The Bridge

Canadian Geese (A Kiss) 231 (1024x748) (2)Next weekend I will participate in another solstice exhibit at Saint’s Retreat. Yes, I have been asked to dance…and have consented to represent the White Mare Goddess to bless the summer solstice. And yes, I have been asked to exhibit art. My usual drawings are probably expected. Possibly a sculpture… But I am choosing to show a few of my photographs. This takes courage and even a touch of audacity, as I have only been intensely engaged in photography for about nine months. I am definitely not as secure in my pictures as I am in my brush & ink drawings. But this is what I am doing right now.

Carrying a camera with me through my day has opened my eyes in a whole new way to the world around me. And the gifts that appear to me (be it bird, tree, alligator, flower or mud flats on East Beach) have softened my heart. I am warmly attracted to the subjects I photograph. As I stand on my wriggling dogs’ leashes and shoot and shoot and shoot, I forget everything except the beauty and charm of what I am seeing. It feels like an act of love and I am enlivened.

Taking the photographs past the initial experience can be tedious, and also exciting. One can be disappointed in one’s technical limits, or one can be positively amazed by what one has captured. I have been both. And I have discovered that just as with my usual mediums, work is a big part of getting to an image I am willing to share. Blogging has helped me to bridge the gap between personal snapshots and photographs as art. I have even realized how like a painting a photograph can be.

Green Heron Fishing (Color) Etc 031 (1024x768) (3)At the heart of our recent spring, I reached an agreement of sorts with this little green heron. He would model occasionally (on his terms), and I could snap him in his various occupations when I visited the park. But I must control my dogs. Any obvious rowdiness, and he was out of there. Also, when he wearied of being focused upon so intently, he would fly…suddenly…no warning. I never once caught him in flight. My entrancement was too deep. But what a joy to have this opportunity. Repeatedly, he lit up my day, and I have the photographs to remind me of his gift.

Models are everywhere to one who is aware, and the camera definitely heightens my awareness. Another model that has patiently endured my photographic attentions is the Inner Harbor alligator. Mostly at a distance, but now and then pulling his long scaly body up onto the human side of the park. His sun-bathing on the wrong bank fascinates as much as repels. Alligators are unpredictable. It was with nervous caution that I focused and clicked, only discovering later what I had seen through the lens.

Alligator with Design in MindThis is often the way it is. One is surprised by what appears on the computer screen. One has to wonder if one actually saw the zigzag pattern of the land and water. I was certainly focused on the subject as I shot, yet later he seemed secondary to his surroundings. I love the repeated triangles in this photograph. And I can almost see brushstrokes in the water and the muddy bank.

Actually, the element of surprise is perhaps what keeps me so engaged. I may find myself withdrawing slightly from the process: there seems to be a dearth of interesting subjects. My seeing tires and begins to forget what is possible, then I am surprised by something entirely new. I dare a walk in the rain and a strange bird stands on the pier. I don’t know his name, but isn’t he gorgeous: a touch blurry, but oh…those markings…that red eye. And oh, the rain-wet pier. I am fully awake again.

Night Heron on Rain-wet Pier 090 (733x1024) (3)On that same day, as I happily walked, allowing the rain to drench me and to gather in droplets on the coats of my dogs, I received another surprise…yet another reason to pull my camera from its protective pouch: a fellow dog walker…a young girl surprisingly patient with her shaggy old companion. I had been respectful as I glimpsed her with her wonderful polka dot umbrella, but as she walked away, I couldn’t resist.  Photography is like that.

Girl with Umbrella and Dog 096 (757x1024) (2)And just as photography has become a bridge between me and the world I occupy, so might it be a bridge between me and my fellow humans. This wonderful bridge allows me to share my vision of our shared world.


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One Response to “The Bridge”

  1. Kendall Says:

    Each of these pictures is delicious. The colors, the lines, what you’ve done with processing: definitely acts of love. No question about that. And each one glorious in its own way.

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