Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Finding Themes

by Leigh

Sitting in the waiting room at the doctor's office….bored out of my mind….decided it was time to clear some photos off my phone when it struck me.  There are some pretty strong themes to my photography.  Nature is an obvious one since that accounts for 90% of my photos, but leaves in particular occur frequently.  I think to myself…what is it about leaves that intrigue me so.  Is it their overall shape….elongate, lanceolate, linear, oblong, obovate, tendril, orbicular, deltoid? (warning: my botany nerd is starting to come out in full force!) Is it the patterns of the veining….palmately, pinnately?  Is it their edges….smooth edged, toothed, serrated, lobed?  Is it the joy of fall when the days get shorter and the lower production of chlorophyll allows the green to fade and the colors to shine through?  (botany nerd…I told you).

There are so many different ways to show the beauty of leaves.  There are little nuances that separate one leaf from another…it's like a treasure hunt to find the distinctions.  Sometimes it's the shadows that leaves create with each other.  It's the interplay of the leaves with each other and their surroundings.  Perhaps it's finding the individual among the group….showcasing some feature that is distinct to that one little leaflet.  These little distinctions deserve to be seen.

Take a look through your photos…do you see a theme that you may not have noticed before?

"Every particular in nature, a leaf, a drop, a crystal, a moment of time is related to the whole, 
and partakes of the perfection of the whole."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

If nothing ever changed...


"The butterflies attractiveness derives not only from colors and
symmetry; deeper motives contribute to it. We would not think
them so beautiful if they did not fly, or if they flew straight and
briskly like bees, or if they stung, or above all if they did not enact
the perturbing mystery of metamorphosis: the latter assumes in our
eyes the value of a decoded message, a symbol, a sign.
-Primo Levi

From my front porch there have been lessons in nature . . . about the circle of life.

about sorrow,

and about happiness.

and about how if we are to have room to really grow in this life,

to become more aware,

and to be more compassionate,

and to find the meaning of true joy,

then we can't fight change.

Because . . . 

This particular butterfly had some technical difficulties. He was supposed to be inside of that silk thread harness like a sling, not hanging (second image.) His ability to adapt to this change may have meant the difference between becoming a butterfly or not. I often wonder what change I've fought too hard that has prevented me from moving in the right direction.

Thankfully I have been able to decode a few of those messages from my front porch (only a million more to go.)  And my heart is full of gratitude for the nearly 1000 caterpillars that have come in to my garden and left as butterflies, as they have been a great source of healing through some difficult times. 

And it's kinda funny, 'cause that circle of life, when we don't fight change, becomes a give and take. A receiving and a giving away of all that is good even in adversity.

Yes, change is so hard because it takes me out of my comfort zone and into uncharted territory. But, from my garden change is not only growth, I get to witness evidence of life.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Are You Ready to Begin?

by Carol

Grab your camera, 
Find a place


Now close your eyes


POP open your eyes! What immediately strikes you?  - Is it Light? Color? Form? Texture? Subject? What is calling to you? That question has as many answers as there are people. What speaks to you is what you need right now, or what you are given. Kim Manley Ort calls it paying attention to our "internal GPS." It will take you to the right place for you on any given day. Your whole life has led you to this moment right now. And all of your experiences since the day of your birth have led to this. Open your mind to recognize the essence of what is in front of you, without judgement. A rusty nail deserves to have its picture taken just as much as that beautiful landscape does. It has its own beauty. That is not pressure - that is reassurance. Don't forget to be grateful for this moment, and please don't squander it!

You were meant to be right here, right now! 

Make your photograph "from the inside out, not the outside in" 
(from Patricia Turner's "Characteristics of the Photographic Sage")

I hope you have seen this TED talk by Louie Schwartzberg. It's worth watching again:

Nature, Beauty, Gratitude

Please show us your moment of beauty today in our Flickr group

© Focusing On Life