First Rites of Spring: a Poem While Mountain Biking

Hepatica while riding at Pleasant Valley Park in Grafton, Wisconsin

Stopped and write this poem during my first ride of spring. Working at a nature center has the benefits of now beginning to recognize the plants along the trail.

WordPress being WordPress it didn’t retain intended line breaks, so I suppose I’ll let you imagine where they exist.

Grinning in the sudden fragrance

of last year’s Christmas pines

winding now scenic trails;

a lemonade of civil engineering

in the echoes of the town dump

bike tires lean past

Wild Leeks leafing amidst moss

as the auburn of Wood Betony

stretches it’s floral tentacles

nowhere near an octopus ocean.

I crouch down, saying hello

to the pinkpurple Hepatica.

Blood still thick with last month

body baffled by this new mercury

panting gladly for a breath

within the leaves of last year

A Moment of Learning

Was present with my camera for this moment of discovery at work. Students learn about tiny holes in theoretically solid pieces of wood. This displays the paths that transport sap as evidenced by blowing bubbles with one’s breath. Click the arrow to view all pictures.

Bald Eagle Pair, Photographed in Flight

One of those days when you’re out taking pictures of Sugar Maples for spring promotion and you hear oddball chittering sounds…it’s not the squirrel over there – ah it’s a couple of Bald Eagles flirting up in the sky.

Photos from a recent prescribed burn at Riveredge Nature Center

To quote the Riveredge Instagram post I wrote…

Prescribed burning is a time tested practice for prairie and savanna rejuvenation that existed in the Americas centuries before European settlement. We embrace this practice across appropriate Riveredge habitats.

Prescribed burning spurs prairie seeds to sprout, consumes encroaching invasive species, and expends potential wildfire fuel in a safely controlled situation.

Thanks to our wonderful burn #volunteers for helping keep everyone (and everything) safe!

A perhaps unorthodox building portrait.
Lines of fire are strategically placed with a drip torch to collide and extinguish together.
Riveredge School students were able to learn and observe from a safe distance.
This shot is probably my favorite, the combination of high-leaping flames and indecisive sunrise.
For all the technology in the world, the best burn tools are still a flat piece of rubber to suffocate any flare-ups and a backpack full of water with a hose.
I was even able to participate in a burn later in the day (photo by my colleague Matt Smith). I should probably clarify…the fire is moving slowly, for this picture moment, I’m in a safer landscape than this may appear.

Golden Hour Sun Slips Down While Climbing the Trees

During an event at Riveredge I was taking pictures at one of our satellite locations to promote future installments. I walked back to the main building to pick up some sort of forgotten tool for the program and for all of about 10 minutes the light was still coming through the trees but had already darkened across the land. As the sun went retreated, the remaining light gradually crawled up the forest.

Experimenting with Yashica TLR Medium Format Photography

I picked up a Yashica twin lens reflex camera and this is the first roll. I’m getting the feeling it might be smart to use an external light meter.

Not bad, except for that dang lens flare. And that speck of dust…

I’m curious to hear other people’s experiences and suggestions. Do you use a phone app? A separate light meter?

Darker, no lens flare

Also, dangling 15-feet up while leaning over a deer hunting tree stand is probably not the ideal situation to acquaint taking pictures backwards. But, hey, lots of sitting around and waiting time…

The color saturation in film vs digital is palpable

I’d appreciate any guidance fellow photographers have to offer. Thanks.

New poems published in BlazeVOX 20th Anniversary edition

I’m pleased to have a few new poems published in the latest edition of BlazeVOX. Hard to believe this hardworking press has been a “Publisher of weird little books” for 20 years now. Congrats to editor Geoffrey Gatza on the anniversary.

Go here to read the new BlazeVOX.

(photo taken by my son while experimenting with panoramic photography)

Thoughts about happening upon a moment and stopping to take that picture

Who ever needs that? And more?

Came up in my f-book memories from a decade ago and continues to be head-shaking laughable.

This is one of the first times I recall trying to compose a photograph with intention. Shot it with a hybrid smart/flip phone that featured a full keypad.

Years removed, looking at this picture, for me it’s not about how crisp or precise the image is or isn’t. It’s about having stopped with the decision to attempt to take an intriguing or entertaining photograph. Taking the time to practice, regardless of however inefficient it might be for the rest of the world – our coworkers and friends and family members – to slow time to take a photograph.

At the time I was selling Christmas trees in Florida. My employer waited a minute or two for…

“Hold on – we’ll be there in a minute…Eddie’s taking one of his pictures. Of a bad cock. Yeah, a BAD COCK! Two bad cocks! And MORE!”

Always stop to take the picture/write the poem/phrase of what captures your attention/ire/amazement/laughter.

And granting the people in your company the luxury to do so is a grand form of patronage.

Random Black and White Photography Fun

I stopped for coffee and noticed how this bent sign and resulting shadow somewhat warped perception when considered. Like an outdoor funhouse effect.

I find that so much of both photography and writing is just stopping to notice what you notice as intriguing and then taking the time to document it. Phones are pretty handy. Took this picture with my phone and many of my first drafts of poems take place on my phone too. The tool you have available is often the best tool.