old growth canopy of moss-covered trees at Rockport State Park.

 

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20. A tangle of trees, shrubs and ferns lit by January sun at Sharpe Park.

 

21. The view across Guemes Channel from March Point in the rain, from inside a car, with dried Queen Anne’s lace flowers swaying in the wind; Fidalgo Island.

 

22. Still life with toy ladder, clothespins and Japanese box.

 

23. Looking towards sunset, January 4th; North Beach.

 

***

 

Attributed to Hongzhi, a twelfth century Chinese Zen master:

“We all have the clear, wondrously bright field from the beginning. Many lifetimes of misunderstanding come only from distrust, hindrance, and screens of confusion that we create in a scenario of isolation.”

from Cultivating the Empty Field: The Silent Illumination of Zen Master Hongzhi, by Taigen Dan Leighton. Tuttle; 2000.

 


93 comments

  1. I am in awe of the words and the images. It seems as though your new location is seeping into your soul and it’s a wonder to behold. I cannot single out a favorite this time. It all seems part of your spirit.

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  2. That owl is a charmer, he can stare all he wants. I like the soft rainy day pictures, 8 and 21, and #15 somehow reminding me of an old seed packet, although I couldnโ€™t tell you why. And the pebbles in #10 crawling up on land from the sea, like turtles. #7 has a nice unearthly feel to it. And I like your poem very much. I hope that we are capable of admitting something beautiful into our lives, and that we do have something in us, like the particles of silver suspended in film, that can receive and preserve an impression of all these beautiful things.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The old seed packet association does make sense – the image is desaturated so little color is left, and there’s a lightened vignette, and those effects together could have that effect. I’m glad you like the blurry photos – sometimes that annoys people. ๐Ÿ™‚ As usual you take things and run with them, in leaps and bounds. Turtles, silver particles….thank you. Always a pleasure, reading your comments!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lynn, you are on a roll, my friend, and I am left in total admiration. And I love “Admissions of light and love.” too. Well, how am I going to list all these??? OK, we’re birders, you and I, and I love the owl, a species that also occurs here. Then there are the images that simply get inside me a twist my innards (don’t I have a way with words …?): 4; 7 (oh the blues!); 8 (love the grain – CEP4?); 13 (wonderful people action mono!); 17 (again grain, CEP4?); 22 (beautiful, simple, still life, love the lighting too). And then the ones that I simply like very much: 3; 6; 9. You are on a roll, you are inspired, and inspiring. On WP, I’m not sure I know a better photographer, that says it. A ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • The core of this – the admissions part – came to me while driving. I bet that happens to you sometimes, too – driving can be a good way to keep the mind moving. ๐Ÿ™‚ That owl was cooperative – the photo is cropped though! #4 was made with that Takumar I talked about recently. The grain in #8 is mainly noise from shooting at night with a micro 4/3rds camera, even at f2.8 there’s major noise. A drawback of the small sensor, as I understand it, is “noisy nights.” I did do something in CEP and can’t remember what, but it was very minimal. I did not add grain, didn’t need to! ๐Ÿ˜‰ #17 was taken the same day as #8. No CEP on that one; I decreased contrast, increased clarity, made no attempt to remove noise, and did very little else. Sometimes spontaneous photos in poor circumstances are good, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰
      You are so kind to cheer me on, Adrian. It gives me a boost! Thank you.

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      • Re owl: cropping matters not at all, most of mine are cropped. Yes, that’s one drawback of the small sensor, + much enlarged depth of field and so harder to get bokeh etc. And yes, definitely, spontaneous photos in poor conditions can be wonderful – as always, its the overall image content, not the technicalities. A ๐Ÿ™‚

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  4. The meditative reflections of your words gave me another opportunity to ponder the wonder of the act of capturing a moment of the Now.

    I think #9 is my favourite this time, although #22 fascinates me – there is a tension there between what you have revealed the scene to be and my initial visual understanding of it being a room with a full-size ladder against a far wall.

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    • It’s gratifying to hear your response to the words, Graham. And its great that you comment on the tension between different senses of scale in #22 because that’s exactly what I’m playing with. I have that little still life set up at home and I enjoy seeing it every day. Thank you so much for your comments, I appreciate them.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Have to admit you have encapsulated the heart of photography with these word: “Admissions of light and love”and rendered the proof in this array of photos – am not going to pick a favourite as I usually tend to do – they stand together and I marvel at your skill

    Liked by 2 people

    • Your comment is too generous! As I said to Adrian above, the core of the verse – the part you quote and a little more – came to me while driving. It may be a concept I am working to live up to, and I will keep working at it. Thank you for the encouragement, Laura, it means a lot.

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  6. As Paula said…beautyfull series …and the owl ๐Ÿ™‚ Looks a little bit angry…may be next time you offer two or three small (mouse) appetiser …bevor shooting ๐Ÿ™‚ Best regards, Jรผrgen

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    • Haha! I think you’re right, there were two or three cars pulled over on the side of the road because of the owl and a few other birds of prey in the fields there, all flying around. He wasn’t happy with us, he did stay there long enough for me to get the camera out – that was lucky. Thanks Juergen. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  7. I love the variety in your selection – from horses to leaves to the ocean, each one a new image to absorb. My favourite is definitely 21, but I’m also enamoured of 16, and 13, and 18 has me wanting to be able to enter. Not snapshots, not one of them. I so enjoy what comes through your gates.
    Alison

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    • It’s nice that you appreciate the variety – as you know a large percentage of photography is nature, but gradually I accumulate photos of other subjects, like buildings, horses, etc., then I wonder how to fit them in. That was initially what this post was about. The core of the poem came to me as a way to unify the group of images, and then things fell into place. I’m glad you liked #21 – blurry can be nice! If you ever get down this way, stop at Edison – a tiny crossroads of a town (where the granary is) but really special. I think you’d like it. Thank you, Alison!

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  8. Loved the poem, partly because it tracks closely, albeit more lyrically, with something I’ve just written and will be posting on my own blog soon. This December NY Times article, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/03/science/space-stars-photons-light.html?action=click&module=Discovery&pgtype=Homepage, was my source of inspiration, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too if you haven’t seen it already.

    I’d say something about the images but I’d just be repeating what everyone else has said ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • That article has my head swimming. I appreciate your making the connection. You know, I was thinking about your yearly updates the other day, wondering if there will be another and what it will say. They are always interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

      • P.S. Just read Mary Oliver’s poem “Wild Geese” in connection with her death at 83. It brought me back to what you’ve written here, Lynn. You and she are certainly kindred spirits.

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  9. Your words, like your images, can stand alone and move us. I feel the same way about my images. I have a photographer friend who states that they are just pictures, that is all. I disagree, but that’s up to others to decide. They are a piece of us that comes from deep inside.
    It is a fine collection. You have a wonderful eye. The Licorice Fern Frond really appeals to me. Others too, like the owl, but that one really grabbed my attention.

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  10. Heh, heh. I should clear that up a bit. I feel the same way about them as you describe in your writing. Not snapshots at all. I think I made it sound more boastful than I intended. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • I knew that was what you meant. I can’t understand what your friend is saying, but I’m sure there is some reasoning there. It takes all kinds, as they used to say. It’s interesting that you found the licorice fern appealing; it’s such a particular look, a more emotional response to the subject I think, and not a straight rendering. That fits with what you say about the work coming from deep inside. Thank you very much! I hope you’re having a good week. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  11. Wow, great shots Lynn, lovely and beautiful pictures! Stunning!!! The photos are awesome. I love your view through the dim glasses and their dreamlike touch. 1 to 7 are my favourites and Nr. 19 is beautiful too! The fern and the lichen of course! The owl is so lovely ๐Ÿ™‚ Staring you down, haha!! I bet she won ๐Ÿ™‚ Very very nice!!! That’s art! (Nr. 15 is that the Wilde carrot?)

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    • Yes, Daucus carota, right? We call it Queen Anne’s lace – I don’t know why but I suspect that name comes from England. The flowers are lacy so that part makes sense. OK, I looked it up – there’s a story that Queen Anne (England) pricked her finger and a drop of blood fell on lace she was making. Like the dark center of most D. carota flowers. The flower was brought here and is now on roadsides all over the country. es, I’m not surprised that you like the fern and lichen. ๐Ÿ™‚ And that owl was a lucky situation because she or he stayed there long enough for me to photograph him. Not normal!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Funny story ๐Ÿ™‚ Lately I read about ill birds that are unusual quiet and don’t fly away, but sometimes it is just a lucky situation. Maybe the owl thought that it would better, not to move at all ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  12. Such a lovely poem, and I love the thought of illumination coming from such a long way to grace our cameras and our eyes. Such an interesting way to consider what we see. The owl is remarkable. I have yet to see one in the wild, other than is such darkness no photo capture was possible. The other one that struck me as especially unique and fine in the lichen on the beach. Incredible collection of textures and so unusual. I captured an image very much like 21. on a windy, rainy day drive along Birch Bay. Photos in the rain give so many choices for expression. I think many photographers miss out by limiting themselves to fair weather excursions. And I was very drawn to the exquisite beauty and composition in the image of the horses. Such a varied and interesting collection in this post. As always, I thank you for your time and generosity in sharing with us.

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    • Sheri, it was thanks to my friend Marcia that I managed that owl photo – we were driving around Skagit Valley when we saw a car or two pulled over, and noticed people were looking at several birds of prey working the fields. We pulled over, and it turned out one of the birds was this owl, who then decided to perch right off the road, allowing me time to get the camera out and even get out of the car and focus! ๐Ÿ˜‰ If I’d been at the wheel it all would have been more complicated. I’m pretty sure that’s the first SE owl I’ve seen. I can believe you found a similar scene up at Birch Bay – and I did go out in the rain, thinking maybe I could do SOMETHING with it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ You know how it is around here. Those horses posed well, they really did. Thanks so much for your detailed comments – I appreciate it, and I’m happy that you got something out of the writing, too.

      Liked by 1 person

    • That’s good to hear, Louis. I wouldn’t have expected #3. And #20 is one I took in a different direction – I played with the processing more than usual – and I’m really glad you liked that. Thanks for your comment, and I hope you’re having a good week, in spite of all the Brexit woes.

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    • Great, Julie, I’m glad you thought it worked. I began with a group of images that were of a variety of subjects that don’t go together naturally, but then the poem began to gel and I saw how it could work, which maybe you see too. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks!

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  13. Have you ever been looking out of the window of a vehicle and then see something that made you want to jump out to get a better view.. or to stop – when it wasn’t possible to stop – so wistfully you watched it pass — and slightly mourned not being able to spend more time there|?

    Um. well, that lovely owl in the first image made me want to leap thru the computer screen and do nothing but just sit there.. stare back. marvel at that amazing creature and wonder what secrets it might reveal if we could tap into its spirit…. truly, even though i knew there were other amazing images waiting, i wanted to linger there…. Staring up into the old growth was pretty nice as well.. perhaps the owl will soar to a new location there?!!!!

    As always, all images are lovely… I am in the cyber, so will keep this page open and enjoy it – better – when at home….

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    • What you say about the owl is so funny, becasue as i explained in the comment reply to Sheri above, the only reason I was able to photograph that beautiful creature was because I was not driving, and my friend, who was, had the presence of mind to pull over at the perfect time and cheer me on. You would like her. Any amount of time observing the owl could teach us something, I think, but it all goes by so quickly. You know, I’ve been noticing areas where there’s a lot of “whitewash” on the leaves and ground, and I look up hoping to find an owl perched above, like I did once, but no luck lately. You never know. Glad you could stop by Lisa! Have a good week!
      (BTW did you read Noah Strycker’s book “Birding Without Borders” about his 365 days of birding around the world? I just read it and enjoyed his descriptions of Ecuador and Peru. Really made me want to come down and see you!)

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  14. I am in awe, thank you — of course that is what we are doing, at our best: noticing light and love, and allowing it to enter. Not chasing; instead, being open to receive. (My favourite of these “admissions”: # 3.)

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    • Thank you, Penny, I’m so glad you resonate with this. I KNOW you’re not chasing, the spirit of your wanderings is very light and open. And your favorite is #3 – how cool! That was a fun thing to find, as you’d guess. I’m still thinking of getting up to Vancouver – it’s just delayed a bit. I will let you know.

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  15. Pingback: JANUARY, 2019 UPDATE | Pixetera

    • That one was spontaneous – you know how it is, you’re walking by and suddenly the sunlight is doing something wonderful. I like setting up these little still life’s here and there, and am thankful that you appreciated this one, Ken.

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  16. Well, you know how much I love your poem. Thank you. . . .Seems as if your short-eared owl needed only a little boost of your compositional skills to make an impression. As always, your depth-of-field is right on. . . .The yellow lichens look as if they are spewed from underneath the top rock. Beautiful! . . .The resting branch performs a similar compositional role in #12. And I like the placement of the disk-shaped lichen. . . .Your Santa seems a jolly sort. You donโ€™t oftenโ€”at least latelyโ€”photograph people often. Clearly you know how. . . .I admire your bravery in posting the first granary photo even as I prefer (and like a lot) the second. . . .I love the way your still life plays with scale. Maybe it has something to do with the light and shadow, but at first I, like another of your admirers, thought the clothes pins were oversize. . . .Another beautiful collection.

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    • Frankly, I don’t know how much you love the poem without your saying so. Thank you, I would not take that for granted. Yes, the lichens are being spewed, I like that! Thank you for being forthright about your granary photo preferences, too, that’s refreshing. I’m glad you like the little still life….that clothes pin device (many pins attached to an accordion folding framework with a hook on top) was purchased in Chinatown (NYC) years ago. People in cramped Chinatown apartments used them to dry clothes that were washed in the sink. Old school. I used to hang an assortment of little paper items from it, like tags and things. Don’t you like objects that can serve many purposes? ๐Ÿ™‚

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  17. You make for a wonderful tour-guide, Lynn…with your captured images and provocative words…such a pleasure accompanying you here and there…. Thank you for sharing your “admissions of light and love.” They are treasures.

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  18. Wow! What a beautiful poem! I love how you describe the movement of light and how it is intrinsic to seeing anything at all. I liked that feeling of light connecting everything… magical! And factual.

    The Short-eared Owl is my favourite. So beautiful. I love that they fly over open spaces. And I think they are day hunters, who need light to hunt. The white horse has a wonderful mane… I wonder if it was braided? The tones and shapes and textures of fern 16 are so lovely. And I find 17 captivating for some reason. The light, composition and colours just make me want to stare at it. It reminds me of driving through a small town in Nova Scotia at night, looking for a free, stealth camping spot. The street lighting and buildings had a similar feel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a nice comment to read, thank you very much. It was so exciting to watch the owl prowling over the fields – along with a harrier or two. The horses were all done up for a small town Christmas parade, and this was taken afterwards, right after their handlers took out the braids and ornaments. They’re Percherons, if that means anything to you (I’m not a horse person!). I love what you said about the old granery photo – that totally made sense to me, just wonderful. Thanks again.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Denise….it began as a way to group together images that didn’t easily fit into other posts, and from there, the core of the poem came, then it all started to fit together.

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