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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Two Hillside Studies

Hillside Study I

The photograph above was posted the other day, but I reposted it here so the two could be seen together. David thought the vertical format was a stronger composition. It does pack a stronger punch, but I like the calm horizontal, as well. This is a scene I come back to again and again, in every season, and I found the warm light of late afternoon on a snowless December day irresistible. Which composition do you prefer?

Hillside Study II


  1. I'm with David on this one. Love the vertical!

  2. Most people who have looked at both agree on choosing the vertical over the horizontal.

  3. Pamela...Both are nice shots and I can see why you come back to this place again and again. I can too how it would be appealing in all seasons. I can't tell for sure, but I think those are two birch trees, which are among my favorites to photograph. Which do I prefer? I actually prefer the bottom one in the horizontal. I think I like that because of the placement of the two birch trees, which, I think, gives the piece a stronger composition. The birch on the right is what catches my eye right away and then its placement draws me towards the other one, taking me through the whole scene as it does. Lovely shots; thanks for sharing them with us.

  4. Yes, they are birch clumps, Karen. Birches and grapevines and, in the background, cherry trees.

    I like the way you describe how your is drawn and moves through the scene. The vertical shot is almost symmetrical, much more formal, and therefore more static. David (surprisingly) is very drawn to symmetry, while I like a different kind of balance, probably for the very movement you describe.

    Thank you for visiting and leaving your insightful comment. I appreciate it.

  5. We--or I--should add that Karen Casebeer is a very gifted professional photographer and that her 2012 calendar with photographs around Leelanau Township is available now at Dog Ears Books.

  6. I'm not a professional photographer but I was also drawn most to the horizontal one...I liked the row of trees across the top.

  7. Initially, I was Agreeing with David, Heidi and Dawn, yet you know what? Sometimes that which is the Most Striking Initially is not the same as what Grows on us Later. The Subtle is more Soothing, cause it does not Draw so much attention to itself. Whether it is Preferable to be Aroused or Brought to Peace Depends a lot of someone's mood.

    The First Picture Invites you Only to Stand and Gaze Upon it, but the Second One Invites you to Walk Closer and Enter into the Scene.

  8. Lista, thank you so very much for this insightful and thoughtful comment. Your observations here are very phenomenological, of the sort described in a book which I reviewed recently:
    The idea is that if we are attuned to it, the landscape is in dialogue with us, our relationship with it reciprocal. The word you use, 'invites,' points to this relationship. Again, thank you so very much.

  9. I'll Read your Post in a Minute. For now, I just want to say that the Environment can also be Personified. That is Human Characteristics can be Assigned to the Experience. For Example, the First Picture is not Only Bold, but can also be Called Showy, or even Arrogant. The Second Picture is more Subtle, yet can also be called Humble, Inviting and Warm.

    Even in Human Terms, that which First Catches the Eye is not Necessarily the Best Person to Actually get to Know and Form a long term Relationship with and that which first Strikes us is not Necessarily that which Motivates us to be all that we can be. This is True, not Only of Scenery and of Pictures, but also of People.

    We must also Remember that that which we Choose to Include or Exclude in our Mind while Viewing the World Around us is going to Effect both Our perception of and our Relationship with it. Some may be Satisfied with the Boldness of the Single Items in the Close Up Shots of Photography, but the more Intuitive Among us, are going to Eventually want more.

    Likewise, those who Only See the Close Up Shots within their World are in a sense, Living Life with Blinders on. To Really Appreciate Life Fully and Understand it Correctly, we have to Learn to also Appreciate the More Distant Shots that Reveal more of the Scenery and bring into our Awareness, that which we may have otherwise Over Looked.

    Consider the other Tree, for example, that was Overlooked by the First Picture. It is Further from the Vineyard and does not have a Smaller Green Tree behind it adding Interest. It is also not as Symmetrical, yet it has it's Own Unique Shape and Characteristics (Perhaps a bit of an Odd Ball), yet Certainly it is a Worthwhile Person, I Mean Tree, to get to Know and I am sure that it is Quite Appreciative to be a Part of the Picture.

    Thanks for the Complement, Grath. I Used to get Remarks Often about my Insights into Life, yet as I've gotten Older, I don't get that as much as I used to and I'm not sure why, so Thanks so much.

  10. You bring up an interesting point, Lista, about overlooking that to which we are too close. Yes, sometimes distance helps us see more. On the other hand, sometimes we overlook details because we are too far away, and then getting closer discloses more. What are we learning here? That there is no ideal distance? That we must sometimes stand back and sometimes move in closer? I don't know. What do you think?

  11. I Think we're Learning Balance. There is a Time For Everything; a Time to Get Close and a Time to Step Back for the Sake of Perspective. Even a Photographer does not have to Choose one or the Other, for there is Plenty of Time for Both.

    Thanks for this Wonderful Dialogue. I've so Enjoyed it. Your Comment is Insightful as well.

  12. When I Find a Conversation Interesting, I Keep Wanting to come Back to it.

    "The idea is that if we are attuned to it, the landscape is in dialogue with us, our relationship with it reciprocal. The word you use, 'invites,' points to this relationship."

    The Word "Invites" is yet another Example of Personifying the Environment. Just because we have a Tendency to Personify the Things around us, though, does not Mean that they are Actually Human, or for that matter, some form of Deity. We Personify because of our Desire to Interact with Nature in a more Personal Way.

    Yeh, I know. It could also be Argued that we also Personify God, or as some people put it, we Create Him in our Own Image, rather then the other way around, yet the very Fact that we Possess this Emptiness that causes us to Crave such a Relationship is Evidence that we were Created this way because of a Deity that also desires to have such a Relationship with us.

    Notice how I Personified the Pictures in Order to make them Fit with something that Happens within Human Existence. That is not to say that those who Like the First Picture are somehow Arrogant and/or Narrow Minded. It was just a Description of what I thought about while Viewing the Pictures.

    "You bring up an interesting point, Lista, about overlooking that to which we are too close."

    Actually what we Over Look when we Focus too Much on Only One Thing is that which we have chosen not to Focus on; In this case, the other tree.

    I Liked your Point, though, about something that is also Missed when we Remain Distant and do not Look Close enough. I hadn't thought of that and yet it is also True.

    To Keep Things Balanced in Life, it is at times not good to get "too Close to the Problem", yet we do not want to remain too distant from it either.

    Interesting how a couple of Photographs can Lead into such a Philosophical Discussion.

  13. The point Abrams makes is that when we back off from "personifying" aspects of the world around us, thinking that we should be "objective" instead, we create an unnatural chasm between ourselves and that world. We may see it as only a resource to be mined. Certainly we will fail to appreciate the life that is already there, whether we are there or not.

    Focusing on the trees, have we overlooked the invitation of the background orchard? the foreground grassy field? the vineyards? the two small evergreens, so easily overlooked? What if the wind we don't see, the small insects in the grass, vines and trees?

    I feel that being in relationship with the world is the way God made me, and no god who made me that way would be offended by my not choosing to personify Him separate from the world.

  14. Oh, I see; so the Subject now is the Balance between Subjectivity and Objectivity. Again, though, it is a Matter of Balance. Just Like when we get too Close to People we become Biased based on whether the Relationship is a Positive or Negative Experience. To be Truly Honest with ourselves, and judge the other Person Fairly, it is Necessary to Step Back a little and View Things Objectively.

    On the Other Side of the Coin, in order to Preserve Objectivity, should we Avoid becoming close to People? Of Course not. Now Apply that to the concept of Forming an Intimate Relationship to our World, or to the God of Our World, but then again, from the Christian Perspective, God is Truth, so there is no Reason to Pull back from that Relationship, yet I won't get into that right now.

    Is it Possible to be so Close and Intimate with the World God Created, that that which is being Over Looked is God Himself? What if it was a Painting and we are so Focused on the Painting that we Forget about the Artist? These are just Things to Think about. We are Actually getting Off Subject a little, though. Abrams is the one that you spoke of on the Post that you left a link to in one of your Above Comments. In a Minute I'm going to go back to that Post and see what more there is to add on the Subject there.

  15. Are you absolutely Certain, Grath, that the Longing inside of you to be One with Nature is not really a Longing to be One with God? Emotions are Rarely ever as Clear as we would like them to be and it is easy to Interpret them incorrectly. Just Food for Thought. Naturally, you are free to come to your Own Conclusions.