I have had a busy winter. Little time to write anything on Medium. That gave me thinking space to consider the questions, ‘what’s it all about?”, “Why continue writing…”.
Not really good questions.
Those type of thoughts always lead to ambiguous answers that roll on through the dark fields of ‘thought marshlands’. Places where we get bogged down in useless ideas.
Then, I decided to get out and take a few photos. Just go, just do it.
Below, a rainy evening on the first day of the month. February started off with buckets of rain, wind, and dark days. It’s interesting how a photo can justify itself, it’s full of interesting angles, reflections, and a dark figure more or less bang in the centre of the photograph.
Our biggest problem in life is that we don’t grow up learning how to ask great questions, we learn how to buck up the courage to ask quickly, and listen to an answer.
A photograph can present us with imagery that satisfies something beyond words.
I think that’s what I like about photography; the silent action. A simple answer.
I love the evening light. In winter, it’s tough to get a good shot on an already dark day that is getting darker. I end up battling with noise, too timid to wind-up the ISO on my camera — even though I know that it can take the strain at 2000 ISO without a hitch.
ISO settings aren’t all fixed ideas. It depends on the camera, the lens, the already existing light conditions. A powerful sensor will override most lower quality lenses. But it’s good to remember that the real thinking in photography is a little like reverse engineering the scene, the light conditions in reality, how that light will enter the lens, what will happen at a certain F-Stop, fast or slow shutter — the faster, the less light, the slower, the more danger of blurry movements. Getting close, in low light, solves a lot of problems.
The shot below, a puffy cloud in a blue autumn sky, was one of those passing moments. I am always looking for the simplicity of life. Photography helps us to nail the idea in metaphors of clouds that silently drift across a blue sky. A stranger who sits in the park and reads a book, a child’s laughter.
A couple of days ago I passed a building where I heard the sound of scales on a saxophone. I felt the urge to photograph it — ridiculous.
A sound. It had the textural qualities of a fabric, I could see its colours in my mind, it drifted along the street and formed shapes as it dissipated into the brickwork along the narrow street.
I’m sure it would’ve been a wonderful photo if it were at all possible to photograph a simple up and down movement of a jazz scale being played by this practised musician.
But I do agree with Pablo Picasso, “if paintings were sound, the world would be a horribly noisy place.”
Instead, we can photograph a blue sky with a single cloud that drifts with the wind. It’s the closest that we get to a metaphor, a note, a tone that sums up a moment in our lives.
There is an answer to a feeling — no words needed.
I pass bridges, walk over them, and stop and ponder the engineer’s work as though it gives me clues to a thought process.
The bridge section below is the work of Spanish-Swiss architect-building engineer, Santiago Calatrava.
The ugly, rusty, barrier close by is a simple solution to stop boats from mistakenly scraping into the bridge.
I love those yellow-orange road markings. They create such a strong relief against the dark tarmac road surface. Arrows are symbols that we live with, they tend to help us shift and move our way through life efficiently. Get to our destinations without getting lost.
Above, windows on some of the newer architecture in Berlin. It was bad light, enclosed by lots of buildings, and the only brightness was these reflections in the windows. Noise in an image is not a sin. If the content is good, worth a look, then we can forgive the little noise that reminds us that it’s a photo that we are looking at, not real life.
The light and darkness in the reflections remind me of a cat in the window. But, I’m sure it’s some type of machine part, or something.
The bridge above, which juts out across the River Spree, makes for an interesting photo. Simple lines, nothing fancy about the architecture. It’s a functional foot bridge which allows workers to cross the river from one building to the other without leaving the workplace.
When the lines of architecture are so simple, and easy on the eye, I feel that monochrome shots work best.
A few weeks ago, it started to snow again in Berlin. The streets were cold and icy, freezing temperatures lasted a good week long. The Tiergarten trees offered lovely winter scenes that reminded me of the early French impressionists, Camille Pissaro, maybe.
Below, Murphy. Cats love to get involved in everything around the house. If I decide on doing still life work, one of my cats will also decide they want to do still life work. Murphy likes to pose. He looks like he’s trying hard to hypnotise me. He’s a great fella, full of love — so long as I get his dinner ready whenever he suggests I do.
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed my photos. Leave a comment if you’re so inclined — I’ll reply.
All images are the work of Sean P. Durham and copyright is applied.
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