Photo Exhibit at Pierce Cedar Creek Opens on 12/15/2019

Runs through 2/28/2020

All of the prints that are in the exhibit can be seen here on this site. Look for more posts on the exhibit as we finalize things. We’ll actually be hanging the prints on 12/2/19, but we will be at a reception for the exhibit on the 15th. We’re very excited about it, and grateful to Cedar Creek Institute, and particularly Michelle Skedgell, the executive director, for her original idea for the exhibit and for Cedar Creek’s support over the two years it has taken to put all the images together. You can’t hurry up a four seasons photography project!

Bob on the Four Seasons Cedar Creek Photography Project

It is interesting how one thing leads to another, usually in an unpredictable manner. As an example, two summers ago I was nursing a very sore knee, while my wife, son, and his family were walking one of the Pierce Cedar Creek trails. I was in the parking lot, sitting on the door sill of our van, and walking no more than a few feet to take pictures (mostly close-ups) of the native plant gardens that make up the berm and decorate the parking lot median. A lady, who I came to realize was Michelle Skedgell, the Pierce executive director, thoughtfully came over to me, as an old guy sitting on a van door sill can mean maybe there’s a problem, and started chatting.

She asked if I did a lot of photography around Pierce, and if so would I mind sharing some of them. I said sure, and she said she had a long term dream for a photo project, and would my wife and I like to talk about it with her. So we set up a meeting and the four season Pierce Cedar Creek Photo project was born. We’re grateful to Michelle for her idea, which was to take various shots around the PCC grounds, each shot being the same view of the four seasons. If there is anything that is an example of one thing leading, somewhat predictably and yet spontaneously, to another, it is the progression of the seasons. However, while they progress through time, they still return, always to the point where they began. But every thing is always changing, decaying, dying, growing, evolving, going in unexpected directions. This was driven home dramatically as we made our way to the several photo shot sites we picked to capture images every three months. Some were easy to find, and some were difficult or impossible. Once a tree fell over Cedar Creek, completely eliminating a shot. Sometimes a shot that was beautiful in one season was completely nondescript in the next season, so it became a single season shot, of aesthetic necessity.

Looking back, what do I think? This project seemed to uncover something profound, in the final analysis. That is, that the passage of time is not simply the movement of a clock’s hands, nor the turning over of calendar pages. The passage of time is actually a palpable thing, measured in subtle or dramatic changes; the birth of the new, and the death of the old. What became quite moving, as we went along, was that this passage could be captured with a camera as long as you’re willing to keep going back to the scenes, humbly, as on a pilgrimage. Nature unveils that passage of time through the changes it reveals, but it requires patience, and a lot of walking!  By the way, all that walking got my knee completely better, no surgery and no medication, fortunately. Nature seems always to make regeneration possible, as the forest, wetlands, and prairies slowly and majestically reveal.

Boardwalk at Pierce Cedar Creek

Boardwalk Vertical Panorama
Boardwalk Looking West

Mary had a very specific idea about a boardwalk picture at Cedar Creek. When she has an idea this specific, I know that what I need to do is to listen carefully and to make sure the camera settings and the Photoshop work is contributing fully to the realization of her idea. The late afternoon when the images were captured featured a partly cloudy sky and a brilliant sun working its way towards the sunset. This shot was to be a vertical panorama, with an aspect ratio of 1 wide by 3 tall, so that it would print without unintentional cropping. (Due to this, all of our panorama shots are either a 3 to 1, 2 to 1, 1 to 3 or 1 to 2 aspect ratio). This finished image consists of six individual shots made with our 17mm to 40mm wide angle lens, with the camera held in portrait mode. I wanted to be sure that the blue in the sky would be recoverable in post processing, so I set the camera to f/5.0 and the ISO to 200, which made for a shadowy boardwalk and a bright, but not blown-out, sky, with the notable exception of the sun, which is inevitably blown out, just like in real life. It is all colors, it is white. (The sun is rather uncompromising in how it makes its presence known in an image!) If you have a blown-out sky, there is no color data to recover.