Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It's great to be able to walk on water...

While it's great to be able to walk on water, one should always be aware of what waits beneath...

Saw these little fish in the river picking off bugs one at a time from the surface.  The bugs were very aware of me and fled quickly, but if the fish approached from the right angle they seemed to be invisible.

So easy to lose perspective about one's place in the world if you only look where you feel like it...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

On the character of the individual...

I've been trying for a while to figure out how to capture what makes individuals special - to capture an image that makes me remember what sets one apart from the others that look so much the same... (bigger)

After trying a wide number of tricks to capture a faster frame, a more precise moment, a more perfect or exotic lighting environment (and failing to make progress) I changed my strategy completely... (bigger)

I decided to spend one day just watching birds I have seen many times before - deck birds - occasionally fed seed, not afraid of me (indeed watching for me at times)... In the sticky heat, I merely sat and watched - looking for the little behaviors, movements and alignments that were different between similar birds... (bigger)

The next day I went out with the camera, and waited in the increasing heat until I felt the light would be right soon (no flash here), estimated the metering and just cleared my head of all thoughts... The goal here was to capture only the specialness that sets them apart - the moment I felt connected to them - and for the first time, I felt I was getting closer when I reviewed the images... (bigger)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wings of glass...

It's been way too hot here lately (and will be for another week)... the kind of heat that drains you... doesn't make you feel like doing the stuff you usually do...

The interesting thing is that it changes the way I look at the world, the environment becomes more important - how it affects the individual.  For bees I suddenly thought of them as having wings of glass, resistant to the overbearing heat.  (bigger)

For butterflies - wings that change the light... (bigger)

And bodies to shield... (bigger)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Unobtainable forms...

Sometimes I feel like trying something different - not so much "trying to look at things from a different perspective" but rather trying to "feel" the situation in a different way. (bigger)

One morning the sun happened to be just right and unlike most days where only a few bees at a time would scavenge pollen - slowing moving from one flower to the next, there were nearly a hundred swarming about... Almost all of them seemed to be carrying as much as they could and yet still they wanted more... (bigger)

Chaos reigned as they furtively slammed into flowers, unsatisfied and yet seemingly compelled to continue...  pollen was everything... (bigger)

It was a situation where the details could not define... the moment was about something present and yet unobtainable... beyond possession, a desire that could not be captured... (bigger)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy garden fox...

One of the nice things about this time of year is that the happy little fox comes to hang out more often in the garden.  (bigger)

Sometimes she brings the babies, but so far this year we haven't seen them... I'm not really certain why she likes the garden, but I suspect it's for the squirrels... (bigger)

Just a nice thing to see... makes the world feel a little more correct...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

In the tall grass...

Heading back from the fields the dog stopped and began with sniff about in the deep grass and as I approached (suspecting to find a snake) a little bird (clearly just out of the nest) had landed in the tall grass - unable to escape... (bigger)

I tried to push down some grass in a wide area hoping it would fly away, but it was only able to travel a few inches off the ground and could not yet gain enough altitude.  Nothing seemed wrong physically, I suspect that it was just too new to the world.  (bigger)

I looked around and couldn't see the nest (but the trees are quite large here so that's not so surprising).  I decided that it was unsafe to leave it trapped int he grass so I picked it up... (causing some nearby cardinals - parents? - to make a terrible racket on some branches just into the woods.  I carried it to the edge where the woods and the field meet and set it down where it could at least seek protection under the thorny bushes.  Hope it survives... (bigger)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

When it's hot and muggy...

Some days the weather feels so oppressive - hot and muggy - saps the energy out of you... days when staying in the river is the only comfort outside... but still one can find comfort in a bit of light (holding the camera an inch above the water level to find it is a bit nerve racking though).  (bigger)

Would be nicer if the river was higher, but you just have to take what nature offers... (bigger)

Anything to cool off and find moments to enjoy... (bigger)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Obstacles to freedom...

The little froglets hide so quickly when released into the world - jumping and hopping for cover so fast that it's hard to get a picture... but for #116 there was a little delay.  (bigger)

Luckily it was only a few moments before freedom was achieved.  I'm not certain whether it jumped for movement or it was random... but I was happy it escaped so easily. (bigger)

The interesting thing was that #115 was nearby watching the whole thing... I had not considered that they would be aware in that way.  (bigger)

Monday, June 14, 2010


Some days it seems conflict is destined from the beginning... rather than starting out with individual plans and purposes, groups form - and these groups change the nature of how the individual behave... (bigger)

Displays of behavior - challenges - to not just the other group, but the members within - as if to break the other group by chipping away the individuals.  (bigger)

Yet it is the lone individuals - those that find their own places in the world - those that have a purpose - they seem to be the likeliest to harvest the spoils of the day.  (bigger)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Slippery light...

I had a little time one day and decided to play around to try and capture the idea of slippery light - light that would reveal intention rather than detail - light that wouldn't let the viewer be comfortable.  (bigger)

The closest I got to achieving this that day was to use a much larger aperture with a slower shutter followed by a very low power output flash in rear sync. (bigger)

One thing I learned was that if the external flash is triggered optically (by CLS) rather than by a cable, the preflashes occur with a sufficient delay that the birds will respond and be in motion when the shutter opens (could be a good thing if the focus was set to expect this - not so good here).  (bigger)

So while I didn't figure out how to make slippery light yet, I learned a few things that have started me down the path to figuring it out (I really need to pull out my triggers to do the next set of experiments).

Monday, June 7, 2010


Oh what a thing it would be to travel down a river when all one can do is float upon the water... and yet, when another has decided your purpose for you and bound your body to one place - a life that could be a journey where no two moments are the same becomes something else entirely... (bigger)

It is a strange thing, the way in childhood all things are possible, the world (while scary at times) seems a place in which all things are possible and the future is beyond knowing - yet as we grow older, as we become more experienced, as we define ourselves we tend to focus on the restrictions in life, the obstacles, the bindings that hold us in place.  It doesn't take long for us to forget that wonder we had as children - only vague memories taunt us with the dream of being free, of choosing our own path, of opening our eyes to the future and living in the moment.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The fear of being real...

When I was a kid I used to think for a while that if I didn't touch something solid I would cease to be real... (bigger)

While I had forgotten this phase (all kids have strange phases) this image reminded me of it...

It's nice to remember that before the number of beliefs about the world and how it works build up to a stable point - life was almost always exciting - worth every moment (no matter how strange and confusing those moments happen to be).

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Hatchlings... (about 11 weekes)

Still releasing little froglets into the world (90 so far)...  (bigger)

I am still amazed at the speed they can disappear when released.  They seem to instinctively try to either find cover above or at least on one flank before they wait a few moments to choose a better place.  (bigger)

While they seem to take between 1 and 2 days to complete development once they acquire front legs the very last stage - when they consistently breath air and develop their classic posture - sitting and waiting - takes only hours.  (bigger)

Many more images from the project are here:

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What to remember...

In the times we share with another... (bigger)

or in a life of singular intent... (bigger)

or the self important fiefdoms... (bigger)

it is perhaps wise to reflect on the experiences of life and choose what to carry with us to the next days... (bigger)