The Hand of Man (again)

I suggested in my last post that I would deal with entirely manmade subjects in my next post, so here we are. As is often the case with buildings and such, I refer to the subjects that I will show, as the “hand of man”.

There are a lot of images again this time. I sometimes promise to cut down the number of pictures I will post, and than I break that promise. Hopefully you will find some value in what I show.

When I photographed buildings and other manmade objects, I tended to approach them in a similar fashion as I did with mountains or rock formations, or maybe even a tree or trees. Sometimes the manmade object seemed interesting in relation to what was around it, but most of the time, it was about the structure.

There are not a lot of buildings in the western U.S. that date back the 1600s. The Quarie Ruins in New Mexico are among those that do. They still exist with most of the building still standing.

These ruins were of course not ruins in the beginning. The building of them was commanded by the Spanish. Local Native Americans, who were more or less slaves of the Spanish, did the actual building. I loved the texture and style of these ruins, and I spent much time attempting to bring that to life in my imagery. The tone and the color would change with the angle, intensity and color of the sun. I wanted the buildings, despite the fact that they are mere ruins, to keep their integrity.

Also in New Mexico, resides the Pecos Ruins. I fell in love with this intact, old building.

Once again, this could have just as well been a natural rock form as for how I approached it I was however glad that it was an old part of human history.

Okay you’ve got me, this is not a building. These are in fact rock carvings, and are very much from the hand of man. I came across them in Utah. These were made by Native Americans and some made were made centuries ago, and others in the 20th Century.

I love old architecture from man almost as much as I love the natural, hand of God subjects that I find in nature.

In that same part of the world we have the San Xavier Mission southwest of Tucson, Arizona. This clean and pure religious building, is a favorite of mine and the many who visit there every year. Today it and the grounds around it, are part of a Native American reservation. Before going to work, I bought some Fry Bread covered with hamburger and cheese. It’s good to eat before work.

I love the clean whites against the blue sky. Those wispy clouds somewhat mimic the building’s color or tone. I always tried to go both vertical and horizontal with a subject like this. The image works both ways but I prefer the horizontal as it features both steeples, domed and not.

While we are on churches, I am reminded that from time to time, I would photograph interiors as well. I loved this stained Glass window in an old Wisconsin church. I captured just enough of the interior walls which were slightly lit by the sunlight penetrating that window, to let you know where we were.

Speaking of interiors, this is a Wisconsin school house from the early 20th Century. This was a 1/3rd of a second exposure, and of course like almost all of my images, my camera was firmly secured to a tripod head.

Sometimes with old structures, I like to go the B&W route. It adds flavor. In this case, less as far as color, is more. I believe this bridge in a northern forest in a remote area of Wisconsin, was actually made in 1991. Don’t tell anybody. The forest road acts nicely as a visual “leading line” into the bridge.

While I love historic or at least old architecture to photograph, I would always create an image of everything and anything if I liked the moment of light we were seeing.

This is the harbor (for lake Michigan) and skyline of a section of Milwaukee, WI.
I believe this was created while I waited for enough light to photograph some waterfowl that were in the harbor.

If the colors seem strange, that is because I shot with daylight settings and those artificial lights along with the rising sun add up to unique interpretations of reality. There were no filters used nor was anything added or subtracted in the digital darkroom.

This is just another way to use human “stuff”, to make an image. This is lake Michigan and Racine, Wisconsin. Sailboats make nice silhouettes.

There are many photographers who laughed at me when I said that I photographed old lighthouses. Cliché they might say. I could care less. Along with a personal like that I have for historic lighthouses, I made money from them.

Many of my lighthouse images were either a bit distant, or just the oposite, and were piecework. Sectionalized if you will. With or without gulls.

If you can silhouette a western rock formation or a tree, why not a lighthouse? I took my meter reading from the brightest part of the sky, but then opened up a little. Of course you can always add contrast, or just subtract exposure in the editing phase when at home.

The image you see below, is pretty much as shot. A late afternoon storm like I’ve never seen was coming from the east over Lake Michigan. I needed something to “insert” if you will, into the storm. I headed for the beach and there was the lighthouse. Lit from the west via a hole in clouds in that direction. The contrast here is powerful and quite real.

This photo was made many years ago on transparency film, either Fuji Chrome or Kodachrome.

I’ve never had a lot of success with rainbows, but I always took what I was given. This farm was under storms, and when they passed a somewhat weak rainbow began to develop. It never reached the visual crescendo I hoped for, but I got what I could. When in doubt, pull the trigger.

I and my workshop partner were in Door, County WI (again). We and our students were shooting the sunset (with cameras not guns) over Green Bay. No, not the city of the Green Bay Packers but the bay that the city and therefore the team were named after.

All was going well but the students and my partner spent all their time shooting towards to sun. It was beautiful but they failed to notice what that setting sun was doing to the world behind us. I made it a point to show them. That was afterall, my job.

This is a late 19th Century house, The beautiful old structure was getting the bath of its life. Sunbath that is. When I first told one student to turn around he did not see it. I mean, he thought it was a cool house, so I suggested he look at the sunset colors on the house. Now I am known to love sunsets, but you have to look both ways sometimes to find them. Neither the other students or my partner were interested, but the longer he looked the more “he saw”. We need to look, but we also need to see.

I often wonder

So often we slide through life barely making it from day to day. Especially financially, but also in our attempts or lack of attempts to make true connections with our fellow humans. Probably me more than most.

Years and years ago on another planet, well, really just another state, that being Colorado, I had temporarily given up fulltime photography, and went to driving a truck. I decided that the responsibility of living week to week and day to day, never quite being sure if we could pay our bills or feed our faces, should not fall mostly on the shoulders of my very nice, wife. It was time to man up.

The company that hired me was Booth Fish, and I delivered frozen and refrigerated fish and other seafood as well as meat and many other items meant for physical consumption.

I had left Denver early on a wet, rainy morning and headed first to Boulder, and then up the mountains making deliveries along the way to a couple of restaurants.

As I got into my truck after a delivery and resumed my journey towards a valley that contains the town of Estes Park, the closer I got to what would be the point where I would have to slowly make my way down the small two lane road into the valley, I began to realize that the rain, was becoming ice. I became nervous. If I could avoid losing traction and not go over the side of the road and down a thousand feet into the river at the bottom, I would then have skate my truck back and forth to manage the final portion of road down into Estes Park.

As I reached the point where my descent would begin, I noticed a small Jeep up ahead with a yellow light on its roof was in the middle of the road. I stopped just before I would be headed downhill and asked what the problem was. He said, look down the mountain to your right. There was a car on its side maybe six hundred feet down appearing to be wedged between two rocks. A car had slid over the side on the ice. He said that emergency workers were on their way. He then suggested that I take care as I drove down that mountain with my truck. I have never taken more care of anything in my life.

I made it down okay and my trip back out of the valley took me on a different journey as I had deliveries to make on my way back to Denver on a different road. Therefore, I know not how the person or persons in the car made out.

To this day, once or twice a year, well maybe now days only every couple of years, I wonder how the person (s) in that car did make out. Injured badly? Minor or no injuries? Death?

My journeys in life have brought me to countless auto accidents. Some turned out okay, some with injuries, and some I dare say, ended in death.

I noticed a couple of years ago, that my wondering about that vehicle and who was in it, had finally ceased for along time. Probably about three years. Life goes on.

I try every so often, to remember not only people who were once a major part of my life, but also those who walked into my life for a brief day or night, or even sat precariously in a vehicle two thirds of the way down a mountain.

The triune God

We can walk with the Father,only because of the offer of Salvation by what the Son and His shed blood did for us, and we can do so with the Holy Spirit of God inside of us.

God Bless,

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