Sweating the small stuff

I’m guilty at times of not following the above headline.

As photographers the images we create are often informed by photographic history.

We don’t work in isolation and, being passionate about what we do, we make ourselves aware of what others have done before us.

In landscape photography the name that often pops up, a man who is still one of the most recognisable identities in the tradition of western photography, is Ansel Adams.

Ansel, in general, sweated the big stuff.

He is very famous for his studied black & white landscape images of the american west.

The images and grandeur of Yosemite National Park in California, as captured by Adams, have become iconic and still inspire many photography students and accomplished photographers today.

In my own landscape work I don’t work in large format and I rarely work in black & white.

I’m influenced by Adams in that I tend to seek the bigger views. The open skies and magnificent vistas that New Zealand has to offer.

Now I am in northern Germany and the topographical layout of the land is very different to New Zealand.

Gentle rolling hills or flat lands are all around me. What views exist are mostly restricted by fields of sweet corn which are approaching two meters in height.

To find grand vistas requires that one grows into a giant, or carries a tall ladder, or fix a platform on the roof of a car (Adams again).

I’m neither a giant, don’t like to carry ladders through the landscape and also don’t own a car.

Hence I need to change what I see and again learn to notice the small things under my nose.

It’s all possible of course, and even though uncomfortable to start with a new challenge brings opportunities and it is fun.

Below are images of the small stuff.

A grass that grows in the Harz mountains of Germany.

The region is famous for its hardy stock.

The people are quiet and a grunt can mean many things depending on the pitch and context.

It’s the only region in Germany where no one mows their lawns, not even the local authorities. They apparently never have and according to local knowledge can’t understand why anyone would anyway. Why bother when the grass just grows straight back again.

Ok, I get this!!! But it’s a kind of logic that seems anathema to German thinking and somewhat skews my stereotypes.

So I have fallen in love with this region.

The plants in the Harz are also hardy. To survive in the cold and windy environment takes effort.

Accordingly many plants grow smaller than in other parts of Germany. Others cling to the ground and don’t much like to put their heads up.

But then there is always a surprise.

Grass grows amongst the pine tree forests that have established themselves in this environment.

It is very soft and delicate, and spreads in carpets anchored on moss.

Listening to the locals there is nothing better than to spend the afternoon in the occasional sunshine, frolicking with your loved one on one of the grass carpets and to………ok……..we have to stop here, this is a ‚G‘ rated show.

To finish…sometimes to sweat the small stuff is really worth the effort.

The locals agree.

Carpets of grass cover the forest floor in the Harz mountains of Germany

Carpets of grass cover the forest floor in the Harz mountains of Germany
Carpets of grass cover the forest floor in the Harz mountains of Germany.