March 29, 2018

Light Rain, 41 Degrees, Calm winds.

Today was a pretty dreary day to walk outdoors, but Jamie and I went to a new location in Island Lake Recreation Area today, so it was interesting for us nonetheless. We arrived in a little gap between showers, so we were able to photograph reasonably comfortably for most of the walk. Drizzle slowly developed during the walk, but we were pretty much ready to head home by then anyway.

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A pair of ducks taking flight from the river. The second one is behind the tree below and right of the first.

The location has Huron River access and a mountain bike trail that passes through it. First, I headed down to the river to see what might be there. There were a pair of Canada geese there and a Bufflehead duck, which has black and white markings. All three birds slowly moved further away up river as I took pictures.

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Who knew Burdock could be pretty. It’s not something you want stuck to your dog or your horse.

Not long after I arrived a small flight of geese passed over and a pair of ducks flew nearby as well. Trees obstructed the view a bit, but I got a few shots of each.

From there Jamie and I worked our way East toward the mountain bike trail, shooting pictures of small details. I stuck with the 24 – 105mm lens and didn’t use an extension tube, so I’m not sure what the pictures will be like. The picture below was actually shot with a 70 – 200mm lens with extension tube.

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Queen Anne’s Lace with seeds clustered in its center.

We then walked along the mountain bike trail a ways mixing closeups and wider shots as we went. The trail is bordered on one side by dense brush leading down toward the river basin. The other side was open woodland. There had evidently been a fire through this area that cleared out the underbrush and small trees. There were burns on the trunks of the big trees, but I don’t think they were dead. The fire must have been largely a brush fire, not a raging forest fire.

It began drizzling as I went out, so I turned around and returned, shooting as I went. I changed to the 70 – 200mm lens with a 21mm extension tube, hoping to get better closeups of some of the small flowers I’d seen on the way out. These were not living flowers, but rather were dried flowers from last summer. There were some grasses, a few daisy-like flowers, and some Burdock and Queen Anne’s Lace.

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I don’t know if this is a daisy or a small cone flower.

New buds were not very much in evidence in this area; maybe because I was not looking for them specifically. I did look around a bit, but any new growth was very minimal. The forest gave the impression of late winter more than early spring. I’m still waiting for that burst of life that I know is coming.

In the car on the way home, Jamie did his incredibly cute relaxed and happy dog routine. He leaned against the backrest of the front seat, looking at me with half closed eyes, his head hanging down in complete peace. I so wish I could capture these moments on camera. He is so beautiful and peaceful at these times. Unfortunately, any evidence of a camera changes his demeanor immediately.

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New growth at the center of these Pine branches.

After a while, he lifted his paw and put it on my arm, asking me to pet him, which of course I did. It’s so cute how he is so mellow on the return trip. I feel really good about giving him these great outings so that he is so happy.

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Yesterday I met with some of my artist friends. We meet twice a month plus a third time for a critique. One of our members was talking about how she felt she had lost momentum in her efforts to exhibit and sell her work. I could certainly identify. We all struggle to find an outlet for our work.

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A very cool shot of lichen taking hold on a small branch.

I love what I’m doing in this blog. I’m glad to have a place to put all of the pictures I take. I’m glad that at least a few people are seeing them. I don’t know if much of this work could be sold in a gallery, but I wouldn’t stop doing it anyway. It’s been very refreshing to me to engage with my world in this way. It’s really awakened my creative life, and is deepening my connection with nature. I don’t want to go back to what I was doing as a photographer—chasing trophies to sell in a gallery.

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There were lots of fungi growing on trees in this area.

I think we artists need to do what we’re doing, whether anyone else knows or cares, though we would prefer that someone enjoy and appreciate our work. It seems to be the story of my life that I love to make beautiful things for which there is only a tiny market.

Though on some level I am clearly doing this for myself, it’s not ideal if no one else enjoys the work. Would I stop if absolutely no one saw what I was doing? I don’t know, but I doubt it. I just do the work and keep trying to find an outlet for it. If not now, then later. If not in this form, then in some other. If not in a gallery, then maybe in a blog. If not there, then maybe in a book of some kind. If not there then somewhere else.

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