Monday, March 15, 2010

Under Foot

 Yesterday was one of those gray days my mom used to call a “plain day.” Living in Washington State, we had LOTS of “plain days.” The colors didn’t seem to be as obviously brilliant as on a sunny day; the somber clouds hung low and seemed to muffle—even stifle-- the birdsongs. Most look on a cloudy day as having a little less quality than a sunny day.

But, behold! Photographers LOVE cloudy days-- in most cases-- just as much as the sunny ones! When the sun is not so bright, colors –especially of less (obviously) spectacular subjects-- are often more vibrant than on a sunny day when highlights are easily blown out, shadows more occluding.

Cloudy days are the times to explore minutae underfoot, and find the colors you never knew were there. Lichens, moss, bark, fungi...subjects we rarely notice.

Not letting gray and somber deter our enthusiasm, MM and I decided to take a hike down to our large pond yesterday along with four dogs. Our party, thrashing through the woods was not the time to catch sight of any wildlife (although there was a small flock of mergansers on the pond, and three wood ducks took flight and whistled overhead on a speedy exit to quieter realms. No, this was more in tune with a “fun” outing for the dogs (as well as humans).

Of course, I never leave home without my camera and the dogs and MM soon left me behind to mosey my way through the woods in search of….whatever. With head down, only occasionally looking upward, I found so many things to see, most of which go unnoticed, especially when the sun shines. While the forest is largely still in its winter sleep, there are the sturdy underpinnings of life itself, continuing, making its way slowly, under our feet.

Maybe it’s a parable of sorts that when we find ourselves in circumstances that seem to lower our known horizons, we often discover treasures we never would have seen, otherwise.


  1. Ah yes! I love it, Elora. You are right, we are connected. I'm going to post a link to this post in my comments section under my entry. Thank you and cheers!

  2. P.S. Lichen, moss, and bark of three of my favorite subjects to photograph!

  3. Lovely! I almost took a photo of the last patch of snow yesterday, but it wasn't really very pretty and I have no desire to save that image for posterity. These, on the other hand are just beautiful, and offer so much promise of better weather ahead!

  4. Is there no end to your list of talents, Elora?
    Those photos are terrific!

  5. Elora, your lichen photos are beautiful. I took some photos, last week, of two of the lichen you featured -- in my old field. I have no idea of the names of them and need to get a lichen guide. #2 and #4 photos are the lichens I am talking about. Your tree bark photo is a winner! So enjoy each and every post you write. -- barbara

  6. Nice images Elora. I also took a walk around the farm on Sunday to see what I could see, but unfortunately did not take the camera. One thing I noticed immediately was a large outcropping of rocks in the woods above the house that is usually invisible most of the year due to vegetation and snow (especially this year). The rocks were covered in a thick blanket of moss that was the most beautiful emerald green color I'd ever seen. In fact, if you did not know they were rocks, you wouldn't have guessed it because they all looked like big gumdrops - not one straight or jagged edge. I think I'll head up there on Wednesday and pose for my Saint Patrick's Day picture!

  7. We heat with wood and when hubby brings some in I sometimes can't bear to burn certain pieces because they are so unique and interesting. So I take pictures, several of each piece. Hubby looks at me weird ;)