In the Mountains, After it Rains

“In The Mountains, After it Rains” – Balsam Mountain, Catskills, NY – 2018

In the Mountains, After it Rains – Oct. 19, 2019

If you are in the mountains
if the rain has stopped
if the weather is just right
the ground warmed by the sun
the air cool as it surrounds you
you can witness
what must be angels being born
slumberous-they rise
from the earth
unable to hold on
their haziness
their foggy awakening
is all that surrounds you
as the earth exhales
and everything returns

Note: I made this image in the Catskill Mountains, one of my favorite places to hike. I was hiking with my friend and fellow photographer Dave. We had been making our way through the haze, which had seemed to transform the environment into some strange, fantasy world you normally only see in films. The lack of contrast, the subdued colors, everything glistening with a coat of moisture. It was all very surreal, but beautifully so. When we reached the top of Balsam Mountain, we looked out onto a vast landscape of nothing. Nothingness was all that we could see. Everything was just this thick cloudiness. We waited there for a while- probably about an hour or so in total, before finally the thickness began to break. We could look down upon the layers of hillsides, a myriad of trees began to provide a bit of texture. Then we could see the thick evaporation beginning to occur as the water, being warmed by the sun, began to evaporate and rise into the sky.

Leaves on a Trellis, 2015

Leaves on a Trellis, 2015 – Welwyn Nature Preserve, Glen Cove, Nassau County, NY
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For a long time now I have found myself looking up at the light beyond the leaves of trees. It probably goes back to my childhood where I spent a good amount of time in the forest constructing lean-to shelters, tipis and longhouses, as well as pushing down trees that had died.

I made this image while exploring the woods of the Welwyn Estate in Nassau County, Long Island. I had left my apartment near Trenton, New Jersey very early that morning. This meant I was able to avoid any traffic on the Turnpike and made excellent time on the Cross Bronx Expressway. I arrived at the estate as the sun was rising.

My intention that morning had been to walk down to a beach that a friend of mine had introduced me to. The beach rests on the banks of the Long Island Sound with Connecticut visible on the horizon. It’s a small beach, almost as if it was an accidental afterthought, and because of this there are rarely other people there.

That morning had a suspended, soft feeling about it. There were two fisherman out on the water and the loudest sound to be heard was the rhythmic crashing of the waves against the sand and the stones of the jetty. Every color visible was a delicate pastel tint and nothing seemed real. I made a short film about what my time there that morning felt like.

Afterwards, it seemed as though my senses had been heightened a bit. It was a very calming experience, yet it had the effect of making my eyes more keen to my surroundings. As I explored an area of the woods I knew to contain the ruins of a greenhouse, and at least one other large structure, I came across this trellis blanketed by leaves. By now the sun had risen high enough in the sky for the light to pass through the canopy of leaves above.

I came across this image while browsing my archives and really fell in love with it. There’s a lot going on in such a seemingly simple image. Everything is still, but your eye has plenty to seek out in the image as it jumps between clusters of leaves or traces the twisting paths of vines.

It makes me think about how life goes on outside the seemingly homo-sapien centric existence we all play out. Yet it also brings to mind Frances Hodgson Burnett’s children’s novel The Secret Garden and an intimate moment between to young lovers being interrupted when one, overcome with emotion, gazes up in search of relief and sees this intricate composition of leaves resting above them.

If you find this image as enchanting as I do, please consider purchasing a print from me. It would be my pleasure to make one for you.

Improving My Writing Station

My letter writing station with new attachment holding two small magnifying glasses used for inspecting prints.

Lately I have been focusing on better organizing my dwelling so that when I am working progress is made in a more uninterrupted fashion. Since I am easily distracted by the smallest of things this has been quite the undertaking.

While working at my writing desk one evening (it had been my grandfather’s desk) I thought I had organized everything to the best of my ability. However, whenever I had to pivot or change the position of the letter writing station (I’m not sure what else to call it) these two small magnifying glasses which I use to inspect my prints kept either disappearing into the sections where the pens are stored, or falling off of the station altogether.

Due to this I found it necessary to augment the little writing station. I wish I could say that I built it myself, however I happened upon it just a week or so ago at the Goodwill store just next to the Columbus Farmers Market. I thought it looked nice and as it so happened I had just committed to writing more often, and this includes writing letter to my friends and loved ones.

Call it coincidence or call it fate or call it what you will. Either way I picked it up for what must have been $2 or less. I like everything about it. There is felt on the bottom so as not to scratch the surface of the desk. It has leather (faux leather), which I suppose adds a hint of sophistication, as well as prevents the pens and pencils from making too much noise as they are dropped into the side storage areas. And the center, slanted area is perfect for holding 4×6 and 5×7 cards and envelopes.

My only contribution to its design– the only thing that I felt would make it more useful to me was the installation of two brass picture frame hangers. I’m sure you know the type. They are the sort of inexpensive hardware that often accompanies (equally) inexpensive frames (of questionable quality). I figured that aligning two of these on top of one another could provide a suitable holster and guide to situate the magnifying glasses better.

Luckily I happened to have some small nails and the frame hanging hardware in my toolbox (which was also passed on to me and had been my grandfather’s). With a bit of focused measuring and tentative hammering– it was a bit late and I did not want to be a bother to my neighbors–I had installed the small brass hardware and voila! Not only do the small magnifying glasses have a place to rest, but I think it all looks rather good.

Could it have been better if I had matte black hardware to go along with the other metal bits (more visible in the image below)? Probably, but this clearly looks like an attachment added “after-the-fact” by the user, and I like that about it.  

Photograph showing detail of the two small picture hangers I installed to hold the magnifying glasses in place.