This photograph was taken in China while I was on tour with a magic show in 2017. Everyday no matter what city we were in I would go for a walk. This one day I was wandering down a lone street and discovered a building that was abandoned and parts of it were in rubble. My curiosity was instantly peeked, and I had to go take a closer look. There were pieces of the building in haphazard piles all over the area and I had to step carefully. Part of the building had a tree growing within it, garbage was strewn about, and doors to empty rooms stood ajar. There were still pieces of paper lanterns hanging from hooks, strips of faded posters clung to dirty wall, and a couple triangle shaped festival banners flapped in the breeze. I wandered down the empty hall to the room that once held a Buddha which had long since been removed. The Buddha space still had rotted food that had been left as offerings and the nubs of incense sticks lettered the floor. There was a disturbing stillness that lingered in the air around this long forgotten building.
A photo of the outside of the abandoned Buddhist temple.
I have so many photos of this Buddhist temple, but none of them tell the story quite as well as the photograph with the empty bird cage. In the above photograph of the outside of the temple you can see an open door with a second floor window above it. That is the room that contained the bird cage. I poked my head in and saw the light creeping through the gloom of a windowless room. There was a very low ceiling that blocked the light from the second floor window. I could see leaves and other forms of debris blown in during the time this place sat empty. The little bit of light glinted off the dirty bird cage and beckoned me to come closer. I took two photos of the cage with my iPhone 7Plus. I didn’t touch anything as I didn’t want to disturb the natural beauty this room offered, instead I moved around the cage to find the right angle. This photograph is the result of that day. For me there is something very satisfying when natural light softly cascades over an object the way it does here. You can see the door of the cage is open and it sits empty. I like to think that when monks lived at the temple they had a little song bird in this cage. That once both homes were filled with life and activity, but now the monks have abandoned the temple like the bird has abandoned its cage.
I hope you find the silent beauty I see in this lonely image every time I look at it.
The Whiskey Jack Angel is one of my photos that was noticed by Apple for their shot on iPhone promotions. It was when I was only using my iPhone 7 Plus for photograph and I was on the verge of looking for a real camera. It was a cold day about -15° and I was out on a friends property in Manitoba, near Riding Mountain National Park. I was out in the pond area that even in the winter is beautiful with the snow covered trees and cattails. There had been a snowfall the night before and I waited until the warmth of the afternoon to go for a walk in the new snow. At the pond I discovered several spots where Whiskey Jacks had dove into the snow chasing mice for a winter meal. Most of these spots showed the struggle with the bird catching it prey, but then I discovered this one beautiful pristine impression. I quickly brought out my phone to snap a photo, but I wasn’t quick enough. I had brought the neighbors dog with me and he stepped in the tail feather part of the impression. I was left with this amazing snow angel of a bird and a paw print. I still saw a great photograph so I took the photo and cropped the bottom which left the birds snow angel looking to me like a Phoenix rising from the snow. I still enjoy this photo. The glint of sun off the snow, the shadows, the pattern left from the wings, and the memories I relive everytime I look at this image. I hope you enjoy this photograph as much as I do.
Whiskey Jacks are also known as Gray Jays. They are a very smart bird in the same family as the blue jay. Many people have friended these birds turning them into pets as they are curious and engaging birds.
I am always asked where I saw the images I photograph and what drew me to them. The stories behind each photo is as unique as the image. For some people it is the story they are buying. I like to imagine that when someone looks at my photographs they envision their own stories. Some of the blogs will be short and others will be more detailed depending on the photo.
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