Architect…

as a verb.

DSC_1817-Edit-2It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam.This crisp winter air is full of it.

John Burroughs

I watched an inspiring speech by Mathew McConaughey this week, thank you LH for posting it, that talked about being the architects of our own lives. To not do the things that put our souls in jeopardy. To find out who we are not in order to then learn who we are.

Timing…sometimes that’s the critical element that allows a message to really sink in and for me the timing was right to hear words about simplifying my life.

Every time I pick up a camera I choose very deliberately what will be within that framework so why then is it so difficult to use that same process in life?

We are each as individual as the snowflake pictured above. We each value and follow different paths in search of that which brings happiness and contentment. If we were to compare those snapshots of our lives each would look entirely different.

Following along the lines of last week’s blog post of a self-portrait, I am going to spend more time treating my life as a photograph, carefully framing its elements, removing those that no longer suit, and filling it with those things that feed my soul.

Architect as a verb…that works for me.

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 fromĀ  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…

Is it art…

just because we say it’s so?

DSC_1027-Edit-EditBefore the people at large, and for that matter, the artists themselves, understand what photography really means, as I understand that term, it is essential for them to be taught the real meaning of art.

Alfred Stieglitz

Had some interesting conversations lately about art; what it is and what it is not.

Is it the piece of dryer lint tied with thread and given space at a gallery? Or perhaps it’s the old sheet hung on the wall with a word written on it? Is it assembly line production of paper and glue?

Is it art because it matches your sofa cushions? Is it art because you cut an old RV in half and applied social commentary to it? Does the quality of the material used elevate the work?

The very definition of art, the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination would lead me to believe that there are more components involved than the simple desire to be called an artist.

Recent art exhibits seemed to be accompanied by lengthy bios on the artist and the creative process that resulted in some of the exhibits mentioned above leading me to wonder is it art if it has to be explained to you in advance of the viewing?

For me whatever I’m looking at, my own work or that of others, first and foremost it has to evoke some sort of emotion and secondly the creation of the piece has to have some component of skill and intention involved.

Art or craft…always a hot topic. I’m grateful for artists like Stieglitz who paved the way for photography as an art form.

There was a man with great passion, talent, and intention and I would have loved to shadow him for just one day as he worked.

Who moves you? What motivates you to create and not just replicate?

Resilience…

in the aftermath.

DSC_0011-2In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.

Aristotle

We were in Waterton National Park last fall and left the day before the park was closed due to a rapidly approaching forest fire that ultimately burned over 47,500 acres.

This summer upon my return I was pleased to see the resilience of nature. Bright bits of green and wildflowers brightened the scarred landscape and all around you could see signs of recovery.

Life is about challenge and waiting for a completely clear path is immobilizing. For every obstacle that is removed another will inevitably take its place.

For me this image is a visual reminder that not everything is permanent and that the quality we need to strive for is resilience.

Adaptation in the face of adversity.

 

 

 

I believe…

in magic.

DSC_8746

Believe you can and you’re halfway there.

Theodore Roosevelt

I believe that we never feel as old as we actually are and that it is never too late to start over again.

I believe that a soul mate exists and that they are someone who accepts every quirky thing that makes you who you are and loves you in spite of those things.

I believe that the sky is one big canvas that on some days remains blank, lacking in inspiration, and on other days blows your mind with beauty and creativity.

I believe that it’s the challenges that make us grow.

I believe in celebrating each day.

What do you believe in?

 

Two Staffords camping…

and instinctual warning.

 

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Trust your instinct to the end, though you can render no reason.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Some people never get to see a bear in the wild. I consider myself very lucky to have seen nine on my camping trip so far. Granted a couple were a little too close for comfort but being with someone who has had a lot of experience around them has been invaluable. It may have even stopped me from being lunch for a Grizzly!

This black bear, number seven, was brought to our attention by my Staffordshire Bull Terriers as he ambled by our camp, hidden by thick growth, a mere 20 paces away.

Their behavior has changed since their first bear encounter and now with noses in the air and throaty growls we know that we are in the presence of a bear.

Game little dogs those staffys and as always, I am amazed by their instincts.

 

Like paint…

off the end of a brush.

DSC_9462-Edit

Energy and motion made visible-memories arrested in space.

Jackson Pollock

Sometimes it’s her office; other times her place of sanctuary. As we glided across the smooth surface it wasn’t the scenery enveloping this beautiful lake that caught my eye, it was the swirling of imagery through the water. There one moment and erased the next by a single sweep of the paddle.

Paint flowing off of the end of a brush onto a blue canvas.

I like to capture something different in a landscape. I look for those things that are fleeting and not repeatable, often imagining how many times a landscape has been photographed exactly the same way: same light, same settings, same perspective.

It’s almost always about the water…