4/1/2012: Tree Tops and Self Portraits. Happy Sunday!
And a happy April Fools Day to you too!
Yesterday I set out in the morning for a photo-prowl, trying to fill my out my diminishing stock of images for this column, and, you know, just poking around to see what I might be missing. It was a dull day, with heavy overcast, and, since it is also that dull season between winter and the real onset of spring in southern Maine, I did not have high hopes. I was pleasantly surprised to find a few early birds (Song Sparrow and Eastern Phoebe) already on territory and setting up for nesting, as well as a rich variety of fungi along the trails. I will feature a few fungi for tomorrow’s Macro Monday post.
I was called back early by a daughter needing the car and retired to my computer to do the post-processing, and when I looked up, the sun had broken through and what had been overcast was now a smattering of clouds adding interest to the sky. So back out I went for a loop around the trail at the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge headquarters.
It was not spring there either but the forest without leaves was full of geometry, texture, and light…the clear crystalline light of a late March afternoon. There was beauty there. The super rough bark of a tree caught my eye as that light picked out every intricate detail I and began to think about how to capture the effect. I had been messing, earlier, in the Yard, with the swivel LCD on the Canon SX40HS…pointing it forward on the camera and getting down under Forsythia flowers to shoot up. I decided to try it there in forest, on that tree. Wooo. Strange geometries. And that lead to a whole series of tree top images, taken with the camera at waist level, looking straight up. Notice the red maple flowers in the second tree top shot.
I had to keep leaning back out of the image to keep my hat from getting in…and that made we wonder if I was missing a self-portrait/profile pic opportunity. Mostly my face was completely in shadow, but I noticed that if I stood in an open area of the path, enough light reflected from the ground to make an interesting effect. So in the spirit of April Fools Day, here I am, framed against the tree tops.
My wife Carol says it is frightening and my daughter Kelia says it is somewhat disturbing. I just think it is funny. When I posted it as my profile pic on Google+ someone commented that it made them think of Tolkien 🙂 My response was that I am already bigger than a hobbit, and even than most dwarfs, and not near wise enough to be a wizard. April Fools.
And for the Sunday thought. Self portraits. Well, I am thinking that we are defined more by the things we look at than we are by how we look. This series of images that I post here every day, taken as a whole, is my best self portrait. It is a record of the things, over time, that I find beautiful, interesting, worthy of celebration and sharing. That is much more me than the shape of my nose or the luxury of my beard.
Paul said, in his chapter on love, that today we see only dimly as in a darkened mirror…we see and know only in part…but that a day will come when we will see clearly…when we will know in full, even as we are known. And that day is linked, inescapably, with the persistence of love…a love that is not defined by our ability to love, but by the perfection of the Creator’s ability to love. I have said many times that these images are one way I express the love of creation and the Creator that is working its way out in me, day to day. I would like to think they provide a glimpse of the me you now see only dimly, and know only in part. Of, in fact, the me I only see dimly, and know only in part. The me that is capable of the enduring love which we celebrate this Easter season.
And that is a lot, for an April Fool, or otherwise, to say.