the art of doing meditative nature photography

Posts tagged ‘inspiration’

“Spiraling”

We’re not always out of control when we’re “spiraling”.

Sometimes we’re growing in beautiful ways that no one imagined…

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(mountain mahogany, January 21, 2013, from the trails at Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs)

Grateful

Today I am so grateful that spring is just around the corner…
In two shorts months the pasque flowers will peek above the cold ground, and greet me with the news that the cold winter is ending…

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Do Everything in Life From a Place of Love

Do everything in life

from a place of love

Nearly every day I am blessed to see the “Kissing Camels” rock formation at Garden of the Gods.

I always find life lessons in nature, and this lovely red rock has softly been speaking to me for years.

It is a gentle visual push to soften my heart.

It is an unspoken voice telling me to be open.

It reminds me to always act from a place of love

rather than fear

or anger, or jealousy,

or any of the emotional states that sabotage our well-being and close us off from the love we all need.

(Click to see enlarged images!)

A Rich Palette of Colors with Which to Paint our Lives

Life offers a rich palette of colors

With which to paint our lives

We just have to pick up the brush

And begin…

Follow the Path that Inspires You and Leads to Glorious New Things

“Follow the path that inspires you… and leads to glorious new things…”
“America’s Mountain”, Pike’s Peak, inspired me this beautiful morning.

Hope you’re all inspired today!

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Judgment of Beauty and Life

Shining in the Light

None of us is perfect

We each have our blemishes

And subtle flaws

But if we find our way to the light

Our striking beauty, our individual splendor

Shines right through

Be One Who Climbs Above the Ordinary Dirt and Discovers Wonder and Beauty

Be one

Who climbs above the ordinary dirt

 And discovers wonder and beauty

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Getting Lost Through the Lens: Like Hitting a “Reset Button” in the Thinking Mind

It can be soothing and humbling to change our perspective.

I’ve been absent from this blog for a few weeks, busy beyond busy with end-of-school-year hustle and bustle. Yesterday was the first chance I’ve had to get out in nature and do some photography. I truly hadn’t realized how much I’d missed it.

I’ve been feeling a bit off. Life has been a tad overwhelming of late- busy, hectic, intense. Sometimes I thrive on squirrelly intensity, but the past few weeks have worn me out. My daily meditation hasn’t been the same since it hasn’t been through the lens. So I was quite happy yesterday to “refocus” myself out in nature, camera at the ready.

I didn’t have to look far for a new perspective. As I opened my car door once I arrived at my wild spot, I immediately noticed a sprinkling of dainty purple flowers blooming haphazardly among some grass by the roadside.

They were immensely small- graceful, petite splashes of soft lavender that seemed dwarfed by a simple blade of grass. From a standing position, they were barely noticeable at all. But my photographer’s eye noticed the subtle, shadowy green and purple world hiding beneath a newly leafed young Gambel Oak.

As I stooped down to peek at this miniature ecosystem I was astonished by the change in my perspective. I was in Garden of the Gods Park, known for its massive, towering sandstone formations. Tourists surrounded me, snapping pictures of the mammoth stones and gasping at the fantastic landscape before them. But me, I was stooped down next to my car, observing a tiny realm of diminutive flowers, grass blades with fuzz, and puffs of dandelion all smothered in dancing sunlight filtered theatrically through the soft, new Gambel Oak leaves. My perspective, especially through my macro lens, was that of an ant!

And what a world the ant sees! Does the ant even notice the great stones above? I don’t know, but honestly, the ant wouldn’t need to see them in order to find beauty in its world. For the world of fuzzy grass and purple flowers by the road has a gorgeousness all its own, rivaling any towering things.

So yesterday I spent about twenty minutes crouched on the ground looking at delicate lavender I-don’t-know-what’s. I stared at dandelion puffs, dainty ferns, and the occasional ant, home to this emerald paradise by the roadside.

For twenty minutes I got lost through the macro lens, reveling in sheer delight, in the interplay of color between lavender and green, between sunlight and shadow. My artist’s eye caught the different beauties that lay in the straight, smooth grass and the curvy petals and jagged ferns.

The dandelion puff seemed a complete cosmos unto itself, floating through its own space and time.

Getting lost in these tiny realms is like hitting a “reset button” in my thinking mind. I’m restored and rested. The sensation is much like waking up after a night of intense dreaming. “Real life” then seems somewhat surreal, as the aftertaste of the dream lingers in your consciousness like a powerful flavor.

When you’ve taken a small trip of sorts to another way of seeing and experiencing, your passion for your normal everyday existence takes on a new feel. Upon coming home from a long or faraway vacation, our home often feels a bit foreign at first, as we readjust and regain our bearings.

But what a wonderful feeling it is! Leaving and returning is a refreshing sensation, as it refreshes our perspective, our sense of place, and our sense of being. We fit in in a slightly new way, now. Our experience elsewhere has changed us ever so slightly, and we return to the everyday with fresh eyes and new subtleties of our spirit.

For me, escapes into tiny worlds with a camera are the same.

Oh, how much most of us miss, though! Small islands of wonder right at our feet go unnoticed. The stars in the heavens above us go unnoticed. Our perspective stay so much… the same, most of the time. We take the wonder all around us for granted, and perhaps don’t give it the honor and respect it deserves.

Like my emerald green oasis of purple flowers. Alas, the only other someone who apparently noticed this spot of ground was someone’s dog… who, well, did what dogs do. I wish that instead of seeing this small patch of Earth as a potty, the dog owner had seen what I saw- an oasis of blooming, leafing life- tiny, delicate, shade-draped and serene.

We could all use a reminder now and again of how special each corner of our Earth can be, even a seemingly insignificant, scraggy spot on the side of the road. It has its own special beauty, if you just get down to see it. If the dog owner had noticed the pretty purple petals, perhaps they’d have found another spot for Fido to poop. The bare ground or plain grass would’ve been less disturbed than the fragile flowers!

Butterflies, Bees and Blossoms… Who Hears the Buzz? A Lesson in Using All Our Senses

(Click on any of my photographs to see an enlarged image)

It’s good to be back from Spring Break!

I took last week off from blogging to spend that time relaxing with my two beloved kids. That was sheer bliss!

On one lovely day last week I became highly aware of my senses. As a nature photographer, you might think that I rely mostly on my sense of sight. I’ll admit, it’s rather obviously primary, but I couldn’t do what I do without all of my other senses.

Out on my nature hike one morning I came upon a flowering tree at the bottom of a hill. A fellow hiker had seen me taking macro shots of budding chokecherry bush leaves and suggested I continue down the hill if I wanted to see some cottontails frolicking along the fence. I thanked him and trotted down the hill, stopping to capture some nice shots of a pair of magpies who were building their nest and flapping about rather noisily.

As I came to the bottom of the hill the path rounded a corner. The bunnies hopped away from the trail just as I arrived, escaping from some barking dogs and noisy people. I stopped and watched the rabbits while I let the people and their dogs pass by. And as they walked hurriedly on, chatting and barking away, I watched several groups of people move past me, some jogging to tunes on their ipods, some running the trails, some chasing after unruly children. Finally, they all moved on, and I was left alone with the bunnies. They hid under shady tree and sat down to recoup from their dog encounter. I just smiled. I took a deep breath, thankful that it was finally quiet and calm.

But then, almost instantly, I turned my head. I caught the sound of… hmm… what was that? Buzzing! The sound of an entire chorus of bees filled my awareness and turned me around. The cacophonous noise grew louder as I turned to face it. Before me was a large tree exploding with beautiful spring blossoms.

As my eyes focused, the tree seemed to move with the motion of the bees swarming it. In graceful peacefulness they went about their busy bee jobs.

I stepped closer to take it all in and suddenly something popped out in front of me. A painted lady butterfly landed on a blossom, I pulled my camera up and began shooting.

Oblivious to the mass of striped stinging machines all around me, I leaned in and snapped, snapped, snapped away. Not a single bug bothered me. It was remarkable to be so close to them and stay so calm. But I felt comfortable. What I was feeling towards them was appreciation- for their beauty, for their pollinating services, for the privilege of being able to zoom in on their graceful activities.

I stood there for twenty minutes taking pictures, but what was sad to me was that no passer-by ever stopped. They were too busy chatting or wrangling their kids or looking at the larger landscape scenery. I felt sad for what they missed.

They missed the harmonious synchronicity of the bees dancing through the trees. They missed the humorous ballet that bees and butterflies do when jostling for blossom positions. They missed the sticky sweet fragrance of spring intoxicating them with aliveness. They missed a smorgasbord for the senses, a buffet for the eyes, nose, and ears. They missed pink and white buds, golden orange bees and butterflies, and the bluest of skies blending perfectly with fragrance and buzz.

Two days later, I was at the park hiking and doing photography with my twelve year old son. We went to a different flowering tree down on the south end of Garden of the Gods by Balanced Rock.

I was snapping pictures of the painted ladies, this time on bright pink blossoms, when three other photographers saw me, asked what I was doing and excitedly joined in. A couple of kids were running about making noise as we all “oohed” and “ahhed” at the flittering, lovely butterflies. Out of the blue my son announced, “Hey wait, there’s a lizard here!” I asked, “Where?” and looked around. He said, “I don’t know, but I hear it scurrying in the leaves!”

Yep, there in the leaves was a little prairie lizard under the tree full of butterflies. The out-of-town tourist kids squealed when they saw it, prompting the scaly critter to run up the tree and hang inconspicuously from the bark.

Good listening, son! Now the photographers had two target subjects and the kids from out of town got to see their first wild lizard.

With these experiences I became acutely aware of why I ditch my ipod when I’m doing meditative nature photography. I want to take it all in, and feel the melodious blend of experience that all my senses together creates. Nature isn’t the same in one dimension or two. It takes all our senses to really get a feel for a place, to get the full richness of any experience. It still amazes me that on that first day, no one else noticed that the tree was smothered in bees and butterflies. They never stopped to smell the luscious aroma, never spotted a painted lady.

Poor people missed out. Because no one heard the buzz.