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Category: Juan de Fuca

The limits of control*

Fence Limits, Clallam Bay, April 2011


I just paid a lot for a new monitor, finally something decent to replace the emergency LG flatscreen that I like bought at midnight at a 7-11 several years ago when my CRT finally knackered in.  Buying a monitor online is a little like buying a print on line. You know it’ll probably be good, but without any immediate tactile interaction it’s an uncomfortably abstract thing to throw a wad of money at.  At least with the LG I got to take a DVD of images along to test, and check out the setting and controls on the various monitors on display. But this purchase was all rumors and hope.

I laugh every time I see the thing sitting on my desk. Defensively. Even with a “pro” monitor like an Eizo there is always the anxiety of setting the thing up wrong, especially if its settings don’t reconcile at all with the settings of the old monitor.  Gamma, white point, color balancing, there are many subtle things that can go wrong and make your best-intended photo editing come off frightfully, embarrassingly wrong. Eventually you just have to trust that the calibration devices are working properly and the black level and gamma is set right and just get on with it.

Anyway, I notice my work  trying desperately to be less impressed with itself, and  just be more impressionable. Things evolve oddly with me, and slowly. I’ve come back to this little picnic area several times now in the past week and what I come away with seems so reflexively wrong on many levels. Intruding twigs and distracting shapes, too much fall off, truncated geometry, superfluous margins. But despite these reflexes it’s what seems good to me now, overall in a squinty head-tilting way, so I’ll explore  it more. But just to be clear my monitor is set up correctly- any glaring oddities or faults are intentional, and must be blamed on the taste or lack thereof  the management.

…now to just find away to bypass WordPress’s crappy jpeg compression defaults…


*apologies to Jim Jarmusch

Wish you were here

Bench, Clallam Bay, April 2011

I’ve felt oddly mute and indifferent for the past few months, so with a bit of trepidation I’m starting to think out loud again. Not much to say yet, but maybe if I start the jaw moving something will happen.

This bench looks like it was used for perhaps a bit too much nameless seaside yearning. Can sympathize completely.

Blind landscapes

Salt Creek Delta, December 2008

Visit a place often enough, and the geometry becomes confounding. I wonder if the impact is the same for a casual observer of a photograph without the inertia of stored visual moments, and of known boundaries. In the fog things can appear new and placeless without the expected margins, highlighting form and giving even blind repetition a friendly nudge. Which gives the scene the impression of the rarely glimpsed, and the stumbled upon.

You can’t get there from here

Port Angeles Harbor, November 2008

The waterfront trail in Port Angles runs alongside the old site of the Rayonier Mill, a gated, toxic wonderland with seep tendencies. Having qualified for the EPA’s Superfund program the site is being cleaned up, but the dilapidated guardhouse and busted security cameras stand in punitive memorial of the town’s industrial heritage…

Further down the trail, park benches are the somewhat more utilitarian memorials of the town’s patrons and, perhaps, civic leaders.

A cautious invincibility

Hurricane Ridge, November 2008

I think it will be a good year for storms. Just around town I’ve already seen encouraging festerings and festoonings on high, voluminous arrays dwarfing the highest surrounding peaks.

I love inclement weather, working in it, shooting it in. On some level it reminds me of being a kid bundling up and caroming through mudpuddles, snow banks or just piles of leaves. A down-stuffed buffer zone, cautiously impervious and wanting to test it. Even all grown up, what’s the worst that could happen? A tub and a whiskey after?

Useless gestures under a canopy of blue

Ediz Hook, October 2008

I feel my brain is still lagging behind my intent, so tired I be, but I did want to keep posting. Not sure if this is wise… I think I must be loosing some basic strings, because I’m feeling dumber than normal- I wonder if all the work and exercise is ratcheting up the testosterone or something and it’s blocking crucial beta waves. It’s fun to be manly, but it’s a hollow thrill, and the crash is predictable.
What’s happened?

Naming conventions

Bridge over the Clallam River, October 2007

This is a sort of bridge to nowhere shot, though I wouldn’t dream of giving it so precious a name. It’s bad enough admitting that’s what I saw and felt at the time.

Visiting Clallam Bay is a mixed bag. It’s a profoundly depressed area with all the usual afflictions- meth labs, no industry and packs of feral cats roaming vacant lots. A maximum security prison sits atop the hill and surveys the Strait and Seiku headland like Elsinore. The only grocery store closed several years ago. But the local bar has three pool tables and there is an interesting new gallery down the street.

I sometimes feel like I should give these important social elements consideration, but political notions make me flounder horribly in thoughts of exploitation, intrusion and general brinkmanship.

The construction outfit I used to work for did the repairs to the bridge after a particularly hard winter, and also repairs to the prison roof. After work I would often come down to sit a spell before the drive home. Some autumn afternoons the fog, light and icy breezes mix for wonderfully ethereal lapses into nowhere.

They’re on the left slope

Bullman Beach, North Coast, November 2007

A iconic shape of the Straits of Juan de Fuca is the serpentine form of a cormorant. On the road to Neah Bay cormorants augment the shoreline with their all but constant flightless gliding- they aren’t flightless birds but they do look it oftentimes, sitting atop pilings and stacks, wings open and trembling in the wind like a hope that they might someday rise.

I say this and my wife says, They don’t produce the oils like a typical seabird, she says. They’re just drying themselves.

But characteristically I cant get beyond the mythic self-assigned notions, and the birds retains their doomed poetic status in me feeble pea brain.

Although right off 112 it’s an awkward place to reach. The bluff is covered in lush vegetation most of the year, such that it’s difficult to see your footing. But in winter the vine maples and alder are bare and the horsetail recedes and it’s not too difficult to ease down using a culvert sock as a rope-assist of sorts.

I keep going back, not because I want to improve on this image, though that’s certainly possible. The proximity and sharp delineation of the spot have a dropping-off feel to them, the sounds of traffic close like voices at the door of the wardrobe. It’s nice to just sit and watch the utterly silent glyph-shaped birds as they unfold and try to conjure the ether.