Chaos Theory

The human mind is a pattern recognizing machine.

It sees patterns in everything, even when they are not there. An evolutionary legacy, science tell us, of a time when spotting a pattern in the grass meant the difference between being some carnivore’s dinner and surviving for another day. There was no penalty for seeing patterns that weren’t there – you still survived to pass those traits on to your children – but missing a pattern that was there made the passing on of your genes highly unlikely.

Photographers learn how to use the human mind’s pattern recognition tools to great effect when composing images. Even so, it’s difficult to make a photograph of a chaotic scene that is satisfactory to both the viewer and the photographer.

I have been enamored lately of taking photographs of stormy skies (it’s been a very good monsoon season here in Arizona so there have been a lot of opportunities).  Such images are, by definition, photographs of chaos.

It’s been surprisingly challenging to get photographs of storm clouds that have enough structure in them to please the pattern recognition functions of my mind and still convey that sense of natural chaos inherent in the subject.

Here’s a photo that I think succeeds in striking that balance between structure and chaos.

BTW: This photo would look great printed large and hung in your office. If you’d like to do that, click here to find it in my on-line store. Actually, there’s a few there if you’d like to see some variations. They’d make a great grouping if you ordered three or four.

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