Posts Tagged ‘seeing’

My Favorite Photograph

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

untitled-1022-2, a camera technology company , recently posed the question: what is my favorite photo among all I’ve taken? This is like asking me what my favorite experience is. I absolutely cannot choose. But, I’m selecting a recent favorite from a wonderful adventure in Alaska.

This photo was taken on that cruise that so many have taken through the inland passage, where the views of glaciers and the big, big landscape of Alaska are so stunning. This scene appeared to me when we were on our way out of Glacier Bay, the most dramatic views of calving ice behind us, and the day almost done.

For me the beauty and power of photography is not about the technique, but is always about the gift of new sight. After about 40 years of serious photography, I am still stunned when something appears to me in a form that looks new.

In this case, the mountainside appeared to be curving up and around the valley like an enormous wave. The patterns of ice swept grand across them like clouds in a windswept sky. How could I capture this in a two-dimensional format?

It had to be a matter of framing. I tried enclosing just the ice patterns, and the effect was lost. But when I included a hint of earthy colors below, it gave just enough context. Still, I find viewers have trouble deciding whether they are looking at mountains or sky, ice or clouds.

I love any landscape that appears on its own to be painterly. I try to manipulate as little as possible, just accentuating the contrast our eye sees but the camera misses, and making the colors as deep and rich as they appeared in the moment. I’m after the same feeling I had when I saw it.

It was a thrill to be debuting my new equipment, and okay with me that the photo is a bit soft because of the movement of the ship–in spite of the image stabilizing lens.

I probably will never encounter a photograph that qualifies as my all time favorite. What I really hope is that the candidates will just keep on increasing. In that case, I’ll know I am growing as a seer—someone who pays attention enough to be present for the world’s incredible array of visual moments. They make me grateful every day for my eyes, and for the part of me who responds passionately to what I see.



What is it?

Friday, March 5th, 2010

B&W aerial

Is it a piece of crumpled paper? a well-worn piece of leather? Or an aerial photo of  a river system?

One of the things we can see from the air is the similarity between the surface of the earth and the surface of some of the smaller things we find on earth. Did you know, for instance, that the mathematical relationship between rivers and their tributaries is the same as the mathematical relationship between veins and arteries of the human circulatory system?

The airplane, as St. Exupery pointed out, “revealed the face of the earth.” And then of course space flight revealed the body of Gaia. So now we can see what no other generation has ever seen, except in their mind’s eye.

So, what do we want to do with what we can now see? How do these visions of the connections between your body and Mother Earth’s body affect you?  What are you inspired to remember or be or do?