February 7, 2018

Cloudy, 16 Degrees, Light Winds

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The road we use to get to the woods. Getting very snowy!

It was another nice day for walking in the woods today. Nothing special perhaps but still a pleasure to be out there. It’s cloudy, but it’s a thin cloud cover that hints at the sun hidden behind. There’s Cloudy, and then there’s cloudy. Today was just cloudy. The temperature was comfortable too. Not warm, but not bitter either, so the walk was pretty relaxed.

Snow is piling up in the woods as we get one or two or three inches of snow every day or two. Walking is getting quite strenuous, particularly when going uphill. I’m happy for the workout. It’s about the only exercise I get these days. If we get a lot more, it’s going to be pretty hard going.

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Jamie always stops and turns sideways while he waits for me to take a photo

Yesterday I was all over the map emotionally and I woke up with serious doubts about the wisdom of continuing at least the writing part of this project. I was feeling as if I was spilling my guts all over the internet. I felt really embarrassed. The disruption this project is causing in my daily life was getting to me.

But I re-read the posts this morning and they weren’t as bad as I thought. My intent is to share the whole honest story of doing this and that’s what I’ve been doing. If I’m not honest with you, then what do I have to offer that’s worth reading? It’s not comfortable. I’d rather hide behind the social mask that we all hide behind most of the time, but I’m taking the risk of stepping out from behind the mask, warts and all. I hope I’m doing the right thing.

I know that I have these struggles over virtually anything artistic in my life. I know my artist friends have similar struggles. Maybe we all have the same struggles. I don’t know, but if you read this blog, you’re going to hear about both the joy and pleasure as well as the fears, doubts, and misgivings. I hope I don’t regret doing it.

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Here he is doing it again!

So back to the walk. I put the wide angle lens on again today. When I was shooting the sunrise yesterday, I sensed that I wanted a wider perspective, so I changed lenses today. The wide angle gives you an expansive sense of the entire environment rather than a smaller tunnel of view into it. It creates a tremendous sense of depth too and that’s a big part of the woods too.

A 50mm lens is considered to be a normal human view of things. I was shooting at 17mm a lot this morning, so it’s considered to be a very unnatural look. It is, but it’s also more like a human view as it encompasses more of the wide peripheral view that we have. I’ve used wide angle lenses a lot and they are very commonly used in landscape photography in order to capture the big space and grandeur of a beautiful landscape.

 

I used to do a fair amount of panoramic shots as well. These capture even more of the expanse of the landscape. They are composed of several separate photographs that are stitched together with software. I used the panorama a lot when I was shooting the farmland of central Michigan. It seemed to fit there, but I haven’t used it much since then. The wide angle lens seems to be enough.

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And here he is again, waiting for me to signal it’s time to move on.

A quick comment on Jamie this morning. He hasn’t appeared much in this blog of late, but he’s there by my side every morning and he’s in a lot of the photographs because he likes to walk out in front of me. I can’t say enough about the bond that forms when you walk side by side with a dog for thousands of miles. Did I mention earlier that I’ve walked the equivalent of all the way across this country with him? That’s a long walk. It’s just been small bites each day, but it adds up over the years.

He is such a peaceful companion, espcially now that he’s getting older. He walks by my side so nicely, always attending to me. He has always been a dog who is eager to please. Just a word from me and he turns to see what I want. He comes running when I call him, as you’ve seen in my pictures. In the afternoons I walk him with a neighbor and her dog and it’s brought home to me that not all dogs are so attentive and eager to please. Her dog pays absolutely no attention to her whatsoever. When she calls him, he gives no indication that he’s heard her. He’ll come eventually, but only when he wants to. I am thankful for Jamie’s good nature.

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Jamie looks a little uncertain here, but you can see he’s making sure he’s doing the right thing

I want to capture the look in his eyes as he waits for me to put him on the leash as we leave the woods to walk on the road, but so far it has eluded me. He is very aware of the camera and gives me this put upon and suspicious look when I photograph him; it is not at all like him. As I put the leash over his head, he turns those warm brown eyes on me and it melts my heart. What a great dog.

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