Morning Mist and Mystics
The wonders of pristine nature are fodder for a photographer, and in that there are rare and not so rare events that a photographer salivates in anticipation of encountering. We go to great ends to create our best chances of encountering light, special light in special places.
One of those is to find fog in the early sunrise light draped across our landscape.
This morning I woke a good hour plus before sunrise and prepped well for a morning outing in the canoe. As I stepped out the door to see the lake not 20 feet distant flowing with fog in the dawning light I gave up on the physical benefits of an early strenuous paddle about the lake and prepped tripod and camera, first shooting from land and then (of course without the tripod) from the canoe.
Wonders appeared and unfolded for a few seconds before melting away as something else emerged to exist only fleetingly. And that is a favoured series of circumstance to encounter, possible only by dedication, planning, preparation and persistence, hoping and wishing … and good luck.
This the mystic knows well and in truth: the infinite can be encountered like light particles waving at you in the fog. You know what you’ve seen and it makes the world a marvelous work of creation, touched and blessed by our creator and made visible, with dedication, planning, preparation and persistence, hoping and wishing … and good luck. Profound truth is never easily discovered, but only by wading through the labyrinths of confusion, betrayal and misdirection can one see and know truth, the truth of the infinite. And that truth is simple not simplistic, profound not faked, graceful not vengeful, creative not destructive or dismissive.
This was the misty view out the front door.
The view from the boat launch site.
Looking down, clear as a bell.
The point of it all.
White birch over and under the fog.
Or standing the tall way.
The vehicle that took me to the sunrise and the sundogs in summer.
Sundogs in full force.
A few ripples.
The birch of another campsite on the shore.
The kitchen sink on wheels against the birch long standing yet pretty young.
Out of these mists rose the mystics of many makes, all connecting through the fog of our limited perceptions to the light still bright on the other side.
This mysticism of Grace gives life to all who encounter it, and guides one to give life to all others.
There is no room in these misty mystical moments or at any time for anything other than forgiveness of the other, and of oneself fully forgiven already.
We found ourselves out in the mountains again. Observing the environment of plants, animals, humans, and machines.
The spectacular sights outside our window in the morning make it all worth the effort.
The expanse of the clouds above the mountains off in the distance as we were nestled in the privacy of the trees on an open field with the sun setting made it wonderful.
And literally taking the kitchen sink, the bed, the toilet and tub, the table, the fridge, stove and furnace, and our clothes and luggage make for an easy waking in some marvelous spots.
From a very helpful machinist we got the tip that there were three falls just a few paces off the tarmac. We investigated in a heavy downpour.
We only found two but these are a combination of human engineering and beaver damming that result in protecting the road from surely otherwise eroding away.
A bit upstream we found another falls and rapids series, and never did find the third as we were soaked and cold.
But the creamy white and the wild wet rocks played along well, as long as we could hold out.
That evening we hung the truck and camper not loose at all but very secured to the side of a decommissioned logging road. The specular light turned the green canoe (another part of the trip) into a bronze wonder.
There, on the side of the mountain the wake up out the door view was even more breathtaking and then breath giving, as the sun played with the clouds and the valleys were visible for miles and miles.
The dreamy feel comes from the fog laying low on the mountains as fresh rain evaporates to fill the air.
The vegetation is lush, framing (sometimes blocking) the views.
At our feet daisies and red paintbrush flowers created a carpet of colour.
The sky for just a moment even took on the hue of the lush lilac coloured flowers dotting the mountainside in lines and groups.
The sunsets were awesome.
The light bedazzling bringing the trees to life otherwise not there.
And that is good photography.
Some of all that can be reduplicated with ordinary photos and lots of software work, usually hdr, to try to bring out the light, but nothing works as well as finding the moment the light dances, and being ready to capture it, in order to share it.
While I was out I remembered quickly the difference the exposure time makes on water.
Sharp and clear here.
A landscape with just one spot of colour.
Or a portrait to lose almost all the colour except the one rose.
And playing with the focus if you just let the camera do its thing, sometimes everything wrong is in focus and the thing out of focus.
So you have to make sure you control what is happening to get what you want.
Sometimes the great difference in light levels is just too much and something is lost.
And then multiple exposure HDR can sometimes bring the light of everything to be seen in one photo. – But with better software there are better options.
Simple Spring Snow
As the heavens poured out the white, winter, down-duvet-split-open-softness on to our heads and campsite and woods the colours and light danced so quietly
as my boots crunched, the water gurgled and Karin’s beer spray protected us all from invisible rye and malt humour.
So is the bed of peace and hope.
There are a few children missing, but nothing more than what is being done can be done. So pray with us, for us, for them.
There are views of life that are so subtly similar, yet a step to the right, left or ahead provide a completely different perspective, seeing in through the cracks that are in everything the light that is Grace and Hope.
The Trees, alive with light on the walk out of the warmth into the wilderness.
Water the source of life, the wonder of life, the beauty of life. Green. Why?
Not because it’s cold, but because it is not cold enough to keep the glaciers from melting.
Glowing, white streams in the green of gorgeous. Can you see it here, too?
The River looking onto it from various points, perspective that changes light and subject, all the same yet completely different.
Turtles, of the snacking kind were at the table the night before, and here they appear again, a bit molded and quiet, looking not to be eaten anymore.
The soft look of fallen snow and fog on the mountains beyond the river.
Rocks … below and …
Rocks below … and …
Rocks beyond …
The River Upstream
More turtles and …
Rocks and …
Rocks and …
Rocks and …
Rocks … until …
There are no more rocks in view as one looks downstream to Pyramid Mountain.
The path back to coffee and breakfast.
As the snow hangs tight but loosened by melting, waffles wait with syrup from trees and butter enough.
The light and the drips of water frozen in place the evening before.
There are moments that become available just because one seeks some fresh air for a night.
The landmarks stay the same, the fog and light shift as the sunrises.
And it is just outside our door, because we can haul the front door around behind the truck, along with a bed, table, stove, fridge and even a kitchen sink. A bit much for a guy who loved backpacking into the outback where no one else ventured to disturb a good night’s rest. Now we haul a toilet and electricity with us, not least of all to power a 27 inch screen to edit photos on.
Luxury. Well it may easily become my home permanently, so not really, not at -40° and +35° C.
We wait, taking in the celebration of light, looking through the lens of Grace that Jesus makes clear, hoping that this time, especially this time, God will come to us and set things right, before there is no more time to set things right,
That truth will be heard, the lies uncovered, life reset before the twilight zone came to visit my world.
But the world always resists Grace, since Grace comforts those disadvantaged, and disadvantages the comfortable.
There are things to see.
There are things to say.
There are truths which are being played with, and in the end the next generation learns that the lies are better than the truth.
It is like photography, everything is simple, even beautiful: until you realize something is being sacrificed: something precious; something basic and fundamental; something that seems …
Something so fundamental that there is nothing left if this is sacrificed.
We visited the mountains, to help me recover from acute bronchitis that just would not go away.
In the parking lot, a brand new camper compared to the ancient one we were using, having to fix it so it did not kill us.
There is something refreshing about breathing the mountain air.
But when it’s full of CO it puts a throbbing headache in the way and had I not opened the door so often that night ….
So this seemed a better option but not possible for us.
There were beautiful things,
beautiful light and snow on pine trees and clouds,
if you raised your head, which is always really hard to avoid.
On the way I caught the fog, again and again, and coming out of the fog is marvelous, for photographers, because the light … the light plays with reality to make it seem different, special.
It’s not always special; sometimes it’s just ordinary.
And then the sunlight hits the fog while the road flies by.
But then … then
It hits you.
And there are lots of shots that show its beauty that just hit you.
As you stop the light hits the trees.
And all that can be played with making it even more …
It looks great, even if it is not real.
But the picnic table is real.
Simple real in the early, early morning hours just as light starts to peak around the mountain air.
And Pyramid Mountain never looked so good, as the camera pushes through the darkness and the software reveals what the human eye could barely see.
And the software can make it look more than surreal, more than a cloudy mountain top with pines and fog, but how can more be really more when the reality is quite enough plus some?
Even if you have to wait a few hours for the sun to shine clear amid the clouds and shadows of late afternoon.
Simple skiing, now that’s real with the real mountains and clouds and snow laden pine trees … and the clear mountain air healing the bronchitis.
And that makes the waiting of Advent a waiting for truth, the truth God revealed on Christmas.
John the Baptist knew crazy but he never knew crazy, not crazy like I’ve had to suffer since ….
This post was delayed, due to to a memory error. I’d tell you about it but I’ve forgotten what it was, something to do with WP Memory Limit.
Yesterday, driving in the early morning heavy fog, the sun started to poke through just ever so slightly and this flew by.
I stopped, pressed for time or not, to catch the light.
Can you catch light, really? Waves or particles, with bare hands, and hold it tight to own it?
Never, but one can take the light of the world through the yuck of crude meanness and, as Leonard Cohen taught me to say, celebrate the light that gets in just because of the cracks. Actually Chet Hoversten taught me to say it, in more Lutheran theological language, which has served me all my life: the Grace of God is not earned, but enters our lives, in spite of and just because we are broken people, and this Grace and favour given as a free gift, never earned, not even for believing the right things, transforms our lives, sets us free, establishes that God is for us no matter what, and then this Grace allows us to surrender and ask: so with this absolute freedom, given by none other than God, what am I going to do (what are we going to do) with this … this freedom, this life, this Grace, this unconditional forgiveness:
Are we going to try to control it and foist it on others: That is to create our own hell out of it, just saying.
Are we going to try to codify it and foist it on ourselves and others: That is to create our own hell out of it, just saying.
Are we, am I, going to simply ask each morning and each moment, how can I extend this Grace unmerited to as many people as possible this day, this moment?
Photography is easier, and more difficult: you can capture the light, and then share it. And as many know the worst weather often creates light that is the most spectacular, by being specular, and it makes possible some great photography.
Now, I was running hard, and just had fun, so this is not the BEST photography, it’s just fun, to be enjoyed:
The fourth and final … and I had to jump out of the freezing, fingers throbbing cold, without even time to put everything back in the cases and move on, hoping there’d be another take for the light. But within a few km the sun broke clear through from 2 hours in the sky and all that was left was to make the next deadline.
And later that night, falling asleep in my chair more than once I put the exposure bracketed files together with HDR and tweeked. So this is light and software and playing around with reality.
Not suggested to be done with God’s light in our lives. It already had endless exposures bracketed for us to see, and assembly by software or however is simply not helpful, nor needed to notice the awesome, amazing Grace …
For each of us.
There is little that marvels anyone anymore, and much that blows the socks off anyone who is willing to notice.
Life is …
Life is a complex series of time, space, particularity and inspiration.
Life is the most despairing series of events anyone can witness or experience.
Life is the most awe inspiring series of events that anyone can witness or experience.
Others determine so much of life, yet 90% of life is determined by our responses to what happens to us, and what others do to us, good and bad, and both good and bad simultaneous.
If you have never experienced that you are like the pastors who reported that their congregation had no alcoholics among the members, had not … and you can fill in the blank.
The truth is their congregation had its fair share, some said 1 in 10, but the pastor was too ignorant and proud to know the truth.
Ignorance does not determine that something is true. Perception by ignorant masses, small or great masses, does not create reality; it creates a falsehood built out of ignorance; and that is something to be feared more than fear itself.
Life in the face of all this is simple. Not simple on this side of complexity, but simpler on the far side of complexity. What is simple is that beauty is a given, and an option to participate in … or not. Just as Grace, Amazing Grace, is a given, and an option to participate in … or not. I consciously have chosen again and again to embrace beauty, grace, and Life as I trust it was given to be lived.
Beauty comes washing over us in so many forms, visual, in the dance of light and shadow, colour and surprise, drawing in, renewing of value, and a sending out to embrace the world, and therein to permeate others and situations with … with the essence of life: grace.
Dance the light, dance through the darkest valley of death that grips us all in the vice of fear and denial, dance in the detail and the relationships between waves and particles, between inanimate and animated, between the found and the created.
Beauty is also what one makes of space. My travels from North America to Europe, mostly Germany, and my childhood in Tanganyika, have left me desiring space abundant and a knowledge that space is often limited, precious and to be optimized for function and effect, to become beautiful in design, economy of resources, elegant in its use, and wondrous in the juxtaposition of the required and the hoped for, the vertical and the horizontal playing to their fullest and the stunning emotional effect of good craftsmanship applied to wondrous materials.
This first entry is a simple view to what and how I see my surroundings.
Simple homes in a simple neighbourhood, development at a standstill by the oil bust.
The view from up close to out there.
The quiet simple calm that comes between ferocious tempests.
This is my view … yet so much cannot be published.