There was a time in my life when I used to be afraid of birds. Flocks of ravens in particular. When I was 17, a friend was in a deadly car accident. On a late Friday night, he drove his VW Bug into a tree. Trevor was pronounced dead on the scene and was found with a balloon hanging from his mouth. As I turned the corner onto his street that evening, I had no idea what I scene I was going to come upon. There was an fire truck, and an ambulance parked in the middle of the road. Red lights were flashing and amongst the chaos, I saw his crumpled up VW. I thought to myself “Is that Trev? No, it couldn’t be.” I got of my car and started to run over when a policeman stopped me. I tried to get by him, but he just grabbed me and told me which hospital Trevor was taken to.
The next few hours were a blur. The sun had started to rise when I finally left the hospital. I looked up and there were hundreds of ravens flying through the air. I always knew I would have a beautiful life, but I think of Trevor often. Funny how when death confronts you, some fears seems to fade away.
What happens when an Illinois based photographer has the idea to share one of his shirts from his closet? Well, when that person is a kind and genuine as Ricardo Williams , everyone jumps on board to take some photographs with the shirt. The traveling shirt started in Bloomington Illinois, and so far has made stops everywhere from California to Minnesota. With dozens more stops before its journey ends back with Ricardo, this is shaping up to be one heck of a project.
This weekend was my turn with the shirt and I wanted to make a photograph that complemented the bright pink color while showing off the lush green of our state. I also wanted to poke a little fun at myself, as I just had my 40th birthday.
So here you go, Ricardo, Death By Ferns. Hope you like it.
As I sleep, I feel you next to me. We breathe in unison and the heat from your body keeps me warm. I drift farther off into my subconscious and things start to blur. In my dreamland, my obsession with you begins to fade. Off in the distance, I can barely see someone. It is a woman and she is crying. I go in for a closer look and I realize that its my love. I put my hands on her shoulders and once again feel her warmth. She looks at me and smiles. Nervously, she takes a deep breath and closes her eyes. Her spirit is lifted and her body is just a shell. I lay her down on the rocks at my feet and a tears fill my eyes. Suddenly, I awake from my dreams in a cold sweat only so see you still sleeping beside me. Your chest is rising with every breath and I realize that it was all just a dream. Comforted, I give you a kiss, and drift back into my subconscious, eager to see how we will meet again.
As he listened to the rain patter against his tent, he started to fade into a dark dreamland. Usually this was a place that brought fear to his night. Dreams full of anger and hate always seemed to fill his subconscious. The rain suddenly stopped and he peeked out into the dark void. He could see the clouds starting to part and he immediately left the comfort of a warm sleeping bag and stumbled outside. He had to get a glimpse of stars above. He sat waiting, shivering out in the cold damp air. Waiting for that one moment that he had seen many times since his youth. Suddenly, a shooting star darted across the night sky. He closed his eyes and wished for the same wish he made as a child. Satisfied, he hurried over to his tent and jumped into his sleeping bag. He closed his eyes and let out a deep sigh, knowing that his wish would be granted and he would have sweet dreams tonight.
We were so young. Too young to know the bitterness of this world. Your eyes twinkled with our future. Your presence caused me to stumble for the words when I spoke. We were in love and nothing else mattered. From the beginning, it was clear, we married and began our family. Our love grew as our family did and it was a wonderful life. Years later, the children are gone and its just us again. Words are no longer needed. I look into your eyes and see our history. A history rich with joy and pain. What a wonderful life it was. What a wonderful park bench this is to share.
Its time for another Selfy Sunday. Its been pretty hot here in the Pacific Northwest and most people just want a little relief. I will be happy when the clouds come back.
This world is moving so fast. We now interact with each other by the click of the send button. What used to be open fields separating us from our neighbors, is now fiber optics and HD screens. Yes, we can talk to someone in a different country through a computer screen, but rarely do we have real engaging relationships. We sit across from each other silent, checking our smart phones. Our eyes mesmerized on the latest notifications and updates. Our past seems to get farther and farther away with every step we take into this new world.
Last week I gave out the assignment to create a photograph around a tagline I saw in an advertisement for an outdoor adventure company. It simply read;
Its not what you’re getting away from, its what you are getting away to
What are we getting away to? What will our children’s problems be? Are we raising a bunch of instant-gratification self-fulfilled souls, impatient to wait more than 30 seconds for anything? How will we teach them to be kind, to love, or to enjoy a moment with each other, when we have forgotten ourselves?
We have created some mighty big shoes to fill. I for one, hope my children are able to shrink them down, just a bit.
So as the father tucked his child into bed for the night, the boy looked at him and said, “I love you dad.” The father just smiled and kissed the boy on the forehead. “I love you too son,” sweet dreams he added. The boy drifted off to sleep and dreamed of amazing things. He was brought to magical land that only existed in his imagination. Frogs sang and fireflies danced. Butterflies chased children around streams flowing with emerald green water. The golden light of the sunset drenched the warm evening air. A land where magic happens every day and where everyone loves one another. A land without war or hate. A land where everyone is equal. Later that night, when the father checked in on his son, he knew the boy was ok. The giant smile on his face was all the father needed to see. The boy was in his special place. A place that only existed in his dreams.
The world as we knew it was changing, and we needed to run away. We escaped and quickly headed out into the woods. Our hearts were racing with excitement. The further distance we put between us, and the noise of our lives, the more peaceful things became. We arrived at a large mountain and we started to climb. One foot in front of each other, we climbed until we reached the top. Darkness fell and we rested on a granite slab and gazed at the stars. Our bodies touched and we kept each other warm from the cool mountain air. Life seemed so far away. But unfortunately, the magic of the night was interrupted. We looked down to the valley below, saw the glow of the city. It haunted us like a bad dream. No matter how far we ran, we knew that we would never truly be alone. For better or worse, the world had changed and we needed to adjust. But for a brief moment, it was just the two of us. What a wonderful moment that was.
Here is another photograph from Artist Point near Mt Baker. I always look for different compositions and angles while out shooting. Its amazing how just a small shift of your camera position can create a whole new scene. Incorporating leading lines and vanishing points can help draw your viewers eye to to your subject. In the case, the trees almost act like arrows pushing your eyes from the bright green of the trees, up to the Milky Way. Try it next time you are out with camera. Visualize what you want the scene to look like, and look for items in the scene that will create drama and engage your viewer. Adding a few of the basic rules of composition can greatly improve your photography.