I continue to be in the hanger and don’t expect to move out to the runway before the week’s end. I have had time to write and do some processing on photos in the last few days. Much like the rest of the country, today is a laborless day for me. I had a glorious weekend with good friends and we had plenty of time to catch up on a 40 year friendship. We dropped into our younger selves as if only 40 days had gone by. Now that’s eudaimonic 🙂
Since there hasn’t been any motorcycling this week, let me instead tell you about three photo shoots I did this year that easily could have been done with the motorcycle.
This past January I went to the Venice Bird Rookery, where a small island sits in a moderate size lake. From a distance the island doesn’t look like much. Look closer, however, and you see dozens of bird species hiding out among the tree limbs.
I went with my camera kit in tow hoping to spot some opportunities. Here are two photos I captured on this first trip (click on any image in this post to see a larger version, then click your back button to return here).
A second location I photographed in June was in Titusville, a small town not far from NASA. By motorcycle this would have been a four-hour ride each way, making it a two or three-day trip. I stayed at a bungalow right on the Indian River for a week. At first I thought there wasn’t much to photograph. This, however, is always the limitation of the photographer, never the location. Luckily, I had a week to resolve this internal limitation, and it was literally right under my nose: the back yard led to a pier where the owner parked his boat. Here are three of the photos I brought home with me, all from the bungalow backyard.
Sarasota beaches are another location for bird photography. The photographs from this third location were taken at Siesta Key Beach in July, just 20 minutes from my home:
Little did I know when moving here that Sarasota county is considered one of the great bird photography locations in the world. I suspect you will be seeing more local bird photography from me.
How we see the world photographically compared to how we ordinarily see it is one of the most important distinctions a photographer learns to make. Once you understand that the camera does indeed see the world differently than you, you can begin to use it as a sixth sense, i.e. an e-organ of perception (I suspect Apple would want to call it an ipercept). Its function, like all organs of perception, is to transduce your Surround into a meaningful signal for your conscious mind to use. Looking at it this way opens up interesting possibilities.
You may have noticed there are two styles of images here: the traditional photographic image, and the more painterly style; two different transductions of your Surround. The painterly style combines the camera and Photoshop into a unified tool of perception. As the photographer, I add the final piece needed to create an image by choosing what to render from the matrix of possibilities. This choice requires a taut balance between imagination and discipline if we are to avoid the rigidity of rules and the chaos of random choices. I know I am moving toward something worthwhile when I sense aesthetic echoes nearby. Practice teaches one to listen for these echoes and to be patient since they do not arrive on your timetable or at your preferred location.
I had no interest in doing anything with the pier and yet I kept getting drawn back to it sensing, “There is something here, why can’t I see it yet?” Persistence paid off as these shots were taken toward the end of my stay. I suspect much was happening in my unconscious, processing my thoughts and feelings even as I slept. Without those first few days of preparation, I don’t think I could have seen the potential in what was right in front of me. It is not that I could see the final photographs; I simply sensed the warmth and movement of what lay beneath the usual scene we all see. When I lift up reality and look underneath I never know exactly what I will find, only that it will be something that will take me to a place where I can discover photographs hidden from our day-to-day world. When I do, I want to find a way to bring them back into the light for everyone to see. I can at best symbolically hint at what lies beneath and must count on you, the viewer, to use them as such, as symbolic pointers to a world hidden inside every camera. This is why viewing a photograph is always a visual exchange requiring at least two people. It is a visual conversation that will take us outside our usual Surround.
I hope these photographs bring some pleasure for you that you can carry into the week.
May You Always Enjoy The Ride