(I need to) do what I say

I am, at times, blind to my own good advice. Perhaps this is evidence of a corollary to Do as I say, not as I do?

We moved quickly from work to walking when Joanna reported that clear skies would give way to clouds. She had her snowshoes. I had my camera. She walked east. I followed the stream, north. She looked for tracks left on the slate, wiped clean by overnight snow. I looked for anything with potential.

Walking a wood demands protocol. Among other things, one must be especially careful to look closely, proceed slowly, and stop at appropriate intervals. And so it was, on this day, that I alternately barged noisily through the undergrowth and tromped carelessly along the partially frozen stream. After an hour, the frame count hadn’t budged. I caught sight of her blue coat. Shortly, and if we maintained our current trajectories, our paths would cross and we would agree to go in. I looked down. My pace slowed. I stopped. One more step and my foot would have put an end to what I had yet to enjoy. I watched as water, returning to the stream, launched from the bank and plunged into the current below. The ensuing turbulence introduced air into the mix and this collected as bubbles under a thin covering of ice. I watched as these jostled, accumulated, unable to break free of the capillary film which held them in place. Larger bubbles would, at times, crash into the group, adding to and enlarging the assemblage. Sometimes the rush of one of these provided energy sufficient to release the group. I watched as a new assemblage gathered. It grew, more, and broke free. My frame counter moved from 0 to 36 and then to 57. I stood up. We rendezvoused and agreed to tarry. She brought me to a place where the ground was folded and where water traveled among scattered rocks. I walked against the flow. A branch spanned the banks and, along with a leafy accumulation, formed a dam. Water dripped from the edge of the empondment. It had been cold and stalactites had formed along the underside of the branch. When she found me, I lay full length in the stream bed (an activity permitted only by my judicious donning of chest waders). I had to get the camera positioned at water level. I jettisoned the tripod and steadied the camera on some sticks. The frame counter moved from 57 to 78 and on to 120, 134 and to 149. I got to my knees and rose to my feet. The clouds had gathered. We made for home.


28 thoughts on “(I need to) do what I say

  1. Looking back through your most recent posts, which I read for the first time last Friday, it occurs to me that you are using your time wisely, as a time of renewal. What will emerge at the end of this stage I wonder …

  2. Amazing – although it is ice, both images look so lively and dynamic! As DO your images of running water! I am still thinking about what causes this impression … or was it your description of the motion of bubbles?

  3. I love captured bubbles like your first image. I also enjoy your prose in describing what you witness.

    You would not be alone in stepping on a potential subject. Often it is caused by tunnel vision, being so focused on a particular subject that another evades your consciousness until a moment too late or not even seen at all. Sometimes things reveal themselves when reversing the hike that were not seen the first time through.

    Here is one of my favorite examples of changing position affecting what we see.

    I’ve had my moments when working at ground level and moving into a position without noticing a flower until my knee has crushed it. I try to be aware of all around me but sometimes something slips through.

    • Yes … just as you say, things do reveal themselves on the way home. One is so focused on the (out-bound) journey that many of the rich detail is overlooked. Maybe there’s a life-lesson in there somewhere? D

  4. Lovely! So glad you went with the bubbles. I think its my favorite of all the ones you took that day.

  5. Never mind the risk to life or limb – I’d be terrified of dropping my camera into the water. Of course, I’m still getting used to holding the thing, so I expect that will become less of an issue. If I were to put a title to that first image, I think “Water Wall” would do just fine. The structure of the bubbles is remarkably similar to a stone wall, with the little bubbles filling the interstices as spalls do when building with rock. It’s really a neat image.

    • And then there’s this, from Lord Byron’s “Don Juan”:

      “Between two worlds life hovers like a star,
      ‘Twixt night and morn, upon the horizon’s verge.
      How little do we know that which we are!
      How less what we may be! The eternal surge
      Of time and tide rolls on, and bears afar
      Our bubbles; as the old burst, new emerge,
      Lash’d from the foam of ages; while the graves
      Of Empires heave but like some passing waves.”

      • I just got to reading this, (very) slowly, this morning. How wonderful. How unfortunate that I have yet to discover Byron! The words remind me that the atoms and molecules which comprise living things are the very same atoms and molecules that have ever comprised all things. How wonderful.

    • Please don’t think that I do not worry about the camera Linda. I do! I do indeed because when I slip, or come close to the water, I am reminded of the wireless release I dropped into the depths just a few weeks ago (and never recovered), the polarizing filter that magically unscrewed itself from my lens and plunged onto the rocks below (and ruined the filter), or the cabled release that I dropped into SALT water! I do worry. I do. But somehow that worry dissolves when confronted with a nice shot!

    • You’re just saying that! If, in fact, you really do mean it … many thanks. From the sound of your recent note, you are clearly a very busy person. Thanks for taking time out of your busy life to view, and to comment. Much appreciated. D

  6. The arrangement of bubbles in the first photograph strikes me as unexpectedly linear.

    If it’s not heresy, what would you think of creating a more-abstract image by replacing the background in the second photograph with solid black or dark brown?

    • It’s funny you should suggest the modification to #2. Joanna and I discussed it a bit (while I was first working with it) and decided that the thing needed a bit of depth … so the background remained. Heresy? Never! Constructive criticism (comments, suggests) always welcomed. D

      • Have you considered the half- or less-than-half-step to heresy of darkening the background while leaving some detail? In particular, that light-colored diagonal that cuts through the two icicles could be darkened or dispensed with. Ansel Adams did plenty of burning in when he printed.

  7. Glad you found material for some 150 shots. The icicles are a real representation of COLD and the bubbles remind me of something you’d see looking under a microscope! Glad you had your chest waders on!

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