Restarting

03Mar14

Let’s face it – this photography blog has been shuttered. There have been numerous topics and posts that have come to mind, but the fact of the matter is that I have backed off from serious work and serious thought. I have simply been busy; photography is not a full-time proposition for me. I still love it, I’m still obsessed with it, but as for my own work, that will have to wait.

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To restart things off, a few items of note. My son is in a raptor phase and loves to learn about hawks and eagles and owls. Taking advantage of his interest we’ve been to a few events and it has sparked in me a companion interest in raptors and our local songbird population. I am particularly interested in the robins, who seem to be the most populous bird in our hood. I love their songs and equate them with still, peaceful dusk photowalks in Tilden Park. We’ve been observing and studying their behaviors in our backyard. Patterns are beginning to emerge.
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This study has prompted an idea for a project by which I study and document the robin’s landscape, which, naturally, is much more confined than our own own. I am curious about what “landscape” means to the birds. Of course, it probably means food, safety, danger and competition – but those makes their landscape not just more immediate but more vital.
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To learn more about these birds I’ve been reading What The Robin Knows, a book I discovered while researching another book that was recommended by a local raptor expert. I suppose it could be considered a “birding” book (I am not a birder), but it’s really about bird language, meaning how we read their vocalizations and their behaviors. The premise is that by learning their “baseline” language and how they behave and vocalize in exception cases (“cat right there”) we can be more aware of what’s going on in general in the natural world right in our yards.
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I also recently discovered an artist/photographer through an interview on Tilted Arc. I emailed her to ask about prints of her work and she has been generous with her time in providing me with discussion and guidance in thinking and reading about landscape and landscape photography. As is probably obvious, I am very interested in landscape as place and in capturing and documenting various forms of landscape/places. And I am always surprised that there are others out there who seem to find the same kind of thing worthy of focus and study and find the same kinds of “landscapes” interesting.
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But over the past many months I’ve mostly been focused on work and family. Work will be what it will be and family is always busy at this stage of the game. I made a commitment to be more present on family hikes and not so concerned with photography – primarily family snapshots with the random landscape grab here and there.
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Also working against me photographically-speaking, we’ve been having a serious drought in California and the warm sunny days have not inspired me to go out and photograph what should normally be a winter landscape. I’m simply not inspired. Also, they have been doing sewer replacement near my standard Jewel Lake Loop for months, and getting to my normal locations requires an extensive detour; it just adds time to an already constrained time window.
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Beyond that, time is a blur.
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“You spend the first half of your life trying to figure out what you want to be and the second half trying to figure out who you are.”
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I’m beginning to understand that.
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