Friday, December 25, 2015

Week 51 - 2015 in Photographs

Day 351
 This is a just the details collection of photographs. Yes, you can get tired of taking scenic landscapes and need a break. Plants or portions of plants figure highly. And while photo 351 looks like a pot the picture is really about the crack.

Day 352

Day 352 is reflected light on a stucco wall in a green house. It seemed to have a plant like feel too it. But it was a green house without the banana leaves featured below.

Day 353
 I love banana leaves. Especially with droplets of water on them. Such interesting textures and patterns.

Day 354

Day 355
 And as the new leaves unroll they can become sculptures in their own right.

Day 356

Sword plants are a very different leaf but they cast some very delicate shadows against textured stucco walls.

Day 357

Stucco walls provide wonderful texture. In fact they are a key element of four of this week's photographs.

And on to the last week of the year. And the process of selecting out the best 365 photographs for an end of the year blog. If you have your favorites of this past year please make a comment to help me with my selections.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Magpie 299 - So long, Farewell

Visual prompt by Magpie Tales

He was off
So long

Til' later
she mumbled.
Gave him
a kiss.

A once 
we were more 
than friends

could not wait
didn't walk to the gate.
The car idled
in the unloading area.
Her friends awaited her.

didn't hang on.
Didn't squeeze her 
against him.
It was so long, farewell, goodbye 
for both of them
They just didn't say it in words.

J. Binford-Bell
December 2015

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.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Week 49 - 2015 in Photographs

Day 343

It was all about trees this last week of photographs. I love trees. Especially old trees. They are majestic overseers of life around them. And in them. At the top of the tree above is a red tail hawk. The oldest trees seem to get the hawks. Maybe because their top branches are taller or sparser. Or maybe they are just old friends. To date a tree you count the rings after it has died. But my sister and I found an approximation method based on the girth of the tree near the base. The Ponderosa Pine above is probably over 200. There is a tree across the street from my house, the Sentinel, which may be 300. Those familiar with my blogs have seen a lot of photographs of it.

Day 342

The same tree in the first photograph is in the background of the picture above clouded in freezing fog. The tree in the foreground has some issues, but it made it through another summer. It is also featured in the last photograph from another angle. And more heavily decorated in frost. The freezing fog is a major player in this week's photos. And no, they were not taken on the same day. It is a not an infrequent occurrence approaching winter in the mountains. I love the fairy tale appearance of frost on the trees and will rush out of the house with camera to catch it before the rising sun breaks through and melts it away.

Day 341

Aspens, sans their leaves, look marvelous in frost, so they get their pictures taken often by me when so dressed up. Aspen trees are seldom solitary as a grove is all one plant rather like a fairy ring of mushrooms. A family lives for just about 110 years I read. 

Day 340

When the freezing fog burns off there is brief time when the frost remains highlighting the tree branches against a blue sky. It is definitely one of those things you have to be in the right place at the right time.

Day 339

I would assume it is the moisture content of the air which determines the density of the frost, but it also seems that Ponderosas just make a better show of it. Maybe the long needles collect frost better. They come out of the fog looking like flocked Christmas trees.

Day 338

And put that against a clear blue sky it it is magic for a brief moment.

Day 337

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Week 48 - 2015 in Photographs

Day 335

 This week's posts are about snow and ice and frost. Next week will be all about trees in this winter weather.
As the year comes to a close I remembered I had promised a theme week now and then through the year. There have been a few but not as many as I had imagined. Maybe I will do better with that next year.

I am a landscape photographer living in the home of wondrous landscapes so focusing on the details has to be a deliberate aim. And I am definitely not a tripod photographer. My long lens does the best close ups oddly. Try not shaking when the temp is in the tens.

Day 330

But I really love this time of the year. The lakes are waxing and waning ice. The air and water crystal clear. And the snow provides less cluttered backgrounds.

Day 333

 The surface of the pond above was like glass until a breeze shivered the surface. It made for a better photograph. Below is the same pond from the opposite side. The stream coming in keeps the ice away. Love the details in this closeup. Essential photographic equipment, a good pair of snow boots. And more into winter the snowshoes come out.

Day 332

Day 331

 I have photographed these rolls of barbed wire before. But the remnants of snow and the light made this photo better than the others.

Day 334
 The patterns of ice formations and clear water was what I focusing on as I walked around the pond. The perspective of the hill made them more obvious. And the aspens framed the shot. It is one of my favorite photos of this particular shoot.

Day 336

And there is, of course, the required photograph of aspen trunks in black and white. I think the light made this one more special than most. I love aspen trunks. Maybe even more than I love the aspens in the fall with their glorious crowns. Still seeking the penultimate one.