Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find resources of strength
that will endure as long as life lasts.
It's spring! (sort of ). Please ignore the fact that it is currently 26 degrees, with a "massive snow event" predicted tomorrow, and cast your mind back to this past Wednesday when it was 65 degrees and sunny! That's Spring for ya - unpredictable, varied and full of surprises!
Our theme this month asks you to find the early signs of spring to photograph. With a chill still in the air, you may find yourself marching through the woods or the yard, out of practice at slowing down to observe. May your favorite audiologist ( a hopeful assumption) suggest that your hearing can help?
Pack up your gear if you are taking off for a walk, or hang your camera over your arm if you are off to the porch or the back yard, and don't forget you duck shoes because Spring can be wet! In earlier years, I never worried about recording anything, feeling that my camera preserved the moment for me. The more time I spend in nature however, the more curious I become. And the older I get, the more I am looking for that wisdom that is supposed to come with age, so now I stick a notebook and pen on the outside of my bag too. I also am developing a real interest in tracking the year. When was the first snow storm last year, compared with this year. What was the very first sign of spring I noticed this year? Are crocuses out in the sunny spots or the shade? Is there something blooming down the street that I might want to incorporate into my yard for next spring? I have never known the names of the plants or the birds around me, and suddenly I'd like to learn them! Between my images, and the details I jot in my notes, I may be able to identify them later from my field guides in the warmth of my home. Look at all the great information Terri brought us in her post about the rosy-faced lovebirds!
Find a spot to stop. Take a deep breath and make a first visual scan, looking for the light. We have had many posts about looking and seeing - of course that is the photographer's bailiwick, and the light is what its all about. But this time I am discussing the information your ears can provide. So close your eyes. Just as you did with your visual scan, I want you to scan with your ears. Listen first to the overall cacophony around you. In my yard there is lots of it in spring. Now focus your hearing as you would focus your camera. Zero in on a birdsong, the leaves rustling, the buzzing of an insect. Concentrate until you feel as if it's the only sound in the world. Concentrate on sounds from your right side, then from your left. Notice the sounds behind you, above you. You may be thinking - what photographer worth her salt is going to walk around with her eyes closed? But I promise you - if you take the time to connect first, when you open your eyes they will find a million things to explore. Nature will quite literally be calling out to you.!
By the way, when I get home and upload my images to Lightroom, I use the description area under the title of the first image, to type in my field notes, then create some keywording that directs me back to the first image when I bring up the rest of the series in the future. If I print a series, need an artist statement, or use these pictures in a journal or album at some future point, the details are right there for the taking. There are so very many ways to connect to nature, but your five senses are the easiest way to start. Contemplation in art and photography is all about connecting your body to your world, exciting your intuition, and appreciating your environment on the deepest level. And it's meditation - it brings such peace! Try it - you'll like it!
All things share the same breath - the beast, the tree, the man.
The air shares its spirit with all the life it supports.