Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

This is my third annual weird photo for Halloween. I played with an oil candle placed on the end of a long black wrought iron rod to maneuver it through the frame while making a long exposure. Yes, it's the end of October in northern Illinois and I still have morning glories. But you can see they're confused by the shorter days - they're blooming at night now.

This technique was used in my first annual weird Halloween photo back in 2005 (and be sure to check out the photo underneath the first entry). Last year's strange photo featured an unusual fogging of my film taken at a Native American sacred place in Wupatki National Monument in Arizona. I still haven't figured out what happened. Other than the series of photos taken near the ancient ruins, all other photos taken in the area turned out just fine.

Spooky.

Looking for more spooky photos? William Hundley has a unique way of staging photos - wrapping people in sheets and photographing them as they jump in the air. Makes for some weird looking images. Check them out.

Photograph © 2007 James Jordan

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Queen Anne’s lace and fall poplars

The color of a stand of poplar trees rises above the gray sea of dried Queen Anne’s lace. Autumn is a conflict of emotions. The celebration of life. The anticipation of death. Joy and sorrow intermingled. Bittersweet.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2007 James Jordan.

Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year winners released. The Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition aims to find the best wildlife pictures taken by photographers worldwide, and to inspire them to visionary and expressive interpretations of nature. Here’s a look at some of the winning photographs.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Katydid OK for herself

I found this katydid while strolling through my dad’s garden a few days after he passed away. She was pretty sluggish in the chilly morning air, but she’s a survivah. Missing one hind leg, lost to who knows what? A bird? A small animal? A kid with a thing for sadism? How many times did she nearly become somebody else's meal?

She made it this far, through the days of warmth and sunshine to this juncture between summer and winter. Her time is short, but she has accomplished what she set out to do, which was to live long enough to keep the species going.

We’ll hear from her kids next year.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2007 James Jordan.

Wild and lucky, that's me. I've had a photo selected as a favorite at the Moody Monday photo challenge for the second week in a row. Two weeks ago, I apparently captured the essence of the word "lucky." Last week, I scored with a depiction of "wild." We'll see if I can add "lazy" to my resume this week.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Making the turn

Autumn is a turn. A change of direction. The beginning of a new reality. And October seems to be the pivotal month. It begins with the gathering of the harvest and ends with a holiday focused on death. In between, nature makes its preparation for the slumber that will be winter.

Like the sunset sky that blazes with fire before the blackness of night sets in, the trees put on their own sunset display before releasing their leaves to die.

Yet hope is retained through it all. All around are faint promises of the spring to come on the other side of winter.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2007 James Jordan.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Autumn's Hope

video
A combination of a poem by a co-worker, the music of a friend and images by me. Enjoy.

Copyrights as per their respective creators.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mourners

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Matthew 5:4

... we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.
1 Thessalonians 4:13

Photograph © 2007 Jamers Jordan

Monday, October 22, 2007

Michigan leaf

After living in northern Illinois for the past 16 years, I had forgotten how beautiful autumns were in central Michigan. Nine days ago, on the morning my father died, my wife and I drove at sunrise to the hospital about a dozen miles from the small town where he had lived nearly all of his 71 years. The first sunlight of the newborn day played on rolling hills - the space between them creating beds in which blankets of fog lay tucked between patchwork quilts of gold and red. The scenery was achingly beautiful.

This leaf was captured on film subsequent to that beautiful Michigan autumn morning, its shape mimicking the outline of the state that I called home for more than three decades.

And, as I discovered over the course of the last several days, it's still home.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2007 James Jordan.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Legacy

My dad was a gardener, and he transformed much of the yard around his home into a welcoming habitat of growing things. He has passed, and the garden has begun its slumber for winter, but next spring, the garden plants will come forth again, renewing the memory of the person who planted them long ago.

There are things that will last long beyond the time that I spend on this planet. There are people that I will have met and enriched in some way or another. There are my children and the things that I was able to instill in them as they make their own way in this world. Then there is my work and whatever meaning those who view it may take from it. I'm scattering those things like seeds upon the earth in the hopes that those things will live long after me.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2007 James Jordan.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Where the road may lead

Over the past few days, I rediscovered the fact that there are two levels of life. There’s the level that we find ourselves in most often on a day to day basis – the job, school, bills – the constantly recurring stream of things we call responsibilities. Then there’s the really important stuff that you don’t often think about until a crisis strikes. Faith in God. Love for the family. The pain of loss and hope for the future.

Sure, I knew this about the important stuff, but it often gets drowned out in the mundane noise of the everyday. My wife and I have returned to Illinois following the passing of my father to take care of some of that mundane stuff. Then we will return to our family in Michigan to get down to some really important stuff.

I may be lax in posting over the next few days, but things like that happen when you’re taking care of really important stuff.

Thanks for the kind words of sympathy. I appreciate them very much.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Flowers for my father

This is a repeat photo from several months ago. I’m posting it again because my father was partial to mums. You may have noticed it’s been a few days since I last posted. My wife and I have been in Michigan to be with my mother and siblings as my father fought for his life in a hospital near his hometown. He developed septic shock following surgery a couple of weeks ago to remove a diseased kidney. It was a surprise to everyone since every sign following the kidney surgery was positive up until he began to feel ill earlier last week.

Septic shock occurs when the body fights a large scale infection, putting all its resources to the task of eliminating the intruder. Unfortunately, this comes at the expense of healthy tissue and organs, and they are either neglected by the circulatory system, attacked by an immune system gone wild or both.

The doctors and critical care unit did everything to give my Dad every fighting chance, but early this morning, he lost a four-day fight against time and himself as the shock destroyed his lungs' ability to keep his battered body going. Last evening, he was alert and responsive as my mother, my siblings and I gave him our love and encouraged him to keep fighting. We are a fortunate family to not have any outstanding issues between our parents or each other, which freed us to focus all our care and concern on my father throughout his illness. He turned 71 while in the hospital. He and my mother would have celebrated 50 years of marriage in a few days.

He will be cremated and we are considering spreading his ashes in many of the outdoor places he loved in Michigan. The same places he took his family while we were growing up, and the places we came to love as well. I still seek out natural places and capture their beauty with a camera from time to time, a legacy my father gave me.

And one of many, many things for which I am thankful.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

That restless feeling

The shortening autumn days trigger a restlessness inside migratory birds. The pre-migratory restlessness (called zugenruhe) causes them to take flight for no apparent reason other than to simply … move. That is, until the temperature reaches a certain level and the winds turn southerly just enough for the birds to take action and channel that nervous energy into a purposeful migratory flight.

Funny thing is, I’ve felt that same restlessness from time to time, and felt the urge to just … move. Move from jobs, relationships, situations. Sometimes the winds blew just the right way and I acted on that restlessness. Other times, I stayed put. Sometimes it’s a tricky thing, deciding whether to go or stay.

There's a kind of a restless feeling and it catches you off guard
As we gaze off at the distance through the trees in my back yard
I can feel that restless yearning of those geese as off they roam
Then trade that for a warm bed and a place I can call home

Gordon Lightfoot, “Restless”


Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2007 James Jordan.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Sunrise at Jelke's Creek

This has been the summer of staying close to home. I haven’t had the opportunity to travel much, except for a weekend or two in Racine or Door County, Wisconsin. So most of my photo explorations have taken place within a few miles of my home.

Jelke’s Creek is a waterway that meanders through the nearby village of Sleepy Hollow. Much of the land surrounding the creek is a nature preserve and bird sanctuary. I made my way out there one morning last weekend.

This photo is another blended shot of two exposures of the same scene, taken as the sun appeared over the treetops in the distance.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2007 James Jordan.

For what it's worth: This is post number 800 at Points of Light, which I started in May of 2005 as an outlet for the pile of photos I was accumulating through my hobby. You are among more than 70,000 visitors who have stopped this way since then. Thanks for coming by.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Reflections on a small pond

Sky meets water meets earth at dawn.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2007 James Jordan.

Photo blogging: It’s a small world after all
Nikon has announced their winners in their Small World photography contest, comprised solely of photographs from powerful light microscopes (think WAY stronger than the ones you used in science class). Think Hollywood cgi is fantastic? Take a look at the craziness that is called reality.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Transcendence

Getting up early is not particularly easy for me, especially on these chilly fall mornings when it would be so much nicer to stay in my nice warm bed. But I've seldom been disappointed when I've made the effort to venture out into the early twilight world. I see things that 90 percent of the world doesn't see because they're still sleeping or working or just not paying attention - just like I do, 90 percent of the time.

I've said before that in any endeavor, if you do the things that 90 percent of those who have tried the same thing will not or cannot do, you'll find yourself in the top 10 percent.

And that's a pretty nice place to be.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2007 James Jordan.

Friday, October 05, 2007

In the pink

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the photo sharing site Flickr is more than doing its part. A photo group at Flickr called Passionately Pink for the Cure has been established, and for every photograph that is added to the group’s photo pool featuring the color pink, Flickr will donate one dollar (up to $50,000) to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

As of this posting, the total number of photos had just surpassed 14,000. I've posted the above photo as well as this one to the pool.

Check it out. Great photos and a great cause. And if you happen to have a photo featuring pink, consider posting it to the pool.

Photograph © 2007 James Jordan.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Autumn reflection

Playing around with Photo Shop on this one. The original photo was that of a “push-up” formation at Sunset Crater National Monument near Flagstaff, Arizona. Pressure beneath the floor of an old volcano had pushed molten rocks dozens of feet upward, creating a pile of rocky debris. A lone poplar tree had found a way to survive on the barren outcropping.

The photo was copied, flipped, pasted beneath the original and rendered as a watery reflection, then an Orton effect was added.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2007 James Jordan.

Photo blogging

A fish-eye view of America. In 2002, underwater photographer Alex Kirkbride decided he wanted “an immense creative challenge.” He set out on a three-year journey across the United States, traveling over 100,000 miles to photograph underwater images from every state.

From flooded quarries and cranberry bogs to freezing Alaskan waters and Elvis's swimming pool, Alex took a unique array of photographs. The result is a collection of 150 imaginative photographs in the book American Waters, depicting the amazing variety and astonishing beauty of underwater worlds unseen by most people in their lifetime.

A description of the project by the photographer and some sample photos can be seen on Alex Kirkbride’s Web site.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Solitude

In my younger days, I worked as a graphic designer at a printing operation in mid-Michigan. One of our clients was the Iverson Snowshoe company of Shingleton, Michigan. One of just two snowshoe manufacturers in the U.S., their tag line was and still is, “Seek Wilderness.” We joked around the shop that the tagline was just a polite way of saying, “Get lost.” When one of us got on another’s nerves, the conversation usually ended with the rejoinder to go seek some wilderness.

The occasional encounter with solitude is not a bad idea. To throw off the electronic tethers and be free from their clinging grasp for a while. To search for things that are truly important in life. To recalibrate. To recharge.

Seek wilderness.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2007 James Jordan.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Fallen

Autumn: The annual reminder that time is catching up with us all.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2007 James Jordan.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Two worlds

Twice each day the two meet. Day and night cross paths at dusk, make their circuitous journeys and meet up again dawn. They tip their hats to each other as they walk their opposing paths, each content to remain in their own world, while we observe the changes as they pass.

Composite day/night photo. Photograph © 2007 James Jordan.