“Focus your mind on one thing, absorb the old examples, study the actions of the masters – penetrate deeply into a single form of practice.” Dogen
I pulled into the parking lot of a huge farm stand to try to get a good photo of pumpkins. I tried different angles, apertures and focus points with both of my cameras. Suddenly a smiling Amish guy comes out and asks me if I’m with the newspaper.
I told him no and continued shooting while the light was good. A minute later he was standing right next to me. This time I decided to enlighten him to what I was doing and why. The conversation went like this:
Q. “Are you a photographer?
A. “Well I guess that’s a matter of opinion.”
Q. “Why are you taking so many pictures?”
A. “I’m trying to get one good one.
Q. “What do you do with these pictures?”
A. “I have a website (I figured saying I had a blog was too confusing).
Q. “How do you make money doing this?”
A. “I don’t, it just gives me something to do.
This went on until the clouds burned off and it was too bright. I took a chance and actually asked him if he had a computer to show him some of my stuff but of course he didn’t.
I wanted to explain to him what that great philosopher Charlie Brown once said: “If we could see the miracle of a single pumpkin stem clearly, our whole life would change,” but I thought his head might explode.
I said goodbye and got into my car and he said Beheef dich! It sounded like he was calling me an insulting name in Pennsylvania Dutch but it turns out that the phrase just means behave yourself.
“Dreams aren’t an escape from reality, they’re a reflection of what we want reality to be.” Scaylen Renvac
“Find beauty not only in the thing itself but in the pattern of the shadows, the light and dark which that thing provides.” Junichiro Tanizaki
I’ve been trying to do more abstract images as well as more black and white. After getting my coffee this morning I was driving though farm country and saw a fire in the parking lot of an Amish tourist site and pulled in.
I watched the dancing flames and then started taking photos, waiting for the decisive moment. A farmer came over and asked if he could help me. Usually I answer that with “Are you a Psychiatrist?” but I didn’t want to be rude.
I told him I was trying out a new camera rather than explain the concept of abstract photography to him and he just looked at me. “Kinda strange isn’t it,” I said. “Yes it is” was his reply and he walked away towards his children of the corn.
Now that the 2020 models are out many people are selling their old vehicles. I saw this beauty on sale for only $800. It seems that the seller is also including a pair of shutters for some reason so if you need a buggy and two shutters this is a steal. If not you could probably get a couple of chickens instead.
“It is not possible to think outside the box. If I am thinking, I am always and only inside the box. The mind itself is the box.” Red Hawk, Self Observation
I woke up today at 6:30 and decided to go back to bed. Thirty minutes later I was standing in a field taking more photos of the same sunflower as in my last post.
I remembered the tiny voice of the flower talking yesterday: Get closer it said and use your monopod. As I waited for the right light I realized that the plant was at least a foot taller than me so handheld it was.
I struggled to hold the camera steady and get as close as I could, occasionally chimping and deleting any image that was not tack sharp or at least close. As the wind picked up I had the funny feeling that this was completely ridiculous.
I think maybe the miracle of a single flower is that it doesn’t struggle, anything that happens is perfectly fine. Life could be the same way, whatever happens or is going to happen is beyond our control so resisting it is pointless.
As I was sitting in my car zooming in on each image I heard very soft laughter coming from somewhere. It turned out to be someone feeding the goats but I have a feeling that the flowers were smiling that I got the message.
Of course I’ll be doing the exact same thing tomorrow. Maybe unusual things made from wood, shot wide open, converted to black and white and resized to exactly 1000 x 1294 (more or less).
I stood there staring at this sunflower for what seemed like an hour but was probably a minute. Knowing that if I could see the miracle of a single flower my whole life would change was promising but nothing was happening.
Then I heard a tiny voice that said: Take a picture already you dope! Since I was going to do that anyway, I framed the shot but before I could even check my settings the voice said: Get closer you moron!
Now I was starting to get agitated, a word I only use on Tuesday when flowers talk to me. She told me to get the moon in the background, shoot in manual at f/8 and use the monopod in my car.
Realizing that flowers rarely talk to me I figured it was just a vivid imagination and ignored her. I shot at f/5.6, handheld and didn’t get the moon in the frame which was already fading into the day.
There’s an old adage that says if you think you’re insane you’re probably not, but it may be worth getting my meds checked when I see my shrink this week.
“To be worth making at all, a journey has to be made in the mind as much as in the world of objects and dimensions.” Ted Simon