lines to patterns

In all things, the Way does not want to be obstructed, for if there is obstruction, there is choking; if the choking does not cease, there is disorder, and disorder harms the life of all creatures ~Chuang-Tzu*

linesandshapes (4)

When I chisel a wheel, if the blows of the mallet are too gentle, the chisel slides and won’t take hold. But if they’re too hard, it bites in and won’t budge. Not too gentle, not too hard–you can get it in your hand and feel it in your mind.  You can’t put it into words, and yet, there’s a knack to it somehow. I can’t teach it to my son, and he can’t learn it from me. ~Wheelwright P’ien*

*cited in:

Tao of Photography Seeing Beyond Seeing

Philippe L. Gross & S.I. Shapiro

initially posted on September 21, 2013

contemplating a sunset with… Jens Jacobsen

isolation retreat 76th day

excerpt: Jens Peter Jacobsen, Niels Lyhne. A Project Gutenberg of Australia ebook. *

“Niels Lyhne … was not in his poems; he merely put the verses together. But now a change came over him. Now that he wooed a woman and wanted her to love him–him, Niels Lyhne of Lönborggaard, who was twenty-three years old, walked with a slight stoop, had beautiful hands and small ears, and was a little timid, wanted her to love him and not the idealized Nicolaus of his dreams, who had a proud bearing and confident manners, and was a little older–now he began to take a vital interest in this Niels whom he had hitherto walked about with as a slightly unpresentable friend. He had been so busy decking himself with the qualities he lacked that he had not had time to take note of those he possessed, but now he began to piece his own self together from scattered memories and impressions of his childhood and from the most vivid moments of his life. He saw with pleased surprise how it all fitted together, bit by bit, and was welded into a much more familiar personality than the one he had chased after in his dreams. This figure was far more genuine, far stronger, and more richly endowed. It was no mere dead stump of an ideal, but a living thing, full of infinite shifting possibilities playing through it and shaping it to a thousandfold unity. Good God, he had powers that could be used just as they were! He was Aladdin, and there was not a thing he had been storming the clouds for but it had fallen right down into his turban.”

skyscape: Nikon D750 f/8 1/125s 92mm 400 ISO edited Capture One 20

*This ebook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg of Australia License which may be viewed online at http://gutenberg.net.au/license.html.

night clouds began to settle in…

“He fell asleep, and this is what he dreamed.

“The long golden rays seemed to turn into the bars of a cage. Yes, he was in a huge cage! He tried frantically to get out! He beat against the bars! Then he saw what looked like the roots of trees, and brown tree trunks, a grove all around the cage. But the trees moved and stepped about, and, looking up the trunks, instead of leaves he saw feathers, and still farther, sharp beaks, and then bright eyes looking at him. They were birds!

“What he had thought were the roots of trees were their claws, and the trunks of the trees were their legs. But what enormous birds! They were as big as men, while he was as small as a bird.

“‘Let me out!’ he shouted. ‘Don’t you know I am the Emperor, and every one must obey me? Let me out, I say!’

“‘Ah, he is beginning to sing,'” said one bird to another.

“‘Not a very musical song. Too shrill by far! Take my advice, wring his neck and roast him. He would make a tender, juicy morsel for our supper.’

“‘Oh, let me out! Please, please let me out!’ cried the poor Little Emperor in terror.

“He is singing more sweetly now,” remarked one of the birds. 

“‘Too loud! Quite ear-splitting!’ said a lady bird, fluffing out her breast feathers and lifting her wings to show how sensitive she was.

“‘If he were mine I should pluck him. His little yellow silk trousers would line my nest so softly.’

“‘Oh, please, please set me free!’

“‘Really, his song is growing quite charming! But one can’t stand listening to it all day.’

“And with a great whir and flap and rustle of wings the birds flew away and left him in his cage, alone.

“He called for help and threw himself against the bars until he was exhausted. Then bruised, panting, his heart nearly breaking out of his body, he lay on the floor of the cage. Finally, growing hungry and thirsty, he looked in his seed and water cups, drank a little lukewarm water, and ate a dry bread crumb. Now and then birds came and looked at him. Some of them tried to catch his pigtail with their beaks or claws.

“Next day the Little Emperor was thoughtful. Could it be, he wondered, that a little bird’s nest was as dear to it as his own bed with its rainbow coverlets and its moon and stars was to him? That a little bird liked ripe berries and cold brook water as much as he liked ripe peaches and tea with jasmine flowers? That a little bird was as frightened when he tried to catch its tail in his fingers as he was when the birds tried to catch his pigtail?

“And then he thought of how he had felt when the lady bird had wanted his pantaloons to line her nest, and, hot with shame, he remembered his glistening jewel-bright blue cloak made of thousands of kingfishers’ feathers. It had made him miserable to think of their taking his clothes, but suppose his clothes grew on him as their feathers did on them? How would he have felt then, hearing the bird say: “I should pluck him. His little silk trousers would line my nest so softly’?”

“He went to bed thinking about his little brown bird, and before he shut his eyes he made up his mind to set it free in the morning.

“Then he fell asleep, and once again he dreamed that he was in the golden cage.

“Whir-rr! One of the great birds flew down by the cage door. With his claw he unfastened it – opened it! 

“Oh, how exciting! The Little Emperor tore out, so afraid he would be stopped and put back in the cage!

“Oh, how he ran across the room and through the open door! Free! He was free! Tears rushed to his eyes, and his heart felt as if it would burst with happiness.

“But it was winter…”

cited: The Dream Coach
by Anne Parrish, 1888-1957 and Dillwyn Parrish, 1894-1941.
New York: The Macmillan company, 1924. Copyright not renewed. 

68th day of self isolation 

Skyscape photograph Nikon D750 f/8 1/400s 135 mm 400 ISO edited: Capture One 20

sunset 56 days

“Can ye drink of the cup that I drink of?”

sunset

“… The unpardonable sin of the supreme power is that it is supreme. I do not curse you for being cruel. I do not curse you (though I might) for being kind. I curse you for being safe! You sit in your chairs of stone, and have never come down from them. You are the seven angels of heaven, and you have had no troubles. Oh, I could forgive you everything, you that rule all mankind, if I could feel for once that you had suffered for one hour a real agony such as I—”
Syme sprang to his feet, shaking from head to foot.
“I see everything,” he cried, “everything that there is. Why does each thing on the earth war against each other thing? Why does each small thing in the world have to fight against the world itself? Why does a fly have to fight the whole universe? Why does a dandelion have to fight the whole universe? For the same reason that I had to be alone in the dreadful Council of the Days. So that each thing that obeys law may have the glory and isolation of the anarchist. So that each man fighting for order may be as brave and good a man as the dynamiter. So that the real lie of Satan may be flung back in the face of this blasphemer, so that by tears and torture we may earn the right to say to this man, ‘You lie!’ No agonies can be too great to buy the right to say to this accuser, ‘We also have suffered.’
“It is not true that we have never been broken. We have been broken upon the wheel. It is not true that we have never descended from these thrones. We have descended into hell. We were complaining of unforgettable miseries even at the very moment when this man entered insolently to accuse us of happiness. I repel the slander; we have not been happy. I can answer for every one of the great guards of Law whom he has accused. At least—”
He had turned his eyes so as to see suddenly the great face of Sunday, which wore a strange smile.
“Have you,” he cried in a dreadful voice, “have you ever suffered?”
As he gazed, the great face grew to an awful size, grew larger than the colossal mask of Memnon, which had made him scream as a child. It grew larger and larger, filling the whole sky; then everything went black. Only in the blackness before it entirely destroyed his brain he seemed to hear a distant voice saying a commonplace text that he had heard somewhere, “Can ye drink of the cup that I drink of?”

cited: G.K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday (The Project Gutenberg Ebook)

Note: “This ebook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms the Project Gutenberg License included with this ebook or online at www.gutenberg.org.”

Photograph created with Nikon D750 f/89 1/40s 68mm 400 ISO and edited with Capture One 20

evening contemplations

Safer at Home: 5th day plus day 46

…the fairest dreams and the deepest longings do not add an inch to the stature of the human soul.

Jens Peter Jacobsen, Niels Lyhne Trans: Hanna Astrup Larsen, Project Gutenberg of Australia
sunset… April 28, 2020

“She loved poetry.

“But the poems! They teemed with new ideas and profound truths about life in the great outside world, where grief was black, and joy was red; they glowed with images, foamed and sparkled with rhythm and rhyme. They were all about young girls, and the girls were noble and beautiful–how noble and beautiful they never knew themselves. Their hearts and their love meant more than the wealth of all the earth; men bore them up in their hands, lifted them high in the sunshine of joy, honored and worshiped them, and were delighted to share with them their thoughts and plans, their triumphs and renown. They would even say that these same fortunate girls had inspired all the plans and achieved all the triumphs.

“She lived on poems, dreamed poems, and put her faith in them above everything else in the world. Parents, sisters and brothers, neighbors and friends–none of them ever said a word that was worth listening to. Their thoughts never rose above their land and their business; their eyes never sought anything beyond the conditions and affairs that were right before them.

“Why might not she herself be such a girl? They were thus and so–and they never knew it themselves. How was she to know what she really was? And the poets all said very plainly that this was life, and that it was not life to sit and sew, work about the house, and make stupid calls.

“When all this was sifted down, it meant little beyond a slightly morbid desire to realize herself, a longing to find herself, which she had in common with many other young girls with talents a little above the ordinary. It was only a pity that there was not in her circle a single individual of sufficient distinction to give her the measure of her own powers. There was not even a kindred nature. So she came to look upon herself as something wonderful, unique, a sort of exotic plant that had grown in these ungentle climes and had barely strength enough to unfold its leaves; though in more genial warmth, under a more powerful sun, it might have shot up, straight and tall, with a gloriously rich and brilliant bloom. Such was the image of her real self that she carried in her mind. She dreamed a thousand dreams of those sunlit regions and was consumed with longing for this other and richer self, forgetting–what is so easily forgotten–that even the fairest dreams and the deepest longings do not add an inch to the stature of the human soul.

cited: Jens Peter Jacobsen, Niels Lyhne. A Project Gutenberg of Australia ebook. *

sunset…April 28, 2020: Nikon D750 f/8 1/30s 45mm 400 ISO edited Capture One 20

*This ebook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg of Australia License which may be viewed online at http://gutenberg.net.au/license.html.

evening contemplations

Safer at Home: 4th day plus day 46

What with one thing and another — that cup of coffee (which must nowadays be drunk with reverence, for each day it may be our last)…

Trans: A Pomerans, An Interrupted Life The Diaries of Etty Hillesum 1941 – 1943, pp. 82
sun set

“… Nowadays there are hardly any accidental relationships left; you have a deep if subtly different relationship with each person, and must not be disloyal to one for the sake of the other. There are no wasted and boring minutes any longer, one has to keep learning how to take one’s rest between two deep breaths or in a five-minute chat.

“…It is a good thing from time to time to feel the emptiness and wariness in yourself for a moment or two, just to recall how things used to be and how they are now. The tree outside the house seemed a lifeless lump of timber stabbing a dull sky. But the feeling of deep unhappiness lasted for only a moment. The day seemed to start out so bleakly yesterday. But after an hour of calm and concentrated work everything was fine again.”

cited: Trans: A Pomerans, An Interrupted Life The Diaries of Etty Hillesum 1941 – 1943, pp. 82-85

Nikon D750 f/8 1/30s 105mm 400 ISO edited Capture One 20

tomorrow the sun will shine

Safer at Home: 2nd day plus day 46

Sony RX1003 f/1.8 1/200 8.8mm 80 ISO edited in Capture One

“Camus taught us that ‘the only way to fight the plague is with decency’. Whether it is saving the sick and preventing infections, like Dr Rieux, standing up for the most vulnerable, or simply, helping our family and others survive, we are all called on now to find our inner strength, the strength of our forebearers.

Sony RX 1003 f/1.8 1/160 8.8mm 80 ISO edited in Capture One

“For tomorrow the sun will shine.”
cited: https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/sun-shine-war-time-lessons-father-200421085457048.html

the art of seeing

Safer at Home: 1st day plus day 46

“The new coronavirus has … sickened thousands of America’s first responders and killed dozens more.

“But many have recovered, and they’re going back to work — back to the crime scene, back into the ambulance, back to the jail. Going back to this deadly pandemic’s front lines. 

“They go with a lingering cough and lost weight. They toss and turn at night, wondering if the claims of immunity are true. They fear that picking up extra overtime shifts may expose them, and their families, to additional risks. 

“And then they pull on their uniforms and go back to work.”

cited: Stefanie Dazio, Michael R. Sisak and Jake Bleiberg, After COVID-19: Anxious, wary first responders back on job Associated Press

Composing 180º rotated

In a recent email, Bruce Percy wrote, “I think I’m usually an observant composer,  but when I use a ground glass on [6X9 Ebony SW23] cameras my mind has to work harder at visualizing the final photograph as the image is flipped vertically and horizontally.

first composition

“I don’t use this camera very often so when I do use it, it usually takes me a few days to start to ‘see’ images the right way up in my mind’s eye.

180 degrees rotation
180 degrees rotation…crop adjustment

“After I’ve been doing that for a few days, it’s amazing to note how my mind’s eye adapts. I think there is a lot of usefuleness in working with images when they are rotated at 180º as they force your eye to go into areas of the picture that aren’t normally visited. You spot things in the composition that you normally wouldn’t.”

second composition

Composition elements used within the above image created using a Sony RX1003 f/2.8 1/125s 8.8mm 80 ISO.

While the first image brings my attention to how the spring’s morning sun highlights the autumn leaves, I found that the 180 degree rotation opened my eyes to how irritating the sun was in the upper left as well as invited me to explore using the horizon (rule of thirds).

Composition elements:

subject (leaves) sharpened by using a blurred background

rule of thirds

perspective

space

I would enjoy reading your thoughts about Bruce Percy’s discussion about 180 degree rotation and compositional elements.

nope…no masks

Stay at Home Order … day 27 plus 14 seclusion retreat days

Plausible deniability

Refers to circumstances where it is possible to deny knowledge or responsibility of wrongdoing since the subject was unaware of the truth or due to a lack of evidence to confirm responsibility for an action. The use of the tactic implies intentionally setting up the conditions to plausibly avoid responsibility for future actions.

Fox News is nervous. This is what Gabriel Sherman, author of a New York Times-bestselling book about the cable news giant, recently told MSNBC. Sherman said Fox News insiders are expressing concern that the network’s “early downplaying” of COVID-19 might open it up to “legal action by viewers who maybe were misled and actually have died from this.”

Lawsuit Against Fox News Over Coronavirus Coverage: Can It Succeed? Should It?

Nikon D750 f/5.6 1/400s 72mm 400 ISO

Broadcasting false information that causes substantial ‘public harm’

The FCC prohibits broadcasting false information about a crime or a catastrophe if the broadcaster knows the information is false and will cause substantial “public harm” if aired.

FCC rules specifically say that “the public harm: must begin immediately and cause direct and actual damage to property or the health or safety of the general public; or divert law enforcement or public health and safety authorities from their duties.”

Broadcasters may air disclaimers that clearly characterize programming as fiction to avoid violating FCC rules about public harm.

Broadcasting false content during news programming

The FCC is prohibited by law from engaging in censorship or infringing on First Amendment rights of the press. It is, however, illegal for broadcasters to intentionally distort the news, and the FCC may act on complaints if there is documented evidence of such behavior from persons with direct personal knowledge. For more information, please see our consumer guide, Complaints About Broadcast Journalism.

syme

Have we now come to the time in which to honestly acquaint

ourselves with private inner and outer moral guiding principles

and within this solitude with self

foresee how our individual choices/actions may impact the future of humanity?

I begin this contemplation with a clear knowing that I do not wish to wake from this time of mistrust and uncertainty to the prison bars of moral shame.

Stay at Home Order … day 24 plus 14 seclusion retreat days

“… Syme could hardly see for the patterns of sun and shade that danced upon them. Now a man’s head was lit as with a light of Rembrandt, leaving all else obliterated; now again he had strong and staring white hands with the face of a negro. The ex-Marquis had pulled the old straw hat over his eyes, and the black shade of the brim cut his face so squarely in two that it seemed to be wearing one of the black half-masks of their pursuers. The fancy tinted Syme’s overwhelming sense of wonder. Was he wearing a mask? Was anyone wearing a mask? Was anyone anything? This wood of witchery, in which men’s faces turned black and white by turns, in which their figures first swelled into sunlight and then faded into formless night, this mere chaos of chiaroscuro (after the clear daylight outside), seemed to Syme a perfect symbol of the world in which he had been moving for three days, this world where men took off their beards and their spectacles and their noses, and turned into other people.

That tragic self-confidence which he had felt when he believed that the Marquis was a devil had strangely disappeared now that he knew that the Marquis was a friend. He felt almost inclined to ask after all these bewilderments what was a friend and what an enemy. Was there anything that was apart from what it seemed? The Marquis had taken off his nose and turned out to be a detective. Might he not just as well take off his head and turn out to be a hobgoblin? Was not everything, after all, like this bewildering woodland, this dance of dark and light? Everything only a glimpse, the glimpse always unforeseen, and always forgotten. For Gabriel Syme had found in the heart of that sun-splashed wood what many modern painters had found there. He had found the thing which the modern people call Impressionism, which is another name for that final scepticism which can find no floor to the universe.
As a man in an evil dream strains himself to scream and wake, Syme strove with a sudden effort to fling off this last and worst of his fancies. …

cited: The Project Gutenberg Ebook of The Man Who Was Thursday, by G.K. Chesteron

The above photographs were created with a Nikon D750, f1/8, 35mm, 100 ISO. Shutter speeds of 1/3200 to 1/4000.