The Unfamiliar

DSC 0101

Our perception of reality is self-enforcing: We  see what we are used to see. Artificially blurred, everything looks strange, ominous, threatening.

DSC 0094

Still, we try to decipher an image and put it into the context of the familiar.

DSC 0135

If this fails, we ignore it.

DSC 0132

How much is out there that we ignore just because we never learned to see it?

DSC 0110



Supreme Provocation

What are blurred images good for?

DSC 0057

Are they just there to cover up blemishes of reality or the lack of skills of the photographer?

DSC 0059

Or is having more information always better? Shouldn’t at least something be in focus, always?DSC 0038

Or better, everything, with absolute clarity, so that nothing is hidden and no question remains?

DSC 0027

Sometimes, I think, it is necessary to reconsider everything.

DSC 0087


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.


DSC 0387

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

DSC 0411

One can hope.

DSC 0412

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.

DSC 0369

Another Form of Recovery

After a long summer, when heat, humidity and bugs are slowly retreating, it is time to visit some old friends, like here in the canyon of McCormick’s Creek State Park.

DSC 6675

The plan was to capture some of the spots I remembered so that they appear like my memories. The lens of choice was the Lensbaby Velvet which wide open blurs the landscape into oblivion. There is, for instance, the wonderfully maturing tree trunk which I had first seen as a still healthy but otherwise unremarkable tree,
or the overhanging tree that (against all odds) has survived this year one of T.

DSC 6684

There are also the long views into the canyon that seem to support direction and focus, but instead limit choice.

DSC 6701

Another trunk (near the sacred spring) has been sprouting new life – not a miracle, but symbol for resistance.

DSC 6711

Of course there are also the frames I have written about before I am sure but can’t find anymore – – –

DSC 6739

Things become clear when I encounter new friends, like this unlikely pile of rocks in the middle of the stream.

DSC 6778

Out of Focus

For several years, I have toyed with the idea to get one of Lensbaby’s odd experimental lenses. Against good advice, I have purchased the Velvet 56. This is a full frame 56mm lens, with maximal aperture 1.6. It is my most specialized lens by far. It excels at not being sharp.

DSC 2611

Even when stepped down, it is blurry near the edges of the frame. I decided to take it to its other extreme, and use it wide open. Then, the shallow depth of field and the radial decay of sharpness join forces. There are other artifacts, too. The glow around edges for instance is possibly caused by drastically exaggerated chromatic aberration. People have claimed that all this can easily be achieved in Photoshop.

DSC 2774

Maybe so. The images have a strange depth that might be hard to achieve. But even if somebody comes up with a Velvet 56 filter, this is not the point.

DSC 2690

For me, the most exciting aspect about photography is the moment when I take the picture. I transforms what I see and feel at this moment into a rather selective image that I hope will represent what I have seen and felt in some way. Improving the outcome in post processing is of secondary importance.

DSC 3315

The Velvet 56 is the most limiting lens I have used. No filter will make these images sharp. Some might view this as a fundamental flaw. I view this as a creative challenge. You have been warned.

DSC 3136