It’s the time of year for the salmon to return to their birth sites. It was the first time I ever witnessed this–hundreds of salmon waiting to climb upstream to lay eggs, I am told, at the very same place they were born. Their long return from the ocean is a daunting thought. Then they get to fresh water and have to hurl themselves upstream! And this marks the end of a salmon’s life. Many, if not all, of the fish have stopped eating and are losing their scales and their color. I spent the day at Tumwater falls, watching them move upstream, attempting massive leaps against all odds (at one section I watched dozens of attempts and none made it).
I thought of Da Vinci’s turbulence studies and, perhaps in the same spirit as the salmon, wanted to challenge my limits, so I made my own study. Capturing the power of fast moving water is one of the most difficult things to daw: very ghostly, always vanishing from sight, somehow always different and always the same. My efforts were encouraged by studying the foam that had formed on top of the water, which aided in seeing the mostly invisible crashing and momentum of the river.