Holding Space, Looking for Light

“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.” – James Baldwin⁠

Fair warning, this is not a happy post, and beyond a shared mood, the text has very little to do with the image.

It has become increasingly difficult to focus on what is right in front of me. There is a deepening, bitter edge to each day, and I know the root of it is a pain which is being experienced at personal and collective levels everywhere. So many aspects of the social contract have been broken, or worse, are proving to have never existed at all.⁠

The events of January 6th were unsurprising but still a shock; after an hour or so of live coverage, I felt my mind retreat, curled into the fetal position where I sat, and fell asleep. I take pride in not looking away from even the most jarring images, but I’d hit my limit. On so many levels, it was a day of terrifying white nationalism and grotesque systemic racism on full display. And we can expect more of the same because the hatred espoused by racists is rooted in fear and pain, which they will continue to avoid addressing.

Sunset sky and shadows through an old glass window, Monterey, 2017⁠


I don’t know about you, but I find myself marveling at layer upon layer of heartbreak and frustration. Are we still in the midst of a pandemic, bracing for the consequences of holiday gatherings and travel? Did my neighbours have yet another string of visitors every day this week, despite lockdown rules? Have members of my local government been taking tropical vacations while telling the rest of us to stay home, in the midst of a particularly dreary Canadian winter? Has the weather been unusually warm and dry, both here in Manitoba and back in California, indicating yet another record year as climate change grinds away like a foregone conclusion?

I look for the good news. The unassuming heroes and helpers, the small signs of progress. I know that there are reasons for cautious optimism, and I am doing my best to cling to hope instead of hate. Part of that process is to occasionally let the weight of everything fall out of focus and acknowledge the pain. We’re allowed to feel hurt and angry right now, so as to better regroup, refocus and move forward, because we have a long, long way to go.

Paphiopedilum maudiae | Orchid Photography

While familiar in form to most of us, orchid flowers retain a sense of the profoundly exotic, especially those blooms of the Paphiopedilum variety. Their distinctive slipper shapes and range of colourations make them very attractive orchid photography subjects too.

Orchid photography of a pale green and white-striped lady slipper orchid dripping with mist (Paphiopedilum maudiae)
A pale green and white-striped lady slipper orchid drips with mist (Paphiopedilum maudiae)

These distinctive orchids have been collected from their forest floor and canopy habitats of Southeast Asia, and are now widely cultivated and hybridized. I have never managed to keep a Paphiopedilum maudiae orchid happy among my small houseplant and orchid collections, but I have been lucky to see many of these dramatic flowers at orchid shows and greenhouses.

Orchid photography of a pair of elegant yellow and pink flowers with unusual fuzzy textures alone their long horizontal petals
A pair of unusual flowers, these lady slipper orchid flowers have hairy fuzz along their petals

This pair of fuzzy pink and chartreuse lady slipper orchids are some of my favourites, with both stripes and spots in varying shades and petals bristling with tiny hairs; striking and delicate all at once.

I have collected many photos of orchid flowers over the years, and have gathered the most stunning specimens into a gallery of Orchidaceae images, with some selected orchid photography images available as fine art prints.

  

 

Abstract Sunset Water Scenes | Vancouver, British Columbia

Pink sunset light mixes with dusky blue sky, reflected by softly rippling water where False Creek meets English Bay on a calm, quiet summer evening in Vancouver.

I captured plenty of general postcard-sunset-scenes, with mountains in the distance or a silhouetted tree to compliment the colours, but I have been particularly pleased with these abstracted photos of the beautiful light skipping across small glassy waves.

This series of blue, pink, and coral sunset water scenes has been added to my ‘Liquid Light’ collection, which highlights photos in which I’ve explored the movement, texture, and abstracted forms of light mixing with water in interesting ways.

Often these dappled, fluid scenes remind me of impressionist paintings, and thanks to a particularly vivid sunset on an evening walk at the aptly named Sunset Beach Park, very little editing was necessary to highlight the contrasting and complimentary colours.

As the light faded from the sky, the colours on the water slipped toward more muted, pastel shades. The form of the waves and sense of movement became more apparent as shadows deepened, and in editing I found that a wider, panoramic choice of cropping brought forward the subtle pattern and abstracted texture of the water’s surface.

Wider views of this sunset and other Vancouver, British Columbia scenes can be found in my archives, prints and licensing available.

Summer Prairie Skies

The sky is bigger on the prairie, and the sunsets some of the most gorgeous I have ever seen; constantly shifting weather, swirling clouds, and a golden hour that lasts forever…

Living Skies of Saskatchewan, sunset
A stunning summer sunset fills the sky above the open Saskatchewan landscape

As I spend more time travelling across Saskatchewan and Manitoba my library of spectacularly surreal sunsets will continue to grow – find them all in my Land of the Living Skies gallery – prints and licensing available.

Paeonia, peony, perfection

Is there any flower more beautiful than the peony, bursting with elegant, ruffled petals? Each bloom is at once refined and tousled, often softly fragrant, and so quick to fade as the heat of summer overtakes the blushing warmth of late spring. I’ll just let these macro and abstract peony photos speak for themselves…

Pink peony macro (2)
Pink peony macro #1

All of these dreamy peony close-up photos are available as prints, and if you’d like a custom size or print style, please use the Contact form to reach me, I’d be thrilled to help bring these incredible flowers to life for you!

Masdevallia Orchid Pair

Many years ago, in the milder climate of coastal California, I fell in love with orchids. It started innocently enough with the gift of a Phalaenopsis or two, and after finding them relatively easy to care for I began to explore the wider world of Orchidaceae. Along the California coast there are many orchid growers, and I discovered greenhouses open to the public in Pacifica and Half Moon Bay, where orchids of every variety and color could be seen and photographed.

Two masdevallia flowers
Close-up of a pair of pink and yellow masdevallia orchid flowers, their exotic shapes brightly colorful against the greenery of an orchid exposition

My orchid collection grew, and I learned that some varieties were very forgiving when I’d forget to water them or would fertilize them irregularly despite the recommendations and warnings of other enthusiasts. I even attended a few Orchid Expositions, to see the most exotic and amazing flowers, and it was at one of these events that I spotted the orchids in this photograph. Masdevallia have always been a bit beyond my orchid-keeping abilities, as they are particularly sensitive to humidity and my home can’t be maintained as a greenhouse climate, but I fell in love with their unusual shape and bright colors and captured this photograph to enjoy instead.

I have added this image as a new release, to a collection of square prints sized and priced for the casual art collector. These charming, colorful flowers are available to brighten any room, in sizes that start at $30 USD, with gallery canvas wrap and standout mounting options available – with the added bonus that an art print is much easier to care for than these sometimes finicky orchid varieties.

I will periodically be adding new images to my Open Edition Square Series print collection in the months to come, so please check back for announcements or subscribe to this blog for updates.

To purchase ‘Masdevallia Pair’ please visit apkphotography.com

Santa Cruz, surfing Steamer Lane at sunset

In the stillness between waves, dedicated surfers wait in the rise and fall of a winter swell.  This image was captured shortly after a spectacular sunset had painted the pastel skies along the coast of Santa Cruz, California.

Santa Cruz, sunset scenes

These quiet moments are as much a part of surf culture as catching the biggest or most exciting waves, and a peaceful ocean scene like this reminds me of how we are all drawn to contemplate the sea.

Find this photograph and others like it in my Ocean & Coastal Prints archives.

Happiness is a butterfly…

“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

More butterflies, flowers, and quiet moments here…

Still Life: Tulips in Blue Vase

Fresh and delicate signs of spring, captured in the tradition of still life imagery. Fading flowers in a second-hand blue vase, shot in the diffuse light of my kitchen window, these soft white and pink spring tulips become an elegant reminder to pause and enjoy the simpler moments in our busy lives.

New horizons

Around the time one calendar year changes to the next, it is easy to become absorbed in reflecting on the recent past. In this case, 2011 flew by with alarming speed, and it is hard to believe that 2012 has already arrived. Rather than dwell on what has been, however, I am very excited by what is next. Many changes afoot for this blog and my photography – from new digital darkroom tricks to some incredible print collections and fine art offerings.

Last light, Big Sur

These two images, both shot on the same beach in Big Sur, are from a recent exploration of longer-exposure photography. Living on the coast affords me easy access to some spectacular coastlines awash in sunset colours and misty waves, and I hope to bring you more of these peaceful, scenic images in the coming months.

Big Sur, sunset

just another day in paradise

just another day in paradise, originally uploaded by A.p.K.

Living in Monterey is pretty much like living inside a postcard. Every sunset has the potential to make the evening magical, as the lights of the squid-fishing boats come to life along a stormy horizon, and a few hardy souls brave the cold wind and waves to surf that last swell of the day.

Find more from my Monterey photography collection here.