Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Summer Pleasures

I found myself on a beautiful piece of land over the weekend. It's in northern Wisconsin, near the little town of Clear Lake. A creek runs through the area - I'm pretty sure it's called Hay Creek. I spent a couple of nights in a tent there, and the first morning I woke up just after sunrise, and naturally, my thought went to "Beautiful light on the creek." I had pitched the tent up against some tall brush leaving only one of the two tent doors available. Between me and the door was my slumbering wife. While she is tolerant and indulgent of me and my need to capture light-just-right, it seemed a shame to wake her. So, sneaking as quietly as Gollum, and talking quietly to myself as well so I didn't forget anything and have to come back, I zzzzzipped open the screen and the fly, set all my camera gear out and climbed out. Mission accomplished (no, really)! She snoozed on and I was mosquito bait. The stream was only about a hundred yards away, so in moments I was rewarded with just what I expected: Sun dappled creek.

Morning Bluff
Morning Bluff

Using the tripod and the 18-55 mm lens that came with my camera, I stopped it to f/22 at ISO 200, and used timed exposures to capture as much of the richness as I could. This also gave me the bonus of slowing the water down to a nice, silky foam as it burbled across the rocks. I got the feeling as I stood there looking at the bluff and the creek bed, that this creek had been here for centuries, perhaps longer, while I was the most temporary visitor. Even the 'squitos were generational. So I used my remote trigger to insert myself into the photo in a way that expressed what I was feeling.

Temporary Vistor
Temporary Visitor

I made a loop of the area, taking photos as things caught my eye. I've always been fascinated by this sort of segmented grass, which I understand dates back to prehistoric times.

Ancient Grass
Ancient Grass

After an hour or so, the temperature was beginning to rise noticeably, and the day promised to be hot. Since there were no showers to be had, and I was mostly alone, I decided to brave the decidedly chilly creek and splish-splash and pretend to get clean without any soap. Here then, is a photo of a Common Skinny-Dipper in Summer Plumage...

Common Skinny-Dipper
Common Skinny-Dipper

As I typed that title, I was reminded of a delightful painting by Wisconsin artist Hugh Mandelert, which I believe was titled "Common Skinny Dippers in Summer Plumage". I saw the original in Madison at the Fanny Garver Gallery, but this painting must have been done either at the same time, or by request for someone who loved the other. Thinking of you, Mr. Mandelert. RIP.

1 comment:

  1. Hay?? Hay! Naked.. skinny dippin'... hay??

    I heard a song the other about some Hay,(perhaps you too heard it on Saturday!).. if not, its something you don't want to miss.. so I'll jot it down, it went something like this...

    When I was a young man I used to like girls,
    I'd fondle their bodies I'd play with their curls,
    'Til my wife ran away with a saleman named Bruce,
    Now you'd never be treated that way by a moose!

    And its moose, moose, I like a moose.
    I have never had anything quite like a moose.
    I've had many lovers, my life has been loose,
    But I've never had anything quite like a moose.

    When I'm in the mood for a very good lay,
    I go to the closet and get me some hay.
    I open the window and spread it around,
    Cause the moose always come when there's hay on the ground!


    When I was a boy, playboy got me excited,
    but now that I'm older - lust for babes has subsided,
    I still get horned up and I still get wet dreams,
    from ogling the Moose in my new Field and Stream.


    I've done it with all kinds of beasties with hair,
    I'd do it with snakes if their fangs were not their,
    I've done it with llamas, sheep, dogs and a goose,
    But I've never had anything quite like a moose!

    Now a gorilla is all right for a Saturday night,
    And lions and tigers they put up a fight.
    But it's just not the same when you slam their caboose
    Like the feeling you get when you hump on a moose.


    I went to the desert a moose for to find
    I left there frustrated near out of my mind
    For camels remind me of moose just a bit
    But moose aways swallow while camels just spit.


    (slowly!) Now I'm an old man, advanced in my years,
    I'll look back on my life and shed me no tears,
    I'll sit in my rocker with a glass of Matuese,
    Playing hide the salami with Marvin the Moose.


    I've died, gone to heaven, my soul soars away,
    Showin' up at those gates with my bale of hay,
    Now they're bound to inquire as to my grin,
    And I'll wind up in hell humpin' mooses again.

    (P.S., I did the same thing you did the morning before you got there.. up at the crack o dawn and down to the river for some pictures -- but you're a much better Fo-Toh-Graph-Er)


If you don't have a blooger or "open" ID, you are free to use "Anonymous" for your posts, and leave your name if you are willing.