Snow in Zion National Park

Zion black and white

Ansel Adams used to hoist his huge large-format camera onto the roof of his “woody” station wagon to get the exact shot that he wanted. He was working with plates, rather than film, which made getting just the right shot so important. He planned ahead.

I’m no Ansel Adams. Call me an impulse photographer. Yet, I was pleased when I discovered all seven of Adams’s “zones” in this snapshot, white to black.

I almost always use color in Zion National Park, yet black and white can equally dramatic. How can you lose when you are photographing red rocks and snow!

I work from my gut. I just work and out it comes.
I don’t know what it is until it’s finished
and often I title a piece after it’s done.
Call it chance, call it fate.
There’s more than one thing going on.

~Dale Chihuly~

Split color wheel with analogous hues

blue green lavender gold

I was delighted to discover this tableau!

Can you see the color wheel? Green, blue, lavender, and then a whirl of the wheel over to the yellow-gold side. Just perfect.

My former art teachers would love it. I did, too.

I can’t understand it when people say
they don’t like a particular color.
How on earth can you not like a color?

~Dale Chihuly~

 

Keep your eye on the sky

Sunlight behind the clouds

I had just come out of the grocery store. My mind was filled with eggs and celery and pork cutlets. Then I turned around and saw this.

I was transfixed, and so was everyone else in the parking lot. We stopped and stared. And then turned and nodded to each other, aware that what had transfixed us had halted others, too.

For one moment, we were united in a community of beauty. Water vapor and sunlight. Transformed just for us.

Happiness sneaks in through a door
you didn’t know you left open.
~John Barrymore~

 

Know your rock and trust your mason

Picture of dry rock wall

Old historic buildings in Sedona were often constructed of red sandstone. And skilled craftsmen paid attention to the type red sandstone that they used, for the sandstone was formed by inland seas that rose and retreated. And each time the seas receded, a different type of sandstone was built.

One sediment layer was formed in thin brittle layers of shale while another was the “hold together” sandstone that erodes in soft rounded shapes, similar to Bell Rock near Sedona. If you built a house with the first type, the layers would crumble and shatter, and the house along with it.

I was reminded of that when I visited New Hampshire recently. There, the building rock of choice is granite. The stuff that tombstones are made from.

A house constructed of granite will be there a long time from now. And yet this building material, too, has its own idiosyncratic ways. View the skill it must have taken to construct this granite wall over a hundred years ago.

It pays to understand your rock. And to trust the skill of your stone mason.

It can be everything to have found a fellow bird
with whom you can sit among the rafters while
the drinking and boasting
and reciting and fighting
go on below.

~Wallace Stegner~ 

 

Paper patterns make a life

Picture of paper patterns

In the back room of a dressmakers shop lived a row of paper patterns. Some had yellowed with age, but the fingers of the seamstress unerringly drew the pattern she wanted from the collection. She knew them all by heart. They were familiar friends.

We all have our own row of familiar patterns. I know which cup I’ll choose for my morning coffee, which Internet news website I’ll read first. My fingers reach for that favorite T-shirt to wear when the stack is fresh from the wash.

Just as there is growth in newness and surprise, there is comfort in predictability. We need both in our life to thrive.

I am an idealist.
I don’t know where I’m going
but I’m on my way.

~Carl Sandburg~

 

 

In the eye of the beholder

pipe and wire

Some people collect agate marbles or Japanese netsuke. Martha Stewart collects everything!

My goals are more modest. I collect textures. So when I found this abstract image of a pipe and electric wire on an old stucco wall, I was delighted. It wasn’t a Mondrian or a Rothko, but in my book, it was pretty darn close.

It doesn’t take much to make me happy.

My formula for living is quite simple.
I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night.
In between I occupy myself as best I can.
~Cary Grant~