Soul Essence

Soul EssenceThis is one of my favorite nature photographs. People are always commenting about the backlit essence of the leaves. Many think that it is frost. However, this photograph was taken early evening during the summer and the setting sun behind the leaves highlighted its tiny hairs. I prefer to call this “Soul Essence” because one can see the true radiance of life that is displayed. You can view a larger image of this photograph in my
fine art prints gallery and my inspirational note card gallery located on my website

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Photo Experiences

What was happening when I took this photo?

We each have had humorous or challenging experiences with nature, weather, people or equipment during photographic adventures.  PeacemakersArt celebrates and honors the process of photography.  The end result of a beautiful photograph can sometimes have a great story.  I will start this forum with one of my favorite stories.

I was taking a course in Vermont many years ago.  We were doing close-up photography – mushrooms, little flowers, etc.  This was when I first started photography.  I did not have expensive equipment and was quite amazed with the high level of equipment other participants had with them.  Anyway, someone located a rare fungus that everyone wanted to photograph.  I had stopped to rest as my eyes felt a little strained from the close-up work.  A gentleman from California started to photograph the fungus and had difficulty with his tripod and asked if he could borrow mine.  I was so thrilled that anyone would want to use my inexpensive equipment that I rushed to give it to him and stepped on the rare fungus.  Of course, everyone was upset and I immediately became depressed.  People still wanted to photograph this gemstone and they propped it up and continued to work.  Phil, again, asked me for some help and I walked over to help him.  However, this time I decided to walk around a big tree to avoid stepping on or interfering in any way with the rare fungus which was now propped up for display.  I brushed against a tree with my shoulder and I guess the tree (approximately 25 feet high) was dead and the entire tree came crashing down toward Phil and his expensive camera – and, of course, the rare fungus.  There were many cries toward Phil to alert him of the danger as the tree came crashing down and landed right along side him and the camera.  Thankfully, he was not hurt.  Needless to say, I did not move for the remainder of the excursion.  However, Phil and I became great friends and for many years as people would ask how we met, we laughed as we told this story over and over.

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Every person can make a difference in our world

Contact: H. Veronika Gaia
Phone: 720-442-4917

Lyons, CO –Teacher, writer and photographer launches website with peaceful intentions to celebrate life and inspire hope: inspirational note cards, motivational posters, matted and framed fine art prints.

As Veronika Gaia approached closure with her teaching tenure, it was difficult for her to leave her students knowing their potential to change our world. She had created a voluntary community service program for middle school students which extended into the high school level providing students with the first-hand experience of working in soup kitchens, working with the elderly, working with mentally-challenged adults, working with underprivileged children and creating environmental projects.

“It was the 4-year dedication of my high school students that inspired me to express gratitude each year in a special way to dignify their efforts. I wanted to acknowledge their everyday greatness as they served so selflessly.” As acknowledgment, she chose the medium of art, creating her own photography art cards with original inspirational sayings.

As a nature photographer, writer and teacher, this experience inspired Veronika to create allowing one to purchase with a purpose. What purpose? provides a visual presentation to discover within the traits of hope, trust, perseverance, courage, faith and peace.

Veronika believes sending inspirational greeting card art can communicate the intention of global and inner peace. Displaying motivational posters can celebrate diversity and human potential. Matted and framed nature photography scenes can create an atmosphere of serenity, peace and hope.

When pursuing gifts for family or friends, office décor for patients or clients, classroom bulletin boards for teachers or counselors, PeacemakersArt provides opportunities to make a difference in our world. “As my high school students taught me, I have learned that inspirational fine art nature scenes with peaceful intentions can inspire self-awareness, human potential and can be a call to action for community service.” can be found on the World Wide Web at

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Can nature photography art support inner peace?

I believe that photography reflects perception. The created images are intuitive responses to observed moments in life. The elements of the canvas are light and shadow which guarantee constant change and opportunities missed or captured. Photographers are always chasing the light.

However, I have also learned that the photographic vision and process can also be a metaphor for life. Vocabulary and techniques taught me the process of photography. The experience of a lens-eye-view through the camera also taught me a way to process life. When developing photographic composition, I would ask the question “What am I choosing to focus on?” When I looked away from the camera and asked the same question, I now had a tool for self-awareness, a catalyst for personal change, and a way to balance my life. Nature, in its magnificence and majesty, became the teacher. I became the student and was always aware that I was observing nature’s hidden curriculum. This curriculum is all around us and evokes our innate nature of goodness to see beauty, accept its teachable moments to develop our character, and to earn our esteem for its organization and diversity.

From experience, I have learned that despite life’s challenges, one can always choose attitudes and intentions. During stress, it is a choice to focus on a visual conveying peace. Doing do initiates a relaxation response within the body and breathing becomes easier and becomes deeper. Using this technique to disengage from the continuum of stressful moments allows one to respond to situations rather than react to them. Awareness of this choice-point opportunity in life allows one to demonstrate responsibility for oneself by developing the ability to respond rather then react to life. Nature photography art is one way to develop this technique to take care of oneself, to breathe, to appreciate, to respect, to honor both the self and others. When we take moments to focus on the innate goodness and beauty around us through nature photography art, we empower ourselves with our birthright of love. We balance our physical bodies with our breath as we choose and intentionally create peace within the self. Ultimately, perceptions of stress are re-created as perceptions of peace.

So, I challenge each reader to look, really look through the viewfinder of one’s personal life camera. What is the composition of your daily life created by your thoughts, perceptions and beliefs? What are your choices each day? What are you choosing to focus on during your days? What takes your energy? Do you have stress-filled days? Try pursuing nature photography art as a way to support a quest for inner peace or a tranquil or inspiring environment. Inspirational note cards as art can be a source of peace or healing for oneself or others. Art motivational posters can inspire active citizenship or inspire human potential. Nature photography art can provide an atmosphere of serenity, tranquility and hope. Look for images and thoughts that inspire your heart to care, to love and to serve.

Each day we are born anew as an artist of life experiences. The world is our canvas and our thoughts, attitudes, intentions and beliefs are the brush strokes on our canvas. What does your canvas look like? When you view your life through the lens of your personal camera, what do you see? You are the creator of your life composition. You can compose your own life images. As John Denver once wrote: Welcome to my morning, welcome to my day. I’m the one responsible. I made it just this way. To make myself some pictures to see what they might bring. Yes, I think I made it perfectly. I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Life. Composition. It is all a personal choice. Yes, nature photography art can be a tool to support inner peace. Let nature’s hidden curriculum be an inspiration as you develop your human potential.


About the author: H. Veronika Gaia is a teacher, writer and nature photographer. She believes that every person can make a difference in our world and that provides opportunities for you to make your contribution by purchasing with a purpose. Veronika sells nature photography art as inspirational note cards, motivational posters and fine art prints with peaceful intentions for self awareness, human potential and community service. Please visit her website at

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Depth of Field – Capturing Near and Far in Focus

Scenic nature photography can be a challenge as nature landscape photography needs to have an image with good depth of field. Digital photography provides spontaneous feedback with a digital SLR camera and LCD screen. So, challenge yourself to take your camera off the automatic mode and try the below techniques for achieving a new level of nature photography art.

• If you want true depth of field, use a tripod. Place your camera in manual mode and set your aperture to F16. Depending on the light, you might have a slow shutter speed. If you increase the aperture (F stop), the shutter speed will automatically decrease. Photograph your nature scene at different apertures and notice the change in depth of field. If you have this feature on your camera, become familiar with the depth of field preview button. Notice what is sharp near and far in your photographic composition when you use a higher aperture.

• If you do not have a tripod, try these techniques as different assignments to learn the relationship between shutter speed, aperture and depth of field.

Set your camera on Aperture priority mode. Start with F16 and see what shutter speed appears with this combination of aperture and light. Since you are hand-holding your camera, make sure your shutter speed is at least 1/30 second or higher. If not, lower your aperture. If needed, change your ISO setting to a higher number. Have a good shoulder-width apart foot stance for stability or brace yourself using a building or tree for balance.

Set your camera on Shutter priority mode. Start with a shutter speed of 1/30 of a second and see what aperture appears with this combination of speed and light. Photograph a series of nature landscape photography scenes while increasing your shutter speed to higher speeds. You will notice that your aperture decreases as you do so. Check for depth of field with these combinations. Keep yourself balanced for stability as you photograph.

This assignment will take little time. It will help you to understand the concept of depth of field in nature photography and it will enable you to use more of the features of your camera effectively.

About the author: H. Veronika Gaia is a teacher, writer and nature photographer. She believes that every person can make a difference in our world and that provides opportunities for you to make your contribution by purchasing with a purpose. Veronika sells inspirational nature photography art as greeting cards, motivational posters and fine art prints with peaceful intentions for self awareness, human potential and community service. Please visit her website at

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