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.

 

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.

 

On challenges…

and friendships.

dsc_3519-editYou’re going to find out who your friends are. Anything that happens in your life is one of those challenges. It may not be at the level of celebrity, but everybody’s going to travel that road.

Stanley A. McChrystal

There’s nothing quite like a divorce to give you clarity on the people in your life. I suppose the very nature of it forces choices upon people and that’s been the interesting part for me. And yes, I think it’s important to talk about this stuff, really important.

We’ve had some fascinating conversations lately delving into stories of friends old and new, and finding that while some have a “best by” date, others are the true definition of a friend. The experiences of the past two years have taught me things that I will use going forward and hopefully as a result, I will be a better and more supportive friend to those still in my life.  Interested in becoming a better friend?? Read on for three key points that could make a difference…

Top five most stressful life events include death of a loved one, divorce, moving, major illness or injury, and job loss. Any one these things can be extremely stressful, combine them and that’s really cause for alarm.

The narrative of the event can change and become something that no longer even     remotely resembles the truth.

We’ve both experienced this one where the reality gets white-washed with a fresh coat of paint and becomes the new, less incriminating version of what happened. Got a question about something? If you value the friendship at all ask, don’t assume that what you’ve heard is the truth.

Don’t know what to say?

How about a message or voicemail saying “Hi, I thought about you today, how are you?” We don’t always want to talk about “it” either, sometimes it’s nice to get out of our own heads and hear about what’s going on in your life. Moving forward from a traumatic event is an important part of healing.

Be aware that just because a person looks okay it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are okay.

Uprooting your entire life is tough stuff and the emotions go deep, some of us just hide it better. I’m grateful for my support team of friends who not only believed in me but looked after both my physical and mental health needs.

The image above was taken on New Year’s Day, one of the days that I make a tradition of photographing, often by myself in years past. For me it had all the right elements…bitter cold, blowing snow, and beautiful wintry colors. The symbolism of the empty road obscured in the foreground and vanishing into the distance was not lost on me.

Where some might see a bleak landscape I saw a clean slate, a road less travelled, and I took it, and as luck would have it I was with a friend.

This holiday season…

enjoy every moment.

DSC_3355-EditThe past, like the future, is indefinite and exists only as a spectrum of possibilities.

Stephen Hawking

This image brings to a close over 12,000 hits, four years of weekly blog posts, and a whole lot of changes.

I remember writing my first post and agonizing over the image choice and the words to accompany it. Today I realize that choices are just like pathways that we encounter on a daily basis and the more we get in touch with ourselves the easier it becomes to decide which one to take.

Today’s image was taken Christmas morning, just at the point when the sun was able to burn through the layer of fog shrouding the hoar frost covered landscape. It was reminiscent of one of my best selling images, Chair 6, captured from a chairlift on an equally foggy Christmas morning several years ago.

It’s those unique moments when a landscape becomes more than its physical self and is unlikely to ever look exactly that same way again.

For me that might have been the best gift of the day shared with a man who also shares my love for our natural world.

Photographing atmospherics is a passion of mine. It transforms a landscape and creates an image that speaks to infinite possibilities; a perfect image to accompany the approach of the New Year.

Stephen Hawking also encouraged us to be curious and to make sense of what we see, and to wonder about what makes the universe exist.

I am continually reminded to take each day as it comes, to make it count, and most of all, to never take it for granted.

Thank you to all who have been with me from the beginning and to those who have joined me along the journey.

May your New Year be filled with joy and a spectrum full of possibilities!

Winter Solstice…

a perfect time to reflect on the year.

DSC_2745-Edit-2-3Let the dawns

come late,

let the sunsets

arrive early,

let the evenings

extend themselves

while I lean into

the abyss of my being

Joyce Rupp Winter’s Cloak

I love the starkness of a winter landscape when the trees are laid bare.

I love the extra time in the mornings to look at the night sky.

I love the feeling of solitude that comes with ours being the only tracks on a blanket of fresh snow.

For those celebrating the Winter Solstice, I hope your day is filled with peace, love, and joy.