contemplative photography…Nikon D750  f/5.3  1/80s   112mm   100 ISO 

Standing at this Threshold

With uncertainty, I question:

What is it that I seek?

Protection? Compassion? Acceptance? Forgiveness? Completion?

Who is it that I beckon?

A father? A mother? A sister? A brother? A companion? A child? A god?

To be? To endure? To offer? To embrace? To validate?

An intentional presence that is drawn upon

A place and time of shadows, myths, and dreams?

Birthed within a family?

Matured within a relationship?

Nourished within a community?

Where the Stillness within Silence,

Affirms the exchange of life’s giving and taking,

Embraces the connection of life’s emotional threads, and

Observes the interdependence of life with non-judgmental awareness,

Yet, knows of a united oneness with another that can not be?

Since it can not be, do I yearn

To know integration through the formation of thought;

To see clarity through the flowing of ink; and

To feel completion through the act of creating?

And then, finally, within the stillness of silence,

I befriend

An internal companion with whom

There is an honoring of the who and what of which I am;

A woman, a daughter, a sister, a niece, a wife, a mother, an aunt, a grandmother, a great-grandmother.

I touch

With reverence the presence of all that was, is, and will be.

I release

The seeking, the beckoning, the yearning to the Winds of Change.

I with uncertainty, Step over this Threshold

Foreseeing a return



…a group of children were crying. An adult came along with a handful of yellow leaves and said, “Don’t cry anymore. I’ll give you a pile of gold.” So the person gave the children a handful of yellow leaves, and the children thought they were real pieces of gold. They were happy and they stopped crying. ~Thich Nhát Hanh (Zen Battles)

Nikon D50   f/10   1/50 s   24 mm   100 ISO

Memory bridges our past with the present and awakens us to an awareness that life is created by minute moments that often go unnoticed as our minds are frequently elsewhere.  Photography offers us a means to awaken to these temporary moments and to create priceless keepsakes of our yesterdays.

Who speaks the sound of an echo?

Who paints the image in a mirror?

Where are the spectacles in a dream?

Nowhere at all–that’s the nature of the mind!

~Tree-leaf Woman (J. Hirshfield, Women in Praise of the Sacred)

Nikon D750   f/7.1   1/50s   170mm   ISO 100

Over the past couple of months I’ve found that postings of bloggers I follow are not always coming up in my WordPress Reader.  One of those missed postings is Raj’s photo lesson on lenses.   In that xdrive photo lesson Raj invited us to “really access the capabilities of your camera and find out what exactly is your stumbling block, is it a camera or a lens?”

So with this lesson in mind along with the recent discussions about photographing in  raw, I set out on three separate nature walks with a different lens on each occasion.

On the first day of this assignment I used a Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens with a Tiffen 0.6 neutral density lens.

This first image is a representation of the raw image.  I see this image as a bit underexposed.

Nikon D750   f/9   1/40s   55mm   ISO 100

This second image was created with Raj’s discussion regarding the consideration of sharpening and color saturation within the initial editing of raw images in mind.

Nikon D750   f/9   1/40s   55mm   ISO 100

While I love bokeh – the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light – I experimented with opening up the f-stop to explore Raj’s recommendation that an “open aperture would have created better isolation of leaves.”

Nikon D750   f/4.5   1/100s   55mm   ISO100

During the second day of this assignment I used a Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G lens with a Platinum natural density lens.

The first image is a raw representation prior to any editing. This image seems a bit muted.

Nikon D750   f/1.8   1/1000s   35mm   ISO 100

This second image was again edited with the intentional inclusion of sharpening and color saturation.   As Raj noted an open aperture does allow for a greater isolation of the leaves.  The f/1.8 setting also seems to offer a softness to the image as well as gentle depth of field.

Nikon D750   f/1.8   1/1000s   35mm   ISO 100

In my limited experience and knowledge I find that a prime lens invites me to zoom in using my legs which is okay when photographing leaves…but not so much during street photography.

Nikon D750   f/7.1   1/60s   35mm   ISO 100

On the third day, I set out with a Nikon AF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 G ED VR lens.

A raw representation prior to editing.  Again, muted.

Nikon D750   f/4.2   1/125s   56mm   ISO 100

In the edited f/4.2 image the shadows on the leaves are brought out; yet, I find the background a bit distracting.   Sharpening and color saturation was also intentionally included in the editing process.

Nikon D750   f/4.2   1/125s   56mm   ISO 100

In the f/7.1 image below the detail and sharpness of the leaves seems to offer a greater isolation of the leaves and isn’t as distracting as in the f/4.2 image.  Also, it is interesting to note that both images have a bit of bokeh.

Nikon D750   f/7.1   1/80s   56mm   ISO 100

Over to you Raj…I am finding great value in your lessons and feedback.  Thank you for expanding my understanding of this never-ending learning experience.