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№ 75 Posts

Wait for it

Interconnected Limbs, Pysht Basin, November 2010

The background blackness is no exaggeration, neither is the wan monochromatic treeline. It could represent any season out here, but it is fall, very cold and very dry. I liked the Escherian loop of the branches,  and the spatial discord of the tree clusters. It’s not immediately clear what is in front of what.

There is fluid subtlety in most of the woods out here. Walking down a forest line, the patterns repeat but like the tides they are the same and very different. There is an animation supplied by my own movement and darting glances, trying to pick out patters and shapes, augmented by the zoetropic margins of the larger boughs. Like with tide watching, it’s easy to spend hours ‘waiting’ for cool patterns to emerge.

Snow week

Snow, Spec Road, Joyce Quadrangle

My snow day is turning into a whole week off. Power is still on, so  here’s a solemn cheer for modern conveniences. I don’t think I could stand knee deep in the stuff if there wasn’t a warm house to come home to.

Snow day

Snow, Port Crescent Boundary, Joyce WA

We are getting a good early winter storm here…well, by coastal standards anyway. 8 inches since yesterday, maybe more in the forecast for later this week. I went for a hike through the woods earlier but too thick and flurry too do much picture taking, and got thoroughly chilled even taking this one shot, so ended up walking the other way to the general store for  supplies and fuel in case the power goes out. After last winter’s 4-day outtage, the anxiety of  that happening does dampen the spirit of a good snow day- so I finally broke down and ordered an generator yesterday morning as soon as the snow level passed one inch. Of course the power never went out, even with the gale winds and 2 foot drifts. The local PUD had been making strides in improving the infrastructure- new substation, new distribution lines and routes, and of course the rigorous shredding of all roadside hazards, so we’ll see. The locals are whispering about this being the worst winter to hit the area is 80 years. With the goofy weather patterns here we are typically more likely to have a white Thanksgiving or Easter than Christmas, so can’t wait to see what happens next.

High Hoh

Alders, Hoh River, November 2010

The drive out to Kalaloch crosses a few rivers- the Sol Duc 3 times, the Calawah, the Bogachiel and the Hoh. This not counting the maze of seeps, streams, or the grand watershed event that is the entire Olympic interior.  The banks and courses are in constant change,  a more furious and accelerated version of  coastal brinksmanship.

I’m not normally drawn to rivers but riving along the Hoh, this gauze of weather and woods over the gray ribbon of water, even in minor time elapse of a 3 second exposure, was worth the stop.

Obscured by trees

Elwha River, October 2010

Trail, Crescent Bay, October 2010

I do enjoy themes of inclusion, even when risking such defined boundaries. These attempt to favor shelter over exclusion, but that might be a hard sell with the elemental promise of rivers and oceans beyond the veil, even with such conciliatory gestures in the trees.

Land of lead

Battery 131, Joyce Quadrangle, October 2010

Last Sunday was a beautiful rainy day, and well spent out at Salt Creek/ Camp Hayden. I clung to the the bluff trail  above the  Strait and then around the point into Crescent Bay, but the old artillery bunkers crowning the hill beneath the maples and cedars do make for a  deadpan rebuttal to a fanciful stroll, and it’s a dry and  sheltered study besides, so I spent several hours adjusting to the dim light and looking for patterns in the murky geometry while minivans passed through the complex,  foggy with sleeping children. Something about the era’s leadbased paint seems to emit a fabled hum in the low light, a palette of bruises and internal murmurs.

Speaking of lead, elsewhere beneath the maples and cedars, the EPA is setup up for a lead survey and cleanup of the old WWII era shooting range.

Perigraphe down

Rockbound Firs, Samish Bay, September 2010

Testing a new 12cm lens on 5×12, this was a difficult shot to make. I was about 2 meters from the firs and it was getting dark quickly and the lens is only f14 at it’s brightest. I had this sort of clockwise circular squat, shift, stand and sidestep to check all for corners of the ground glass as I was tweaking the film plane to bring the roots and upper twigs into focus. It was the first time I used the Perigraphe so I wasn’t sure how much focus shift it might have or dizzying falloff but  120mm on 5×12. It almost covers – only had to crop a bit from the corners.  Quite a bit of flare, but not unusual  for a uncoated, 3 minute squint into the setting sun.

Perigraphe Up

Sail Rock, Strait of Juan de Fuca, October 2010

But anyway. Despite work, the fall weather is getting me back in bundle-up mode and wanting to head back out to the coast. Purely reactionary work with no clear ideas. Lately I notice I have a much more enjoyable day if I leave the house a little empty headed.

I  made  some 4×10  filmholders and an adapter for my 5×12 camera months ago and need to finally put them to some use. Last Friday I took a casual drive along 112 , which is a mostly sea-side drive alone the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Also needing more work is a wonderful 12cm Som Berthiot Perigraphe  that I recently scored of the German Ebay, which seems the perfect tiny wide angle for the 4×10 format.

I liked how Sail Rock appears to be steaming along the shipping lanes, as if hastily spotted in a dirty scope. I off-centered the stack in the trees to exaggerate the effect.

Charicature study

Bristling Escarpment, Kalaloch, November 2009

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about where I’ll end up. The dust is settling from many decisions and influences and things are starting to seem more completed than not. For better and worse I think I’ve found  job I can retire in. It’s a numbly comfortable thought at this stage of my life, and firms-up the landmarks for the downhill voyage… ‘At least that’s sorted out.’  As such I find that my job has become more important than my hobbies, mainly in ways that simple exhaustion bear out. I certainly don’t enjoy my job any more than my other interests, but the tiredness is all-consuming, and satisfying on basic levels.

Song of Wandering Aengus

Alder and Silver Firs, Joyce Quadrangle, October 2010

Meanwhile, a brief interlude from a favorite-


I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
I cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And someone called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done,
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

-WB Yeats, from The Wind Among the Reeds