Spotlight gives me an opportunity to showcase a particular image or set of images. Close-up photos can display details from larger pieces. Background stories about the concept, inspiration, circumstances, or development of a piece can be shared, including progressive images of a work-in-progress. 

Spotlight library: Is More ThanInterconnected, Rivers in the Sky, The Cost of Soft, AR 4

"AR 4"

Atmospheric River Events (ARs) range on a five-category scale that is keyed to the location, strength, and duration of the storm. Category 1 is rated "primarily beneficial" and a Cat 5 is "primarily hazardous."  The images in this collage were captured in the greenbelt adjacent to my backyard during and after the severe atmospheric rivers of 2023-2024. In one particular storm, an AR 4, the swirling gusts of wind were so strong and sustained that even healthy trees were snapped off and uprooted. I am ever thankful that none landed on my home.

While these ARs brought enough rain to fill the reservoirs and end the longest drought in the history of California, they also caused billions of dollars in damages from floods, landslides and downed trees. A recent Los Angeles Times article nicely summarizes new research by the U.S. Geological Survey on the history of "monster storms" in the state and the future impacts of climate change. I highly recommend checking it out at this link.

The Evolution of AR 4

To capture the force of the wind on the trees, I used a long exposure camera setting. I then selected one of many "aftermath" images to collage together for the AR 4 piece.

After printing the two images, I applied my usual folding techniques to the prints and distressed the edges.

I thought it would be effective in this case to extend the content beyond the confines of the prints, so I experimented with adding related elements to the piece. First I printed a close-up image of the bark of a fallen tree to use as a background to mount the prints. Then I gathered some fallen pine needles that had been blowing wildly in the wind during the storms.

In order to use the pine needles, they had to be to washed to remove the sticky residue and then preserved. They were soaked in a glycerine bath and baked in the oven for three hours. 

I liked the result and even incorporated some needles in with the stitching that holds the prints together. I laid some in and around the folds and in the trails of the branches moving in the wind.

Then finally, I worked with my wonderful framer, Cathy Jaeger, to select a woodgrain shadow-box frame. She also helped me figure out how to apply the bark print on the interior edges of the frame for the appearance of continuity I was looking for.

I hope you enjoyed this Spotlight on the concept and making of "AR 4"   You can view more images from the portfolio in my Folding and Mending gallery.

Please feel free to send comments or questions via my Contact Page.

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