Chaos of Nature

Oxbow Bend, Grand Teton National Park, 2003

“I chose nature photography as a way of capturing and sharing the beauty, power, and fragility of wild places and the life that inhabits them, so that those who have become mired in the man-made chaos may open their eyes to the real world.” – Guy Tal

Earl had a wonderful post a few days ago called Embracing Chaos. In that post Earl states “there is a part of me which exaltates the wonders, energy and unease of chaos.” I totally agree!

Once I began to really look at this world I noticed the differences in the designs of nature and those of man. As Edward Weston suggests “nature is crude and lacking in arrangement” compared to what man creates. Yet that chaos affects me in a totally different way than mad-made order. I experience a different feeling when looking at briar patchs along a small creek or the twisted and bent cottonwoods rooted along the banks of a river than I do when I see the 15 shrubs (not 16 as one died and has not been replaced yet) planted in a grid pattern around a neon sign in front of the bank. The chaos of nature does not grate against me the way man-made order does.

Fallen Leaves

These images were taken with my first digital camera, a Nikon D100 and a Nikon 18-35mm or the Nikon 24-85mm lens back in 2003 and 2004. That camera and those lens were instrumental in helping me see and simplify the beauty in the chaos of nature.

Badlands, South Dakota







This entry was posted in Grand Teton National Park, Musings and tagged , .


  1. Mark March 24, 2012 at 4:28 am #

    I am with you Monte, no matter how chaotic nature can be, there is still an intrinsic calming characteristic to it. I really love the leaf photo here. I think it shows that through photography, we can show some order that might otherwise be looked upon as chaotic by the casual observer.
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    • Monte Stevens March 24, 2012 at 9:32 am #

      I like your comment on Earls posting and think that is what we are saying here. “… close in this may look that way, back away and it is likely part of a larger natural order.” Thanks, Mark. Enjoy your weekend!

  2. Paul March 24, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

    Sometimes I wonder, Monte, is it really chaos or is it just a language that we don’t understand. I think that nature is just spontaneous, wonderfully spontaneous.
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    • Monte Stevens March 25, 2012 at 10:51 am #

      Ah yes, spontaneous. You’ve chosen a good word from the language we think we know. I wonder is there a consciousness of nature attempting to communicate to us.

  3. Earl March 25, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

    The leaf photo is truly wonderful, Monte. I love those deep reddish colors.

    As far as a language we don’t understand or a partial view of a larger whole — I keep thinking about the saying/quote, “Perception is Reality.”

    In the moment…it’s chaos. 🙂 Nice post.
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    • Monte Stevens March 27, 2012 at 8:37 am #

      Those leaves were found back in Colorado just outside my condo rather than east. I also like that image, one of my favorites. Thanks, Earl.

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