Tag Archives: Dreher Island

He Said, She Said

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I posted some pictures of “spring” that I received during my walk through the Dreher Island State Park on Thursday. Folks, it’s FEBRUARY, and I was wearing a short sleeved T-shirt. Temperatures are almost 80 degrees! It was gorgeous. My “fan club” appreciated them; I received a few “likes” and “Loves” and “Wows” and a couple of comments. And then, there was this:

You are an artist, lady.

This comment came from a colleague with whom I had taught for quite a few years. He taught chemistry and physics, and, interestingly enough, he has degrees in theology as well. And he said, “you are an artist.”

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My first response was (in my head), “Boy, do I have you fooled!” My written response was, “Well, thank you. It’s a passion.”

Like so many others I know, I have trouble accepting that label: “you are an artist.” I tend to compare my work to the work of other photographers, both amateur and professional, friends in-person, and friends on-line; and I feel that I come up short.

Last night, I stepped back a bit. I looked at the images I created. I thought a bit about what art is. And here is what I’m thinking this morning, at the edge of a weekend. Art is the way we share our vision of the world. For some, that sharing comes through painting or sculpture or sketching and drawing, through cooking and recipes, through musical compositions or performance, through writing poetry or novels or essays or nonfiction or drama; through acting, through designing and building—I’ve discovered there is an art to hammering a nail straight into a board! (I don’t have that art.)

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I choose to see beauty in the world, and my photographs receive that beauty. I, like so many, can get caught up in the “big picture”—the sight of that majestic pine that has stood in place for years and years and years; the expanse of water where it meets the horizon, a whole field of sunflowers or grain. . . . But then there are the details, that cluster of “baby pine cones” (did you know they are pink?), the end of the stamen covered with thick yellow pollen standing out like spider legs, the amazing depth of blue sky, white clouds rimmed with gray (for contrast!).

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I suppose I am an artist. I have “the art of seeing” and receiving those images reminds me that there is beauty everywhere.

O Wind, If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

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Anyone who knows me, knows that my received my Masters degree in English literature, specializing in the literature of the nineteenth century. I love my Romantic poets—Keats, Shelley, Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, the Pre-Raphaelites, the Brontes. . . . . The more Gothic, the better!

When I am walking and looking for images to receive in my camera, I tend to think in terms of poetry, especially metaphor and symbolism, mood, setting. Those elements speak to me somehow, and at times, I do think that photography is, as Chris Orwig says, “visual poetry.”

This winter has been gloomy—cloudy, rainy, wet. More often than not, I’ve been kept indoors by the rain than by the cold. In terms of temperature, it’s been a mild winter. Just WET!

But lately, I’m seeing signs of spring. I went for a walk through Dreher Island State Park yesterday as well as through my backyard. Shelley had it right. When there is winter, spring is not far behind.

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Here is Shelley’s complete poem:

Ode to the West Wind

Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1792 – 1822

I

O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou,
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed

The wingèd seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow

Her clarion o’er the dreaming earth, and fill
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
With living hues and odours plain and hill:

Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
Destroyer and Preserver; hear, O hear!


II

Thou on whose stream, ‘mid the steep sky’s commotion,
Loose clouds like Earth’s decaying leaves are shed,
Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean,

Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread
On the blue surface of thine airy surge,
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head

Of some fierce Maenad, even from the dim verge
Of the horizon to the zenith’s height,
The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge

Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre
Vaulted with all thy congregated might

Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere
Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: O hear!


III

Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
Lulled by the coil of his crystalline streams,

Beside a pumice isle in Baiae’s bay,
And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
Quivering within the wave’s intenser day,

All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou
For whose path the Atlantic’s level powers

Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear
The sapless foliage of the ocean, know

Thy voice, and suddenly grow grey with fear,
And tremble and despoil themselves: O hear!


IV

If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share

The impulse of thy strength, only less free
Than thou, O Uncontrollable! If even
I were as in my boyhood, and could be

The comrade of thy wanderings over Heaven,
As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed
Scarce seemed a vision; I would ne’er have striven

As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
Oh! lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!

A heavy weight of hours has chained and bowed
One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.


V

Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
What if my leaves are falling like its own!
The tumult of thy mighty harmonies

Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!

Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth!
And, by the incantation of this verse,

Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unawakened Earth

The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

This poem is in the public domain.

Tuesday Photo Journal

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I am working through Kim Manley Ort’s Photo by Design online course again. I had a delay in getting started, but I am catching up. In the first week, we looked at the effects of light and shadow in our photographs, and I found myself paying more attention to the quality of the light. I found that, as I paid more attention to the light around me, I was better able to set white balance both in the camera and during post processing.

Last week, we focused on lines. This is probably the most challenging for me. I see lines; however, I have trouble capturing the lines in ways that express my intentions.

This week, the emphasis is on shapes. And this is where I found myself really enjoying the lessons. I first began looking through my archives to see if there are any patterns that I could readily identify. Two weeks ago, I received this image of a morning glory. The first thing I noticed was the heart-shaped leaves, which also are triangular. The placement of the leaves around the blossom also create a triangular frame for the flower itself.

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Then this morning, while I walked through Dreher Island State Park, I found additional examples of shapes, lines, and light. As I looked for images, patterns of three and five, triangles, hearts, and spirals appeared everywhere in nature.

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Photography by design is not just about the designs we see in the subjects, but it’s also about how we design the image. One of the problems of walking through a state park that is an island is that sometimes, it’s hard to get close to the subject without stepping in the water. But I gave it my best shot!

I have no idea what this shrub is, but I love the orange flowers.untitled

The petals are somewhat circular and curved; the stems are lines that bring the eye to the flower. The flowers also form lines that draw the eye down the photograph.