Sunday, January 29, 2012

Presque Isle

     I've visited Presque Isle many times in my life - it is an annual tradition for my family, yet, until January 28th, 2012, none of us had ever visited there during the snowy season.  We had spoke of going there for years to witness the frozen lake, but the closest we ever came was during my brother's film shoot in an uncomfortable, miserably cold October a few years ago.  During that time, I took many pictures of Lighthouse Beach and grew bored of photographing the same scene over and over again.  Although I got a few decent images, I longed for much more freedom to wander the beaches and photograph the details that Erie's nature had to offer.
     Being given the opportunity to do just that over this past weekend was a great feeling - even though I knew I wouldn't get the chance to wander as far as I probably would have had I just gone to the peninsula on my own (and I am determined to see the lake frozen, so I will return in the future).  Nevertheless, I took full advantage of the trip, taking pictures every important step of the way.  Since it was my first time seeing a snow covered beach in person, I of course took many silly shots to simply document the peaceful scene.  With an extremely fresh blanket of snow, the Gull Point looked untouched by man upon my arrival, allowing me to further appreciate my natural surroundings (although I eventually saw a few picnic tables, a grill, a random building that I didn't care to correctly identify, and a rock that said "KEEP OFF" [which I didn't]).  Seeing fallen trees and eroded sand and the transition between fall and winter, I began thinking of how nature copes with and prevails during harsh changes - just as I had to quickly adapt to the extremely different view/feeling of a place I always knew to be summery.
     As I photographed, I noticed myself spending more time on my knees with my face and lens in the sand than documenting my location.  I was interested in the clash of vacation getaway and winter storm, of life and death, of preservation and erosion (plus, I have an extremely addicting habit of collecting seashells and rocks and sea glass and everything else I find that seems interesting so I was mostly concerned with what was at my feet aside from the obvious sand and snow).  So, without further adieu, here are a some of the beautiful things I discovered at the dreary Presque Isle.

Winter at Presque Isle


Messy debris

Nature's beauty*

More than just plain sand

An animal or a tree?

Death of a fallen tree*



Swirl from the swirling waves

Claiming territory


Once colorful, now a dark, delicate skeleton

Warm mane

Aquatic wings

(Captions with asterisks [*] are my top picks for the assignment portion of the adventure.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Point State Park

     I'm a very visual person when it comes to navigating. I've been told many times that I'm horrible at giving directions because I rarely go by street signs and, instead, prefer to go by objects and buildings that slightly stand out (although, now that I'm thinking about the landmarks I refer to the most while giving directions, they're the types of landmarks that no one knows about because people either never see them or don't pay attention to them while driving past). So, trying to navigate by compass instead of by signs or things no one except me pays attention to was actually rather challenging to me. The whole time I wondered about the result of being off by a few degrees when beginning to travel long distances in a certain direction and also, once I got to each point in the mapped out journey, what exact spot I should be standing in. I felt like I didn't know what I was supposed to be looking for with the compass, but then I realized that the compass was directing my attention away from what was worth a moment's gaze along the way. I understand why I have the compass, but being too concerned with where I'm going takes away from absorbing where I am. I love adventure and I love nature, but I think what this assignment reminded me of the most was that I don't need to go far to find something worth pointing my attention and lens at.

A wasteful river.

Monongahela River

Muddy parking spaces.

A beautiful angle of the Fort Pitt Bridge.