Can Photography Mirror Perfection?

Easy Answer

Photographers seek to mirror what they see, so in reality, whatever we photograph mirrors life as we see it. Now to dig deeper into the meaning of mirror.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

When he was a lad of 53, my husband pursued a quest for perfection. After twelve weeks, he achieved it. The card he gave me for Valentine’s Day reflected his pride. The card showed a young lover gazing into his loved one’s eyes. He asked his true love what she thought he could see reflected in her eyes.

(I imagined some romantic images intended to spark a romantic night.)

Inside the card read, “MYSELF…And damn, I look good.”

When this picture fell out of the card, I had to agree.

vince-stud-muffin

Had I gazed into his oiled body, I might have seen myself reflected in it, but I doubt that I would have had the same reaction as he did when he looked into “my eyes!” I had not taken the 12-week challenge. ūüôā

#Longwood Gardens #1

Reflections at Longwood Gardens

My favorite pictures mirror images that evoke emotion, the thrill, and satisfaction of capturing perfection at last for a millisecond.

Longwood Conservatory
Longwood Conservatory

This reflected at the Conservatory of Pierre Samuel du Pont, marked the mid-point of a perfect visit to Longwood Gardens. Pipe organ music just finished playing the background.

Passing through the glass doors Hal and I entered the water-lily space or garden of a million mirrors.

 hardy water lily gardens
hardy water-lily gardens

To be perfectly candid, I did not notice the mirror images until I looked at the Photo Challenge topic for this week when I got home. The sun got into the mirroring act providing a shadow image of one of the lilies.

Volunteer worker dead heads the lilies.
Volunteer worker dead heads the lilies.

While the flower on top is beautiful enough, if you look closely you can see the sky and a tree reflecting what a beautiful day it is in Kennett Square, PA at the Longwood Gardens. Only a couple of places revealed marred perfection. The Tropical Gardens magnified 84 degrees by 100% humidity to produce rivulets of reflecting power on my face, had you been there to gaze into it.

Hal asked me whether I had been to Longwood Gardens before.

When I told him, “No,” he reflected, “What awful tour guide have you had that has neglected this icon of Delaware and Pennsylvania.?”

“No one is perfect, Hal. Even the most dedicated tour guide,” I said mirroring his jocular self-accusation.

This visit was not too late to enjoy the beauty of these gardens mirrored in their watery beds.

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It is difficult to discern where the mirroring starts and the underwater growth stops. These three Siamese models are stars of perfection.

wp-photo-challenge-mirror109

Hal told one tourist that she could stand on a lily pad. I’m sure she objected, to his delight.

To prove his point, for Hal likes to be right, he brought along a picture of the young woman he had printed on his computer. True to his promise, she (or rather the picture which mirrored her) stood on the lily pad.

I don’t recommend standing on lily pads for the rest of us. We would surely break the serenity of the water necessary to produce this perfect lily pad reflection. To me, the lily pad looks like the perfect tray for party cupcakes for Alice and her Looking-Glass friends. What do you see reflected here?

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Eventually, I will pack my bags and head home to Woodlake, CA. Reflections abound in this classic truck which came to our Woodlake Car Show, even though perfection may be amiss. The mirrors are present, as are the images. Do you see at least two reflections?

If so, please accept the star of Texaco as your reward.

wp-photo-challenge-mirror100Santa must have found of mirror image of that truck somewhere. This cargo vehicle boasts a mirror as well, but the mirror did not alert Santa to the visitor who knocked at his door. I wonder if Big Ben had been the mirror of perfection all year, or possibly he had been a little naughty and was pleading his case? We would have to ask the Three River’s artist, Nadi Spencer, who drew this picture.

wp-photo-challenge-mirror101If you headed up to Three Rivers this spring, you would find water in Kaweah Lake almost up to the road mirroring the hills. Last I heard the water level more accurately reflects our CA drought.

wp-photo-challenge-mirror103Nothing is as beautiful to a Californian than the reflection of a healthy water supply. We live in a beautiful country where every drop of stored water reflects life as well as the beauty you see in the water. Bravo Lake filled this winter.

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Bonus reflection – my windshield. My mirror reflects more than just my camera and my beautifully painted red fingernails. It reflects the enormous number of people behind me who come to the Sequoia National Park to reflect on the beauty of our natural resources in America. On Memorial Day the line was five miles long. The line in June when I visited the Park with my brother was shorter.

Thank you to Y. Prior for mentioning me in her blog post on Mirrors.

For more reflections on the word mirror, click here.

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016
I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

 

WP Weekly Photo Challenge: Object

We live in a natural aviary.  I learned Wednesday night that Bravo Lake, which I have featured several times on this blog, is one of the best places in CA to bird watch.  One morning last May I went out in our front yard and found a blue jay egg in the planter area lying on the bark.  Blue jays lay blue eggs Рof course!

Bluejay egg 001
“Pardon my dirty spot. My parents sit on me.”

The last time I found eggs in a hazardous place for them, I called the Wild Life Protective Services, and found out that birds have no sense of smell in their beaks, so don’t know that you have handled their eggs. ¬†So I didn’t feel badly about experimenting with this one. ¬† As I turned it, I noticed that it already had a chip off its shoulder.

Bluejay egg 010

It rolled around for a while as I watched hands-free.  After that, I put it back in the bark where I found it because I had to leave.  By then it had another chip out and several cracks.

Bluejay egg 013

It was gone when I came back.  Maybe it hatched.  We have a lot of birds at our house.

For more interesting objects click here.

What wildlife do you enjoy right in your front yard? Yes, even insects count if they bother or interest you enough to notice them!

Other Bravo Lake posts.

 

 

Bravo Lake

I have to admit that I’m mad about Bravo Lake. ¬†It takes up about 1/4 of the area labeled on a map as Woodlake, and you can’t stand on a street anywhere in town and see it! ¬†It started out with great promise, “Bravo! ¬†Bravo!” ¬†sounds like an excited cheer. ¬†Something like, “Yeah, here’s a big beautiful lake. ¬†Let’s have a picnic. ¬†Bravo, sport!”

 

I'm going to catch a fish here any minute.  Get the barby ready!
I’m going to catch a fish here any minute. Get the barby ready!

That is not what bravo meant in the case of Bravo Lake, however.  In the early 1850s, when Tulare County was established, quite a few Irish settlers came to this land of plenty, seeking their fortune.  Times in Ireland were not conducive to finding fortunes as  the Great Irish Potato Famine that lasted from 1845 to 1852.  They might have first tried their luck at finding gold in 1849 about 200 miles to the north, but their sights were set on finding a good place to grow some food.  The Kaweah Delta was a great place to settle.

This looks like a good place to settle down and raise a family.
This looks like a good place to settle down and raise a family.

Not to stereotype, but you’ve all heard of the fighting Irish? ¬†In Woodlake the fight between two Irishmen, one a future California senator, gave Bravo Lake its name. ¬†Grace Pogue describes the death-defying squabble in her book, Within the Magic Circle. ¬†

Bravo Lake, named by Indians, was given a Spanish name.

Swamp John and Tom Fowler, two fiery-tempered Irishmen, met one morning on the shore of the lake, which extended at that time as far north as the Wacaser place. As usual, they were in a fighting mood and the battle was on. T. H. Davis Sr., exasperated at their continued squabbling, pulled out his six-shooter and said, “You fellows settle this scrap right now. Finish it up, completely. And I don’t want ever to hear of your quarreling again.”

The fight was on now in deadly earnest. It lasted until noon. The news spread like wild fire. In an unbelievably¬†short time, a crowd of Indians had gathered to see the finish of the feud. Shouts of “Bravo! Bravo!” spurred the doughty old warriors on.

At last, Swamp John sank exhausted to the ground. Satisfied onlookers carried him down to the lake to remove the traces of battle. Tom Fowler walked to the on his own power and bathed his hands and face. He was proclaimed the victor. The erstwhile belligerent pair were good friends forever after.

The lake was immediately christened Bravo Lake by a pleased band of Indian spectators.

This all happened before 1889 because Tom Davis, Sr. died in that year.  So my guess is that Bravo Lake was here when the white settlers came in 1852.  That being said, I bet they could see it.  From the street, I mean.  It was the center of interest.

Bravo Lake Fish Fry

Today you can’t see the large lake from street level in any direction. ¬†I worked in Woodlake for years, and people would ask me if I had walked around Bravo Lake. ¬†I didn’t even know where it was, and it was in the center of town. ¬†Because the western section of Tulare County is the drain for multiple rivers, you might guess that flooding was common in the early days. ¬†That was a problem for these settlers, so at some point a levee was built around the lake shrouding it from public view. ¬†Years after that the Corps of Engineers dammed the Kaweah River, which feeds into Bravo Lake, eliminating the flood danger, to the best of my understanding, but nothing was ever engineered to make the lake reappear to the drive by onlooker.

Come right in.  Enjoy the lake!  :)
Come right in. Enjoy the lake! ūüôā

In order to see this beautiful lake you have to walk up a steep bank and through a large opening in a tall chain link fence  Nobody here seems to mind that.  There is a beautiful botanical garden edging the south side of the levee.  Houses rim another section, and the rest is flanked by well watered groves of trees, mostly olives.  Along the brim of the levee is a wide, partially paved walking path.  I guess that is how they placate the public.  No one is prevented from walking around the beautiful lake.  but unsuspecting folks driving through Woodlake on their way to see the Sequoia National Park would completely miss the gem of Woodlake.  I think that is downright inhospitable!

What do you think?

Wild Weekly Photo Challenge: #32 The Beach

Visited by thousands of readers in more than 155 countries around the world, LetsBeWild.com is all about getting people outside – the great outdoors is where it’s at when it comes to having fun & living life to the fullest!

Our Wild Weekly Photo Challenge encourages bloggers to head into the wild (or the backyard) and photograph something that they feel fits the weekly theme. Once you’ve posted your blog entry, comment on the Challenge theme that you’re entering with the link to your post! Each week we choose one first place winner, one audience choice winner, and five honorable mention winners. Be sure to read the simple rules in each challenge to make sure your entry qualifies!

While this is not an ocean beach, Bravo Lake now has a sandy beach front because the water level is down as low as I have ever seen it.  A few days ago Vince and I walked around Bravo Lake.  We took a couple of hours to go three miles, but I came back with 75 pictures.

So what do you do with 75 pictures of Bravo Lake added to 150 of San Francisco, and 9,000 other pictures I’ve taken since I started blogging? ¬†Some, maybe even most of them are good. I doubt that any of them are great in every way I can think of that a photograph might be great: ¬†subject, composition, lighting, and processing. ¬†I had lunch yesterday with my photography friend, Laura Malmquist. ¬†She showed me some of her prints, and I showed her some of my pictures on the computer. ¬†She suggested that I print some of my pictures. ¬†She said they look more impressive in print. ¬†Hers sure looked impressive.

She had some other advice for me.

  1. Figure out what it is that you really like, then start cropping your photographs to get it.  Soon you will realize what it is that you want to focus on.  You have too much in your pictures.  The less the better.  Simple is better.
  2. Play with Photoshop as much as you do with the settings in the camera.  Take out all the color and add in other color.
  3. Try different angles.  Decide which type of angles you like best.

That was about it. ¬†Beyond that it’s practice, practice, practice. ¬†OK that’s where you come in. ¬†You already know that about me. ¬†I like feedback. ¬†In my opinion it’s more than my opinion that counts! ¬† ¬†I picked out one picture that I really liked on which to experiment. ¬†Vince and I talked about it half way around the lake once we could see where the Kaweah River was emptying into Bravo Lake. ¬†During the high times of the lake, it isn’t visible. ¬†But this lake is used for flood control, and now when snow is melting in the mountains they authorities let the water out of Kaweah Lake, which is dammed. ¬†We thought that the best shot would be looking toward the sunset from the bridge over point where the river entered the lake. ¬†So what do you think, was this a good shot in the first place?

My second question to you is, if you were going to print just one of them to try to sell, which one would YOU print?

1.  The original

This is how Bravo Lake gets its water.
This is how Bravo Lake gets its water, Kaweah River.

2.  The sepia

Many years ago...
Once upon a time… ¬†(last week)

3.  The cropped color adjusted sky with cloned in tree tips because the color turned the trees the wrong color.

Barely cropped, gently colored.
Barely cropped, carefully cloned tree tips that had turned purple, gently colored sky and hill.

You can actually see the meandering path that the Kaweah River makes as it empties into Bravo Lake. ¬†It might be better if a huge fish had jumped into my picture, or a bird had swooped down and caught a fish. ¬†Maybe a kid on an inner tube floating dow the river. ¬†I’m just glad there wasn’t a spare tornado lurking around one of the hills. ¬†While that would make the picture more interesting, there are some limits to how much interest a person needs in life. ¬†I don’t mean to take the Oklahoma disaster lightly, I hate that it happened. ¬†At the same time I would be less than honest if I was not thankful that it did not happen here.

That being said, if you would like to donate to the victims of the Oklahoma disaster, and haven’t already done so, I’m attaching a button to my sidebar, and at the end of this post that will take you to a first responder. ¬†Vince and I decided to give to Salvation Army ¬†because according to my husband who works with our local group, a very high percentage of the money raised goes to victims.

Click picture to donate to Oklahoma tornado victims.
Click picture to donate to Oklahoma tornado victims.