Midnight Sun – Checkmark

18 June 2012 – 11:30 p.m..  The land of the midnight sun still lights the world in half-light in the moments before it crosses the horizon to create dusk. West – a tumultuous sky billows its clouds in heavy, obscure shapes poised to wet the earth with only a nudge. East – there’s greater interplay and drama between dark, heavy shapes and bright, bread-white clouds catching sun’s light. It’s day’s end as I gather these photographs remnants of a beautiful day. There’s a checkmark shape of lamp posts caught in parking lot puddle mirrors – too many hours being a teacher today.

Listening to – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s In Like a Rose, The Black Keys When the Lights Go Out, Radiohead’s Go to Sleep, Ryan Adams’ Starting to Hurt and Pete Yorn’s Pass Me By.

Quote to Inspire – “Which of my photographs is my favourite?  The one I’m going to take tomorrow.” – Imogen Cunningham

Kreativ Blogging … Awarded

15 June 2012 - Kreativ Blogger Award
15 June 2012 – Kreativ Blogger Award

Projects – As a teacher with a bent for photography I am asked often to add the photographic component to the school’s curricular and extracurricular projects. I’m able to justify doing so because the problem-solving along the way usually adds to my understanding of what is possible in creating images and because my understanding of what’s to be achieved within the project from an insider’s stance allows me to transform the familiar of school Life into that which enlightens people beyond our school. And, there’s always that element of daring to photograph what needs to be photographed.  There’s a humbling element of being cannon fodder (perhaps Canon fodder) in pushing yourself to move close enough to photograph something that in terms of social boundaries you might not normally move yourself into. Over time students and staff become familiar with the idea that you’re the guy who’s going to visually record a moment, event or celebration. Within this year I’ve produced a photobook for the school (a mock traffic accident … that all students watched in front of the school featuring student actors), I’ve created twenty or so Animoto slideshows and I’ve added thousands of images to our school stockpile of yearbook photos. My images have helped celebrate student achievement in the local paper. I’ve pushed my envelope with photography this year and can see differences in my photography as I do a one year look-back.

Parksville, British Columbia Photographer and Mentor Alan Cornall tells me the key is to just stay in the habit of shooting … keep on clicking. My photography evolves.

My gratitude goes out to Colleen of Colleen E Gunderson PHOTOGRAPHY http://artistisk.com/ for nominating me for the Kreativ Blogger Award – thank you, Colleen for connecting with what my blog and posts are about;  thank you, also for your blog which inspires … good schtuff!

Seven Random Things About Me

  1. Where Are You Going? – I like redemption’s landscape as found within the lyrics and melody of this Dave Matthews’ song.
  2. I miss the reach, insight and understanding that Steve Stockman surfaced in all kinds of music in his BBC Radio Ulster broadcast of Rhythm and Soul, the forum/threshold that generated the fodder that would become Steve’s book, Walk On: The Spiritual Journey of U2.
  3. Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake baked and iced by my daughter and/or wife – it is ‘to die for.’
  4. Gabriola Island, British Columbia is a threshold place, one that separates me from what was, to what is and to what will be; it slows me down and restores me. I should go there more often.
  5. Grace counts – in what I receive and have received (I am grateful); in what I can share with intention and with good understanding. We each need grace and our brokenness or being broken clarifies such understanding. I appreciate Steve Stockman’s wording through of Grace within his poem, ‘Up On Scarlett Street’ – “Some may call it blasphemy; but, I believe it’s true.  God lies there beside you in the gutter and grace, like a mother holds you.”
  6. I miss the intimate, intelligent, informed and poignantly humourous draw into Canadian politics brought forward by veteran newsman, Peter Gzowski, on CBC Radio’s broadcast of Morningside.
  7. I enjoy my son’s choral presence and resonance as he sings as a member of the University of Alberta Mixed Chorus.

Rules of Acceptance – Kreativ Blogger Award:

  1. Add the award to your blog.
  2. Thank the blogger who gave it to you, and link back to them in your post.
  3. Mention 7 random things about yourself.
  4. List the rules.
  5. Pass on the award to 10 bloggers.
  6. Inform the newly nominated by commenting on their blogs.

Bloggers Whom I Nominate as Kreativ Bloggers (in no particular order)

  1. Ana Silva for her discovery of the world in prose and image within her blog 1001 Scribbles ~ Random and Abstract Lineshttp://1001scribbles.wordpress.com/ .
  2. Angeline Munoz for responding in thought and images to what comprises every day within Angelinem’s Bloghttp://1001scribbles.wordpress.com/ .
  3. Anna Laviola Milo for images she produces and her tack on Art in her self-titled blog at http://annamilo.wordpress.com/
  4. Claude Schilling for all the different images produced, but especially for his take on rusting relics – vehicles of a former day oxidizing between bits of paint – double plus good!  Claude’s blog is Claude Schilling Photography, subtitled ‘Photographing the past for the future’ – it’s found at http://claudeschillingphotography.wordpress.com/ .
  5. Fergiemoto’s Creativity Aroused soothes and calms with a mixture of poetry, photographs and response to what each day presents; it’s found at http://creativityaroused.wordpress.com/ .
  6. David R. Wetzel Photography is photography that’s allowing me to see the world David sees – it’s extending my sight to places he calls home.  It’s perspective and thinking that come through – http://davidrwetzelphotography.wordpress.com/ .
  7. Letizia Argiolu’s blog DutchGoesItalian is what a blog should be about if it’s to discover and investigate the world around you; what one does with a photoblog she does reporting back on the Italy that’s off-the-beaten path in terms of its food, its wine, different stores – totally interesting … and what may draw me to Italy … Good!  Letizia’s blog is found at http://dutchgoesitalian.com/ .
  8. Homer Humble’s Humbled Pie is blog that by way of narrative and photography gives eyes to ‘Southern Living.’  http://humbledpie.wordpress.com/
  9. Jessi Hagood – commercial & event photographer; images from a photographer who can look through a camera’s lens and find the extraordinary within the familiar; images explore the world and/or what’s happening within it. http://jessihagood.wordpress.com/

Threshold’s Threshing & Winnowing

Forest grows dangerously dry with summer heat. The matter of our region being a tinderbox is an expression used to describe this state in which forest can become prey to lightning strike and neglect by people working with fire. In this setting, rain becomes a welcome visitor calming and cooling our world. Photographically rain serves to reflect the world in unusual ways – doubling what is seen and placing the doubled image in unusual contexts. At night, it is the rain’s reflection of light on surfaces that draws interest.

Life is busy just now. Students in their final year of education anticipate graduation and ceremony and future departure from friends, family and that place that’s been home for them through so many years. Angst is there. Worry is there. Disillusionment about what the world holds is about to occur in more broad and more true strokes than these students have ever encountered before. And, time pushes them and us forward and through different thresholds. It’s totally interesting that the term threshold comes from the act of threshing; the threshold was the place where the act of separating husk from seed occurred. Threshold is that place where former and newer state are in close proximity – what was and what now is. Action is that other important ingredient – the lifting, colliding and splitting, all are percussive, energetic acts that in time yield the seed from the husk that’s held it. Winnowing is the other term, here – the separating and sorting of husk (the now dead, former shell) and seed (the new life holding element). The seed is ready for further use.  How will it be used?

The photographs presented here are culled from the last week.  There’s the green of Buffalo Head Prairie; there’s the woods between La Crete and Blue Hills.  There’s the Peace River and the Tompkins’ Landing Ferry.  There’s rain slicked streets of High Level and there’s images from Footner Lake. There’s even an image of a flower from a flower bed on our front lawn.

Listening to – U2’s Mysterious Ways, Coldplay’s God Put a Smile Upon Your Face, David Gray’s Babylon and Radiohead’s High and Dry.

Quote to Inspire – “I didn’t want to tell the tree or weed what it was.  I wanted it to tell me something and through me express its meaning in nature.” – Wynn Bullock

Drift and Blur, A Teacher’s June …

A teacher’s year end contains the drift and blur of one week’s movement into another, the flex and flux within a sea of ever-changing tasks – it can be a time with little demarcation of days and weeks; there’s only more and more and more of school until that one morning when you wake up to find void in all that’s made up your previous ten months vocation. You note absence of routine, absence of schedule and absence of bells. From frenetic to calm and then to taking hold of your life – the first two weeks are hardest in this transition.  It’s the initial unwind and decompression from the year you’ve lead students through, a time to settle in, settle down and a time to settle upon summer plans. But, we’re not there yet. Now, teachers count number of sleeps until school is done. Now, teachers whet their appetite for summer with barbecues and games of golf. Now, few teachers are reading books of interest. Many are marking assignments and tests late into the evening. Many are thinking through how best to help students review for finals. All are working through how to balance what has been taught against what remains to be taught within the time left. Those teachers with experience have managed time well, met all curriculum outcomes and are turning their focus to helping students conclude their year well – helping them to recognize what they’ve achieved and to anchor this self-knowledge within their self-esteem.

Within a few weeks, staff will cluster at year-end dinners and barbecues; they too will be looking at all their year has held – the successes and the challenges; and they’ll work to put issues to bed and leave them behind in the year that was. Already, we’ve held an awards night, a night celebrating staff’s years of service to students as well as recognizing notable within jurisdiction school achievements. Of all the times in the school year, this time, this month of June highlights the busyness of planning and of culmination; we’re heading toward threshold. Student behaviour is at its most extreme in June, something more significant than the student behaviour we see in December’s anticipation of Christmas. Warmer weather, extended hours of sunlight and the approaching end of what’s been normal for students through ten months, all can serve to escalate things in the worst of ways for students – fighting, skipping, withdrawal from school. It’s June. It’s that critical month in teaching when it’s so important to hold fast to your goals that lead students to their year end and yours. And, it is about each student.  June is the month that contains the final moments in a year of transformation for adolescents. In June, the cocoon rattles and shakes, eventually bursting upon the threshold of that moment in which a school year and grade concludes and students are set free into their summer and their next year’s endeavor. It’s a birthing process.

Photography – the images presented here are ones in which I’m investigating what can be done with macro photography.  The initial set of images are those taken in and around farming equipment on display at the High Level Museum.  The others come from locations in Fort Vermilion, Alberta – an old building  (to be demolished), grave markers at the Anglican cemetery and dandelions outside the cemetery.

Curious Quotes – (1) “Nothing isolates one person from another person as the species of their perception.” – Boris Pasternak; (2) “Stress is a perverted relationship to time.” – John O’Donohue

Quotes to Inspire – (1) “I never question what to do, it tells me what to do.  The photographs make themselves with my help.” – Ruth Bernhard (2) “It pleases me to take amateur photographs of my garden, and it pleases my garden to make my photographs look professional.” – Robert Brault

Listening to – Can’t You Hear Me Knocking (Rolling Stones), California Sun (The Rivieras), Let It All Hang Out (The Hombres), Louie Louie (The Kingsmen), Pink Cadillac (Bruce Springsteen), Sultans of Swing (Dire Straits) and Back in the Saddle (Aerosmith).