Monday, August 31, 2020

September 2020: Polyphemus Caterpillar


While it may look like a florescent green crinkly cut french fry, this conspicuous caterpillar will soon become a polyphemus moth. With a wingspan of nearly 6 inches, it is one of the larger moths in Michigan.

We humans, behind our masks like a caterpillar in its cocoon, are in the process of being transformed. We will emerge from it as different beings than we were when we went in. Change is never easy, but without it there can not be growth. And without growth you can not call something truly alive. What we will be like when the masks come off remains to be seen, but one of the benefits of being human is that we have a certain degree of intentionality where growth and change are concerned. I would like to think that we will all emerge improved rather than just different. We have the capacity for truly wonderful and amazing things.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

August 2020: Back to the Asylum

Here is another tunnel that runs under the old asylum up in Traverse City.
This one is not tall enough to stand up in, and appears to be closed off at the end, I couldn't quite tell.

I was hoping to go back up there again this summer, but for obvious reasons that didn't happen.
Hopefully next year will be a little more normal and I can do that.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

July 2020: Napping Sow, Hidden Dragon

Can you see the hidden dragon?
No, of course you can't. The pig ate it. :)

This shot was actually taken back in the spring, when the dear swine was basking in the sun to warm itself up. Now that it is in the 90's here it would be hiding in the shade somewhere or wallowing in a mud pit to keep cool.
Contrary to popular belief, pigs do have sweat glands.
Just not very many of them.
Too few to rely on them for cooling purposes, anyhow.
Yet they are still able to find different ways to cool down.

As a species, we humans could learn from pigs.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

June 2020: Patiently Waiting

Three male grosbeaks waiting for their turn on the bird feeder.
They are in line, they have a specific order, each patiently waits his turn, and each keeps properly "socially distanced" from the others. Usually. Should one get too close to another however, or try to go out of order, physical intervention by the others quickly restores social order and keeps the rules in force. For it is only by adhering to these rules that they can live peaceful lives. The key here for them, is the virtue of patience.

We can learn a lot by watching birds.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

May 2020: Life Goes On

Found this mallard's nest in the woods this week. A poignant reminder that despite how circumstances may appear to us at any given moment, life does continue on.
Will all 12 of these eggs end up as healthy adult ducks? Certainly not. Life's challenges do come with mortality, not just for ducks but for humans as well. But life goes on.
Here in Michigan things may seem to a lot of us that life has been put on pause. That is an illusion, just as the outwardly static appearance of the egg gives no indication of the life inside.
And like the egg, in a month or so the life inside will be revealed and we will be able to look at it and see that it had been going on all along.
Faces we have not seen since March will be seen again, some will appear older, some will appear hairier, some will appear bigger...and sadly maybe some won't appear again at all. But we will see then with the clarity we currently lack, that life goes on. So as long as we are here to live it, we should take a lesson from this duck, and keep giving it our best no matter what the circumstances are. It may not look or feel like doing so makes a difference today, but a little ways down the road it surely will.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

April 2020: Isolation

Like most people, I have found myself contemplating the subject of isolation lately. In this regard I find myself lucky. I live in a remote area, spend a lot of time away from people, and so the adjustment to the "stay-at-home" order currently in force here has been easier for me than a lot of folks.

By the way, the woods is a great place to go if you are concerned about social distancing and still want to get out of the house for some fresh air. It is the perfect time of year to be in the woods here in MI as it is warm enough to be enjoyable, but still too cold for mosquitoes.

Today I was out in the woods in back of my house and came across this little mushroom growing right out of the end of a broken twig, about 4 feet off the ground.  Talk about isolated!

Hopefully you are all well, and dealing with this pandemic with grace and prudence, as well as no small amount of patience and consideration for others. Like that little mushroom, isolated, yet an integral and important part of the forest as a whole, we in our own isolation remain an integral part of  humanity, as well as the giant organism of life on this planet.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

March 2020: Ice Crystals

Spring is on the way, but in the meantime here is a shot of some ice crystals. This formation occurs when the surface of a puddle starts to freeze as the water beneath slowly seeps into the ground. If the freeze rate and the drain rate match up just right, this is what you get. I love all the angles!

**Whoops! Uploaded the wrong version earlier...fixed now. (Minor color correction.)**

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

February 2020: Asylum Dutch Door

The asylum in Traverse City was an unusual place to shoot. Not just because of the history, but because of the physical environment. Specifically the lighting. Bear with me, as this is going to be geared more for the experienced photographers among you.
These are abandoned buildings. They have no electrical power, so the only light available  is via windows or what you bring with you. Conditions were in some cases total and complete darkness. This photo depicts conditions about as good as they got as fat as light goes. Plenty of ambient sunlight coming through (mostly broken) windows.
The fascinating thing for me in going through the asylum was not the challenge of light however.
It was the incredible variation in color.

We were in some rooms that were painted all blue, or orange, or peach. But even the rooms which were painted white, as this one was, reflected colors from the surrounding rooms, or from the outdoors.

This shot is interesting to me because you have the green in the background, which is light reflected off leaves in the trees outside the window, the blue in the foreground, which is reflected off a tarp hung over a window off to the right, and the red/yellow hue in between, which is the dingy, faded yellowing white paint of the actual walls. It is a surreal version of a color wheel, all in one photo.