Fun Foto Challenge: Leading Lines

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This challenge, brought to us by Cee, is to post photographs of either vanishing lines or leading lines. I love taking photos of paths and roads so I’ve lots of photos of lines coming together in the far distance. But this week I have been thinking a lot about leading lines as I have been going through old files – deleting and editing. I enjoy the art and science of composing photos that are pleasing to our senses – either when I’m taking a photo or through cropping in post processing.

When I go through a file of newly taken photographs, I evaluate them as to whether they touch me emotionally – and then whether they are technically good enough to share with others. I like photos that make me smile, sooth my spirit, excite my story telling nature. I like photos that meet my need for beauty. As I was going through some old files today, I realized how important line and composition are for making a photo aesthetically pleasing.

On our way home in 2017 we stopped at a state park to the west of Gainsville, Florida. We walked down the boardwalk and I took lots of photos of the Santa Fe River and it’s tributaries. I have a series of photos that I was evaluating from the perspective of disappearing lines.

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I felt pulled down the river by the turquoise line on the bottom, seen through the crystal clear spring water. I didn’t physically go down this tributary (the water is a consistent but cool 72 degrees F) but I know there is something special beyond that bend.

I took another photo of the same tributary but from a slightly different perspective…

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From this perspective there isn’t a break in the log at the bottom. Emotionally I am stopped from entering the water’s flow, from exploring beyond the bend.

And then there is the third photo. The people in this photo seem to stop my eye, but only¬† to say “hi” to each group and chat a minute before I move on to that final bend and anticipated solitude.

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I don’t like the feel of the middle river photo, but the first and third are equally pleasing. They both invite me in, the door has been left open to me (just a little), but I’m invited into a different story depending on which photo I enter.

And that concludes my thoughts on leading lines – which probably for some is a good thing.

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What? Leading lines? I don’t see any leading lines.

My fun is in response to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Vanishing or Leading Lines. Click here if you would like to see more or want to join the fun.

Affinity Towards Russia

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When Cee posted this week’s photo challenge of domes, my thoughts went to this photo I took of the golden domes of Catherine’s Palace outside of St. Petersburg, Russia. It also brought up the conflict I experience when I look at some lithographs I have hanging in our bedroom, purchased at the Peter & Paul Fortress. My daughter had lived and worked in St. Petersburg for a year shortly after perestroika. She invited me to accompany her for a return visit in 2004, and her friend agreed to sponsored us for a visa and then allowed us to stay with her in her apartment. Her friend was a marvelous host, opening up so many opportunities to meet people and experience the culture. My daughter knew the city so we would explore during the day while her friend worked and then we would spend the evening with the family, sometimes attending events. What fun we had communicating because her friend is fluent in English, her daughter knows some German, and my daughter is fluent in German and knows some Russian.

Now the Russian government is our enemy because they committed a hostile act against our democracy by interfering in our election process. Does my desire to display representations of their history and culture make it seem to others that I am complicit in condoning their intellectual and technological aggression? Should I burn and break all these artifacts of this evil “other?” Should I shun my Soviet-born daughter-in-law who is intelligent, loving, beautiful, kind and fun to be with?

No, I won’t. I don’t have a world view that there is a broad “other” who is different than I and thus bad and evil. Yes, the Russian government is a bad player and is an enemy of our country, but I am still going to celebrate the strong and courageous people born on that foreign soil. I will enjoy the brilliant composers, dancers, and artists that the country produced. I will fondly remember and celebrate the beauty of St. Petersburg and remember with fondness all the people I met and encountered. Travel always whets my curiosity about the history and culture of the places I visit so I will continue to read about it and now to also stay knowledgeable about their current political system and the players in Russia and the U.S. who colluded to impact on the outcome of our last election. This helps me to clarify what I value in my own culture and political system, and see more clearly what parts of our culture and political system need to be fixed. And I will celebrate my daughter-in-law, her family, and other friends who have emigrated from that region of the world.