Zindel Park is a few miles from us and Joanna walks there often. The other day she, and her good friend Ann, planned an excursion and invited me to tag along. Within minutes of our arrival I said You two go on ahead, just be sure to find me on your way back. I have walked the grounds of this place more times than I can remember and I have had the camera with me on many of those occasions. Regardless of the weather or the time-of-day I have always felt a presence when walking among the carefully set stones and stone walls there, all nestled comfortably among a number of beautiful, aged, and fragrant Cedar trees. I have often tried, without success, to capture in an image, the feel of the place which I feel so strongly. Yesterday was dull, dark, cold, and the wind was up. After meandering a bit, I stopped and took in the view you see below. As if out of habit I set my tripod in front of the shrine. I took a single shot, the scene was shrouded in shade. I set the camera to record a series of images with shutter speeds ranging from 0.6s to 10s, I planned to sandwich these to capture the full dynamic range of what was before me. The resulting image speaks to me, in a loud voice. In 1939, Semyon and Valentina Kirlian, the first real promoters of what is called Kirlian Photography, believed that the images they created represented a conjectural energy field, an aura, thought by some to surround all living things. Kirlian and his wife were convinced that their images showed a life force that reflected the physical and emotional state of their subjects. The results of scientific experiments involving Kirlian photographs of live tissue showed that the variations in coronal discharge could be accounted for by the moisture content of the tissue itself. It is fair to say that such photographs do not record the aura, or life force, which may or may not surround living things. That being said, there’s something about the image below, which for me at least, has captured the aura, the feel, of Zindel. The photograph has rendered, to my eyes, that which the Kurlian’s thought they could see in the images they created. The scene is alive such that the placement of boulders, stones, and rocks has significance for the site which has, for lack of a better term, been not merely constructed, but orchestrated. The second image shows the approach to the shrine, it too is made of mountain stone. Both images were taken using long exposures which capture the dynamism of the place; note the blurring of the tree limbs. I was just about to say, Perhaps this is all in my mind. Well, of course it is in my mind. But consider how our minds do what they do. They accept sensory inputs of various sorts, process these with whatever neural software we happen to be in possession of and, as a result, individual impression takes form. Who knows the nature of my processing software, but it tells me that Zindel is alive and a very unusual place indeed.


27 thoughts on “Zindel

      • Oh well, it depends where you put the boundary between digital art and artistic photography 😉 As long as it tells a story, I don’t think it could be over-done. If it ever happens, I will ring a bell 😉

  1. I’m assuming HDR, which for bringing out the magic of a place seems like a good way to go.

    You speak of the site as orchestrated: do you know who did the orchestration?

    It’s been decades since I heard any mention of Kirlian photography, so your mention of moisture content is new to me as an explanation of the phenomenon.

    And now for frivolity: if you’re a fan of wine and of Zindel you can combine the two to make Zinfandel.

    • It’s something of a fascination that there’s not much known about the park, or at least, not much that’s widely known. I do know that the structures, sometimes after they had been originally constructed, were given to local authority to house some of its workers. As far as who originally ‘orchestrated’ the place … I do not know. In closing, I read your frivolous sentence and asked Joanna if she could guess who contrived it … without hesitation, she said ‘Steve Schwartzman.’ D

      • I can fantasize that I’m in good company, because I’m reminded of Johann Bernoulli’s comment about the solution to a difficult math/physics problem that Isaac Newton had submitted anonymously: “I recognize the lion by his paw.”

    • Hey there Cher. I’m so glad you were able to appreciate these images as I had hoped folks would. I too see them as sort of ‘humming’ and ‘alive.’ The little park where they were taken is a very, very, interesting place … and that ‘feel’ is ever-present and pervasive there. Thanks for checking in today and for taking the time to comment. D

  2. Orchestrated is an excellent term for what I see. Yes, I can see what you mean when you say it represents the aura very well. Each of us can look at it and see what matters to us mirrored in the patterns. For me it’s the fact that the patterns can be seen in different ways that matter, not any one vision. Others will see something different and that’s just fine with me!

  3. These are lovely David, and for me seem to capture something of the spirit of the earth for you at this spot … it obviously draws you … and I love that sense of connection, something personal, between me and a place in nature. Oh and the tree blurr is so arty 😉

  4. Your images sure do conjure up some magical places. This looks like a little treasure nestled in the woods … which it is! It looks small enough to imagine a setting for Hansel and Gretel. Your final product looks very 3D … almost like in the movies. Really enjoyed them!

  5. These images look like paintings too me – art at its finest. One weird observation: I am using two monitors, and one of them shows all blue hues in slightly more reddish / violet colors (no matter what I do – I think I played with various calibration software for hours, and any change of blue hues introduced some even more artificial hue somewhere else in the spectrum). Now your images look much more eerie or like taken from a Lord of the Rings movie / fairy tale when I view them on this ‘violet-blue’ monitor. I had become accustomed to the differences between the two monitors, and I don’t notice them anymore when I do my petty ‘image processing’ of my bad smartphone photos. But for your images it makes quite a difference. On the other monitor the images look colder, and less lively (I conjecture that this device does not show enough red actually.) So I really wonder how the images look on your monitors. It’s quite intriguing stuff from theoretical / mathematical perspective: I recently talked to a former colleague, a theoretical physicist, who told me he wrote some papers on the math of transformations in color space. The problem is that color space is actually a 4D space, and all attempts to project it onto a 3D space (RGB or whatever…) is a trade-off. You seem to require a representation in a special 4D space, and that’s why methods borrowed from the theory of general relativity (4D non-Euclidian spaces) come in handy. When these algorithms would finally be implemented, all issues with calibration of colors would be solved.

    • That’s an interesting question Elke. I know of at least one fellow WP photographer who is very careful to calibrate the color space of his monitor (and he does so pretty often I think). To be honest, I’m using a MacBook Pro with a Retina display right out-of-the-box. I ‘trust’ its rendition and simply process in a way that looks good to my eye on this monitor. I have never really given much thought to how these images might translate to other monitors. Now you’ve given me just one more thing to worry about.

  6. Although what you have created here is not a vision I might have realized, it does speak to me in terms of the unknown. We each have our own perceptions of life and our surroundings and I don’t ascribe to the notion that because I don’t experience something then it is “different”. Of course it is … we are all different. It is our openness to and appreciation of what is foreign to our personal experience that creates a fuller understanding of life. These are really interesting to me and I can get a sense of your experience in the park. The images have a vibrancy or vibration that expresses what you wished to say about the place.

    • I’m glad you were able to relate. These images represent, for me, something of an ‘excursion,’ and I worried whether I had erred a bit on the ‘artistic’ side … thanks for being open to the way in which I chose to present them. Perhaps, if I can get out with the camera over the weekend, I’ll be able to serve up some more of my ‘usual fare.’ D

  7. This is gorgeous. The symmetry of composition is like a movie set, yet is is arranged in a way that the human hand would be hard pressed to duplicate. The affect is like that of a beautiful piece of music; ethereal and a delight for the senses. Amazing.

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