Friday, November 29, 2013
Since I will gush and blah-blah-blah, pretty much anywhere, anytime, to anybody who will listen, about how crazy I am about the knock-me-over beauty of the place where I live, I suppose it was to be expected that yesterday, Thanksgiving Day, I’d stumble upon the wonderful scene you see here.
I was at the ferry dock, waiting for the arrival of the boat that our son had taken from the mainland to come to Thanksgiving Dinner. Other folks who live on my side of Puget Sound were there as well, and they too were waiting for loved ones ferrying over for the holiday. It was late afternoon and the sun was trying its best to burn through fog that had lingered all day long. Off in the distance, beyond sailboats moored in the harbor, I could see that sunlight was casting “god-beams” through the tall evergreens, and that the light was incredibly warm and beautiful.
The ferry was late arriving, slowed I guess by the fog, and that gave me time to wander around and look for an unobstructed vantage point, away from the marina. I found a good spot, walked to the end of a dock, and realized that a duck was about to do me the favor of swimming into the scene to complete the composition. I made my picture.
I was alone there on the dock -- there was no one nearby for me to talk to -- and only now, as I sit and write these words, can I gush and blah-blah-blah about how thankful I feel to live here.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
I was on the cross country team when I was in high school many (MANY!) years ago, and to this day I run (or bicycle or hike) nearly every day. Last week I was in Ohio visiting my mother -- she still lives in the same house where I grew up -- and my morning running routes were familiar to me indeed because I was covering the same sidewalks and roadways I ran 40-some years ago.
Running is by far my favorite kind of workout, but, photographically speaking, it does have one downside: It is pretty much the only thing I do where I don’t have a camera with me...not even a phone camera. I sometimes wonder how many photographic possibilities I cruise right past and don’t even see when I’m running (however it's best that I not think about that, because, though I might be O.C. about exercise, I’m more obsessive about making pictures.)
I was in Ohio for four days and I ran two mornings and the other days I went for one-hour walks, one of which was in fresh snow. It was that day that these two images were made. The above picture was “found” while the other was “arranged,” and I go back-and-forth about which I prefer. I’ve put both photographs on my iPad, and, as I review work in the coming months, maybe I’ll decide one is better than the other.
Or maybe I should just go do a workout and think about the images. After all, forty years of running, cycling and hiking have given me the certain knowledge (wink wink) that a brain swimming in endorphins can find answers to nearly all of Life’s Questions.
Saturday, November 9, 2013
I’m accustomed to needing to be ready for fleeting photographic moments in the work I do professionally because I’m usually doing pictures of people. An expression on a face, a human gesture, or body language, all can happen in an instant.
The pictures I do for fun, however, are normally not quite so moment-oriented -- take landscape photography for example. Typically when I see something pleasing, I have time to set up a tripod, maybe change camera lenses, to consider composition.
One of the things I enjoy about my personal work is how very different the image-making process is from my professional shoots.
The landscape pictures I shot on a hike last weekend, however, were the exception to the Mellow-and-Methodical rule. All three pictures I’m posting here today presented themselves in an instant: The light was way better one moment than it was the next, or the clouds parted, just-right.
This is a good thing: The for-fun, “practice” photography is not only enjoyable to do, it also keeps my eyes in shape for the times when people are paying me to produce.
Friday, November 1, 2013
My hiking friends must know me well enough by now -- having spent who-knows-how-many hours and hiked hundreds of miles of trails with me -- to practically be able to predict when a Gushy Kurt Moment is about to happen. We’ll come upon a scene -- one lone, red-leafed maple tree, for example, positively glowing in fall color in an otherwise monochromatic forest of evergreens -- and I’ll enthuse: “Oh my, I love this state!”
The truth, I must admit, is even gushier than enjoyment of the place where I live, or hiking, or the company of good friends: What I really celebrate is seeing.
I walked out of the post office the other day and noticed wonderful light on some leaves. I pulled out my camera and spent several, happy minutes taking pictures. Another day I was feeding the neighbor's horse an apple, and the look of the scene -- Rusty’s big-’ol horse nose pressed right up in my face, and the lines of the fence around Rusty’s pasture, and of course the red color of the apple -- just blew me away.
All I can say in defense of my gushiness is that, as a photographer, I hope I needn’t apologize for having eyes.