TAKING IT ALL IN

This post is not about a specific place or an idea, instead, it’s about what I’ve seen in the last two weeks. We’re always looking, aren’t we? Seeing takes little effort, it just happens. How we feel about what we see, what we think about it and what we do about it all depend on our personality and unique set of experiences. Walking through a field, we all see the grass but we each respond to it differently. I’m endlessly curious about what I see and I take pleasure in playing with visual material, so a camera is at my side when I take a walk. If I don’t have the camera I may use my phone to exercise the possibilities I see. It’s what I do.

Eight days in September:

1. A sunny September day on neighboring Whidbey Island, at Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve.

2. More grass seedheads, this time on Fidalgo Island.

3. This dune grass (Elymus mollis) has a beautiful blue-green hue and drapes in wide, graceful arcs.

4. A hop, skip and jump away from the dune grass, beach sand at low tide displays an arc of its own.
5. Polished by countless footsteps, a few rocks on a park path gleam in a beam of sunlight.
6. It’s taken me a while to see the poetry in what lies scattered on the ground.

7. The beauty of Madrone bark, however, was something I recognized immediately.
8. This is a dry spot on a very dry island; we are in a drought and hardly had a drop of rain all summer. Even in this parched state, tree roots snaking through beds of lichen retain their beauty.
9. Brittle tangles of dead Seaside juniper branches present a compelling picture on a late September afternoon. The pale green poufs of Reindeer lichen on the ground are soft when moist, but now, a heavy foot here can shatter the lichens’ tiny branches.

10. This old, split-trunk Madrone tree has lived through fire and drought. Over many seasons its base has been sculpted into bulging waves of wood.
11. An experiment at home: a bell, an astronomical drawing cut from an old schoolbook, and a pencil drawing I made of a lily many years ago. I was just seeing what different things look like together.
12. It’s been so dry that many Douglas fir needles shed from branches high overhead won’t reach the ground – they’re caught in hundreds of spider webs festooned throughout the trees. The sight made me uncomfortable but I knew it could make an interesting photo.
13. Finally, in a spasm of joy, rain arrived and drenched our parched island. The intoxicating smell awakened memories that seemed distant.
14. Suddenly the world softened.
15. When the rain subsided I climbed up Goose Rock, admiring raindrop-sprinkled lichens along the path.
16. From the top of the rock the view was peaceful as the sky began to refresh itself over the Salish Sea.
17. The day before, after the rain began I drove to a lake, parked at the edge and photographed Purple loosestrife flowers under a willow tree through the car window.
18. I had a great time.
19. I changed up the colors on this one. (1/100th sec. at f3.2, manual focus somewhere between the window and the plants).
20. The wildflowers are almost gone, but asters are blooming. This one caught a few raindrops from a barely-there sprinkle that teased us on the 5th of the month.
21. Let’s not forget coffee. I’ve been enjoying sitting outside Pelican Bay Books and Cafe and reading the NY Times – the physical, papery one. It’s just not the same on a phone. Two shots of espresso with a little cream and a just-baked treat make the day complete.

***


46 comments

  1. ‘Tis a good assortment, as usual.
    Picture #5 reminded me of Emily Dickinson’s “There’s a certain Slant of light.”
    Regarding #17, the farthest back I recall photographing through a wet car window was around 1975 in Charlotte, NC, using black and white film.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I read this on my phone.
    A good variety of themes.
    No 6 seems to be a Chinese sign?!
    The Coffee reminds ne on “double espresso”, a longplayer by an american bass-player, who’s name i have forgotten. Ahh.. Tony levin , now i have it.
    We dont serve coffee in plastic. I have to think of Chris jordan here, the well known photographer…

    For now i end my comnentary
    Have a good day, Lynn.
    Gerhard

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your comment about #6 reminds me that I see calligraphy and writing in nature all the time, in fact, I’ve been thinking about doing a post about that. Maybe you have encouraged me to get it done. πŸ™‚
      Whew! Tony Levin is intense! My partner Joe, who plays guitar, knew immediately who he was but I didn’t. I’m listening to a cut from “Doube Espresso” now, thank you.
      Regarding plastic cups, I’m glad you don’t use them. I “always” bring my own mug but that day I left it at home. 😦 Most cafes here use plastic cups that are recyclable. Many places use cups made from a plant-based material that is fully biodegradable. It’s a step in the right direction but it’s still not perfect – I think you have to dispose of them in your compost pile. If you don’t have one, then maybe they won’t decompose so quickly or maybe not at all. We have a long way to go, right? But I don’t think Jordan would find too many cups in my trash to photograph because I’m normally good about using my own. πŸ™‚
      Thanks, Gerhard!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I forgot abouttelling you that I was listening to Levin two times: One time in Frankfurt at the Holstein bridge, some 15 years ago! And another time at our “Hafenfestival” in WΓΌrzburg.

        Regarding Jordan: I still like to mention his name in one or another post.
        I didn’t know about your personal efforts to avoid waste. πŸ™‚
        We sometimes buy italian food in a german store. Found out, that some goods are wrapped 4 (!) times.
        About 15 to 20 years ago they invented chocolate sold in cardboard. That happend only for some weeks. Don’t know why it ended.
        Have a good day, Lynn.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, wrapping, wrapping, wrapping! It’s really hard to avoid, especially when you order things online. At least I bought a few veggies and fruits at the farmstand today and used my own bag. Americans aren’t as good as Europeans about that, or at least Germany & the Netherlands seem to do better than we do. Well, we will keep trying to do what we can. πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

        • Lynn, I don’t know if Germany really does better πŸ˜‰
          I once talked to Job, a ceramist from the Netherlands about “his” people, that they are much calmer and more friendly – he said something like: Do you really believe that?!

          Liked by 1 person

        • Well, these are generalizations and they are never completely true but they often carry some truth. I have to say, in my limited time in the Netherlands, I found people (in general!) were very open and friendly. I’m not going to say anything about Germans because I’m half German – my father’s parents were born there. πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

        • People who do cabaret sometimes told me that every region in Germany is different.
          There are closed and very open people, distributed a little by region.
          A month ago tourists from Ohio were here in a hotel near by. I helped with some advice as they were standing outside the hotel, other people did as well. I guess they drove home with a smile πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Lynn,
    you are serious about letting the world come your way and renouncing the hunt, it seems to me. Do you want to be “receptive and effortless” again?
    The presentation as usual: great! It’s nice how you start with completely desaturated pictures and gradually, carefully, step by step leave a touch more color. I really like the dark atmosphere of the photos in the first half of the series, although I don’t associate such light with late summer … but the essence here is not late summer.
    After the surprising turning point formed by the domestic still life, there are some more colors: I find the experiments with ICM and desaturation in pictures 17 to 19 interesting, like the third of the series most: taking the pink largely from the picture strengthens the composition a lot, I think.
    Number 15 is particularly great: combining the sizzling dryness of lichen with fresh moisture – Mother Nature did that well, and then sending it to you in front of the lens was exactly the right idea.
    In the meantime I’ve almost got used to the fact that at the good end there is always a little personal encore on the topic, often in combination with coffee – I’m looking forward to what it will be this time right from the start

    Liked by 1 person

    • I admit that letting the world come to me is a little easier here than it might be if I lived in the suburbs. Thank you for noticing the gradual addition of color. I was trying to be more careful about transitions than I have been lately.
      Late summer here is different from late summer on the east coast, and, I think, where you are, which is more like America’s east coast. The light is subdued most of the year, except in June and July, and maybe August. The trees are dense and very tall, blocking out the light. A photo like #6 might be associated with winter in another place but here, it’s a late summer look. Soon the ground will be greener and it will stay that way until it dries up again next summer. Same with #9 – soon there will be more life there but in late summer, especially this year, with the drought, the color mostly disappears. Your thoughts about the ICM photos are appreciated – there are so many ways you can process them (I don’t have to tell you that!).
      When it rains, the lichens in #15 are so soft that when you touch them, you almost don’t feel anything. It’s wonderful. They have a subtle, pleasant scent, too, if you get close. For SO long they have been brittle and dry but we’re heading into their season of growth now. The flowers disappear and the lichens come to life.
      Now you’ve made me self-conscious about the “personal encore” so I have to be sure I don’t drive myself crazy, thinking that I must include a photo of coffee every time. πŸ˜‰ Thank you once more for making the effort to write so much in English, dear Ule. Have a good evening!

      Like

      • Thank you for so much extra information, dear Lynn. Besonders the special lichen you show are not so widely spread here and I didn’t know how they feel or smells.
        Don’t worry about the “encore”, please. Like in all life situations: sometimes there is Coffee, and sometimes there is none πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  4. splendid selection, Lynn. I like how in #8 the tree root and lichen have kindly collaborated to form a picture of a tree using the ground as their canvas. sounds like a lovely treat stop too.

    βœ¨πŸ™πŸ•‰πŸŒ±πŸŒΏπŸŒ³πŸŒ»πŸ’šπŸ•Šβ˜―πŸ‰βœ¨

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I was going to write how much I’m enjoying your photos & writing as a β€œrespite,” but lately that word has become associated in my mind with hospitals, so the happier β€œ breathing space” occurs to me. I am not surprised to see in the comments that calligraphy, poetry and music flow into peoples minds when they read and reflect upon your posts, they’re always such a natural and unforced

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry bumped the send button by mistake! Unforced association I was saying. It’s such a continuing pleasure when you highlight all these beautiful patterns surrounding us.
      I even like seeing the needles suspended on the spider threads, neat shot! Even though I usually experience that by walking into the webs and then frantically brushing at my face for the next 10 minutes!
      Lovely and very deft writing too!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Breathing space, poetry, calligraphy, music, spider webs…no, wait! Those are mostly nice associations and it’s great to see “natural and unforced, especially after so many rewrites! πŸ˜‰ Seriously, it’s reassuring to know that you have a pleasurable experience here, since that is a big part of why I do it. I bet it’s starting to look nice where you are! Thanks for commenting – enjoy the rest of the week!

        Like

  6. A pleasure, as always, joining you in your visual explorations. You do have a special touch with seedheads. Eric scattered some oat grass which I find to be particularly charming, but have yet to catch them (or wild grasses backlit by sunlight) to my liking. We can but keep on trying… 😏
    We are still waiting for the rain with longing, though there is promise of some this weekend. Hope the forecasts are correct.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, just keep trying. There are always challenges to keep us going, right? I know I have subjects that I’m still trying to get right.
      I wish I could send a little rain to you – we actually got more today! That’s twice in less than a week and the forecast calls for more over the weekend. I’ll try to blow it on down to you. I’m glad you enjoyed the post – gee, the grass seedheads have little if any color….are you sure they meet your approval? πŸ˜‰

      Like

      • Looks like we have a forecast for a measurable amount of rain this coming weekend. Yay!!! ☺️ Can’t happen soon enough for me.
        Huh! I’ve actually thought quite a bit about this b&w conversion thing. There certainly are instances where I can see using the technique, though I don’t seem to have a talent for it. Other times it seems to be a gimmick that does nothing for me (NOT in your case!). Seedhead #2 calls for the simplicity to emphasize the flow and shape. I truly love that one. Not quite so much #3 because I find it hard for my eye to settle on something. Y’know… it’s all pretty subjective when you come right down to it.
        Then again… there are times when color can do the same sort of thing when it’s overblown (seems I tend to lean in that direction). It’s something I need to watch…. 😏 Gotta keep tryin’ – it’s what keeps us going. πŸ’•πŸπŸ‚

        Liked by 1 person

        • We’re supposed to get it again this weekend too, so this must be a big front. I’m happy for you! You know, I had no doubt that you’ve thought about black and white vs. color a lot. I know those wheels are turning. πŸ˜‰ When I began doing more black and white, the filters in Silver Efex really helped. After a while, I learned to do a decent job in LR, but it took some experimenting. #2 depended more on the f2.8 aperture of my lens than anything else, and it still has a little bit of color in it, too. I get what you’re saying about #3 – it’s the same thing with the photo of branches that you didn’t like in that previous post. You’re right, there’s no focal point and I can understand how that might be off-putting. Subjective, as you said. To each their own. (I’ve been influenced by John Todaro, who does lots of black and white and often uses color in a subtle way. He’s a master at balance and subtlety. I like to challenge myself to see if I can achieve something like that). Yes, we keep trying, we keep refining….
          Enjoy the rain!

          Liked by 1 person

  7. What a treasure chest you’ve brought home again! Filled with colours, patterns, sun beams, shadows and objects others wouldn’t have discovered and taken photos of! And your relaxed mood in them makes me more relaxed, too! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Rain is life… life is color… and the rain that appeared somewhere in those two weeks was “giving color” to the photographs. Liked it!
    This post shows well the photographer’s pleasure and how her sensitive gaze can be touched by what apparently no one notices. In the end, we have a beautiful set of images and moments…where I would just substitute coffee for tea!!πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • πŸ˜‰ I drink tea, too. A little tea in the morning, a little coffee in the afternoon. It looks like the rain has returned because we had a little more, it cleared up, and now the forecast says we’ll have more this weekend. It’s nice to know that you see my pleasure – we both know how important pleasure is to life. Thank you, Dulce!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Like you I’m always looking looking looking. Today a tree branch down across the trail. I guess we finally got the rain we needed. It is bucketing down here as I imagine it is where you are too. I confess I still rarely see poetry in what’s scattered on the ground, but I’m with you when it comes to the madrone bark. I love the exquisite simplicity of the opening photo.
    A wonderful wander though your day(s) – getting to see what you see.
    Alison

    Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate the honest comments. πŸ™‚ We may get the buckets tomorrow – today we had a good amount of rain and lots of wind. The lights flickered a little while ago…we’ll see whether we lose power. There are plenty of branches down everywhere, I bet. I suspect that after so little rain all summer, now we’re going to see extra heavy storms – from one extreme to another. Sigh. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Wonderful variety, Lynn. Love your grasses, the single stalks against the white is a stunning image. No surprise your rainy windows appeal to me very much, and your pink blossoms are a great subject. Interesting series of β€œseeing” because yes, that’s what we do. πŸ€—πŸ€“

    Liked by 1 person

    • Grasses always draw me in – I think it’s their linearity, which I think for me, is somehow related to script. There may be more about that in the next post (unless I change my mind!). I’m glad you enjoyed the rainy windows – I think the pink made it work. I remember some of your rainy window SF images have wonderful blues and grays. “…that’s what we do” reminds me of a book I read, ‘It’s What I Do” by Lynsey Addario, a photojournalist who spent lots of time in war zones. Fascinating read. Needless to say, what she sees is very different from what we see. Thank you, Jane.
      Whja

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hey Lynn I so enjoyed this post! You are so right, we are always looking aren’t we? And you sure do find such treasures. I loved your comment of ‘the poetry in what lies scattered on the ground’ – oh that is so true. We just need to look. And what a beam of sunlight can show πŸ˜€ But my fav, is the old Madrone tree – what a beauty! Thanks for sharing …

    Liked by 1 person


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s