Nature summoned me today. I had to drop what I was doing, grab a camera, and go outside. Snow was falling, and yes I’m tired of winter, ready for spring, but these were the biggest snowflakes I had ever seen. Not flakes, clumps. Big fluffy blobs like cotton balls falling from the sky.
Sometimes our interactions with nature require careful planning, like scheduling a trip to a birding hotspot during peak migration. Other times it’s a matter of being in the right place at the right time.
One rainy day last summer I took the camera and sat on the front step. I was in the right place to notice a calendula flower seemed to emanate light from within. I was lucky to see it and take the photo above. It was my most popular image on Flickr for the year 2021 with 310 faves from visitors.
We can experience the world in different ways. Walking in the snowy woods as a photographer I sense things in a particular way. I look for patterns and colours to express it. My feet move slowly. I often stop to investigate small things like snow clinging to a leaf. Photography provides a powerful way to share these impressions.
When I turned around to come home today, I put the lens cap on and let the camera hang from my neck. I wanted to absorb the surroundings in all the other ways a poet senses: the frisson or absence of bird voices, the liquid sound of a branch dropping a clot of snow in the creek, cool moisture on my ears and neck. These non-visual images can only be communicated in words. Writing is also necessary to describe how the big picture impresses me; what I feel and think.
I have been begun updating my website. One of the goals is to integrate writing and photography better, these different modes of sensing. I have created six themed albums of favourite photos, which I invite you to peruse. I hope you’ll find them beautiful and interesting:
I have also integrated my Flickr photo feed into the sidebar, accessible from every page. Flickr hosts more than 100 million accounts and billions of photos, with members uploading millions more every day. I have used Flickr to host my photos since 2005, a year after the site was launched. I have posted 5,737 photos and received 2.4 million views.
Flickr’s community aspects promote the exchange of ideas and inspiration with other photographers. It has encouraged me to try different techniques and hone my skills. I recommend Flickr groups as a place for anyone who wields a camera to improve their work.
Finally, at the bottom of the sidebar you’ll find a link to a Flickr group I started in August 2020, Genius Loci: The Spirit of a Place. It has 250 members and 9k photos, and I’m excited about the diversity and richness of images contributed so far. More information about the group and the ideas behind it will follow in an upcoming post.
What do you think of the albums and other features described? More updates to the website are in store. Is there anything else you would like to see? I look forward to your comments.