Friday, May 21, 2010

Sky Friday - A toast to Alfred Stieglitz

There have been many times when I was observing and photographing the sky that the cloud forms themselves were so compelling and beautiful as to stand on their own as subjects, freed as a subordinate of the land.   Given my proclivity towards abstractions, it was inevitable that many shots were taken with the camera well above the horizon.  Ever since I began taking these, I've wanted to do a series of them, and today seemed like a good day for a departure from the sunsets I've been posting.

Not too long ago, I was reading about master photographer and husband of Georgia O'Keefe,  Alfred Stieglitz, and was fascinated to learn that he did a series of abstracted cloudscape photos, titled the Equivalent Series.    How exciting to learn that one of the great photographers of the late 19th/early 20th century was also a cloud aficionado.

Whereas these shots were taken in full afternoon sun, against a brilliant blue sky, I find that I prefer them, save one,  as monochromatics, just as Stieglitz portrayed them.  They are posted by date taken, earliest to latest.  Location, date and cloud type are noted.  All, except for the color photo, are taken at full 18mm wide angle.

So, Mr. Stieglitz, wherever you may be, here's a tribute to you and your Equivalents.  Enjoy!

Cirrus #1
Long, sweeping tails of this graceful cloud fill the sky.  
Jonquil Hotel courtyard, Bisbee, January 26, 2009.

Cirrus #2
Wispy tails of this cloud form fern-like patterns in the afternoon sky.  
Jonquil Hotel courtyard, Bisbee, February 2, 2010.

These small cloudlets form a striking pattern across the morning sky.
Jonquil Hotel courtyard, Bisbee, February 6, 2010

From the Heavens
This pair of moisture-laden cumulus congestus clouds, joined by a thin vapor veil, show dramatic backlighting from the sun.
 BLM Murray Springs Clovis Site trail, March 19, 2010

These high-level clouds form what is known as a "mackerel sky"
Picture Rocks/Tucson, March 22, 2010


  1. Sonya,
    My exploration of your blog only got this far. You've stopped me in my tracks with these truly wonderful cloud photos. You must be very pleased with them. I'm quite flattered by your comment about my painting. Thanks so much.

    I see you're aware of Stieglitz's clouds. Amazing, aren't they? He was difficult for Georgia, but I imagine it was also hard to be her boyfriend. In many ways, he was indeed her "equivalent". A remarkable pair.

  2. Oh! You're the painter of Monkey! I knew you were familiar; Jala sent me your link when you posted this. It's a memorable portrait, and the preceding post brought tears to my eyes. Me and the dogs (bad grammar, but that's the way dogs talk) send our admiration and slurps.

  3. Sam - thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and comment - I really appreciate it! How sweet of Jala to send you the link to Monkey's portrait; my sister only got the painting today (6/1).

    O'Keefe fascinates me, and her relationship with Stieglitz sounds like it was tempestuous and tenuous at times...but with two strong artist personalities and the unconventional nature of it (at the time, anyway), it's no surprise I suppose. Remarkable, they were!

    As I think I mentioned to Jala's comment, I sometimes wonder if I'm the only one who finds these images and concepts (abstracted skies in b/w) to be appealing. I'm glad there are at least a few of us out there that appreciate them :).


Your thoughtful comments add value to this blog - thank you so much for taking the time to leave them!

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