Sometimes it Rains

I remember parts of a song we used to sing when we floated the Green River a few decades ago:

Sometimes it rains, and 
Sometimes it rains, and
Sometimes it rains…

We also used to say uncomplimentary things about Ma Nature at the time. I won’t repeat them here, but they’re still true.

If you follow the blog, you know I had a few days off a while back and went to the Oregon coast looking for a geological and spiritual feature my friend Rick Sammon told me about: Minor White’s Wall.

It was a sort of pilgrimage, because White was a mystic as well as photographer and wrote some interesting thoughts on photography. Some of his ideas really strike home with me and because of that, I have a lot of respect for Minor. One of my favorite quotes from White regards the obsessive need some photographers have to document everything about making an image. Minor said, “For technical detail, the camera was faithfully used.” That’s enough for me. Besides, my camera records all the data anyway. Back in the olden days, I wrote down f/stop, shutter speed, film type, processing information and sometimes even some ideas about how to print the image (no blogs in those days). I guess I’ve gotten lazy in my old age, and Minor’s statement suited me to a tee.

A couple more quotes from Minor: [The ecstasy in photography is the] “Insight, vision, moments of revelation. During those rare moments something  overtakes the man and he becomes the tool of a greater Force; the servant of, willing or unwilling depending on the degree of awakeness. The photograph, then, is a message more than a mirror, and the man a messenger who happens to be a photographer.”  He added, “I believe, that, like Alice Through the Looking Glass, with the camera one comes so close to the real that one goes beyond it and into the reality of the dream.”

I’ve read a little about psychologist Carl Jung, too. He had the idea that every human being shares common memories. Memories buried so deep that we can’t call them up willingly. They’re buried in our unconscious (note, he doesn’t use the Freudian terminology, “subconscious”). That means we have a shared unconscious or, as Jung named it, the Collective Unconscious. American philosopher John Dewey said that artists (and, yes, photographers are artists) are popular and important because their images remind the viewer of something. That must be something deep, something buried in the unconscious. Something mystical (see, I got back around to Minor!).

Pretty heady stuff, and awfully deep. What I take from all that is that photography is more than just tripping the shutter and uploading the image. Much more. Minor gives us a hint when he tells us that when we photographers look at a subject, we should look until we see what else it is. That ‘what else’ is what makes a great photograph. I don’t mean dressing a cat up in an Abe Lincoln hat and posing him in a big chair in a memorial. I mean that there’s a lot more in nature than appears on the surface. And it’s the photographer’s duty so find that ‘what else.’ And to be able to show it.

So I traveled through the rain to do homage to Minor. Finally found Minor White’s Wall and in a brief respite between the storms, I found some features that were worthy of capturing. Are they the ‘what else?’ I’ll let you decide.

Click on the images to see the true colors and proper lighting (there’s something mystical about the way you have to take a second look, I suppose).

See if you can see the “What else?”.

 

Eroded Sandstone, Minor White Wall

Eroded Sandstone, Minor White Wall

 

Erosion Pattern 2, Minor White Wall

Erosion Pattern 2, Minor White Wall

 

Sandstone inclusion, Minor White Wall

Sandstone inclusion, Minor White Wall

 

I originally titled these with the “what else,” but then decided not to guide you to a conclusion. After all, it’s in our collective unconscious, so you should be able to see what they are.

More to follow,

Bob

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Moseying up the trail

Man, it’s taking forever to get off this beach. I finally started back up the trail. Along the way some plants started calling to me. The first ones I saw said, “Macro, Black-and-White.”

I agreed. Soon I found a whole group of the plants (no, I don’t know what they are. Definitely not Indian Paintbrush, though) and started working with my closeup lens.

Ma Nature, being the kind of entity she is, tried her best to assist with rain and wind. That always makes macro photography a challenge, but I persevered, and I think I’m glad I did. It may well be that the man who walked by and found me shading the plant with my fleece jacket thought I was nuts. But I figure it was worth it.

As always, click on the images to see them full size and with the proper color. Which, here, is no color.

Plant, Shore Acres State Park

Plant, Shore Acres State Park

 

A little way up the trail, one with berries showed up.

Plant with berries

Plant with berries

 

No, I didn’t taste the berries. I’m smart enough to avoid that.

Getting close to Minor White’s Wall.

More to follow,

Bob

 

 

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Toeing the line

OK, lame title. Acknowledged.

Our local photo club has a contest this month called “Leading Lines.” I saw some lines on Simpson Beach at Shore Acres State Park in Oregon and decided to record them. I was moving off the beach because it was starting to rain, but the first set of lines caught my attention and I had to record the lead. It looked a lot to me like a dinosaur was just surfacing from under the sand, but being soaked may have had an effect on my judgment. Still, I like what I saw.

Leading Lines:

Leading Line

Leading Line

 

And lines that leas somewhere, I’m sure:

Lines

Lines

I’m still going to tell you about Minor White’s Wall, so stay with me.

More to follow,

Bob

 

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Soggy Weekend

I had to go to Portland, Oregon last week for our annual conference. From Monday through Wednesday, we hosted 160 people who wanted to know more about Telehealth. Being in Oregon, I figured I might want to go to the coast. I’ve heard it’s quite spectacular out there and Rick Sammon told me about a place called Minor White Wall. Well, I’m a fan of Rick’s and of Minor White, so I decided to take a couple of our rare vacation days to see what I could see.

I forgot to reckon with Ma Nature, though. From the time I left the conference hotel and headed for Coos Bay, it rained. It rained until I got on the plane Sunday morning. Fortunately, there were a couple breaks in the downpour and I found myself at Shore Acres State Park. I asked some of the volunteers if they knew where Minor White Wall was. They hadn’t heard of it. I got some input that it was near the abandoned tennis courts, and they had heard of them, but weren’t sure where they were.

Not being one to hedge my bets too much, I decided to go to Simpson Beach, down a trail in the park. There were some interesting rock formations there and, of course, water. It wasn’t raining at the time, but the waves came in relentlessly. I decided to make the best of the situation and capture a few pixels. I got a pretty good feel for the ocean, among other things. I even learned the temperature of the sea water when a “sleeper” wave came in. Sleepers are higher than the average waves and sneak up on you. This one filled my waterproof hiking boot. And, true to its promise, the boot didn’t allow the cold water to go out. Between the sleeper soaking and kneeling in wet sand to get a few shots, I ended up kinda soggy.

Ma Nature then brought on the rain again, and I headed to the car. But I did get to see what the ocean can do in that part of the country.

Here’s what I saw:

The waves are pretty good sized in places and when they hit the rock formations that don’t have the sense to move inshore, they make some spectacular splashes.

Crashing Wave

Crashing Wave

 

Then, when the waves roll onshore, they have to go back out. I slowed down the shutter and got this:

Wave outrush

Wave outrush

Did I ever find Minor White Wall? Yes. It was below the abandoned tennis courts.

But that’s a subject for another day.

More to follow,

Bob

 

 

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A Tale of a Whale

While we were cruising around Maui looking at the humpbacks, our guide told us we were watching a female and her new calf. The calf was about as big as our boat, but it was a baby, nevertheless. For some odd reason the mother started rolling. She’d bring a flipper out of the water and slap the surface with it, then roll over and do the same with the other flipper. Nobody seemed to know why, except to show the calf how to do that.

It looked to me like she was waving or trying to get my attention for a foto. So I obliged her.

As always, click the thumbnail to enlarge and see the right colors.

 

Waving

Waving

 

A young male joined the group (at least the guides said it was a young male and started showing off a little, too. He breached a couple times, then did a deep dive.

Here’s the breach:

Breach 2

Breach 2

 

Then, as they do in the commercials, the whales went for deeper water. as they dived, they showed us their tails.

A tail of a whale

A tail of a whale

 

If I ever get stuck in Hawai’i again, I’ll probably head for Maui and the whales.

More to follow,

Bob

 

 

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A whale of a tale

Last week, when I was stuck in Hawai’i for meetings, I decided to make the best of things and go to Maui for a whale watching cruise. This is supposed to be the most active time for whales down there, and I figured as long as I was in the neighborhood, why not?

Turns out it was a good idea. We saw quite a few (by my reckoning), some far away, some close. I got a few fotos of what I take to be typical whale behavior and thought I’d share them here.

As always, click on the thumbnail to enlarge and see the right colors:

A whale of a tale:

WhaleTail

WhaleTail

 

Then, someone shouted “Breach!” I swung around and saw this:

Breach 1

Breach 1

 

Man, what a splash when he hit the water!

More to follow.

Bob

 

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Maui Flowies

OK, pushing the rhyming a little bit.

Flowers and living plants always attract my attention. I suppose it’s fair to say that in Hawai’i there are a lot of lowers. From the purple and white leis we all received when we went to our meeting to the flowers growing wild around the islands, there are a lot of colorful blossoms.

I found these  on Maui. And, of course, I couldn’t resist making the colorful succulents un-colorful.

As always, click on the images to see them full size and in the right colors.

You know my standard for naming flowers. Here are a couple of LWFs I found alongside the road. I think the guy who almost ran over me got a little miffed that I was standing on the bridge making this image. Oops!

Maui LWFs

Maui LWFs

 

And, of course, there are hibiscus all over the place:

Hibiscus

Hibiscus

 

The succulents were monochrome anyway, different shades of green. I like this idea better:

Maui Succulents

Maui Succulents

 

And, of course, stand by for some whale photos. I’m in the process of editing from the 550+ images I made the other day and will be fiddling with them in Lightroom, a product I think I’m starting to like.

More to follow,

Bob

 

 

More Maui Color

I mentioned my deep understanding of botany was pretty shallow. Here’s more proof. There are two kinds of wildflower I can name: One of them is Indian Paintbrush, the other isn’t. I found some flowers here on Maui. I am pretty sure they’re not hibiscus because I have a foto of what I think is a hibiscus in the camera, waiting to be uploaded.

Here they are, maybe you can recognize them:

I think this is a plumeria (not to be pronounced like galleria, I’ve been told).

Plumeria

Plumeria

 

When in doubt, I choose the name that best suits the flower. In this case, they’re Maui LPFs (Little Purple Flowers):

Maui LPFs

Maui LPFs

 

As always, click on the images to see what they really look like. On my screen they look awful in thumbnail size.

More to follow,

Aloha,

Bob

Hawai’i, the land of color

OK, you probably know me well enough by now. I’m still trying to make a good black-and-white photo. Here are a couple examples of recent attempts. Of course, I’ll have to print them to decide how they really look, but at least I’m willing to show them for now.

I’m just on a break between wandering around Lahaina and going o a whale cruise, so have a little time to share some work.

BTW, I know most of you realize I hate cruises. Last one I was on they kept landing airplanes on the roof. I kind of hope this will be different. The bartender I just talked to said the whales are really active this year, so maybe I’ll bring some good fotos back. Keep an eye on the  blog.

In the meant time: (as always, click to enlarge)

 

In this tropical heat, I suppose trees grow year ’round, so they have to shed leaves year ’round, too. (That’s just a guess. You probably know how much I know about botany, which is how to spell the word.) I found this on the ground at an arboretum.

Fallen Leaf

Fallen Leaf

 

While I was walking through the arboretum, something caught my eye. It looked like a piece of spider web hanging way up out of the way. Then as I shifted my position a little, I saw what may well be the biggest spider web I’ve ever seen, with a spider in the middle. I think I’m glad I didn’t keep going and walk into it. A little Photoshop fiddling makes the web stand out pretty well.

spider web

spider web

 

The Maui adventure continues.

More to follow, aloha!

 

Bob

 

Maui Wowie!

I heard that there were rainbow eucalyptus trees on Maui. Well, I had to find out. And find out I did.

After driving down a narrow little road toward Hana, I spotted some. Then found an arboretum with more.

I published a portfolio a few decades ago that included a foto of a wet sycamore tree. These remind me of that, but they’re not wet. Of course, the humidity is enough to make one want to reach for a towel most of the time.

Here are some Hawai’i Rainbow Eucalyptus images (Click to see the right colors):

 

Rainbow Eucalyptus 1

Rainbow Eucalyptus 1

 

Rainbow Eucalyptus 2

Rainbow Eucalyptus 2

 

Rainbow Eucalyptus 3

Rainbow Eucalyptus 3