Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Well, as any of you that happen to be regular readers of this blog (all both of you) are undoubtedly aware it's been awhile since I posted something. I have a couple excuses for this – if you're interested in hearing/reading them then read on.

I haven't been feeling inspired to get out and take pictures around Lancaster. For a while there I made a point of saying that beauty is all around us and taking pictures is a way to capture that. And I still think that. But it's getting hard for me to simply zoom in on a leaf or a cool ice formation (or what have you) and ignore the cars whooshing by of the litter 5' away or the streambank eroding or etc. etc. I seemed like I was ignoring much when I was out taking pictures. I like being outside and one vehicle to get me out there is a camera. It'd be nice to be able to “take it all in” not “take bits and pieces in.”

I'm a slacker.

So on May 1st (hopefully it's then...I have yet to confirm this date) I'm going to be moving myself up to Ashland, WI. There are several reasons that I chose this town and some of them are listed here:

1)Ashland is right on the shore of Lake Superior. I've always loved Lake Superior, now I'll be living near it. And the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is close. Ditto Isle Royale. Ditto the Bois Brule River. Ditto the Porcupine Mountains. Ditto the north shore of Lake Superior. Ditto...you get the picture.
2)Ashland is very near the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. The C.N.N.F is over 1.5 million acres in size (I can't wait to load up my bike trailer and head into it and do some camping; or head out and just enjoy all the public land out there that'll be about 10 miles out my door.
3)I've always loved the “northwoods.” Lots of trees and comparatively few people. Don't get me wrong, I like people but I'm an introvert at heart and sometimes like to get off by myself.
4)Ashland is a college town. And the college is a pretty progressive and environmentally aware one at that. I don't want to talk smack about Lancaster but it's not terribly progressive or environmentally aware. It's taken me a while but I'm finally admitting to myself that I don't fit here. I get the distinct feeling that I'm viewed as kind of a weirdo...like I'm a mildmannered and harmless nutcase or something. Of course there's a good chance that this could all be in my head – I may just think that people think this way but they really don't (and, of course, there are worse things to be than a mildmannered and harmless nutcase). But even if they don't I'm sick of being the odd-man out. I do stuff like ride my bike for errands in town and mow my lawn with a rotary mower. This is pretty out there (for Lancaster, not for, say, Madison, WI). I can't begin to count the number of times that people have – good naturedly – told me that I'm crazy. And I am...in the sense that “crazy” means “not normal.” In fact, I'd rather have the population of Lancaster think I'm crazy considering what “normal” means in this neck of the woods. I mean, really now, I don't even like beer which if one is religious about beer (a good percentage of Wisconsinite males seem to be) then that's borderline sacrilege. I do like cheese though.

So when I was visiting Ashland last weekend I took some pictures. I was living out of my car for two days and slept out under the stars and there was a swamp with cattails nearby – and if the cattail-themed pictures get repetitive, well, no one's making you stay at this site. Enjoy.

Taken right near sunset the low-angle light caught the fluff of the cattails just so. Kinda wild how much the angle of light makes things look different. If I had taken this at noon it would be, at best, a ho-hum kind of picture. Well it depends, maybe you still think it's a ho-hum picture but it's at least less ho-hummy at this time of day.

The angle of the light couldn't be much lower in this picture. How many of you have watched as the sun goes down? It's really fast. Or at least it seems fast to a bumbling photographer out to take get some decent pictures. Reminds me of a quote from Albert Einstein, “When you are courting a nice girl and hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That's relativity.”

The first two pictures were at sunset...this one is at sunrise.

I like birch bark. It just looks cool. Maybe that makes me lame but then again I already knew that I was lame.

OK now we're back in Lancaster for a picture of the evening light reflecting off the pond here in town. Even though I'm looking forward to moving, there are some things I will miss.

This picture has nothing to do with the move...and it wasn't even taken by me (I'm in the picture and my sister gets photo credit for this one). I include it for a couple of reasons: 1) it was really fun. 2) the two boys are my nephews and playing with them is one thing I'm going to miss about Lancaster. 3) I'm still kind of steamed at the jackass golf course manager (we're on a golf course in the picture) that came out of the clubhouse and told us to clear off because we were “tearing up the sod.” As anyone with functioning eyes in their head - and isn't drunk on the power vested in him by the Lancaster Municipal Golf Course - can see we are decidedly not tearing up the sod. It was a good time while it lasted though. 4) I aim to kind of make this blog into less of a “Joel's photos” blog and into something more along the lines of “fun stuff Joel does while still including photography” kind of a blog. Is it just me or do my pictures strike anyone else as boring after a while? Anyway, to keep me interested (and maybe both of you) I'll be mixing it up some.


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