When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
Some peaceful images after a terrible night in our city and across the country.
I figure I spent close to two hours this weekend (2 separate visits) standing in the middle of a stream that feeds into Honey Creek. What a great way to start the day, listening to the burbling of the stream as it passes over the rocks on its way to the larger creek. On this morning’s visit I was rewarded with mayapple flowers, which are hidden beneath a canopy of leaves. Mayapples grow in colonies from a single root system. Their leaves obscure the beautiful flower that blossoms in late April or May.
I submitted three photographs to Lenswork Magazine today for possible inclusion in a book they will publish this fall titled, “Our Magnificent Planet.” They will select 300 photographs from those submitted. Fingers crossed, they will select one of these. (Click on images to see them full size.)
I took these photos in response to a photo challenge by Chris Smith, founder of the Out of Chicago photography conference. While we are social distancing in our houses, Smith encouraged photographers to look around their homes and photograph textures and patterns. Click on an image to see it larger.
Michigan’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order is denying me the opportunity to travel north to photograph this year’s spring. So, I have begun practicing macro photography. On one of our infrequent visits to to the grocery store I bought some flowers and on a walk I found a couple of pine cones to stand in for Sleeping Bear Dunes, Lake Michigan and Point Oneida. Even in the smallest things, however, there is beauty. (Click on a photo to see a larger version.)
My wife and I are hunkered down, both working from home, doing our best to stay away from the Covid-19 virus. Of course, it is important to get out of the house. We have each been taking walks alone and together. Fortunately, the last few days have been dry and bright. The last couple of mornings, I have gotten out early before the world gets going to shoot some photos.
Yesterday, I drove around the city of Grand Rapids looking for a composition. I decided to shoot the Chester Street Engine House, home of Company 11. I drive by the station each evening on my way home from work and have frequently and have admired often.
Constructed in 1902, the Chester Street Engine House is the oldest active fire station in Grand Rapids. The building is designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, popular in the late 1800s. The Grand Rapids Historical Commission’s website, describes it as follows: “Design characteristics are: asymmetrical massing; a decorative wall texture created by the brickwork, variegated on the first floor and smooth on the second; the row of wide, round-arch (Romanesque) windows, as well as the double-hung windows with (not quite) transom windows above. Although the dormer is quite typical, the wide, over-hanging eaves of the roof give it an almost Prairie style look.”
My morning wanderings also took me to Grand Rapids’s southwest side where I spotted several spiral fire escapes. These are still fairly common on older Grand Rapids buildings. The spiral stairs made for an interesting bit of shadow play, reminding me of a Möbius strip.
This morning, I drove through the country to Fallasburg Village, north of Lowell, which was founded on the banks of the Flat River in the 1830s by John Wesley Fallass. The Village, which today consists of a few preserved buildings and some private homes, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. More information about Fallasburg can be found on the website of the Fallasburg Historical Society.
I focused my attention this morning on the Fallass Barn with its stone foundation, built in 1894.
I practiced social distancing Saturday by leaving the house before dawn and driving to Lowell, Michigan, just 17 miles from our house. Lowell is a small, quintessentially Midwestern town. I did a photo shoot there four years ago andstill very much enjoy the photos I took of the old buildings on the main street. You can see those photos here.
The largest business in Lowell is King Milling, a company founded in 1890 and still a family owned business. Every time I pass through Lowell, the silos and grain elevators seem to have multiplied. There are so many potential photos there. Here are some I took on Saturday.
Winter has been pretty tame here in West Michigan. Yesterday morning, though, we had a good burst of snow that gave us a few inches and made for a productive photo shoot at the Sixth Street Dam. The first dam in the location was built of stone, gravel, logs and brush in 1844. It was replaced by a wooden dam in 1866, constructed by the Water Power Company. As factories along the river diverted water for their uses, the flow of the river diminished and the water became more and more polluted. The dam was replaced by the current dam in the 1920s, as part of a beautification project. Plans are underway to remove the dam and bring back the rapids for which the city was named. A history of the rapids in the Grand River can be found here.
As the year comes to a close, it is a good time to look back at the year’s batch of photos and assess how I did. Ansel Adams said, “Twelve significant photos in any one year is a good crop.” I can’t claim significance for these twelve photos but they are my favorites of 2019.
Each time I look at the photos, I see imperfections, which to me is a good sign since it tells me I am learning my craft, both the field work and the post processing. I have edited most of these photos several times with the goal of attaining what I envisioned when I was on location. Hopefully, they do not look over-processed to you.