“The Dragon is one of the four spiritually endowed creatures of China, the others being the Unicorn, the Phoenix, and the Tortoise. There are four principal Lung or Dragons–the Celestial Dragon, which supports and guards the mansion of the Gods; the spiritual Dragon, which causes the winds to blow and the rains to fall; the Earth Dragon, which marks out the courses of rivers and streams, and the Dragon of the Hidden Treasure, which watches over wealth concealed from mortals.
“…from a symbol of spiritual power from whom no secrets are hidden this dragon becomes a symbol of the human soul in its divine adventure, ‘climbing aloft on spiral gusts of wind, passing over hills and dreams, treading in the air and soaring higher than the Kwan-lun Mountains, bursting open the Gate of Heaven, and entering the Place of God.'”
Cited: JSTOR, Captain L Cranmer-Byng. Chinese Poetry and its Symbols
Photograph created with Nikon D750 f/8 1/20s 62mm 400 ISO and Capture One 20
I find myself being drawn again and again to how the yellow caution tape forms a number of barriers around play areas within a park near my home. The tape intensifies the overwheming silence and emptiness contrasting with the news blitz that feeds powerlessness, sadness, anger, confusion, mistrust, division, anxiety, etc.
The empty playground also beings to mind the story of The Pied Piper of Hamelin. The story is a familiar one, but what most of us probably don’t know is that it has its feet at least somewhat planted in an apparently true event that took place in the real-life town of Hamelin, Germany in 1284.
The earliest accounts of the story don’t include the rats, which wouldn’t show up until around the year 1559, but they do include the piper, dressed in his “clothing of many colors.” there is not enough historical data to ascertain for certain what happened in the town of Hamelin in 1284, there is little doubt that something occurred there which left a heavy mark on the town, and on world folklore. Theories advanced over the years include that many of the town’s children died of natural causes that year; or possibly drowned in the nearby river; or were killed in a landslide, thus explaining the recurring motif of the rats being led into the water, or of the mountain opening up and swallowing the children. The pied piper himself is considered a symbolic figure of death.
One other explanation is that the children may have died of the Black Plague, which could be why the rats were later added into the story, though the Black Plague didn’t hit Germany until the 1300s, making its arrival probably too late to be the source of the legend.
Other theorists hold that the story of the pied piper actually refers to a mass emigration or even another Children’s Crusade like the one that may have occurred in 1212.
Our first clue about what really happened in the town of Hamelin comes from a stained glass window that stood in the town’s Market Church until it was destroyed in 1660. Accounts of the stained glass say that it alluded to some tragedy involving children, and a recreation of the window shows the piper in his colorful clothes and several children dressed in white. The date is set by an entry in Hamelin’s town chronicle, which was dated 1384 and said, simply and chillingly, “It is 100 years since our children left.”
Grammarist point out that the phrase “pied piper” usually has a pejorative connotation, pointing out that, “When it is time to pay the piper it is time to accept the consequences of a thoughtless or rash action” or to “fulfill a responsibility or promise, usually after the fulfillment has been delayed already.” Both of these meanings probably tie back to the legend of the pied piper.
Even the words “pied piper” have entered into common usage to mean everything from “a charismatic person who attracts followers” to “a leader who makes irresponsible promises” to “one who offers strong but delusive enticement,” according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary entry for pied piper meaning. “Pied piping” is also a phrase used to describe a certain phenomenon in linguistics in which some words “drag” others along with them when moved to the front of a sentence. (cited: The Chilling Story Behind the Pied Piper of Hamelin)
Now that I have got this obvious allusion out of my system, let’s move on the the composition elements within the above photograph:
Rule of Thirds
Rule of Odds
Leading Lines from right to left
Triangle created by the placement of the “triangle” snow pile with the two subjects
Stay at Home Order … day 21 plus 14 seclusion retreat days
“A haiku is not a poem, it is not literature; it is a hand becoming, a door half-opened, a mirror wiped clean. It is a way of returning to nature, to our moon nature, our cherry blossom nature, our falling leaf nature, in short, to our Buddha nature. It is a way in which the cold winter rain, the swallows of evening, even the very day in its hotness, and the length of the night, become truly alive, share in our humanity, speak their own silent and expressive language.”
– Haiku: Eastern Culture, 1949, Volume One, p. 243.
Nikon D750 f/5.6 1/640s 300m 400 ISO
This month I’ve continued with my intention to study and implement composition elements as offered through an on-line education site, Udemy. Thus far, I have completed two of their photography courses.
It is my intention for the next 30 days to “focus” on the basics of composition, both within camera and digital darkroom.
The image above was created by moving closer (telephoto lens) at a construction site with simplicity in mind. I learned in the second class that if photographers find the environment to be boring…they need to move in closer. Also, beautifully composed photographs will include 3-5 rules. It is my thought that the above image includes:
golden points, right to left
close-in with blurred background
Do the shadows meet the rule of odds?
Does this photo include the element of dark figure on light background?
Do you have any constructive feedback about the above image? Do you see something I may have overlooked? If so, I would enjoy reading your thoughts. Thanks!
“The rapid increase of carbon dioxide concentration in Earth’s modern atmosphere is a matter of major concern. But for the atmosphere of roughly two-and-half billion years ago, interest centres on a different gas: free oxygen (O2) spawned by early biological production. The initial increase of O2 in the atmosphere, its delayed build-up in the ocean, its increase to near-modern levels in the sea and air two billion years later, and its cause-and-effect relationship with life are among the most compelling stories in Earth’s history.”
(cited: Lyons, Timothy W.; Reinhard, Christopher T.; Planavsky, Noah J. The rise of oxygen in Earth’s early ocean and atmosphere: Nature, Volume 506, Issue 7488, pp. 307-315 (2014).
“The oxygen holocaust was a worldwide pollution crisis that occurred about 2,000 million years ago. Before this time there was almost no oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere. The Earth’s original biosphere was as different from ours as that of an alien planet. But purple and green photosynthetic microbes, frantic for hydrogen, discovered the ultimate toxic waste, oxygen. Our precious oxygen was originally a gaseous poison dumped into the atmosphere. … (The atmospheres of Mars and Venus today are still more than 95 percent carbon dioxide; the Earth’s is only 0.03 percent.)…”
(cited: Lynn Margulis, Dorion Sagan Microcosmos: Four Billion Years of Microbial Evolution
Stay at Home Order … day 13 plus 14 seclusion retreat days
Nikon D750 f/1.8 1/4000 35mm 200 ISO
Return within, to the place where there is nothing, and take care that nothing comes in. Penetrate to the depths of yourself, to the place where thought no longer exists, and take care that no thought arises there! There where nothing exists, Fullness! There where nothing is seen, the Vision of Being! There where nothing appears any longer, the sudden appearing of the Self! Dhyana is this! ~Abhishiktananda, Swami (Henri Le Saux)
Nikon D750 f/1.8 1/2500 35mm 200 ISO
“‘I am a portrait,’ repeated the Professor. ‘I am a portrait of the celebrated Professor de Worms, who is, I believe in Naples.'” …
“‘Do explain yourself,’ said Syme.”
“‘With pleasure, if you don’t mind hearing my story,’ replied the eminent foreign philosopher. ‘I am by profession an actor, and my name is Wilks. When I was on the stage I mixed with all sorts of Bohemian and blackguard company. Sometimes I touched the edge of the turf, sometimes the riff-raff of the arts, and occasionally the political refugee. In some den of exiled dreamers I was introduced to the great German Nihilist philosopher, Professor de Worms. I did not gather much about him beyond his appearance, which was very disgusting, and which I studied carefully. I understood that he had proved that the destructive principle in the universe was God; hence he insisted on the need for a furious and incessant energy, rending all things in pieces. Energy, he said, was the All. He was lame, shortsighted, and partially paralytic. When I met him I was in a frivolous mood, and I disliked him so much that I resolved to imitate him. If I had been a draughtsman I would have drawn a caricature. I was only an actor, I could only act a caricature. I made myself up into what was meant for a wild exaggeration of the old Professor’s dirty old self. When I went into the room full of his supporters I expected to be received with a roar of laughter, or (if they were too far gone) with a roar of indignation at the insult. I cannot describe the surprise I felt when my entrance was received with a respectful silence, followed (when I had first opened my lips) with a murmur of admiration. The curse of the perfect artist had fallen upon me. I had been too subtle, I had been too true. They thought I really was the great Nihilist Professor. …'” (cited: The Project Gutenberg Ebook of The Man Who Was Thursday, G.K, Chesterton)