Details, Details

What’s The Fuss

A conversation from a science class sixty two years ago just came to mind. It is a fond remembrance and perhaps revealing.

I attended a high school in Cumberland, Rhode Island. I was already a science nut and had two close friends who shared my interest. And it was a different world from today. The three of us were probably the three top students in our class and the teachers essentially gave us the run of the school. We made up the science equipment budget, did experiments in the chem lab (tossing sodium chunks into pots of water) while a laten class was going on. (The Latin teacher was excessively tolerant). Roger Smith and Richard Sewchuk were my partners in crime, and I am delighted for a reason to include their names. They made high school exciting when science was not a priority to almost anyone else, and, in retrospect, I might not have had the life I have without them. Alone is too lonely.

Which brings up a short conversation with Roger. His comment was that for something man-made the closer you looked, the more crude the construction, whereas if it was mother nature’s work the closer you looked the more you learned and there was beauty at every level.

Until this moment (April 18, 2021) I had never thought about the connection of Roger’s comments to my obsession with detail and texture in my images.

A great example is the menisci that form around water droplets on leaves after a rain, or around the leaves if they are on the surface of a pond, or the way in which buds on trees evolve into leaves (I am thinking especially of the tassels on budding oak trees). Well, thank you Roger.

Below: JW 5058, P01, D01, D02 (bottom to top) I think illustrates my point about what you miss if you ignore the details. The place is a vernal pool known as Wyman’s Meadow a few feet from Thoreau’s Cover at the northwest corner of Walden Pond. The leaves are water-shields and the photographs were made on a rainy Saturday in 1993. I arrived just as the sun was poking through the clouds. Click on one of the images to go to its gallery.

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