GGW Picture This Contest
I know the contest is about landscapes. I know landscapes since it is my business to create them. I know it is about sense of place and genius loci. That is a concept I know very well since I worked for a professor who wrote an architecture book (not very popular and I believe not currently in print) called Sense of Place, I know long before the phrase went cliché and mainstream.
But sometimes a place becomes special not for what it has, but what it doesn’t have, or what you know, but what you don’t know. You may have no clue why a place feels special, but it just does.
You can get more feeling than a place brimming with stimuli, because it reduces down to the feeling within yourself rather than the feeling exerted around you. You become one with nature so to speak, another cliché, but it is true in a place devoid of people and activity.
A sense of place is not one solitary moment caught in time, it is something experienced over time. And the great thing about the Falls, it is a changing environment and landscape, yet, you are never without the thought that this is a special spot. One unlike any other.
And although I know this to be out of the realm of the contest showing beauty, history and mood of place, I chose to show solitude and a sense of one. And the history is as old as time itself; not in anything created by man. But it can not be experienced in a traditionally historic way, you just know it is a place created over hundreds of millions of years, shaped in the last few thousand. You can only sense the history here, maybe find a few fossils as proof.
My favorite place is Niagara Falls, and it is not for the reason you might think. Sure it is gorgeous and awe-inspiring, but it is also a place where I can be the only one there.
I know this may seem improbable in one of the most well-known tourist meccas in the world, but in the dead of winter this place is like my special haven. A cold and incredibly windy haven, but a special place none the less. I can ponder and think far beyond myself. I can contemplate mystery and look for answers to why; to questions I will never have answered. I only have myself and the beauty of winter to amuse me. Only the deafening silence and the color of light through the translucent canopy of stubbornly holding leaves.
If you have been following my blog, you will see all the places I go in these vast series of parks located minutes from my home. You will also read how I am the only one present during visits embraced in the depths of winter.
Sometimes it is a bit scary as I venture to areas where if I fall, you may never hear from me again, but that is also embedded in my photos. The danger of losing a piece of yourself in this place created by God. Just look at my leaf, already it has lost a small piece of itself – literally. Its little ragged edges showing its age and treacherous journey across the snow.
But another important concept in the image here is that this leaf is not the one meant to be blowing around on the snow, just as I am not meant to climb the gorge in winter. It is a contradiction.
This is a Japanese maple leaf that was hibernating in a soffit until it was blown free from the secure spot. I saw it as it blew right past my camera, not because of the motion, but because of the bright red color. Talk about being out of context.
I followed it as it danced the snow, getting stuck again until the wind lifted it for another trip across the white snow, tumbling along until it was no more. Talk about irony.
But it is not my submission entry because it turned to confetti by the end of the photo shoot, plus got stuck along the way. It was too ephemeral to get a feeling of belonging. But another did not, and if you read my Acorns to Oak post you will see why.
I love this place where I can be alone with my thoughts. How about you? A place you like to be that is lacking in the obvious? No people and little color.
This is my submission below for the Gardening Gone Wild contest. I thank them for the opportunity to show my special place and tell you why. I know the image should be the one telling you, but I am hoping it tells you enough since I said very little about the oak leaf in this cold tundra of a place.
Also, if you have not seen the post Acorns to Oaks, this is the post where I was actually chasing the leaves all over the place. There are beautiful leaves of oak blowing freely across the ice and snow. Plus some information you may not know. This was actually my place to ponder a landscape designed in white by the master designer, Mother Nature herself. Sometimes the smallest of details is all you need see.
I know I promised you cold, but did not say where, so go to Green Apples and see my really chilly photos. GA is also submitting an image to Gardening Gone Wild. It is much more traditional, and unlike this post, has few words.