Newsletter #178: March, 2020
© Chris Harris. All rights reserved.
It was full moon and I couldn’t sleep, so I got up to read. Surprisingly, I began to reminisce about a visual experience I had nine years ago. In this newsletter, I thought I would share with you my ‘reflection back in time’.
Unseen Beauty in a Local Landscape
In 2011, when I was doing aerial photography of our local landscape for my book Flyover, I quickly learned that when I included the horizon line, there was enormous context revealing the landscape exactly as we see it, and as we know it to be. We call this style of image making representational, or documentary.
As I lowered my camera and eliminated the horizon, considerable context was removed. The result were images slightly more abstract.
By looking closely at the following images, you can see that as I continued to lower my camera angle, the images became completely abstract. At the same time, they are profoundly representational.
The colours in the following images are the result of algae species usually found in shallow water
near land. Mostly as a result of moisture and heat, these colours continually changed as I photographed throughout the summer.
Calcareous lake; aerial
With little or no context, images become more mysterious, and viewers find themselves needing to ask questions rather than being provided with answers. This piques the viewers interest, provoking thought, inquiry and involvement. This is the goal of every creative artist.
Heading Out; Go’in for a Drive!
A couple of days ago, my friend Mike Duffy and I decided to pack a lunch and drive out to the Churn Creek grasslands. We chatted, laughed, and most importantly, we stopped to photograph whenever we had the urge.
We have made this trip dozens of times together, and each is a highlight adventure. Below are a few images I made along the way. Each is a memory and celebration of a wonderful day spent conversing with the natural world and a good friend.
Usually, we are the only folks out there. On this particular day, however, we
did meet one person, a birder. He told us he visits these grasslands each spring
to see the early arrivals; but so far, he said, none appeared to have arrived.
While driving through a narrow canyon, I noticed a cleft in a rock wall. We stopped.
When white clouds filled the cleft’s background space, I juxtaposed the positive and negative
elements to visually express the feature differently.
Further along the road, a small marsh grabbed our attention. We stopped and photographed for an hour.
Cattails await the spring melt.
In the shadow of a rock bluff, snow remains
Eventually we reached the warmer climes of the Mid-Fraser River Canyon. Shadow and light accompanied us through the grassland’s magnificence.
‘What a place to graze’, I thought to myself! Looking westward beyond the ranch lies an immense grassland contained in a refuge known as the Chilcotin Ark.
As an experiment in expression, I multiplied this rancher’s cow herd. At today’s market value, I was hoping he’d be pleased!
West of us, and in the distance, we could see intricate land patterns where water drained from the grasslands plateau high above the Fraser River.
Coloured drainage patterns
The Fraser River Canyon was formed some 10-20 million years ago. Today it is the site of two natural wonders. Within the river, is the annual Pacific salmon migration; above the river, is one of the planet’s last remaining bluebunch wheatgrass grasslands.
These grassland terraces were once lake bottoms. Today they slope downward towards the ever-carving Fraser River.