Tag Archives: monochrome

Friday Musings

Arcane Shores (Strata of the Untold) © 2018 Jered Dawnne

Arcane Shores (Strata of the Untold) © 2018 Jered Dawnne

It’s Friday. This week was one of those, “hey, that didn’t go as planned” weeks; this panorama was one of those “hey that didn’t go as planned” panoramas; and the post-production on it as I experimented with monochrome effects was a collection of “happy accidents”; so I figured that today was an auspicious day for sharing. I’ve deliberately merged the horizon with the sky a bit, here. It’s somewhat representative of my life: One just never quite knows what’s coming, even if it’s silhouetted on a ridge line or standing alone on the horizon.

I’m hoping to re-shoot this ridge in mid-August from the trail down on the verge. It would be a better composition with a wider angle, and more dramatic. From this vantage, though, you can see across the plains, and in monochrome, one can almost lead the eye into seeing what it was like when these formations were being formed by the river which flowed between them, and the lake upon which they bordered. Thus the name for this one, “Arcane Shores”.

Nikon D500, Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR @200mm, PTGui, Adobe Lightroom Classic CC, DxO Nik Color Efex Pro 4 & Silver Efex Pro 2.
9 pieces, hand-held.

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A Requiem for the Undecided

A Requiem for the Undecided: Copyright © 2018 Jered Dawnne

A Requiem for the Undecided: Copyright © 2018 Jered Dawnne

It was while standing here, back in the fall of 2015, that I realized something, which was in turn the beginning of the end of a certain indecisiveness. And it was while standing here again a week and a day ago, hand-holding the camera for this panorama, knowing it wasn’t the right way to do it and knowing that no matter how careful I was it was going to be a bit of a process to post-produce, that I silently vowed to myself that this was the last time I would do this without some sort of temporal or situational need that prevented me from using the right equipment. But I couldn’t help but to think back to the last time I was here as well; that’s why I mentioned it. This is a place which engenders realistic thought in me. It’s just dirt and scrub brush, and the dirt is eroding away; but that’s really all it is out here: dirt and scrub brush…and the occasional snake, but I’m going to skip that particular metaphor today. Sometimes, it’s all pleasantly arranged, and often times, it’s layered in ways that remind you that we’re little more than the same. So, it’s worth visiting, and it’s worth spending some time here. Because it’s worth being reminded that our dreams, our hopes, our decisions are merely vapors which pour from a wetware which has an extremely finite lifespan. Dirt lasts longer than our aspirations.

To wit: How many times have I set out to revive my creativity? A cursory scan through the contents of this blog will reveal that it’s about every couple of years, and this incarnation of it doesn’t even include all the original writings or imagery which would drive that reality home all the way back to 1998 or so (before which time my creativity simply….flowed). It’s hard to do with working and refereeing, yes, but that’s not really much of an excuse. “Hard” isn’t impossible. It’s a matter of priorities. I keep stacking up all these things as more important than myself. And many of them actually are more important than me, because they’re genuine responsibilities to the people I love, but not all of them meet that measure. And more to the point, I keep layering these things above myself until another couple of years rolls around and I wake up feeling like it’s been a long time. Of course, two years is a long time in some ways, but it’s barely a whistle in so many others, and I need to quit getting caught up in the time-that-was-lost and immerse myself instead in the time-to-be-spent. I look at the layers in these formations and I think about the layers of my life, and the comparison annoys me.

I got really thrown off back in 2014, or at least that’s when it came to a head. I’ve said repeatedly that the (now temporary) resignation from refereeing was the right thing to have done, but in retrospect, it was the other major stressor in my life which should have been removed at the time. That’s what I pretty much came to realize back when I was here in 2015, and what for some reason I could only really come to admit to myself last week. I wasn’t being true to myself, even when I thought I was taking courses of action which protected my center. A lot of things, really from 2010 forward, were the result of me foundering in the Realm of the Undecided. It hasn’t been healthy, and it certainly wasn’t beneficial when I was standing here that fall of 2015. I’ve come a long way since then, but there’s still a ways to go. There are lighter layers to be cast down upon those darker ones, yet. Layers which will hopefully be fruitful soil for something more than scrub brush and weeds.

While standing here back in the fall of 2015, there came a fairly minor realization about a relationship that was already showing itself out the door, and had been damaging me for over a year. That relationship didn’t end for another several months, it took me until January of 2017 to come back to refereeing, and it still took until this summer for me to start taking myself seriously again. I may not have managed to prove it to myself as we stopped through the Badlands on our way back to Sioux Falls from a long weekend of youth baseball in Rapid City that weekend, but I’ve finally begun approaching my photography with the deference and the passion that it deserves (that *I* deserve), even if I might not always have the equipment I need on-hand, nor the time to use it properly. To be fair, that’s something that’s been churning from the events that led to the closing of my business back in 2008, but the visit here back in 2015 was supposed to be an exercise in creativity, and it wound up becoming another spiral into self-doubt. But that was then, and this is now. The making time for it, the moving towards it, the study, the preparation, the expansion it requires? These things are being done already, and no longer slowly, and no longer bound by the All That Never Was.

More to follow.

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Upon entering the all that might become

paths crossed (what might become) © 2016 Jered Dawnne

paths crossed (what might become) © 2016 Jered Dawnne

For years—decades, actually—I have been haunted by a phrase, “the all that never was”. Some of you will have seen it crop up from time to time. It’s relatively self-explanatory, and has stood for many things. It has drifted in and out of my writings, both prose and poetry, for the vast majority of those creative endeavors. Technically, in my head, it meant one precise thing, but as such phrases are for me, it had a facility and use that expanded well beyond its original meaning. It’s the kind of thing which, for a writer who rarely sets down the words which rattle about within his skull, haunts a person. That’s why I phrased the first sentence the way that I did. By “haunting”, I don’t mean, “occasionally comes up whenever I’m feeling nostalgic”. “Haunting” for me means that is has been part-and-parcel with every day, woven into dreams, and wrapped around every meditation—for longer than I care to consider, because most of that has been anything but healthy.

Slowly, that concept is turning over in my head. I’m not sure why this image is caught up in that, really, but it is. There was something about that day when this photograph was taken, and it wasn’t just the nuances of being in a new-to-me place and meeting new-to-me people. It was something more than that, perhaps just the getting out and doing, and the departure from more static patterns.

“The all that might become” is a thing both attached to, and filtered by “the all that never was”, but it is a brighter thing, a needed thing, an internal separation from that tendency to keep looking over my shoulder at all the things that didn’t go as hoped and planned.

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atramentous detachment

atramentous detachment © 2016 Jered Dawnne

atramentous detachment © 2016 Jered Dawnne

one of the things i did this past weekend was wander around a couple of abandoned buildings on the grounds of the Cherokee Mental Health Institute. it had been a very long while since i had satisfied any sort of morbid curiosity, so this was actually a rather conflictive thing for me, internally. something my adoptive parents probably never knew about me was my fascination with abandoned buildings as well as new construction sites: the places i actually went when i skipped out at night. the inherent disparity between such things forms its own gravity, so they sit in the same place in my head. i love the way my brain pushes and pulls me in places like this. visiting here this past Sunday conjured many old memories that hadn’t surfaced in decades, all while making some new ones. it was a heady end to a very nice weekend.

this is the lobby of the old Donohoe building. some topological research online suggests that this was a prison building, which is somewhat substantiated by the thick-grilled, small-paned windows around the exterior. i deliberately captured the small fireplace in the lobby with the lens tilted off the dirty glass to include the early-afternoon reflection of the pillars and trees outside: a mix of the dismal, dark, decaying interior, and the taunting promise of a freedom just out of reach. there was no way not to wonder about the people who had been in and out of there: what caused them to be there, what they experienced, what they did.

i would love/hate to actually tour the interiors and the tunnels between these buildings. their histories, especially apparently from the 1960’s and 70’s, infer violences left seething, sorrows left mourning, and the conflicted fears of being released and being left behind. but when i visit these places where so many dreams have died, i am reminded of the relative ease of my own life, even when the moments are rough and the nights are long and broken and void; so my transient love of life returns for a while, and i am whole again.

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uncertain metaphor

uncertain metaphor (inhibited) © 2003, 2015 Jered Dawnne

uncertain metaphor (inhibited) © 2003, 2015 Jered Dawnne

we dream in segmented silences
the order disarrayed
our reason unhindered
by the all that never was
entranced in certain soliloquies
and the tales of what was done
to bring us to this place
this state
this unknown unwoven keening
and the relegation to dream-states
of our collective will to live
to hope
to chase the light
and ride the waves of those dreams
in the desire to be more
than we were
when our freedoms were more
than token gestures
designed to describe to us
the prisons of our own minds

~ 2016.03.24 © 2016 Jered Dawnne

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production values

I have not been idle; I have actually been quite productive!

In reassembling my catalogues, I was saddened to discover all that the files I burned from last summer’s (2014) trip to Alberta, were unfortunately compromised by the addition of unintended compression. And since I lost the processed RAW and master files from that shoot due the drive failures of early this year, I would actually have to reprocess everything and come up with new production files. This was quite discouraging at first, because it represented a lot of work, especially where the two 180-degree panos were concerned.

However, when I started digging into those photos, as well as others from previous years, the process of reprocessing all these images has somehow managed to become a joy again. While it’s unfortunate that I will have to pull everything out of fineartamerica.com and other places where I sell and replace them with reworked masters, given the improved clarity and less-grainy monochrome processes that I’ve been working with, these revisions have more impact, and since I’m not pressed for time, they can also receive more attention than the originals ever did.

Back last Spring, I think it was, I made a promise to myself to get out and shoot more. That hasn’t happened as much as I would have desired this year, but I think the focus I put onto some other forms of personal improvement were worth the distraction. I did, however, manage to do two things that are important to me: The first is that I (finally) have all my images together in one place and am well towards a standardization of process that improves everything from digital asset management to the quality of the finished works; the second is that I have (also finally) managed to overcome the internal flux that was my love-hate relationship with post-production, and converted it to a simple, joyful love.

The image below is a rework from last summer, originally published under the title “prominence twain” in a couple of versions. Until I remove/redo the contents of the “Grey Mountain” collection, the “darklight” version will remain there, but I believe you’ll find the retitled and reprocessed version below to have more standing.

twisted proximity (passive resistance) © 2014, 2015 Jered Dawnne

twisted proximity (passive resistance) © 2014, 2015 Jered Dawnne

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bright weaving

the day before tomorrow (bright woven) © 2003, 2015 Jered Dawnne

the day before tomorrow (bright woven) © 2003, 2015 Jered Dawnne: a calla lily in high-key monochrome

There’s something about the form of calla lilies that has always intrigued me. This was from a former neighbor’s garden in Camarillo, California, after a windy afternoon rain had left it a bit soiled. There are several photos of callas from her garden, another neighbor’s garden, and from our own, from this time. Shooting flowers in the wind was one of the ways I practiced panning focus back in the day.

This image has several variants: I believe I did three or four “back in the day”, and I know I did two on this walkthrough. The stem just to the right of the subject presents some intriguing processing challenges, in that it’s very easy to overbrighten it to the distraction of the flower. If you weren’t aware, I’m somewhat averse to literally photoshopping elements of my images. It’s one thing to change the quality and flavor of the lighting to present otherwise unseen aspects of the subject; it’s another thing to change what was actually there, so I don’t do that, that much. This softer, high-key treatment was one way of working around that.

Softer tones like this are not my usual fare, but this is now my favorite version of this image. I will probably be experimenting more in this tonal range.

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this weekend was one of those sad mixes of good intentions and unplanned results: i was going to get out and shoot on what might well have been the last pleasant weekend of the year around here, but such hopes were mooted by circumstances which i was unable to control. so instead of doing what i wanted to do, i did the other thing i needed to do, and that was to tend to how i store and protect my entire image repository. not exactly exciting or fun stuff, but necessary, and for some reason, whenever i think about the technological side of what i do, this image is now attached to that thought. it’s kind of the new “the waiting for it bleeds”, if you remember those old posts on the old blog, from 2004-5. i guess i’m kind of weird that way. oh well. the good news with that is that i’m one major step closer to combining two master catalogs and finally having one continuous archive again. this is at least good for the slightly OCD, digital asset management guy who still lives in my brain.

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once known

once known (as was) © 2007, 2015 Jered Dawnne

once known (as was) © 2007, 2015 Jered Dawnne


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remembering not reminiscing
a dance within a gradient
from shadow to light
we are the spans of time
in which we dwell in which
we experiment with gravity
in unknown little whiles

~ © 2015 Jered Dawnne

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arch nemeses

arch nemeses © 2007, 2015 Jered Dawnne

arch nemeses © 2007, 2015 Jered Dawnne

for my soccer teammates (Go Team Nemesis!), “nemeses” is the plural form, not another typo! 😉

It’s a funny thing. I took several photos of these arches on that late-winter day, and at the time, I hated them all. The LensBaby was a troublesome thing, there was a throng of people passing behind me the entire time, and impatience got the better of me. In fact, this photo and its iterations are the reason why I only published a few photographs from that day on my old personal blog.

I was closing down Lightroom today, and accidentally clicked on this one; suddenly, I liked it, so here it is. I had cropped it as an 4:5 ratio at some point along the way, apparently trying to see into it in different ways, but I don’t remember doing so. I reset it to the 2:3 aspect ratio I very much prefer, and took it from here.

I do like the full-color original, and I’ll eventually put it out, but “grey would be the color, if I had a heart,” right?

Photography with anxiety: the perpetual mind-fuck.

It’s focused on the extreme lower right: forever frozen there. My kingdom for a flat shot and a bokeh filter, but here you have it: the perpetual dream state.

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The Archon of Gradual Decline

The Archon of Gradual Decline © 2015 Jered Dawnne

The Archon of Gradual Decline © 2015 Jered Dawnne

When walking alone, memory-filled yet tomorrow-facing, that particular sidelong introspection becomes a certain form of solace. One must wander, not without direction or purpose, but likewise winding and curving without seeming reason, until the wanderlust becomes its own symphony, its own enactment, its own dialogue. There is a purity to that process which verges on sacredness: every step leads towards sanctuary and peril, and everything in between.

Time erodes us in exponential maunderings which evince more slowly than we truly understand. Even the stones fade away. Even the skies are never truly as they were in the where and when. Even the universe cannot return to what it was.

And we: We are more transient than this by far, bound to an objectivity we barely discern and rarely recognize.

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