Fifty Shades of Grey: Woodland Edition

Sitting in the woods with my class last week, I was struck by how grays had come to dominate. The light environment is transformed. Of course, a “fifty shades” wisecrack had to work its way into my impromptu lesson on the visual aesthetics of the forest. The witticism turned into a small project for my walks of the last week: pay attention and find these shades. So here they are, fifty photographs of variations on the theme.

Gray is the most egalitarian of hues. Indeed, its essence is that is not a single color. Instead, gray gives us a muted echo of all the light spectrum, a moody version of white. Contrast this with the bias of other pigments — reds, blues, yellows — that reflect just a tiny slice of the light available to them.

Gray is an unassuming mirror of the world and a quiet companion for its more assertive kin. It absorbs metaphors with ease, having combined light and dark: ash, silver, lead, pepper. A suitable tone, then, for winter reflections.

Happy Solstice, fellow ramblers.

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31 thoughts on “Fifty Shades of Grey: Woodland Edition

  1. Elizabeth Dornbush

    Marvellous! I love grey days, although I do admit I tend to hunt out the little bits of colour. I want to run my fingers over your photos and feel the variety of textures there. Thank you.

  2. Kathryn Marsh

    So glad we all survived the solstice and can see this – thank you and happy mid Winter in whatever form you prefer it from ireland, where we get rather a lot of grey days

    1. David George Haskell Post author

      Yes, looks like we made it through another end-of-the-world… Thank you for your greetings from Ireland. Happy mid winter to you.

      Many of my family live in Scotland, where I suspect that the extent and variation of the greys are at least somewhat like those of Ireland. All that grey means enough moisture for glorious plants!

  3. Scott McCandless

    The WHITE golf ball’s pushing the theme, but I’ll give you the other 49! Some very nice images; thank you for sharing your winter woods–it’s definitely my favorite time of year.

    1. David George Haskell Post author

      Ha! Yes, I threw in the golf ball as an homage/joke re: the golf ball in the Forest Unseen. They show up everywhere. I should have photoshopped it to fade into gray… :)

      Glad you liked the photos!

    1. David George Haskell Post author

      Hi Elizabeth, Thank you. Glad you enjoyed these. I agree with your blog post from earlier this week — it is sometimes healthy to unplug from the world news and tune into the news of the local woods. Whether or not that news is happy (not always), it is important and overlooked.

  4. jimz

    golf ball image reminds me of an old Jean Shepard tv episode, part of a series he did, “Jean Shepard’s America”; many years ago on public tv ( he wrote and narrated the now famous “A Christmas Story” movie classic), in which he is out in the snowy, desolate wilds of Alaska waxing all poetic and is surprised (all scripted of course) to come upon an empty Budweiser beer can.,,,so i see the golf ball as a punchline in the universe.

    1. David George Haskell Post author

      A golf ball will serve as the period at the end of humanity’s sentence on this Earth.

      The Budweiser can might serve as an exclamation point. I find all kinds of old beer cans in the woods, archeological remains of student forays over the decades.

      Here is the Shepard episode (I think): Cans etc start after minute 15!!

      And another echo of the same era from Bud: Wow

      1. jimz

        very much enjoyed the Shephard braodcasts, never occured to me that they might be on youtube, as a kid living near NYC a good radio was essential survival gear, even if you listened under your bed after lights out. thanks for the memories and your ongoing “Ramble”, my wife also enjoying the soaps for Christmas… Peace.

  5. Pingback: Building Wordpress Themes From Scratch Fifty Shades Of Grey | Game Hackers

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