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