No Lack of Color

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One of the things one can do in early Spring in California is to go to Lassen Volcanic Park when the crowds are not there yet but the snow is gone so far that one can actually get into the park. This is place of stark contrast. There is a steep and rocky hike up Mount Lassen which offers nice views, for instance to lonely Mount Shasta.Lassen 12

At lower evaluations you can hike thorough lush forests to what I consider the most stunning part of the park, the Painted Dunes and Cinder Cone area.

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The landscape transforms within minutes into something that borders on abstract art.

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This is a pretty remote area of the park, in particular when the access roads are still closed in winter. Mayhem can happen quickly.

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These pictures are now 25 years old. At some point I will need to check out how it looks today. 

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Patience

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No, winter isn’t over. While we are waiting impatiently another one or two months for the first wild flowers to come out, Nature itself appears to be very patient

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These sycamore fruits have been hanging there all winter.

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Around them is proof that there has been a future.

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This is not Waiting for Godot. Instead, this is comfortable trust: L’enfer, c’est les autres.

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Winter Was Hard

 It’s time to say goodvye to winter for this year, and a good way to do so is with some pictures I took with Lensbaby’s Velvet 56.

 

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The completely frozen creek offered easy walking (wearing cleats) to familiar places. The imminent thawing will dislodge and transform. Some things age quickly.

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One can hope.

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The title of this post refers to a piece for String Quartet by Aulis Sallinen, and a CD with the same name by the Kronos Quartet from 1988. That’s 30 years ago. Some things age slowly.

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Patterns of Ice

After almost two weeks of deep freeze, the ice at the local creeks is making feeble attempts to melt.DSC 0248

This has resulted in patterns that are, of course completely useless.

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They don’t reduce unemployment, make people smarter, or cure insanity.

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But they don’t cause damage, and that is already something these days.

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Unbelievable that all this is just water.

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Winter

After a mild frost transformed the ground at De Pauw Nature Park into still lives, recent snow fall and deep frost has changed all of that again.

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The walls of the former quarry are adorned with icicles, and the ground is a uniform white with occasional bits of vegetation sticking out,

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creating patterns of light and dark.

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Usually, the little lake is teeming with birds. Now only spare footprints tell me that I am not alone.

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It is cold.

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Toxic City

There are (at least) two aspects of the DePauw Nature Park that I haven’t written about that make this place fascinating to me. One is the structure of the ground. 

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There is some weird flaky stuff that I haven’t seen elsewhere, but besides that, the ground is just more complex than what you typically would call Indiana Dirt

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I have waited to show this until now because, with early frost, everything gets even better. 

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The other aspect is the sound. In principle, this should be a quiet place (there rarely is anybody, at least not at my favorite hours). But there are birds, of course, and other noises, from factories and railroad tracks just not far enough away to be inaudible. Somebody should record this.

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Which brings me to another theme, that of ambiance in general. I have been listening to what is called ambient music for a while now, with increasing pleasure. Ambient music is not a well defined thing. It can just mean the incorporation of everyday sounds, or the questionable pleasure of background music. I like ambient music best when it distills everyday noise into something exceptional. Examples of that are Richard Skelton’s compositions (that are, in a good sense, very much down to earth), or, a recent discovery for me, Evan Caminiti’s recent music, including his new album Toxic City

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In photography (or even in art in general) there is the “classical” way to idealize the object — remove it from its context, isolate it, and even alienate it, in order to show a possibly artificially construed intrinsic beauty.

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Ambient art, in contrast, tries to show you how much there is without interference. We just have to look.

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That is a lie, of course. Whenever we show, we select. But selecting what we feel is worth seeing (or hearing) is very different from imposing a verdict on how things are on the viewer (or listener).

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Quartet (DePauw Nature Park IV)

I like the days in late fall when Nature has gone to rest, but winter hasn’t arrived yet.

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We should do the same. Instead of denying the approaching darkness by putting up silly lights on dead trees, we should hesitate and contemplate the state of everything around us. 

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So I will conclude this year with posts and images that have more the character of still lives.

 

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It is time to pay tribute to what we will use for building: tree and stone.

 

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And to be thankful that time is still passing.