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
“… 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
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
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).
subject (leaves) sharpened by using a blurred background
rule of thirds
I would enjoy reading your thoughts about Bruce Percy’s discussion about 180 degree rotation and compositional elements.
Stay at Home Order … day 27 plus 14 seclusion retreat days
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.”
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.
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
foreseehow 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.
“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)
Stay at Home Order … day 7 plus 14 seclusion retreat days
And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced.
Some met their shadows.
And the people began think differently. And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and at the people joined together once again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed. ~Kitty O’Meara.
Towards the end of a meditative walk around the park, I paused at the edge of a catchment pond. The morning sun brought clarity to the stilled water, sharp contrasting lights and shadows painted the reflection of three young, barren trees — a blue cloudless sky. The stillness was interrupted by silent surface ripples that created zigzagged branches upon the shimmering surface. Then…a deep low rumble of an approaching train with its horn bursting with pleas for all in its path to pause joined by the honking of geese. I waited with breath abated, “would their flight path be reflected on the water.” Yes! An amazing composition! Three small trees and three geese in flight reflected on an image of space and time.
Suddenly it all became fragments of canvas torn apart, “I should have brought my camera!” Forgetting that this morning walk was undertaken with the intention to simply return to the present – a quick glance at the watch, “I’ll be back tomorrow…8 a.m.!”
A beautiful moment. A silent exchange. A greeting from mother nature’s paintbrush to a quieting presence — disconnected by: regret about an earlier decision, cravingfor what had been, and a temporary ignorance of impermanence.
I now find myself contemplating how my thoughts/words thrown into this series of unsettling moments have the potential to quiet reflecting states of mind, feelings, actions or to create a turmoil of inner states that create distorted waves of mind, thoughts, and behavior.
Words, like stones, thrown into a pond have the potential to bring about gentle ripples or explosive columns of water. Is there a fear of what lies hidden…or is there a challenge to that hidden in the shadows to emerge so that I can see this monster? Do the stones thrown at this monster have a purpose…to blame, judge, distract from a growing sense of uncertainty or a calling out to be saved…a silent belief/wish of unity, a coming together of collective skills, a global sharing of words that comfort and heal?
I ponder how in my powerlessness, I am able to connect with self/others with an initial contact as I did with the pond or reflect first with a simple question, “will these words/actions that sit at the edge of expression ease disruption or increase explosive states of being?
The culminating power within tiny seeds of intention…
Stay at Home Order … day 6 plus 14 seclusion retreat days
The sound of water
is my companion
in this lonely hut
in lulls between
the storms on the peak
~Saigyō (cited: Trans: B Watson, Poems of a Mountain Home)
John F Simon’s Drawing your own Path:
“We all confabulate. When tragedy strikes, we want narratives to explain why it happened. When scientist try to put together conflicting data, they theorize. I attempt to reconcile disparate facts by concocting plausible scenarios–making up stories about drawings for my art collectors because, after all, what art patron doesn’t like to know the real story behind an artwork.
“If my mind seems to always make up stories what do those stories say about who I am and how I see the world? Does consciously shifting my view change how I describe myself? How responsible am I for the content and direction of my story? What if I am not telling a story but a story is telling me? If I am open to listening, are there changes to be learned from the images?”
Nourishing Positive States of Mind
Invest some time in recognizing, embracing, and nourishing positive states of mind.
Thus far, my list includes: gratitude, loving-kindness, inclusiveness, compassion, mindfulness, tranquility, equanimity, humility.
Identify, contemplate, and set out an intentionto practice 1-3 positive mind states throughout the day.
This morning I silently expressed gratitude for continued safe water, electricity, internet, mail delivery, trash pick up, and traffic lights and experienced an easing of resentment.
I have found that inclusiveness opens doors of supportive unity with others as well as silences isolation.
What are your positive states of mind and how can an intention to practice them help you through this unsettling time?
Stay at Home Order … day 4 plus 14 seclusion retreat days
photo assignment: same lens (35mm) camera wide open (f/1.8) … 25th day
He never came —
the wind too tells
how the night has worn away,
while mournfully the cries of wild geese
approach and pass on ~Saigō (cited: B Watson, Poems of a Mountain Home)
“And to speak of solitude again, it becomes always clearer that this is at bottom not something that one can take or leave. We are solitary. We may delude ourselves and act although this were not so. That is all. But how much better it is to realize that we are so, yes, even to begin by assuming it. … A person removed from his own room, almost without preparation and transition, and set upon the height of a great mountain range, would feel something of the sort: an unparalleled insecurity, and abandonment to something inexpressible would almost annihilate him. He would think himself falling or hurled out into space, or exploded into a thousand pieces… So for him who becomes solitary all distances, all measures of change; of these changes many take place suddenly, and then, as with the man on the mountaintop, extraordinary imaginings and singular sensations arise that seem to grow out beyond all bearing. …” (cited Rainer Maria Rilke, Trans: M D Herter Norton, Letters to a Young Poet)