Thicket

I really like places like this, but they’re incredibly hard to photograph. I think this image is kind of cool, but it doesn’t really convey what it’s like to stand there. Really, truly conveying that is, of course, a bit much to ask of a photo, but I’d like to get closer to it than this. I took this photo in a densely grown area on the shore of Lake Washington (near UW’s Center for Urban Horticulture). I was surrounded by branches and twigs and trunks at all distances and angles. The longer I stood there, the more I became aware of spatial depth, of how all this stuff filled the volume of space around me. There were interesting shapes, leaning trunks and twisted branches, at various distances, obscured to varying degrees by other, nearer shapes.

This photo takes one approach to presenting this, by focusing on only the closest stuff and letting everything else blur. That can produce a nice image, but it doesn’t convey the depth of the real scene. I could try getting everything in focus, either by using a very small lens aperture or by using a more exotic technique with software that combines multiple images focused at different depths into one image that’s in focus everywhere (though to do that I’d have to buy the software). But I don’t think that would do it, either. It’d still be a flat image, just with lots of overlapping branches of ever smaller size. Could be cool, but still not the ideal. It may require binocular vision, as with a stereogram. I tried closing one eye while there and the impression of depth, unsurprisingly, diminished considerably. If I moved my head slightly I could partly regain the sense, but that’s not an option with a photo. Hmmm.

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