Weekly Photo Challenge: Ooh, Shiny!

“Hey, look! A plastic castle!”

No thank you. Plastic? Yuck. Man made? Not interested. 

My favorite diversions, distractions, and delightful detours are definitely of the flowers-and-butterflies variety.

Polygonia comma

Gray treefrog

Blue vervain

But to tell you the truth, these things are not merely beautiful bagatelles. These are the elements of a grand eco-system, the intrinsic parts of a working Universe. And so I am trying to be that disciplined, working person that focuses on protecting these habitats. They are not my distraction, then, they are my day plan. 

Ooh, Shiny!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Elemental

“Explore the classical elements of earth, air, water, and fire. How do you capture something invisible like air, or the movement of water? Or, more personally, is there a place you go to feel connected to the earth?”

Air, water and fire form a double rainbow touching Earth. 

Sitting on the ground beside a lake, the campfire behind him dancing in the air. 

Connected to the earth, from head to toe. 

Elemental

Weekly Photo Challenge: Textures

Nature loves to combine textures with remarkable contrast.  

Spine-prickly and petal-soft:

Cold, smooth, and rough: 

Fuzzy and rigid: 

 

Smooth, rough and bumpy:

Wet slippery, dry and grainy: 

 

Everywhere you look, Nature feels wonderful.  

Textures

Weekly Photo Challenge: What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Do you see something….unusual…in this photo?  

Blue ‘Shroom, I saw you standing alone….
It’s a lactarius indigo edible mushroom. The latex or milk that oozes from it turns from blue or blue/gray to green when it is cut open. I’ve only seen this one. 

And what’s wrong with this picture? 

Boys in shorts, green grass and blooming flowers, and…snow on the ground? 
Okay, I’m kidding. That’s not snow. It’s flower petals from the tree overhead. 

 

What about these? Anything ODD about this place? 

Yeah. It’s all weird. I don’t get humans. I’m sticking to Nature Photography. 😉  

Unusual

Weekly Photo Challenge: Delta

Δ Delta

“This week, share a photograph that signifies transitions and change to you… Explore the ways in which a single photograph can express time, while only showing us a small portion of any given moment.”

Time and change symbolized in a static, 2-dimensional image — not an easy trick. However, all around us there are clues to the way that Nature has changed things over time.  How about:
1) The resting place of the bleached pelvic bone of an elk who once wandered this tall grass prairie in South Dakota

2) The abstract art of calcite deposits left in a cave long after limestone has dissolved  

 3) The fossilized bones of dinosaurs that roamed the Earth some 150 million years ago, exhibited for present day tourists to see and touch

4) These stately forms of sandstone, layered and eroded over time 

5) The moment in time when light, air, water and Earth meet in a colorful conjunction, only to disappear in the next movement of the elements

Of these five examples, which one speaks to you of the joy in change and movement? 

Delta

Weekly Photo Challenge: Order and Chaos

My photographic focus is on Nature. Here’s an interesting question: is Nature ordered or chaotic? I grew up hearing that God brought order out of chaos when He created the world. What might that mean? Do we see that evidenced in the world? There are certainly patterns in Nature, but aside from crystal structures, I have a hard time thinking of anything in Nature resembling a straight line. To me, Nature is one thing after another and never exactly the same. I see this in many examples, like my 4 children. 

And speaking of crystal structures, what about snowflakes? No two are alike, we’re told. Is symmetry the same as order?Pattern and repetition, if not exact, can be a kind of order, I guess…or it can be a kind of chaos. Are feathers orderly? Even when ruffled?

Nature is complex. I think that order is a human attempt to simplify Nature into something less overwhelming and easier to control. Sometimes this simplification has benefits. Evenly and consistently constructed stair steps are much easier to ascend than canyon rocks. 

Somehow, even though Order makes my life easier and tidier at times, I would not say that it’s better. I would not even say that it’s Divine. It’s just….orderly.  

Order

An American Adventure: Part One

We set out Friday, May 19 from Wisconsin at 5:00 a.m., sunrise behind us, tornadoes ahead. Crossing Kansas, the sky sat heavy and dark all around; the radio announced storm details for counties we couldn’t identify on our general road map. We drove perpendicular to them, it turns out, and emerged awed and unscathed into nighttime in Colorado. After two brief naps in the car at the side of the road, we met the sunshine in Pueblo and stopped for breakfast in Cañon City. The tourist attractions don’t impress us. We choose our town stops based on U.S. Forest Service offices. Picking up maps and asking questions is right up there with filling the gas tank and eating a meal. Although the office was not yet open, the kiosk outside was full of helpful information. After breakfast, we made our way up through Royal Gorge into the mountains toward Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. A late spring storm had dumped record-breaking inches of snow throughout the Rockies just two days before, and some roads were still impassable. We would see more consequences of that storm in the days to come. 

I try to be mindful of the adventure of traveling. It is so much more than the preparation and packing, the sights out the window and the passage of time. How do I respond to discomfort? To contrast? To expectations and disappointment? What am I looking for? What is important to me? What do I feel?

And then…how do I turn away from my ego and discover what this place is? What is its pace? Its scale? Its history? Its character?

Getting out of the car is a big step. Leaving a computer screen, a phone screen, and a windscreen behind opens up a new world. The Earth smells amazing. Heat and cold feel amazing. Being surrounded by living things is truly amazing. And that’s a good place to begin. I am amazed, humbled, ready to open up to new experience.