May: More BBLNWR

“More,” in more ways than one. As I said in yesterday’s post, Black Bayou Lake NWR became my escape from the house early in the pandemic. Of course, I have been an outdoor person most of my life and an enthusiastic naturalist for many years, but… this year was different. Don’t we know! The Refuge became my refuge from the stress of uncertainty, economic strain and concern for the well-being of humankind.

But something else happened as I increasingly realized that city travel was out for awhile, maybe a long while. I had long relied on city travel to do the photography that I could submit to juried art shows: architecture, major construction sites, street photos, etc, My days spent walking the streets of major cities were the source of much of my art photography.

The Way of Light

And to be clear, the art world is not very interested in straightforward pictures of natural subjects. For example, the photo I shared yesterday of the newly emerged damselfly–however much I love it and am gratified that I made it–is highly unlikely to ever be submitted to a juried art exhibit. We could have an interesting and long discussion about that and if you want to, invite me to coffee! I’m stating it here as a simple matter of fact.

So… I’m walking along a trail at the Refuge, looking for birds, butterflies, snakes, interesting plants–all the stuff I’m always looking for to photograph, mostly as a naturalist. But then I see this huge old vine with the most interesting zig-zag in it. It’s going up a tree that is at least 8 feet from where the vine is rooted. I’m guessing the tree the vine began it’s life on is long gone.

It’s also late afternoon with sunlight streaming at a low angle through the trees, and striking both the trunk of the tree and the zag in that vine. I set to work and went home with shots from several angles.

And then “post-production” began. I will not bore you with a detailed description, but…it was NOT as dark in the woods that day as the photo suggests. The image above is what I saw, not what the camera saw. The digital record of the encounter between photographer and subject is the raw material from which art is made.

The punch line? Within a week of creating this image, I submitted it to a juried art exhibit and it was invited.

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