As I sift through my photographs I realize that they are often much more painterly than many of the paintings I have made. I guess I have done enough ‘making of photographs’ that it becomes easier to let go – to be experimental – to play.
Somehow in all that play we stumble across visuals that lure us in and keep us going. That keep us making. Images that express something we want to say or something that we feel even if those things are not easily put into words. It is a beautiful thing to be completely drawn in by what you are working on; to be lost in images and ideas and explorations.
I suppose I am trying to get through a painting ‘slump’ as I look at the many abandoned works littering my studio. Those canvasses seem to be getting impatient, though. I hope at some point the freedom I feel when wielding a camera will shift into a paint brush, or a pencil. These photographs I have been working on are nudging me towards something more tactile; not attempts to recreate what I have done photographically – though surely these things speak to each other – but to push past the stumbling block of expecting perfection and specific outcomes when I put a brush to canvas. This is what I am learning – let go. There is nothing to lose, really, except the risk of getting lost in the work.
A photograph made by blending three different ‘drive-by’ images (and a smattering of selective erasing on 2 of the layers). It seems I am obsessivelyendlessly fascinated by the exploration of ‘movement’ when making photographs. : )
Long exposures of fast-moving water at night. These photographs were made during a paddling/camping trip and although there were lots of stars in the inky sky there was no glowing moon, so in order to light the first and last images I ‘painted’ the slipping-by water with my headlamp and set the camera to make 30 second exposures. In the middle image you can see my paddling friends are lighting the rapids (and the fluttery bugs) with their own headlamps.
(Unfortunately, I didn’t have the camera set to raw mode when I made these photographs – poorly planned on my part – so the image quality is not that great…)
I stopped in to see the Purple Martins after a very early start to my day. If I were a Robin I might have got the first worm…
There is a lot of activity as they are busily collecting materials for their little nest-box homes. I spotted a pair of Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) attempting to build a nest in one of the boxes. It seemed that the Martins were discouraging their presence but those Starlings are tenacious.
Above: Moving in ~ A Starling in flight, gathering nesting materials
Each type of bird has its own wonderful shifting form when in movement. I don’t think I could ever tire of observing and trying to capture these various forms. Anyway, I like how these images look a bit like drawings and this process is giving me some ideas (and reference material) for an art project.
The gorgeous Purple Martins have returned to their summer home near the river. I saw a little bit of nest-building material being collected but mostly the swallows were zipping about catching insects when I made these photographs.
I love their songs and when you hear an entire community of them vocalizing together – especially once the young are hatched – it’s really quite a wonderful auditory experience. I’ll try to make a little recording at some point but there is a soundbite link below if you’re interested.
Click here to listen: Purple Martin Vocalizations (Soundclip from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.) Imagine perhaps 100 birds making those sounds…
It’s been so beautiful outside it’s been hard to stay indoors!
[The image with three birds is a composite (layered) image showing various flight acrobatics.]