I confess that only in the last few days have I appreciated the fascinating texture of icicles. They have previously been cumulative fingers of frozen drips of water. Glassy and attractive – end of story. But not any more. My discovery encouraged me to assemble a collection of icicle ‘sketches’ – photos chosen to reveal the texture. Look closely at some of the ‘totem pole’ images.
Click to enlarge the photo
I mentioned two days ago that I get considerable pleasure from exploring the patterns created by grasses and seedheads set against a white, snow ‘canvas’. I appreciate that not everyone shares my enthusiasm – I have seen the raised eyebrows!! However, I am offering a selection below ranging from the simple ‘hieroglyph’ to more complex patterns.
The starlings are not fond of the cold, snow and ice.
One of the joys of winter scenery is that the snow provides a ‘canvas’ for the many patterns of grasses, twigs and seed heads etc that might otherwise go unseen or unnoticed. This clump of grass would be unlikely to attract attention without the presence of the snow but in its transformed setting it presents, for me, a pleasing sight. I have used a touch of watercolour filter in the editing, hence the inclusion of the word ‘painting in the title.
Click the photo to enlarge.
No need to elaborate I think. The title says all. The snow provided the highlights.
These three pictures are from a batten of about 1.5 m x 12.5 cm supporting a trellis bordering my front garden. Initially I was attracted by the natural pattern of the grain and the texture of the timber. But when the images are placed together there is another feature that figures prominently. Bogart’s famous line from Casablanca immediately sprang to mind, in the scene where he proposes a toast to Bergman, ‘Here’s looking at you, kid’.
The presence of hoar frost on a web unfailingly evokes in me a sense of awe.
But not all of the spiders’ work is expressed in sublime artistry. These efforts, on the light beside the front porch, resemble more the frayed hem of a sweater!
And this suggests, perhaps, a younger spider learning to abseil.
Four pictures of hoar frost (and a touch of snow) on plants in the garden.
Following so much persistent rain it was a joy to wake on recent mornings to the picturesque, magical landscape provided by a dusting of snow and a heavy hoar frost.
Click on an image to enlarge
Yesterday morning the scene was enhanced by a veil of fog.
Yes, a fantasy – a composite picture created by combining two layers of images taken from different sources.
The day had been wet, dull and generally miserable. Not a day for venturing out with a camera. But when I looked through the bedroom window my attention was drawn to the patterns caused by rain falling into the puddles on the flat roof of the garage below. There is always a picture worth taking somewhere!
Where to crop and where to place the focal point are decisions crucial to the effectiveness of every photograph, and I readily confess that I am often disappointed with my own previous choices.
In the case of the Weeping Buddha, below, I have chosen to place the figure towards the lower left corner. Freed from background clutter and noise, I hope the space behind enhances the atmosphere of meditation, quiet and solitude.
Interestingly, if the figure is transferred to the lower right corner he seems to be facing the world rather than isolating himself – praying for a wider community.
In The Little Book of Contemplative Photography, the author, Howard Zehr, suggests an exercise that I find very helpful, especially to enhance my understanding of images – including my own. He suggests that once a week we spend at least 10 minutes with a selected photograph and then, he instructs;
‘As you do, consider three topics in this order:
1 I see (Describe: examine each object, each detail, the light etc. The associate: what are you reminded of by the shapes, juxtapositions etc?)
2 I feel (What do you feel as you look at the image?)
3 I think (Interpret and analyse)’
Obviously it is intended that the sequence can be applied to any photograph or work of art (or, indeed, any aspect of life!) but, for now, I invite you to examine the two pictures of the small sculpture below:
I recommend Zehr’s book. It is a slim volume, cheap, and includes a number of useful exercises.
It was a rare occasion in the UK , a collector’s item, a day without rain! There was intermittent sunshine and the sky patterns changed with the frequency of a child’s kaleidoscope. The surface of the pond in the sheep field shimmered in the cool January breeze and created distorted, painterly reflections of the nearby trees.
Each day we put out nuts for the birds. The feeder is suspended from a hook on an isolated metal rod. Even so, the squirrels climb up the rod and unhook the feeder so that it falls to the ground where it is even more accessible! But the feeder is round and however much they push it around the nuts remain at the lowest point and furthest away from the side and virtually impossible to get at. Meanwhile the blue tits look on – resenting the intrusion and waiting their turn.
Like the pencil in my previous post, this mug has been rescued from the debris on my desk and accorded ‘still life’ status.
Persistent bad weather, combined with disruptions caused by various festive activities, has created an opportunity for me to take time out to think afresh about my photography.
For example, I have recently been reading about ‘contemplative photography’ and, in particular, the need for a photographer to be visually aware of the immediate environment. Sitting back, and mulling over this and other related thoughts, I looked a little more carefully at the clutter of items on my desk – not merely what they were but where they were, their shapes, relationships, patterns in the chaos, reflections and shadows etc.
I used a cutout frame to visually isolate portions of the scene. By moving the frame around I was able to expose a plethora of images and patterns.
Spoiled for choice, I chose from the collection my pencil, accompanied by its shadow.
But that pencil is far more to me than an object to be photographed. We have been together for several years, during which it has been the conduit between my brain and the written word. It has its own memories, its own secret diary. I have difficulty with typing directly at the keyboard – I need to feel first the flow of pencil on paper.
At times my pencil has watched on, frustrated by my inability to find words to adequately express my thoughts.
How can I convey this in a picture?
It hasn’t really rained every day – but the breaks have been few and far between. (In the UK 2012 was officially the second wettest year since records began in 1912). But, in any case, the title of this post seemed very appropriate for twelfth night!! Besides, I like the patterns.
No further elaboration is needed – except perhaps to suggest that the low angle of the shadow provides a clue to the time of year.