The Little People

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Spooky Yellowwood State Forest is home to the Bald Cypress, which produces roots that curiously protrude form the ground. These are called cypress knees, and it is rumored that they provide stability and oxygen in the swampy ground.

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The truth is an entirely different story. When it gets dark and nobody watches, they begin to stretch and move.

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Some stay be themselves, others meet in small groups.

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They attempt to recapture familiar themes. Is this above the Holy Family? And that below Mary with Child?

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Or do they just mock us? We will never know, as with brightening light, they return to their places and and pretend to be nothing but roots.

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Frames and Borders

There are certain places I like to revisit from time to time like old friends whom I only meet once in a while.

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The interesting thing about this particular place is that it provides its own frame.

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In a photograph (like in any picture), the frame is the border between us and what we see.

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Here, the frame consists of dead wood, horizontal and vertical, and allows the view into a changing and living nature before and behind the frame.

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Taking such pictures is like an attempt to cross that border.

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As in The Suspended Step of the Stork, the attempt fails, over and over again.

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Imperfections

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The fire pink is notoriously difficult to photograph. In the 3-dimensional wild nature, its five bright red petals catch the eye instantly and let us overlook annoying background or minor blemish.

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Only after we have tamed its appearance on a 2-dimensional photograph, the defects become immediately apparent. The uniform red shows the tiniest specks of dirt, and little tears in the petals that went unnoticed in nature become major issues. Even its own pollen becomes a nuisance in the photo.

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Of course the right choice of light, depth of field, and post processing help. But I am still waiting for the perfect specimen for the perfect shot.

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Wood and Stone

Even more than the near Shades State Park, Turkey Run State Park offers a maze of narrow canyons filled with remnants from the retreating glaciers of some 20,000 years ago.

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A common theme is the presence of wood and stone. Most of us are surrounded by their shaped presence more or less permanently, but here we can watch them grow and decay in their raw and untamed state.

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This place has something special at any season. In early spring, the abundant vegetation is still dormant, and the damage done by the melting ice and snow has not been cleaned up yet.

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This will just look like devastation to most, reminding us that building with wood or rock is, in the long run, nothing but building on sand.

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Occasionally, there is a view that seems to contradict the chaos. While such views are nothing but rare byproducts of the greater erosive randomness, they still remind us that there is purpose, as long as we pursue it.

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Emergence

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In my previous post about snow trilliums, I had lamented this year’s demise of them due to bitter frost after a period of warm days, and documented my claim with a a picture of a plant that looked to me like a very dead trillium. Not so, as a good friend has pointed out. The dead plant was in fact a hepatica, and is back, still with brown leaves, but also with nice little white flowers. Up close:

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And, even better, the snow trilliums I had taken for dead, are out, too.

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A little curiosity today was a small patch of three snow trilliums that had pink veins. Pretty.

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Zion Rock Art

The rock formations in Zion National Park make it almost impossible to take poor pictures. Well, that’s a pretty vacuus statement. Let’s put it this way: Taking decent landscapes photos is way easier in Utah than in Indiana. So, here are images from Zion of a slightly different kind.

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While in my Spheres series I am trying to create abstract 3-dimensional art, here I am trying to squeeze the inherently 3-dimensional concrete landscape into abstract 2-dimensional art.

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I like about this approach that it becomes irritating, because the viewer loses her footing. She neither knows where she belongs in relation to the image, nor how big or small the image (or she) is supposed to be, nor whether she has to orient herself horizontally, upwards, or downwards.

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It also makes it easy to lie. Not all of these photos were taken in Zion. Some are from the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. None, however, are from Indiana. I swear.

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The Shape of Time (Sand Art II)

No, these dunes are not pink. The Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is purposefully misnamed, but it is still a place worth visiting.

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The cream-orange colored sand offers home to a variety of life forms, all of which seem to be eager to leave some sort of trace. Here, this is in vain, as the rough high altitude has slowed down time. Any efforts of growth are reduced, and feeble attempts of drawing in the sand have become minimalistic.

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Often, it is impossible to discern whether the specimens are still alive or dead.

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But, even if dead, there is still art that can be shaped.

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Stronger forces are attempting to leave longer lasting traces.

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Fortunately, the State Park officer is armed, and time will reduce these tracks quickly to their proper relevance.

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