In her book, For the Time Being, Annie Dillard writes keen observations about anthropology, religion, culture, death…and clouds.
She quotes written observations of clouds from centuries ago. It seems that always, humans have looked up from their lives in wonder, trying to make sense of the shifting vapor, what it might mean for the present, for the future, how it all got there in the first place, and how it can be ever-new and unpredictable.
The unique atmosphere surrounding beloved Earth supports everything we know as Life. How much do we really know about it?
“I really don’t know Clouds at all.” — Joni Mitchell
“I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness; I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too. I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.” — Anne Frank
“Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.” — Thich Nhat Hahn
“The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
“One can enjoy a rainbow without necessarily forgetting the forces that made it.” — Mark Twain
“There are a thousand ‘greatest’ melodies, just as there are a thousand ‘greatest’ poems and a thousand ‘greatest’ pictures, because there are a thousand moods in the mind of (a Person) when a certain note rings with the most clarity–when a certain design is most sharply silhouetted against the changing curtain of (their) mind.” ― Beverley Nichols, A Thatched Roof
Our host this week, Sofia, writes, “I challenge you and myself to think of mood, how to convey and create an emotional reaction to your shot. That can be accomplished by capturing situations or occasions, photography styles or people and their feelings.” Visit HER POST to see a variety of techniques for expressing mood in photography.
The following two photos were taken on the same day, while I was walking with a group of friends. I am always fascinated by the changing moods of the ocean…and of people.
I’m tempted to say that my driveway has moods…but it’s not the driveway at all. It’s the Place, the environment. My driveway just provides a fixed point of comparison.
It’s really amazing to consider how my own mood affects everything I perceive and to know that I can illustrate that in my photos as well.
I am amused to think of “hashtag MOOD” as a shorthand of popular culture. It is a humorous way to acknowledge our common human experience as shifting landscapes of emotion. How wonderful to recognize and resonate with each other as we share our Lens-Artists posts! I look forward to seeing yours!
“The beginnings and ends of shadow lie between the light and darkness and may be infinitely diminished and infinitely increased. Shadow is the means by which bodies display their form. The forms of bodies could not be understood in detail but for shadow.” – Leonardo da Vinci
This week’s photo challenge comes from Ann-Christine, who writes, “Backlight is a versatile instrument in making pictures really come alive, even if they are only silhouettes or very dark. For landscapes it can be magical.” I find that especially true when water is part of the landscape, adding reflection, glow, and sparkle. I am really happy that the rain in Oregon has let up, and warm sunshine is bedazzling the Coast. I had a glorious day there yesterday, and will return soon!
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” – Henry David Thoreau
For this week’s challenge, Tina of Travels and Trifles asks about our preferences for our Environment and reminds us of the story of the City Mouse and the Country Mouse.
I happen to love tent camping. The first photo in the gallery was taken two years ago on a backpacking trip to the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness in Oregon; I was a month shy of 60 years old. The last photo was taken, I believe, in Acadia National Park in Maine; I was three years old. I didn’t take those photos. All the others were taken on various car camping trips in the last ten years. The smell of wood smoke and the crisp feel of fresh air make me feel more alive than any other environment. To me, a baked potato raked from the coals and covered in butter and salt and pepper can taste as heavenly as a gourmet meal at a 5-star restaurant. (It helps to be ravenously hungry!) The feeling of self-reliance and freedom that settles around me as I’m making camp in a spot I’ve chosen for its magnificent view is priceless. It makes me feel like I belong on this Earth, just as I am.
Others can have their cities of man-made majesty. I’m a happy camper in a cathedral of tall trees.
“…We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time…
…Through the unknown, unremembered gate When the last of earth left to discover Is that which was the beginning;
…At the source of the longest river The voice of the hidden waterfall…
…And the children in the apple-tree…
…Not known, because not looked for But heard, half-heard, in the stillness Between two waves of the sea…” ― from “Little Gidding” by T.S. Eliot
“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” ― Roald Dahl
“…Just think—no one has ever seen inside this peanut before!
It is hard being a person.
I do and don’t love you—isn’t that happiness?” ― from “One Boy Told Me” by Naomi Shihab Nye
New experiences occur with every breath, every heartbeat. Each present moment is new and not repeatable. The gift of being alive can be wrapped up in so many different ways. I love the idea of “Beginner’s Mind” – it makes a new experience of everything, allowing a fresh perspective. It is a worthy challenge to cultivate this break with habit and sameness and taking-for-granted. I really enjoy hanging out with young people and watching them discover and exclaim over so many things that I have been seeing with dull eyes. I look forward to volunteering as a Teaching Naturalist for some school field trips coming up this Spring.
Anne’s challenge this week has inspired a lot of exciting posts about travel and adventure, but it has inspired me to look at the exhilarating experience of finding joy in my local environs. With warming temperatures and emerging life, it’s a whole new world out there!
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.
“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!
The sun has set on the year 2022, but the memories, the images, the lessons learned, and the resolve for the future carry forward. My most epic adventure of the year was my wilderness backpacking trip in Olympic National Park, during which I fell and broke my wrist. I have now learned that I have “severe” osteoporosis, which may well mean that it will have been my last wilderness adventure. Nevertheless, it will always stay in my memory for its awe-inspiring natural beauty.
The Pacific coast is only an hour’s drive from my home, so I can hope for more glorious sunsets in the years to come.
I am so grateful to have been here in the Pacific Northwest, near mountains and coastline, for all of 2022.
Thanks, John, and all the Lens-Artists for your inspiration last year. I look forward to seeing what 2023 brings into your viewfinder!