Cryptic Writings

Cryptic Writings is a small series of long exposure photographs of dead twigs sticking out of the waters of Lake Hodges.

I made the first image of the series in December 2011. By the time I realized how I could isolate the dead twigs with a long exposure, the conditions on location had changed too much to get more than one useful image. For one, the area with these twigs had to be in the shade to avoid direct sunlight with hard shadows and glare – with the short daylight hours of December, there was simply not enough time.

In addition to that, there had to be a little wind, but just a little. No wind at all would not render the water surface smooth enough during long exposures, and too much wind would cause ripples that also move the twigs, rendering them blurry. I knew I wanted to get more, and on a late January afternoon in 2012, I found good conditions again to continue working on the set, increasing it’s total number to five images. On an overcast/foggy morning in July 2012, I added two more images.

Since then, the water level of Lake Hodges has dropped so much because of three consecutive dry winters that led to the 2014 California drought. It changes the appearance of the lake a lot. Early 2015, the water level is so low that new and different “cryptic writings” appear. Two new images were added to the series in April 2015.


Also have a look at my three latest blog posts:


All images and content © by Alexander S. Kunz, unless otherwise noted. No re-use without express written permission. Most images are available as prints and for commercial licensing. Please contact me with any questions. Prints and licensed images are NOT watermarked, of course.

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