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.

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.

lens-artists photo challenge: at home

Solitary … day 46

Within our home, the setting sun…a time of gratitude and metta meditation

setting sun
wind chime

My people went to live elsewhere and I remained alone in my solitary home. I was tired of meditation and sent a poem to one who had not called on me for a long time.

Weeds grow before my gate 
And my sleeves are wet with dew, 
No one calls on me, 
My tears are solitary–alas!

She was a nun and she sent an answer:

The weeds before a dwelling house 
 May remind you of me! 
Bushes bury the hut 
Where lives the world-deserted one.

The Sarashina Diary, Diaries of Court Ladies of Old Japan
silhouette
may all sentient beings slumber in peace

Amy (The World is a Book…) writes that because of “the lockdown, we are spending more time at home. But, hopefully this isn’t limiting our interest in photographing. This week, we invite you to share photos taken at home.”

above images created with a Nikon D750

setting sun: f/7.1 1/1250s 65mm 400 ISO

wind chime: f/5.6 1/15s 125mm 400 ISO

silhouette: f/5.6 1/3200 230mm 400 ISO

may all sentient beings slumber in peace: f/8 1/20s 25mm 400 ISO

this is because that is

Stay at Home Order … day 30 plus 14 seclusion retreat days

shadow

everything is connected by causality … and if nothing else, Covid-19 is waking us up to the fact that we are all connected

Brian Boucher, CNN These ancient images of the Buddha are more timely than you think

if one comes across a person who has been shot by an arrow, one does not spend time wondering about where the arrow came from, or the caste of the individual who shot it, or analyzing what type of wood the shaft is made of, or the manner in which the arrowhead was fashioned.  Rather, one should focus on immediately pulling out the arrow.

~ The Buddha

spring

Life is short; it must not be spend in endless metaphysical speculations which will not be able to bring us the Truth.

Andres Hedman, Consciousness from a Broad Perspective
sunset april 23, 2020

“The Buddha’s teachings can be read on many levels … at a fundamental level, all the storytelling was a way of conveying ethical values. One of them is the peaceful coexistence of all life forms, which is very germane today. We’ve wandered dangerously far from that principle in the era of climate change. Referring to the seated Buddha sculpture in San Francisco, which is inscribed with the message that all things are connected by causality (in contrast with the deterministic belief that our fate is out of our hands)… What [the Awakened One] saw when he woke up is that things don’t happen by chance, that everything is connected by causality … and if nothing else, Covid-19 is waking us up to the fact that we are all connected.”

Brian Boucher, CNN These ancient images of the Buddha are more timely than you think

All images created with a Nikon D750

sunset april 23, 2020: f/5.6 1/500 42mm 400 ISO

basketball court: f/5.8 1/800 100mm 400 ISO

spring blossoms: f/5.6 1/160s 300mm 400 ISO

the proverbial fence

Stay at Home Order … day 29 plus 14 seclusion retreat days

‘Who and what are you?’

‘I am the Sabbath,’ said the other without moving. ‘I am the peace of God.’

C.K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday (The Project Gutenberg Ebook)

“‘What can you mean by all this?’ cried Syme. ‘They can’t be running the real world in that way. Surely not many working men are anarchists, and surely if they were, mere mobs could…

Nikon D750 f/5.6 1/320s 90mm 400 ISO

“… ‘Mere mobs!’ repeated his new friend with a snort of scorn. ‘So you talk about mobs and the working classes as if they were the question. You’ve got that eternal idiotic idea that if anarchy came it would come from the poor. Why should it? The poor have been rebels, but they have never been anarchists; they have more interest than anyone else in there being some decent government. The poor man really has a stake in the country. The rich man hasn’t; he can go away to New Guinea in a yacht. The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all. Aristocrats were always anarchists, as you can see from the barons’ wars.’”

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.”

silence

Stay at Home Order … day 26 plus 14 seclusion retreat days

in the thicket
behind the house, silence…
no one picking tea

~Issa (cited: haiku guy.com)

Sony RX1003 f/2.8 1/640s 25.7mm 80 ISO

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

Space

Triangle created by the placement of the “triangle” snow pile with the two subjects

Did I miss any or did I mis-see any?

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.