Time for amateur art hour. Enjoy.
1) I was going for the “ruined” aspect of the sublime here, but I don’t think I quite hit it. It’s a fallen tree, and due to the smoothness of the break, I’m pretty sure it was cut rather than just fallen. I thought the scraggly branches around it added to the effect–it was something big and majestic surrounded by lesser sized versions, but now it’s just a log covered in snow.
2) This is my attempt at the picturesque. I thought the irregularity of the branch growth qualified it for inclusion under that category. I also liked the shadow it cast–even though the tree itself is so irregularly bent, its two-dimensional shadow is fairly normal, and casts a shape that’s roughly symmetrical. The building in the background is there largely because I lacked the skill and will to crop it out; I’m not sure if it contributes or detracts from the overall aesthetic.
3)Originally, this was actually my attempt at the beautiful–a symmetrically framed park bench made smooth and uniform from the snow, and almost interceptible from its surroundings. That grand vision was disturbed by the jagged, irregular shadows cast by the nearby trees. So I went at a bit of angle, and took that picture instead. I think it fits nicely with what Price described as picturesque beauty. It would be interesting to return to the same scene at a different time of the day and see if a more straightforwardly beautiful picture could be achieved.
4) This is a close-up on a pile of snow on another park bench. I’m not entirely sure whether it was arranged like that, or it’s covering some set of objects. It may fit picturesque beauty as well–I don’t think it has the scope necessary to invoke grandeur, but the obscurity that makes me uncertain what, if anything it’s supposed to be, combined with a sort of ruined quality makes me think that it deserves to be called picturesque. (Quick aside: if the picturesque and sublime can be associated with ruins, can they also be associated with things that are half-formed, or unfinished?) There’s a certain smoothness to it that pushes it slightly towards beauty too, but I think it’s mostly picturesque, if anything.
Overall, I found it a lot easier to find images of the picturesque than images of beauty, and beauty easier than the sublime. Was this anyone else’s experience? I suppose that’s the result of the extenuating circumstances: the location (outdoors, on campus), the time (time of day, time of season; I think we all noticed how the snow (and in some cases, ice) affected our choices) and to a certain extent, my own disposition (I think I could have gotten a more sublime picture if I had ventured closer to the stream, but I was not willing to risk where the ice may or may not start).
In conclusion, taking pictures is hard. I think I’ll stick to writing words. Much less work.