Thursday, December 17, 2015

Week 50 - 2015 in Photographs

Day 344

Comes now that interesting time when I try to make sense of the photographs of the last week. Or consequently the mind set I was in when I took them, saved them, post processed them and subsequently posted them. If it is possible to divine all that.

Photography is probably first a method of recording. Painting held the artistic notch in visual media. And in the earliest stages it recorded the static. Long exposures made it a difficult art for people. The first surviving photograph was taken by Joseph Nicephone Niepce in 1826 or 1827. It was of the view from his upstairs window at his estate, Le Gras, in the Burgundy region of France. As you would assume he took numerous exposures in various lights.

The one he showed the world was called The View from the Window at Le Gras. We have to take him at his word about it being his first. I would image he tossed quite a few before. And several after.

But I digress. I was trying to explain what was going through my mind this week when I was out and about with my camera, then at my computer post processing. And why three of my four posts this week are ice. I do not have Niepce's excuse that the camera was not very portable. We make them that way now. But he didn't with a still life of his desk. Out his window had to be better light. Or maybe just "because it was there." A quote often attributed to George Mallory in the New York Times article about climbing Mount Everest.  

I first began taking photographs of the strange shapes in the ice on the ponds, because they were there.  And it was strange. And oddly beautiful. When I first ever encountered this odd occurrence I attributed it to kids throwing rocks. But I have made rather a study of it. It occurs mostly in the early winter when the ponds are going through a freeze and thaw cycle. It makes for thinner and thicker parts of the ice surface. And the lowering of the temperatures of the water freeze the various forms of botanical life in the pond. And then thaw them and freeze them again. In this process they out-gas and those gases push up the ice cracking it and breaking through in the thinner parts.

And it isn't just the spider web like cracks but frozen bubbles too.  They are also a bit of a challenge. You obviously cannot walk on the thin ice to get a better perspective. Or wade out or boat out. You are stuck on the shore. Might be a good subject for a drone.

Ice cracks are a subject of three of my photos this week. I will not confess to the number I took and trashed. I think the one below looks like a Hopi Shalako Kachina. 

Day 345

 I think I felt a bit guilt about my ice obsession, so I pointed my camera at the light on the trunks of the aspens on the hill above the pond. The light was beautiful.

Day 346

It is to be noted I took only one photograph of the trees. I guess I was in a bit of a strange place this last couple of weeks. Week 49 was all about trees. Just trees. And frankly I could have made this week all about ice. Just ice. But if you google images of first photograph you will find  Niepce took way more than one. Monet did waterlilies ad nausea so I am going to leave the subject of my mind set of late. Artistic license.

Which brings us to the still life with deer skull. It was a cold and blustery day and I was not going to be enticed out with my camera even at the prospect of more ice pictures. Sitting at my computer I dove into the dry darkroom and chanced upon the still life with deer skull. I will confess that two versions of this arrangement are not the only ones remaining on my computer. There is at least one black and white version. And one applying a filter called colored pencils.

The two posted here are the polar ends of my exploration. And my favorites. And there is a similarity between the antler shapes in the ice and my deer skull. I will leave that to those into Jung or Freud. 

Day 347

Day 348

Which brings us back to ice. A week of warm weather erased my ice surfaces and began the process all over again. This time with much thinner ice. I was enchanted. Ice, ice spiderwebs, and reflections all in one photo.

Day 349

And from the sublime to the ridiculous I give you exhaust stacks on a roof. I thought they looked like an army of versions of R2D2. 

Day 350

Remember I am an artist. We are all a little crazy.

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