I absolutely love this photo challenge from Ann-Christine, and I admire her beautiful post giving us a glimpse into the outer world she’s created to express and host her inner world.
I deeply resonate with the story of finding the significance of Alone Time. When I was young, I didn’t much value alone time – it reminds me now of how being sent to spend time alone in my room was used as a punishment, and felt as such. As one of five siblings, I didn’t get my own room until I was 14. By then, I was ready to appreciate it. I went from a college dormitory straight into my honeymoon apartment, and had four children in the next seven years. As the mother of a large family, alone time became HIGHLY valued, and I found it in solitary walks into the green spaces around our suburban home. I found myself craving time to write alone as well. As my children were leaving the nest, my husband died. Suddenly, I had more alone time than I knew what to do with and the pain that came with it felt very much like punishment again.
“On my own, pretending he’s beside me, All alone, I walk with him ’til morning…” – from the musical Les Miserables
Two and a half years ago, I moved into a studio apartment and began to live entirely alone for the very first time – during a pandemic, which of course added to the isolation. I am emerging from the narrative that frames alone time as a negative consequence and beginning to really cherish the autonomy, the quiet, the slow pace, and the creative freedom that comes with having my own space and my own time. Here in my studio, I explore creative self-compassion with intention in a way I never had the opportunity to do before. I practice music, memorize lines, write, process photos, listen to music, dance, do yoga, meditate, dream, feed myself, read, and learn, alone in this very private 700 square feet of space. Somehow, while photographing it this morning, I chose monochrome. I like the clarity and simplicity it evokes. I like how ‘mono’ means alone. There is a quiet joy here, even if there’s a somberness to it.
I hope, Friends, that this challenge inspires you to invest in your inner life and in the most important relationship you will ever have: the one with your precious and unique Self.
Bren of Brashley Photography is the guest host for this week’s challenge. She has an amazing studio aesthetic and creates beautifully dreamy photographs. She inspired me to find out what my very limited software can do. I don’t have Photoshop or Lightroom, just the editing software that came with my Canon and the Microsoft jpeg editor that’s on my laptop. I did discover a Clarity tool and a Vignette tool that I’ve never used before. I wish I had the spot focus tool that Bren mentioned because I can see how a little pop of clarity would greatly enhance my photos. Nevertheless, following her suggestions, I came up with a few new versions of flower and landscape favorites:
When I got my first Canon in 1979, there was a soft-focus style of photography that I learned could be achieved by smearing a filter with Vaseline or stretching a nylon stocking over the lens. I’m really glad I can play around with this affect without those measures!
Thank you, Bren, for the fun of this challenge and the invitation to Dreamland.
At the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship I attend, there is a ritual for the seasons on the Wheel of the Year. During these services, we call upon the four directions: to the East, we call upon the Wind and Air; to the West, we call upon the Water; to the South, we call upon Fire; to the North, we call upon the Land and Rock. Therefore, where East meets West would be where Wind and Air meet Water. In my experience, it looks something like this:
Where North meets South might be all those places where Rock and Fire interact – think volcanoes and earthquakes. I attended a geology lecture at the public library yesterday and learned that there is a Corvallis Fault that featured in the formation of Mary’s Peak, the tallest mountain in the Oregon Coastal range. And the Cascades across the Valley contain a chain of volcanic peaks, part of the Pacific Ring of Fire created along the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Here’s my experience of what that looks like:
For a really awesome global and cultural perspective, visit Amy’s Challenge post HERE and enjoy her world-traveling lens.
Patti sets up an awesome challenge this week and opens with a photo that blew my socks off! Took me a while to find a new pair of socks and venture out with my camera. Actually, it wasn’t so much the socks that caused the delay as it was the weather. You see, shadows and reflections require some strong light, and I happen to live in Oregon…and it’s February still. So when the late afternoon sun came through my windows today, I grabbed the camera to see if I could capture some of the magic thrown off by the nuclear fusion going on 93 million miles away. I set my Canon to Monochrome and started looking around. Here’s what I found:
I don’t have any inspirational quotes or deep philosophies to go with this challenge. I just want to share the fun and gratitude of getting up and finding something beautiful close by. Light is beautiful. I’m sure you Lens-Artists agree!