Monthly Archives: September 2014

Palouse Simplicity

The Palouse, the now so world famous part of south-eastern Washington and eastern Idaho, is a treasure-trove of landscapes for the artist.  I could spend a month there at once and not get bored…if I could take a month to do it!

Here are a couple from a trip that’s part of our history book.  In the first one I was attracted to the character of the tree among the fields.  The flowers added a bit of spice and I didn’t even mind the human element of the distant telephone pole.

Lone tree among the Palouse hills | Washington

Lone tree among the Palouse hills | Washington

With the next one, it was all about a simple landscape.  I’m also seeing this as an interesting conversion to black and white.

Two lazy clouds floating above the Palouse | Washington

Two lazy clouds floating above the Palouse | Washington

As the day progressed the heavens were becoming more adorned with cumulus clouds.  I had a lot of fun with this scene as I watched the rapidly metamorphosing clouds.  And I’m quite pleased with the way the “coffee” toning worked on this.

Cumulus clouds dwarfing the Palouse landscape | Washington

Cumulus clouds dwarfing the Palouse landscape | Washington

 

Autumn Memories

Autumn is just around the corner and I’m excited.  I won’t be able to travel to the hot spots for aspens and maples in other states but hope to make a couple excursions to near-by locations.  If I will be blessed with a handful of stunning images I will call it a good season.

What is it about autumn that is so captivating?  So refreshing?  So peaceful?  Is it the gentle drizzle saturating the colors or perhaps the quiet whispers of a breeze among the leaves?  I know that as I walk among the trees and fill my lungs with the sweet aromas I come alive and quietly smile.

A sunburst on a crisp walk in October |Washington, D.C.

A sunburst on a crisp walk in October |Washington, D.C.

Is it a connection to life, the hope of a glorious season before the final chapter?    Perhaps.  I just know that for me, it is breathtakingly intoxicating.  I wish it lasted for months or that time slowed down….

The images illustrating this post bring back fantastic memories of my wife and I walking in Washington, D.C. admiring the trees and of course the stunning architecture and history.

Glorious autumn trees | Washington, D.C.

Glorious autumn trees | Washington, D.C.

I still plan to do a whole writeup on that experience, sometime, someday…maybe this autumn.

Autumn tree reaching for the brilliant blue sky | Washington, D.C.

Autumn tree reaching for the brilliant blue sky | Washington, D.C.

Yes, I’m truly looking forward to this season just around the next bend.  I can already hear the leaves rustling, inviting me to join them, camera in hand….

 

Search for Simplicity

Last night we watched A River Runs Through It, based on Norman Maclean’s book of the same title.  It wasn’t the first time of course, but each time I’m reminded what a beautiful and human story it is.  There is quite a wonderful feel to it and of course the filming is superb; it fully absorbs me and touches my heart.  By no means are the characters simple, yet there is a certain simplicity and quietness to the complexity.

Grasses in the field | Washington

Grasses in the field | Washington

As Norman and his brother Paul fished the river so I love to spend time along the river, photographing.  The troubles and complexities of life are left behind as soon as I step out there and God’s beauty surrounds and fills me.

Grasses and flower after the rain | Washington

Grasses and flowers after the rain | Washington

The story makes me think about relationships, about how people interacted.  Sure seems very different than today.  But even a few years ago it was indeed more personal.  Imagine writing a letter on paper, with a pen.  Or have a good conversation on the telephone, or better yet, how about in person, face to face.

Grasses and reeds grace the edge of a wetland | Washington

Grasses and reeds grace the edge of a wetland | Washington

We’re so connected now, perhaps fully overwhelmed by technology, with our iPhones and texts and emails, etc., that the human interaction has nearly vanished.  Are we hiding behind this technology, afraid of each other?  Eventually the signals fade and so do friendships.

An old fence post, fading into the field | Washington

An old fence post, fading into the field | Washington

As I walk down the paths along the grassy fields, their delicate simplicity and beauty allows me to reflect on the days past.  On the friends lost to distance and time.  But also to imagine and reflect on the days to come.  The rays of the sun eventually break through even the gloomiest of days….

Afternoon sunshine illuminating summer grasses | Washington

Afternoon sunshine illuminating summer grasses | Washington

I found perfect joy on many occasions among these grassy fields.  All I carried was a little Sony RX100 point-and-shoot camera.  Often in the company of my awesome wife and our sweet dog Stan.  Simple and beautiful and glorious.

As I get older I search more for this elusive simplicity.  I still think of the days I traveled a lot chasing landscapes but now see that I’m greatly enjoying the little things so much more.  There is more excitement in walking down to the river I know than to go chasing some far off lands.  It is like getting a letter from an old and true friend.  There is history there, memory, personal experience, connection.

Frosted grasses and reeds | Washington

Frosted grasses and reeds | Washington

In the end then, I love the way Norman put it:

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.  I am haunted by waters.”

Early Autumn Pond & Reeds

An artist doesn’t always need to look far for inspiration.  No denying, sometimes, being somewhere new and exotic really gets the juices flowing, the heart racing, all the senses throbbing with new life and excitement.  For most of us it just isn’t realistic to be traveling freely whenever the heart desires…so what’s there to do?  Well, breathe, pick up the camera, open eyes wide and see!

On this particular warm and sunny day my wife and I and our dog Stan went for a walk through our neighborhood.  There were lovely cumulus clouds floating in the sky so I thought, why not, bring the cam and one lens and see what happens.

As we got to this pond, I found inspiration in these reeds and reflections of the sky and clouds.  I put my Fuji X-Pro1 with 35mm lens to my eye and made the composition.  Ducks were eyeing me cautiously, just in case I had other intentions….

Pond with reeds and reflections of the heavens above | Washington

Pond with reeds and reflections of the heavens above | Washington