One Word Photo Challenge: Clear

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Jennifer’s challenge this week to photograph “clear” feels like a Zen koan to me.  On the face of it, it sounds impossible.

Clear is well, clear; an absence of anything which would stop the light.


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We see colors because of the wavelengths of light reflected back to our eyes.  When no-thing stops and reflects that light back to us, we perceive clarity, emptiness, openness: space.

How does one photograph what one can not see?


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I’ve been thinking about this paradox throughout the day.  Especially thinking of it while taking photos this morning and puttering about the garden this afternoon.

And finally the camera showed me a possible response.

You see through the spaces between objects. 


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You see clear space between the limbs of a tree.  The limbs define the clear and open area. 

As do stalks of grass,showing us the clear and open spaces between them.

And so my answer to Jennifer’s challenge is more about framing space than about photographing anything of a particular color.


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Perhaps you may believe this is a negative answer to Jennifer’s challenge;  but sometimes we find clarity in what is missing. 

When we open up spaces in our minds and in our lives; when we reframe the view in a novel way; it brings clarity of insight.


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And so I’m showing you the clear open space between things. 

Not empty space, mind you.


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The space is still full of billions of particles zipping about at speeds and wavelengths  beyond our ability to perceive them.

But since our vision penetrates the spaces, they are, for us,  clear.


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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014


With appreciation to Jennifer Nichole Wells

and her

One Word Photo Challenge:  Clear

About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

10 responses to “One Word Photo Challenge: Clear

  1. I love your take on this!! Thank you so much for sharing your lovely thoughts and images 🙂

  2. Absolutely beautiful pictures!! Love the large herons and egrets, you got the nest too! Great shots!

  3. Ingenious solution to the challenge. Great heron shots!

  4. I like this interpretation, WG, of a tough challenge.

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