“The long exposure does something that our eyes cannot do, it can accumulate time,” says photographer Michael Kenna. I love his dreamy black-and-white landscapes, in which waters and skies appear smooth as silk. And I love the idea of capturing moments of consecutive time, stacked together in one image.
Well, I’ll need some more practice before I can create any ethereal landscapes, but in the meantime, these photos are the results of a little experimentation closer to home (at my dining room table), requiring only a decorative trinket, a slowed shutter speed, and some patience.
We’re often so concerned about sharpness in images – the crispness and clarity of frozen time – but I think there’s something so pretty and painterly about motion being rendered as soft streaks of woven light.
After no posts for nearly a week, I’m happy to bring you the results of today’s backyard photographic outing… an outing during which I contorted myself into awkward positions to capture a shot of the plumes of this ornamental grass. The conditions were made slightly more challenging because the grass was being whipped back and forth by a crisp, intermittent wind. Also because, prior to my backyard visit, I’d been hobbling around due to a pinched nerve in my lower back, which made awkward positions more difficult to get into (and out of).
No pain, no gain?
I’m steeling myself for the cold season. The leaves have parted with the trees, the wind bites, and today’s sky was a featureless mass of pale grey. But no matter: I have a new camera, and I’m going to use it.
My first practice subjects were the cats, and when they got sick of me – their tails twitching in annoyance as they slunk away from my incessant camera-pointing – I went outside. Yes, I stepped into the freezing, dull outdoors willingly. That’s how excited I am about this.
More to come in regards to my new camera adventures. For now, a little colour on this otherwise dreary day (while, undoubtedly, I prefer outdoor flora that isn’t made of plastic, sometimes one can’t be too choosy):
I tried a bit of night-time photo-making for this week’s Thursday Doors contribution:
The public library (branded as Idea Exchange) in the Hespeler community of Cambridge, Ontario currently stands as an uncommon blend of old and new – the outer shell of this structure is constructed with glass, encasing the historic brick building within while also housing the modern extension.
The renovations, completed in 2007, received mixed reviews from locals, even though the design was granted an Award of Excellence by Canadian Architect magazine, among other honours.
As you may know, I’m a sucker for historic buildings, and part of me would’ve liked better exterior visibility of the original structure. However, I’m also a sucker for bright, airy interiors (and libraries in general, of course). The glass, the height, and the clean modern lines create a unique and comfortable indoor space. When inside, being able to circle the original building – to view and touch and appreciate the exposed brick up close – provides an odd but pleasant feeling of being both indoors and outdoors at once.
Today’s main entrance is located on the northeast side of the building:
If you squint through this sheet of glass, you’ll be able to view the location of the original entryway, round the southeast side:
It looks a tad different than it did back in 1923:
Photo courtesy Law Photography via Cambridge Archives, c. 1923.
Idea Exchange is currently working on another overhaul of a historic structure in the Galt area of Cambridge – the old Post Office – and I understand there’s also a fair amount of glass involved in this particular re-imagination. I’ll keep you posted 🙂