Friday, January 14, 2011

autumn geology

This week being a photographer has reminded me of my geology lessens from way back when in grade school. Wikipedia said it best (or perhaps just most simply): “Geology (from the Greek γῆ, , "earth" and λόγος, logos, "study") is the science and study of the solid Earth and the processes by which it is shaped and changed.”

Not too long ago I spent an afternoon blissfully photographing the turning autumn leaves. Lost in the rich colors and incredible textures, I was almost having an out of body experience of abounding joy as I moved in closer and looked with dreamy eyes at one beautiful leaf after another releasing my shutter every now and again. To my disappointment I ran out of film quite quickly and decided to come back later and finish my explorational shoot. It was only a matter of a few short days until I had the film in hand and a spare moment to walk out to the maple trees in our back yard and pickup where I had left off. The trees, however, were completely bare. Not a single leaf left on a branch, just small twigs and some green and grey moss. Instead of bright beautiful orange maple leaves there were thousands of shriveled brown leaves already beginning the natural process of mulching the ground beneath the tree. That shoot had, evidently, come to an end for at least the next 300 and 59 or some-odd days to come.

On the same note, just yesterday I had another run in with nature’s fine progression. I have been working for some time now on a series of abandoned buildings, photographing the subtle beauty in rotting boards and rusting objects and the like. Yesterday I came across a building I have drove by hundreds of times and not given a second thought to. This time, however, the old wood roof was blanketed in a vibrant ocean of red. The maple leaves had covered it almost completely and to me there appeared to be, as if there had never been before, so much beauty there. The leaves made the shot, and in the timeline of a year it’s only for this one fleeting week that they’ll be there: red and delicious and glistening damp with rainwater. Photography, at its very core, is about looking, and not just looking, but also actually seeing.

When the leaves change so quickly from life green to transitional orange and red and finally to dismal brown, my sense of time and my understanding of the natural world is augmented. Amongst the many gifts of life, photography helps me to slow down and see the subtle elegance and quirky yet meaningful habits always at work around me. Watching the leaves change so quickly this season was a small yet important reminder that the world keeps spinning and that each moment is unique and special and beautiful in its very own way. Each day is exceptional in itself and one day will never be the same as another that follows or precedes it.

… and so, the lessons on how and why the world changes and shifts as it does have come back to me in these recent days. Instead of forgetting the hard-at-work process of our surrounding natural world, I have been reminded of why and how things shift and change in order to sustain a greater natural cause. We are, merely observers of this great process and it is with gratitude that I remember my childhood studies of this brilliant earth.


  1. Beautiful photographs. Beautiful words.

  2. You've reminded me to SEE more than LOOK today. Thank you honey! Beautiful start!