I Alone, GGW Photo Contest

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.

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
This entry was posted in COLOR, garden, Niagara Falls, Picture This Contest, Thoughts and Observations, Winter and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to I Alone, GGW Photo Contest

  1. Cat says:

    I loved hearing about how you came to choose this image Donna. Best of luck in the contest – it’s a beautiful shot.

  2. Karen says:

    Donna, seeing Niagara Falls at this time of year would be a dream come true for me, too. I love solitude and have never liked crowds. You have captured the beauty of the Falls for all of us to enjoy at a time of year few venture out in. I hope you win with your beautiful photo entry, it is exquisite.

  3. I love this post…love the solitude, which is so important to a creative spirit. Love the pristine snow with the solitary leaves. I wish you very well with the photo competition.

  4. You write so eloquently – and illustrate so effectively – a version of the Falls few of us get to see. I too love the sense of solitude you can only really get somwehere truly wild, or that at least feels truly wild. Your post captures the feelings I got when I was well and used to climb mountains.

  5. Amy says:

    I enjoyed reading and looking at all your beautiful photos. The leaf is simple and so significant. Very pretty….best of luck.

  6. Hanni says:

    Beautiful! your photos are very eloquent and capture the sense of alone wildness…best of luck to you in the contest.

  7. lifeshighway says:

    Good luck on the contest, your photos captures the message of ‘your place’ which I think is important. I very much understand your comments of how a location develops overtime. I also understand that one person may feel the magic and another one would just walk buy.

    I have just a spot that remain in my head from my childhood. Once in a while I will drive home and visit this one spot on the river, this one bend with this one tree. The magic still talks to me.

  8. Carolyn♥ says:

    Beautiful words to describe beautiful pictures, Donna. Love the red maple leaf with the shadow.

  9. Thank you to all that commented and picked my post. I am having an issue losing the feed to gardenwalkgardentalk.com. I have contacted both WordPress, with no response, and Blotanical, with a response, yet it is out of my control to have this fixed. I so appreciate your picks and visits, I hope this does not cause too much inconvenience.

    And an added bonus to this problem, I am receiving all the comments from all your blogs that I have comment on though my email, so if you do not see a comment from me, be assured I did not pick your post without reading it. And be certain, I enjoyed your post too. I will leave some comments periodically to see when the issue gets resolved, so please understand that I am doing this as a test and not picking some blogs over others.


  10. Cat says:

    Hi Donna, Remember back when you weren’t able to make “picks” for my blog? That was as a result of me changing my domain from twg.blogspot.com to twg.com – once Stuart fixed whatever needed to be fixed it was resolved and people were able to “pick” again.

    As far as the email issue, yours seems different from mine. My email address is left behind when I comment on blogs (visible to the blog owner). Your blog address was left behind in the comment – which is different than how it used to be. It used to read noreply@comment (or something like that). I couldn’t see your actual email address…just your blog address. Not sure if this helps or just muddies the waters…good luck.

  11. Tatyana says:

    Love it! Winner or not, it’s a special image!

  12. b-a-g says:

    Hi GWGT,
    Reading your post reminded me of the time when I had just started a new job and was sent on a team-building week-away-from-work. It was a struggle, and after a couple of days the instructor took me to one side and asked if I ever felt “the need to be alone”. I was too afraid to say “yes”. It worked out OK in the end though, because I told someone that I was going to make an escape to the local train station, but they convinced me to stay and helped me through.

  13. What a beautiful image. Good luck in the competition. Hope the issue with your feed is sorted soon.

  14. Marguerite says:

    Donna, this is a lovely set of photos. Best of luck in the contest

  15. The leaves against the sparkling snow are exquisite portraits. They are like a haiku and they make my heart sing.

    About simplicity and busyness in a garden…isn’t it the spaces between the logs that allow the fire to burn?

    All joys to you and thanks for enriching my afternoon,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

  16. One says:

    I would love to be at a place like that.. with really warm clothings, to have the sense of Oneness 🙂 Frankly, I need a dose of that right now. Can you bottle the ‘sense’ the next time you are there and send it to me?

    Love your photos and great selection.

  17. Bom says:

    Good luck in the contest Donna. You already know I like your floating/dancing leaves series but also know that I like your 1st and 3rd shots just as much.

  18. Alistair says:

    Hello Donna, yes a special place can very much be in the eye of the beholder, just like happiness its not always the most obvious. Not that any of us would have difficulty appreciating Niagara Falls though. I love your picture of the Oak leaf for gardening gone wild.

  19. lula says:

    My favorite is first image, makes me really walk in the trees and cross that bridge and simply enjoy the landscape on a sunny cold morning …..

  20. Andrea says:

    I am a bit late here, but i want to add that anything on snow will be awesome for me, ‘coz i haven’t been to a snowy place. But that red maple leaf photo gave me a deep feeling i cant seem to fathom! It might be the opposite of intuition, as in the case of that photo, ‘i just don’t know’!

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