Take a quiet, rainy, gray Saturday morning with little ambition.Add a bit of a bridge shot in IR, layer a watercolored paper towel,then an invert filter . Hopefully this results in a dreamy garden landscape. Like cooking but with less mess and zero calories, it’s just as satisfying. Enjoy!
Tag Archives: infrared photography
Many might choose Paris or Istanbul as a runaway destination. Having only a few hours on a Sunday afternoon and an expired passport eliminated those possibilities. Instead, Memorials Park Cemetery was my destination, a road trip of about eight miles.The cemetery is home to the Crystal Grotto and its fantasy shaped structures.I chose my infrared camera because it would accentuate the otherworldly feel . I viewed the cave and tree as imaginary housing, fit for visiting sprites or hobbits.
The faux bois structures suit the park well and it’s hard to believe they are cement.A folk artist from Mexico, Dionicio Rodriguez created the vision from his imagination. Hired by the cemetery’s founder, Clovis Hinds, Rodriguez earned $75.00 per week over a ten year period during the Depression. His creations are dream – like and religiously significant.
Working in steel and copper to form supports, the structures were formed in cement over wire. Using his hands, twigs and dinner utensils for tools, he simulated wood structures that suggest fairies and woodland creatures.Calling his work, “el trabajo rustic”, Rodriguez built Abraham’s Oak that towers 15 feet tall and 9 feet in diameter.
There is the Cave of Machpelah which is named for a burial cave from the Holy Land. The reflecting pool is the Pool of Hebron, and the Grotto appears as a mountain shaped form which houses the crystal cave. All are entirely hand-built. Walking into the cave you are stunned to find formations of limestone, rock quartz crystal and cement forming backgrounds for murals of scenes of the life of Jesus.
Shooting infrared in old cemeteries is a passion of mine. The carver’s art , the names and the stories keep me curious. I’ve come across many symbols and decorations, but when I came across this monument with books on shelves, it made me wonder. I’m a reader. I thought about the family. Were they readers? Were they trying to show their level of education? Maybe they were teachers? I saw them as kindred spirits.I ‘m a mystery freak who can’t get enough of them.The more intricate the puzzle, the more I savor the mystery. Often , you’ll find me with my nose in a book or ebook. I used to worry that I wasn’t spending my time reading the classics or current book club fads. While I’m sure there are wonderful books I’ve missed, I’ve read and enjoyed so many. Obviously I can’t take books with me, and accepting the idea that life is finite, should I be compiling a list of books that I can’t miss? A bucket list doesn’t feel like the right term. One of my ideas of heaven would include a never-ending supply of Earl Grey tea, a comfortable chair to curl up with my dog, near a big window that overlooks an English garden ,and a collection of unread mysteries to encourage me to rest between my travels.Hell would be most like the old episode of The Twilight Zone in which a bank clerk spends his lunchtime in the vault reading. One day, after a nuclear (?) disaster, he finds himself the lone survivor. He wanders the streets and finds the library . Realizing he has all the time in the world to enjoy the books is a gift. As he heads up the steps, he trips and his glasses tumble from his nose and break. I saw the episode once when I was a teen and it has stayed with me.Definitely frightening! I guess I can compile a Don’t Wait to Read This! list. Which books would you include?
Entering Holly Springs, Mississippi on Route 7, you can’t help but notice a cluster of buildings that has struggled to survive. The remains of a mechanical college that dates back to the early 1900’s invite further inspection. A mixture of Victorian with Mansard roofs and ironwork to a newer auditorium building, the glimpses through vine covered windows tempt passersby. Having visited this campus for several years,one building is now a pile of rubble. Where books peeked out from a basement storage area, and glass shone in most windows, the buildings now stand forlorn while flocks of turkey vultures roost in the eaves and chimneys, The first time I disturbed them I was quite unnerved when more than twenty huge scrawny necked birds came swooping from the rooftop and began circling. Having no desire to reenact a scene from Hitchcock’s The Birds, I tiptoed back out of sight.If you look closely at the chimney in the photo, several remain to stake their claim.There had to be something more useful to do with this property than let it slowly collapse onto itself. Unfortunately, it may be too late to try. The building in the bottom photo was damaged in a storm and is the rubble you see in the second photo. Somehow we have to learn not to be so shortsighted.
Zero grams of fat .Zero carbs, protein, and fiber equals no threat to my diet, unlike the chocolate I crave on particularly stressful days. Lately my days seemed to be filled with acronyms : DEA, TVAAS, CFA, TCAP, IEP, TEAM,TCP, DEC, and IDEA. They should add HELP!!!!! Mostly they represent whatever someone with nothing to do can dream up. Being buried under tests and paperwork in a paperless system is difficult to understand for both teacher and student. There needs to be a way to decompress.For me it’s finding the humor and laughter. Sometimes I do it naturally, two pairs of glasses on my head and obviously searching for them, confusing words or losing track in the middle of a sentence…..My humor is on the dry side. Words are funny for me! George Carlin, Robin Williams, Lily Tomlin, they make me laugh.( Of course, Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Brothers and the OLD SNL circa John Belushi, Dan Ackroyd and Gilda Radner). Fortunately for me, the students I teach get my humor and even like it . They are funny in so many ways, and when we laugh together you can feel the room decompress. Whimsy and acting out lighten our load. On my desk are wind-up toys, strange items that called to me on travels, and a pair of African Dwarf frogs whose antics keep us entertained.Humor is healthy and non-fattening. Laughing until you cry can make you feel ten pounds lighter, although I admit, I haven’t laughed that hard in awhile. Probably not since my best friend and I grabbed canes in an antique mall and were doing a rendition of Singing in the Rain when we realized there were security cameras and we could end up on You Tube. Fortunately we escaped that fate. It’s not everyday in Memphis that you see Charlie Chaplin while wandering down the street, but there is humor in every day and taking an extra portion can only make us feel lighter.
Until facing a test, we’re probably never sure how strong we can be. Living up to expectations, acting with courage, standing under fire, surely these are challenges that require inner strength. But, sometimes on a day to day basis, self protection is not our first item on the to do list; what’s really more important is being open. Letting down our defenses is not easy. Sometimes,we may not even be aware that we’ve placed thick walls to hide who we truly are, or that we’ve established a moat to make others keep a respectful distance. Often , allowing ourselves the freedom to just be whoever and however we woke up that day is a true test of strength.The more we make that choice, our armor dissolves and we grow .
As I looked at this photo, the word shelter kept coming to mind. Long outreaching branches tangled with lacy Spanish Moss touch the ground. It would almost feel like hiding behind a mother’s skirt. Open and safe at the same time ,it is a curious combination. Often the places we seek shelter close us in and while trying to protect us, they become confining.It is a difficult balance to achieve both for ourselves and for those we love. How do we offer that listening ear or tender embrace without the advice, warnings and I told you so’s ? How do we know when the net or training wheels are no longer needed? Do we push ourselves to take chances and risk leaving our safe place, or continue to tell ourselves we aren’t quite ready yet ? Worse , do we keep our children close in fear that they will travel too far from us or realize that they don’t need us as often? Understanding that seeking shelter is a choice makes a difference. It’s a comfort to know one is available if there’s an emergency or time is needed to regroup. It’s reassuring that we can offer it to those in need, but at it’s best shelter needs to be defined and sought by the individual.
Driving into Maplewood Cemetery in Mayfield , Kentucky on a late summer afternoon, the shadows lengthened. A perfect time to explore the monument that has stood silently for over a hundred years. A novel remains buried here. The story of our protagonist, a horse trader by the name of Colonel Henry G. Wooldridge, involves lost love, ego and loneliness.
Wooldridge, a lifelong bachelor, lost the last of his three sisters in 1892. Her death begins his quest to build a monument to himself and his family. Over the next seven years, local sculptors carve the images of his brothers, Alfred, Josiah and W.H. There is a statue of Colonel Wooldridge on his favorite mount Fop, as well as his two dogs and a random deer and fox for them to chase.
The story focuses on the women. Legend says that Wooldridge remained a bachelor after his young love, Minnie, died in a riding accident. You need to wonder about Minnie’s pull on him. Was she beautiful, gentle and loving? Did he give her the horse as a gift and grow unable to handle the guilt? Minnie is included in the party of statues ,but a family Bible and other records indicate she is his niece and not focus of the love story. What will the author decide?
The other women in the group include his mother Keziah, nieces Maud and Minnie, and sisters Minerva, Susan, and Narcissa. Did Susan’s character match her uninspired name? Did Narcissa live up to hers? Was Minerva an enchantress? Great characters for our unwritten story.
As you view the detail of the statues , you admire the craft and artistry of the sculptors. All of the pieces were done locally except for the man standing taller than the rest who is made of marble and carved in Italy, Wooldridge himself.
He appears twice in the group, which helps to develop his egotistic persona. Comparisons to pharaohs burying their loved ones with them come to mind.You might imagine that his fear of being alone at his death compelled him to have his family members with him so it is ironic to note that he is buried there alone. And ,as another element of our plot, his father is not included in the group.Psychological analysis? The monument is called “The Strange Procession That Never Moves.”
That remained true until 2009, when a three hundred year -old oak crashed down on the family during an ice storm and beheaded all the statues except for his sisters and dog.Divine intervention, another plot twist? The monument was restored on site and remains open to the public.Inspiration and the unwritten story remain.
Driving along a country road in Kentucky, we came upon this house overtaken by shrubs and vines. Pulling off the road to explore further, it looked like it had slept for the past fifty years. Quietly approaching, I found myself moving slowly as if not to disturb the silence. It had seen better days when its paint was fresh and the screen door would slam countless times a day as children tore in and out again. Now it stood empty of voices. The porch swing remained and still squeaked in the breeze. At first I thought it was in protest to my trespass, but I realized it sounded a welcome .Requiring that I notice it still hung stalwart and strong, the guardian of many happier times.My witness would keep those memories safe a bit longer.
Standing tall in Reelfoot Lake, this pine tree commanded attention. I’m not sure it was proud just because of the height it attained. It seemed more a case of, the odds were against me, too much water, too much wind, little shelter and still I thrive. Providing a home for osprey and perches for birds passing by, it also helped anchor a little bit of its world. From the boat, it looked effortless. The best in every situation make it look easy. While the rest of us often create excuses. it’s too cold, I’m tired of waiting, no one cares about what I say, I’m no different than anyone else. I’m afraid , and the list goes on. You wonder how tall we’d stand if we maintained our piece of the earth and reached up towards what it is that calls to us, towards what we truly need. It’s time.