more okay than I thought

Today was a good day.

Even on a cold and rainy day, my friends showed up for our photography book club. The discussion was lively with a good measure of sharing and genuine encouragement. My goal is always to make stronger photographs that connect with the viewer and this book club will help me to meet that goal. But what I hadn’t counted on was the reassurance I found among this group. Reassurance that I am on the right path for me, that I am more okay than I thought. I’m thankful for this fine group of photographers who help me to see the best in myself.

And it’s my pleasure to do the same for them.

“And maybe I had been so busy looking for the pieces—I never noticed I was already together.” —Cleo Wade, Heart Talk

arranged on the fly

“I am looking for language of clarity and simplicity, and at the same time deeply connective. I am less interested in the external appearance of a subject, and more interested in an image that has its strength derived from its arrangement than from its subject. Arranged on the fly out of existing elements, a working photograph for me has an authenticity: an image that looks like and is from what is already there, to celebrate being alive” – Carl Martin

the power of trees

I feel restored after our short trip to the mountains. I attribute my improved mood to spending time in a place that fills my heart with joy — reawakening my curiosity and wonder.

I’ve given some thought as to why this might be so.

And found some answers in a new favorite book from the library, Forest Bathing, by Dr. Qing Li.

“One idea for why the natural landscape has such a powerful effect on us is the theory that we pay attention differently when we are in nature . . . In nature, our minds are captured effortlessly by clouds and sunsets, by the movement of leaves in the breeze, by waterfalls and streams, by the sound of the birds or the whisper of the wind. These soothing sights and sounds give our mental resources a break. They allow our minds to wander and to reflect, and so restore our capacity to think more clearly.” (p. 110)

“What is this secret power of trees that makes us so much healthier and happier? Why is it that we feel less stressed and have more energy just by walking in the forest?” (p.5)

“When was the last time you strolled in a forest or walked through a woodland so beautiful that it made you stop and marvel? When you did you last notice the spring buds unfurling or look closely at the frost patterns on a winter leaf? I wonder, instead, how many hours you spent looking at a screen today, and how many times you checked your phone . . . You could have missed the changing of the seasons altogether.” (p.8)

“This is more than just a walk. This is not exercise, or hiking, or jogging. It is simple being in nature, connecting with it through our senses. This is forest-bathing.” (p.12)

“There is no medicine you can take that has such a direct influence on your health as a walk in a beautiful forest.” (p.109)

“More trees, more happiness.”

Crabtree Falls — Nelson County, Virginia

Pondering Nicole Gulotta’s post on The Four Phases of Creativity . . .

Feeling as though I am somewhere between Phase 3, Divergence ~

“Once you’ve honed your voice, the divergence phase often involves becoming known for something—a particular style or point of view.“

and Phase 4, Crisis ~

“If you’re in crisis, you’ve likely amassed a unique body of work. You have a platform. You’re known for something, and you’re good at it. Then you want more . . . Yet even though we’re craving something new, there’s a real fear in taking the first steps. We risk failure, and in a way that feels even bigger than before. What do to? Either go back to the first phase—deepening existing skills or learning something new—or, stay here and become stagnant.”

Nothing like a little adventure to push me forward, out of the places I tend to get too comfortable.