There’s something very simple and abstract to an image when you remove the surrounding landscape.  Lines become more pronounced.  Colors, or the lack of colors in some areas, takes on a different significance.  This scene caught my eye when we were out boating.  The golds and greens at the top of the image are the reflection of the far side of the lake as the late evening sun is illuminating it.  Some of the water ripples pick up those colors too.  The lines of the wake are interrupted by the lily pads which are now starting to appear throughout the lake; they contribute their own tension to the image.  And the entire photo shifts from the warmth of the sun-lit trees to the cool blues and whites of the reflected sky.  It’s truly an abstract image yet it pulls together all the things we cherish about summer in the North.

A perfect summer’s day found us wandering amongst lakes in central Minnesota, north of Mille Lacs.  Blue sky, puffy clouds, a light breeze and a warm sun were all part of this epitome of summer.  As we were out on the water my eye became focused on the reflection in the water.  In one slow shutter-speed moment, the blue sky above was reflected in the surface.  White clouds streaming by lent their movement, and the darker gray and dark blue of the water itself gave a wonderful abstract.

Morning frost PS2341_StaatsI looked out the window this morning and saw crystal-like snowflakes dancing in the sunlight.  They sparkled and glistened as they drifted to the ground.  It reminded me of this image from the past week.  Our nights have been cold, and the other morning I went out to my car to go to work; insert key, start engine, and wait for the car to warm up.  But as I sat in the driver’s seat I looked out the front windshield and “saw” the most beautiful sight.  The morning’s frost had settled on the glass, and as the light of the day (and the street lamp) shined through the window it was all refracted through the crystals of frost.  The trees became abstract and a beautiful mosaic was created with the light and the early morning colors of the sky.

Snow tracks & light pole 70564_StaatsOne of the pluses to photographing in the snow is it allows you to see things in a much different way.  My primary photographic influence is color – the hues, the saturations, the play of one color off another.  But when the landscape is covered in snow I find my eyes “see” differently.  The abstract becomes much more visual for me.  I was especially caught by this scene.  Here was a light post by the side of a street.  The street had tire tracks in the snow creating the horizontal patterns.  The light pole was the vertical cross-pattern to the tire tracks.  But then there was this wonderful swirl and curve that was created by the blowing snow all around the base of the light post.  All the visuals seemed to play off each other in what would normally be a rather nondescript scene.

Where are the intersections in your life?  With people, with pets, with nature, with your emotions?  I’m grateful for the intersections and interactions of this past Thanksgiving week.  I’ve been fortunate to spend it with my family – a group of interesting, adventurous, diverse, and fascinating people ranging in age from 15 to 83.  So many interests and activities, and yet we all found a way to be together for the holiday.  There were laughs and stories, food and love.  Sure there might have been stress in the interactions, and maybe the meal wasn’t the perfect Norman Rockwell interpretation, but it was an intersection of intent, of appreciation, and of thankfulness.  And to me that is huge.

Last week’s photograph was of vivid red tulips.  In the bright sunlight of spring, colors often become bold, striking, and rich in contrast.  But there’s also a flip side to the season, and that’s the softness that’s found in the spring palette.  When the sky is overcast, or in the early morning or late evening there’s a calming and quiet hush that sometimes settles over the gardens.  It’s almost as if nature is resting after all its exuberance in bursting forth after winter.  In trying to photograph this softness and hush I’ve chosen to take this image with a slight blur, making this more about the shapes, tones and feelings rather than the direct representation of the tulips.