“In deep silence there is no mine and no thine. Life is simply life; it is one flow.” Osho
Equivalents is a series of photographs of clouds taken by Alfred Stieglitz from 1925 to 1934. The Equivalents trace Stieglitz’s emotional response to nature through periods of ecstasy and darkness, romance and confronting mortality.
I like clouds as much as anyone but I’m not reading that much into it. After the storm cleared the wind picked up and there were some beautiful clouds, but I wanted something in the foreground. I thought about a bird or a plane when I heard the whistle of this train coming my way.
On his Equivalents series he said: “My cloud photographs are equivalents of my most profound life experiences, my basic philosophy of life.” He also said: “Photography is my passion, the search for truth, my obsession.” It seems that we have a lot in common.
“Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no tomorrow. To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace.” Oscar Wilde
The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, discovered in 1927 states simply that the act of observation changes the thing observed. In this case, when I set up to photograph a flower it moves just enough to make getting a sharp image unlikely.
It might have been the tractor trailer trucks going by inches from where I was standing or it might have been the breeze from the coming storm, but I don’t think so. By observing I changed the thing observed.
So there are a few options to bypass this principle: the first is to raise the ISO to get a faster shutter speed. The second is to use a wider aperture for the same reason, and the third is to pretend to be satisfied with a fuzzy shot.
I left the ISO at 200 and the aperture at f/4 just as an experiment and almost all the shots were so sharp I could see the daddy long legs laughing at me. But I liked this one at f/2.8 better.
As Werner Heisenberg himself said: “There are things that are so serious that you can only joke about them.” In other words, don’t sweat the small stuff and if necessary convert to black and white.
“It is the last straw that breaks the camel’s back.” Charles Dickens
“If you work hard, and become successful, it does not necessarily mean you are successful because you worked hard, just as if you are tall with long hair it doesn’t mean that you would be a midget if you were bald.” Lemony Snicket
I stopped at an Amish flower stand to check out the sunflowers I saw last week and an old woman on a bicycle rode up and said hello. I mentioned how big they got and she told me that she didn’t plant them, it was the birds.
When I asked her if any were flowering she told me there was one on the end of the row but something was wrong with it, it wasn’t perfect. I walked over with the curiosity of Schrödinger’s cat and wondered what she meant.
As soon as I saw it I knew that it was absolutely perfect! The leaves protecting the flower were growing at an odd angle but it was very healthy and probably happy to have someone care so much about it.
I took a few photos as the clouds burned off into bright sunshine, the kind of bright that makes color photos of flowers look washed out, so I knew I would end up converting this to black and white. I thanked the woman and told her she made my day.
“Do you think it will be OK?” she asked me before I left. I was a bit surprised at the question but I figured she was used to dealing with two headed calves and vegetables that grow to look like genitals, the Amish hate when that happens. I assured her the flower would be fine.
The Buddha said: “Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up because you will lose the ability to learn new things. Move forward with your life.” I didn’t tell her that because she was close to 80 and I’m sure she has life pretty much figured out by now.
“It will rain all this night and we will sleep transfixed by the dark water as our blood runs through our fragile life.” Charles Bukowski
I read a review for a windscreen a while back in Motorcyclist magazine that said it’s always too hot, too windy, too cold or raining. But after 90,000 miles on my bike I found that there are some days that are as close to perfect as I could ask for.
Today was not a perfect day to photograph a half inch sunflower bud. It was too hot, too windy and it was only a matter of time until it rained. But over the course of almost an hour I managed to get a shot I was happy with, though far from perfect.
Ultimately every day is perfect because it’s the only one we have. But saying that and living it are very different things. There is a popular saying that if we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly our whole life would change. I’m going to keep looking.
Sometimes I feel, sometimes I feel, like I been tied to the hitchin’ post. Tied to the hitchin’ post, tied to the hitchin’ post. Good Lord, I feel like I’m dyin’.
Note: He may have been singing a different tune but this is what I heard.