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Tuesday, 05 December 2017


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I had a photo-free viewing day today as well. Sunlight and fog made for several great filter-light opportunities, a few raging creeks showed off, a peaceful domesticated meadow was trying to decide between fog and dappled sunlight, and a full-sunshine view of the lower Columbia River as water and tide met. The camera would have been nice! I took the camera out later but nothing came close to the photogenic morning that I was blessed to witness.

Your description of the contrail reminded me of one I saw in a crisp autumnal Parisian sky (I was in Paris for Beaujolais Nouveau Day): https://www.lechatartistique.com/shop/crescent-moon-and-contrails

It to was gone quite quickly indeed, as the sun dropped over the horizon for the day.


(Adding more words won't make it nicer)

I think of this almost every time I look at the Sandia Crest from Albuquerque. It has a different light and mood almost every time I look. If I had a better view from my house, I would probably try to get a picture a day to attempt to capture the many different moods.

- making marks that cannot be removed.
- not able to be forgotten or removed.

There are many moments when a camera would only detract from the experience.

I second Dillan! Right on!!

"These things remind me that before photography comes the joy and the wonder of simply seeing. It's one of the reasons for photography in the first place."

So important and true!!

In my personal work I have been trying to change my thinking a bit. I try not to "take" photographs but rather "receive" them.
Your piece speaks to this, at least it does to me. Sometimes it's perfectly OK to just be still, accept the gift and move on.

Hi Mike,

One of the few things I still enjoy about long highway trips is the opportunity to see hawks and eagles in their natural habitat. I used to think they liked hanging out near highways in order to catch thermals off of the asphalt, but lately I suspect it's more about finding easy prey. I gotta think that little furry animals are much easier to spot scurrying across a nice wide, paved right of way than in forest underbrush. And then too, I'm sure they don't mind picking up the stationary aftermath when moving vehicles do the hard part for them.

Years ago when our kids were little, there was an explosion in the local rabbit population. Several times when out running in the early morning I saw coyotes, with their unmistakable stiff-legged canter, running between houses and nearby fields. Around that time we also had several visits on our street, and once on the big tree in our back yard, from a hawk of some sort - not a common sight in a bedroom suburb, let me tell you. Incredible to see one of these creatures holding still for a few minutes, and up close enough to see his eyes, beak, and talons in detail.

It was probably the same bird who dropped in on our son's little league game, taking up a perch on the backstop behind home plate. He went mostly unnoticed for a minute or two before several kids (and even some parents!) started throwing balls and things at him to scare him off. He was unruffled at first, but then calmly took his leave when he'd seen enough. Would have served somebody right if he'd helped himself to the ball cap or toupee of one of his would-be tormentors.

No camera in hand for either of these close encounters, but luckily the memories are vivid enough.


best eagle encounter: Around 1999 I was in Homer, Ak., at "The Eagle Lady's" compound taking eagle pictures. She had a shed next to the area used for photography. There was an eagle on top of the shed.
He decided to fly away but misjudged his trajectory
and crashed into me. He was very embarrassed.

Oh, Mike, you've just about nailed it. For me photography is a release of the shutter in celebration of what I am privileged enough to see.

One of my most notable "unphotographed sights" involved a bald eagle as well. I was at Lost Lake Lodge in Minnesota, and I had taken a little kayak (a cheap one belonging to the lake resort; a better kayak would be beyond wasted on both me and on the glass-smooth water) out onto the small namesake lake. I had left my camera on shore, since my boating skills are such that I stood a fair chance of immersing everything I was carrying. (Yes, even on glass-smooth water; I am clumsy at the best of times, and I grew up in nigh-waterless Colorado.) While out on the kayak, I got to paddle alongside some loons and their chicks, and see a deer on the shore. While on the far side of the lake, I looked up and saw a huge adult bald eagle on a tree limb overhanging the water. I slowly moved closer to get a better look. It started giving me the avian equivalent of a stinkeye, so I just shipped my paddle and watched it. It watched me for a minute, then took off and flew over my head so close that I could feel the wind from its wings. Message received, big bird. I gave that tree (which I thought might be near a nest, after that) a wide berth for the rest of the vacation.

Years ago, deep into an artist residency in northern Michigan, I watched a Red Tail hawk drop and catch a branch, as in play, over and over again. Describing what I'd seen to the staff of the park was received as a tale brought forth from some archaic tome only opened around a prehistoric fire. I agree with Ken Tanaka, a camera, and it's inference, can often distract from the joy being.

"Before photography comes the joy and the wonder of simply seeing."

It is what I tell to myself everytime I'm too slow to take a photo.

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