Better Than No Chance at All
lands on shiny new asphalt.
No chance to grow here.
I walk away, then go back.
I move it to damp bare dirt.
– above post (on phone) or beside it (on desktop). –
Slow shutter needed.
Daffodil and tulip share
early morning light.
~ ~ ~ ~
There is enough for us all,
if we take less than we want.
I considered posting my photo wordlessly, with the post’s title as a hint that I have something beyond a nice image in mind. Too subtle. Compulsively explicit, I wrote a haiku. Then I expanded the haiku to a tanka.
I hesitated. The tanka’s last 2 lines might be too preachy. Then I read the Gandhi quote in a great collection of images and quotes: Our Beautiful, Broken World (curated by Mitch Teemley).
Thanks, Mitch. The time for subtlety is long gone.
Mums are good silk fakes.
Rock is real and will outlast
both mums and viewer.
I dithered over whether to respond to
with the material above. With small differences in format, it was posted 2020-04-17. Tho usually reluctant to repeat myself, I’ve noticed that bloggers I respect sometimes do repost things they feel are still relevant. I’ve also noticed that 11 months is quite a while on a cyberspace time scale.
Oh well. It’s rare that I settle on a combination of angle and settings that I really like before the light fades or shifts. Seize the moment.
Wings gliding past arc,
high above Mogollon Rim:
raven and rainbow.
Hard fingers rise up,
trying to grasp soft colors
as the rainbow fades.
Seek ends of rainbows.
You will not find them? Okay.
The quest is enough.
§: Notes and Credits
While there are zillions of fine photos of rainbows, the images used here are in an elite group. (Wish they were mine.) The rainbow does not just coexist with whatever else is in the scene; it works with the other elements and lifts a good image to greatness.
Subsection headings below are also links to pages with more detail.
Click on the link above if U have any interest at all in how dramatic skies can contribute to landscape photos. No interest? Click anyway and U will soon have one. The photo I used comes near the end in a long series of splendid examples.
I first saw this photo as a standout among standouts in a collection curated by Mitch Teemley, whose blog has many great collections alongside funny and/or insightful original content. The idea of a haiku with what became the last line of Arizona Sky came to mind quickly, but writing other lines I liked took longer. Much longer.
I wrote No Pots of Gold and later found this splendid photo to illustrate it (and inspire some haibun prose). The photo proved to be a gift that keeps on giving; it inspired Out of Reach.
Rainbows are one kind of spectrum. There are many other series rather like the somewhat quantitative R-O-Y-G-B-I-V of rainbows, and sometimes it helps to think of those spectra as rainbows. Two examples follow.
This post’s series of haiku exemplifies the spectrum of naturalism in haiku. Like Arizona Sky, many haiku are specific descriptions of a momentary observation. Like No Pots of Gold, some are toward the other extreme: general expressions of attitudes toward life, with at most a metaphorical reference to nature. Out of Reach is in between.
There is also a spectrum of compliance with the 5-7-5 rule, which is revered by some and reviled by others. Like most of my own haiku, the ones in this post comply. Tho I do respect the 5-7-5 rule, I also wrote a haiku that goes 3-2-5 and a haiku with just 2 lines. No apologies.
subject matter and nuances of form,
for haiku or any other kind of art.
Let the rainbows glow.
Morning Sun on Winter Wreath
Bird, bow, and berries
scatter rays of hope to me.
Today may be good.
Lonely in the crowd
and weary of empty talk,
I seek solitude.
Image Notes and Credits
I was intrigued by the landscape’s azure sky in
While the sky is fine just as it is, it is also a good place for an overlay with text or another image.
I had already used a downloaded image of a wearisome crowd to illustrate the first 2 lines of my haiku Not Alone:
© Igor Zakowski | 123RF Stock Photo
(Image has been cropped.)
I decided to illustrate the whole haiku by overlaying the landscape’s sky with the crowd image, opaque at the top and then gradually fading out of sight toward the bottom. By the time I noticed that my photo editor does not support opacity gradients in overlays, I had my heart set on the project. Hmmm. Overall opacity of 60% in the overlay looks good, apart from the sharp horizontal line at the bottom of the overlay. Hmmm. My editor does have enough functionality to make that boundary a little blurry and wobbly, with one eye of Ms Purple Hair left staring at the viewer.
– above post (on phone) or beside it (on desktop). –
Bright white and strong pink:
early snow on burning bush
predicts apple blooms.
When we saw himself,
Narcissus forgot to drink.
Eagle had more sense.
Click here to see more images and read interesting facts about flowers in the genus Narcissus (AKA daffodils).
Click here to see more images from the Weather Channel’s 2016 Photo Contest.
My response salutes the pluralism and progressivism implicit in CDHK. We can honor and build upon the past w/o being confined by it.
Old Pond & Beyond
To sing of all that’s
true and good and beautiful,
write haiku poems.
Shinto shrine ritual:
wash hands before entering.
He rants with no mask.
Virus-laden spit may fly
beyond two meters.
Hmmm. Now spit can fly beyond two megameters.
Sun shines. Bird mutters.
Perched on power line, flicks tail.
Hmmm. Buy a download of a promising large image (6750×4500 pixels):
Rotate it. Crop tightly (down to 635×912). Boost saturation and visual contrast. Yes, the result is like the red and gold on black that I saw when the light was just right:
Sometimes it takes a good deal of editing to tell the truth.
Some go to grayscale
when form is “all” that matters.
I keep azure skies.
My world will gray soon enough.
I keep color and press on.
If somebody chooses to emphasize form and texture in a photo of bare branches by going to grayscale, I am likely to disagree with (but respect) that choice. So far, I have always wanted to keep color in my own photos, often with minor adjustments in my photo editor. Here are some examples where grayscale would be goofy:
|Click on a thumbnail to see the full image in another tab.|
While I have no qualms about really needing color in most of my own photos, there is more to be said about the ways various photographers have used color or grayscale. Some examples follow.
A somber poem with grayness as a metaphor has been illustrated by a photo of a mostly gray scene. But it is a color photo, and rightly so. The subtle color is a reminder that the grayness is there in the scene, not an artifact of how the image is displayed.
Of course, I admire the photographic pioneers whose images were compelling despite then-obligatory grayscale. Some classic photos are best left in grayscale anyway, and contemporary photographers may choose partial desaturation. There are even a few photos that benefit from going all the way to true black and white, where every pixel is either pitch black or stark white. Scroll down from the header image in Choices to see an example.
Seen on Green
Swaying in light wind,
branches only seem to weep.
Pink cherry blossoms.