This is beautiful Mt. Crested Butte after a storm and there is something very etheric and spiritual about this image. The brilliant light appears in the sky as the rainbow fades. Light, cresting the top of the mountain, beckons our attention. The wildflowers sparkle after their evening bath as their colors display a more saturated deep hue. The entire visual seems to convey the divine and divinity. Each day is not always sunny and a storm does brings new light and glory. It is like life. Each day may have its challenges, however, each experience brings forth a new depth to our character. Many years ago, I wrote: “When we accept the rain in our life as growth, we are sure to see a quiet development of our character.” I think these words are still true today. I acknowledge all those who face the storms of life with courage and, as a result, become better people. Your new-found courage allows you to reflect the light of your brilliant personality and convey a deep conviction for your truth. I honor you all…
Elements of good photographic composition include a combination of shapes, lines, balance and repetition of design. These photographs were taken early morning, immediately after sunrise, and have nice compositional elements. There are matching crescent shaped upward and downward arcs (as many as 3 in one photograph) with the beautiful lupine and mountains and sky. Also, I used hyper-focal distance focusing with my wide angle lens to get both the flowers and distant mountains in focus. There is a free App that you can download onto your phone ipone.dofmaster.com that you may find helpful with this technique. You just dial in your camera type, lens (multiply a digital lens by a factor of 1.5) and f-16 to determine the distance your camera needs to be set from the foreground and the hyper-focal distance on your camera lens. For example, I was using a 17 mm wide angle lens and multiplied it by 1.5 to get a 25 mm lens setting for my calculations. Sounds complicated? Well, it is until you practice it. Also, once you determine your numbers/settings, they are always the same for your specific wide angle lens. Hyper-focal distance is worth studying and it is a great technique for placing wildflowers as a foreground center of attention in photographs. I want to thank Raynor Czerwinski, a photographer in Crested Butte, who helped me to learn the technique. Check out his website at www.lucidlandscape.com and, if you are ever in Crested Butte, it is worth it to take photography lessons with him. He is a good instructor and knows his craft well.
In the previous post titled “Divinity,” there are two very nice compositional elements and I challenge you to find them. There are two triangles in the green landscape – one on the left that is light green and one on the right that is a darker green. Also, the lighting on the mountain matches the triangle shapes and adds repetition of design. Enjoy!
Macro photography is one of my favorite types of photography. I love to see and feel the complex design and shapes of flowers. I love to feel intimate with the landscape. Also, macro photography involves a lot of patience waiting for the wind to be still as many of these photographs require exposures of 1 second or longer. I used a 60 mm macro lens for these columbine images and two of them were photographed immediately following an afternoon rain. So, the raindrops were still visible and clinging to their newly-chosen home. Please check out my “New Images Gallery” to see more columbine that were photographed during this photo excursion. The key to good composition with macro photography is creating a background that is not distracting to the main flower. So, be aware of depth of field and intentionally create blur in the background with camera settings. Also, getting key elements of the flower in focus (for example: pistil, petal and raindrop in the featured photograph) creates the “wow” factor.
There is a poem, author unknown, called the “Rainbow Bridge.” I am sure that it will resonate with almost everyone who reads this post.
“All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing: they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together…”
After publishing the husky puppy photographs in recent posts, some friends asked for current photographs of my beloved Siberian Husky – Nikki. Well, here she is with her beautiful smile to share with all of you. She is my loyal companion and was really quite resilient during and after the September flood here in Lyons. In fact, I can say that she has been extraordinary with a new change in her behavior. As most know, we were displaced from our homes for two months. Once we returned, everything was changed: the landscape, homes and people’s lives. It seems as though Nikki sensed the change in her town and stress for everyone here. Consequently, she has created a new “job” for herself. She wants to walk on Main Street every day and greets everyone that she approaches. She looks at people, flashes her smile and then waits… Of course, people are enamored with her beauty and immediately stop, compliment her and start to pet her. Nikki cuddles with everyone that she meets and before the interaction is over, they are smiling too and I think Nikki realizes this as well. It seems as though she has become one with her soul purpose to bring comfort and joy to the lives of others with the pure essence of her personality. She is being compassionate, caring and a source of inspiration and peace even for a few moments in someone’s day. My Nikki is a role model for service to humanity … and, she does it with a smile!
Sunrise is very special to me. I went to the top of the Trail Ridge Road (over 12,000 feet high) recently for a sunrise experience. It was the last weekend in June and at 5:30 a.m. at 12,000 feet high the temperature had to be close to “0” degrees. The wind was so intense that I could barely open my car door against it. I had to be very careful with my tripod and equipment and my fingertips felt close to frostbite. Yet, the experience was exhilarating. There I was seemingly on top of the world experiencing the first light of the day on the Rocky Mountains. It was exciting; it was beautiful; it was spiritual; it was peaceful. It was as though I was watching the hand of God touch the earth creating light, goodness and new opportunities for spiritual growth. God was reminding me of the moment of choice, the edge of light, to create a new response to an old problem or to stay embedded in old beliefs and perceptions that do not work in life. I felt so insignificant and significant at the same time. Captured in the experience of this edge of light, I also felt blessed and indeed grateful, too. It almost made me feel warm…
The tundra is a landscape that is both rugged and enduring. Its appearance would have one believe that it is at the mercy of the weather – a harsh environment lacking beauty and color. In reality, though, it is a world filled with life that has adapted to its environment. Its mountains may not display trees but they are magnificent in shape and design. Survival depends on all of its living components living in balance with each other. Can we also accept the global challenge to live in balance with our neighbors? If so, it would reflect a beautiful peace.
I share with you quotes by John Muir – author, naturalist and advocate of preservation of the wilderness in the United States.
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
“The sun shines not on us but in us.”
“This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never dried all at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.”
My early morning experience in the tundra was both visual and thought provoking. When photographing the above image, I realized that the tundra environment portrays all aspects of human character to me: strength, courage, resilience and responsibility. I left the tundra not only with great photographic images but also a renewal of mySelf and personal awareness that I make a difference in the world by using my own character traits.