A sign from…

the universe.

DSC_6667Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Some days are just golden; almost like an affirmation that the choices you’re making are right.

A friend is fond of telling me that if you just let go the universe will provide and I can no longer argue with that sentiment.

My week-end was amazing. The weather was incredible and the lake that I frequent couldn’t have been more beautiful. Afterwards, a perfect, early summer evening was graced with clear skies, some unusual aurora arc activity, and a fly over of the international space station.

This all leads me to have faith.

Have faith and keep your camera ready to capture the moments.

 

The place…

that grounds you.

DSC_2252Were I called on to define, very briefly, the term Art, I should call it “the reproduction of what the Senses perceive in Nature through the veil of the soul.”

Edgar Allen Poe

It’s believed in Celtic tradition that natural objects such as a stone can anchor a thought.

Much like an altar can be a sacred place for prayer this same idea exists for me within the sacredness of natural places.

I’ve photographed at this location many times, at all hours of the day and night, and there’s something calming and centering about being there.

Magic really and all the better when shared…

Going…

home.June 17-1-EditThere are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground; there are a thousand ways to go home again.

Rumi

Life’s a lot like a camera. You can slide it onto that auto setting and accept the images that it creates for you or you can take control and choose every setting yourself.

A friend once told me that if I could only let go the universe would provide.

She got “the look” followed by an eye roll just for emphasis.

However the science geek in me loves a good experiment so I did let go.

Turns out there really are a thousand ways to go home again.

Earth Day…

an affirmation of beauty.DSC_4859-Edit-3When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.

John Muir

I celebrated the start of Earth Day by spending a good part of the night outside on a cot bundled up against the 34 degree temperature.

This year the celebration coincided with the Lyrid meteor showers and as an added bonus, the Northern Lights made an appearance.

The hooting from a Great Horned Owl resonated through the still night air.

Night time is time of rest and rejuvenation and for me nothing fills my soul more than connecting with the natural world around me. I didn’t take many photos last night because I wanted to just soak up the beauty of a clear night sky. We haven’t had many of those lately.

This past week was filled with so many exhilarating moments.

A lightning storm that sent hail cascading off of my metal roof in quantities that I have not seen before.

Another halo event, not as vividly colorful as some of the others I have had the good fortune to observe but this one brought me another rare arc from my bucket list; a Wegener arc, named for scientist Alfred Wegener who first discovered it.

Icing on top of the cake came in the form of confirmation and congratulations from renowned physicist Les Cowley of atoptics . Also visible, 22 degree halo, circumscribed arc, and parhelic circle all created by ice crystals in cirrus clouds.

I still recall a poster that I had when I was very young. It was a cloud chart.

Full circle.

Celebrate Earth Day and take a few minutes to soak in some of the beauty of your natural world.

 

Spring’s first…

bloom.DSC_4330No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.

Hal Borland

I suppose it was inevitable.

I found the first flower blooming in my yard, a variety that I’ve not seen before.

Graceful and delicate it opens up towards the glimmer of sun that has been struggling to break through the clouds.

Nature’s a fickle thing though and this morning the landscape sparkles with a layer of frost.

I secretly rejoice.

Happy Easter to those celebrating.

Horizontally oriented…

hexagonal plates.

DSC_8331No one undertakes research in physics with the intention of winning a prize. It is the joy of discovering something no one knew before.

Stephen Hawking

Or in this case, something that I did not know before.

This is an image from 4 years ago. It’s the one that began my study of halo and atmospheric phenomena.

I was driving home as the sun was beginning to go down and spotted what I thought was a patch of rainbow. I stopped to photograph it and wondered why I should be seeing it alongside the sun, about a hand span to the left of it, and not opposite to the sun where rainbows occur.

It would brighten then fade and I watched it until it disappeared altogether and the sun sank below the horizon.

I couldn’t wait to get home and research what I had seen. Little did I know at the time that this would launch in me a passion for clouds and the ice crystals that can be found in some of them.

This beautiful patch of color I discovered was created by horizontally oriented plate crystals drifting down through the sky.

This is the sundog, parhelia, or “mock sun”. Sometimes they are seen in pairs on either side of the sun and sometimes they appear along with that full circle, the 22 degree halo, around the sun.

Cirrus clouds, my most favorite cloud of all. Wispy and somewhat ethereal and chock full of ice crystals…

Photographing daily has made me more observant and at the same time more inquisitive. My camera isn’t just a tool for capturing an image. It’s the catalyst for my exploration of the natural world.

Where has your camera led you?

 

A slip of a slider…

becomes a learning exercise.

DSC_0368We have art in order to not die of the truth.

Friedrich Nietzsche

It’s spring and no where is it more evident than on my still partially frozen lake.

I awaken most mornings now to the sounds of the geese as they battle it out to retain the affections of their mates.

There always seems to be at least one odd man out making a valiant attempt to win over the heart of the lady goose and the ongoing battles on slick surfaces are something to behold.

Although preset packages and filters are readily available for purchase and sometimes for no cost, I like to develop my own to use in Lightroom and will often shoot images that I know will work well with those saved presets. In my mind, it adds to the level of creativity and allows for a bit of fun when it comes to the processing of raw images.

I stumbled on this quite by accident when a slip of the Wacom tablet pen threw me into more than a slight adjustment of a slider. One of those “happy mistakes” that I fine-tuned and saved as a preset.

The reminder for today is just as I preach about learning to use every setting that your camera has to offer, take that one step further and play within your editing program to develop your own unique settings. Lightroom has non destructive editing so you are always able to go back to your initial image and start over. Often I will create a virtual copy to edit with a preset. If you are working within a program that does not have non destructive editing, make sure that you are always working on a copy of your image.

I guarantee that it will spark your creativity and who knows where that could lead you…