So having decided on the where, I now need to think about the what and I have a book of Nevada images on my shelf which will help with that.
It's individual textures in the landscape, rather than categories that I'm attracted to at this point, wanting still to do a little second guessing and trying to choose something which will work with the techniques in future chapters.
|1:1 Drying Mud in a Wash|
|1:2 Bark of a Ponderosa Pine|
My mind's already thinking about layering and cutting back. I test the images out in black and white, and then I crop, one thing leading to another. But, as I reread the instructions I realise I may well need more than one image in my chosen "aspect" and mud is not bark. I need to think again. This time I'm into grasses.
|1:3 Fergusson Mountains|
|1:4 Winterbrown Marsh Grass|
|1:5 Mount Rose|
There's nice variety too: seed spikes strong and thrusting towards the sun, the rustle and movement of Winterbrown Marsh Grass and finally, the grass at Mount Rose (where our grandchildren ski) which is trying to recover from the weight of snow.
These are very different images from those of mud and bark. And this is what I notice as I go through this process of "getting my eye in". I'm looking at depth -- background, foreground and midway between. I'm seeing movement, as I've already commented. The grasses also have other qualities: short and tufty with narrow stalks (possibly hollow) with a spiral of ripe seed heads twisting round the upper third. The marsh grass is broader bladed, dry and possibly beyond harvest time, narrowing to a point, each blade curved and arching over. Where the snow has melted at Mount Rose the grass still seems damp and flattened. For all that it still has movement, blades are clumped together and arch as the sap starts to rise. The time of year creates an atmosphere, tells a story.
Moving on from these initial images I turn to Photoshop, make them back and white and then play with them in the filter menu.
|1:6 Fergusson Mountains|
|1:7 Winterborne Marsh Grass|
|1:8 Mount Rose|
I don't intend going over these sequences in any detail however, I would like to comment on the second row far left of Winterbrown Marsh Grass where Poster Edge treatment reveals some rather lovely markings on the blades nearest the camera. There are a number of further things which also spring to mind and might be useful when interpreting grasses in stitch. Firstly, the sense of rhythm in each one is made very clear. Secondly, these versions show what is specifically in the foreground and thirdly, their tonal range. As ever with these exercises, it is surprising how much inspiration there is in such a seemingly mundane thing as grass. How could I possibly say that when I've written the description above?
Now to rocks, they're mountain ranges really. Below is Cathedral Gorge, and below that two black and white versions.
|1:9 Cathedral Gorge|
|1:15 Within Lovell|