DISTRACTED

Am I the only one feeling scattered and distracted lately? Probably not.

So in keeping with being more distracted than usual, here’s a series of photos that don’t have much in common, other than the fact that most don’t seem to fit into the kinds of posts I typically publish. A few were made last year; most are recent. Some were taken inside but most, as usual, were taken outdoors.

Speaking of outdoors, we’re not completely confined to our homes here in Washington State. The governor’s edict ordering people not to leave home unless they’re participating in essential business went into effect a few days ago, but there are exceptions. One is that you may leave home to engage in outdoor exercise, such as walking, hiking, running or biking, as long as appropriate social distancing practices are used.

Common sense says don’t stray too far from home and most parks and wilderness lands are officially closed, so we do what we can. The other day we drove to a nearby preserve that is maintained jointly, by the Swinomish tribe and the Washington State Parks Commission. We knew it might be closed because state parks are closed. Also we had heard that tribal leaders are being careful, which makes sense, given the history. When we reached the preserve we were confronted with the confusing prospect of an open gate, four cars parked in the lot and a sign stating that the preserve is closed due to a storm!

We decided to chance it. Soon we passed a cheerful park ranger who greeted us and encouraged us to enjoy the day, while keeping her distance. That was both reassuring and puzzling. We found out later that though the preserve is officially closed, they’re not enforcing the closure. This is the new normal: figure it out as you go along! Happily, the few individuals and family groups that we passed were all careful about keeping their distance.

Maintaining distance from other people is easier here than it would be in the crowded suburb where we used to live, and it’s far easier than it would have been if we hadn’t moved out of New York City eight years ago. It’s really hard to go out and keep away from people when you live in a city, especially one as densely populated as New York. That’s one reason it’s now the virus epicenter of America, with more deaths from the virus in the last two weeks than from homicides all last year. People are pulling together though. Free airfare, free hotel rooms and free rental cars are being offered to health care workers who are willing to come to New York to help out. I’m sure you’ve heard stories about people stepping up in your neighborhood, too.

But let’s not dwell on the news. I hope you’re finding other ways to stay sane and healthy if you can’t get outside as often as you’d like. This pandemic is bound to last longer than we’d like, but ultimately it IS temporary – as temporary as clouds sailing through brisk March skies.

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  1. An office in town on a sunny afternoon. I’ve been preoccupied with patterns since early childhood and with shadows for 50 years or more. Samsung phone photo.
  2. Under the dock at Bowman Bay, Deception Pass State Park. Once in a while I like to tilt the horizon. Samsung phone photo.
  3. Budding twigs in the fog at home in March, 2019. (Processed with the antique plate filter in Silver Efex Pro).
  4. Same day, similar subject. I came to photography as an end in itself (rather than as documentation) rather late. Right away I wanted a camera I could control, not a point and shoot, because I longed to photograph flowers and leaves closeup with a very shallow depth of field. I’ve done that thousands of times and I haven’t grown tired of it yet.
  5. At home. A dried narcissus flower rests on a book of Japanese calligraphy. I’ve been interested in calligraphy, especially the looser, cursive style for a long time.
  6. At home. The bright but chilly light of March reflects on the shiny surfaces of the washer and drier. Reflections! Another fascinating phenomenon that can be found everywhere.
  7. Taking shelter in the car on a rainy afternoon in the park. In my Lightroom catalog are hundreds of photos tagged “through” because looking at something through any kind of barrier – a rainy window, a fence, a scrim of tree branches – fascinates me.
  8. Professional tree work. A diseased Western Redcedar was determined to be dangerous and taken down. Thank fully almost all the wood was salvaged.
  9. Looking down at a boy playing at Bowman Bay, Deception Pass State Park. People aren’t my usual subject and I encourage myself to photograph people more often. It stretches me.
  10. A gas meter and fire hookups outside my favorite bookstore, now sadly closed. Samsung phone photo.
  11. A potted plant and its elegant shadow are also outside the bookstore. Samsung phone photo.
  12. At home. A small, framed piece of blue glass rests on a window sill. Outside, the Douglas fir trees stand tall and scruffy.
  13. Last year’s rose hips at Rosario Beach, Deception Pass State Park. Another preoccupation is fine lines and flattened surfaces. I like to think of the fine lines as text.
  14. “No Hunting or Trespassing” sign at March Point, Fidalgo Island. Sometimes I try to imagine a world without private property.
  15. An abandoned building on Swinomish tribal land sits at the head of a bay that is full of driftwood. One piece landed right by the building, perhaps during a winter storm. I’m sure that going to school in New York in the midst of the minimal and conceptual art movements had a profound influence on me. To me this scene is like a minimalist sculpture in a well-lit gallery.
  16. A tugboat heads towards the San Juan Islands under changeable March skies. Washington Park, Fidalgo Island.
  17. Skies brighten as a sailboat motors through the same passage. As you might guess, I lightened this image and darkened the preceding one to emphasize the feeling I had when I took each photograph. It was an exciting day of intermittent rain squalls, and patchy, fast-moving clouds. I was glad I happened to be close to the water then, and glad too that so far, that park is not closed.

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78 comments

  1. A great post, Lynn, rich with wonderful images. I particularly like #12, #13 and #15. I usually don’t like to include people in my photos so I’m trying to make the best of social distancing. I hope you and your family are keeping safe and also making the best of a bad situation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rich, that’s a good word. πŸ™‚ Your choices are interesting and I appreciate hearing your thoughts, Ken. You noticed the people in these photos were certainly over 6′ away – in fact I was inside when I took the tree worker’s photo and high up on a cliff for the little boy. πŸ˜‰ We’re doing fine so far – you and yours are in my thoughts too.

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  2. Lovely splash of light on the windowsill in #1. Reminds me of the one photography class I ever took — an assignment was “light as the subject matter”. It was very influential.

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    • I was waiting for someone to return with some paperwork, saw that light and took the opportunity. πŸ™‚ It’s good that you remember that assignment…I hope all’s well with you and Rebekah…looks like it is from FB. πŸ™‚

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  3. It’s still hard to really believe that this is all happening. It’s essential to hold on to sanity, and a healthy passion for good photography helps a lot. Your 7th and 16th speak to me most eloquently.

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    • These healthy passions as you call them are such friends now, aren’t they? And I’m glad mine doesn’t require other people. Thanks so much, I’m glad you found a bit of pleasure here. Keep it up, one way or another!

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  4. What a wonderfully varied collection. The first one grabs me too. I share your fascination with light patterns. Had it since I was a kid. Nothing I can do about it now. Might as well enjoy it. Be well. Do good. Keep creating.

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  5. What a broad variety of subject matter. Love them all, particularly no. 5. It reminds me of a print I’ve seen somewhere before but can’t quite remember where πŸ˜€

    I keep telling myself to go for a walk too, but indoor things get in the way and by the time I’m ready my hip painkillers have worn off and I need to sit down (rather than move).

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    • I’m glad you liked #5 – it’s fun to play around with various things that are around the house. It’s easy to get involved in tasks or whatever and then feel too tired to go out – I do that with exercises I’m supposed to be doing…well, we just do what we can, right?

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  6. Lynn, thank you for the pleasant distraction, it’s such a pleasure to be allowed to drift for a little while, examining this very nice cabinet of curiosities. And I appreciate you taking the time to write captions with a peek at what you’re thinking, that’s great, too.
    The dried flower in # 5 is full of interest, the way really good scientific/medical illustrations sometimes are, nicely paired with calligraphy, even dehydrated it’s intriguing, even if it must be difficult for a narcissist to be past its first bloom. I wondered how it would look using the antique effect of #3, which appeals to me, the history major.
    And I like the kind of punked-out look of the fire hookup in #10, with its chains & padlocks. (Have you run across one of these bridges yet, where people attach a padlock, as a token of their love? It always seems like a questionable symbolism to me, like β€œthe old ball β€˜n’chain” etc. but so many people do it, sometimes the city has to chop’em off with bolt-cutters, because it’s too much weight!)
    #15 you described as a sculpture gallery, which I definitely see, and I also saw a story – – plywood, chipboard, and paneling, all glad to see their grandfather come for a visit.
    I’ve been working at home, scrambling to re-do web pages for my office, but looking forward to some long walks this weekend. Zei Gezunt!

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    • I bet you’re busy – it would seem that at least parts of your job can be done at home. It’s good that you’ll get out this weekend though, and hey, it has already started! You need to tear yourself away from work when you’re doing it at home. So hard! Your thoughts, as usual, give me encouragement and things to chew on. Scientific illustration – I do like it, in fact, I have a certificate in botanical illustration! Who knew, right? You’re too funny with the narcissist jokes. Oh, the places where people leave padlocks, I don’t like it. It’s one of those things that was OK before it got popularized on social media. Seattle has one. I’m aware that sometimes measures have to be taken. Karma, man! πŸ˜‰
      The story you see in #15 – wild but believable. Continuity. πŸ™‚ Zei gezunt back at ya! I have faith in you. πŸ™‚

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  7. No, you’re not at all alone feeling distracted. The horror of so many folks dying. My mind skitters from thoughts of crowded city hospitals to ricochet into nature for some soothing calmness amidst madness.

    Your image essay took me through so many moods, echoing the way I’ve been feeling. Even in times like this, you provide a breath of fresh air.

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  8. “scattered and distracted” is the way I’m feeling these days, too, dear Lynn. Your post with these very different and extraordinary photos is just in time to give me some happy moments of concentration on something outside my circling thoughts.
    Did you chose and set many photos in this series in pairs intentionally? Coming in pairs in a differing field reflects our special way of living these days – in case we are happy to have our second half in our life.
    Take care!

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    • You noticed the pairs – the first two for sure were intentional. And the second two are obvious. Then there’s 11,12,13,14, and of course the last two are a pair. Thank you for noticing. You went way beyond me in thinking about the meaning of the pairs. That’s one of the things I appreciate about you – the thoughtfulness, the depth. Gratitude, whether it’s for being alive or for freshly made bread, is an intelligent response to the atmosphere of fear all around us, don’t you think? I have a book of poetry called Gratitude, by Sam Hamill. There are poems in the book that don’t move me at all and a few that do, but just seeing the title and thinking about him putting together a book of poems in gratitude to other poets, those who influenced him, etc. – that somehow brings me back to where I need to be.
      I like the way you said that these gave you some happy moments of concentration outside your circling thoughts. We need all the help we can get…

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  9. If we were college students, we could talk about the symbolism of things being askew in your first two pictures.

    Your having been greeted by a ranger in a park that’s officially closed reminds me that when we visited a park in coastal Nova Scotia in 2018 we came to a set of stairs leading down to the shore. A sign said not to use the stairs, which were going to be replaced due to concerns about stability, but a ranger had told us it was all right to use the stairs in spite of the sign.

    #13 qualifies as a “more is more” picture (in contrast to a “less is more” picture).

    Look at the difference in #11 between the plant and planter on the left and their fat shadows on the right.

    In #6, it’s almost as if there’s a window on the side of your appliances.

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    • The first two made a nice pair, I thought, but I’m relieved that I don’t have to analyze it. πŸ™‚ Your story from Nova Scotia is funny. I mean, what are we supposed to think? Well, the world just isn’t always black and white, is it? I’m glad #13 met your approval I think it did). πŸ˜‰ Your observation about the shadows vs. the plant itself is not lost on me – it’s one of the things I love about shadows. Thanks for noticing! And I see what you mean about #6. Fun! Thanks, Steve, and please take care.

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  10. In this moment of humanity, when it is not possible to share presences, we have to grasp the details of sensitivity and share them, in any way. This beautiful set of photographs are moments from Lynn’s time shared in a strange time.
    Fearful thoughts occupy our mind, so it feels good to be invaded by photos that, each per si, allows us to imagine something, maybe a story, maybe a feeling, maybe a moment, maybe a place. It’s good and feels good!
    Thank you for sharing!

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    • Your reading of this post is valuable to me, thank you. Allowing us to imagine something different from what we’re seeing in our daily lives is something to be grateful for now. I really appreciate that you see that here. Thank you so much! Stay well. πŸ™‚

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    • The greens outside the car window were pretty that day, and I can see how it would suit a mood. I’m glad it resonated and I hope all is well with you. You must have some summer plans that are a little up in the air these days – I hope things settle down in time to go ahead with any classes you have. But if not, as long as you’re well, there will be other times. Take care Jean!

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  11. No, Lynn, you’re not the only one scattered and distracted, I’m right in there with you! πŸ™‚ Lovely set of pictures, and I like 5, 8, 10, 11, and 16 >>>>> but 1 (which is why its 1, I imagine) and 12 are ohhhh!!!!!! Adrian πŸ™‚

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    • Well, I trust you’re not to scattered to focus that camera. πŸ˜‰ #8 was taken from inside, through the window, but the action still communicated. πŸ™‚ I am happy you mentioned #12, and #5, the narcissus. I should play around with things inside more. Take care Adrian, we’ll get through this. πŸ™‚

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  12. I can understand scattered and distracted Lynn . It’s a waiting game for the whole world and that is unsettling to say the least , the ongoing situation for each and everyone of us has knocked the rhythm of life sideways, over and upside down . If I can put that to one side though I’ve seen much kindness, hope and community spirit come to the fore in a short space of time . The majority of us are not in a position to do things on a grand scale or be at the front line but I think that individual smaller gestures cannot be underestimated in making life that bit easier for those who need help /support at this time . We all need to step up if we can .
    Your photographs ! Lovely as ever to browse through and enjoy . The calligraphy elements … love the rosehips … and definitely the calming waters πŸ™‚ time well spent putting this together for us – thank you !
    Keep safe x
    ps. I know you’d like to hear that very special pal of mine is doing ok and self isolating . We ‘safely’ swop a home cooked supper between us once or twice a week and are finding Whatsapp a great way to keep in touch over the day and exchange our ongoing creative endeavours . He has taken up a new musical instrument and meanwhile I continue to splosh paints and concentrate on garden projects πŸ™‚

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    • You put it well – sideways over and upside down. But you’re right, there have been those silver linings, and I hope that once the worst has passed there will be some positive changes that continue. Meanwhile, one step at a time, one gesture at a time. πŸ™‚ Thank you very, very much for the update. Music, dinner, Whatsapp, painting….all good! Please convey my regards and stay well. πŸ™‚

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  13. Nice collection of miscellaneous images! I have done this in the past too since I like to document/archive most of the images I find interesting. I’ve called it a ‘potpourri’ and ‘the lost files’. Yes, I am feeling distracted lately too. I guess its hard to concentrate in the same way we used to with the virus hanging over our heads. I’ve caught up on some tasks and there are more I could be doing, but just don’t feel like it! 1, 3, 5, 14 are miscellaneous favorites here. NICE post Lynn!

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    • I like ‘The Lost Files’ – that’s a good one! It’s funny, though it seems like the perfect time to get some household stuff done that’s been nagging at us, I agree, it’s hard to get into it. Thanks for letting me know what appeals to you…I wouldn’t be happy if I had to limit myself to one or two subjects. Stay healthy!

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  14. This selection should encourage viewers/readers to examine their immediate environment more closely both during and after the period of lock down. The narcissus and potted plant photos are good examples, and textures and shadows are always interesting subjects to explore.

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  15. It was so nice to scroll (or rather “stroll”) down along the photos – they really reflect the mixed feelings that I think that many of us have these days (also here in The Netherlands and Europe in general we are heavily affected by the COVID19). This mix of photos talks about different things. And then came your notes about them. Wow! That’s when I realised that for me, no. 12 and 13 stood out. Don’t ask me why or how, but no. 12 speaks to me about the past, and no. 13 (“to think of the fine lines as text”) became a novel I have to read.

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    • It’s nice to hear from you and I’m happy that you enjoyed these. You know, I forgot you were in the Netherlands – we had such a fantastic time there last year. Your comment that these images reflect the mixed feelings many of us have these days is very much appreciated. It’s gratifying when someone really thinks about a post. πŸ™‚ And I love your reactions to 12 and 13 – I can see a certain far away or some time ago feeling in #12. It makes sense, and it makes me think about the photo differently, so thanks for that. It’s cool that you get the fine lines as text idea. Thanks so much, and stay well, OK?

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    • I was wondering if more people are getting out their boats earlier this year, and just living on them. I did see one sailboat that appeared to be home, anchored off a preserve where I was taking a walk. It looked exactly like the one in that last photo. I bet there are lots more people out there living on their boats for now. It’s good to hear from you, Karl, take care and dream of better times….

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  16. Wonderful group of photos. I particularly like the shadows. I hope that one good thing that might come out of this horrible situation is that we finally figure out that as humans we are all in this together.

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    • That might be asking a lot. Oh, I sound so cynical! It would be nice if some positive changes emerge, and I’m sure some will. Meanwhile, please take extra good care of yourself!

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    • πŸ™‚ That’s good, Sheri – because I am, at heart, a pretty mismatched, disorganized person and if I can’t post that way once in a while (to good effect) it would be sad. I’m very glad you enjoyed this. Stay well!

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  17. “Distracted” suits the situation these days quite well, Lynn. With all this time available I am trying to do well too many things and finding it difficult to concentrate on just one or two. So much time, so many things. Watching photography tutorials by respected photographers to add to both vision and processing capabilities, exercising more, reading, keeping track of what’s happening to be informed despite being aware that knowing that too much is not good either. Responding to blog posts and comments, working on image files, both old and recent, trying to get out to photograph some without interacting with other people. Seems busier with all this extra time. All that is better than sitting and worrying.

    Your first image reminds me of something I did similar only outdoors with sunlight passing through a stockade fence and onto my neighbor’s house. The lit washer and dryer is a brilliant image of common items as art. Budding twigs should be on a wall somewhere. The dried narcissus flowers are a perfect complement for the calligraphy. All and all a nice eclectic collection of distractions. πŸ™‚

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    • Gee, Steve, that reads like a list of all the things I intend to do but don’t get to! πŸ˜‰ Thanks so much for your thoughts, it’s always interesting to know what image strikes your fancy. πŸ™‚ Take care! πŸ™‚

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  18. Oh, I love this collection, Lynn. And in keeping with the theme, I read this when you posted, thought I had responded…I dunno, maybe I did, maybe I didn’t… 🀣 Funny how the days are going…sooo busy with I don’t know what. Your lead photo is perhaps a metaphor for my brain…the file cabinet is full and about to tilt over! I really like that image. The two electrical/plumbing boxes with the colors and with the shadows are terrific. I have a thing for those, too. The tangle of branches works for my mind right now and the symmetry of the log and building is where I want to be. πŸ™‚

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  19. I remember you saying something about the idea of being distracted, too. Maybe you saw the post, didn’t have time to comment then, and mentioned the title somewhere else. Oh well, strange times. I love your comment, so it was meant to be made today, right? Let’s get through this…somehow. πŸ™‚

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  20. Wonderful collection. I particularly like number nine with the boy. Something about it made me stop and gaze at it for awhile. I usually also like nature photos, but maybe it was the angle.

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    • Thank you so much, Geri. I don’t often photograph people, but I was high on a cliff, looking down at him. He was having a great time – how could I not take a picture? I’m glad you liked it and pleased that you told me. Stay healthy and thanks again!

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