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№ 75 Posts

The shallow end

Kalaloch, February 2009

Anticipating tide patterns is great fun, almost like sorting puzzles out of the infinite. All the more so with a view camera  because there’s no way to see what’s on the viewscreen when you trip the shutter (er, lift the lenscap- no shutter on the Protar). It’s easy to burn up film walking down the beach as your focus deepens and new patterns emerge. But then that’s also the hard part:  resisting the temptation of waiting for just one more tide cycle. But I got lucky this time out- only 3 shots and a half-decent triptych for the day’s work.

Executive function

Ruby Bluffs, February 2009

A bit frustrated with the road closure hindering my other project, I went back out to the west end yesterday for this first time this winter. Something about seeing the ocean is recharging, especially after seeing the yellow creep back in my eyes in the bathroom mirror and standing on the scale and seeing it up another 10 pounds, 15 pounds- most of that muffling my decision making processes,judgment and higher functions… I was surprised at how different everything looked, just climbing out of the car at Ruby, and equally surprised at the instant boost in my energy level and level of focus; even the dim sun and mist seemed to burn through the cottony convalescent haze and backbedroom winter headaches. I felt like I’ve had a thumb in my eye for six weeks.

So Kalaloch seems new again, and within the margins of inspiration and reaction, instead of stagnating project quota.

Way out west

Roadside Burnpiles, February 2009

Speaking of roads, Highway 112 west of here has been closed since the heavy snows of December. All the melt and runoff destabilized the road bed and the highway collapsed at milepost 37 between West Twin and Pysht. This is the coast highway along the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and a significant commercial corridor between the logging parcels around the Pysht River and Port Angeles.  It’s also a recreational corridor, so the ATVs that frequent the abandoned BLM and forest service roads have quieted considerably as well, even without the fresh insulation of new snowfall.

Tomorrow is cast in the oven/ Lucid dreaming on the clock

Crescent Bay, February 2009

I actually dreamt about this photograph, which is a new one for me.  I always dream about 9-5 work,  but never about taking pictures, or the pictures themselves, which is just now striking me as fantastically odd. Most of my dreams are simple filterings of the day’s minutia, but with the workfront quiet and anxiety on the rise, this one danced in my head even while the negative remained undeveloped and nestled away in the film holder overnight.  This dream was like  a sleepwalking grant,  a shift paid to spend on the bench, supervised by particle drift and accelerating erosion with no clear task, shoes tied to the wings of scavenging and brawling birds, pecking at my kneecaps before ultimately climbing into the ribcage to roost.

After developing the picture it couldn’t not disappoint, but I’m hoping for a sequel, or a least some Cliffnotes.

The road in

Abandoned Road, Lake Crescent, February 2009

The dogs and I made another trip up this miniature mountain and I had a another silent… remark… about the difficulty of it. I noticed the recently planted and flagged seedlings are mostly confined to the logging road in- the inclines are left for natural progressions to fight over. Even in the roads, it must be a struggle for the seedlings against the burgeoning alder. This spot has great southern exposure so it’ll be quite a show to see the alder come up so quickly. A reliable way to find old roads if you’re lost out here somewhere is to seek out and and follow the stripes of alder back to civilization.

I notice my work is trending dark, and low-fi. There’s a chronic dusk in this threadbare economic  environment; if not so much a nuclear winter then a wherewithal winter, and the uncertain shadows and  bony periphery seem to suit it.

A mindbend in the river

Salt Creek, February 2009

I’ve been messing with the color scheme here and on my website. The black background with white text used previously was good for some interesting cluster headaches, which in turn made me flee the computer and seek out some shady areas with my camera. Beneficial, ok; I know headaches can be a significant part of my personality, but lets not get carried away.

The shade is perpetual in this spot, as is the quiet. I’m not sure I would have noticed it without the mindbender. It’s a visual anesthetic of sorts, which feels oddly different in the eye with the headache. Interesting, at least for now.

Scope creep and circus glass

Lake Crescent, February 2009

So I thought that thinking about what to do and where to go with this project might be much easier at the lake…especially at dusk way in tight with an ancient wide angle… just punish the lens when you’ve nothing else to say. The lake was at a time central to the area’s industry, a sort of catch basin for all that is profitable, and exhaustible. Also regrettably a basin for hydraulic fluid, diesel…  It’s a similarly abused source of inspiration, though my pollution is symbolic at best, hack.

Wait..wait……lost it.

Stump purge

The stumps are really piling up, so it’s time to bleed off a few.

Sadie Creek, January 2009

Striped Peak, January 2009


Road In, January 2009

Often an outfit will punch a road in an impenetrable wall of growth like this and pluck out a few acres’ worth. It leaves a tidy forested road, a shell around the activity. To stop and listen is unearthly, an claustrophobic orchestration of whistle toots, chainsaws and diesel motors on par with the density of vegetation. Like straining to see in the dark, open your eyes all you want but there’s no seeing.

I’ve been experimenting with splitting the 5×12 frame to 2.5 x 12.  I ought to try to get two shots on one sheet of film but, in true frontier spirit, I think I’ll just take my half out of the middle.

Make a hole

North Incline, January 2009

I’m always surprised when I start scrambling up one of these inclines how much work it is. Not so much the climb as the scurrying over the 1000 acre basket weave of limbings, windfall and rot that is the ground cover. It looks innocent enough from the ground. It’s not unusual to have a entire leg disappear into a rotted-out stump cavern or keyhole a foot in a tangle of limbs and trip spectacularly every other step. Due to the sudden and dramatic changes in… orientation, I really have to cinch my pack down tightly so it doesn’t accidentally sail over my head and knock me unconscious, so that makes breathing a bit harder, and  I have a nasty habit of getting a bit careless as I tire out. Even bringing the dogs along to trail blaze isn’t much help, they tend to fall in behind and get closer and closer until I hear clop of our Lab’s jaw; she is so close that I’m actually clipping her in the chops with a heel on each step. I’m not sure if they are worried that I’ll somehow abandon them there, or if they’re just drafting, but only a moment or two after making her back off I hear the soft clop…clop..clop.

So, this plant a flag shot. The effort, or at least the spectacle of it, seemed to demand it.