It’s amazing how much the coronavirus pandemic has dampened my ordinarily good spirits and, thus, my creativity. Each day of persistent uncertainty has drug on in a most alarming way, so much so that I had to have a firm talk with myself about picking up my camera and taking a few photos. Sort of a personal “just do it!” demand. So, adhering to social distancing and experiencing an extreme need to leave my house, I decided that my car could quite simply be my “mobile safe place” – if I didn’t leave the vehicle, of course. This series of images came from five or so of those safe forays into the great outdoors.
The theme that I chose was water, as in lake water. Living close to Lake Washington has its benefits, such as being able to see weather conditions over the lake which alert me to the possibly of a good day for reflections. It takes all of thirty minutes or so to reach my favorite spot on the opposite side of the lake, where I’ll wait and watch for cloud formations to do their magic on the surface of the water.
Chance, without risk, is the method behind the madness, and all the components must be performing on a certain level to make an interesting reflection. I’m not looking for trees or mountains to reflect on the lake, I’m looking for the artistic imprint of clouds and light.
Early on I decided that water would be the canvas – be it glassy and clear or opaque and dull. Clouds and light would be the paint – whether bright or soft filtered light and towering white clouds or dark and brooding rain clouds. Wind and wakes from watercraft (or waterfowl) would be the brushes – gentle breeze, strong gusts, a change of direction, waves or choppy waters.
Each day that I ventured to the other side of the lake produced the variations: sometimes painterly with individual brushstrokes, or abstract splashes & designs, or amusing lava lamp like blobs appearing. Many of the resulting images don’t appear to be water at all, which is quite pleasing. The only thing remaining the same from day to day was the basic color palette of blue, white, gray and even taupe.
Since my watery subject is a moving target at the best of times, multiple images must be taken in an attempt to capture the fleeting designs as they dance about on the surface of the lake. it’s definitely hit and miss, but even the “misses” can be keepers. Post is just a matter of sorting through hundreds of images trying to choose my favorites. A simple contrast adjustment, maybe a crop, and sometimes a dimming of the most vibrant blues are all that’s needed.
More variations of the lake surface occur than I can possibly capture with my camera. They’re never-ending and I always find it difficult to choose a time to leave the lake behind. What if a better reflection occurs? What if the next 10 days are totally overcast and worthless for reflections? What if…what if? It’s definitely a project that can and will be added to over time.
While waiting for passing clouds to cast their reflections upon the surface of the lake, I have time to daydream about where I will travel when this pandemic has passed, or at least retreated. When my darker side gets a toe-hold, it occurs to me that it may never pass and that I will be destined to live out my days within a small circle of safety. Somehow observing the soothing, repetitive motion of the wavelets brings me back to a happier place, one where I’m free to fly away whenever and wherever I desire. Such are the contradictory thoughts of the creative mind. As William Wordsworth so aptly wrote, “A lake carries you into the recesses of feeling otherwise impenetrable.”
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