Rare…

and fleeting.

kelvin helmholtz clouds breaking overtop of snowy peak blue sky

Nature is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I remember as a child one of my favorite posters was of a cloud identification chart. It made such an impact that many years later I can still picture it in my mind.

Much like the ocean, the sky is like a huge canvas just waiting for the first brushstrokes to be laid and on this day there was something special planned!

These clouds are created in part by instability when wind is moving at different speeds in the upper and lower layers of a cloud resulting in a wave like appearance. They were named after physicists Lord Kelvin and Hermann von Helmholtz.

A special note that often appears in discussions about the rare and fleeting clouds is that they are believed to have inspired the cloud formations in Van Gogh’s Starry Night oil on canvas.

A reminder to take time every day to enjoy the beauty found in our natural world. These disappeared in a moment but for me, they will live on forever.

Truer words…

if there is magic.

looking into a river and seeing the patterns emerge as water flows over rocks blue green palette


If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.

Loren Eiseley

Eiseley was quoted as being a scholar and writer of imagination and grace. His reverence for the natural world and his eloquent and poetic way of writing about it is nothing short of inspirational.

I share his thoughts on water. It compels in me a strong desire to record its transient nature and its variant forms.

The image above is part of a series that I have some special plans for and I hope that it in turns inspires people to look, really look, at the beauty of our natural world.

Note: Those of you signed up to receive my blog by e-mail received a link that was not functioning correctly. My apologies, I will post that when it is corrected.

Delusion…

a better state of mind?

snow covered peak is on a rooflineIt is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.

Carl Sagan

I’m reminded of something that my optometrist once said to me as she marveled, you really don’t like your vision to be fully corrected do you?

Today I still find a lot of truth in that, I don’t want to see things as they are but as they could be and my cameras allow me that luxury.

It’s a constant struggle between the optimist in me and the voice of reality that roots for people to change and to somehow become what they’re really not.

But people don’t change do they? They are exactly who they are when the mask slips and you see what lies behind.

And no matter how much I would like it to be different, that beautiful snow-covered peak will always just be a roofline.

 

And the geek…

in me comes out.

clear transparent ice reveals the lily pads lying frozen above and beneath the surfaceWater is the key to life, but in frozen form, it is a latent force. And when it vanishes, Earth becomes Mars.

Frans Lanting

As temperatures continue to plummet all over the country I wanted to take a closer look at this image from a frozen spring fed lake.

It was captivating to stroll on the ice looking deep into its depths at the frozen tableau.

It feeds my fascination with water and how nothing is ever the same and each encounter shares something new.

This was congelation ice that forms underneath an existing layer of ice, building off the bottom. Then when the top layer melts, the clarity of the ice below is revealed.

And once again the natural world parallels human nature. Sometimes what you see on the surface doesn’t come close to what lies beneath…

Dwelling in…

conflict.

A used tire, coated in ice, litters the surface of Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho while others lurk below the surface.
What Lies Beneath © Sheryl R Garrison

Light is meaningful only in relation to darkness, and truth presupposes error. It is these mingled opposites which people our life, which make it pungent, intoxicating. We only exist in terms of this conflict, in the zone where black and white clash.

Louis Aragon

Looking at this image makes me think that there really isn’t much hope for humanity. The simplest concept that the earth could go on without us but that we can’t survive without its natural resources seems to elude a large percentage of the population.

Perhaps those are the same ones that love to dwell in conflict. Where everything is never enough and the concept of accountability is just a word that’s too long to pronounce. The conflict becomes too intoxicating to put down and common sense falls by the wayside.

But I digress…

I”ll likely not be around in 50 years but those tires sure will be.

It’s (almost always) about the water.

Do you wear your sunglasses…

at night?

dsc_1461-editThe countenance is the portrait of the soul, and the eyes mark its intentions.

Marcus Tullius Cicero

Beautiful words and a fascinating subject I’ve been exploring. Pupil dilation…perhaps the most important cue on behavior over which we have little control. They dilate in response to not just light but also in response to exploration and exploitation.

It wasn’t until photographing the kokanee during spawning that I realized that they died at the end of it and in this image, near death, the pupil was dilated.

Studies have also indicated that shuttering the pupil can have a detrimental impact on moral behavior by allowing a higher degree of perceived anonymity and my take away from that is to be far more wary of someone who keeps that feature hidden.

Social norms have taught us how to fake smile and feign interest but it would appear that there are clues that cannot be controlled…visual tells that extend far beyond the correlation of the smile reaching the eye.

I’m reminded of Gavin de Becker’s book, The Gift of Fear, that I read years ago while involved with Search and Rescue with my bloodhound. He spoke about that situation where you’re waiting for an elevator, the doors open to a large man inside and your gut tells you to not get in but your mind worries about insulting the person inside that elevator. What would you do?

We ignore signals that could protect us from violence on a continual basis and I’ll be giving more thought to those who shutter their eyes without an obvious reason.

The disconnect…

that keeps you from being a better artist…

dsc_2437-editLearning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.

William Pollard

So many of my blog posts lately stem from some great conversations that start out having nothing to do with photography. Like this one about how we learn and how the ability to see ourselves or our artwork with any degree of objectivity molds our progress, dictates whether our work evolves or stays stagnant. Weighty stuff over a morning coffee perhaps but that’s exactly the kind of spark that ignites my creativity.

It’s easy to get lulled into a false sense of security when you have supportive friends and family “liking” and “commenting” on your latest work. For me that’s an essential part of a supportive journey and greatly appreciated, but it has little to do with reality. The reality part is my responsibility.

This time of year I really like to take a hard look at my body of work and see how it’s grown over the year or even better, decade or more. That gives me the information that I need to continue to grow, to see the nuances in my work, and to be a better artist.

Some images still hold the test of time and can be pulled into current work easily while others show the importance of being able to turn a critical eye on your own work. We all have them, those ones from years ago that make you wonder what you were thinking. It’s good to have those reminders that hopefully show you how far you’ve come.

And that’s why some people move forward and create better work, while others stay exactly where they are. That disconnect in the ability to recognize what you do know and more importantly what you don’t because it’s recognizing that that propels your work forward and keeps you from stagnating in a pool of murky pond water.

Because you know…it’s (almost always) about the water.