Monday, January 25, 2016

Discernment

I have come to the conclusion that the persistent cloudiness (nearly two straight months of unrelenting gray and rain) has clouded my judgment about what constitutes a worthwhile photograph. My desire to be outside and looking around for things that grab my attention has been thwarted by a monotonous monochrome backdrop of boring. I continue to photograph things that I think in the moment have the potential to be interesting, but when I get home and download the photos, I see that I have been seriously mistaken.

Take for instance our latest trip to the marsh. We did get to see and photograph two species of birds that I have been absolutely hoping to see, these Cinnamon Teal and the beautiful blue-billed Ruddy Duck. Their presence made the walk absolutely worthwhile.

But I also tried to photograph the reflection of gray skies in the bay side of the marsh. Mmmm.... what did I see that warranted a photo? I'm not sure. There was something about reflected gray clouds in the very still gray waters that had an interesting depth. But when I look at the photo, it doesn't convey what I saw. Maybe I've just seen enough.
So we walked on and came upon the reflection of two trees in one of the marsh ponds.
Actually there was something that I liked about this moment in the photo, it's the hint of sky color at the base of the reflected trees. That's what the sky looked like at noon. I remember seeing colors like that in cloudy Port Townsend skies at mid-day. It's like a soft sunset color at the horizon, except the sun is high in the sky. Not sure where this color comes from, but I find it interesting.

Is it interesting enough to do a blog post about? I don't know. That's why the title of this post is Discernment. I'm afraid the rain may have washed mine away. I'll keep looking for it, and if anything interesting to photograph comes up, I'll keep you posted. Hah!

20 comments:

  1. Well I discern some interest and beauty in these photos! You'd have liked it here one day last week when we had the biggest and brightest sun-dogs I've ever seen, though I've yet to meet anyone else who saw them! Unfortunately I was working so didn't have my camera.

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  2. I think your photographs are beautiful, but I also think that it's interesting to see what anyone else is interested in, period. It's learning your perspective--what interest you, what you were trying to capture, what the picture does capture, what you think it leaves out--that most interests me. You're the first person I've "met" who is so interested in clouds and who posts so often about birds, for example, so I love coming here for those two reasons. I learn from you and enjoy all your posts. :)

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  3. I like reflections and think both of those are lovely examples. Gray can become tedious until you realize all the colors within the gray. Have you seen the work of landscape painter, Russell Chatham? This article has something about him Landscape Artist. He paints mostly Montana now but with many shades of gray and tan usually.

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  4. Oh my goodness. I L-O-V-E the gray sky reflection photo! It's stunning. That said, I understand and have experienced the letdown when I've transferred a photo to the computer. How can a photo ever capture the birdsong, the sound of water lapping the shore, the feel of the breeze on your skin?
    And the world in water reflections is like peering into an other world, isn't it? It does have a depth that a photo cannot show, and the colors are, well, saturated, giving the water world a feel of a fantasy lanscape, Atlantis found.
    Those waterfowl are amazing. I especially love the cinnamon teal. You Californians gets all the good birds. Jeesh.

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  5. John-- I'm glad you saw something in the photos. I'm really not sure anymore. I would have loved to have seen those biggest, brightest sundogs. That would have made my day.

    Val-- Thank you so much. I had started to wonder if my obsession with clouds had begun to cloud my judgment about beauty. I am so glad to know it hasn't. Thank you.

    Rain-- I will definitely check out Chatham's work. It is good to be reminded of true artistry in the fields and skies of gray.

    CCorax-- It pleases me to no end to know that you love that gray sky reflection. It really was such an interesting, deep sense of sky and water in the moment. I must have taken 20 photos of it. You really do see what I saw and felt. Thank you for that. Oh yes, the Cinnamon Teal, such gorgeous birds. They always stay far from where the path is, so it is hard to photograph them. This Ruddy Duck is in his non-breeding plumage, when he gets ready for spring, he's quite colorful too.

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  6. Blog away as long as you want to. This was good, pictures and all.

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  7. Sabine-- Thank you! I think I will keep on blogging.

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  8. Love those cinnamon ducks. You really have much prettier fowl than we have. Keep snapping the wildlife you have that is not found anywhere else. What you might think is
    ho- hum is new and different for a lot of us.
    The reflection shot was neat.

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  9. Arkansas Patti-- We do see some beautiful birds here. It's one of the best parts of being by the coast. Really glad you like that reflection shot. Thank you.

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  10. The better your photos become, the more “discerning,” errrr, disappointed, you become with your photos.

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  11. It might seem like same-old, blah blah, the light isn't there to you -- but all your photos are beautiful. And they are glimpses of life in a place that isn't so same-old to us. xoxo

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  12. Loren-- I think you may right. And, on top of that, the monotony of gray skies can really disappoint as well. I know you know what I'm talking about!

    kathy a-- Thank you so much for seeing beauty in these photos. It just gets really old with same gray backdrop on everything.

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  13. The photographs are lovely by any standard. Hmmm...could you be setting your expectations a bit high? As for your readers, we are never disappointed.

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  14. Because I've had skin cancer and rosacea and cataracts, I am fond of grey sky and grey days and find your photo of the reflection of the sky in the bay side of the marsh to be sublime (-:

    I find it easier to see birds and ducks in the subdued light under the cloud cover. Bellingham is known as the city of subdued excitement (-:

    http://fishandbicycles.com/2015/02/04/city-of-subdued-excitement-origin-story/

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  15. NCmountainwoman-- I think I might be bored with photographing gray skies. And I thank you so much for your kind words.

    am-- I have often wondered if my obsession with sunlight is because of my dark skin and dark eyes. I need way more sunlight to be able to create Vitamin D. I love light! We are having a particularly bleak stretch of weather (another big storm headed our way), so I am starting to feel the blues about not seeing blue skies. Interesting that Bellingham is known as the city of subdued excitement. What a funny and great name!

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  16. grey skies are better than bright sun for making photos, if not for making vitamin D, so feel tempted to get out for the photos, and you will enjoy, in doing so you will make some, at least a little D, you will feel good, your photos will thank you.
    So will we.

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  17. Well, you know how many shades of gray we see up here in the Pacific Northwest, and we're going on 42 years of living here. The mountain vistas are equally gorgeous partially enshrouded as they are under blue skies, I think. So of course I appreciate your image hunting.

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  18. Steve-- I didn't know that grey skies are better for photos and vitamin d. I'm just so drawn to sunlight. I love the rain too, but a little balance goes a long way.

    isabelita-- It's true about the shades of gray up there in the Pacific Northwest. There is definitely beauty in it, but I seek balance in all things. I try to make the best of this crazy wet winter we're having here.

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  19. I'd say you found some beauty and photos out there in the gray. You have a great eye for it.

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  20. Pat-- Thank you. I'm just learning that not every cloud, sunrise, sunset, or halo needs to be photographed!

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