Monday, April 27, 2015

9 to 5 in Slow Motion

9 to 5.  What comes to your mind when you hear or read this expression?  The office?  The commute?  An everyday routine that brings home the bacon?  Sometime you do between weekends and vacations?  Monotony?  The comfort and security of familiar repetition?

This series of photos, that I've titled 9 to 5 in Slow Motion, evolved as a "practice" activity I pursued while riding the commuter rail train to and from Philadelphia. Because the trains were populated with people going back and forth from work, I couldn't help but associate my photos to their ritual. I'm fascinated with capturing slow motion with my camera.  It's very visceral to me and speaks to the emotions rather than the intellect.  The industrial and uninteresting scenery when elongated and slowed becomes impressionistic and beautiful in it's own right.  Graffiti on walls becomes a burst of color that actually brightens the landscape.  

In the end, I couldn't help but see the metaphor that speaks to what we miss in life as we move through the hours, the days, the weeks, the year.  Slow down and observe the subtle beauty that surrounds us.  You just never know what you will see, find or experience.

“Strange, what being forced to slow down could do to a person.” 
― Nicholas SparksThe Last Song

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Charms of Spring Linger Longest in My Memory

Spring is about two weeks late in this part of the world.  But nonetheless, and ever so slowly, the new season has begun to display her charms in dreamy and enchanting ways.  After months of soft browns as the backdrop, an infusion of green, yellow, pink and purple have quietly begun to dot the landscape. One of the first of nature's bounty to awaken from the neutral stupor is the weeping willow tree.  During a recent stroll, I came across such a lovely example with sweeping low branches, drooping and falling gracefully; unhurried and relaxed.  An added visual bonus was the fact that the other trees surrounding it had not started to turn green, so it stood out in all it's delicate splendor.  And with a bit of water reflection close by - viola! I had a composition just waiting to be framed and captured.

From my point of view, an abstract interpretation was the only way to photography this scene. So, I applied slow shutter speed and intentional camera movement to achieve what was in my mind's eye.  This blurred and fleeting scene is the impression that will last the longest in my memory.

How about you?  Does spring beguile you with colors, fond memories, fleeting moments that last long after the fact? Or, is there another season that seduces you more readily?

And so, I leave you with this quote and as much goodness that can be reasonably absorbed!

“She turned to the sunlight
    And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
    "Winter is dead.” 
― A.A. MilneWhen We Were Very Young

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Sunrise, Beginnings, and the Miracle of Daybreak

Full disclosure:  getting up in the middle of the night and driving (usually) to a location known for its sunrise views is an exercise in self-inflicted torture for me.  I've done it so infrequently I could count the times on one hand.  So I was pleasantly surprised recently too discover (while rummaging through my image files) this set of sunrise photos taken while in the Cayman Islands almost four years ago.   Metaphorically speaking, I was in the "beginning" stages of my photography journey (similar to the sun's movement toward the break of day).   I seem to recall that at that time I didn't think these images were all that great.  What???  What was I thinking???  I look at them now and can barely believe that I took them.  Of course, the location and view helped me along.

So how did I manage to rip myself out of my slumber to take them? Well, I was at a friend's house and the porch overlooked the beach and ocean.  I remember sitting on that porch, in my nightgown, not quite awake but setting up the camera, and just waiting for the show to begin.  The 6 photos you see in this collage were taken sequentially with probably no more than a half an hour between the first and last one you see.   No editing has been done to them.  What is most amazing to me (aside from the fact that I took them!) is the way the sunrise unfolds; the way color changes from one to the other; the reflections on the water; and the brilliance and miracle of another day.

Oh, to be able to repeat this experience....

And so I leave you with this quote:

“Sunrise looks spectacular in the nature; sunrise looks spectacular in the photos; sunrise looks spectacular in our dreams; sunrise looks spectacular in the paintings, because it really is spectacular!” 

― Mehmet Murat ildan

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

BeStill52: Week 11: Timing and Humanity

The weeks are flying by.  Sometimes the days blend and fold into each other.  BeStill52 Week 11 challenged us to print some of our images, create a collage, and then photograph that.  I don't have an in-house printer, and have been caught up in busyness that involve bits of this and bits of printing my images will just not happen in this week 11.  Maybe week 12.  We'll see.

In the meantime, for those of you who may not understand the creative process, here's a story.  Sometimes I agonize and over think a composition; it gets mentally painful; and the results show it (from my point of view).  And other times, an idea rolls around in my brain, not formed and finished exactly, but lingering and lurking until I stop - breathe - focus - and "just do it."  I have a meditation book (actually I have a few!) called "Five Good Minutes" by Jeffrey Brantley and Wendy Milstine.  You can purchase it on Amazon.  I grabbed it one morning a few days ago, haphazardly opened to page 93...and then...all the desperate and unrelated creative ideas and pieces fell into place.  This image is the result.  I spent maybe 10 minutes photographing it.  That's record-breaking speed for me!  AND I love it.  So, there is a lesson in this - or maybe multiple messages.  Stillness.  Timing.  Readiness.  Flow.  Serendipity.  Whatever.  But I know I seem to visit / revisit these lessons / messages over and over and over again.  But that's ok.  I'm a "human being...."

And so, I leave you with a quote about "stillness."  Ponder and linger; let it roll around in your mind.  See where it takes you.

“Be still
Stillness reveals the secrets of eternity” 
― Lao Tzu

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