Nieblas Andinas

Feb 11, 2021 | 2 comments

Few people get to see the things I have seen. Fewer still record their visions. Even fewer write of them. When there is a chance to show the world we live in but rarely see, it’s good to share it.

I’m fairly well traveled even though I wouldn’t say I had “seen the whole world.” As an aficionado of the visual arts, I visit museums and other dedicated galleries that exhibit them. I not only enjoy viewing art, I really like to create it. That heartstring tug sometimes spirits me away into the obscure places.

The art in museums and galleries is mostly static and has usually been created by the hand of man. Except for the great landscapes, most visual art is filled with elements that were also created by the hand of man. As I said, I like most all of it. But, what about giving the world around us its due as the creator of ever-evolving visions of beauty?

There’s magic about in all places. Some people can see it, some can’t. It’s kind of like the old adage, “One persons trash is another persons treasure.” And magic being magic, it presents in multiple forms. And, because it’s magic, we’re often not quite sure what we are really seeing. Magical visions can bend the mind.

How can something appear where there was nothing before? How can you see at night when you’re not equipped with the nocturnal sight gifted to most of natures creatures? I quiet my own thoughts and allow my surroundings to begin to seep in, oozing into the crevices of my mind. There are separate realities at play.

High on a ridge in Ecuador’s ancient Andes range I wait. Night is moments from arriving as the call of a wild raptor heralds its blanket of gloominess. Little color is left across the land and sky except for the inky blue which is pervasive. The camera is locked onto its tripod. A minuscule red glow from a tiny LED is the only hint that something is there that isn’t native to the environment.

As the last moments of twilight unfold into darkness, a sight appears across the landscape. Emerging from the other-worldly tundra and rocky crags, tendrils of ghostly mists form. These are the nieblas Andinas, the Andean fogs. They become suspended in the quickly cooling air. I open the cameras shutter. The mists grow larger, weaving themselves in a great mantle across the mountains. Ancient peaks jut upward trying to escape the swirling currents that have seized them from below. It is as still as death, nothing moves and there are no sounds. After a minute or so, I manually close the shutter.

Here is the result of my efforts from that early evening several years ago. The camera can sometimes see and record what the eye cannot fully comprehend. Left to its own devices and undisturbed by the hand of man, the world renders a composition filled with the wonders of twilight. It’s one of my favorite moments as night begins to steal the day away. Yes, it’s nighttime’s turn to blow the whistle and ring the bell. The day and the night fight for control as they have since the dawn of time. I’m simply the fortunate viewer, recorder and author of their battle.

Brian Buckner

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