Having a vision for our future that differs from our current circumstances can be inspiring and exciting, but it can also keep us from fully committing to our present placement. We may become aware that this is happening when we notice our thoughts about the future distracting us from our participation in the moment. We may find upon searching our hearts that we are waiting for some future time or situation in order to self-actualize. This would be like a flower planted in Iceland putting off blooming because it would prefer to do so in Argentina.
There are no guarantees in this life, so when we hold back we do so at the risk of never fully blossoming. This present moment always offers us the ground in which we can take root and open our hearts now. What this means is that we live fully, wherever we are, not hesitating because conditions are not perfect, or we might end up moving, or we haven’t found our life partner. This can be scary, because we might feel that we are giving up our cherished dreams if we do not agree to wait for them. But this notion that we have to hold back our life force now in order to find happiness later doesn’t really make sense. What might really be happening is that we are afraid to embrace this moment, and ourselves, just exactly as we are right now. This constitutes a tendency to hold back from fully loving ourselves, as we are, where we are.
We have a habit of presenting life with a set of conditions—ifs and whens that must be fulfilled before we will say yes to the gift of our lives. Now is the time for each of us to bloom where we are planted, overriding our tendency to hold back. Now is the time to say yes, to be brave and commit fully to ourselves, because until we do no one else will. Now is the time to be vulnerable, unfolding delicately yet fully into the space in which we find ourselves.
This beautiful shot was taken on the spectacular island of Oahu. We used a 100mm f2.8 Nikkor lens wide open mounted on a Nikon D7000 body all on a hefty Manfrotto tripod (yeah, kinda heavy to lug around, but word every calorie) and lit up with a Nikon SB600 Flash. The flash was handheld and off camera. This is a really good tip for shooting many scenarios. To do this, you will need to purchase relatively inexpensive Radio Triggers, such as Pocket Wizards. Install one on the camera Hot-Shoe, the other on the Flash, and then you can move the source of illumination to provide optimal results. Having the flash on-camera often results in flat images with uniform lighting. With the flash off-camera, amazing things can happen – try it and have fun!
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Here we have some cool details of The Fountain of the Bees at the corner of Piazza Barberini in Rome. These bees don’t seem to mind working in wet conditions! And, of course, there are Barberini bees everywhere on and in Palazzo Barberini and many other Roman monuments and buildings made or modified by the Barberini family.
Rome’s best Barberini bees, are those rising up to heaven in Pietro da Cortona‘s “Triumph of Divine Providence“, the painting that covers the ceiling of the grand salon in the Palazzo Barberini. And what was the “triumph” that was so providential? Why, it was nothing less than the elevation of the Barberini family to the Papacy in the person of Urban VIII!
Urban’s three crowns, the Laurel of the Poet, the starry Ring of Providence, and the Papal Crown are all clearly shown. Significantly, Urban VIII himself is not portrayed….Hmmm! It’s the golden Barberini bees — representing the whole family — that are flying up to heaven.
So what about these bees? How did the Barberini latch on to that particular symbol? It’s not that their name simply begins with the letter “B”. Bees represent teamwork and industriousness, two well-known Barberini characteristics, but that interpretation was added later. No, the bees represent iconographic social climbing.
The Barberini family originally were the Tafani da Barberino, sprung from the village of Barberino in the Elsa Valley near Florence. As they moved up the social ladder and transferred first to Florence and eventually to Rome, they quickly dropped the Tafani family name, which had rather unpleasant connotations, and adopted the Barberini name of their village, a common enough practice. The family crest had to be upgraded too. And so three golden bees replaced the three golden horseflies which had themselves replaced the three common black horseflies (=Tafani) that had original graced the family coat of arms. Who’d want to be called Pope Urban VIII Horsefly anyway?
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Epictetus was a Greek philosopher that lived about 1900 years ago. When he was young he was a slave in Rome but was later released and started to teach philosophy first in Rome and later on in Greece. Epictetus was somewhat of a lonesome minimalist. He lived with few possessions and by himself for a long time. He also seems to never have written anything, but luckily his thoughts were recorded by his pupil Arrian. Here is one of his Pearls of Wisdom:
“When you are offended at any man’s fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger.”
This one is interesting because it deals with how we relate to each other. What someone says something negative about you, it may not so much be a reflection of you but of the person that said it. This is a good thing to consider and also applies whenever you are feeling negatively about someone else. It can not only help you forget about your negative emotion, but can also help you learn more about yourself and how you perceive things and situations.
This is another in our series of water drop shots. Using a ten gallon aquarium, we dropped various objects and captured the action with some high-speed strobe lights, or flash units. They key is timing the flash. Freezing the action is easy as the speed of the flash is very fast, so your camera shutter speed should be set at its Flash Synch Speed. Using a small aperture (f-stop) and low ISO (Film Speed for us old timers), a couple off camera flashes with remote triggers, a Nikon D7000 and Nikkor 105mm Macro lens all mounted on a sturdy tripod allowed us to record this dynamic event. Oh, and keep a few towels handy and cover those flash units with freezer storage bags…things can get a bit wet! Drop us a note if you would like to learn more about this relatively simple shot and how to do this yourself!
When events appear to fit together perfectly in our lives it may seem at first that they are random occurrences or coincidence. Learning to pay attention to the synchronous happenings and link the things that occur on a daily basis can be a way for us to become more attuned to the universe and the interconnectedness present in our lives. When we realize that things often go more smoothly than we can ever imagine, it allows us to take the time to reflect on the patterns in our lives. Even events that might not at first seem to be related to each other are indicators that the universe is working with, not against, us. This idea of synchronicity, then, means that we have to trust there is more to our lives than what we experience on a physical level. We need to be willing to look more closely at the bigger picture, accepting and having confidence in the fact that there is more to our experiences than immediately meets the eye.
This image was captured on the south island of New Zealand in July. We were about to embark on a steep and somewhat perilous trek up Mount Aspiring when we found that the entire trailhead was covered in Hoar frost. Hoar frost (also called radiation frost or hoarfrost or pruina) refers to the white ice crystals, loosely deposited on the ground or exposed objects, that form on cold clear nights when heat losses into the open skies cause objects to become colder than the surrounding air. A related effect is flood frost which occurs when air-cooled by ground-level radiation losses travels downhill to form pockets of very cold air in depressions, valleys, and hollows. Hoar frost can form in these areas even when the air temperature a few feet above ground is well above freezing. Nonetheless the frost itself will be at or below the freezing temperature of water. Another amazing effect was that there was a deep blue fog over the entire valley – very spooky – you might want to check some of the previous New Zealand post to check it out!
The intricate details of this turnbuckle were caught using a Nikon D90 and Nikkor 105mm Macro Lens. This is a great lens for shooting close-up or Macro images like this one, and is very sharp. When shooting Macro it is very important that one has a secure and stable mount to the camera as any movement or vibration will throw off the focal point. Taking the camera off Auto-Focus is a good idea, this way you can control what is and is not in focus. Using a small aperture (with resultant slower shutter speed) allows greater depth of field and having the camera’s ISO set to its lowest setting (here 200), while making the sensor less sensitive to light, makes for a less grainy image. Shooting Macro can be done anywhere and once you start looking at the wondrous details of ordinary objects, you will be amazing and hooked!
In a blink of an eye, a lot can happen. A lot of astonishing things happen in a split second, but they are moving too quickly for us to see. High speed photography is the art of recording just such events.
Depending on the event to be photographed, methods range from use of ultra-short time flash exposures to producing lots of exposures in a split-second, using for example, a strobe light, or a more exotic sound triggered system (useful for popping balloons, gunshot punctures and the like). A typical camera flash lasts around a few thousandth of a second which is easily quick enough to freeze most anything. The speed of the camera’s shutter is not really that important provided it is open when the flashes fire – synchronizing the camera shutter opening with the flash firing is the key…as well as deciding when to trip the shutter itself.
In this series of pictures, I constructed a setup in my studio which consisted of an aquarium, two inexpensive speed light flashes, wireless flash triggers, black muslin backdrop, DSLR on a sturdy tripod and various veggies and fruits. I filled the tank brimming with water and set one flash above the surface pointing down and the other below the surface pointing in. The tripod mounted camera (Nikon D7000, 17-70mm lens, ISO100, f18, 1/250sec) was in front of the tank and equipped with a wireless transmitter that would trigger the flashes when the shutter was tripped. The veggies and fruit were dropped from various heights depending on their size and density – I found that limes descend much faster than bell peppers, eggs and coconuts being the speediest.
The lighting angles and intensities of the flashes were adjusted periodically. One should also use a plastic zip-lock bag over the flash units, have plenty of paper towels at hand and check the camera lens after every drop – this technique can be a trifle wet! I also discovered that eggs are super fast and tend to crack upon impact on the bottom of the tank and other materials, such as yogurt just make an awful mess and cloud the water. I was contemplating dropping my small dog in the tank, but he quickly caught wind of my thoughts and beat it out of the studio!
Here is a photographic take on this famous play The Glass Menagerie: a four-character memory play by Tennessee Williams which originally went under the name of ‘The Gentleman Caller’. A Glass Menagerie is fragile and delicate. This fragility is manifested physically in the glass; “If you breathe, it breaks!”. It’s also really beautiful – of the translucent, other-worldly, delicate kind. Here is a snippet from the play…
“Yes, I have tricks in my pocket, I have things up my sleeve. But I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion.”
This is somewhat like the craft of Photography. Photography, as we know, is not real at all. It is an illusion of reality with which the Photographer creates his own private world. Illusions commend themselves to us because they save us pain and allow us to enjoy pleasure instead. We must therefore accept it without complaint when they sometimes collide with a bit of reality against which they are dashed to pieces. Illusions are art, for the feeling person, and it is by art that we live.
This image was executed during an event which we covered in Northern California. During an After-Party, we arrived a bit early to scope the scene and were drawn to the stacks of wine glasses being readied for the oncoming, thirsty hordes. Being Photographers, we tend to gravitate to glass (for some reason), and gazing through the stacks we were captured by the (seemingly) endless lines and rows.
This is another view from inside The Butterfly Jungle at the San Diego Zoo. This huge butterfly loves to land on people’s hair, camera and lenses but generally likes to rest on the sides of trees which act as natural camouflage. They are known for their iridescent colors!
While not all Morphos have iridescent coloration, they all have ocelli, or eyes on their wings. In most species only the males are colorful, supporting the theory that the coloration is used for intrasexual communication between males.
Many Morpho butterflies are colored in metallic, shimmering shades of blue and green on the inside. These colors are not a result of pigmentation but are an example of iridescence: the microscopic scales covering the Morpho’s wings reflect incident light repeatedly at successive layers, leading to interference effects that depend on both wavelength and angle of incidence/observance. Thus the colors produced vary with viewing angle, however they are actually surprisingly uniform, perhaps due to the tetrahedral (diamond-like) structural arrangement of the scales or diffraction from overlying cell layers. www.kerstenbeck.com