Posts tagged ‘Landscape’

The Lazaras Creek

Taking a break from downtown and people as subjects, the heavy rains overnight on February 17 sent me back to Bull Creek the following morning to continue observation of how it has been changing under the impact of our continuing drought. The creek had been resurrected, if only briefly, even as the broader drought continued. The surreal mystery of the fire hydrant standing in the middle of the dry creek last October now runs to full irony.

Urban Void

Free Offer, Oak Knoll & Research, Austin

This is not a happy image; it’s downright gloomy, depressing, a little sinister. The car dealer that was here has shut up shop and left nothing behind but the barren forecourt; its a sign of the hard times.

“Covert” is the threatening name on the building across the street, easier to see if you click on the image for a larger version. At a still larger magnification “Wrong Way” is legible in the near central flash of red. Three white cars fly past in formation, hurrying to leave the frame.

A rule of thumb when using a wide angle lens is to make sure that there is something interesting in the foreground, close to the camera; something to catch the mind. I choose this picture as it stands, with its harsh angles and parallels, its urban tundra of tarmac and concrete, tire marks, hovering clouds, discouraging words, repeating and repeating toward some distant vanishing point.

Humanity is missing; this is a post-rapture landscape without the rapture.

Austin Rain

Edge - Third Visit - Bull Creek, Austin

Last weekend it rained in Austin. Radio DJs marveled between each set list; it was the lead story on every newscast Friday through Monday. Bull Creek flowed for the first time in five months; not deep, not fast, but magically, mystically.

Saturday afternoon I took the camera back to the creek for a third visit. The dusty brown rocks had greened; the algae had merely been waiting for moisture and not dead. Sunday turned cold and rained all day; a London day in Texas. Two inches for the weekend; not an end to the drought of the twelve driest months on record but a reminder that such a thing could happen and a relief from the possibility of more wildfires.

It may be false hope but we will take it just the same.

Living Under A Rock

Still Death, Bull Creek, Austin

I read Kirk Tuck’s post on The Online Photographer today in which he described his experiences writing what sounded to be the perfect photography blog, The Visual Science Lab. By perfect I mean that it is exactly the kind of blog that I want to read where gear comes second to the process and inspiration for making photographs. So I followed the link and started to scan the page.

I must have been living under the proverbial rock! Not only is it indeed the kind of blog that I want to read but the man lives in my town. Today’s post on using the Nikon V1 is illustrated with images from the 5th and Lamar neighborhood that I work in, and his text is litered with references to places and events I know.

Kirk Tuck likes the V1 too and that makes me feel smarter for sticking up for it. It’s hard not to like someone that makes you feel smarter :-)

The Visual Science Lab will join The Online Photographer as part of my daily fare.

Darwinian Aesthetics

Parking Lot Savannah

Parking Lot Savannah

Denis Dutton, in his book “The Art Instinct”, presents the case that people from Africa to Alaska prefer savannah-like landscape images; that we are wired by evolution to gain comfort from views similar to those beheld by our distant ancestors as they chose to walk out of the forest on two legs rather than four.

Apparently, this archaic sense of beauty is so deeply bound into us that even the parking lots of our upscale strip malls resonate with it, complete with low branching trees to facilitate escape from predators and careless drivers.

While there might be much here to make Homo habilis feel at home, he or she would probably not recognize the discarded soda bottle and cup.

The photograph was taken in the Spring of 2005. Austin’s record breaking 2011 Summer has made outdoor photography a difficult proposition for someone with multiple sclerosis like myself. Instead I am going back and reevaulting older images that I passed over at the time, like this one.

Leaves of Grass

Meadow grass, Arroyo Seco

We spent the day reading books interspersed with walks around the town of Arroyo Seco and ice cream at the Taos Cow. I am not going to worry about chasing the perfect desert storm photograph any more; that is simply not what this vacation has been about, it is not the aspect of New Mexico that mattered on this visit. This trip has just been about being in Taos and Arroyo Seco, and that has been plenty.