Another from Seattle’s little Yesler Swamp. These willows were bright, back-lighted green. Some heavy-handed processing in Lightroom gives this slightly unnatural effect that reminds me of Medieval tapestries (if they were woven in grayscale, anyway).
The Army Corps of Engineers has raised Lake Washington to its summer level, so Seattle’s little Yesler Swamp is again flooded. The sun was mostly out this afternoon, and everything was green and full of birds. (As always, however, the photo doesn’t tell the whole story. It looks wild, but it doesn’t quite sound wild. It’s easy to hear cars on the nearby street and people talking as they go by on the sidewalk, and in the background the dull roar from State Route 520.)
This is one of my favorites from my recent trip to Joshua Tree National Park. Not because it’s original, goodness no. It’s possibly the most classic West-coast-school black-and-white photo I’ve ever made. Does that diminish its worth? I think that’s a really interesting question, and I don’t have a definitive answer. I do think that being similar to other photos makes it harder to appreciate, simply because when we recognize something as an instance of a category we tend to stop looking further. One might also argue that photographing within an established tradition is lazy, that one just has to follow the path established by our predecessors. Perhaps, but it is also true that I made some 450 photos in the five days I was there, surrounded by rocks in sun, and this, made on my last day, is the only one that I think really works as a simple study of sunlight and shadow on rock.
My last posting of the Joshua Tree shadow didn’t wow many of you, but I’m still working on the photos I made on a recent trip to Joshua Tree National Park, so here’s another. This is part of a water pump at a well-preserved old mill where the local miners used to take their gold ore to be crushed and the gold extracted. A small engine off to the left had a belt that drove the smaller wheel, which has a small gear that drove the big gear. That made the wooden bar go up and down; its other end is connected to the handle of the old-fashioned water pump itself. The pump sent water up to the mill. That had two big stamps that smashed the rocks, so it must have made quite a racket. Odd how given time something obnoxiously industrial becomes appealingly weathered and historical.
We spent Saturday on Shi Shi Beach, participating in Washington’s annual Coast Cleanup, which basically means hauling as much plastic debris off the beach as you can while reluctantly leaving at least as much more uncollected due to limited time and hauling capacity. It’s really eye-opening to see how much plastic washes up on even a remote, wilderness beach like this one. Plastic is an amazingly useful material, but when it ends up in the ocean, its durability means that it hangs around for a long time, just breaking up into smaller and smaller pieces. Worse, these float, so they don’t get entombed in sediment but instead often get eaten. Wild animals die with their guts full of plastic bits.
Back from visiting Joshua Tree National Park with my mom, who paints watercolors of the extraordinary rocks there. I first visited the park on a high school camping trip. We arrived after dark, and when I woke up the next morning I felt like I’d been transported to another planet.
I just made up the name for this rock, by the way. These rocks have no official names, and in fact they do not even stand out among their endless cousins.
A sunny Sunday morning shadow in the entryway of a building in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square. The diagonal shadow is cast by a stone arch overhead. I doubt anyone would put such nice wood paneling on a (semi-) exterior wall like that these days, but it was in good shape. Maybe there’s a night watchman that keeps people from tagging it.
High-speed shot of the water just below the spillways of the dam at Seattle’s Ballard Locks.
Technical note: 1/800 of a second at ISO 800. In retrospect, I probably didn’t need to use f/11. If I’d gone with f/8, I could have used ISO 400 and had less sensor noise. It’s still a little wild to me how digital photography makes it so easy to play with what I still think of as film speed.