28 July 2014
Let me know which you prefer and why.
The sycamore is more than a native tree that comforts, shades and helps sustain life beneath it. It has bold statements to voice about beauty, strength and vulnerability. Its overarching magnetism is found in its attention-catching hardiness in the face of its exfoliation. Without hesitation the thin outer layer of bark sheds in dramatic subtlety and even outbursts.
Strangely, there is little scientific consensus as to why that peeling occurs. Possibly the process protects these long-living trees from disease. Or the older bark sheds to give rise to a newer outer skin. Or it’s a genetic advantage. Or…
Each summer and autumn my mammoth sycamore scatters mottled strips. Shapes are endlessly unique. It’s not the variety or constancy of this ritual that attracts me. It’s the light and dark of varied-colored surfaces that seem to catch me by surprise.
It’s as though flashes of colors aka Jackson Pollack style fall into bushes and spread on the ground where it stands. Throughout the year the tree’s greyish outer layer gains new character with a palette that keeps redefining itself.
This deciduous hardwood has perseverance and tenacity. As it keeps up appearances, it also defies the notion of nature’s usual fare.
Ode to the Sycamore: Pieces of my heart nestle with the soft wind. Verve breaks through the maze, Creating a vision to study. Candor appears on edges of light and dark, Then rises to challenge daybreak’s interpretation. Subtlety witnesses the quiet and boisterous drama, which corrals tears with steamy dreams. Silhouettes are deceptive, Hiding and then revealing the real and true. And Mother Nature blends veracity with tensile strength to give mysterious performances.
Tip of the Week: Recently, I visited my alma mater’s library, which is not more than a mile and a half from my sanctuary. I was on a personal mission to acquire a copy of Robert Frank’s The Americans. There are some visual stories that must be revisited. His book is one. Issued in 1958, it was an event that gradually altered the public’s view about photography. In its initial publication the reaction was quite harsh. Subsequently, Frank’s work inspired generations of photographers, because he used ordinary people to document the everyday world of the 1950s. Click here and view an article on NPR’s Website called “Americans: The Book That Changed Photography.”
View other entries for this week’s challenge (Challenger’s Choice):
If you’d like to join the Photo Challenge, please click here for details. If you have any questions, 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).
5th Monday: Editing and Processing with Various Apps Using Themes from the Fourth Week.
Love these unique pieces of art!! both mono and colour. Also a beautiful poetic expression and I like the shape of the ode as well!!
I appreciate your comment and visit. Thanks so much.
Great images again, Sally. I should not come as a surprise, but I like the black and white images the more – for the more abstract expressions. Besides, I totally agree with you when it comes to Robert Frank and “The Americans”. It’s one of my favourite photo books in my book shelf.
Otto, hope that you are enjoying your summer travels. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment.
My friend, you create the most exciting and thrilling of images. Nature’s beauty spiced up to something unforgettable! Have a great weekend.
Enjoy the days ahead with your fabulous family. I’m humbled by your words. Thanks so much.
I’d say those first four are the most abstract images I’ve seen here. Sycamores certainly lend themselves to that.
Steve, yes, sycamore are always surprising me. Thanks.
I like the 4th black and white (me and my black and white addiction!) and the 1st colour one. Here’s mine for today. http://allkindsaeverything.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/phoneography-and-non-slr-challenge-abstraction/
Livvy, I must admit to the same addiction. See you soon. Thanks so much.
Hi Sally; these are great shots, but I have to say the first four really draw me in and fascinate. Here is my contribution: http://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/abstracting-form-from-context-an-exercise-in-small-joys/
That’s lovely. Thanks so much.
My favourite is No 2 Sally. The others are either naturalistic or abstract. What I very much like about that one is the way you have angled/treated the shot so that the image changes from near-natural (bottom left) to completely abstract (top right). It would never have occurred to me to try to create that effect.
I appreciate your comment and visit. Thanks.
Great photos, Sally. I enjoy the abstracts — trying to place meaning where there is none! But I’m partial to the color photos of the bark. I prefer the colors and the texture that shows. I’ve ordered that book from my library. I’ll be anxious to read it! I hope to have my entry put together here shortly! Have a wonderful week.
Linda, let me know your reaction to what Frank did. It was late 1050s and he shocked people. See you soon. Thanks.
Wow! The abstracts are marvelous-#2 is my favorite because of the angle and grey tones-I like the color, but I am drawn to the b/w abstract because it opens up new possibilities in thinking about bark and reminds me how any part of nature is art-terrific Sally!
That’s lovely. You’ve made me smile. Nature is a constant inspiration. Thanks.
I like no 4 from the abstracts, seems more balanced somehow. But my picks are the coloured shots that show more texture and detail.
Madhu, I appreciate your interpretation. See you soon. Thanks.
Here is my entry for this week https://shareandconnect.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-like-water-for-chocolate/
Thank you so much for hosting the iPhoneography, Sally!
Amy, it’s my pleasure.
I have gone with travel as my choice http://forestwoodfolkart.wordpress.com/
The bark is surprising the way it comes up in black and white. Great shapes and form! This has given me some ideas to use in future posts in nature to make them a little bit different. Thanks for another great challenge.
Amanda, I delighted that my photographs inspire you to experiment. Thanks for your comment and visit.
I haven’t been doing these challenges because I wasn’t sure if I had the right kind of camera. I took these phoots with Nikon point and shoot digital camera – I hope they are suitable. http://artifactsandfictions.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/golden-light/
Suzanne, your camera is a SLR, and not a Non-SLR Digital Device. Smartphones, iPads, iPods, scanners and printers are eligible for the challenge. The idea is to use a piece of technology that is not considered a traditional camera, which a point and shoot certainly is. For me I cannot imagine the next iteration of technology that will be used to record the world before us. Hope that clears it for you. I do adore your images from your post.
Learning of my mistake motivated me to download the software to get the images on my Samsung Duo phone onto my computer. Thank you for the motivation. Here’s the link to a post about some of the images if you want to take a look. http://artifactsandfictions.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/in-the-city/
Suzanne, great job. Now you can easily move from your phone to computer. Well done.
Oh, and I posted it anyway.
I like all of these as I love Sycamore trees. The colors ones remind me of the ones I saw.
Maria, they are intriguing trees. Thanks so much.
Some interesting photos. Personally I like the boldness of the first one.
Suzanne, I appreciate your comment and visit.
I love the monochrome photos, Sally. I immediately started looking at the negative space and trying to make out forms within that sphere. Very interesting shots that are captivating. I look forward to researching Robert Frank’s work, thanks for that tip.
I’m glad to be back in the saddle here http://angelinem.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/phoneography-challenge-dragonfly-reverie/
Have a good week.
I’m delighted that you’re back. I do hope that you get a copy (library or store bought) of his book. It’s definitely worth it. Thanks so much.
I like the bark of #7 and the abstraction of # 2. I see a long horned cow in it….
Carol, the joy of abstraction is that each viewer brings their own interpretation. See you soon. Thanks so much.
I like #5 because I am always partial to a little B&W photography, I love it!
My pic for the week
Sarah, thanks so much for your comment and visit.
I have a copy of Robert Frank’s book. It’s one of my treasured photographic sources of inspiration! I especially like your b/w abstractions.
Patti, terrific that you own a copy. I have many treasures that are by the masters of photography, but I do not own Frank’s classic. See you soon. Thanks.
Fascinating art form, pictures that make me ponder about our stunning nature.Regards, Jalal
Jalal, I appreciate your comment and visit.
I like photo #5 for the tones and textures.
Here is my entry for this week’s challenge: http://wp.me/p24idL-2g0
Allan, thanks so much.
Sally I really like these, the top images are very intriguing. Here is my entry for this week. I have chosen objects. http://uniqueartchic.com/2014/07/28/cheeky-wooden-elephant/
Amanda, thanks so much.
Sally, there is so much to love about each of these photos today. Black and White really highlights the natural, free-form aspects of the bark shap and the shades of green and shadows are equally lovely. Beautiful choices. I’ll be back later today with my entry.
Lisa, thank you, and see you later.
I like the progression of your photos, revealing as it does, the layers and colours of the bark. I don’t know how many photos you take in order to be able to select these few, but I was amazed at how many photos Robert Frank took in order to be able to select just 83. That would almost take more effort than taking the photos.
Your point is well taken. Still, I can tell you that if I take 100 photographs, the ratio of one’s that I keep is tiny. Probably I will like 3-5. It really depends on so many elements of a shoot. I must say that for me it’s the process of framing and seeing that keeps this journey so remarkable. The next part of the process is: Did I get what I envisioned–the reason for the shot? I absolutely LOVE it. I appreciate your thoughtful comment. Thanks so much.
I like how you use the bark to get the abstract effect. Thank you for the links, Sally!
Amy, my pleasure. See you soon. Thanks so much.
I didn’t think I have one… I’m inspired after reading your post 🙂 Later…
Wonderful–see you soon.
The first photo at first glance I thought it was a cow. Smile.
Laurie, it’s interesting how our minds perceive images that are abstract. See you soon. Thanks.
Sally, you have so many photographic choices today! Of the abstractions, I like the last, but not really sure why. I like the color photos best because to me the color adds another subtle layer of interest. The B&W that’s not an abstraction focuses on the shapes and texture, but I like the addition of the color in this one. Lovely poem. I always enjoy the glimpse into your heart and love of nature.
Have a marvelous Monday and a wonderful week.
Janet, I’m deeply touched by your comment. Thanks so much.