J R learns the D200 - Day 22
Of Water Who Always
Retaining Walls, Roses, & Falls
Is falling into the lake. Some of the clutter of rocks along the lower shore in this shot is what's left of another, long-ago, ill-conceived wall to protect the rise and the road from thirsty waters. Water got behind that wall as water must, and tore it asunder. There have probably been other attempts. Garland Road may eventually become a bridge.
Page 22, March 25, 2006: The trees are about all that's holding the earth in place, so don't be too surprised if the City or the Park Department orders all the trees cut down, again. I don't know how far from the busy road the lake used to be, but it's closer now, and it will win. In the end, water always wins.
You don't tame water corralling it in a big hole, you just slow it awhile.
The dark edge left and below the SMU rower is the walking bridge, now open for foot traffic past the lower meadow. Beyond that is the staccato clutter of commerce, Dollars Taxas' bequest to the lake. A lovely drive down past a thin shred of wild left in the city.
I almost don't see the keep-out signs, just the subtle glimmering rhythm of metal in sunlight and the far back green and brown concrete misted like its own dusky sky, water stains like distant fir trees.
The edge of the cancelled retaining wall appears to rise, like the point of a pyramid — the simple elegance of concrete slabs and rubble against the almost amber ripple of late afternoon tree shadows.
First two times I shot the flowers on the pole down in lower meadow, I fuzzed them badly. Even with the one autofocus lens I own, stumbling with my new camera. This time I was careful. Backed up the path, gave them optical space, even got my silver fence and the City's new dirt in.
I especially like the dead flowers on top, wheat white against the red roses and gray pole. Everything else has been plowed under.
These guys got significant lateral movement from the flood. They may have been portion of the wall that did not retain. They probably did not roll over the dam. But there's always been — still are — big rocks along the bottom of the spillway where the birds play and catch fish in the subliming spray. Odd they all ended up in the same spot.
Elegant in its rubble, the fence reflects in the now-calm pool before shredding over the concrete falls to splash off to White Rock Creek on the other side of the Garland Road Bridge.
I darkened the brown concrete ramp down to the falls, to contrast up the bright rocks and dirt tumbled from the breach. The no-longer retaining wall and adjacent fence remind me of a past civilization's noble ruin.
The path is open to the public again, but the lower meadow — now lower — is fenced off, as is the parking lot. I'm still wondering whether the whole of it will fall in the next hundred year flood — which could happen next Tuesday. Droughts sets these things up, then engineers watch it happen and wonder.
Moments after, the girl who brought her cell phone into nature, followed her dog into the glowing pool of green light and watched him curl convulsively to lay giant turds, which cell phone lady, still talking, did not pick up. I missed that shot, all in light, not half in shadows.
I had in mind those amber branches stark against the falls behind. I've taken pictures like that on mountain tops, and hoped these would do that, too. But, they don't. They are in focus. But it's not enough of a photograph. I do appreciate the can hanging on the far side branch, almost out of focus. Despite the warm/cold color contrast, this photograph is mostly just a mess.
All looks so neat and ordered, the red bridge that bounces like an upset stomach or onset of dizziness when a runner runs his rhythmic beat into it, concrete angling into the stilled water barely rippling in the amber slant of late afternoon light and the brilliant rods of white steel holding up the car bridge behind.
She turned around while I was composing, smiled and turned back. I appreciate that in a subject. She was communing with nature/trees/whatever. I had hoped those trees would be sharper, but wasn't paying attention to the f/stop or shutter speed, so I wouldn't know. If the camera didn't keep track of all that falderol, I'd never know, and I couldn't learn from it.
Look at those trees, soft and more tree-ish, more real, all mushing into the one, the all, the everything. I couldn't have planned it better, it were all a confusion of happy accidents. The halo is nice, too.
I shot him a bunch of times. He kept getting closer and more foreshortened, and I didn't get his eye, like I'd rather. But I wanted that orange foot showing, and I really appreciate that he was churning nearly in a circle. All that rippling was what I was after.
That I got most of the duck in focus is a minor miracle I accept. The light around the little wood bridge filters through a lot of trees. Even in winter it's dark in there or the sky would reflect more in the water he churns.
I used the exposure compensation (correctly, it seems) to let the trees go dark but still keep the falls dark enough. I cheated, though, and burned the whole image down somewhat. So I'm getting the hang of these things, but I'm never quite sure what to do with the hang.
The old photographer taking the photographer's picture routine across the chasm of the spillway, in telephoto. I really appreciate the red truck, vivid along the low horizon. And all those trees sprouting new leaves. And that huge gash down the side of the so-called retaining wall. Great texture.
I shot these falls nine times. This nearly exact composition five times, always trying to get the water to shape up differently with changing apertures and shutter speeds. What's showing now in this nearly fried from over sharpening image doesn't happen in reality, only in pictures when the photographer is fed up with what it really looks like, especially when that is not what he had in mind, at all.
But I like the effect.
I crawled under the big black iron fence direly warning against walking or wading in the spillway into the fenced, treed area opposite the unretained meadow where I have often photographed the egrets in the trees. I sought a better picture of that side's retaining wall that toppled in the flood. Instead I found these much more handsome volumes.
I'd just shot this from a different angle where you couldn't see the cars or humans, but I like this guy's dark anonymity, a walking silhouette heading toward the little wooden bridge I shot the churning duck from. The bridge I've seen (and smelled) pot smokers sitting under smoking. The cacophony of cars and the bright orange doors on the renta space place across that iteration of Lawther all add to the reality of a simple bridge among simple iron fences, heading up the hill, past the spillway on their right to the tall part of the dam.
More nobility of the fall, and I'm not talking about autumn anymore.
He's not actually exactly in focus. But it's close, probably close enough for web work, but not for a good-sized print. I had it in single focus, not continuous, and could not change it while he was coming at me. I don't mind it using more battery power. I have two and trade them out every day.
I like his look, as if he didn't see me pointing my big old hog of a lens right at him. Independent. I also like the fishing gear and the chain I never saw till I brought it up on the monitor. The monitor. Turns out all these photographs look great on my monitor, all nice and contrasty and deep, with density till next Tuesday, white whites and dark darks and a long line of grayscale and color in between.
But it looks totally different on Anna's iMac and on Joel's ancient G-3. I haven't checked anybody else's computer lately, but I need to. Or get a really good monitor. Either a DELL Super Sharp or whatever or a Mac. This stupid NEC sucks. Adobe Gamma won't work on it to make it better. Etc.
A gap where the falls felled a field.
An international lady stops watching the lake sluice by to watch me photographing her.
And what day at the lake would be complete without a beautiful sunset?
Total images expended, so far = 3,876
[All shots above taken with the Nikon 180mm 2.8 AF lens, I think]