The recent flooding has once again changed the landscape in McCormick’s creek, removing everything from decaying leaves to trunks that have been around at least a decade.
Rocks have been cleaned and assembled nicely.
Even the obvious mud seems relieved and shows off curious patterns.
It won’t stay long like this: Spring is around the corner.
Things will grow and grow over, obscuring again what we should not see.
Some rocks will be picked up and thrown.
No need to panic. The water will keep flowing, out of nowhere to nowhere.
Heavy flooding followed by a deep freeze without any snow fall left the floor of the quarry in the DePauw Nature Park in a perfect state to study everything frozen.
Last week we took care of the plant life under ice, today we enjoy the even more abstract world of ice, rock, and air.
Usually we think of frozen surface water as relatively thin, tw-dimensional layer of homogeneous white ice. Here, the few inches fo water were frozen solid and provided an unusual view into a short-lived world.
Of course the rocks and ice structures where already pretty, but streams of frozen air bubble provided a three-dimensional appearance that I hadn’t seen before.
What else is there when we don’t look?
When you stand there looking at stuff, inevitably people stop and look, too (the major cause of traffic jams). This time, I drove the other lone hiker away by claiming that through shear conecentration, I would make the icicles fall. As it was way above freezing, I had not much to do for a proof…
More serious was the encounter with the quarry warden who had been driving in his little electric cart forth and back along the rim trail, trying to clear the ice that had caused the responsible people to close the trail (it wasn’t that slippery).
He had evidently spotted me down in the quarry, off trail, wading over frozen ponds, crouching down and using weird equipment.
It took him 20 minutes to get to me. He turned out to be harmless, so I decided to pretend the same.
I started talking about how the bubbles and the ice crystals had begun to emulate the shape of the frozen plants, and I was wondering whether there were any special spirits behind it. Off he went, leaving me alone with my little world.
If I suddenly stop blogging, chances are somebody has seen through me.
The recent dramatic temperature change from less than 30ºF below to more than 60ºF above within a few days left some woodland areas with quickly melting thin ice sheets that had previously captured some of the decaying vegetation.
The unusual part here is that everything happened quickly, shock-frosting and shock-thawing, leaving everything in a rather pristine state.
It felt like encountering the remnants of an alien civilization, that had left us some of its writing, with only hours to capture their message.
Of course there was nothing else to do but frantically take pictures, hoping that what looked interesting might also be significant.
The chances are of course slim that after this will have happened to us, an alien civilization will arrive in time to decipher what’s left of us.
I am afraid it will be less beautiful anyway.
Yes, that’s right. Let’s begin the year with a recap of not last year, but of 2008, the year 10 years ago.
This year brought photographically two significant changes into my life: My move to full frame digital (and the ability to use a handful of SLR lenses I still had from film days), and the adjustment to the Indiana landscape.
It is not that the Indiana landscape is featureless. It is more a assembly of countless insignificant features that tire the eyes, with occasional exceptions.
Some are less obvious then others, but the only chance finding them is to look.
Sometimes I am being asked why I bother carrying a heavy camera when there is nothing worth to photograph.
Visiting some of the state parks has helped to open the eyes, like McCormicks Creek, Turkey Run, Shades, or Falls of the Ohio. This had been a good year.
Finally, the Grayness has arrived.
Some places have a fifth season. California, for instance, has a few weeks of High Summer where the air seems fresher and the sky more lucid than usual. Indiana, on the other side, has Gray Winter.
There are ways of resistance. One is through structure,
another through subversive use of color.
In Michael Ende’s masterpiece Momo, the men in gray talk people into depositing their free time (usually spent with relaxation or talking to other people) into retirements accounts, which is of course fraud, because the men in gray feed on other people’s time. Fortunately, there is Momo.
Early morning frost and earlier flooding accentuate these little attempts of resistance that nature puts up.
Let’s not become the gray planet.
The Lake Monroe Reservoir offers many spots for morning walks and an opportunity for minimalist pictures.
There are only two sources of color here: The ground,
and human relics.
Gravity seems to be particularly strong here, and time runs more slowly than usual.