The Wintry South

DSC04212Beautiful Wintry light at Radnor this week. Winter doesn’t necessarily reduce all to blank uniformity but the color pallet sure does become reduced. A season felt more distinctly here because we are left with cold wet air and leafless trees. None of the glimmer and glamour of ice-cycles and snow. I’ll still take it any day over the insane-icy New England winters and the monotonous season-less far south (Florida) winters.

Still, there is a special beauty that can be difficult to express visually. I love to mix images while I’m hiking. The spontaneous construction of a double exposure while still under the tree’s canopy gives you limitless creative choices.

© Jeff Frazier 2015

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Home or Haunt?

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This home was a haunt of mine for a strange interval. I would visit this house and photograph it with each visit to Western Massachusetts. Holding onto a doomed long distance relationship. I would make my way up to the magic of Western Mass to see if I could finally make the thing work. Now this house is the thing that haunts me. It became a symbol of something I’m still trying to understand. Home.

“I’m coming to think that this absence is part of a broader lack in our language about our relation to place. Standard English has just one word for feelings of longing for a particular place: ‘homesick.’ The word implies a polarity: you are at home or away, and suggests the simple solution of going home; it carries no sense of the process of adapting to a new place or of mixed or complex feelings. Other languages of the British Isles do much better at capturing the range of feelings and experiences that make up the human attachment to place. Welsh has ‘hiraeth,’ a word that connotes a yearning for place that is lost or may not exist, a feeling of longing to be ‘at home’ in the sense of achieving a sense of belonging, of finding your paradise. Its cognate ‘cynefin’ denotes ‘habitat’ or ‘customary abode’; the place which formed you, and with which you are most familiar. In a definition which encompasses cultural, social and geographical influences, Nicholas Sinclair describes it as ‘the place of your birth and upbringing, the environment in which you live and to which you are naturally acclimatized.’ The Scottish Gaelic ‘dùthchas’ conveys the collective nature of a heritage that connects people to a particular place, historically also the tribal system of land rights accorded to the members of a clan. The fact that the Scottish Gaelic equivalent of homesickness, nostalgia or longing for home, cianalas, has given rise to a genre of Gaelic poetry written by emigrees called bàrdachd cianalais is perhaps testament to how a profound sense of rootedness finds linguistic expression.” ~ Alex Klaushofer

Birth of Awe

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Eastern Sierra Escarpment from the Alabama hills

Awe = Fear x the speed of light squared

In my trips to Owens Valley and the Eastern Sierras of California, I usually experience something I call ” Birth of Awe “right about the time the Whitney portal road comes into view.  I’m always inspired to fall in love with photography again when this happens. Photography gives me a way to follow the seeds of ideas I generate about how we relate to these beloved lands . The desert, the mountains, the sky and the camera. The writer Wallace Stegner described it as “To Behold wild country not reduced by man”. You can only be elevated here.

I can only hope to expose some of the secret poetry that exists in this landscape.  in-camera multi-exposures juxtapose the surface’s of this dramatic land with the wider vista’s that surround.

For more images from this  series travel over to www.jefffrazier.com/vertical-horizons/

© Jeff Frazier Photography

Neo-Animism

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The Animist

“The way of nature is the way of the Tao.

Therefore you cannot improve upon nature. Those who try to change it in the end destroy it.” ~ Lao Tzu

A Growing awareness of Climate Change, and of the sentience of other animals, has meant that the human circle of ethical consideration has been expanding.  Only since the Enlightenment have ‘we’ in the West included all other humans as ethical beings.  Now some of us, at least, are beginning to consider other-than-human animals, and plants, as persons entitled to certain rights.  As our perspectives change, so does the basis upon which we make ethical judgements. This is a new evolution in the way we humans perceive the world. I highly recommend it. For the sake of our planets future.

“In the oldest religion, everything was alive, not supernaturally but naturally alive. There were only deeper and deeper streams of life, vibrations of life more and more vast. So rocks were alive, but a mountain had a deeper, vaster life than a rock, and it was much harder for a man to bring his spirit, or his energy, into contact with the life of a mountain, and so he drew strength from the mountain, as from a great standing well of life, than it was to come into contact with the rock. And he had to put forth a great religious effort. For the whole life-effort of man was to get his life into contact with the elemental life of the cosmos. mountain-life, cloud-life, thunder-life, air-life, earth-life, sun-life. To come into the immediate felt contact, and so derive energy, power, and a dark sort of joy. This effort into sheer naked contact, without an intermediary or mediator, is the root meaning of religion …”

~ D.H. Lawrence, “New Mexico”

Photo © Jeff Frazier

Monsoons and Meteorites

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Post monsoon, meteor shower yoga.

Day 5, Being under a New Mexico sky during any meteor shower would be good enough, being under those skies during the Perseids is a gift we had to take advantage of. We planned on watching the Perseid meteor shower at a camping spot in the mountians.  Our journey took us up some mind benders in the Carson Natl forest. We found a perfect location at about 8000 feet. Full exposure to the sky, twenty miles outside Taos. It was a perfect. The tent went up quickly in the fading light. The ground was “moist” , Didn’t register that it could rain at all in New Mexico in the middle of August on such a beautiful evening. The sky was clear. I had no idea it was Monsoon season in New Mexico. I’m sure I should have known that.

Being fully exposed to the sky that evening allowed us to experience the full force of a New Mexican Monsoon downpour… The lightning and thunder was a perfect accompaniment to the huge rain drops that were exploding on the surface of our little two person tent.

The rain spirits smiled on us that evening. In fact, we stayed perfectly dry. The storm persisted for several hours. Around 3 am I unzipped the tent and looked out  to see a fog diffused milky way unfolded against a very black sky.. I watched for all of five minutes. A small meteor passed through Ursa Minor. Radiating out of Perseus…not enough to keep me out in the cold as I slid back into the tent.

The next morning  a cool misty sunrise over alpine meadows gave us the perfect awakening. Laura started her yoga practice as the fog lifted out of the creek beds and valleys.

Route 66 series