Friday, November 30, 2012

Forest for the trees? Up close and personal?

Devil's in the details. Right? Devil has the right idea, in that case. What are (or aren't) details, if not the stitches in the canvas, the tiles on the pool floor, the peanuts in the packing box of LIFE (the experience, not the cereal)? I always liked those Magic Eye posters so popular in the 90s. Partly because going crosseyed was fun, and partly because the discovery of the bigger picture in all those splotches was even funner. More fun still was that a certain grade school nemesis who shall remain nameless was rubbish at the things (small victories). Any rate, since then, I have loved getting up close to things (oh yeah, just in the interests of full disclosure, I'm a bit nearsighted...well make that totally blind). Some say I miss the bigger picture for my love of details, but I'll take that over only seeing the broad view and losing its component parts.

I've gone on about flowers and their ilk, but really, they look pretty cool when you get right up in there-

Growing up in Farm Country, I have seen a field or two in my day. And right across the world, those fields look pretty much the same up close. And are just as important whether they are Idaho Corn, Italian Grapes, or even African Khat. It tends to depend on the light, the colours, and the angles, but really, it all just looks fantastic.

Don't want to wax too philosophical, but much like some great high quality wood or the coolest person you know, that LIFE box I mentioned before really is a very richly textured thing (something it shares with the eponymous breakfast food). And while that texture can been generally seen from any vantage point, I find that the deeper slash closer one goes slash gets, the more one can appreciate the details. Grass is not just green(s).
Trees are not just brown(s).
Water is not just blue(s) (whatever country, island, rock, or bit of reef it might frame). I mean, for crying out loud... they don't even make Crayolas in these colours!
Eyes are more than just ocular sense organs. Nothing is quite as lovely as seeing one's own reflection in the eyes of a horse. I highly recommend it if you ever get the chance. They just see so very much. More than they ever let on. I suppose that's for the best.

Finally, on the lighter side of the issue, when they get to take center stage and the whole photo, little things get rather bigger... And come to life! Check out this little visitor looking like a dinosaur (those little toenails made one helluva racket on my window...)
 For the love of Mike! Attack of the Giant Neapolitan Lozenge-Shaped Bugs!!! (he's about the size of the end of my thumb, but check out all the kit he's lugging about on those wee spindly legs)
Doesn't matter how cutesy you try to make him... Vader is still the Darthiest... (yeah this one is can turn off the Nerd Alert klaxons...)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Life in Black and White, or Way to Class Things Up!

Disclaimer: There are many quotes in the blog that follows. If you have no patience for the words of others... why are you reading some strange girl's blog? See what I did there? The cheeky irony?

Moving on. There is a thought out there, shared by many, that life is more than black and white. I realise that this is a simplification of an attempt to point out the complexities of life or whatever the given philosophical situation may be. I am choosing to look at it in a completely silly way, inspired by the following:
"If everything isn't black and white, I say, 'Why the hell not?'" - John Wayne

My point from here on out (be it a good one or not) is that things look clearer, cooler, and downright classier in black and white. As a lifelong waffler, I am well aware that life is not a simple thing; making decisions one way or another is hard. There are always, or at least mostly, many differing points of view, interpretations, and stories, and these usually overlap quite a good deal. But really, I find that looking at something (anything, I suppose) in black and white (okay, really its greyscale, but just go with it) unmuddies the waters. Too much colour in any situation may please the eyes, but it also distracts. Take the following flowers for example. And yes, I have used a couple of these in a previous blog.
 Does it matter if you can see the different shades of yellow in the flowers above?
 Or pinky orange in these?
 Do the details of the delicate middle petals need to be a particular colour?
So what if God didn't invent a grey lilly. Clearly an oversight on his part, if you ask me (which I realise no one did).

"We only exist in terms of... conflict, in the zone where black and white clash" - Louis Aragon
Now there's a weighty thought for you. And speaking of conflict, check out what an ominous Rwandan volcano looks like when the freakishly green surroundings are dampened. Really makes the Big White Mansion there toward the middle bottom look like a toy.
 And do you need to see the iconic red uniforms of these chaps to recognise who they are? Their uniformity is even more impressive when you see how it stands out against the rest of a B&W photo (sorry got lazy there for a sec).
 And the similarly but differently iconic city scape of San Francisco is more urban against the texture of the water and sky.
"It's about you. If you win, it's you; if you lose, it's you. Black and white. Nowhere to hide" - Greg Rusedski
I like the cut of this man's jib. Or maybe just the way he thinks. Either way, it is a brilliant way of encapsulating what responsibility we all have for our own path, our own future, and how we move about on and toward these things. Even if we chose to do so like this crazy fellow.
 I prefer to do it like like this (though this photo is by me, not of me). See how little chance of painful death and / or maiming there is here?
Mister black bird here has some rough terrain, but he doesn't expect someone to come and comb the beach to smooth it out for him. if he's not so much feeling the lumpy bits, he'll just fly away over them, lodging not a single complaint.
 This one is just neat. And really, talk about a rough path. Win or lose on this track, it is all up to you.

"In the beginning it was all black and white" - Maureen O'Hara
Thanks very much, Ms. O'Hara. She may be talking about television and films, but so, too life started out black and white. Or really just black, I suppose. But even after someone switched on the Universe Lamp, there were no people mucking about giving things names and labels. Thus, things were simple (getting metaphorical about black and white, but bear with me). I like simple. Simple lines.
 Simple angles and shapes.
 Simple cycles of living and moving on.
 Simple textures.

"There's something strange and wonderful about black and white imagery" - Stefan Kanfer
Here I am in total agreement. Strange and wonderful are great ways to describe black and white images. They make the eyes think a tiny bit harder sometimes, in order to pick out things from backgrounds.
 They make a scene more universal, temporally speaking. The lines of time and eras and ages become blurry, but that is kind of neat.
 An otherwise strange juxtaposition seems to just make sense when seen through these lenses. I mean, when one is thinking "Where shall I park the wagon?" the logical place is not usually on a big rock in the garden. But all darks and lights, and you have something bordering on artistic.
 And sometimes, it just makes things look neater. No other word but neater. Kind of like the font on the Cola Cooler.

 "Bah! I won't believe it until I see it in black and white" - Samuel Goldwyn
Now, I'm not entirely sure if Mr. G of MGM is waxing poetic about films, or if he means it in the sense of contractual obligations. Whatever he meant when he said it, though, I find that the inanimate looks more alive in black and white. Statues of Romanish ladies seem less cold.

 Little garden gnome looks simultaneously longing and contemplative.
 Even Mister Bobblehead can get into the excitement of a baseball game (when someone is kind enough to give him a seat with a view).

"Human nature is not black and white but black and grey" - Graham Greene
Enough said, Mr. Greene. Though I do like a little bit of white in things, even with the accompanying difficulties of keeping it clean.
To close, the following things are already black and white, and already awesome. So the piccies look even better with the rest of the colours stripped. Bob Dog = already a badass. Check out all the grey hairs (they mean he is old and crotchety but wise and loving).
 Poor lonely Zebra living in Djiboutian cheetah refuge = awesome every day of his badass life.
 And yes, even a Cyberman. Look how cute.....

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Where one sun sets...

...somewhere another rises? That I suppose is the idea. Now, don't worry; this is not going to be a godawful treatise or me waxing philosophical about the sunsets and sunrises of life. I am far too cynical for that. This is simply a largely gratuitous display of some of my favourite sky pornography. The amount of space on my hard drive taken up by shots of the sky and clouds is absurd. Thus, they shall no longer hide away.

Enjoy. I'll start with a bang.
OK, maybe more of a hum, or perhaps a light knocking on the moonlit door.

Now to the more subtle, friendly, molten, kinda magic cloudy looks.
Faces in the clouds take on a whole new attitude when lit by a sleepy sun. See the big ole' alien?
Even when the clouds are taking a backseat on the awesome ride, they make ordinary trees look downright sinister, or at least a bit odd.
 Same tree...
 Same tree, different night... No fancy photo magic, just nutty light and stormy sunset.
Next, the power of a backdrop to make silhouettes of other things look brilliant. Simple Street Lamp becomes Lit Arch in front of Fire Sky,
 Sad Front Tree becomes Reaching for Heaven
 Power Line Pole becomes Connecting the Skies
 Or maybe even The Holy Power.
I should comment on the next series, but it is lateish, and I am tired. And really, the commentary is a bit unnecessary... You'll see.

How's this for fires in the skies?

And someone had a go with some crayolas
To close, I'll share with you my favourite ones. If I'm honest, this is largely because they look too good to have been taken by me. But that's mother nature for you. Lovely enough to overcome the most rubbish photographer.
Does a sunset always mean a sunrise? I certainly hope so. Mine certainly looks to keep on with it.

Better post next time, I promise.