About face

Just the other day, as I was going for a walk along the creek near our place, I looked at a tree that I’ve noticed a number of times because my imagination consistently sees a likeness to a face in its surface.  I had a camera with me (I usually do nowadays) and took the time to make a shot.  My interest in this curious coincidental phenomenon was heightened because, while rummaging through a vast supply of old archived photos, I ran across two more that I photographed many years ago, and recalled that when I made the second one, I did so with the intention of developing a “faces in nature” portfolio.  In the meantime, the faces that I’ve seen in nature have been very few and far between.  But now there are three, and I think they’re worthy of sharing in a post.

The first was actually not in a more-or-less fixed object, but was temporary and quite fleeting, lasting only a minute or so.  It happened while I was on a work trip in Australia.  The last day of January 2004 found me in a sparsely-populated area of New South Wales, not too far from Gunnedah.  I’d had a long day and had retired around midnight.  I was sleeping soundly, but something woke me up rather suddenly around three in the morning.  I listened carefully, but could hear nothing out of the ordinary and did not remember having heard any sound that might have awakened me, so I slipped on my jeans and a shirt and went outside for a look around.  There was nothing special at ground or tree level, but when I looked up at the sky, I knew that my photo angel had called me out to see a remarkable nebulous phenomenon.  The sky was mostly clear, except for one cloud, which was moving slowly across the dark expanse, heading directly toward the moon, and its leading edge had formed the silhouette of a face.  I had enough time to zip back into my room, attach my camera to my tripod, and wait for it to pass in front of the moon so it would be backlit, the better to show the face.  I made 13 exposures on Kodak TMY (T-Max 400), pushed to ISO 500, with a Pentax SF-1N and a Pentax 100-300 zoom lens at a focal length of 135, and exposed between 1 and 2 seconds at f 4.5.  The ninth exposure in the series is my favorite.

The second was in a maple tree that grew alongside the street on which we lived while we were in Fairfax, VA and I worked in Washington, DC.  I passed it every work day on my way to the metro (subway) and it made me smile and lightened my day whenever I took the time to appreciate it.  I made this shot in the summer of 1996.

And finally, here’s the new face that gapes at passersby from its vantage point in the bark of a Bradford pear tree just around the corner.  I plan to keep my eyes open for more faces in nature and if I find any in the near future, I’ll share them again.  Have any of you seen an unexpected face that you can tell us about?

About krikitarts

Welcome to Krikit Arts! I'm a veterinarian; photographer; finger-style guitarist, composer, instructor, and singer/songwriter; fisherman; and fly-tyer. Please enjoy--and please respect my full rights to all photos on this Website!
This entry was posted in A Penchant for Pareidolia (About Face), Abstract and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to About face

  1. How wonderful! I love finding faces in nature. I bet now that you are looking for them, you’ll see them more often. Once when I was in a cemetery in Boston I looked up and saw an old, somber, man keeping watch over the graveyard. I didn’t ask permission to take his photo. I don’t think he minded though: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dezradespain/6263096859/

    I look forward to seeing more faces in your blog!

    • krikitarts says:

      I really like your watchman and hope I get to meet him someday, but I can’t really think of anything else that could lure me back to the Boston area in the foreseeable future.

  2. “Faces in nature” portfolio sounds like a fantastic idea! These 3 images are great; my favourite is the second one – the tree is winking at you with a big smile. And, perhaps the last one is saying ‘oh no, you took a photo of me!’ :)

    • krikitarts says:

      I agree about the second one; it’s always brought a smile to my face, too. Somehow I get the feeling that whoever lives behind the third one is really strange, and I hope he/she doesn’t mind my making a photo, since I pass that tree several times per week!

  3. Emily Gooch says:

    Nice shots! Very observant. The last two made me smile. I haven’t noticed any faces yet but then again, I guess I just never thought about it — until now… Thanks for the inspiration. :)

  4. krikitarts says:

    You’re most welcome. Keep looking–one is bound to turn up sooner or later!

  5. MikeP says:

    Hey … nice finds. I always see abstracts in nature not faces. These are really cool…maybe I should pay attention a little more. Thanks Gary.

  6. Pingback: About Face (3) | krikitarts

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