Autumn water

Finally back at Jamaica Pond now that the weather is walkable. And it feels different, more autumnal, quicker to chill, easier to feel the cut of the wind through layers. Yet it is a pleasure to be back, especially now that summer’s detours are mostly finished.

There’s something that happens to leaves and such debris when covered with water, something that accentuates the colors and that portrays movement, at least a bit. And I love what happens to light. I can’t seem to find the words but come to think of it, I just look, I don’t need the words after all...

Next time I will share some lovely pictures of the Pond and the island and boathouse. But today I was drawn to the Pond’s edge, a familiar place for me recently. This less familiar landscape is worth exploration, too.

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Different ripples

Walking along the Muddy River on a day threatening rain, wind lifting leaves and stippling the water. It was a sweet day for a walk in spite of the gray. It’s called a river but to my eye, the Muddy River barely flowed, mostly it seemed to behave like a pond. (It wasn’t muddy either, come to think of it…) As a river, it was still susceptible to ripples. We encouraged them by throwing sticks and rocks, being careful to avoid the ducks.

Is this shot different in some significant way from the ones I’ve shown from Jamaica Pond? I’m not sure. In fact, I’m not sure if these continuing reveries on water and reflections are breaking any new ground. I feel a bit as though it’s time to move on to something new.

What do you think? Is there anything here that you haven’t seen before? Does it make a difference to you if there isn’t? Do let me know in the comments below.

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Yet another...

By now you’ve probably figured out that I like reflections. And this recent visit to Ward’s Pond was quite productive, as witness the last several entries. The Pond itself is covered in some ugly slime for most of its surface but there is a spot where the water heads down to join the Muddy River (I think) where there is a small beach and it’s a great place to shoot.

What appeals to me as I looked at this image - and it was when I was processing it that I noticed it, not when I shot it, surprisingly enough - is that it almost appears as if the image is upside down. Forget that it’s a reflection for a moment and turn it over. The lily pads are on the bottom, as you might expect, and the tree branches (forgetting for the moment that they’re reflections) are on top. The world is right again!

What’s fun for me is playing with this perspective. I enjoy the resolvable confusion of the image, knowing that if I look long and carefully enough, I can figure out what’s going on. (I wish that were the case with other aspects of life.) I love the power of careful looking - almost as much as I love the incredible array of early autumn greens that show up.

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Another reflection

Here is a branch. Here is its reflection. The two are intimately connected. So what happens when you throw a stone in the water, right underneath the branch?

That’s the magic!

The ripples of water transform the static reflection into a moving picture. It’s hard for me to find the words but it has to do with possibility - the prospect of movement coming from the tossing of the stone and the reaction of the water - endless ripples!

If you walk around Jamaica Pond at all frequently, I probably know the particular branch in this image. The tree is old and not in good health. But it has been memorialized frequently as the tree continues its descent.

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Late summer

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Somewhere between Woods Hole and North Falmouth, on the bike trail, we encountered this spot, a wild flurry of grasses, seemingly getting in one of their last rounds of soaking in the sun.

Most people were looking the other way, toward the water, the Bay with Martha’s Vineyard in the distance, with wind surfers and ferry boats cutting across the horizon. That was fun to look at, the ever-changing surface of the water planet.

Yet, I was attracted to the grasses and their quiet plant work of taking some of our extra carbon dioxide and turning it into oxygen. That’s what we need right now, you know. But plants don’t boast or puff themselves up about it. They just do it.

And look intriguingly beautiful at the same time!

Buildings

Walking down Amory Street toward Green, there are a series of warehouses and parking lots. Plenty of chain-link fencing and big rigs waiting for their next load. In other words: not the usual place I go to shoot, or refresh my soul and reconnect with the natural world.

So what gives?

Actually, nothing. I was in the neighborhood meeting a friend. Since I had the camera, I thought I’d see what I could see. At first, I thought I’d cross the street to the park that surrounds the Orange Line tracks. That would give me trees and shrubs, familiar territory. Then it occurred to me that I might find something interesting at a distance from the familiar. So I kept walking.

In a way, this shot reminds me of a landscape. It’s a very particular place with a distinct balance and rhythm. What appeals to me about this scene is the focus on geometry. I love the array of reds in various sizes and shapes. The space feels personal and well-used if not particularly looked at by those who use it.

This is what often appeals to me in my work - finding beauty (or at least good design) is unexpected places. I’m pleased I took the time!

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Trees and mist

These are both from the trip to southern India last winter. They were taken at the Periyar Nature Reserve in Kerala province. I’ve spent a reasonable amount of time in the woods over my lifetime and it was surpassing odd to be in a forest without any (or many) familiar trees. Their branches and how the leaves hung seemed subtly different from what I expected. And the presence of very large animals from time to time added to the surreal feelings.

This top shot was selected for an exhibition later this month at the Cambridge Art Association. When I learned one of my works had been accepted, I drew a complete blank on what I had submitted. After I wracked my brain for some time, I decided it was the second of these 2 images, and I was pleased since I had worked hard on that image and liked it a lot. Given my confusion, I decided to check online and found, to my surprise, that it was the top image - and that I hadn’t even submitted the second! It’s a sign of how my opinions of my work changes over time!

Rest assured that I’m going to improve my record-keeping in this area

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Uncurated Art

I’ve spent a lot of time over the years looking at the world through a camera lens and seeking out assemblages that, through the act of framing, stand out as strong images, looking at things that I don’t usually think of as “art” or even worthy of shooting.

So I’m used to having that focus, that discipline, to keep looking and not assume that some collection of miscellaneous stuff is not worthy of closer examination.

Yesterday, walking around the Pond without my camera (what I call my “big camera” although it is elegantly small), I noticed some roots beneath my shoe that appealed to me and took a shot with my phone. I had several thoughts: first, this is almost a wonderful composition - not quite but awfully close! And second: who cares! This is the raw beauty of our world, perhaps not breath-taking but it is the stuff we live with and live around. The world wouldn’t work in the same way without it.

I’m glad I noticed! And we are blessed to be able to walk among these.

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People at the Pond: summer

I’ve found myself shooting people who seem particularly engaged in their experience of the Pond. Yes, I know, that’s my judgment and I employ that criterion quite loosely. These are in the nature of street photography, although in this case, it’s more pond photography but that is a confusing (if not silly!) label so I’ll avoid it.

I’m not sure where the convention of street photography generally being black & white originated and, at the moment, these feel a bit affected. When you shoot digital, you’re usually shoot with a color view in the LCD so the act of making the shot black & white is done in post-processing. I’ve no problem with that but I can’t say these shots were visualized in camera as black & white. Then again, if they work, who cares?

Do they work? I’ve accumulated a body of these shots, several dozen from the Pond, and I’ve never shown them. Honestly I’m not sure what I think of them. As I body of work I enjoy them more than any individual one. Yet there is something there that I keep coming back to.

Let me know what you think of these? Are there particular ones that appeal? Or ones that you don’t care for? I’d love to hear!

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Obscured view

So many landscape images are vistas - sunsets or sunrises rich with color and dramatic clouds, exciting and fun to look at. I’ve taken my share of them - and you’ll find some on my site (for example https://www.marcoclicks.com/#/a-small-island-in-the-pond-2/).

I’ve tried from time to time to look for smaller vistas: sections of rotting logs or composting leaves or fungus on concrete walls. They are more abstract but they are more evocative, perhaps because they require us to sort out what we’re looking at even though we find the color and composition appealing.

And here’s another twist: lately, I find myself drawn to the piles of rocks randomly set around the Pond and have been trying to figure out how to shoot them. This shot is the first that is, I think, close to how I feel about them - they are interesting even if they don’t take your breath away. The leaves partially obscuring the view helps me see that this isn’t a big deal vista.

I may look at this image and what I’ve written in a week or a month and wonder why I posted this shot. I’m not sure how I feel about it and it usually takes some time for that to crystalize. In the meantime, let me know if the image or the words resonate for you.

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Back to the Pond

As you may know, having read some earlier entries, I departed from my habit of writing and showing images of Jamaica Pond. Today, after that brief hiatus, here we are back at the Pond.

Did you ever notice how much blue there is in the rocks lining the edge of the Pond? In this image, that blue is accentuated, a bit more than you would see if you were looking at it through your own eyes.

It doesn’t bother me that it’s not completely color accurate and I hope you’re open to seeing beyond what is actually there. Photography has rarely been about recording reality but since the maturation of digital imaging, it is even less of that. With that in mind, I offer no excuse for altering reality! I like it this way, end of story.

Now, out of respect for those who may have a different view of or expectations for photography, I’ll also include a shot of the island in the Pond that is more color accurate - and, by the way, a lovely shot. It’s a morning view, several hours after sunrise, and the colors are what that morning sunlight brought to the picture! Quite lovely!

Hope you like ‘em both!

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Clouds

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Second post in a row that’s not from Jamaica Pond! Alarming? Not really. This is in Western Mass, in the Berkshires. I got up high enough that I was able to get a great view of the sky.

You may remember from some of my “Pond edge” shots earlier this year, that I love seeing the clouds reflected in the water. Well, big surprise - turns out they’re fun to look at right side up! What you miss in this shot is the wind that whisked these clouds across the horizon with great speed.

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I love the play of the “soft” clouds against the “hard” landscape of trees. They work well together.

Here’s another shot, same day, pretty much the same clouds. Not sure how I feel about the missing landscape. Some days I prefer it, other days, seems like something’s missing.

Thoughts?

Light

A departure from my usual haunt, this time we were walking in the Arboretum on a recent sunny, humid, almost-hot day. When we noticed a path off to the right and up the hillside, the prospect of shade made it an easy decision.

We walked up a somewhat steep incline on a rough but serviceable utility road that leveled out after several hundred yards or so. I’d been looking at my feet to avoid roots and rocks.

Then I looked up and saw this simple woodland scene. Dappled light through leaves making patterns on the ground and peeking through the trees. The play of dark and light, the mix of vertical and horizontal branches and trunks, the clouds peeking through the trees - all of these elements added such richness and complexity to what I was looking at. Suddenly it wasn’t as simple a scene as I first thought.

I have a feeling that there are lots of situations like this if I would stop to notice. This day I did!

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Change

In the old days, like until last March or thereabouts, when I walked around the Pond, I mostly shot that lovely little island with one or several willow trees on it. (The island was made by people, by the way, but that’s a story for another day.)

So this shot is a bit of a throwback. I made a calendar of shots of the Pond last year, mostly shots of the island and I may do that again this year. So I’ve been shooting that island for quite some time. It changes from season to season and with different perspectives and times of day and weather conditions and the lens I’m using and, it' seems, my frame of mind.

It’s a delight to see the island’s trees so well leaf-ed out. There was a time when it wasn’t clear the trees would survive some rough, windy weather. I’m pleased to notice that the island seems to thrive even in the face of calamities.

Let’s hope we humans are as lucky…

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Again...

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Here we are again, with another one of these images of the edge of Jamaica Pond. I keep thinking there’s nothing left that is new for me to see or capture when I find one that surprises me, takes my breath away.

This one seems almost solid, or rather it feels like gelatin to my eyes, although it was free flowing water right at the shore. The colors are pretty close to what I saw there. (Do I care? Actually, not that much…)

So I guess I’ll keep walking around the Pond and shooting at the edge and seeing what comes up for me. It’s a constant source of amazement that there is such a variety of ways in which similar elements can arrange and rearrange themselves. That’s the part of this that holds the greatest learning for me - that there is an endless array of possibilities, of creative visions that can unfold if I can just pay attention.

Incongruous

You’ve probably figured out that we’re not looking at Jamaica Pond, my more usual subject! Duh…

I was struck by this image, shot in Philadelphia down the street from my daughter’s new apartment. There’s a lot going on here - the interplay of old and new, of natural and human-made, of horizontal and vertical, of commercial and residential. Some of these are familiar juxtapositions but others are new and I’m not sure what to make of them.

I notice how these attributes dance with one another, especially if I don’t come to them with judgment. True, I am more fond of brick for building than steel. Yet, letting go of that and my other preferences, allows for the possibility of seeing and feeling things that I might otherwise miss.

So while it is incongruous, it is also, in some small way, worthy of celebration.

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Summer green

It’s mid-summer and the burst of spring foliage has matured to its full expression. Walk around the Pond and you are overcome with the array of leaves and blossoms and roots, it’s all there along the paths.

You can see I’m still looking for reflections. Having started this focus on reflections in the fall, I’m forced to become more selective, to make sure I’m not repeating myself. I love the nuances and there’s a place for them, but I prefer to focus on what I haven’t seen before. And each season has brought a different slant on reflections.

Thus this image! There’s something about the flowing nature of the reflection and of course the color, that seems to set it aside from the others. I hasten to add that this is a very recent image and my opinion of it may change after a few weeks. I love all the new ones but that sometimes fades.

What do you think?

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Old shot

I’m feeling a little hassled, which is unfortunate since I spent three days last week at a yoga retreat. But I’m falling behind my self-imposed schedule so when I went rifling through my image files to find a shot for this post, I grabbed the first one I found, this one. I took it in 2002 at a beach in Maine where my young daughter and I went for a few days of vacation.

You probably can’t tell that it was one of those cold, dank days in late summer, which explains why the beach was deserted, except for gulls. We walked for a while and then left to get my 7 year old kiddo a hoodie since she was freezing.Not exactly the beach day she was hoping for…

I don’t think we felt as forlorn as this image might read. But clearly it was a day better suited to the likes of gulls.

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The next phase

Yet another walk around the Pond, and the thought entered my head that perhaps this series of shots of the edge, where water and shore meet, maybe that project is over. I started in the fall and walked and shot through the winter and into spring. Summer didn’t seem to hold anything new, I thought today.

I thought, that is, until I worked up today’s images. They feel…summer-y: is the palette or the design? I”m not sure and, get right down to it, it doesn’t matter. But a series that I thought was complete has entered another phase, just as the year has.

What a wonder!

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Somewhat the same

Maybe it’s because I haven’t been shooting that much lately so the options for posting here are considerably more limited than usual. Still, I do really enjoy this image, which, in some ways, resembles the previous one. Same red hue under water (although none of those delightful rain drops). There’s the same red roots although here you see more of the land, which might help if you were scanning quickly to get a better sense of what you’re looking at.

There’s something to be said for looking at different views of a scene. There are things I didn’t see in the earlier shot that seem more clear to me in this one. That seems to enhance my enjoyment of both of them, they play off each other.

If this sounds like an excuse to choose a photo, it may be exactly that! The bottom line for me is that I like this shot and I’m sharing it with you!

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