Throughout this journey from birth to death, we choose to question life, strive for improvement, seek out knowledge, and search for the divine. This is the essence of spirituality, whatever your brand may be. One’s spiritual practice can take on many forms, because embracing the spiritual is a very personal pursuit. While many people do relate their spirituality to a God or Goddess, this quest for the divine, or oneness with the universe, always springs from within. It doesn’t matter where you find your spiritual path. We are all fundamentally spiritual beings and the essence of that lies in knowing one’s true self and finding a peace that comes from within rather than the outside world. It is in remembering this that we awaken to our personal path. Accepting the importance of spirituality can be a healthy decision, because a spiritual practice tends to include habits that promote healthy living. Take the time to carefully determine the action, thought, and ritual that most speaks to your soul. Remember that your most profound spiritual experiences may also come from the simple intricacies that make up your life. See the interconnectedness of all things. As you explore your “inner work,” you will be walking your spiritual path and feeling your oneness with the universe.
The image today is from the geothermal region around Rotorua in New Zealand. This wooden walkway leads through the Champagne Pool area (to the right) and off into the mist where other wonders await. During peak times this can be awash with visitors, but in the NZ winter and first thing in the morning during a work day, all that greated us was silence, hissing and bubbling sounds and, of course, the pervasive sulphuric air. It seemed like we had been transported to a different planet which beckoned us to explore its riches!
To purchase aPrint or Digital Download of this image just follow this link to our Photographic Website: http://www.kerstenbeck.com/ArtGallery/New-Zealand/23603506_bKtC44#!i=2102445854&k=FKN5vGT&lb=1&s=A
On the path of personal and spiritual growth we have a tendency to analyze our unhappiness in order to find the causes and make improvements. But it is just as important, if not more so, to analyze our happiness. Since we have the ability to rise above and observe our emotions, we can recognize when we are feeling joyful and content. Then we can harness the power of the moment by savoring our feelings and taking time to be grateful for them. Recognition is the first step in creating change, therefore recognizing what it feels like to be happy is the first step toward sustaining happiness in our lives.
This is an image shot in New Zealand’s geothermal region around Rotorua on the North Island. It is a steamy, bubbling, smelly, vibrant and magical place, especially first thing in the morning and in the winter when we found ourselves to be the only people in the park. The Champagne Pool is by far the most spectacular and photographed. When shooting here, this photographer got a bit too close to the steamy edge to set up this sweeping shot and was surprised to hear the pitter patter of footsteps as a Park ranger came in a rush to sternly remind him of the dangers of falling into hot water! There were several four letter words used and his point was well taken – this photographer has been in many more perilous situations and this was, well, as walk in the park!
Looking closely you may see a heart in the foreground – somehow this harkened to the message above of finding happiness amongst all of those other seething and churning emotions…guess you just have to look! Seek and yee shall find?
To purchase a Digital Download or Print of this spectacular and unique image just follow this link to our website – this looks brilliant in large size!
The very moment during the day when we very first open our eyes and come into consciousness is a precious opportunity. It sets the tone for all that comes after it, like the opening scene in a film or novel. At this moment, our ability to create the day is at its most powerful, and we can offer ourselves fully to the creative process by filling this moment with whatever inspires us most. It may be that we want to be more generous, or it may be that we want to be more open to beauty in our daily lives. Whatever the case, if we bring this vision into our minds at this very fertile moment, we empower it to be the guiding principle of our day.
This vista was photographed first thing in the morning close to Punakaiki which is a small community on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand, between Westport and Greymouth. The community lies on the edge of the Paparoa National Park. The Pancake Rocks are a very popular tourist goal at Dolomite Point south of the main village. The Pancake Rocks are a heavily eroded limestone area where the sea bursts though a number of vertical blowholes during high tides. Together with the ‘pancake’-layering of the limestone (created by immense pressure on alternating hard and soft layers of marine creatures and plant sediments), these form the main attraction of the area.
The picture was taken with a Nikon D90, tripod mounted…we deliberately shot into the rising morning sun to capture the striations of the sunlight on the rocks to the right as well as the tiny plant holding onto the rocky cliff on the left, bsking in the first light of the day.
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!
Like millions of other people today, you will have noticed being a bit more stressed when going about your daily activities, such as commuting, the challenges of the home or workplace. How often have you had your day planned to perfection when, out of the blue, you are inundated with some urgent and important request that requires immediate attention. It is like when you are on the beach and are unexpectedly hit by a rogue wave – suddenly you are knocked down and struggling for breath!
Priorities are like big rocks. If you fill your bucket full of pebbles (small demands) and you have a major crisis (children, financial, health, creative opportunity etc), these major events are big rocks. You no longer have room in your bucket for the things that matter the most in your life. Always think of the big rocks first with a resounding “yes”. You can always say “no” to things, which to others, may seem urgent but not important. Whatever the circumstances, it is living and being driven by the principles you value most, not by urgent agendas and forces surrounding you.
This image is from the South Island of New Zealand, shot in July (Winter), just a bit south from Westport. In the Winter, the beaches are wonderfully vacant of tourists, with the exception of the rogue Photographers, as most have headed further south and up into the mountains to experience the fantastic downhill skiing. To get capture the entire dynamic range of the light during this early morning, three shots were taken using varying exposure values and then combined with a software program called Photomatix. New Zealand is a treasure to visit and a diamond in the raw for Photographers!
““Here comes the sun, here comes the sun. And I say it’s all right” and to follow, here is a quotation from the author of this song:
“It’s being here and now that’s important. There’s no past and there’s no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one.” ― George Harrison
Wherever you are, be there totally. If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally. Be at least as interested in what goes on inside you as what happens outside. If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.
It seemed appropriate for this image taken first thing in the morning in Queenstown, New Zealand. It was another glorious start of the day during our adventures down-down under, quite, a bit chilly and very tranquil as the city slowly came to life. As you know, Photographers tend to get up before the sunrise to catch the first rays of sun, “The Golden Hour“.
Typically, lighting is softer (more diffuse) and warmer in hue, and shadows are longer. When the sun is near the horizon, sunlight travels through more of the atmosphere, reducing the intensity of the direct light, so that more of the illumination comes from indirect light from the sky, reducing the lighting ratio. More blue light is scattered, so that light from the sun appears more reddish. In addition, the sun’s small angle with the horizon produces longer shadows.
“Hour” is used here quite loosely. The character of the lighting is determined by the sun’s altitude, and the time for the sun to move from the horizon to a specified altitude depends on a location’s latitude and the time of year. In Los Angeles, California, at an hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset, the sun has an altitude of about 10°–12°. For a location closer to the equator, the altitude is greater (or the time less), and for a location farther from the equator, the altitude is less (or the time greater). For a location sufficiently far from the equator, the sun may not reach an altitude of 10°, and the golden hour lasts for the entire day in certain seasons.
Because the contrast is less during the golden hour, shadows are less dark, and highlights are less likely to be overexposed. In landscape photography, the warm color of the low sun is often considered desirable to enhance the colours of the scene. Sometimes the dynamic range of light is quite large and one can then use exposure bracketing and combination to overcome this to bring an image closer to what our eyes can perceive – this is called High Dynamic Range Imaging, or HDR. (More on this later)
Today is May 17, 2012. It is the only May 16, 2012 that you will ever have –> Make it spectacular!
One of Life’s ironies is that the more time we spend becoming “educated”, be it in a University, vocational school (or just the street), the more we forget that we are all extraordinarily intelligent beings to begin with. The conditioning to which we have and continue to be subjected to simply reinforces the myth that mental prowess is Nature’s unique gift to its favored few. Often we go through life totally oblivious to our innate brilliance and natural abilities.
If we are looking to improve our circumstances, we need to keep in mind that as “part-owners” of that boundless reservoir of wisdom that surrounds and is available to us, we have the means to accomplish more than we ever dreamed of. All we need to do it recognize this source and draw a few buckets from it. Every human has four endowments self-awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom… The power to choose, to respond, to change.
This was shot with a Nikon D90, Sigma 10-20mm wide-angle lens, polarizing filter all mounted on a portable lightweight tripod. Three exposures were taken to capture the full dynamic range of the light and then combined with Photomatix Pro – an High Dynamic Range (HDR) tool. This vista presented itself when we arrived at a charming Bed and Breakfast at Bird’s Ferry in New Zealand.
The Northern West Coast Region offers a wide range of scenery and historic sites to see and outdoor adventure sports and activities to do, all set within the natural riches that are found here from the mountains to the sea. By far the region’s biggest attraction is its geography and wildlife, from the rugged coastline and its spectacular rock formations, the deep gorges and valleys carved by ancient glaciers and the region’s many rivers, to the lush rainforests filled with an abundance of unique and wonderful native vegetation and bird life. Truly a must go destination!