By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
Because I could I decided to go for a short drive and spend a couple of days away; as good an excuse as any for a few photographs.
Click upon each to enlarge
Nature is. Probably that is the clearest and most succinctly applicable sentence I can describe this wonder and serene pleasure rewarding my life. Yet as for the hobby of photography, Nature ultimately controls the subject matter. She presented me with a difficult day in securing only a few decent shots, of particular challenge were those showing the staircase vicinity where it was frightfully cold and having horizontal, ice crystal peppered rain interlaced within highway-speed wind gusts.
Admittedly, I had to cheat a bit with the postproduction software to coax out some luminosity from steely-gray RAW images. (Including the rather “cheap shot” Color Saturation tool) As an aside, though I only wield a cursory command of the art and trade of photography, experiences like these marshal me to fully take to heart the idea that photography is a form of speech–in the sense that one can using post-production software and camera configuration in conducting meaning to the beholder in the same manner in which language confers meaning in the reader. One example is conveying starkness and foreboding of a subject by increasing contrast, removing warm colors, bleaching out the sky and over sharpening. Or in the case of an earlier article, making a tribute perhaps to a great scientist through the wicked use of color. (See “Cherenkov’s Dream” in the link). But unto the photos…
Astounding was the contrast between what the picture above shows and the experience endured behind the camera, or the disparity between the waterfront and beyond the cliffs above. At the tempestuous waterline we were strafed with ice-like pellets. Where they came from who knows. Maybe it was the layout of the cliffs that made some form of Venturi effect that dropped the ambient temperature to ghastly levels with the wind chill. It did demand some effort to extricate ourselves out of that freeze, up the stairs, and to the top where it was surprisingly warmer. Admittedly it was a bit exhilarating, but deserving of a strong “no thank you” should Nature ever try to invite me into that again.
Having later resumed a core body temperature in the two digit, positive range I came across this curious creature. Constructed of flotsam presumably gathered from nearby beaches, this resolute looking plastic puffin presents another Duality of Man contradiction: An enchanting creation of a person through art…born of the pollution carelessly and conveniently jettisoned by mankind. I suppose the artwork can serve, if we allow ourselves to accept it, as a presently benign foretelling of the spawning of the worst kind of phoenix that could alight from the ash heap, should we relegate our presently hospitable environment into chaos. Whichever path can be of our own choosing, yet the outcome will be inextricably forced upon us.
And now back to your regular political program. Nature would laugh at us, but it won’t. It can’t, so it doesn’t. And therein becomes the serenity. We can choose concordance with nature or the discord of Washington. As for the coast, to be Concordant or Discordant? Well, that was under the purview of geology millions of years before we got involved. It seemed to have got along quite well on its own.
Images (C) Darren Smith 2021
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