It’s a sweet summer morning. You walk along the beach where the sparkling water meets the sand, breathe in the fresh air, hear the waves lapping along the shore, and feel the sand squish between your toes. The grand scene takes your breath away but there is so much more. There is undiscovered magic happening beneath those sandy toes that can be equally beautiful and totally mesmerizing.
Over millennia, rock is broken down in tiny and varied particles of minerals which make their way to the shore by eroding rivers, glaciers, volcanoes, moraines and bluffs. These ancient minerals amalgamate with newer ground up shells and invertebrates to create one-of-a-kind blends of colourful sand and oxides reflecting each beach’s local geography in a magnificent palette. Every beach is eternally restless and adapting. It is as unique as a fingerprint.
The incoming waves and merging spring fed streams play with the often vibrant colours of the particles and the reflected hue of the sky to shape and craft ever-changing, living abstract designs. To the discoverer, this offers endless possibilities and fun. Camera in hand, or not, the display can be spellbinding; reminiscent of childhood hours spent rotating and flipping a frame of coloured sand sandwiched between glass to create new and wondrous designs.
For me, as a photographer who loves creating abstracts, my core photography began with landscapes. As you know by my previous article (below), it is impossible to walk past this natural and evolving sand art without seeking out the landscape. Hills, valleys, aerials, and abstract visions form and morph before your eyes.
So, next time you go for that beach walk, wherever you are in the world, remember to stop, look down and contemplate the moving magical show of nature’s sand art right at your feet. You won’t be disappointed.
To see more Sand Art images, click on the gallery link below the last image.
Into the Hills
Although there can be different and broad interpretations of the word, 'landscape' is a major theme in all forms of art. One of them is photography. Landscape photography is a means to represent the places in which we live and a way to portray what we see around us.
A landscape is rarely defined by its size but rather the phenomenon or ecological mosaic that is presented for us to consider. The physical elements often include landforms such as mountains, hills, lakes, or the sea. They could also encompass vegetation, buildings, structures, or even, transitory elements like weather conditions. Bottom line, it represents how we see our space from many perspectives. It can be as broadly varied as forests, tundra, deserts, cities, farms, ruins and riverbeds. Emotionally, what makes a landscape image effective is how it resonates with us, conjures a memory or allows for a momentary escape.
As one who enjoys making landscape images, I am always on the lookout for the perfect scene…one that makes my heart sing. Many times, I have driven by a scene with no time or ability to stop only to have that image burned indelibly upon my mind with repeated regret.
But there is something more than the traditional landscape that we see with our eyes. It is the landscape that our mind can see when we least expect it.
The interesting thing that has happened over the years is that I now see landscapes everywhere. This has led me to the exploration of landscape illusions, things that suggest landscape but are out of context. If you open your visual eye to the possibilities, magical landscapes can be conjured up out of something totally unexpected. The illusory landscapes in this series have been born from decaying, aging, manufactured, or miniature beginnings. If you allow it, something as simple as a fleeting brush of light on found glass can send your imaginary landscape visions soaring.
of my most favourite places to seek out possibilities for abstract images is to visit or sneak into a boatyard either at home or abroad. Dry-docked
hulls that have once weathered the mighty seas and now, relinquished to the
test of time, await a facelift, reconstruction, or surrender to salvage. They
always present a host of possibilities for the mind's eye.
The real fun in all of this is
later discovering a ghost of familiarity in the final image that relates somehow back
to the source: waterscapes, ocean life, and liquidy watercolour reefs appear
magically in the post processing as though they were meant to tell the
I will refrain from titles this time and leave it up to your imagination...but the images were captured in the boatyard in Jaffa, Israel.
I have been somewhat housebound lately and
after looking at the seemingly endless February gray outside my window, I
decided to have one of my bedroom walls painted. Time for a pick me up! An
outing to the paint store would be exactly what I needed to boost my
spirits. But there, in front of me, the gigantic paint display proclaimed
a myriad of colours all competing for my attention. It was a mind blowing
kaleidoscope. My poor head was spinning. Pick me, pick me. How does
And then I remembered the places I have been
and how, lately, I have so frequently turned my mind's eye
to them. I thought about the rich tones that can appear on rocks after a
rain, the delicate hues of the desert plants and vibrant colours of autumn
leaves that so enrich a natural scene. A rainbow found in flowing water
or an artist's palette etched in sand can take your breath away. Nature's
palette is a gallery that has it all, if we take the time to see it.
trip to the paint store was successful in so many ways and it brought me home to
revisit my favourite places as a bonus.
Did I choose a paint colour? Yes I did.
A Valley of Flowers - California
Scottish Moor Still Life - Scotland
There's no better way to see something more clearly than to
strip it down to the bare bones and to find the structure and the true essence of
what holds it together.
I have had an unexpected and remarkable relationship with my own bones lately. I can now fully comprehend and appreciate the intricate composition and cohesiveness of an essential framework that makes something complete and able stand on its own.
It was with this in mind, that I delved into finding the bones in my images...the skeleton that holds them together.
Grévy's zebra, East Africa
I have never been a huge fan of museums or historical landmarks that have been turned into tourist attractions. However, I now believe it is because I have never really explored the past beyond the casual peek into a dingy room or through a dust glazed window at a century village.
This time, I decided to explore the HDR (high dynamic range) technique, that has been quite the rage, in my own way. This technique has not been something that I admire in natural landscape image but I feel that I have found a wonderful place for it in exploring the past. Lo and behold, what this technique has brought to me is a vision that goes deep....far beyond what you can see in a passing glance. All the details become accentuated and pop out...begging for attention. Take a look and see where your eye can take you. Now that the deep shadows have been removed, a multitude of surprises awaits the viewer .
“Technique is important only insofar as you must master it
in order to communicate what you see. . . .
In any case, people think far too much about techniques and
not enough about seeing.”
Multinomah Falls, Washington USA
I will never be called a bird photographer. No matter how hard I try to go out to photograph birds on outings with others or on self-assignment, I just can't get interested. Having said that, in our many travels I have had fleeting encounters with birds that make my heart sing. Perhaps that is all I have needed. These special moments with our feathered friends are satisfying enough. I like to think they found me...and now grace my portfolio and my memory with their winged elegance.
I have been a busy person and have found myself to be a bit of a whirling dervish lately. What seems to stop me in my spin, though, are bright and shiny things. I swoop down for a close up view and usually find more than just the bright and shiny. Detail abounds in most things that glitter and there is nothing like a good close-up view to accentuate that. There are always heated discussions about pattern images like the ones below not having a centre of interest. Let your eye wander and your mind pause and I promise you, you will find a center of interest that is unique to you. It is like finding a special treasure.
Fish for Sale - The Fish Market, Istanbul
Old friends living side by side, enduring the elements of harsh winters and tough times. still find a way to brighten
their world and the landscape with a sense of hunour and hope. Truly Canadiam. Newfoundland, Canada
De Hoop Nature Reserve, South Africa.
Details, details. From the simple images from my January post, I now take my viewers to the extreme opposite. Below you will see two images that were both photographed from the outside of buildings. One is of an art gallery in Chicago and the other, through the window of an historical general store in the ghost town of Bodie. Voyeur that I am, I could not resist. Both contain tremendous amounts of information but offer the viewer a chance to expore the details and conjure up their own interpretations or stories. For me, each individual pane in the image below, contains a unique image that commands its own attention. In the general store, it is one grand scene that keeps you searching the shelves for surprises. Enjoy!
One Stop Shopping - Bodie, Ca
The beginning of a new year, to me, seems to signify change....and time for something fresh. It is also the time when I like to clean off my desk, tidy up my closet, and get rid of clutter. The act of simplifying, oddly enough, seems to open my eyes to the possibilities. I have chosen to go one step beyond last month's themes of Lines and visually explore the mantra of 'less is more'.
What is it about 'lines' that engage us? Lines tug at our curiosity to follow a path. They draw us into an image, lead us out, and they take us on a journey of discovery within. This month, I have chosen three very different images but with the same dominant features...LINES.
After the Sunset, White Sands, New Mexico
Hung Out to Dry
Lines of Communication
A personal project has led me to explore naturally occurring patterns found on living organisms: in this case, a study of feathers finds natural design for both protection and beauty. I have chosen to place these images in the Nature's Gifts collection. Truly a gift from nature.