Tag Archives: South Dakota

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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a good time for certain reunions

ice maiden (relit) © 2002, 2015 Jered Dawnne

ice maiden (relit) © 2002, 2015 Jered Dawnne: a small array of ice pushed out of cracks on a frozen lake

every Autumn, i succumb to the groanings of the Old Year as it slips away into preparations for the New Year, and those first preparations are to guard against Winter’s stasis (yes, i do kind of run on an internal Celtic calendar, i guess). this Autumn, i have prepared for the coming Winter by re-importing all of the photographs i’ve taken across the years with the intent of “arting up”. most of these were processed in the past, but many others were skipped, for reasons which i talk about elsewhere. over the weekend and into the wee hours this morning, i processed twenty-four of those photographs into thirty-two separate images. reconnecting with stolen moments from an anxious and hectic time of my life was an interesting endeavor: re-rejecting certain photographs and re-experiencing that minor sense of loss was almost as intriguing as revisiting some of those old creations and making new creations from past rejections.

that means i had fun, by the way.

i have many more of these to work on across the remainder of Autumn, through Winter and into Spring, and this also sets me up for re-importing the old masterfiles and combining them with these in one continuous archive, to recover from that hard drive loss earlier this year. the “fun” and “exciting” side of digital asset management.

anyway, the image above was one of the first i took out on the ice alone with decent equipment, slightly nerve-wrackingly spread-eagled across a crack in the ice over the deeper part of the lake, where the stronger current is, no don’t think about that, the ice is thick, you’ll be fine, just get the shot. there is a lot to play with here in terms of depth of field, and i chose the angle for that that flexibility. i did err on having the edge of the frame too close to the sun, but that can be a fun post-processing challenge, too. i made two versions of it this weekend; this one has a bit more tonal depth than i managed originally, largely a by-product of greater flexibility in current software, and being able to run the full process in the ProPhotoRGB colourspace, as well.

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transient stasis

transient stasis © 2015 Jered Dawnne

transient stasis © 2015 Jered Dawnne

I brought this bench to where it now resides: a brute-force effort moving it from a former home to this place. The decision to move it was arbitrary and a spurious: made on my last pass through the house after it had sold. But I had spent some good time sitting on it where it once was. I had conducted some good pondering there, and even a few photographs were taken from upon it, so it came along for the move.

After the move, I also spent a goodly amount of time perched upon it in its new setting, taking counsel both for and against certain decisions that were being made at the time. The place where it sits had an interesting feel during the night, even without all the things that were in my head: part melancholy, part solace, part fear, part hope, and part maundering. Whenever I come to visit it now, it feels simultaneously of stasis and transience to me: simple projections, both, I have no doubt.

It has always struck me as odd, this human propensity to mentally attribute one’s emotions upon a place. The skeptic in me strongly doubts that we can truly imprint portions of ourselves on places, let alone imbue them with our essences, but nonetheless, we create such deep connections, regardless of rational considerations. This place is one such for me.

When I took this photograph yesterday, I was reminded not only of what this place means to me, but what it might also mean to my children. And how those meanings have undoubtedly shifted over time. That thought, of course, led to considering what I thought of this bench in the place where it was, and of the things I had considered while sitting upon it there, and what its former setting must have meant to my children. And then the all of what had come before. It is a remembering thing in a remembering place, and there are very few things which I have managed to forget across the years.

But the transient stasis I perceive within this bench is nothing but what I carry within myself. My home is wherever I am, and my places of security are things which move within me, and which move with me, and which are ultimately mine alone.

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rimeMorn © 2007 Jered Dawnne: late winter, Lincoln County

rimeMorn © 2007 Jered Dawnne: late winter, Lincoln County

A mere week after “underTree and overWrought”, my view was thus. Another place I miss quite a bit: this was part of the daily scene from our back porch of our first house in South Dakota. 3.5 acres was beyond our means to keep up with, and that was unfortunate. My upstairs condo of today pales in comparison, and has a far less intriguing view. Although to be fair, the ploughed fields weren’t exactly always “pretty”, either, I suppose.

But, I used to love those rime-covered mornings out there. It’s such an infrequent and fragile thing, the rime, and so very ephemeral. During my first few years in South Dakota, it was a novelty to me, of course, just like snow, sleet, and freezing rain were, growing up in central Texas.

The flat rise across the center of the image is the raised track for the old Rock Island Railroad. For four years or so, it was my favorite place to walk. Two of the old bridges over Spring Creek, built in the late 1800’s, lie to the left of this image, but would be obscured from this vantage. I used to visit them several times a month, as they had their own little ecosystems, and were a welcome distraction from hours upon hours of wedding post production and the long work-days spent for someone else’s benefit.

As winter approaches again, I am reminded that similar mornings remind me of this time, and even of this day in particular. It took me a week to pick up the camera again for myself, after the visit to San Antonio. I shot this having only briefly reviewed the photos from that trip; I was too raw, and raw in a manner it has taken me two handfuls of years to begin to come to terms with, in some ways. I shot this, with “underTree and overWrought” very much on my mind, actually. This was the day I gave it that name. Yes, “briefly reviewed”, for me, actually means a few things.

I learned to love the snow, here. It is very likely that I’ll eventually move even further northward, to the lands where the snow truly rules over all, and covers certain memories from obsession. That wouldn’t be a further evasion of my roots: more of an acknowledgement of the branches I slowly spread.

I might be done with trolling through my memory-factory for a while. There is still a bit of a story to tell, there. But for now, let me be on to other things.

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Downtown Sioux Falls, October 7, 2015

Downtown Sioux Falls, 9:13am October 7, 2015 © 2015 Jered Dawnne

I had to take my camera equipment to work the other day in support of our “Customer Service Week”, so when a meeting dropped off my calendar, I noticed that the clear skies to the east (behind me, from the vantage presented) shining on the light low clouds made a nice backdrop to the cityscape. I’m not normally one for cityscapes, actually, but this is where I am, and a piece of what I see every day, so I thought I’d share it with you. The high-resolution image is available for non-exclusive, paid release.

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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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The Temple of the Slow Demise

The Temple of the Slow Demise © 2015 Jered Dawnne

The Temple of the Slow Demise © 2015 Jered Dawnne

Where I live, metaphorically. It’s not a place I enjoy, but it aptly describes the past…far too many years.

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the summoning of the muse

downWandered (prime) © 2015 Jered Dawnne

“downWandered (prime)” © 2015 Jered Dawnne

I have, obviously, been struggling to find my Muse again. Half a year, for goodness sake. I am aware, now, that I have been focusing on the wrong things for me. I’m not an eyes-forward kind of guy; I have a side-long view. That doesn’t mean I never look ahead, it means I don’t normally drive along my path just looking forward. Which is, unfortunately, what I’ve been doing of late. I am reminded of some old words of mine from a past, similar time when I struggled to find my Muse. I’ll leave them here while I once again take up the task of finding Her. She’s a damn slippery one, this Muse of mine, and I’ve grown so accustomed to ignoring Her of late, I fear my search will yield little, if anything. She really should be hiding by now. I’ve been an ass lately.


a value indeterminable
a consolation wrapped in fear
for what has been
it peaks in unrecognized restraint
how faultless
this heartbroken beauty lies
wrapped in a power
now unspoken now unclear

visit me in nightmarish dreams
and i shall reconcile
a fate untold which glistens
in unrequited love
you shelter me in vain
and i cannot come to realize
your uncommunioned strain

assail me not in your digression
nor visit me through windless sheen
or i shall cling to this unsated
that you no longer scream
in the shades before my eyes

“apprehension” – original, 1992.05.23 © 1993, (revised) 2015 Jered Dawnne

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of that which will become

which was (original) © 2007 Jered Dawnne

which was (original) © 2007 Jered Dawnne

i vow to roam this spring and summer. i abhor this stasis, this unmoving pensiveness. i will rediscover the little things, and redevelop my joy in the beyond. i will recall where i have been and what i have done, but i will reach beyond the little deaths that are the mundane, the well-known, and the half remembered. and i will meet the skies in celebration.

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