Category Archives: Geology

Abstract Art is Everywhere 2

Abstract 1:  Barnet Newman’s “Achilles” – National Gallery of Art

Abstract 2:  National Gallery of Art – East Wing, Exterior

Abstract 3: Volcanic Cliff

Simple lines of abstract art are intriguing.  They can be found everywhere.  Some are works created in art mediums (paintings, sculptures, etc.).  Others are created by architectural forms. Still others are found in nature.

Abstract 1 is an oil painting created by Barnet Newman titled “Achilles”.  I stood and looked at this piece for quite a long time.  Rather than try to figure out “what it is meant to be”, I tried to focus on what feeling it brought out in me.  The red made me feel a little anxious.  I did not resonate with this piece.

Abstract 2 is a photograph of the exterior of the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art.  I was walking along, looked up and saw these contrasting shapes of shadows and light.  It just grabbed me.

Abstract 3 is a photograph of the sheer basalt cliffs cut by the Palouse River during the Ice Age Floods.  Nature’s artwork stops me in my tracks.  Sometimes I just do not want to leave.  It instills me to think about how our would was formed and just enjoy the beauty of nature surrounding me.

Art is everywhere!

Related Images:

Painted Hills

Painted Hills, John Day Fossil Beds, Oregon

The following is one of the lessons that I have learned from who knows where:  When you see something interesting in the background, find something else interesting in the foreground to add to it.  The red hills in eastern Oregon caught my eye.  I am intrigued by sagebrush.  One plus one equals three.  I can still smell the wonderful aroma of sage as I look at this image.

Crack in the Ground

“Crack in the Ground”, Lake County, Oregon

Above, a lone sagebrush and sun appear.
The sagebrush peers over the edge watching me.
The sun’s bright fire lights my way.

I have always been fascinated by the unusual geological formations in the eastern Washington/Oregon landscape.  A few weeks ago, several college friends and I went exploring around Christmas Valley, Oregon.  Our first stop was “Crack in the Ground” (see excerpt from Wikipedia below}.  Most of the group scurried along the bottom of the fissure.  I, along  with a special friend, stopped, gazed around in wonderment, and photographed whatever jumped out at me.  By the time the group had walked to the end, walked back to the start, and then walked back to fine us, we had only covered about one half of the distance.  My mind and eyes wondered at every turn.  I am a wondering explorer, not a hiker.

From Wikipedia:

Crack in the Ground is a volcanic fissure about 2 miles (3.2 km) long with depths measuring nearly 30 feet (9 m) below ground level in Central Oregon, United States. The eruptions from the Four Craters Lava Field were accompanied by a slight sinking of the older rock surface, forming a shallow, graben-like structure about 2 miles (3.2 km) wide and extending to the south into an old lake basin. Crack in the Ground marks the western edge of this small, volcano-tectonic depression. The crack is the result of a tension fracture along a hingeline produced by the draping of Green Mountain lava flows over the edge of upthrown side of the concealed fault zone. The fissure is located at the southwest corner of Four Craters Lava Field in the Deschutes National Forest.

Crack in the Ground is estimated to have been created around 1,000 years ago.

Milky Way Over Ft. Rock

Milky Way over Ft. Rock Crater, Central Oregon

A few weeks ago, a few of my college friends and I drove out to a remote area in Central Oregon to photograph the Milky Way.  We had scouted the area on the previous day and thought it would be interesting to photograph the Milky Way rising out of Ft. Rock Crater.  The bright object in the lower left is Mars.  The bright object in the lower right is Jupiter.  We were blessed with this interesting symmetry.

Mary Dahlin wrote this following poem about her experience observing the beautiful sight

                                            The Milky Way over Ft. Rock, Oregon

Our galaxy plots a path from a crater in central Oregon.

Fort Rock, a grand and lonely crater,
looms coolly over flat ground, showing remnants
of what spewed forth a hundred thousand years ago,
short in geologic time but long in human time.

The Milky Way seems to jump out from the center of the crater, 
billions of years the product of our Creator, and we look at it

with Mars on the left and Jupiter on the right.  Much of this is a mystery.
We know it is a galaxy, but it is too great to fully understand.

The colors are green, blue, and bright yellowish white,
all colors of life, like the ocean, the plants, and the sun.

What is time, and how all-important are we, really?

These are questions too difficult to answer, but for a moment
we can accept the complexity of the universe and our own
and be filled with wonder.

Mt. St. Helens, Life Renewal

Mt. St. Helens – 27 years after

Nature is magical!  It renews itself.  Out of a devastated landscape, life emerges.  I wish I had taken photographs when Karen and I visited the devastated mountain twenty plus yeas ago.  Everything was grey and brown, mud and ash.  It reminded me of what I thought the moon’s landscape was like.

Now, life is emerging everywhere.  The reds, oranges, yellows, and purples of the wildflowers scattered about breathe life into the landscape.  The greens below are young trees that have sprouted from seeds that have been brought to the surface by the small ground animals that survived the blast underground and from returning birds dropping seeds from above.  Life is a miracle!  My spirits lifted as I looked down over the valley below.  My imagination looked forward to picture a natural forest that will return in the centuries to come.

How Fragile Basalt Can Be

Columnar Basalt Remains – Yellowstone National Park

I think of basalt as a hard, stable volcanic rock created from lava flows.  Columnar basalt is formed when lava cools slowly.  It forms multi-sided vertical columns as it cools.  These columns are characterized by horizontal fractures.  When the columns are exposed to rushing water, the water carves out these fractures and the columns collapse. This image illustrates the vertical basalt columns as well as the collapsed column residuals.

Yellowstone: Mammoth Hot Springs from Below

Mammoth Hot Springs – View from Below

This image was taken with a 900mm equivalent telephoto lens shooting up at the cascading edge of the upper Mammoth Hot Spring Basin.  What caught my eye were the lines and patterns of the water and mineral deposits.

This image does not capture the grandeur of the basin edge cascading off the cliff.  I went thorough my photos to find an overall image.  I did not find one.  Big Lesson Learned:  Make sure I do not become fixated only with details, I need to capture the overall perspective as well.

Yellowstone: Mammoth Hot Spring Cascades

Upper Mammoth Hot Springs Cascades

This image was taken from an observation point just below that of my previous post.  I liked the contrast of the orange-brown deposits against the white alkaline deposits.  The puffiness of the clouds balanced that of the deposits.

Next post, a view from below …

Yellowstone: The Edge

Upper Mammoth Hot Springs

Mist steamed from the hot spring water even though the ambient temperature was around 90 degrees,  The water flowed over a series of small cascades over the edges of the basin down to the valley below.  The cascades stood out from the mountains across the valley.

I converted this image to black and white to emphasize the water and the edge of the bluff.  It represents the feeling that I had when gazing over the edge.