“You will always find an answer in the sound of water.” Chuang-Tse
Yesterday morning was spent hiking around my favorite Texas nature spot: Pedernales Falls State Park. I went there with questions both practical and philosophical. I walked away with answers. And the only counsel there was the rock and the water and the sound they make together.
Our cameras love to measure time and light in fractions of a second. But often I do not. Walking through our field there is always motion. Even in the stillest of winds, the hoppers fly and bees buzz around me. Usually there is breeze that waves our grassland and wildflowers into one sea of flowing color and moving highlights.
When you give control to the camera it aims for clarity and thus it tries to slow time down to the point of stopping motion. When I walk our land or hike in our forests nothing seems still and frozen. Everything is moving, constant change, the wheel never stops. It is a bigger illusion to believe we have stopped time in clear print than the illusions and abstractions I present in these images.
All of this is not new. The Impressionistic painters in the 1800’s and JMW Turner before them, departed from the tradition of painting clearly. A new way to communicate the beauty and majesty of this world was born.
My first introduction to this way of approaching photography was found in William Neill’s Impressions of Light. Check out his ebook on capturing nature’s beauty in this manner.
All these images were created utilizing long exposures with camera movement. To gain long exposures times I had to use a Lee Big Stopper filter which adds 10 stops of light reduction. The only edits were performed in Lightroom for color, clarity, and “lengthening the histogram”.
I am a different person when I walk our land. The birdsong and wind’s whisper are seen even more than heard. Every cactus needle and yucca tell a pointed tale. The roadrunners are leaning forward into their runs. A thousand firewheels orchestrate a symphony of swaying waves. And yellow blooms breathe in-out, in-out, in-out lungfuls of air. I have not found it yet out here but somewhere there is the pulse of a beating heart.
“As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can.” ~ John Muir
There is a natural progression to the wildflowers appearing on our land in central Texas. Verbena and Bluebonnets mark the beginning of Spring wildflowers. They give way to firewheels, mexican hats and the prickly pear cactus blooms. The fields turn from purple and blue to yellows, oranges and reds.
Nature. There is no greater teacher. But only if we open our eyes and ears; our mind and our heart. Only if we can sit still and long in nature and closely, slowly experience it as it unfolds.
More of our Texas Spring 2015 images follows plus a bit of insight from two people who were good pupils of nature.
Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright. ~Henry David Thoreau