More on Henri Rousseau

Dawn Light at Orlando Wetlands Park in November – anxiously awaiting the February reopening.

Just finished a quick read on Rousseau called Interpreting Henri Rousseau by Nancy Ireson. Lovely little softback book laden with pics of Rousseau’s best works.

Ms. Ireson gives us the picture of a rather complex man who would feign naivete to promote his pictures or escape jail time, when in reality he was quite a worldly individual savvy in the ways of modern(1890’s) Paris. Sadly his fame came after his death.

I know that whatever the circumstances of his life and death, he has given me much joy gazing at his pictures and influenced many of my life’s choices. I still have a print of The Sleeping Gypsy hanging in my house as it has in every place I have lived for the past 40+ years.

I am actively looking about for a way to photographically capture the spirit of his jungle scenes. Obviously they will be without lions and tigers as I will have to concentrate on the foliage. Here in the sub-tropical zone the jungle like foliage is landscaped so careful framing will be necessary.

Learning about Birding

Tri-colored heron stalking food at Orlando Wetlands Park
Tricolored heron stalking food at Orlando Wetlands Park

As a result of my photo taking and nature walks I have developed an interest in birding. To that end I have borrowed The Audubon Society Handbook for Birders by Stephen W. Kress from the library. Very informative book that covers many details about bird identification and behaviors. There is even a chapter on photographing birds.

Currently I am studying the basic parts of a bird and feeding behaviors. Since there are close to 30 different parts and more than 20 feeding behaviors documented in the book I will concentrate on them before moving onto other behaviors. On my next walks and picture sets I will be looking out for these things.

The above picture was taken at Orlando Wetlands Park. This is an example of stalking feeding behavior. It was taken during a photography workshop in November of last year. There were 8-10 of us with our tripods set watching and waiting for the bird to strike. It was quite fun and reminded me of a celebrity appearance where you here multiple camera shutter sounds. I would love to see some of the other pictures that were taken.

More Inspiration

Sunrise at Orlando Wetlands Park. November 2014.

I have begun reading The Zen of Seeing by Frederick Franck. What an unbelievable book, much like Freeman Patterson I will now seek out all his publications. This book is handwritten rather than type set and includes numerous sketches by the author. Here’s a link to his website for more info.

Although the book is geared towards drawing, it easily transfers to photography. His main premise is something he calls see/draw (substitute see/photograph). He speaks of observing a scene as it exists, without labels, judgments, thoughts of a prize winning picture, etc. Everything stands on its own the merits simply because it exists. I’ve probably muddled the message somewhat but that’s what I got out of it.

He also speaks of drawing the “ten thousand things” which is, a Buddhist idea pertaining to the makeup of the universe. I a going to pursue this idea a bit over time.