From the corner of my eye I watch the white water fly swiftly past above my left shoulder. Curling around in front of me it playfully threatens to leap out of the stream, but it meets a stone wall, tall and flat and smooth, that gathers it up in a pile and sends it back the other way. Twisting and bumping side to side it runs away without ever leaving me behind.

The stone wall is black and lustrous where the spray keeps it wet.  A misty reflection of the water wavers in its mirrored surface. As the stone face rises from the water its color transitions from black through brown through rust to dry pale yellow. Cracks wander over its smooth surface branching and joining and then branching again.

A quick burst of cool wind flows down the gully, whispers something in my ear, and sets last Autumn’s brown leaves flying on its current. The floating bits of confetti follow the water; curling around me then dipping down in front almost touching the water and then again lifting up they escape over the stone wall succeeding where the water fails. Suddenly the wind stops for breath; the leaves abandoned, fall. Some land on the ground and sit waiting for the next wave of air, but some land in the water and keep flying along for a while until they lodge against a tree branch that has fallen into the water.

The sky is hazy –  the sun diffuse but warming. Small yellow flowers stretch tall above their brown winter blankets.

I watch the pines waving in the breeze. Birds hop from limb to limb. A hawk spirals through the sky. Everything but the water passes silently. I can hear only the water. The rest of the world is just images.

I put my head in my hands and close my eyes. I drift with the leaves and with the hawk. I think – about what I’m not sure. Images come and go in my mind; flowing and turning over and running away like the water – memories of the past, imaginings of the future, snatches of music. I wander in day dreams.


Come to the woods, for here is rest. There is no repose like that of the green deep woods. Here grow the wallflower and the violet. The squirrel will come and sit upon your knee, the logcock will wake you in the morning.  John  Muir



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6 Responses to “Sitting”

  1. kseverny Says:

    awesome shots.
    capturing this cant have been easy

  2. fencer Says:

    Hi forestrat,

    Great photos as usual… I especially like the first one.

    How do you keep your powder… err… camera dry? On say a dripping wet day, and then you seem to get quite close to your subject as well.


  3. lookingforbeauty Says:

    Amazingly sharp pictures for such dynamic shots. The writing is crystal clear as well. Another very enjoyable, meditative post with deeply thoughtful ideas.

  4. forestrat Says:

    Thanks everybody.

    I like to work with lots of contrast between dark shadows and bright highlights. That way I can isolate certain portions of a scene. I like to go out on sunny days and find areas of shade to work off of. You can see the sunlight slanting down from the top right in the middle picture.

    Getting the camera wet is always a problem. Fortunately the Nikon D300 (and the D200 I used to have) is sealed pretty well against the elements. I try to protect it as much as possible by keeping it in my backpack or under my shirt until I have my tripod positioned and have made a guess at the correct settings. Then I work fast.

    Many times I have to take a shot or two and then take the camera away, clean the spray off the lens, and then come back for some more shots – repeat. I carry a lot of lens papers and cloths in my bag!

    I most often use a 28 – 75 zoom lens. It’s not a big telephoto, but the little bit of zoom oftens helps me stay out of the worst of the spray.


  5. Cutthroat Stalker (Scott) Says:


    Nice contemplative piece to soothe my morning into the day. I’ve tinkered a few times over the last several months with the “soft” water shots like your number 3 here. You mention you like to go in the middle of the day. How did you keep the whites from being blown out and the speed long enough to blur the water?

    Another question: Have you had the Vulcan out lately?

    • forestrat Says:

      Keeping the water from blowing out is a problem. I use the slowest ISO and the smallest aperture and I always use a polarizing filter. If that’s still not enough, I carry a couple neutral density filters that evenly cut the light back.

      I have had the bike out a couple three times in between the rain and frosty mornings. Nothing big – just a run out to lunch or the store or something.


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