Reaching into Reality

Tree Light

There are moments in our lives … when we seem to see beyond the usual – become clairvoyant.  We reach then into reality.  Such are the moments of our greatest happiness.  Such are the moments of our greatest wisdom.  …

At such times there is a song going on within us, a song to which we listen.  It fills us with surprise.  It fills us with purpose.  We marvel at it.  …  These moments are the pinnacles of our experience, and it is the desire to express these intimate sensations, this song from within, which motivates the masters of all art.

~~ Robert Henri, The Art Spirit


Canyon Spring

Canyon Spring

Canyon Spring

One of the peaks of the grouping of mountains named Court of the Patriarchs in Zion National Park. The river in the foreground is the Virgin River.

Getting this shot with the river in the foreground and the mountains up above required me to come down a steep embankment and find a dry spot close to the river.

This envisioned photograph worked out because of a little sweat and a lot of desire!

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.

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.

Muley Point Red and Blue

It’s funny how we humans like to rate other humans with “best” lists like the Academy Awards, or the Person of the Year, or the Superbowl winners, or even   The Biggest Loser. Maybe we just need to deal with a finite number, because we would feel overwhelmed by considering everything or everybody.

Muley Point, View from Muley Point into canyons cut by the San Juan River, near Mexican Hat, Utah

“Muley Point”

To manage our comprehension of the wonders of nature, we have them in a list called the Seven Wonders of the World. Really?  Are there only seven?   Of course not.  Every day there are wonders all around us if we but open our eyes to them.

My practice of creating landscape photographs has made me more aware of seeing what is around me, and I am hyper-aware when on a trip to a place I’ve never seen before.  My last trip to parts of Utah and Colorado was to photograph some of the most beautiful and spectacular sculptures of nature I had never seen.

Trust me, there were many more than seven wonders!  Here’s one of “The Seven”  — watch for the other six that I’ll post over the next few weeks.