beauty in an unlikely place
i tore off this sumac branch in order to photograph the other end, where four bare branches flared like mule deer antlers, and also had little hooking buds that made them look like bird claws, and instead, look what i found, in the unlikeliest place. it was like taking a bunch of photos of my puggle’s sad-ugly-expressive-cute face, and then accidentally snapping one photo of his butt, with his tail up over his back, and deciding that that’s where the real beauty lay.
against a white background
it took me a couple of years before i felt i understood what taking photos against a white background really meant. it wasn’t just a question of correcting the background of my photos so that it was a pure white that would be the same in every photo and therefore not look out of place as visitors scrolled through STILL blog. it was also a question of taking photos in the right light, so that the subject of the photo wouldn’t blow out, or pixilate as the background got corrected. this is a photo from my mature phase, where i was able to create a white background out of a slightly variegated sky, and still preserve all of the tiny branchlets forking off of all of those tiny branches. unfortunately, the high resolution version of this photo shows that much better, so you’re just going to have to take my word that i hit this one out of the park. also, there is a little bonus birdie up in those branches for any of you interested enough to hunt for him. enjoy.
paper birch branches against a white winter sky
in the future, we will grow our buildings from bulbs, and we will live inside their comfortable, bioengineered cells for a limited number of years, until it is time for them to return to earth, by which time we will have planted other bulbs, that will be waiting for us a little ways across town. our cities will all be temporary cities, near water, which we won’t pollute, and then those cities will be earth again, and we will generate energy from their slow deterioration. i ask you. is that more far-fetched, in the history of humankind, than a human being whose feet never touch the earth, who drinks only water filtered by the government because no other water is safe to drink, and who eats blended protein powder for breakfast?
paperwhite narcissus shoots (narcissus papyraceus)
i talk a lot about the design and the composition and sometimes the biology of what i shoot for STILL blog. but i don’t often talk about the whole point of this, which is to stop and look at one thing at a time. what this feather did for me was let me see, in the faint ripples of the far side barbules, an overcast lake shore on a calm day in november. not a very important observation on one hand, and on the other hand, taking the time to see that was the best couple of minutes of my day.
a human compulsion to create order
we have a large dining room table. it seats eight comfortably. but there are only three of us at home now. so, half of the table is usually covered with leftover nature and recent bits of STILL blog compositions. over the years, i have learned that if i set the table to for dinner, and kind of scooch an interesting collection of nature bits close to the plates. then someone will inevitably start sorting and stacking. that was my plan yesterday when i “carelessly” left a pile of driftwood within easy reach of dinner. by the time i’d finished the dishes, this had happened.