17 thoughts on “Aftermath

  1. I’ve seen the terrible storms in the weather out your way, and the damage is unfathomable. Glad that you and your house were spared. Lots of firewood out there now, I guess.

    1. Thanks, Eliza. We were right at the end of the damage path for this macroburst feature. It was very strange. My weather station recorded a maximum gust of 40 mph less than 200 yards from the trees shown in the photographs…I believe both!

      Yes, firewood is plentiful now. We don’t burn it but we have friends and family who do.

  2. Doesn’t seem right to click the LIKE button on this post. We were victims of storm damage several times and it ain’t no picnic, Sorry for the damage to the trees. That can be heartbreaking. I;d love to come help with the cleanup but that’s not possible. But I’ll be thinking of you,

    1. Thank you, Ken. I appreciate your comment and concern. My spouse and I make a pretty good team; if you have cleaned up after windstorms, you know that blown down trees can be treacherous…so we work slowly, carefully. 🤔

  3. Like Ken, I’m having a hard time clicking a “like” for this one. Our home was struck by lightning a few years ago resulting in a wall fire and significant damage– these events are never pleasant. Glad you’re safe and beginning to pick up pieces.

    1. Thank you, John. Yes, they are never pleasant especially if your home is damaged or destroyed. It is disappointing for us to see our woods now but it’s not the same as seeing your house blown away or burned.

  4. Even the style of your photographs has a disaster look and feel, Mic. My heart aches for your losses. But I’m glad you both survived and are, as John said, beginning to pick up the pieces.

    1. Thanks, Linda. Like a bad dream this storm has faded into the past. The difference is that the storm left physical remnants with us. As I mentioned to Ken, Leah and I are a pretty good team; we’re slowly moving the most visible remnants out of sight.

      Thanks for mentioning the photographs, too. The text was only meant to give context to the photographs but it ended up being the dominant feature of the post, I think.

      1. You make me think about a point I’ve been wrestling with, especially concerning my recent post. I want people to look at the photos most of all. But I have all these related questions and ideas I want to talk about. I don’t like that my narrative and links take people away from looking at the photographs. On the other hand, some of my photos are pure documentation and don’t mean much without narration. Maybe I’ll think about putting the words at the end of the post, though that would create the problem of having to scroll back and forth. This may just be an unsolvable problem.

      2. I think you have handled that all very with an introduction and then a narrative caption with each photograph. I used to have a blog that was primarily narrative with one or more supporting photographs. When I started this one my goal was to limit it to photographs only and usually just one. That’s still my goal here but sometimes I revert back to the other model. At some point, I may even edit this post to remove most of the narrative to bring it more in line with the other posts.

  5. First, the photos – I’m blown away by the beauty, Mic. I confront chaotic scenes in the woods fairly often and have yet to find a good way to photograph them. You certainly did, and you went far beyond conveying the chaos. These are perfect examples of making art from something difficult or unappealing. Am I right to conclude that the intensity of the damage was so extreme that you were moved to go deep into your aesthetic reservoir? That sounds horribly pretentious but I don’t know how else to say it right now.
    What an intense storm to live through, and then to be dealing with for, I suppose, years to come. I’m very glad the two of you are fine and your buildings weren’t damaged but being without power for 5 days? That gets old. No internet for almost 2 weeks? Ugh! These storms are a fact of life now, aren’t they? Out here I think the effects are more obvious along shorelines where strong storms combine with high tides in winter, obliterating trails, downing trees, etc. Certain trees are showing signs of stress from hotter, drier years. And we have to be prepared for smoke from far-away fires to settle here for days or weeks. It’s not the world we grew up in, is it?
    But to end on a positive note, oh, these beautiful images! Thank you.

    1. The photographs: Until I made these photographs I hadn’t touched a real camera since the storm. I took a few snaps with my phone that told me that conventional photographs were not going to convey my reality of this storm.

      When we got our internet back, I spent a lot of time looking at photography I had bookmarked over many years. One of the photographers I revisited was Alexey Titarenko whose images I find to be hauntingly beautiful; maybe you are familiar with his work. Then I ran across an interview in which he described how he made the images by applying a very subtle solarization to silver prints. So I developed a little digital workflow around that and realized this would help me make some images that might convey my initial reaction to what had happened here. I also used a homemade filter on the camera lens to add some blur and random splotches of light. So I don’t know that I can claim any aesthetic reservoir but the images did arise from a little different place than my other work. And I am very happy to hear that you liked them.

      The storm: We live in a rural/small town area. We remember…the ’69 flood, the ’78 blizzard, the ’04 ice storm. Now we will add the ’22 windstorm/derecho…probably windstorm. All an oral history of shared hardship and community. I read an article years ago predicting more intense storms as the climate changes. It does seem that weather patterns are different now…but the wood thrushes still sing in the woods behind the house and the owls still call at night.

      1. I agree, it seems we’re getting more intense storms or weather events of all kinds. You have to discount a possible/probably increase in reporting but still. I’m glad you mentioned the shared hardship that becomes part of a community’s story, that’s an important piece.
        It’s interesting that you didn’t use a camera for a while and couldn’t use the internet, then when you could you were looking at certain photographs online. I wasn’t familiar with Titarenko and I’ve saved some pages, thank you. He’s interesting and seems to work differently from so many current photographers. Luckily you have a darkroom background to understand what he was saying in that interview and enough curiosity and skill to see how you could create something similar. Homemade filters are another facet of photography that I’m not familiar with. Interesting!
        An unusual situation prompted an unusual response – maybe that plain English phrase sums it up. Whatever we call it, I’m really glad you took the time to create something meaningful out of the storm damage. And I imagine that can continue. Thanks again for your generous reply and watch your back when you’re out there working on those trees!!

      2. Thank you for taking time to read and respond to my reply, Lynn. I always appreciate your thoughtful comments.

  6. So sorry you had to go through this Mic. and may still be living through the aftermath.

    I’m going to go out on a limb here (pun intended) and express reservations about your photographic treatment of the storm’s damage. I love the diffusion and blurriness but the shallow tonal scale (if that’s the correct phrase) reminds of a print that was taken out of the developer too soon. For me, the lack of any values at the lower end of the scale doesn’t capture what I imagine was the storm’s terror, power, and destruction.

    You handle b&w in such a masterful way, I would love to see alternative versions using the full tonal scale, or maybe skewed to the lower end rather than the higher one.

    At any rate, I respect your desire to experiment, and hope that you won’t be offended by this critique.

    1. Thanks, Alan. We try to work on the trees that have fallen into our pastures for a couple of hours each morning when we can.

      This a great comment, Alan. I went out on a limb myself in posting the images, with the same reservations you express. Certainly, especially since the storm occurred in the middle of the night, an image representing the storm itself would have to be dark, maybe mostly in Zone 0. Looking back I wish I had taken some pictures out the basement windows and recorded the sound…but I didn’t. I gathered up rain gear, my wallet, lights, phone, chargers, a computer, and all my backup drives, things I immediately needed and wanted to save if the whole place blew away, and went to the basement.

      When I finally got to this post, the storm and its power were fading memories but the aftermath was still present. Walking into this part of the woods now is jarring! I just can’t fully accept that these trees have all uprooted, snapped off, and broken into this twisted mass. So it is an unsettled, dazed, jarring image I was looking for.

      Having said all of that, I don’t want to overdramatize any of this. We lost a lot of trees but most are still standing. It is nothing like the total destruction some places experience but standing in that woods I get a little inkling of what it might feel like.

      Do you remember the old solarization process in the darkroom? As I remember, you partially developed the print and then flashed it with white light before completing the development and rest of the processing. I was looking for a subtle version of that in these images so maybe they are like being pulled from the developer too soon. Maybe I’ll revisit a darker alternative version now that I got this version out of my mind…I’m not offended, Alan. Good to hear from you.

      Postscript: Another reason that these photographs are so bright is that the trees have all fallen. This woods used to be cool and dark but there is a big hole in it now that is flooded with light…

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