CROSS POLLINATION

Cross pollination – that seems like an appropriately seasonal term for what happened when I met Patti Kuche, a fellow blogger, in New York last month.

I’ve always loved Patti’s blog, and I had a hunch that meeting with her would be fortuitous. With basically no planning, we got in touch and agreed to meet up at the Rubin Museum cafe, a good place to relax, talk, and get a bite to eat without feeling pressured to move on. (Was our meeting subtly influenced by the Himalayan Buddhist art only steps away? Maybe).

I liked Patti instantly – there was none of that dissonance that sometimes happens when you “know” someone in the digital world and then meet them in person. We had a terrific time talking…and talking. But what was special that day was that I came away inspired. Really inspired. When she picked up my camera, turned it over in her hands, flipped a switch and started shooting, it was like some bubble burst and grew inside me – it’s hard to describe, but something about her approach and ease with the camera revealed the potential for other ways into my relationship with that tricky black box.

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Patti was curious about the Art filters in the camera, so she dialed around through a few of them and shot what we saw from our table. The shots above and below haven’t been processed at all.

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We covered cameras, processing, blogging, tumblr, flickr and the rest. It’s too bad we couldn’t spend more time together – I would love to roam the streets with her. But no reason to complain. It was good just as it was (yes, the Rubin Buddhism influence is seeping in).

I started using the art filters again. I had tried them out when I first got the camera, but then reverted back to aperture priority.

It was one of those days when the light was all wrong and few interesting scenes presented themselves. I walked with an off-center kind of feeling, questioning of my own approach. Here and there, I found a few opportunities.  The green tables ready to be set up for an event under the green foliage of Union Square, and the snaking fence with its yellow caution tape were nice. Three stools in a coffee shop begged to be shot with the Dramatic Tone filter, and Sycamore tree shadows reaching around the corner of a building seemed right for the sepia filter.

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Sometimes you get lucky! In the subway I pressed the shutter just as the train left the 14th Street station, resulting in a layered double exposure look that I couldn’t have planned.

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If you like speeding trains, take a look at Patti’s latest shot of one – it’s fantastic.

***
After I got back home, we emailed. I sent Patti the photos she took and asked her which were her favorites.
“Great fun playing with your camera.  My preferences are 555 and 556 as whole shots – the setting seems to suit the filters and while I like the 558 & 559 filters I want to move the chair from the bottom R corner. Plus they have hands in funny places.
One question, are you able to change filters in-camera post shooting?”
You can’t change filters once you’ve taken the shot, but no need! I like what she did.

 

Here’s another one:

 

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There’s that intrusive chair!

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Let’s do something about it:

 

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Not quite successful, but it’s all about experimenting, and learning.

And learn I did.

In the cafe, Patti shot what she saw – people. It’s something I rarely do because it makes me uncomfortable. Patti has a knack for disarming people. She can walk up to people and get the most wonderful expressions.  She has a way of seeing – and revealing – the humanity in any given moment.

We all have our strengths as artists and we want to develop them, which includes trying out new things, however uncomfortable. But taking photos of strangers? That’s tough for me.

Yesterday we drove up into the mountains to a tiny town called Index. It’s a center for whitewater rafting and rock climbing. The Outdoor Adventure Center there operates a cafe where they serve up bratwurst hot off the grill alongside a slew of local beers. We stopped for a bite. As we sat down, I noticed two tired-looking men at a table with taped-up hands. The dirty, worn tape across their knuckles spoke volumes. Before they could start cutting it off, I bravely walked over and asked if I could photograph their hands.

I thought of Patti. (“Patti would have no trouble with this. Just do it!”).

They obliged.

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So here’s to meeting new friends and being inspired. Many of you have gotten together with other bloggers when traveling. It’s just one aspect of the cross pollination that is happening all the time. Cheers to that!

 

 

 

 

 

A PLEASANT SURPRISE

That’s what it was when Cheri Lucas Rowlands of Word Press contacted me a while back and asked if I would contribute a post on Point of View to the Daily Post Photography 101 series. So I worked on it, which was fun, and here we are. I am frankly uncomfortable about climbing up on the roof to blow my own horn, but it seems I’d be missing something not to mention it here.

So if you’re not a subscriber to the Daily Post series, please feel free to have a look at the post.

It sums up some of my ideas about photography. And maybe life, too.

I can’t imagine a post without an image – I just can’t do it!

So here’s one. I shot this at Tolmie Creek in Mount Rainier Park last year and played with the image today, exaggerating it to express a feeling of being caught off balance by the notion of being published.

Thank you to everyone who has come here and encouraged me, especially to the many people who leave interesting, thoughtful comments. Lately I don’t visit as many blogs as I have in the past, so it’s good to know that most people don’t seem to require that one “like” their posts in order for them to “like” one’s own post.  But I try to keep that balance when I can. The blogosphere (how I hate that word), is an enriching, provocative place, but we need to remember to step back from the computer, relate to flesh and blood people, and get outdoors!

THE FIRST YEAR

August 18, 2012 was the date of my first WordPress post.  There was just one comment on it, so it’s a safe bet that almost no one reading this also saw that first post. 

It was short and simple, and it established a theme I return to again and again: a particular view of the natural world.  I’ve posted images on this blog of the built world too, and people and things.  But the outdoors is for me the ground on which everything else depends, the field I return to, to cultivate again and again.

Here’s a reprise of that first post:

MID-AUGUST

Earth holds its breath for a few days – everything is still, heavy with light and summer dreams, waiting to move forward into autumn.

A late afternoon elegy of sunlight breaks through the tree line along the Snoqualmie Valley Trail, speaking of summer’s impending dispersion into fall.

This photo was taken (but sometimes I think they’re given to me) at a preserve near Woodinville, WA. I felt uninspired – glum, even. But I forced myself into the car and went searching  for a little deliverance. It came gradually:  a field of flowers, a jay, a wren, a creek, leaves, seeds…and color and light.

***

That post was followed by 100 more.   Putting together image and word, and then sending the finished product out into cyberspace, has become an important means of expression in my life.  Knowledgeable people may decry the overuse of the internet and its tendency to erode human relationships, but I have been enriched by my work here and the work and thoughts of all the people who visit.  New relationships spring forth out of this virtual world all the time, and yes, they may not have the thick texture of flesh and blood relationships, but they do enrich us.

So thank you for being here, whether it’s your first or 50th visit.  And please permit me the indulgence of reprising some of my favorite images from posts past…

Bluebrightly will wander here and there, but the blog will always return to dwell on the gifts of the natural world, and the blogger will always be thankful for you, the reader.

***

All images are mine except the soldier with poppies and the Afghan boy with the helmet.  Those two are courtesy of my son.