Mountains have always captured our imaginations, calling us to scale their heights, and to pay homage to their greatness. Mountains can be seen from hundreds of miles away, and if we are lucky enough to be on top of one, we can see great stretches of the surrounding earth. As a result, mountains symbolize vision, the ability to rise above the adjacent lowlands and see beyond our immediate vicinity. From the top of the mountain, we are able to witness life from a new perspective—cities and towns that seem so large when we are in them look tiny. We can take the whole thing in with a single glance, regaining our composure and our sense of proportion as we realize how much bigger this world is than we sometimes remember it to be.
Mountains are almost always considered holy and spiritual places, and the energy at the top of a mountain is undeniably unique. When we are on top of a mountain, it is as if we have ascended to an alternate realm, one in which the air is purer and lighter. Many a human being has climbed to the top of a mountain in order to connect with a higher source of understanding, and many have come back down feeling stronger and wiser. Whenever we are feeling trapped or limited in our vision, a trip to our nearest mountain may be just the cure we need. There’s a reason that mountain views are so highly prized in this world, and it is because, even from a distance, mountains remind us of how small we are, which often comes as a wonderful relief. Whether we have a mountain view out of our window or just a photograph of a mountain where we see it every day, we can rely on these earthly giants to provide inspiration, vision, and a daily reminder of our humble place in the grand scheme of life.
This is a shot from the top of Gate’s Pass, just outside of Tuscon, Arizona. It was a short hike to this location where we watched the sun setting and the sky slowly changing colors. Equipped with a tripod mounted Nikon D90, we were able to take some very long exposures as things became progressively darker. We lit up this cactus during one such long exposure with a quick burst from a flash. This is a common technique used for portrait shots – one exposes for the background using the normal techniques and then illuminates the subjects using off camera flash. This is very effective as not only does the background remain properly exposed in the image, but the subject tends to pop out! We have used this technique often during Family Portrait sessions on the beach in California during sunsets and invariably, the clients have loved it!
Most people agree that a more peaceful world would be an ideal situation for all living creatures. If we are to have true peace in this world, each one of us must find it in ourselves first. If we don’t like ourselves, for example, we probably won’t like those around us. If we are in a constant state of inner conflict, then we will probably manifest conflict in the world. If we have fighting within our families, there can be no peace in the world. We must shine the light of inquiry on our internal struggles, because this is the only place we can really create change.
Being at peace with ourselves is not about denying or rejecting any part of ourselves. On the contrary, in order to be at peace we must be willing and able to hold ourselves, in all our complexity, in a full embrace that excludes nothing. This is perhaps the most difficult part for many of us, because we want so much to disown the negative aspects of our humanity. Ironically, though, true peace begins with a willingness to take responsibility for our humanity so that we might ultimately transform it in the light of our love.
This is an image taken during sunset at Gate’s Pass just west of Tuscon, Arizona. The top of the Pass offers brilliant sunsets and is frequented by scores of people every evening when there is promise of a colorful sky. After a short hike, we came across this lone cactus which, along with us, overlooking the valley below and the splendour of the setting sun. To capture all of the light, we shot three exposures and later combined them with a speciality photographic software package called Photomatix Pro. We love the contrast of the lone, prickly cactus who watches the soft sunset with strength and fortitude, being at peace…just being.
This was taken during the early morning hours after a trek up to see Devils’ Bridge in Sedona, Arizona. The morning sun was just beginning to light up this incredible red sandstone arch. Sedona is a dream for Photographers and Hikers with hundreds of miles of well-marked trails, breathtaking vistas and of course, “Vortexes” as the locals call them.
The vortexes in Sedona are swirling centers of subtle energy coming out from the surface of the earth. The vortex energy is not exactly electricity or magnetism, although it does leave a slight measurable residual magnetism in the places where it is strongest.
There are four main energy vortexes in Sedona. The subtle energy that exists at these locations interacts with who a person is inside. The energy resonates with and strengthens the Inner Being of each person that comes within about a quarter to a half mile of it. This resonance happens because the vortex energy is very similar to the subtle energy operating in the energy centers inside each person. If you are at all a sensitive person, it is easy to feel the energy at these vortexes.