Art

Thursday, July 11, 2019

North Coast Night Lights: Eel River Overlook

Posted By on Thu, Jul 11, 2019 at 10:08 AM

DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
The magic of the night was all around, so very quiet with only the sound of the redwood forest around us sighing in a light breeze and merging with the soft susurrus of the Eel River far below. From a protected hollow high above the river my companions and I looked out over a world bathed in starlight, the galactic core of our galaxy reaching upward from the southern horizon and complementing the curve of the river below. At that moment, at that place, we felt between the heavens and Earth.

There is no forest more beautiful than the redwood forests of our part of the planet. They occur natively only in a few narrow bands along the coast of North America, and we are blessed to have some of those forests in our backyard here on the California north coast. To stand among them beneath the stars is a treat very few people in the world will experience firsthand. We who live with these wonders may sometimes forget what a blessing they are.
“A shooting star! Over near Jupiter!” I missed the meteor at the time, but not the magic of the night. Below us the Eel River glided between Redwood-covered hillsides under the night sky. I was with a former student and her friend and we played with our cameras while we stood in awe of the night. I found the meteor as I examined the photographs later. Humboldt County, California. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • “A shooting star! Over near Jupiter!” I missed the meteor at the time, but not the magic of the night. Below us the Eel River glided between Redwood-covered hillsides under the night sky. I was with a former student and her friend and we played with our cameras while we stood in awe of the night. I found the meteor as I examined the photographs later. Humboldt County, California.
It is easy to lose perspective in our busy world. As humanity we are perhaps overly concerned with ourselves. We forget that we’re actually quite small, a small species on a minute world that is a part of something much, much larger. We pretend to set ourselves outside of Nature when we look at it. But we are deep within it and riding for our lives on the tiniest of motes in space, a sea of Nature so large we can’t even grasp it.

On evenings like this, looking up into the incredible Milky Way galaxy of which we are a part, it’s interesting to imagine myself traveling out into space and looking back at the receding Earth. As Earth shrinks, I see how small we really are. At about the size of a little blue marble, our atmosphere looks a mere sheen on the surface. It gives some perspective relative to the Universe in which we live. So fragile are we out there.
From the immensity of space, the distant core of our galaxy rises over the Eel River. We will never understand it all, but I did mark a few points along the way. From the Avenue of the Giants, Humboldt County, Earth. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • From the immensity of space, the distant core of our galaxy rises over the Eel River. We will never understand it all, but I did mark a few points along the way. From the Avenue of the Giants, Humboldt County, Earth.


Continue reading »

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

North Coast Night Lights: The Survivor

Posted By on Wed, Jul 3, 2019 at 5:45 PM

DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
The Survivor.

The gnarled old pear tree was struggling to survive, hanging onto the edge of a dried embankment above a little dirt road when my family moved there over 40 years ago. It was small, not much taller than my dad, but already old, a twisted thing eking out a life on its own in the hard earth of a hot, dry Southern Humboldt hillside. Something in its solitary and determined struggle to survive was compelling to me, and it has always resonated with me.

After years of weathering, the crumbled soil beneath it gave out and it slid down onto the road. I found it there one day, still standing amongst the rubble of its small slide and looking a little disheveled. But it was OK. I dug a new hole and planted it across the road from its old perch in a more secure spot with the same view. I carried water to it regularly through the summer until it was able to continue on its own. That was over 25 years ago.

The other night I stopped by to say hi to it out beneath the stars. It was good to see the old tree under the night sky and share with it the awesome splendor of the Milky Way. I thought of all the nights the pear tree has watched the stars and planets traverse the sky. Other than a few clouds along the horizon, the sky was a glittering star field. Jupiter shone above the tree as the brightest point. Across the Milky Way from Jupiter glowed Saturn. I watched them cross the sky for a couple hours before tiring, so different from the patience of the tree; from its perspective, I showed up, connected briefly, took some photographs and zipped away again.

What’s a couple hours when you’ve stood watch for decades?
Some of the visible galactic points of interest that are reasonably identifiable passing over the old pear tree as Earth spins beneath them. Humboldt County, California. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • Some of the visible galactic points of interest that are reasonably identifiable passing over the old pear tree as Earth spins beneath them. Humboldt County, California.
It’s interesting to think how the life of this stunted old pear tree and mine have become entwined, and it feels good to think that replanting it all that time ago gave it so many more years of life. I suppose I was its little angel when I came along, and for its part it has always given me a good feeling.
An old, stunted pear tree abides in its nightly vigil beneath the Milky Way. The tree lives in Southern Humboldt County, California, but the far ridge line is in Mendocino County. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • An old, stunted pear tree abides in its nightly vigil beneath the Milky Way. The tree lives in Southern Humboldt County, California, but the far ridge line is in Mendocino County.
The tree is still small but it’s healthy. There must be a lot of rings packed in that dense little trunk. I’m glad our paths have crossed.


To keep abreast of David Wilson’s most current photography or peer into its past, visit or contact him at his website mindscapefx.com or follow him on Instagram at @david_wilson_mfx .
  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Monday, June 17, 2019

UPDATE: Reggae on the River Cancelled

Posted By on Mon, Jun 17, 2019 at 6:46 PM

The High Times sign was a popular backdrop for selfies last year. - FILE
  • File
  • The High Times sign was a popular backdrop for selfies last year.
UPDATE:

Dusty Hughston, a Mateel Community Center board member, confirmed that the 2019 Reggae on the River show has been cancelled. “It’s real. They called me and the treasurer,” he told Redheaded Blackbelt.

The Mateel Board will release a complete statement but at this time Hughston said that though the board won’t have the money from Reggae this year, they have continued to pay down the Mateel’s debt.

Hughston said that with the closure of the big event, the Mateel will put on a smaller event at its hall in Redway. “We’re going to do something that weekend at the Mateel,” he said.

PREVIOUS:

The perennially troubled event, Reggae on the River, has been cancelled as of 5:30 p.m. today.

While little information was immediately available, last year’s ticket sales were dismal.

High Times stepped in to produce the event in May of 2018 after the Mateel Community Center landed in desperate financial straits when the previous year’s festival lost $140,000, leaving the Redway nonprofit facing a $430,000 budget deficit.

According to the Reggae on the River’s website, ticket holders will be refunded within 10 business days.
  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , ,

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

North Coast Night Lights: Night Lights in the Fog

Posted By on Wed, Jun 12, 2019 at 2:17 PM

banner-2019-06-05_edge-o-world-fog-silhouettes_58_1500px.jpg
In which an expedition to photograph beneath the night skies encounters lemons in the form of a thick pea soup fog, so we make lemonade. We had hoped for a starry night and the Milky Way, but the lemonade turned out better than expected.

In online photo circles, one will bump into other photographers through the images they share, follow each other’s work and sometimes meet up to shoot together or collaborate. Mary Burns and I ran into each other through our images on Instagram and have followed each other’s work for a year or so. She does a lot of work with people, and I do a lot of work with night, so naturally our collaboration would involve photographing people at night beneath a starry sky.

Mary introduced me to her friend and fellow local photographer Gabriel Smith and her brother Liam before we caravanned to our destination.

We arrived to find a world socked in with a coastal fog dense enough to do proud the moors in The Hound of the Baskervilles. The mists thickened and thinned with the varying wind but never gave us a glimpse of the sky. It condensed on the trees and dripped from the leaves like rain from not far away; it dampened the stars from our sight and gave us a wet and gray night.
“You shall not pass!” We encountered The Fire Lord, who required a password. But we had too many passwords already and forgot it.  —Gabriel Smith models as the Fire Lord in this re-creation. Humboldt County, California. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • “You shall not pass!” We encountered The Fire Lord, who required a password. But we had too many passwords already and forgot it. —Gabriel Smith models as the Fire Lord in this re-creation. Humboldt County, California.
Thwarted in photographing scenic landscapes, we tripped down the mindscapes of our imagination. We had lights, sparklers, people, fog and cameras. The sparklers cast dramatic glows in the fog and swirling smoke and our lights threw stark shadows and brilliant shafts piercing through the mists and over the ground.

We played, bouncing light and ideas off of each other. Gabriel and I alternated turns modeling and photographing while Liam held a light on us from behind. Mary photographed and I kept the sparklers going for us. It felt strange being on other side of the camera. Striking a pose and holding the flaming sparkler aloft before me, I felt like the wizard Gandalf challenging the great Balrog of Morgoth.


Continue reading »

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

North Coast Night Lights: Eureka Slough Railroad Bridge

Posted By on Wed, Jun 5, 2019 at 12:23 PM

DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
I remember when the rails in Humboldt County rumbled to the passage of great trains rolling regularly through the county. Looking back, I took far too little advantage of the photographic opportunities they afforded while their time and mine here overlapped. Now we have them in memory only, and photographing the remnants of their steel carriages and rusting rails evokes ghosts of a bygone day.

With thoughts of capturing some of that once mighty line’s remains in the stark light of the modern night I found myself on the old railroad bridge over the Eureka Slough at the north end of Eureka, Humboldt County, California. Here the Old meets New, as this section of the former track is slated to become part of the Humboldt Bay Trail, connecting Eureka with Arcata for non-motorized traffic
(https://humboldtgov.org/humboldtbaytrail).

In photography’s early days images were monochromatic, reproducing all the vibrant colors of a scene as a range of gray values from white to black. Film was an ideal medium for capturing history, and the early history it recorded lives on today as black and white images. For over a hundred years photography recorded a world without color for posterity.
A night on the old Railroad bridge over the Eureka Slough at the north end of Eureka, Humboldt County, California. Trains thundered down these tracks regularly back in the day. Photographed June 7, 2018. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • A night on the old Railroad bridge over the Eureka Slough at the north end of Eureka, Humboldt County, California. Trains thundered down these tracks regularly back in the day. Photographed June 7, 2018.

Continue reading »

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

North Coast Night Lights: Memorial Day Flag

Posted By on Wed, May 29, 2019 at 11:39 AM

DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
There will be many words written and sentiments expressed in honor of Memorial Day, but none will be as significant as the thoughts and feelings, wishes and prayers we hold within ourselves. One’s heart is a special place, and when we had our moments of silence this weekend it was in order to bring to that special place those parts of the outside world that strike us to our core, to make them forever a part of ourselves and to better ourselves through them. When we better ourselves, it improves the world.

I was a college student at Humboldt State University in 1991 when the Gulf War broke out, our first war against Saddam Hussein. As always, times of war bring with them much on which to reflect. I thought about this as I watched our country’s people respond in so many varying ways. While I tend to do most of my reflecting on such things internally, the gamut of human expression is wide and other people will express themselves in any number of ways.

Some will raise their voices visually. Not long after the Gulf War started in 1991, a striking visual beacon was raised against the night sky along U.S. Highway 101 between Arcata and McKinleyville: a gigantic flag flying along the freeway, hoisted by crane and stretched taught by a cable anchored to a roller. Impressive by day, the giant flag’s illuminated Stars and Stripes stood out spectacularly against the backdrop of night. It drew my photographic eye like a moth to a flame. I wanted to photograph it. I had no thought of speaking any messages with a photograph, only of crafting something visually appealing.
A giant U.S. flag flies beside U.S. Highway 101 between Arcata and McKinleyville, Humboldt County, California. 1991. Shot on 35mm film, this is an in-camera double exposure on a single negative; I made one exposure of the whole scene with the crane carrying the flag twisting in the wind. Then, without advancing the film, I took a telephoto shot of the flag filling the frame with its stripes flowing softly upward. The two images overlapped on the negative to produce this image. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • A giant U.S. flag flies beside U.S. Highway 101 between Arcata and McKinleyville, Humboldt County, California. 1991. Shot on 35mm film, this is an in-camera double exposure on a single negative; I made one exposure of the whole scene with the crane carrying the flag twisting in the wind. Then, without advancing the film, I took a telephoto shot of the flag filling the frame with its stripes flowing softly upward. The two images overlapped on the negative to produce this image.


Continue reading »

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , ,

The Otters are Coming! The Otters are Coming!

Posted By on Wed, May 29, 2019 at 10:53 AM

The otter sculptures ready to be shipped. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • The otter sculptures ready to be shipped.

A shipment of 100 otter sculptures is heading toward the North Coast, according to Jeff Black, who created the North Coast Otter Public Arts Initiative. All the way from Jolly Roger Sculptures in the Philippines, the arrival of the 3-foot-tall sculptures standing ready for an artist's touch will kick off a public art initiative scheduled for next summer.


The initiative will combine art and citizen science to “promote clean water and healthy habitats where we live and play,” using a fun scavenger hunt across five counties in the North Coast, a junior ranger program and an Eo Day/Otter collaboration to support the River Otter Citizen Science Project. The initiative is a celebration of otters, Black said.


Black is still continuing his search for sponsors and hosts, as the scavenger hunt will incorporate business across Humboldt, Del Norte, Siskiyou, Mendocino and Trinity counties. To learn more about hosting or sponsoring an otter click here.

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , ,

Thursday, May 23, 2019

North Coast Night Lights: Rainy Night at 5th and F in Eureka

Posted By on Thu, May 23, 2019 at 10:35 AM

DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
Rain had come out of the blue and the weather was up in the air. I couldn’t find any stars anywhere, so I lit out to the downtown regions of Eureka, Humboldt County, California to find something interesting in the lights of civilization.

I had in mind finding a fire hydrant to work with as a foreground object in a city street scene. To me the fire hydrant in a city is akin to the lone fence post in the country, it’s one of those subjects that draws me somehow. Not that I have a lot of shots of them at all, but I do think about them. Actually, I’m not really sure I’ve ever focused on one in a composition, but I’ve been collecting images of them in my head.
Hmm, the stars gotta be around here somewhere ... rainy night self-portrait on the corner of 5th and F, Eureka, Humboldt County, California. A long exposure from the night of May 16, 2019. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • Hmm, the stars gotta be around here somewhere ... rainy night self-portrait on the corner of 5th and F, Eureka, Humboldt County, California. A long exposure from the night of May 16, 2019.
This night I had the bug to track one down and capture it in its native element. I found my candidate in one of the city’s neat yellow and cyan fire plugs down on the corner of 5th and F Streets. It had a certain character about it, and I liked the location for the lighting, the lines and the brick sidewalk.

Rain came and went all evening. Even between showers there seemed always to be some droplets floating in the air and landing on the lens. But the light quality from the city lights was beautiful, reflecting bright, rich colors off of the rain-soaked road’s gritty surface. Long exposures turned car lights to smooth streaks of light and color as they drove through the frame. I loved how the colors were working in the photographs.
The fire hydrant sitting on the corner of 5th and F Streets in Eureka, California. The light streaks in the image are from cars going by. In long exposures such as this, the cars moved almost entirely through the frame while the shutter was open, causing their lights to become streaks. The driving cars themselves are not bright enough to see. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • The fire hydrant sitting on the corner of 5th and F Streets in Eureka, California. The light streaks in the image are from cars going by. In long exposures such as this, the cars moved almost entirely through the frame while the shutter was open, causing their lights to become streaks. The driving cars themselves are not bright enough to see.
I’d brought a crystal ball I hadn’t used in ages to incorporate in a photograph somehow. There is something of a mild craze for photographing crystal balls these days, so it’s been in my mind’s eye of late. This crystal ball I bought for photography almost 25 years ago down at Globe Imports along the waterfront. (How many years has THAT place been gone?!) But unfortunately this night the rain was not cooperating, and I’d hardly played with it before I was driven back to the shelter of the car.
I set my crystal ball on the fire plug, holding it securely in place using a specialized compound: chewing gum (I packed it out, too). Looking through a crystal ball turns the world upside-down, but I thought that made the small scene inside it difficult to make out, so I flipped the crystal ball upside down so the scene inside was right side up. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • I set my crystal ball on the fire plug, holding it securely in place using a specialized compound: chewing gum (I packed it out, too). Looking through a crystal ball turns the world upside-down, but I thought that made the small scene inside it difficult to make out, so I flipped the crystal ball upside down so the scene inside was right side up.


Continue reading »

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , ,

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

North Coast Night Lights: Perception of Time

Posted By on Wed, May 15, 2019 at 11:03 AM

The rugged northern California coast is battered by a constant barrage of waves, their motion smoothed out in this 25-second exposure. Puffy clouds blowing by overhead were changed to streaks in the camera by their motion. Only the stars and rocks appeared to be still. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • The rugged northern California coast is battered by a constant barrage of waves, their motion smoothed out in this 25-second exposure. Puffy clouds blowing by overhead were changed to streaks in the camera by their motion. Only the stars and rocks appeared to be still.
Considering how the world is versus our perception of it is interesting. Take this photograph. What do you see in it? Perhaps give yourself a moment and label all the things you find in it. You could describe the image with all of the thousand words a picture is due, but yet miss entirely some of the action that was taking place during the photograph, either because it wasn’t recorded at all or it was recorded in such a way that it isn’t recognizable. Did you note the crashing waves pounding the rocks below, or describe the cottony-puffy shape of the clouds as they drifted across the sky? What about the motion of the Earth beneath the stars, or the perpetual crumbling of the coastline into the waves occurring before our very eyes? It’s all there, but did you see it?

What’s real time? Let’s say real time is how we perceive time passing via our personal biological senses of sight, sound, smell, etc. Our eyes are made to bring us a view of our surroundings in an instant, with moment-by-moment updates. When I shot this image, I was out photographing with my friend and former student Jake Langston. In real time we saw each of the individual waves arriving in a continuous procession. One by one they rolled in to the shore, crashing and splashing around the gigantic buffer rocks in the shallows before finally pounding against the cliffs and beaches amid the familiar roar of the surf’s white noise. Above us a cluster of small clouds slid slowly across the sky, each a discrete little puff. Stars twinkled behind them, hanging apparently motionless across the magnificent night.
Jake takes a starry night photo overlooking the Pacific Ocean along Scenic Drive, Humboldt County, California. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • Jake takes a starry night photo overlooking the Pacific Ocean along Scenic Drive, Humboldt County, California.


Continue reading »

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , ,

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

North Coast Night Lights: Humboldt Moonset

Posted By on Wed, May 8, 2019 at 1:39 PM

A Humboldt Moonset - High Saturation. What passes between friends as the crescent moon sets over the Pacific at the end of the Milky Way? Humboldt County, California. November 10, 2018. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • A Humboldt Moonset - High Saturation. What passes between friends as the crescent moon sets over the Pacific at the end of the Milky Way? Humboldt County, California. November 10, 2018.
When friends or family visit from afar my first wish is to share the natural beauty of our area with them, especially if they come from city lives insulated from nature. From the legendary forests of our towering redwoods to the beautiful beaches and rugged coastlines, the natural beauty of our area is its greatest treasure.

It’s all still there at night, too, remember. And night offers something else city folk never see at home: a sky full of stars. It’s all too easy to take things for granted when one is accustomed to seeing them, and we live in a wonderland here. But conversely, to those unaccustomed to the sights, our area offers some amazing eye-openers, not the least of which is our night sky. Visitors from less rural areas are often amazed at the number of stars we still have in our skies. If you take your visitors out, or even go yourself, allow fifteen to twenty minutes to let your eyes grow used to the dark so see the most stars.

There is really no better way to feel small in the Universe than to stare into the night sky full of stars and realize that each one is itself a sun, and all are impossibly distant from each other. Some of those points in the sky are themselves entire galaxies full of stars. And everything we see is but a small part of the whole Universe … so it makes me feel small. Living amongst and beneath all this beauty we have on California’s North Coast goes remarkably well with my current passion: sharing these wonders of the nightscape via my photography.

Even visiting friends who themselves are not strangers to the outdoors will appreciate our unique scenery. Take the new moon’s crescent setting over the Pacific at the very foot of the Milky Way … I ask you. How many folks get to see that? Not too many, probably, for it happens only once each year. The Milky Way moves across the horizon from left to right month by month, and the previous month saw the Milky Way setting to the left of the crescent moon, while the following month it was to the right of the moon.

The moon was the brightest object in the sky at the time of the accompanying photograph, and in allowing the camera to gather enough light for the surrounding area the moon itself nearly became a featureless brightness in the sky. But its crescent shape is preserved in the original image, and can be seen when printed large. If you’re unable to see the crescent shape here, it’s because it is too small as presented.

In editing the photograph I noticed that the sky above the horizon had two distinct color casts between the left and right sides. In the spirit of fun, I bumped up the saturation to bring out the color differences. In part because of that, I halfway think of the image title as “High Saturation” but officially I have titled it “Humboldt Moonset.”

To keep abreast of David Wilson’s most current photography or peer into its past, visit and contact him at his website mindscapefx.com or follow him on Instagram at @david_wilson_mfx .
  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , ,

Recent Comments

socialize

Facebook | Twitter

© 2019 North Coast Journal

Website powered by Foundation