I commute to work via one of two options these days – bicycle or bus. If it’s above 32 degrees Fahrenheit, I will climb on my bike. The trip is only 6-7 miles and takes me anywhere between 30-45 minutes. A lot depends upon my mood, how my body feels or whether I want to sweat or not. Traffic lights play a small part since they are timed for auto traffic. The route is pretty flat with only one short, steep hill about 1/3rd of the way through. As I’ve aged (and put on a few pounds), the hill is tougher…
When I ride the bus, it’s dark to start out. I’ll put the earbuds in, select my soundtrack for the trip, and head out. Since one of my senses is occupied, my others seem more vigilant. My nose works pretty well anyway but early morning bring a cacophony of aroma – rain on pavement, damp earth, leaf piles…Or, if it’s early Spring, budding flowers. I use my sight more. Not only for motorists who aren’t paying attention to what or whom is in front of their windshield, but to look up to the morning sky.
I get more inspiration by looking up. Trees, birds, the sky beginning it’s tint from black to purple to red to orange and then daylight. The shadow play on houses and office buildings as I stand waiting for the bus to show. Then later, as the bus moves from neighborhood to neighborhood to downtown where I get off at my stop for the walk to the office building that houses my cubicle.
Depending on the brain chemistry of the day, that walk is either one of drudgery and darkness of thought, or light, positive and full of creativity. Today it was the latter. I saw artistic possibilities everywhere. Light, shadow, texture juxtaposition of shapes and patterns.
I use my iPhone more for a camera and checking the internet than an actual telephone and today was no exception. I snapped four or five pics during my walk. Two of them I posted on Instagram almost immediately and a couple more are the inspiration of this post. I don’t take a lot of time to set up a shot. Using my natural eye for composition plus the skills honed from my design school college years and my early work career, I’m able to capture some pretty good raw shots. Some are used as is. Others, I step on heavily using a couple of post-production apps on my phone.
Dripping Sunset and Kaleidoscope Palms are examples of using the BeFunky® app. Since I have enough darkroom knowledge to be dangerous, (or arrogant), I can manipulate the photos using the Contrast, Sharpen, and Saturation controls much faster than it took me back in my college days using the enlarger and various types of film and paper. It satisfies my creative need. But I can't help but wonder if it has also fed my shrinking attention span disguised as efficiency. Or the need to upload the photo to various social media to see how many 'Likes' I can get.
Now that I think about it, all art is a popularity contest - to be seen and appreciated and, ultimately, purchased if the artist is using it to support themselves. My sister, with her own degree in Fine Art has always held that art is about Sex and Food. She's probably right. I saw a crow chasing another one on my walk. And I'm pretty sure there's a box of donuts on the other side of one of the building windows.