Despite all the discussion and analysis on A&P, I seldom, if ever, carry it consciously in my head when I’m out photographing. If it happens to be there at the start, it soon flees as I focus on the subject. Sub-consciously, who’s to say? In any case, in my first outing after writing about complexity, I made some pictures that not only relate to that issue, but seem to have a loose resemblance to some of the drawings discussed. They also involve the edges June brought up recently, so I’ll have a look at that, as well.

The idea was to do some catching up on a couple of languishing projects by heading for a horse pasture that also has trees I’ve photographed for Cottonwoods. The horses were way too attentive (a blurred nose at three inches does not an exciting photo make), so I headed for the trees along the trace of creek. I wasn’t hugely inspired, but I did enjoy the backlighting from the setting sun, and captured images from a dozen or so spots.

I think these images share some qualities of nearly allover busy-ness with the drawings from the Complexity series of Nelleke Beltjens. There is some negative space, but not much, and it’s almost as if it’s there primarily to emphasize the complex rest of it. The branches extending out into the sky are like her exploring lines.

The opaque branches and twigs, and nearly opaque leaves, were set against a bright sky. The consequent wrapping of light around them is most evident in the next to last image above, where the sun takes quite a bite out of one of the trunks. Exactly as Carlson said, and June quoted, I have to resist a tendency to make the tree parts too dark, or one loses the sense of luminosity from the sky. I try to show this below in a full resolution detail from near the lower right corner of the first picture.



darkened and sharpened

two tones (maximum contrast)

The sky is maximum white in all cases, but its radiance decreases, and it becomes nearly dead in the fully posterized version.

On this web page, with its limitations, I prefer the detail to the whole image. With an actual print, especially a large one, I can go close and examine all the lovely details, while also keeping a grasp of the whole. It’s the combination that makes complexity interesting (if it is), while also making a larger statement about the world.