Art Cycling…

Benjamin J. Falk (1853-1925), Portrait of strongman Eugen Sandow (1867-1925) on a bicycle. This image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.

In our last installment, I talked about riding my bike and taking photographs as if it were some kind of theoretical thing I’d do some day. Indeed, when I wrote that post– was it last night? Well, that’s pretty much what I was thinking.  Little did I know what sleeping on that thought would do.

I decided that very next day (this morning) that I was going to go out and take some photographs en route  on a cycling trip.  Now, I’m already plotting a peculiar bike mount where I can press a button from my handlebar and snap a photograph– but that’s waaaay another show. In fact, if I ever actually do it, you’ll see it on Instructables.

Yes, if it matters, I will link there IF it happens. But the truth of the matter is, I’m much better at ideas  (and blog posts) than I am at actually documenting and completing projects. Unless there’s some kind of incentive, like being able to eat whatever it is I’m making, I tend not to complete said project. Though admittedly this is a cooler idea than usual.

So I biked down the trail and found a nice wide spot near an interesting area, and I started taking photographs.   Truthfully, They either really nifty, or really boring depending on how you look at them.  You be the judge. I tend to get snap-happy when I’m hunting for awesome light.


See, when I go take photographs of things, it’s generally not for the same reasons that other people do. Yes, “That looks cool” does figure into my decision. But give me a camera and I start thinking like a little child. Everything looks cool.  IF I were the Doctor, even monks would be cool.  But hey, if you want to really get away from it all and lose those attachments to that hectic noisy world, monks know a thing or two about that– and hard work.  Which is not only cool but necessary. But I fantastically digress.


The area I decided to photograph appears not terribly out of the ordinary. In fact, the most out of the ordinary thing that is in that area is something I deliberately chose not to photograph.  There’s a power substation near there. It’s fascinating. But I’m not going to photograph it, no matter how cool it would look– because I have enough problems with laying wide-eyed in the middle of the night wondering what sort of watch lists I happen to be on.  It’s central infrastructure, and I don’t want to give anybody any funny ideas. So there.

The NSA may be relieved to find out that these photographs do not have any GPS information encoded into them, because I’m not stupid. I used a camera– which does not do uncool things like tag every photograph with geodata.  Fun if you are geocaching, but hey.

Not yet.  Give me time.


At any rate, this is what my little Canon Powershot came up with. I’m disappointed only because it drained my batteries like a vampire on hyperdrive.  I think I took about 100 photographs and it was starting to turn itself off occasionally. It did this, even before it started to complain about low battery. In fact, it went from “situation normal” to “replace your battery- STAT”, which is atypical. So maybe it’s come to the end of it’s use life.  I mean, it’s only 7-10 years old. 🙂 But it does say something that the Powershot is still a device I’m not embarrassed about using.


The real embarrassment is just how many stupidly blurry  photographs I took.  Though not during this trip– I actually found a bunch of photos I took in New Hampshire last year… and the vast majority of them were horribly blurry. It was all of very nice art that I don’t think I have permission to display. I’ll have to ask the artist some day, because I really like his stuff– even if I’m embarassed by my ability ( or lack thereof) to keep my hands steady.

At any rate, I should just shut up and let you look at my pix.  Yes, I have shown some already. But I may as well do color commentary about them, too.

Fractal-Grasses_tnThis is about the  regular patterns of seed heads. I don’t really think too much about what I’m “saying” other than, “hey, look at THIS!” Am I crazy? Are these the sorts of things people really want to look at? I used to wander through the playground as a child staring at the ground, because there could be something interesting and unexpected there that I would just miss if I didn’t look.  I collected found objects and maybe cached them here and there in a somewhat creepy and institutionalized way, even if I was never really institutionalized.  I thought routinely of what the world must look like to ants, mice and fairies.  I always wondered what was happening there when I wasn’t looking.  What track is that– did it pass through here in the middle of the night? I wonder if the burrowing owls come out this far?  (I lived in New Mexico at that age. We actually did have dwarf owls, who do live in burrows, not trees.  They don’t obviously dig, but they take over the holes of prairie dogs and other critters kind enough to dig a hole)


I have to admit, most of the time I look at my photographs and think that you guys would probably rather see what I pick out of Wikimedia.  That at least has world class stuff posted up there. This is mostly my conceit. “Hey, look at this!”

I have to admit, below is a problematic photograph in a number  of different ways. But  I really like it anyway. Not sure why.

Light-upon-Their-Faces_tnPart of why I like it is that I think of an encounter I had while I was taking photos. When I first started, it was about 8:00 am ish local time, and the light was VERY bright. For some reason, the manual viewfinder was completely blocked, and the screen had so little contrast I literally could not see what I was photographing.  I was rather distracted by this, and was tongue tied (thinking with my eyes instead of my talker, apparently…) when I encountered  person walking by.  He asked me how I was, and I explained to him my difficulties. He offered me a pamphlet and asked me about my relationship with Jesus. I thanked him and mentioned I was a Catholic, and I agreed with him that loving Jesus was a good idea. I admit, it was kind of a lame reply.  I guess he seemed to think that because I was taking photographs in a no-sight environment, meant that I couldn’t see– sort of a slang term for those who aren’t saved, I guess. This sort of language is prevalent in the bible.  At any rate, I got to thinking that, but I also remembered something I said to him, “Well, I just have to trust I’m taking something good.”


So. outside of being a lousy drive-by apologist, and taking some lessons in humility, I learned something in retrospect, which is my specialty.


We never see completely clearly, at least, not until we pass from this world.  At the time,  I was looking for good light, for something special where things look pretty ordinary. I like to see something as if I’m seeing it for the first time, I want to find wonder in those boring places where people walk past a million times and don’t see what’s really there.


That’s sort of like looking for God in those boring places you think were passed over. His light is on your face whether you know it or not, whether you think about it or not, or even if you believe in Him or not.  The God Catholics believe in must sustain reality with His Essence every single second of existence. Because he IS Existence. I AM WHO AM. While we don’t take the stories about the process of creation literally (figuring we can learn about this through the physical sciences) we still take God at His Word.


So even in this boring, uncared for, or disused place, we are not forgotten.  It’s just our job to keep looking.



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