12 May 2014
Let me know which you prefer and why.
As you explore the above ground archaeology of Northern California, it can be uncanny how easy it is to ignore the small, detailed and barely seen. But I was determined to be attentive to textures of the tame and wild terrain as well as nuances of formations and structures before me.
Textures are found in obvious and not-so-obvious places such as bark of trees, surfaces of rocks, tree roots, rivers, skylines, trails, light and shadows, grasslands, open-spaces, and woodlands. The possibilities are limitless, but even more so in such richly-tempered Western landscapes.
On an outing to Hirschman Diggins, which is preserved open space funded by the Bear Yuba Land Trust, the trails echoed rebirth and local history at each turn. This pristine treasure is very much part of California’s Gold Rush’s past. Situated about a mile from the center of Nevada City (a national historic landmark whose elevation is a little over 2500 feet), the walk is a tour de force in the swift change between city life to uncultivated surroundings. But it unveiled even more as the path led to issues of human intervention and the balance between nature and human nature.
The trail system, which is one of five that is minutes from the heart of Nevada City, is packed with layers of nature’s abundance from past to present. The hike was filled with melodious birds, sipping hummingbirds, seasoned vegetation, piles of pine needles, native trees, and scores of the unnoticed hiding in wooded areas.
Hirschman’s Pond, which is named for the Hirschman brothers who were early miners and local merchants in the city, was lit with the afternoon sun and disdain cast light upon the stripped hillside. The area was one of the first to use hydraulic mining and other inventions to excavate placer gold from the river banks and its gravel, valleys and tops of ridges. In the 1860s streams of water were shot from canons and hoses to wash away the surface that could reveal golden nuggets.
One of the trail signs described the area: Mining left some areas “untouched. The aftermath was a surreal hummocky landscape framed by sheer cliffs and speckled with bedrock boulders.”
Individuals still pan for gold on Norther California’s river banks. But it is arduous, back-breaking, laborious work. My son spent many hours at the nearby American River excavating for materials that might produce flakes or small pieces. Reward was tiny. Nevertheless, Gold Rush folklore is embedded in American culture, and many are lured to mining towns along Highway 49, where you can reach Nevada City.
In the Lens section are four images that reflect how a close-up reveals unnoticed elements of nature. We bike, hike, run, stroll, and walk, yet we often miss the most luscious parts of the natural world. We are stunned by the massive, and leveled by the huge. The small can be equally monumental.
Image One shows a detail of a manzanita tree, which is eye-catching. Its coloration ranges from orange to red to deep browns. These small evergreens become eloquently shaped as they grow and respond to their surroundings. It is not unusual to see them lyrically tangled and twisted.
Image Two shows granite boulders that act like soldiers protecting Hirschman Trail. They are familiar throughout Northern California, where they are wildly present. Their eloquent shapes astonish with their bare, moss-covered or slitted surfaces. They simply amaze.
Image Three reveals a small opening between a tree and some boulders. The view previews Hirschman’s Pond, where stripped and mined hills are examples of the after effects of hydraulic mining.
Image Four is a small boulder that has split, where nature has managed to move pine cones and woodland debris. It was a magical discovery but by no means unusual.
This protected place exploded with humanity’s obsession to control and exploit the land. It exemplifies a passage from the past into the present, and symbolizes the human animal’s über footprint upon the earth..
Tip of the Week: I searched to find vintage postcards of Nevada City’s past. Then I realized that my ongoing wish to create a set of postcards may have found its subject: Northern California’s Tame and Wild. Have you considered producing a set of your photographs that may include: family memories or travels or favorite places or abstractions or events or friends…? Below is a vintage postcard with a town hall view of Nevada City that was taken at the Sierra foothills, circa 1940s-1950s.
View other entries for this week’s macro challenge:
As always I welcome any comment about this post or any part of my blog.
If you’d like to join the fun, please click here for details. If you have any questions about the Photo Challenge, please contact me.
Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming Photo Challenges:
1st Monday: Nature
2nd Monday: Macro
3rd Monday: Black and White
4th Monday Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Animals, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Objects, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel). (Animals and Objects are themes.)
5th Monday: Editing and Processing with Various Apps Using Themes from the Fourth Week.
I prefer the second one for the colors and the fourth for the texture. Very interesting photos!
Lovely to hear from you. See you soon. Thanks so much.
Wow! Amazing texture and colors of Nature. A heart stirring work of Art!
Thanks you so much.
I like the blue granite!
The light bright out the color, and revealed its textures too. Thanks so much.
I like the second shot of the granite boulder with the moss. Along with the contrast in texture, it reminds of an interesting view of the earth from outer space. 🙂
Elisa, thanks for your observations.
Hi Sally,all great shots, but I do so love the first one. An image I can look at for a long time and really get absorbed in. Here’s my contribution: http://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/05/18/focus-in-on-taking-control/ 🙂
That’s lovely. Yes, the place does inspire contemplation, serenity and tranquility. Thanks so much.
I think I’m missing the link for the challenge details, I’d like to play! But want to read the guidelines, can I get a linkage? Thanks 🙂
And the texture of the first photo just inspired me to collect all the textures in my walk today.
That’s terrific. Here is the link: https://lensandpensbysally.wordpress.com/iphoneography-challenge/ You’ll have to cut and paste. Just scroll down to read the page, because I’ve added to its content as the challenge has changed.
I have been away from your blog for some time, but it feels good to be back. I always know I will find some amazing photos here. My favourite this time is the Granite Boulder with Moss, but they are all great captures.
Otto, welcome back, and thanks for your comment.
Sally, I like your first and last photographs best. No 1 owing to its stunning texture, and the final photo as I just love a lake! I especially like the reflections in the shot here. 😀
Amanda, I appreciate your comment. See you soon.
Love the rocks captures Sally – nicely done!
Tina, thanks so much.
I adore vintage post cards too!! Such love and history are found in their presence.
Laurie, I agree. I must return to my collection of postcards in multiple boxes, and revisit the vintage ones. See you soon. Thanks.
Love the boulder detail Sally. Here’s mine for this week. http://allkindsaeverything.wordpress.com/2014/05/14/phoneography-and-non-slr-challenge-macro/
Livvy, the granite boulders are astonishing. They show the power of Mother nature. Thanks so much.
I love the colours and textures of the manzanita tree.
Those trees are eloquent and luscious to discover at many turns in the woodlands of Northern California. Their bark is simply engaging. Thanks.
Nicole, thanks so much.
All are beautiful. I think my favorite is the third image with the pond. I’m working on my entry but I’m running behind this week! 😉
Linda, submit it at your convenience. I always think that people have until the weekend. Thanks.
My fav is Hirschman’s Pond. I just love that water reflection.
I have been thinking and looking at creating postcards, like Spring, it must be in the air.
Macro Monday entry
Have a great week 💓
Maybe we should do a joint post between the three of us. We could do a spring/summer series. Let’s talk. Thanks so much.
I love taking photos of rocks Sally and your choices here are beautiful. 🙂 On the subject of postcards I used to send them when ever I traveled and have a large scrapbook of my father-in-laws vintage 1930’s and 40’s era postcards from around the world that I want to scan and use in future posts. There is definitely something special about them. For iPhone photos have you seen the app Postale? It helps you create postcards from your camera roll. 🙂
Thanks for the tip about Postale. I also have a collection of postcards from childhood forward. We should think about doing a joint post or two or three on postcards. We could show the old and add our own that we make. Something we can talk about through e-mail, and do maybe at summer’s end or in the future. See you soon. Thanks so much.
A series about postcards sounds like a great idea, Sally I’d love to talk about it toward the end of the summer. 🙂
Yes, I’ll make a note.
I’m in love with the last one… it looks as if the rock is cradling its cargo. It is so true that with so much beauty on a grand scale, the minute sometimes goes unnoticed. Beautiful.
Meghan, I like the way that you interpreted the granite’s metamorphosis to another stage of its existence. Thanks so much.
Thanks for sharing some of your California pics! Glad you had such a memorable visit.
You are very welcome.
Haven’t been there in years. I can smell the pine! I’m a big fan of the texture of granite!
Carol, you must return. It’s magnificence is staggering. Thanks.
Love the granite boulders. You’ve captured so much detail with a phone!!!
Rusha, it amazes me that the iPhone can do such a good job. Thanks so much.
I especially love 1 and 2. The colours and textures are superb!
Here’s my own macro contribution:
Steve, thanks so much.
My favorite two are the first two. The first because I like that kind of texture, and the second because it reminds me of how the changing light changes color in rocks.
Luane, thanks so much. See you soon.
I like the curves and colors of the first one. The fourth is a good example of the way things can end up almost anywhere in nature.
Steve, it’s an inspiration to walk the trail and sense the history that transpired. Thanks.
Beautiful nature texture, Sally! The granite boulder with moss is my favorite. The Hirschman’s Pond is really beautiful! Be back with some photos later 🙂
Amy, I do wish that you could experience the grandeur of the region. See you soon.
Beautiful. the 4s iPhone camera has great reputation, my brother-in-law still has his and the images are simply better than those of the iPhone 5.
Maria, I appreciate your observation. From my understanding the 5 provides little improvement on the camera’s capability. See you soon. Thank you.
I like the two of the rocks, with their interesting textures. This area sounds like a wonderful place to explore and relax. I’m glad you had a chance to explore it.
What an interesting idea to create personal postcards? Would you print them or just have them online? I like vintage postcards, too.
Janet, thanks for your thoughtful comment. I am thinking of printing a few sets. First, to send and surprise people. Second, I might sell online. See you soon. Thanks.
Great photos and textures,Sally ! Superb detailed approach to lithological and geophysical elements ! Indeed the small can also be monumental ; blessed those who notice !
Have a nice and creative week ,Doda 🙂 xxx
Doda, I’m touched with your comment. Wonderful to have your visit. Thanks so much.
Manzanita tree for me please – the colors and textures totally capture me. We are stunned by the massive, and leveled by the huge. The small can be equally monumental. – Amen to that statement.
Never done postcards – but routinely make greeting cards from my images. They make nice gifts and are very personal. I’ve used many of the on-line sites for them and found Costco to be the best.
Dawn, thanks for the tip about greeting cards, probably more commercial–if that is a goal. See you soon. Thanks so much.