My brother and I spent part of yesterday at Fort Harrison State Park. A couple who were out for a walk stopped and asked what I was photographing. I replied ‘Anything that will stand still long enough’ which is true enough that it didn’t seem to require any further explanation.
What I was really doing would have required a bit more conversation but would probably have been worth the time to say it. I was out wondering. Not wandering, but wondering.
About a year ago I was emailing back and forth with a friend. I was intrigued by a photograph she had done and asked how she got it. She was busy doing other things and wasn’t paying attention to what she was typing and she wrote that she was ‘wondering’ around and saw the image. That word ‘wondering’ captures it for me. It was a typo but when I pointed it out to her and how great a choice of words it was, she agreed and now she goes wondering too. Or maybe we’ve been wondering all along and didn’t know it.
Wondering. Sometimes that leads to seeing something we might not have noticed before and sometimes it means asking ‘I wonder what will happen if I move the camera during the exposure?’ or try some other creative technique. That is what I was doing yesterday beside Fall Creek. Most of the images weren’t very interesting but some were, at least to me.
It’s time to go out again. I wonder what I’ll see?
One more time into the walnut plantation.
Gold among the walnuts
It was wet and a little drizzly yesterday morning when I went out to shoot. I was there because Alain Briot’s column on landscape blurs reminded me that that was a good time to get saturated colors. As indeed it was.
It was windy and dark which spells disaster for some kinds of photography but for landscape blurring – which consists of moving the camera while the shutter is open – it is very promising. As usual the number of images retained after the shoot was much smaller than the number taken, a great argument for digital cameras. I got the shot above early on. (For those interested in such things, most of the effect in the image above was created in the camera. Adobe Camera Raw added some contrast and a little vividness while Photoshop permitted selective darkening and bringing up the orange a little bit in the leaves.)
The story continues. There was a red poison ivy vine decorating a tree trunk several yards into the brush and without thinking I just went in to get a shot of it, looking for poison ivy along the way but forgetting about the burrs that are so common this season. I was immediately attacked by a lurking burr factory. I was born in 1939 so I grew up watching horror movies where some otherwise more or less mildly obnoxious pest was irradiated in an accident and grew to gigantic size and set out to take over the world. I don’t remember any giant burr movies but it would have been a good subject.
You have probably encountered burrs. Once they are stuck to your pants, they are as tenacious as a politician working to stay in office. I was wearing sweats so conditions were ideal for them. I tried brushing them off and that didn’t work very well so I put an old towel on the driver’s seat and sat on that on the way home where surely there would be a good solution. I tried lots of things and they all failed. I’ll talk about just one of the methods. We have a brush which we use to brush our two White German Shepherds. Note that the brush was full of white dog hair, something I noticed but didn’t think about. The brush didn’t work as intended. In fact it achieved the opposite result, which was that the burrs did not come off but the dog hair left the brush to join the burrs. Now many of them have little white beards.
Burrs and dog hair among the threads
Michael Pollan, in his ‘The Botany of Desire’, says with tongue in cheek that members of the vegetable kingdom rule the world and use us to carry their seeds from one place to another. I’m coming to believe that. Maybe those old horror movies were speaking the truth. Burrs just didn’t need to be irradiated and they don’t need to be big to take over the world. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.