Monday, January 28, 2019

Tip of the Day – Look Down



(I should mention this regularly. You can click on any of the images in the body of this text and get a larger version on your screen)

By now, you might understand that unless I’m forced to take pictures of people, I prefer to document places and things. Over the years, I have suggested that we can find interesting images if we occasionally look in all directions. In 2011, a favorite shot was used as an example of what we can find if we turn around once in a while.

In 2017, using the ceilings of some of the grand cathedrals of Europe, the tip was about what you might see by looking up. My fanciful collection of state house rotundas is another good example, but forest canopies and cloud formations are as well.

This time, the ‘Where to Look’ series becomes a trilogy. I suggest that there are many image opportunities at your feet. Think of a fresh blanket of colorful autumn leaves or mosaics and artfully arranged cobblestones on an ancient street.

Broadway Magnolia After Katrina (2 February 2009)

When Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans in 2005, many of the city’s big trees were lost. Most street trees do not tolerate being under water for long. The magnificent live oaks can stand brief inundations…it is a Southern species after all. Thousands of trees were lost in the storm, including live oaks. The uptown street where the picture above was taken had many mature magnolia trees. Hardly any survived the flood. This is all that remained of one…3 and a half years later…a gray, lifeless stump.

Marbella, Spain (3 October 2005)

You can find wonderful pavement in Europe. Why make a sidewalk out of concrete when you can set smooth stones between colorful tile squares and allow tiny green plants to fill the spaces? Composition here offers a few considerations. I prefer NOT centering the cross of stones and plants although that can work. I could have cloned out the cracks in the tiles but I think they add character to the image.

High Rise Patio, Seattle (31 July 2010)

Of course we like the views from high-rise buildings. It’s great to be able to see great distances from a safe, high perch. I also like to look straight down. Jack and Anne’s apartment overlooked a well-kept patio with plantings and a water feature. Crop out the furniture and people and I like it more.
  
Near the Oude Kirk, Amsterdam (25 July 2007)

The Oude Kirk (“Old Church”) is Amsterdam’s oldest building, consecrated in 1306.  It happens to be in the city’s famous red-light district where, a short distance away, prostitutes advertise themselves behind the brothel windows. In 1993, an anonymous artist inserted this bronze relief into the cobblestones of the church square. It pays to watch where you’re walking.

Mighty Mushrooms, Wisconsin (30 September 2010)

Never mind seeing the forest from the trees. A walk in the woods can present many PO’s (‘photographic opportunities’) if you scale down your perspective. Think of flowers, leaves, insects, moss and lichen formations on old, weathered rocks. On a walk through a northern Wisconsin county park, we came upon this scene. Not quite at my feet as the emerging mushrooms were on this ledge, slowly heaving the sandy soil out of their way to the surface world. I think the pine needles add texture and the fern a splash of color to the scene.

In conclusion, you have a camera…or a phone (ugh!) that can take pictures. You’re some place interesting where, if you look more carefully, there are images to be had. Look up. Look behind you. Look down. You can do better than take more selfies.

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