Nature…

it’s already amazing!

lightning bolt across the sky

[inˈteɡrədē] integrity

The quality of being honest.

I had a moment this week when I saw an image posted by a respected, long-time photographer who had his start in the days of film, as did I. Now I have no issue with editing a digital photograph, particularly when you shoot it in RAW and the camera has not imposed it’s algorithm onto the image. SOOC (straight out of camera) is often waved as a badge of honor but those images, when shot in JPEG, have already been altered by the camera and the settings that you’ve pre-programmed. I used to be more judgmental about the digital editing process until I’d educated myself about it. Dunning-Kruger effect…google it for more information but essentially it breaks down into you don’t know what you don’t know until you learn more about the subject.

This image I saw was a nature one and was so edited that it hurt my eyes to look at it. As a test I took a similar image I’d taken and edited it in his style just to confirm my thoughts. It matched…I could make my image look identical to his “Oh my God, the most brilliant amazing _________ I’ve ever seen shot.”

Does it matter? Probably not, but as an ethical photographer it irks me. Why? Because it creates a completely unrealistic expectation with people who don’t know better.

The problem with this is, I recently had a photograph widely shared where one individual stated that I’d painted in the lightning strike. Is that possible? Yes. Had I done that? No. Have I ever done that? No. I’d crouched at the edge of a field during a lightning storm to get that shot. Today’s image is a new lightning shot and if you decide to try this, know the risks.

I’ll bring my rant to a close. Be ethical in your photography. I love beautifully edited images but if it’s digitally enhanced or filtered to death, why not admit that? If it’s a composite, say so. Nature is amazing enough as it is. That’s good enough for me.

Nature’s message…

from the atmosphere.

sundog over clouds with crepuscular rays

[pärˈhēlēən] parhelion

a bright spot, sometimes called a sundog, in the sky appearing on one or both sides of the sun, formed by refraction of sunlight through ice crystals

Sometimes when you hear news, whether it’s expected or a bolt from the blue, it’s tempting to look for a sign. Some kind of a message that gives hope that all is not black and white. That there are things we just don’t know yet. On that morning after, I chose to find a message high in the atmosphere. No accompanying halos, one lone sundog. Bright and beautiful, just as she was.

After the freeze on a mountain lake…

pattern [ˈpadərn]

a repeated decorative design

Nature tells us everything that we need to know if we take time to study it. This might be one of my favorite ice views, sculpted by bitter cold and intense winds. Well worth the icy fingertips…

As the year…

is winding down.

winding [ wahyn-ding ]

something with twists and turns

And what a year! This post brings my total of years blogging to five. It’s been a good practice for me and a joy to connect with people from all over the world. I so appreciate the feedback and I love sharing my natural world with you.

New for this month because you know I like to be in full swing of new projects by the end of the year. Focused and already in a routine by the first…

I have 18,340 words written for my book. I am one quarter of the way to my goal! It just means getting up a little earlier, and this time of year that means the day’s writing is well under way by sunrise.

What are your goals for the new year? I’d love to hear them.

Happy New Year and thank you for reading and following it’s (almost always) about the water!

Winter…

winds.

black and white landscape with snow and blowing wind

This world is but a canvas to our imagination.

Henry David Thoreau

The wind chill was -29 degrees Celsius, -20 Farenheit. Bitterly cold and bone chilling but as we descended into the valley I couldn’t resist jumping out to capture this minimalist landscape.

The hills were reminiscent of waves and I was reminded of my times at sea. Only during winter could a prairie landscape take on the characteristics of the ocean.

Nature is amazing…make time for it.

The amazing power…

of fossils.

A fossil is so powerful. It’s moving. This is my ancestor. The naturalist is moved by the fossil… not the cross.

Greg Graffin

It’s one thing to imagine life that inhabited the earth before our time and quite another to be surrounded by evidence of its existence.

A humbling and moving experience is how I would describe it. I can’t imagine the thrill of actually taking part in discovering evidence of lifeforms that existed 65-230 million years ago.

There’s a fragility about it all.

Kind of puts man in perspective: we truly are but a speck.

Kind of makes me revere nature all the more.

Nephology…

the study or contemplation of clouds.

mammatus clouds

Nature is ever at work building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing, allowing no rest but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form into another.

John Muir

I love a good storm. There’s something about it that makes you feel alive. It engages all of your senses in a way that never happens on a sunny, clear day.

Clouds scud across the sky and if you’re lucky some of the more unusual cloud formations appear. These mammatus clouds appeared ever so briefly, perhaps 4 minutes, but it was amazing to watch them develop and slip away into a swirl of gray.

So excited to add them to my ever growing collection of clouds.

A moment…

to remember.


If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.

Eleonora Duse

This week one of my blog followers lost a man very dear to her heart. As is often the case when I sat down this morning to write, one image seemed to fit. I know that she appreciated every day that she had and that is the message that keeps repeating itself. Louder each time so as not to be overlooked.

Live in the moment. Appreciate what you have right now. Don’t leave words unspoken and never wait for a better time to be happy.

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.

Top of…

the food chain.

BT 4-EditIn every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.

John Muir

Some people can go all of their lives and never see a glimpse of these top of the apex predators.

This year I’ve been on a roll, catching my first glimpse from 20 feet away. A chance encounter on foot that fortunately ended well, no cubs to protect or kill to guard. Considering that they’ve been clocked at 30 mph it makes 20 feet feel like a hop, skip, and a jump away.

When we first saw this most perfect of natural track traps laden with grizzly prints set by a layer of frost covering the wet mud, I almost had to remind myself to breathe.

Tracks are rapidly becoming something that I find great joy in photographing. I think in part it’s the transient nature and the luck involved with encountering them at just the right moment. Capturing them, these intimate landscapes, provides a permanent record that places like this still exist.

They tell a story as you follow them ever mindful that the beast that created them has been there and still might be. Interspersed amidst the grizzly tracks were tracks from  black bear, mountain lion, elk, and later on, those of my Staffords.

But soon the wind will blow and the snow will fall, erasing the signs that in the wilderness the wild is never far away.

Stay vigilant and always check your surroundings…