contemplating a sunset with…lens-artists (delicate)

isolation retreat 75th day

I’ve found that my daily walks through a community park has become impacted by the increasing number of people who are gathering without masks, disregarding distance recommendations, and (confusingly) allowing their dogs to run free of their leash.

Seemingly, resistance to limitations has no boundaries.

I’m a bit more anxious about dogs especially when walking with my great granddaughter as we have the choice to distance ourselves, refrain from touching our faces, and engage in the ritual of washing hands and masks upon returning home. Dogs on the other hand are know to bite… and a bite will result in an emergency room visit and a confrontation that most likely will be tinted with ugly aggression. These imagined potentialities serve to intensify anxiety even more so than the possibility of stepping into dog poop and imagined consequences… Oh dear!

So…with the intention to journey through this delicate and uncertain time with a mindfulness that focused more on gratitude than on negative thoughts and feelings, I have chosen to spend my evenings photographing sunsets from the security of my veranda.

Gatha for Donning a Mask

Putting on my mask
I think of protecting and caring for my community.
Seeing someone wearing their mask
I think of how they are caring for me.
Smiling at each other with our eyes,
waving hello with our hands
We are even more connected in care
Despite the distance. ~ Prajna Choudhury

skyscape photography: Nikon D750 f/8 1/25s 32mm 400 ISO edited in Capture One

This post was inspired by Leya’s lens-artists photo challenge: delicate. Thank you Leya and all the lens-artists photographers.

lens-artists photo challenge: cropping the shot

Generally my editing begins with cropping an image with a “focus” on the points of interest using a crop tool set for either a golden ratio, rectangular, or fibonacci spiral grid. The times when there is a pesky “thing” poking in from the edge(s) which somehow was either ignored or not seen in the camera lens, I will either crop or use a software program to removed the unwanted object.

I like the composition of the first image so kept the image at the original aspect ratio and cropped with a fibonacci spiral grid.

The above image was cropped with a ratio of 6×7 which seemed to invite me to move from a stilled contemplative mood to a sense of an ocean’s dynamic energy.

The monochrome cloud images were created with a Nikon D750 (f/8 1/500s 190mm 400 ISO ) and edited in Silver Efex Pro 2.

This week’s Lens-Artists photo challenge is offered by Patti who discussed the photo editing technique and benefits of cropping the shot followed by, “Show us how cropping helped to improve an image and create a desired effect. Include the shot ‘before’ and ‘after’ so we can see the difference.

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

lens-artists photo challenge: morning

Stay at Home Order … day 25 plus 14 seclusion retreat days

O for a friend–that we might see and listen together! 
O the beautiful dawn in the mountain village!– 
The repeated sound of cuckoos near and far away.

~The Sarashina Diary (cited: Diaries of Court Ladies of Old Japan)


Sony RX1003 f/2.8 1/125s 25.7mm 80 ISO

in the silver dew
one sleeve cold…
morning sun

~Issa (cited: haikuguy.com)


Nikon D750 f/1.8 1/1600s 35m 100 ISO

A nightingale’s song
Brings me out of a dream:
The morning glows

~Ryokan


Sony RX 1003 f/2.8 1/250s 19.48mm 80 ISO

at dawn
not a soul in sight…
lotus blossoms

~Issa (cited: haikuguy.com)


Sony RX1003 f/2.8 1/126s 22.38mm 80 ISO

In the Autumn night 
The pale morning moon was setting 
When I turned away from the shut door.

~The Diary of Izumi Shikibu (cited: Diaries of Court Ladies of Old Japan)


The pale morning moon* … camping with my family in the “Snowies”

This week Ann-Christine invites us to look at our morning – or Any morning -maybe there is a special morning that we will never forget.

*The waning moon is called the morning moon because it can be seen after dawn

lens-artists photo challenge: simplicity

Across concealed blue skies – drifting signs

Imaginary birds and dragons – aimless shifting stories

Gathering and dispersing – water droplets and star dust

In flight – clouds empty of clouds

Nikon D750 f/1.8 1/800 35mm 200 ISO

This week Patti (P.A. Moed) invites us to “get back to the basics” and to share how we understand simplicity.

As I was re-reading the basic rules for the board game Go, I came to understand that while the game builds upon 6 simple rules it is an incredibly complex game with more possible configurations for pieces than atoms in the observable universe.

The true origin of Go is unknown. One of the legends tells us that it first emerge in China during the reign of the legendary Emperor Yao (2356 BC- 2255 BC) who created the game for one of his children.

Kano Yoshinori (Graded Go Problems for Beginners) outlines the 6 general rules as:

1) Go is played by two people (I enjoy playing alone as it feels more strategic than competitive) taking turns playing their moves, one stone at a time.

2) One side plays with black stones, the other white.

3) A move consisted of placing a stone on an intersection of the board. Stones can also be placed on the borders of the grid.

4) Once a stone is placed on an intersection, it cannot be moved to another point.

5) When one player has more knowledge and skill, the “weaker” player places more stones on the board to compensate for the difference in strength.

6) In an even game, the side holding the black stone always goes first. In a handicap game, it is the white who plays first.

Nikon D750 f/1.8 1/3200 35mm 200 ISO

At first glance, nature appears simple. The seasons flow from one into another. Clouds move across the sky creating amazing characters and awakening imaginary stories. Yet, when one become more intimate with Mother Earth’s dynamics there are multiple configurations that are beyond my imagination.

Please be safe…

lens-artists photo challenge: distance

My abode is

in winter seclusion

on this white mountain in Echigo.

No trace of humans

coming or going ~ Ryokan (Trans: K tanahashi, Sky Above, Great Wind)

Nikon D750 f/1.8 1/400 35mm 200 ISO

with nothing

to touch, a dead branch

grabs at the sky ~Katsura Nobuko (cited: Trans: M Ueda, Far Beyond the Field)

Nikon D750 f/1.8 1/10s 35mm 200 ISO

Protecting the child

from the cold autumn wind,

the old scarecrow. ~ Issa (cited: Trans: S Hamill, The Spring of My Life)

Nikon D750 f/1.8 1/640s 35mm 200 ISO

Winter wind!

A charcoal peddler all alone

in a small ferry boat ~ Buson (cited: Trans: Y Sawa & E M Shiffert, Haiku Master Buson)

A special thank you to the Lens-Artists Photographers who continue to challenge and inspire. The above images and poetry is submitted in response to Travels and Trifles challenge: distance.

Please be safe. We can do this…we really can!

“Mystere: – Kalimando” | Cirque du Soleil

lens artists photo challenge: chaos

Chaos – eternal, immense, uncreated – from which all is born; nether darkness nor light, nor damp nor dry, not hot nor cold, but all things mingled, eternally one and limitless.

winterwalk
Nikon D750 f/1.8 1/4000s 35mm 200 ISO

Chaos was the beginning.  Within her void slumbered, in undifferentiated fusion, all the elements, the potential, the seed of a person.  Yet, some say that Chaos was born from Mist and that Mist was the first to exist.  

Mist is symbolic of things indeterminate, or the fusing together of the elements of air and water, and the inevitable absorbing of the outlines of each aspect and each particular phase of the evolution process. 

It is also said that Chaos existed from the beginning together with Nyx, the goddess of Night, mother of Erebus, god of darkness, and Tartarus, the underworld.  

Or is Chaos the soul’s state of potentiality – eternal, vast, uncreated, where all is intermingled, folding and unfolding, evolving and enveloping – prior to the birth to the unconscious?  

winterwalk
Nikon D750 f/1.8 1/4000s 35mm 200 ISO

stillness–
in the depths of the lake
billowing clouds

~Issa (cited: www.haikuguy.com)*

*David G. Lanoue (a translator of Japanese haiku, a teacher of English and world literature, a writer of haiku and “haiku novels) writes that this haiku serves as a substitute for experience–or, perhaps, a clear window into experience–allowing the reader, in contemplation, to see that same lake, those same clouds, and to feel the serenity and stillness of the moment. 

The above images are drawn from a 30 day photo assignment (same lens – camera wide open) and are submitted in response to Leya’s lens-artists photo challenge: chaos.

May you know serenity and stillness …

lens-artists photo challenge: reflections

window reflections

Sony RX100 f/1.8 1/640 8.8mm 80 ISO

Miriam (The Showers of Blessings) a Lens-Artists guest host defines reflection/mirror photography as using “… reflective surfaces to create an artistic echo of a scene. This type of photography can add an interesting spin to locations that are hot spots for photographers such as oceans, lakes, puddles, and even rain drops.”

lens-artists photo challenge: narrow…

or it seems so at the end of the tunnel.

striving after true inner freedom…

stop

Nikon D750 f/4.2 1/2500 38mm 800 ISO

“21 October, After Dinner

It is a slow and painful process, this striving after true inner freedom. Growing more and more certain that there is no help or assurance or refuge in others. That the others are just as uncertain and weak and helpless as you are. You are alway thrown back on to your own resources. There is nothing else. The rest is make-believe. But that fact has to be recognized over and over again. Especially since you are a woman. For a woman always longs to lose herself in another. But that too is a fiction, albeit a beautiful one. There is no matching of lives. At least not for me. Perhaps for a few moments. But do those moments justify a lifetime together? Can those few moments cement a shared experience? All they can do is give you a little strength. And perhaps a little happiness. God knows, being alone is hard. For the world is inhospitable. In the past I used to dream of giving it to one person. But it was not to be. And when you reach such painful truths at the age of 27, you sometimes feel quite desperate and lonely and anxious, although independent and proud at the same time. I have confidence in myself and I shall manage by myself. The only measure you have is yourself. And the only responsibility you can shoulder in life is responsibility for yourself. But you must do it with all your strength. And now to ring up S.”

cited: Trans: A Pomerans, An Interrupted Life The Diaries of Etty Hillesum, 1983. pg 46.

Image and quote from Etty Hillesum’s diary submitted in response to the World is a Book’s lens-artists’ photo challenge: narrow.