January 31, 2012

Photo of the day: 114

Filed under: Uncategorized — paul davis @ 6:51 am

Sunday morning just post sunrise, rambling around Becci and James’ back lot thicket. I visit this little coppice of volunteers–weeds of every stripe–in all seasons, but I hadn’t been for a long time, since the color went out of it. I don’t know how fast or slow these vines grow…I have a sense they take their time, looking for the next thing to hold onto, okay with holding onto blue sky if that’s what there is.

When one latches, it often gives three good turns. Imagine the genetic map in its cells: it knows where its end is, and that end goes looking, and when it touches something it curls around it, and when it finds itself on the other side, it curls again, and again, and then the end goes looking again.

More encircling, steel and grass, both old.

Which is more fragile, the steel or the flower? The flower will be there when the steel is gone.

Most indelible in this scene: the shadow of the flower. It speaks of sunrise. Does the shadow know the age of the flower?

Curves in sunlight.



To say that the color has gone is to speak untruth.

January 30, 2012

Photo of the day:113

Filed under: Uncategorized — paul davis @ 6:27 am

With home and work now less than a mile apart (in its south-central Iowa incarnation), I can walk between the two. One morning last week the air was saturated–it wasn’t raining so much as condensing. Every streetlight had a corona. I’d walked only a hundred feet before I turned and trotted back for the camera. The dawn was arriving in blue refraction.

A quarter mile further on, blue air had gone to silver. No one was about. Linden Street, Lamoni, Iowa.

Back at my KC home, Saturday morning, the geese were double-veed.

And the tiny tiny white winter flowers were evoking.

They have self-dried. When I break off spring flowers to bring inside to photograph, I have only minutes to work before they give up their essence. Their life runs out of them as I watch. These winter flowers have settled in for the winter. They have nothing left to do, no bees to attract, no pollen to give–what are they for?–they only are.

Another strategy for getting through the winter: insulation.

A leaf still on her stem, giving up her presence cell by cell…the blue sky becomes her.

Fields and fields of tiny winter flowers–these same fields I stood in, up to my waist in spring flowers.

Barbed wire gives up its barb, its steel returns to soil. Some hardware stores around here label it “bob wire,” just as they offer “duck tape.”

Our pond is full again, and blue. The branches await their reason.

January 22, 2012

Photo of the day: 112

Filed under: Uncategorized — paul davis @ 7:52 am

Saturday morning in KCMO was the sort of cold and windy that had me looking fondly at the flowers on our kitchen table. If they had reached a point in their life where they could do their work inside, I guess I could, too. With the comfort of a tripod and a long shutter open, I could dink around with deeper focus than you can get with a macro lens in the wind, or as in the above case, shallow focus but thermonuclear over-exposure.

Interesting how your brain knows this is a purely pink rose, when the most dramatic elements are red and white blotches. If you remember it a minute from now, you will remember only archetype of pink rose. In other words, you carry around in your head the essence of rose and the essence of pink, and those essences are summoned up and assembled into one utterly reliable image in the merest flash of a few tiny scrambled clues–even a whiff of rose will do it. It’s one of the reasons artificial intelligence has a long way to go. And the reason painting teachers have such a hard time getting students to see what is really in front of their eyes. They see the archetype, not the reality. And then, of course, there is a long debate about which is more real–the physical object or the thought object. The latter is more enduring–to argue on the side of those people. The former is better for pitching woo.

Here the same pink provides the vocabulary, without saying pink rose. The rose takes up most of the real estate, but has been reduced to underpainting. The subject matter is, in a bit of irony, the lilliputian spray that your brain will never remember from the actual bouquet. These blooms are less than an eighth of an inch across. In a painting the whole spray would be painted with a single dab of the brush end.

The bouquet now runs to purple and green. For those unfamiliar with the dialect of south-central Iowa, “to pitch woo” is “to flirt, to mac, to exhibit your game.”

Love those edges. And you can feel the skin of the rose.

You can almost smell it.

Those blue stamen are making me hungry for Crunch Berries.

Edges, texture, melted crayons.

Blown out, abstracty.

There’s an intimacy in the stamen, the pistils, and the spots.


Deep focus for once. That there is a purty flar.

And for the sunset fans…

January 15, 2012

Photo of the day: 111

Filed under: Uncategorized — paul davis @ 8:10 pm

Moonlight through lace curtains, ice fog, early morning, Lamoni, Iowa.

Hard blue freeze in our KCMO pond.

Winter flower.

Remains of flower, blue fence behind.

First light, Sunday morning.

Chain link and corn silk.




White hair.


January 1, 2012

Photo of the day: 110

Filed under: Uncategorized — paul davis @ 4:05 pm

This is a strange photo, as a record of anything. As an abstract, maybe. In the lower right, you’ve got a representational jumble of chain link in focus, running out of focus by the second inch of what then goes on for a football field…but compositionally, in the frame of the photo, it’s a only a nice blue diagonal crossing another brush stroke of similar blue…but one of these things is gray chainlink fence and the other is the reflection of blue sky in gray pond…and then there’s the blue of the other strong diagonal–the leaf is not “there” at all on the leaf–it is pure shadow and we think shadows should be black or gray, so where is this blue coming from? I think I should not like this photo, because the leaf is too dark and then too light–the contrast is blown out–and I nearly deleted it in preference to others that were better, but now I think it’s got some kind of feel.

Another one in the eternal chain link series–this one through a diamond, with the shadow of a knot caught on the rusted iron rod. In actual fact, it’s the ground stake for our electric fence, a fence now rolled up in the barn.

Sunset two nights ago, colors manipulated only by the sunset artist.

Mabel and Pip. Pip is the blurry white fluff ball under the cabinet, compositionally just at the end of Mabel’s nose.

Interesting colors and blur, to me at least.

James and Becci’s tree row. The lawn this time of year is a nice variegated green and red.

One of the chain link/leaf series that I thought was better at first, with the energy of that leaf blowing and the march of the triangle shadows up the diagonal.  A little deeper focus, with shallower POV, so “what is this a picture of?” is more easily answered.

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