Saturday, December 15, 2012

Greens, Blues and Muddy Shoes

Rain is rare in Southern California.  It is nothing short of a blessing.  Perhaps owing to my agricultural roots, I feel a sense of release when we finally get a bit of precipitation.  This has certainly been the case over the past few weeks: nothing too heavy, but steady enough and prolonged so that is soaks into the soil.  I delight in the subtle changes to the native vegetation and wildlife.  It almost seems as life emerges from a drought "hibernation" and begins to extend and ramble after a period of contraction.  I am most surprised in the changes to the north sides of hills and boulders.  Where lichen has been brown for most of the year, it becomes vibrant green almost instantly. The dense chaparral charades as a temperate rain forest (artistic license here) and small pools accumulate in the depressions atop the boulders I love to climb.

The blues and greens remind me of Galen Rowell's work with Fuji Velvia.  I constantly marvel at the way he used graduated filters and slide film to represent tremendous tonal range in photographs of the California landscape.  I also learned an appreciation of running with a camera from his columns in Outdoor Photographer.  It seems contradictory to run and carry a camera, but in fact I feel that by running I am interacting with the landscape that I am also working to communicate and share. Today, I ran the trails, with a bit of slip-sliding, carrying a tripod and hip-pack to explore the blues and greens.  I returned home high on endorphins with a handful of images and some very muddy shoes.