Monthly Archives: November 2012

land cloud earth air water and photography

slope ridge line light

Photography –a medium I first explored over three decades ago and now find myself coming back to again, is compelling. It is the appearance or illusion of what was seen –not seen by the naked eye but by the camera, as Garry Winogrand so aptly noted as he discussed photography while being filmed himself for a documentary on photography.

We can look at photography in another way, not the way the camera ‘looks’ at the world in that split second aperture opening, but the way the human being and the human eye explores and glances, focusing or not focusing at something. Each photograph I take asks, if it can be said that way, to be looked at differently. In the photo above, for the body/brain there is a gestalt here. There are worlds within worlds in this image in the way I experience it. There is abstract beauty, there is light, dance, majesty, tenderness, softness, a deep relax. I love what seems to me the visitors, the trees high up on the ridge drawing my attention and intersecting the ridge line, riding the slope of this arid mountainside.

I love the scale shift in detail from the foreground to the very distant space of the ridge on into the sky. The feel of the day that drew me out into its changeability is touched here in this photograph, for me. Something breathes more easily within me in the presence of this light and shadow illusion of a land and cloud scape. So where might we say this landscape exists?

As invisible

as an updraft, the eye soars

as the osprey’s flight

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The Land of Clouds

The other ‘land’

A new land was visible, as well as undeniably felt today. This land was a land of clouds, in perfect synergy with the geological, earthen land masses that appear so permanent and reliable. The cloud cover was ever changing today, reliably so. The play of light and shadow cast exponentially greater than the day or two before when I took in the simple play of afternoon light and shadow on the slopes of the Adams Gulch trail north of Ketchum (where I’ve been communing with animals for the last three weeks.)

It was as if I had arrived in a wholly new place. The clouds joining with, marrying, in a deep interplay with the curves and slopes of the mountains and hills and creek valleys everywhere around me creating a new order of scape. I was drawn to capture the shapes and the light and the feel of these ineffable contours again and again and again. Everywhere I turned, yet another land to move with, to be wafted by, lifted up while my feet remained with the ground below.

Dwelling place in the clouds

Where is it we dwell, truly? There is only one small portion of ground that our physical form rests down, touches down, meets contact with and makes real that place. All other aspects of space are perceived, even if they can be mapped, recorded, seemed to be held real ~ all these are simply a pointing to. Such is the magic of the cloud land or cloudscape, no maps are made of these.

Hiroshige Homage

In that way, clouds are akin to so many other changing thus not permanent things, not expected to remain the same. What is it about cloud nature that our brains so resonate with their phenomena? Are we not so much closer to cloud than steel or glass or even wood? We are so changeable by so, so many aspects and factors of life that shape us, constrict us, show us off, dissolve us, heighten and sometimes perturb us.

Permanently Changeable: Sky Dance

I will meet you here

We are at home in the sky

There no ladder climbs