When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.
What is all this juice and all this joy? …
“Come with me into the woods where spring is advancing, as it does, no matter what, not being singular or particular, but one of the forever gifts, and certainly visible.” ― Mary Oliver
When have I ever NOT needed Spring when it was ready to arrive? Winter in Wisconsin, and winter in Oregon, does its job of cold and dark and cloudy to the point that my soul is so ready for the ‘YES!’ of new life that I can barely contain myself. I head outdoors to feel the sunshine on my face and see what transformations are going on with its return. I listen for the return of friends: frogs, blackbirds, cranes. I measure the emergence of daffodils in hours, not days, too exuberant for patience. I can’t imagine whether I deserve Spring or not, but I am certainly grateful that I cannot stop it. Thank you, Sofia, for inviting us to share what Spring means to us with this week’s Challenge.
“Keep your love of nature, for that is the true way to understand art more and more.” ~ Vincent Van Gogh
The challenge this week centers around a metaphor: the road most taken on your photographic journey represents your preferred style or genre. In looking at my portfolio, it became obvious that road I take most often with my camera is a walk in the weird, wonderful, wide world of Nature. The unexpected, the unexplained, the unusual, and the astonishingly beautiful never fail to catch my eye. Pattern, color, life, texture, phenomenon – it’s like performance art: everything, everywhere, all at once. I can never get enough!
“The Earth is so beautiful. We are beautiful also. We can allow ourselves to walk mindfully, touching the Earth, our wonderful mother, with each step. We don’t need to wish our friends, ‘Peace be with you.’ Peace is already with them. We only need to help them cultivate the habit of touching peace in each moment.” – Thich Nhat Hahn, Touching Peace
“Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is a wonderful moment.” – Thich Nhat Hahn, Being Peace
Tina’s challenge this morning is the perfect sequel to Ann-Christine’s “Alone Time” challenge last week. Finding peace in the present moment is a beautiful thing to experience, to savor through a photograph, and to share with others.
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!
Donna of Wind Kisses leads our challenge this week with a whimsical post about Messages in photography. She calls herself out as the “hippie of the group”. I get to be more (ahem!) serious with history, literature, and religion.
“Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man.” — Rabindranath Tagore
The Children’s Farm Home in Corvallis was built in 1925 by volunteers from the Women’s Christian Temperance Union in order to house orphans, neglected children, and children whose families couldn’t take care of them in the years leading up to the Great Depression. The school closed in the 1980s. Today, the facilities belong to a Family Services organization that offers residential care. The brick school building still shows the etched names and messages of children who came to live there over the decades and longed to leave their mark on their new Home.
“There are always messages in fiction, of course, even if they’re only implicit ones. In fact, most such messages aren’t obvious. They tell us things about life, about the author’s understanding of the world, and often convince us to change our minds about things without ever having to come out and say it.” — Sarah Reese
“All religions try to benefit people, with the same basic message of the need for love and compassion, for justice and honesty, for contentment.” — His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
But I leave you with these very profound message photos:
“Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.” — Yousuf Karsh
It has been a long time since my last Photo Walk. Winter in the Pacific Northwest is often rainy, dark, and cold. It affects my mood more than it affects the beauty of my surroundings. I struggled to leave my warm, flannel bed this morning, but when I looked out the window, I saw the fog and sun in a dance of the Present Moment. I grabbed my camera and headed outside my door into the big world of the temporal rainforest. This is the story of One Walk with lenses.
I have only one lens for my camera: the one issued with my Canon Rebel T3i – 18-55mm. It also has some helpful pre-sets for close-ups and landscapes which I use quite frequently. I also bring along the lenses on my eyeballs and my varifocal eyeglasses. I am rarely without those.
The lens of my mental state has been fixated on the cold and my longing for sunshine. I visited the chickens in the yard and thought about their being cooped up outside all winter, albeit with down coats to cover themselves.
Oregon cold is not the same as Wisconsin cold. I’ve discovered that it’s wetter. It’s more colorful, too.
I wish I could imbed the experience of walking around here into this post. The ground is thick with fallen needles, ferns, rotting wood, Oregon grape, mosses, lichen. It’s springy and moist as well as colorful. There are literally worlds underfoot.
After a short ramble, my fingertips are numb. I head back inside to the warmth of my garage loft studio apartment. I have a bird’s nest view out my window.
Thank you, Anne, for motivating me to get outside for a Photo Walk. I appreciate that Lens-Artists are out and about in search of beauty all over the globe this week, traveling lightly. Happy hunting, all!
“And the seasons, they go round and round And the painted ponies go up and down We’re captive on the carousel of time We can’t return, we can only look Behind, from where we came And go round and round and round, in the circle game” – Joni Mitchell
“This challenge is about time, how things evolve.” – Sofia of Photographias. Click HERE to see her excellent post on Art History and play along.