Last Phase of The High Line

The High Line – the conversion of the disused elevated freight-railway in Manhattan into a nature park – is nearing completion.  It is a beautiful idea, an elegant combination of the old industrial infrastructure supporting an injection of nature, all in the depths of the most iconic of modern cities.  It is one of the reasons why I want to go back to New York.

The final section is due to open in late 2014 and will include a bowl-shaped structure called The Spur, which will become the access point at the railway yards and allow walkers to sit encompassed by foliage in the heart of the city.  Maybe that would be a good time to visit…

The Spur 1

The Spur 2

The Spur 3

Deer In Richmond Park

Although I am drawn to the natural world I do not usually take straight nature photographs, but equally I do not class myself as an urban photographer either.  I usually look for a quirkiness in whatever situation I’m in.  Often it is the decayed remnants of man’s presence, whether it is in a natural or urban environment, that attracts my attention.  So for me this image is quite unusual.

The deer in Richmond Park are used to people and are easily found roaming freely across the landscape, so taking this photograph was so easy that I simply could not resist.

Deer in Richmond Park

Photographing Water

River 1

Water 1 on Flickr by Prince Cavallo

As a response to last weeks post, which included the Ripple Vase, I thought I’d show a few ripples that I found while walking by a swollen river after a few days of particularly heavy rain.  I have photographed water a number of times – sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t.  As with any photograph (or any art), whether it “works” or not is a combination of a whole range of factors which include light and shade, composition, drama, technique – and what works for one person may not for another.

Water has always fascinated me – I grew up by the sea and have seen it’s moods at close hand, it’s constantly changing face, the variety of colours and range of reflected light.  Dark and foreboding one day, clam and inviting the next.  The irregular winds, the currents and forces below the waves, all conspire to create endlessly abstract textures on the surface of the water, so that each shot that does “work” has it’s own unique quality.

The Willows by Algernon Blackwood

Algernon BlackwoodHave you ever been away from the crowd, far from the throng and the everyday comings and goings of people?  For instance, out on a long walk in unfamiliar territory, deep in the wilds, surrounded by nature, maybe a little lost or disoriented?  Have you ever felt the overpowering presence of nature, the deep contrast of sunlight and shadow and half heard sounds in the undergrowth.  And the wind in the trees swinging a subconscious pendulum, your surroundings embodying a dark ambivalence, verging on supernatural threat?

This is the atmosphere created by Algernon Blackwood in his short story The Willows (1907).  This would be enough – but he goes further, he suggests that occasionally we may come closer to a more inconceivable threat than we realise.  In certain places and at certain times the walls that separate worlds stretch thin and this ‘other’ place bleeds into our own with terrible consequences.

I urge you, if you have not done so already, to read this early example of ‘weird’ fiction.

‘Years’ by Bartholomäus Traubeck


‘Years’ by Bartholomäus Traubeck (born Munich, Germany in 1987).

In our increasingly digital world it feels good sometimes to pull a piece of vinyl from a sleeve and put a very analogue record onto a turntable.  It is also good sometimes to listen to something which goes beyond the generally accepted rules of composition.

This art piece combines aspects of these two pleasures with a striking and apparently mutually exclusive dichotomy – the growth rings of trees and the processing power of a computer.  The computer converts the rings into an abstract piano composition, unique for each slice of tree – an unusual way of bringing us closer to the beauty and wonder of nature.

From the website:-

A tree’s year rings are analysed for their strength, thickness and rate of growth. This data serves as basis for a generative process that outputs piano music. It is mapped to a scale which is again defined by the overall appearance of the wood (ranging from dark to light and from strong texture to light texture). The foundation for the music is certainly found in the defined ruleset of programming and hardware setup, but the data acquired from every tree interprets this ruleset very differently.

And here’s a link to a video of a tree rings being ‘played‘.

Disolving Perspective

This is another very short post because, although I should have flown back from holiday on Friday, I was kindly persuaded (with no resistance on my part at all) to stay on a couple more days.

I noticed this photographer a while back on the 2Modern Blog and thought his work was worth highlighting.

Zander Olsen takes peculiar photos.  Essentially they are photographs of trees in the winter landscape, but there is something about them which is not quite right.  Initially they disorientate in a similar way to dreams and it is difficult to work out what exactly is going on.

He manipulates the natural environment by wrapping parts of the trees in fabric, blurring the boundary between foreground and background, effectively tricking the eye and dissolving the perspective.  He takes his photographs in Surrey, Hampshire and Wales.  Visit his website here.

By the way, if you’d like to see my photos please have a look here.