Shadow Crest

I love to be outdoors in the sunshine. I often take pictures along the way but the sunshine I love is both a friend and a foe to my camera. While the light is brilliant it washes out color and creates deep contrasts with the shadows it casts. Often, these shadows get in the way of the image I want to capture.

Sometimes though, the shadow can enhance the image, even become the image. Here I took a low shot of a small dry twig from the garden.  Set on a sandy brown stone wall it cast a long shadow in the afternoon sun. Like a child at play making handshadows, they seemed to portray a host of possibilities in their definition.  This shadow captured my imagination and I captured this image.

In the digital darkroom I did very little to change the original image.  I cropped it to guide our point of entry.  Then I filtered it gently, drawing out the contrast and softening the distractions.  I like the possibilities in the lines that remain.


Teased by the beautiful weekend weather we have been enjoying in the Pacific Northwest, minds turn to gardens and hearts turn to hope for a season that will produce delicious tomatoes in our back yards. Though it may still be a little early here, we have put a few tomato plants in the ground and soon we will be looking eagerly for signs of the fruit we hope to enjoy by summer's end.

The first sign will be one of these modest little yellow flowers. Small and almost fierce it is the early sign of effort paying off and garden dreams coming to fruition.

I captured this image early last summer in a friend's garden. This small homely bloom made my friend's face brighten with hope and joy. Like a proud parent he seemed confident that this was the beginning of an eminently rewarding journey that would yield success and blessing.

Last year wasn't the best year for tomatoes in this area. While I believe this small flower yielded an edible piece of fruit few gardeners felt they were truly successful by the end of the season. But, for most gardeners, hope springs eternal. Tomato starts are flying off the shelves and into patio pots and backyards everywhere, and little blossoms much like this one will soon produce smiles and hope and joy for countless gentle garden enthusiasts.

My goal for this image was to soften it to the color and shape of that hope. I contoured the image enhancing the intricate detail of the small blossom and softening the background to warm shades of summer color. In it I see the outline of potential, the shape of tenacity and the framework of fruit to come.


Here is another take on the image posted as "Cradled World." I used a neon filter to make the forceful elements of the image glow. This treatment sets the thorns or threads on fire while the subtle peaceful form of the pod lets its definition fade into the surroundings. 

It seems to me that this image is almost the antithesis of the one I posted earlier. It is uniquely dynamic and engaging.

Each piece of art we create is unique in time and space, in the aspect of its creator that is highlighted in its form.   While "Cradled World" radiates the patient stillness of nature's power to transform, "Formation" displays the energy of the process and the active engagement demanded by every state of change. 

Cradled World

I ran across this intriguing little briar in a garden just outside the old city walls in Murten, Switzerland.  It grew low, beneath beaming sunflowers and voluptuous roses, evading the attention of tourists seeking more glamorous sights and bees seeking more abundant blossoms.

Without bright colors or fragrant petals there was little about it to attract attention, in fact its thorny exterior web seemed to shun attention. And yet how beautiful this intricate little pod seemed to me.

I wondered at its form.  Its erratic webbed covering suggests a variety of associations.  It resembles a crown of thorns or the bars of a cell, yet more to the point, it seems like a makeshift cradle of a roughly woven nest. Inside it lies a rough round pod that must contain a precious seed, the hope for a fresh start in the coming spring.  The pod is marked with a cross and entrusted to the arms of this amazing earthly guardian, like an infant newly baptized and placed back in its mother's arms.

To capture the impression this fragile bristling pod left in my thoughts I embellished the contrast in the image and softened the color and texture of the lush background. The result features the many amazing details of this delightful little garden discovery.