Rock Legends

Rock Plus Two

Rock Plus Two

On a recent trip to Lake Powell, Arizona/Utah, I was hiking and looking for a photographic composition to capture my wonder at this place.  And I saw these two rocks holding hands on a great smooth rock.  I took the shot and have wondered why I so much like to photograph rocks.

Being of Capricorn persuasion, I am inclined to structure, tradition, achievement, austereness.  Of the four elements — fire, water, air, and earth — I am earth.  To me, a photograph of a rock is a small record of an instant in time on earth.

I have come to revere the silence and relative permanence (or simply the extremely slow rate of change for human perception) of the rocks.  My car may last 10 years, my home 100 years, my city 1000 years, my planet – I don’t know.  The rocks are changing too.

The pace of change we humans have now created flashes by in a world of tweets and likes, facespace, mybook, mytube and yourtube, and news cycles that are shorter in life span than a fruit fly.  We love seeing people get kicked off the island (or the runway, kitchen, dance floor, etc,) .  We can now make a video of ourselves and loved ones.  An almost instantaneous record of what is happening NOW, for all to see for as long as the bits are stored on a disk drive in a computer, and the facebook accounts are still open.

But who sees the changes of the rocks?  And how did they get that way?  They have left us a record of their state now, but how did they get here?  These two rocks were (and probably still are) sitting out on a smooth place on another rock, brought here by – an avalanche?  — a flood? – a thawing iceberg?  And how long will it take for them to become sand, scattered over the surface of the earth by the chaotic movements of the wind and rain?  What really is their history?  Are they brothers, sisters, lovers?

When we are young, we think our physical bodies are immortal, like the rocks.  As we get older, we know that we are here in these bodies but a nanosecond compared to a simple rock.

I do appreciate their history and mystery, even though it is unknown, as much as the history and mystery of my very own soul.

New Mexico :: Georgia O’Keeffe Country

Sun Kissed

Sun Kissed

Tomorrow I’m heading over to Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico, to teach a week of Digital SLR Photography in Georgia O’Keeffe country. I look forward to spending time in that most beautiful landscape, sharing this passion with a new group of participants.

Hosta Cuddle

Hosta Cuddle

Hosta Cuddle

I was running out of inspiration in my photography.  My last “photography trip” was way back in early March 2011, and the next one would not be for a year or more.  No one was buying my photos, and no one was enrolling in my workshops.  I was getting very few “Likes” on my posts.  I was thinking why do this at all.  Who cares about these images anyway?  There are trillions of them on the internet, and why bother?

Yesterday when I was walking up my driveway after a day at the office, I heard the singing of a Cardinal up in the sky somewhere.  I stopped and listened and looked until I saw him, sitting way up on my TV antenna.  Then I smiled and whistled back.  Was he singing for me?

Last Saturday I was at the Chicago Botanic Garden, to shoot some pictures of the flowers and plants there.  Initially, I was walking around in the grip of the mind’s chatter — “Find pretty flowers … in soft light  … with uncluttered backgrounds … and get their names  … and won’t everybody just love it  … and blah blah blah blah blah.”

But then, by walking around, by myself, just being still and letting the plants attract me (letting my heart attract them?), by just walking around and noticing my feelings, my mind’s focus was directed to a group of hostas perched quietly along a stairway under a canvas tent.  Their stillness and apparent contentment with their position, leaf curling against leaf, created in me a feeling of appreciation that these flowing, unspectacularly green ripply plants had accepted their destiny to put on a display —  today — now  — just for me, because everyone else had passed them by.

So what is the purpose of a plant growing or a bird singing or a Harry making a picture?  Is it to win awards, recognition, appreciation from other people? I think not.

I think, when we are still, we are all inspired to do what feels good to us, and I should not forget that for me it feels good to pour some of my life into creating a thing of beauty.  Like the Cardinal singing his song.  Like the hosta leaf growing and cuddling with her sisters.

I will remember to focus my mind on these things, before focusing my camera.

Juried Artist Exhibition Selection

Water Color

Water Color, Cannon Beach, Oregon

My image “Water Color” was selected for the Open Lens II exhibit at Gallery 7, Joliet, Illinois.

Open Lens II is Gallery 7’s 2nd Annual Juried Exhibit of Photographic Fine Art.  Over 535 images were submitted by more than 90 artists from across the country.  The exhibit features 68 images selected by 2 jurors with a Best of Show Award, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place Awards, 6 Honorable Mention Awards, and Purchase Awards honoring more than 10 Artists and images.  The exhibit features an Opening and Closing Reception and is open for  viewing by the public and invitees over the course of the exhibit.

The Exhibit Opening Reception is today, June 4, 2010 from 6:00 PM to 9:00PM.  The exhibit runs through the July 15, 2010 Artists Closing Reception.

About Gallery 7

Gallery 7 is a Fine Art Gallery in the Rialto Arts District in Historic Downtown Joliet.  Located just one door north of the historic Rialto Theater, Gallery 7 features Fine Art Photography, Fiber Art and other artworks.  It is a collaboration of nine member and associate member artists.  The gallery is open 11 AM to 2 PM,  Monday through Friday, for receptions and by appointment.  Call 815.726.1840 for appointment openings.  Address:  Gallery  7, 116 N Chicago St, Suite 102, Joilet, Illinois.

Mesa Arch Starburst

Mesa Arch Sunburst

Sunrise on Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Mesa Arch is such a popular location in Canyonlands National Park, I had to get up very early to get a spot to photograph the arch before all the other photographers and tourists arrived.  Ahhhh — Nature!

It was a beautiful sight.  This image is actually an HDR composite of 2 images.  The trick is to take one shot exposing for the close side of the arch before the sun comes up, and another when the sun comes up with the aperture closed down to about f3o, which makes the arch look pretty black.