When the death of film photography became imminent, I was one who mourned. The mystery, romance, and art of exposing film, waiting… dodging and burning… waiting, and trying again was for me, as exciting as the images themselves. I was one to ask, “Where is the warmth in digital?” I was convinced that the art of photography would be lost with the passing of the media Ansel Adams used to capture that moonrise over Hernandez.
I was wrong.
It has been over a year and a half since Mark Hirsch took his new iphone out into farm country in Southwest Wisconsin near Dubuque, IA for the first time. That day, he captured his first image with it. A picture of an ancient bur oak tree. Over the next year, every single day Mark took a photograph of what has come to be known as That Tree.
Mark proved through his project that even if some of the mystery has been lost, in the end it is still the eye, the passion, the romantic vision of the artist that makes great photography.
In the time since first photographing That Tree, Mark has amassed over 33,000 followers on his Facebook Page and published a beautiful book of That Tree images. He also has a 2014 Calendar celebrating That Tree in every season, and individual gallery prints in various sizes.
If you are looking for a holiday gift for someone who appreciates fine photography and nature, Mark’s book might be the perfect option. Or, if you want a reminder of why you should get out from behind your desk and get outside every month, a That Tree calendar in your office might be just what you need.
I am in Schaumburg, IL tonight where I will be performing Aldo Leopold - A Standard of Change for the Midwest Open Air Museums Coordinating Council Conference tomorrow. It is dark and cold, but I am looking forward to the 3/4 mile walk from the Volkening Heritage Farm where I am staying, to the Vera Meineke Nature Center for Brats in a little while. Did I mention it is cold? And dark?
According to the map, the trail crosses a creek before winding through the woods, and around a pond. It is hard to tell what is at the far end of the pond. Prairie? Marsh? Who knows…
I was given a flashlight that resembles a light sabre and was encouraged to use it, but warned not to push the secret button unless there is an emergency. Nobody suggested what type of emergency I might encounter on my trek to the bratwursts, but I did meet a man resembling the Wizard of Oz who seems to be camping out not far from the farmhouse in a brightly-lit tent he calls the incredible tent of wonders, or something like that.
I typically enjoy walks in the woods, in the dark, in the cold, in a foreign place, but I am wondering if I should have worn my ruby slippers, just in case. The map says nothing of lions, tigers, bears, or flying monkeys, but like I said, it is cold, and dark.
I’ll touch base tomorrow to let you know how it went. If I make it back.
by Jim Pfitzer, Pulse Features Contributor
A visit to the Brainerd Mission Cemetery finds no Cherokee spirits
SIX FEET OF CHAIN LINK TOPPED WITH three strands of barbed wire send a clear message as we approach the old cemetery. We did not come here expecting to engage in criminal trespass, but we are ghost hunting and the idea of breaking laws and scaling fences adds to the excitement. The sun has already set, but it is not yet dark and I ponder if we should come back later, when we can hide in the shadows, be shiftier, avoid detection. Surely such an entry would make us more acceptable to the spirits. I do not share these thoughts with my girlfriend Lisa who follows behind with her camera.
Reaching the southwest corner of the cemetery, we find a break in the chain link and a low iron gate attached to a knee-high stone wall paralleling the chain link just inside. I am puzzled by such an angry border serving no purpose other than to funnel those who might step over the beautiful stones rather than walk a few yards to the gate.
Above the gate, a large brown sign bears three words in the Cherokee language, followed by this in English: Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. Then, in much larger print: Brainerd Mission Cemetery. This is all I know of this place.
Read the rest at The Pulse • Chattanooga’s Weekly Alternative