Analysis of an Image: Mt. Baker

This is the start in a new series I will be doing for my blog. This will help viewers and myself get a better understanding and appreciation of the various elements of the compositions I post. Enjoy!

Baker Analyzed

1. This is the coastal variant of the Subalpine Fir Tree, scientifically known as Abies Lasiocarpa. This tree typically grows to a maximum height in the 60-70 foot range, but has known to grow more than double that in exceptional circumstances. It prefers colder environments with short growing seasons. The cones are typically 2” to 4” long. Due to the short growing seasons, it resultantly grows very slowly; a tree 15 inches in diameter may be up to 175 years old. The tree employs protective mechanisms to survive colder climates. The cell walls become more rigid to prevent ice crystals from breaking the tree’s cells; a waxy coating also works to reduce water loss by evaporation.
2. That is 10,781 ft. Mt. Baker, also named as Koma Kulshan by indigenous people. Mt. Baker, which hosts 13 glaciers, is the second most glaciated mountain behind Mt. Rainier in the Cascade Range ,and the third tallest in the state behind Mt. Rainier and Glacier Peak. Mt. Baker holds the world record set in 1999 for the single largest snowfall accumulation in a single season at 1,140 in. It was first ascended by Edmund Thomas Coleman in 1866, which is how the Coleman Glacier got its name.
3. This is Calluna Vulgaris or more commonly known as Heather. Heather is often found on nutrient- poor acidic soils in areas with cold winters and grows to a height around 3 feet. Its bloom time depends on snow conditions and melt , but it commonly blooms during early to mid July in the cascade range.
4. Snowfields often persist on the ridges of Mt. Baker into August. Some snowfields on the North side of Baker may not melt at all during the season.

Five Ideas to Improve Your Outdoor Photography

1.Be open to different alternatives. Being too fixated on one particular composition narrows the options available to you. If you are open to trying out abstract types of compositions and working with multiple types of weather patterns you will increase the likelihood of creativity in your photography. One of my favorite examples of this is choosing to photograph forest and waterfall scenes during sunny conditions; the light in these circumstances can be interpreted by the eye, but the camera still lags behind in that respect. These types of conditions are definitely challenging to photograph under, but if interpreted correctly, they can produce an image with more depth and ambiance than a forested scene under overcast skies.

2. Look at the whole of a scene and see how each part could interplay in your composition. It is easy to get too focused on the immediate foreground subject or the background subject and lose sight of everything else happening around it. Identify which ways you can draw focus to all of the subject matter presented. The mid-ground is often the most complementary aspect to an image with depth.

3. Seek to find the most important elements of the composition and deemphasize everything else. Photography is more of an art of subtraction; employing that idea can work wonders in creating an image with flow to it. Think about ways in which you can use perspective or tripod position to work around distractions in the scene. Often times shadowing and highlighting can be used to diminish or enhance different features of an image.

4. Always give yourself more time than you will need. This is true in a lot of conditions in life, but particularly true with photography. Though it can be thrilling to rush to get to a spot at the right moment (I know from a lot of first-hand experience), it is always helpful to know as many details and nuances of the place you’re photographing as possible. Having enough time also allows you to relax and reset the mind a bit from the rush.

5. Use photography more for the process than the result. When you focus more on the art of capturing or creating an image rather than the image itself your enjoyment thrives. Photography is a medium to help enhance our ways of perceiving the world; and if you look at it that way, you immediately gain from picking up a camera and honing the process.

The Course of the Sol Duc River

Recently I had the opportunity to visit the Olympic Peninsula, which is not irregular for me, but the unpredictable conditions steered me away from my original intention of visiting the beaches and drew me to almost exclusive focus on the Sol Duc river. I will share some of my observations from various spots along the river. . .

Sol Duc Falls plunges down the canyon that is now filled with light with the creeping sun. The shaded and relatively cold shadows above the falls transform the spray crystallizing it into a brilliant design around the falls. The spray refracts the light beam and together they paint rainbows of color. The power of the falls is both energizing and deafening.

soleduc

soleduc rainbow

A light mist billows through the forest and merges with angled-morning sunlight. The forest begins to awake out of a dense silence; a few birds begin to shatter the quiet in their melody. Lichens and mosses become alive in new color with the highlights of the morning sun. Echoes of the rolling Sol Duc river are heard as it moves with a broader chorus with the addition of spring snowmelt; layered in turquoise it rolls and tumbles over large boulders as it moves downstream.

Sol Duc forest web

Large old growth trees provide shelter and habitat to a large number of species and act like a sponge and filter for the river. These trees are great temperature regulators; I can feel the cool and crispness to the air as they split the light beams that move over a tributary creek that runs into the Sol Duc River.

Sol Duc Stream

The morning sunlight illuminates the light fog that hangs over the Sol Duc River as it is nearing completion on its 78-mile journey. The river begins to shift to a more oceanic ecology as it nears the Pacific; neighboring forests become less dense and the river becomes wider .The westward wind carries fragments of the ocean as it entangles the flora. Contrasted with its powerful beginnings emanating from the glaciers and cutting through the canyons with much force; the Sol Duc is seen in relative silence as it moves softly during a quiet morning.

soleduc web

The moon hangs over the Sol Duc River and warmly lit trees at this popular fishing spot along the river. The Sol Duc River eventually joins the Bogachiel River to form the Quillayute River which leads to the Pacific Ocean at La Push. The Sol Duc watershed is an impressive 219 square miles!

River Fishing

A brief poem I thought up along the river:

When nature comes to life
When silence springs to sound
The complex chorus of the earth
Speaks to the inner stillness that is found.

Ode to Mystery

Here are some musings on mystery/imagination and a couple recent photos from the last couple weeks.

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious.  It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of all true art and science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. “- Albert Einstein

 

Some of my personal thoughts and a poem of mine:

Every action that we take as a mysterious and imaginative component to it. We know not of the outcome, but can only imagine what result our actions will take. The whole of life is blanketed in this sort of mystery. We are given some initial puzzle pieces and an area with which to work, and we must collect and create the rest of the puzzle along the way until we complete it and say, so this was the whole picture it formed.

When I can’t move any further I reach an edge

It is then up for the imagination to tend

To carry me to lands unseen

To weave this world out of a dream

To shatter barriers of worry and fear

And allow creativity to steer

To roads which see no end

This path always exists right around the bend!

 

Image

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Nature Haikus!

Here are some haikus I have written lately with some corresponding imagery. Enjoy!

Mt. St. Helens

Mountains return to Earth
Flowers grow out of the ash
All regenerates

helens3

Ode to the Glacier Peak Wilderness
Blooming for Many Miles
a colorful reminder
of what we can be

Blooming For Miles

Brilliant Nature

Nature Sharpens Sense
On the reflection of life’s events
all seems more brilliant

heliotrope

The Path of Least Resistance

Imagine a flowing stream. The stream is going to do whatever is necessary to follow the most efficient route possible to its destination. It will, by design, move to an area with the least amount of conflict possible. I like to think back to this flowing stream as a beautiful metaphor to how to navigate situations that arise in life. Though it’s tempting to go an immediate route full of conflicting items at times, it is always wisest to take the path of least resistance. Like a stream flowing to the river, it’s always wise to arrange your course of action with the destination in mind. If there is a source of negativity in your life or an issue that must be dealt with, I find taking a step back and briefly thinking about the different courses all of your potential actions will create in this situation. In many of life’s situations, there are a number of ways you can handle something, but usually only a couple different responses can get you to where you need to go smoothly. Continuing to choose conflict builds the resistance you will face on your path. When you react to somebody in a negative way once, you give permission to this situation to arise again. With every peaceful response to a situation, you further carve a safe course to experiencing less conflict in the future, and ideally reach your river of satisfaction!

Streams of Mountains

Using Constructive Thought

The image is somewhat irrelevant, but I am adding it for complementary purposes.

Using Constructive Thought

 Recently an idea I have been thinking about is the energy and emotions tied to thinking, and how every thought you have carries with it seeds of an emotion, whether constructive or destructive. From this idea one can work to control how they choose to think to build better health or perhaps indulge in grumpiness if that is their source of pleasure. 

By these examples, it is obvious that how we think plays a pivotal role in the life that we lead. Knowing this we can move towards steering thinking in a way that builds energy and momentum.  The same equation applied to destructive thinking could also be applied to constructive thinking. Using constructive thinking you could eventually inspire a state of health. And every moment carries an opportunity to go one way or the other by a matter of choice. Much of the stress we feel from thinking is born out of reactions to ideas which are neutral at their core which we then decide to react to these ideas based on preconceived thoughts we might have had about them.

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This is an area with high levels of creativity. Nature created a wonderful sky on this evening!

Doing anything creative can lead to this fork in the road of destruction and construction. Often creative things are riddled in self-doubt, comparison, condescension and lots of questions. It is helpful  in this regard to think of yourself as your only competitor and everyone else as an ally. Because in reality you are only competing against past works of your own.  You should only hold yourself at the liberty to compare your work to your past creations and accomplishments, and in doing so not be so self-critical.  Take a fairly neutral approach and remember that this past version of you did the best it could with the knowledge and equipment it had. Finding joy in the process of the art is one of the most important aspects to constructive thinking in art. There does come times when the actual creation is more valued than the creative process, but to keep energy high there has to be a lot of joy coming from creating. It is easy to lose sight in the product and not really have it justify the why. It is important to find lots of joy in all aspects of the creative process for your art, otherwise there is going to be stress roadblocks and going back to the stress equation above a resulting loss of quality of life and creative thinking. And I’ve found that I am most joyful when creativity is running high!

To summarize:  Thinking can influence your health for better or worse. You can easily manage your thinking and use it for constructive things like extra energy to apply to creative endeavors .

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