Sunday, October 31, 2010

In Search of Tellruis Vultus II

(Continued from post 10-19)

The sunlight broke through the tent side as the sound of diehard mosquitoes were still lightly buzzing.
In the cool of the morning I spent some time walking around the area before beginning the days paddling.

 As I was packing at the dock in Britt on the first day I over heard that rattlesnakes had been very active due to the unusually warm weather. I stayed away from low lying juniper bushes and swampy areas. Air horns could be used to clear a blackbear out of the area but they probably wouldn't move a snake. I carried a stick and walked in clear paths staying on the warm slab of rocks.

Later, I again loaded the kayak and paddled back into the low canyons I had visited the day before.

The walls ranged from a couple of feet high to 10 feet of steep and solid rock outcroppings.
 Finding a patch of blueberries close the edge of the rocky cliff, I turned the paddle to hit them in an upward motion, the blue berries would rain down into the water and I would gather them. A slight breeze had risen and rippled the water erasing the reflections that I had seen the night before.

I paddled into a "water field" of wild lilies in a wide open area. By this time the wind was blocked by the rocky shore and trees. There was shallow water,  clear enough to see the sandy bottom and the tendrils of the lilies as they floated upward. From below, the lily pads looked like big green clouds, and life lines to the sunlight. A green glow from the sun shining through the lily pads lit the underwater world.        

                             It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education. 

                                                                        Albert Einstein 

As Rusty's comment about "Art is not in the creating, it is in the finding." I knew I found something wonderful in these water fields of lilies. Something handed to me. I counted it as a gift. I didn't create this shot, I captured a view. I was curious enough to want to see the underwater world of lilies.

I forgot about the reflections I was after and enjoyed the "water fields" of lilies. I continued paddling through three large "fields". I was very quite, and slow hoping to see other wildlife, I spotted an otter moving smoothly through the lilly pads and slowly ghosting away without a ripple.

 In Norgate Inlet, and Foster Island I came across a barge of building materials. The builders were framing a "cottage" as the Canadiens called them. It seemed to be large for a cottage. All the materials were on board. I saw the windows and roofing materials as well as stacks of lumber. There are no roads to these islands to deliver by truck, so the lumber barges were the delivery system. I watched the framers for a moment and moved on.

Still on my quest for Telluris Vultus, (earth faces) I was not satisfied with my search. I decided to paddle father south and broke out to the rocky islands that were on the edge of the open water.  I headed towards a little harbor in Bayfield, 4 miles away.  As I paddled south east the sky was blue and small clouds were before me. A slight wind in my face and ripples on the water.  I stayed close to the shore making time. I carried a map and compass, but no weather radio or UHF radio. I had all I needed at the time, shelter, food, and close enough to land to camp if the waves got to be too much to handle. Thunder storms were forecast for later that day.  The weather seemed to be just fine at the moment so I was enjoying the journey.
The view looking south west Georgian Bay ON

Land of 30,000 Islands

Next post " The Storm"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

In Search of Telluris Vultus

In Search of........... the keys, a mate, a friend, a job,
 a car, the other sock, the salt, the salsa in the fridge, a good cup of coffee in Iowa,
 the remote, once found something worth watching, something to wear,  . Most of us have a search going on some where.   I'm searching for more things we search for. You can find anything on Craig's list.  

Everybody's searching for something.

This summer my travels led to Britt, Ontario Canada. I was here for a purpose, to find Telluris Vultus. Earth Faces. I had vision for more reflections, more art. It was also about the adventure in the quest, the discovery on the path. 

After paddling all day in unfamiliar waters, I started searching for a place to camp. I hadn't seen what I had come to Georgian Bay to find yet. Like fishing, patience is key.
The question was still there, "Am I in the right location?"  I had been paddling around in circles I think. I had scouted the area as best as I could and wasn't finding what I was looking for. I knew where I was by map, but that sense of being close to my purpose and not finding was haunting me. It was during this time that I entered into a stillness on the water. I caught the shift in purpose and my focus changed. This seemed like a sanctuary. 

The stillness, the quite, the evening when the light is just right. I paddled so quite I could only hear the small dripping of the water off the paddle as I slowly made my way into a multi canyon area. I saw a raccoon at the waters edge watching me. A mink swam across small channel with a fish in his mouth. I had seen bears earlier that day and wanted to see one in this area. This was rich, light, stillness, reflections, animals. I wound my way through the rocky areas finding the reflections I was searching for.

At last he sun did drop and the sound of a thousand hungry mosquitoes gave me amazing speed in setting up my tent. The sun heated rocks were like a sauna as I lay in the dark under the rain fly. This was a sweat lodge.  I tried to undo the rain fly by a tiny hand hold in the netting. I was bombarded by mosquito bites and realized I might just have to sweat it out that night. It wasn't a restful sleep. 
I reviewed the days photo shots that night to the drone of bugs. I did my work, I focused on my purpose. I was rewarded for my efforts. Putting a price on art has not been an easy task, but through that experience I  found out how to price art by the misery you endure. Hard, hot rocks, mosquitoes, no breeze,  That evening cost me something.

In search of Telluris Vultus    Part 2 Next Week

"Vision is the art of seeing things that are not seen." John Mason, from " You're born an Original don't die a copy!"
Then art must be the result of acting on an inner vision.

Artists are magical helpers. Evoking symbols and motifs that connect us to our deeper selves, they can help us along the heroic journey of our own lives.   The artist is meant to put the objects of this world together in such a way that through them you will experience that light, that radiance which is the light of our consciousness and which all things both hide and, when properly looked upon, reveal. The hero journey is one of the universal patterns through which that radiance shows brightly. What I think is that a good life is one hero journey after another. Over and over again, you are called to the realm of adventure, you are called to new horizons. Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There's always the possibility of a fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss" Joseph Campbell "Pathways to Bliss"

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Journey is the Destination

So it didn't turn out the way you thought it should!

What were you expecting?

Well I was expecting to see the same kind of photography opportunities that I had become accustom to.
I mean wide rivers, plenty of rock outcroppings, clear, smooth water, 10 to 12 miles of paddling a great river. I did my homework and studied the landscape and found the terrain I was looking for.
I drove 5 hours to the northwest corner of Connecticut to Bull's Bridge. This trip I
 invited Zig Ziglar, a motivational speaker to join me. He rode in the CD player and encouraged me the whole trip. Along the way I passed through the Delaware Water Gap and noticed the water was high. I hoped that the torrential downpour that we experienced in Pennsylvania had not reached Connecticut. Not to be. The white water guys in Connecticut were all smiles. The roaring and rushing white water eliminated the photo op that I was expecting to find.

Now What?
A bit discouraged I drove north to Kent, CT and walked around asking the locals if they knew of rocky shores farther north on the river. The answers I received were not favorable. The previous storm raised water levels and knocked the red fall foliage off the trees. As I walked around the town I started to notice the large bronze sculptures dotting the town lawns.

It was late in the day so most of the shops were closed and not much was going on. I decided to drive farther north along the river hoping to find my photographic subjects. About 8 p.m. I came across a place to eat with a wifi connection to check mail. I heard from some locals that there was a possibility of reflections on a lake farther east. I traveled to Colebrooke Lake and looked for a place to camp.

My "Now What ?" turned into a different adventure. On my bare-bones trips grilled tortillas and cheese are the main stay and sleeping in the well padded van are the quarters. About 10:30 p.m. I pulled into a small town hoping to find a camp ground or Walmart. Instead I found a small grocery store still open.  I met an employee, Terry, stacking shopping carts and asked about sleeping in the parking lot. I told him  I was in search of rocks and rivers to photograph.  He invited me home to meet his family and discuss art. We drove to the  cross roads called Pleasant Valley, just south of Riverton, CT. This journey led me to some fine folks, Terry and Darlene (Pouchy) with some northern hospitality who allowed me a nights stay and some fine dining along the beautiful Farmington River.

 Early morning fog shrouded the wading fly fisherman, as I drove north to the lake where I had hopes of my finding my assignment. More disappointment as the lake did not hold the images I had hoped for, but many beautiful backroads and ponds with fall colors.

 I had to readjust my plan and recognize that this did not work out like I thought. I was feeling a bit discouraged in my quest. I felt this nagging like being skunked after fishing all day without a hit.

 There was something about the Kent area that I couldn't shake, I felt that I had to go back.  Even though the town was small, there was a hugh potential.

As  I walked around the town with my large portfolio, people would ask what I had and wanted to see some art. The conversation was always encouraging. I stopped by the coffee shop in town, where some locals were ending their day. After asking questions about directions to a certain gallery, a local guy asked what I had in the case. As I showed him some "fine art prints" photos he made some comments and a small crowd started to gather in the cafe.  One guy got up from an easy chair  in the back of the shop and handed me some literature of the art scene and said, "Welcome to the area, I'm Pete". I may be in the right place after all, I don't ever recall being welcomed into an area like that. Our conversation centered on the arts of that area, galleries and how I might fit in.

This is not what I expected to find, art galleries that housed famous artist whose paintings were about the 100k price. Fine furniture that sold in the 10s of thousands. I was able to transfer the purpose of the trip from photographing the area to marketing fine art prints. This was a new experience and purpose for this trip. I had the desire to travel thinking that my purpose was to get photos, when actually it turned out to be the marketing for art.

I have heard it said that "the journey is the destination."

Looking back I realized that I had allowed some disappointments to throw me off track for a period of time. I was stuck on a perceived failure instead of seeing new opportunities.
My weekend trip didn't turn out the way I thought it would but I see things differently now and can go with the flow a little better. I met some wonderful folks and got acquainted with an area that values art. I acquired a deeper appreciation for art and gained a better vision for what I could offer in my own work. I also realized that there can be hidden treasures within disappointment. I have an idea I will be back in that area to visit and hopefully establish some art connections.

Still learning to look at life from different angles.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

There's a War?

It was mid August 09, a turning point in my journey of fine art photography. Lisa and I spent a weekend kayaking on the middle Youghiogheny River in Central Pennsylvania near Ohiopyle. We didn't do any major whitewater, I was looking for quite still water for reflection photos. We paddled a ten mile section and enjoyed the day.

I was unable to find the type of rock outcroppings I was looking for so being with good friends and enjoying the water was a reward in itself. We camped two nights in the van and enjoyed the different terrain and star shine that we don't normally see in our home area.

During the weekend I read a book by Steven Pressfield "The War Of Art". Not just for artists. I found it on the book list by Donald Trump. Steven, a seasoned warrior, opened my eyes to a new direction and discovery of doing "my work", of overcoming resistance, and self doubt in an endeavor.
This book was instrumental in the paradigm shift, like my photography, of seeing what is before me in a different view.  I finished the book on the way home, a quick read. I was inspiried to step into a new role and make a transition. Monday morning I still had the kayak on the van, I took my camera and lunch and headed off to work, on the river.

"Eternity is in love with the creations of time" William Blake  From "The War of Art" Steven Pressfield

There is always prayer during war, the book talked of praying to the muses, asking God to guide. Any great artist knows that it's a gift, something that is easy and flows in their life. So I prayed and asked for guidance to my objective of reflections on the water. I wasn't gone long, it didn't take all day to get what I was looking for.

" It's one thing to study war and another to live a warriors life."  Telamon  of Arcadia From "The War of ARt" Steven Pressfield

 I paddled out on the Susquehanna river to a familiar place but to a lower water level and found the reason for the trip. I can see rocks and water, but I see more than landscapes to photograph in nature. I did my work, I accomplished my given task for that particular moment. I found the shot from a distance and can mark the day as a turning point.

Since that time this photo has been an inspiration to me as well as an amusement to many people who have stopped by my art show booth. As I hang my photos on the wall in coffee shops and galleries I've had folks ask "They hung the photo all wrong" Then I hear the "Wow, do you see that face?"

 I like the images both portrait and landscape.

     There is a resistance, a struggle, the war still rages but I can recognize the enemy a bit better and understand the forces that try to deter me from my work. Some folks have mastered the war and others are still wondering where the war is.
What's your war? Who is the enemy? Where is the battle? It's not the family, or boss, job or finances. It usually lies with in.

"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic,and power in it. Begin it now".W.H. Murray, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition From "The War of Art" Steven Pressfield

 "The War of Art:" Steven Pressfield.

For more "Faces of the Susquehanna" check out