Everywhere I look it’s a construction site. Works in progress. Building, re-building, replacing…. Improving. Concrete and wood are my terra firma these days as I fix up my current home for selling and watch the progress of renovating the new home. In both places I bask in the stark beauty of newly painted walls, the smell of fresh-cut pine trim, and the echo of empty space. Seeing the concrete that will soon be hidden away under carpets and flooring is comforting. There’s something grounding about being in the middle of the bare bones of a place, when it’s devoid of all the furnishings and stuff of daily living.
Altered Horizons 83
Sometimes, when I look out over my pond, the sky above is so full of clouds it seems heavier and more solid than the water below. The scene was gloomy the other day, but lovely enough before I dropped the image into Photoshop and brightened the horizon line. I flipped the whole thing upside down. And the rock from Finger Lakes Stone became a frozen, angry sky. Most likely Seasonal Affective Disorder is affecting my fabricated landscapes these days. Must search out some color. Soon.
Altered Horizons 82
I can remember the old library in Ithaca. It was a great place to hang out, especially in the oversized book section where I could page through endless picture books in search of inspiration. Library Place is now a construction site for a downtown senior living center, and I didn’t imagine there would be anything inspiring, that I’d feel like photographing—until I stumbled upon a wrought iron beam that had been corroding, left exposed to the air and water. Intrigued by the pattern and colors, all I had to do in Photoshop was burn out a rising sun. An image of metal treads got photo-shopped into a frame.
Altered Horizons 74
In the quiet dark of a summer night, fireflies twinkle like stars. Much folklore and symbolism related to death surround fireflies, also known as lightening bugs. There was a Victorian superstition that if a firefly was spotted in the house, someone would die soon. In Japanese legends fireflies are the souls of the dead, particularly of warriors who had fallen in battle. Some say that gazing into a field of fireflies, one can feel the presence of lost loved ones.
My camera couldn’t capture the flickering and flashing dances of the fireflies. So, creating this fabricated landscape in Photoshop, I painted tiny white lights over images of algae sheets raked from my pond. I topped it off with a photo of the pond reflecting the sun and clouds.
Altered Horizons 59
This is the hosta plant that faithfully, magnificently, takes over a good portion of my garden year after year even though I do nothing to help or encourage it. In late summer, if left on its own as it always is, the hosta will sprout tall shoots topped with pale lavender-colored flowers. This is the hosta as photographed in early June before something nibbled its leaves down to bare little stumps. I’m not at all sure what this means for its future. So I decided to memorialize the poor plant, in a fabricated landscape, making it into a golden hill. In Photoshop, I added a picture of the sun reflected in my pond, along with a negative image of tangled straw-like weeds to make an agitated sky.
Altered Horizons 58
For my fabricated landscape this week I challenged myself to turn the trunk of a shagbark hickory tree into an ocean. The sky I added above was taken from a photo of my pond during a rainstorm. In order to get the hazy light-scattering effect at the horizon line, I turned the photo of the rain-dappled pond upside down and whitened the edge where the sea meets the sky. This lightening allows for a peaceful calming effect. The texture, however, makes for an edgy kind of calm, one that could easily erupt into stormy chaos.
Altered Horizons 53