From now until April 8, 2013 we are proud to present an exhibition titled Hidden Glimpses of Nature through the Gifts of Art program in the University of Michigan Health System. Gifts of Art is a wonderful program that is "One of the first and most comprehensive arts in healthcare programs nationwide" For more information about Gifts of Art please visit here.
Above is a virtual presentation of the exhibition. Many of these pieces are six feet wide, so a computer screen does not do them justice. Please visit the Gifts of Art Gallery in person if you can at Gifts of Art Gallery – Comprehensive Cancer Center, Level 1
1500 E. Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 Open M-F from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
- This is a series of five images that were made over a week’s time as a litter of five baby squirrels started making their way out of their den hole while mom was away. These guys were so much fun! On the last image you can see one squirrel that is out a little further than the rest. It was the boldest of the group, but if the squirrels saw something that they didn’t recognize, like a crow flying overhead, they would all scramble back into the den hole. And when they weren’t fast enough the “bold” one would grab the head of the squirrel just before him and stuff him into the den hold. All-in-all they were a lot like five clowns in a hole!
- The first rays of the day bathe the rocks, water and sand along the shore of Lake Superior in a coat of gold. A series of small islands provide shelter to a hidden cove. Behind the islands, the water is calm and still, reflecting the simple beauty and elegance of the sunrise. The world is fresh, clear and new again. It’s going to be a beautiful day!
- For several weeks in the spring I would sneak into a blind an hour before sunrise and wait for the Wood Ducks to fly down to water at first light. On clear mornings when the sun rose above the tree line, it would tickle the plants along the pond with warm, golden light that was reflected into the water. Ripples on the surface gave the pond the look of a water color and the Wood Duck drake gliding past added his brilliant pigments to the pond painting.
- Above the horizon, but below the clouds, just enough of the sun breaks free to stripe the sky and reflections with golden rays of light. In just a matter of seconds this phenomenon is gone...what other marvels are happening around us each day, hidden out of view if you don’t take the time to look?
- Great Star gently whispered across space and time to all of the little flowers:
‘You and I are alike, little flower. We both float in a field. And we are both a field that other things float in. We are both great, and we are both small. Inside of us, and outside of us are worlds more than we can ever know.’
- Fox kits are very playful - chasing, wrestling, and teasing each other. The night that I made this image was particularly fun to watch. I shot a couple minutes of video where one kit emerged from the den and distracted his sibling so that he could sneak away a bone that the other kit had been chewing. By the time he took a second bone the other kit caught on and then the two launched into a wrestling match. They were chasing each other and tumbling together on the crest of a hill. I saw an opportunity to freeze their play, so I switched to still photography and made this image just as the two of them came up for breath and looked into each other’s eyes. It was a brief moment of calm in the storm of their play.
- I am asked all the time if this is a digitally manipulated image. It’s not; this is exactly how I saw the scene. Sometimes I can go weeks without finding a Drops of Light image, and then on the right morning I’ll run out of time before I can photograph them all. Some very strange challenges crop up in this kind of photography that you don’t normally have to think about. There is heat that comes from your hands when you focus the lens and it affects the drops that you are trying to photograph, making it sway back and forth. So you focus, then you wait for the drops to stop moving. If you are lucky you are then able to make the image. If you are not lucky you refocus and start all over again.
- From the first blooms of Trout lilies in the spring to the last bloom of New England Asters in the fall, wildflowers are an ongoing parade with something in bloom at all times. But nothing compares to the burst of blossoms that happen in the hardwoods. Millions of flowers are in a race against time. Soon the thick canopy will leaf out and capture al- most all light before it can reach the forest bottom. In an eruption of energy, wave after wave of flowers like these trilliums rise from the forest floor, launch into bloom, and then fall back asleep until they are roused for the race again next spring.
- I think of wildflowers as belonging to a pageant or a parade that runs continuously for half of the year. From May to October there is constantly beauty around us in the form of wildflowers. Every single day in that period we are blessed with blossoms, if we only stop to see them.
The year this image was made the pageant was absolutely extraordinary. The parade of flowers gathered through spring into summer. The procession made it’s way through the field at the speed of fallen petals and opening blossoms. Leisurely flowing around me were black-eyed Susan, wild bee balm, Queen Anne’s lace, daisies and even a few goldenrod and Joe-Pye weed.
Slender strands of gossamer threads of light flew from the flowers to my camera, weaving a portrait of the parade.
- Silver drops, jewels of the night. This small fragment of a spider’s web has hundreds of drops that contain a landscape view inside of the drops. The images in the drops are upside down and reversed, but if you look closely you can see a scene of a pond inside of these drops. There are lily pads in the upper right side of the drops, and a tree line reflected in the water at the center of the drops. Silver drops are hundreds of landscapes, what you see just depends on how you look.
- I think of Great Blue Herons as graceful, meditative birds that have a coiled energy inside. They bide their time carefully, waiting for the perfect moment to take action. This image is of the heron at peace, gathering energy for the moment ahead.
- When I finished I let the kayak drift on its own into the lily pads. I thought how I couldn’t imagine a more perfect day. I pulled out my thermos, poured a cup of coffee, and leaned back, savoring the moment. Just as the cup touched my lips I tilted my head back and saw her. In the midst of the lily pads was a small island no more than four feet across. And curled up on the island was a tiny fawn.
She was only about 10 feet away and I actually had to back the kayak up to make good images of her. I suspect that she was crossing with the doe earlier in the morning and crawled up on the island to rest. I may have passed within feet of her on the way out of the bay.
I photographed her so that she was surrounded by lily pads and I composed the image so that the viewer has to look through the scene to find her.
- The peak of my favorite time of year passes all too quickly. This panorama was featured in the opening scene of the Winter Dreams”episode of the Seasons of the Swans video. The narrator comments, ‘Northern Michigan has one of the most vibrant, beautiful falls of anywhere on earth. The tranquil waters along the river reflect the explosion of autumn’s colors. But Fall’s Fireworks are short lived.’ This image was made from the banks of the Manistee River.
- About the size of an open hand, and shorter than some blades of grass, this fox kit enthusiastically leaves the safety of the den and trots out into the big unknown world. What is it that catches his eye and fills him with such boldness? He sees mom returning and knows that dinner will soon be at hand!
- Mother’s Day weekend we photographed these tiny kits just outside of their den. They were jumping through the air, bouncing on top of each other and wrestling. In their quieter moments they watched birds flying overhead and nuzzled each other. They stopped just long enough for a little smooch, and then they got right back to pouncing on each other.
- Shafts of light stream down through the canopy, momentarily dancing though the forest floor. Water tumbles over the rocks, singing a joyous little song. The maple slowly dangles its rooted feet into the water, joining the festivities and throwing the red glitter of leaves onto moss covered rocks in the enchanted forest in a hidden, mysterious, magical part of Michigan.
- I fold my 6 foot frame into a small spot a couple inches over the top of the flowing water, just so I can share my riches with you. I’ve learned a secret. In the most beautiful days of fall, if you look at the water from just the right angle, at just the right spot, the water slowly turns to gold. Seconds of the exposure tick by and I capture the pools of gold, so I can share it with you.
Time has flown on, but now, in the stillness of our souls, we are enriched by the beauty of that precious moment .
- Sometimes I know that a scene has potential, but it needs just the right light to give voice to the feeling of the landscape. That was the case here. I photographed on three days, but it wasn’t until the morning of the fourth day that I came away with an image that really did justice to the location. Behind me, the clouds shifted just enough so that a ribbon of light floated above the mist and illuminated the peaks with the first light of morning. The result was one of my all-time favorite images, a little glimpse of heaven.
- For several mornings I had watched a pair of loons greet a juvenile. The three birds would meet on the water at about the time that the sun was clearing the trees. Then they would briefly join each other, pointing their bills together and swimming in a circle like a pinwheel. One morning I left before dawn and paddled to the rendezvous place and waited. A light mist rose off the water. The loons and the sun showed up at about the same time with the sunrise reflected in the eye of two of the loons. The result is one of my favorite wildlife shots.
- On mom’s back is a loon chick that is less than a day old. For about the first week of the loon’s life their mom will let them ride on her back until they become too heavy for her. The chick’s eyes are slowly shutting as she nods off to sleep. This has been the biggest day of the chick’s life, it’s only day in fact.
Loons are very shy animals. I spent weeks getting the parents of this chick used to me. I’d paddle out 100 feet away from the nest, the male would come check me out, and then I’d turn around. A couple days later I’d repeat the trip and get a little closer. So finally on the big day when the chick hatched out the loons were comfortable with me around, they knew I was the harmless, silly guy in the red canoe.
- To kayak down to the wintering grounds of the trumpeter swans, I needed to leave in the dark so that I could be there as the light came up. The first heavy storm of the season had finished falling the night before, and everything was laden with snow. As the sun’s beams of light touched the trees, they weaved a slight warm hue into the blanket of snow of the winter scene.
This image was used in the opening scene of the Winter Dreams episode of the Seasons of the Swans video. Like the fall image in this series, this panorama was made on the Manistee River. We live in a very beautiful world with inspiration all around us. I believe that by experiencing and sharing that beauty, we are taking steps towards valuing and protecting our world, and we open ourselves to joy through those experiences.
- After the heaviest snow fall of the year, these Mute Swans at the wintering grounds along at the Manistee River, start venturing off the ice shelves and back onto the water. It’s a world etched in silver and white and the only thing moving in the peaceful reflection is the swans, making their way through the dream known as winter.
- The traditional twelve days of Christmas may start with a partridge in a pear tree, but mine features a pheasant in a pine tree. I found this brilliant rooster a few days before Christmas. I slowly worked with this wild pheasant, moving closer every three or four shots until eventually I was able to fill the frame with him and I had taken over 100 photos. The vibrant colors and textures on this bird were incredible. From the iridescent neck to the flame tipped feathers on his back to the long fringe on his rump, he was spectacular.
- I had the idea for this image for a year, but it was very difficult to execute. It is actually composed of 21 different images. Each time that the conditions would be right to make this ‘micro-panorama’ something would happen in the middle of the shoot that would disturb the drops, and I would be out of luck. Finally late in the summer after a very fine drizzle, I was able to capture all of the images needed to build the panorama. You are looking at a six-foot wide print of this scene, but it only covered about six inches of our world. Just think, if there is this much beauty in six inches of our world, what do we walk past every day and never notice? Look into the large drops on the left and you’ll see a garden. If you look very closely at the garden inside the drops you can see a stem with drops on it. So there are drops on the stem, in the drops on the stem. Drops inside of drops, the closer that you look the more beauty there is to find.
- Dragonflies roost for the night just like birds. If there is dew during the night they become encased in tiny drops and they can’t fly in the morning until the sun or wind dries out their wings. Behind this dragonfly is a purple coneflower and a yellow coreopsis. And in the wings of the dragonfly you can see the flowers repeated hundreds of times inside the drops.
- Jen was my helper in making this image. After a mid- morning drizzle we were exploring a field of wild flowers when she found this and called me over. Because the reed leaf is so wide, it blocks the line of sight through many of the drops. Only along the edges of the leaf do the daisy and black-eyed Susan show up. We never know what we are going to find when we start exploring. Between that and how rarely we find something that translates to an image, there is a real feeling of being given a gift when we do happen across a Drops of Light image.
At the bottom of this page is a list of some of the hidden glimpses to look for in the Gifts of Art Gallery when you visit.
My photography sometimes reveals hidden glimpses of Nature that few people have witnessed, or are even aware exists. Remember though, what you see in these images is what I saw with my eyes. If I've been able see these things, then so can you.
Here are a few hidden things to look for...
- How many baby squirrels can you find in the images?
- Can you find a baby animal riding on Mom's back?
- Can you find another baby animal floating on an island?
- Inside of drops the light is turned upside down and reversed, look very closely and you'll find many things hidden there,
- Can you find daisies in the drops?
- Can you find a car in the drops?
- Can you find drops inside of drops?
- In one image hundreds of tiny landscape scenes appear in the drops. The scene inside the drops also appears in another image, two very different ways of seeing the same landscape. Can you find the two related images?
- There is a play on a William Blake poem, can you find the cosmos in a drop?
- Can you find something sleeping on a daisy bed?