Thursday, June 20, 2013

Looking Down...

    "Rain, Rain go away, come again another day..."  or so the children's song goes.  My recent few days in Down East Maine got me thinking a lot about the weather and the effect it has on the photographer. (I encountered the same sort of weather in Chatham, except for one glorious day.)  I never saw the sun once in the three days I was in Pembroke, Maine but it was fine.  Besides, the weather is something none of us can control so it is best to stop fretting and embrace it!  For me that means to stop looking up at the grey clouds and start looking down at the world at my feet.

    This is a study of a small plant by the cottage I was staying in.  I loved the way the water droplets were held individually, almost as they fell.  Some quality of this plant, a ladies mantle I think, created this charming effect.  When nature sends you rain, turn your attention and your lens downward to the small details of the landscape.  The puddles and droplets make worthy subjects for the contemplative photographer.  (Contemplative photographer Kim Manley Ort has recently dealt with this same topic on her wonderful about it here. You'll have to scroll down a bit.)

     Later on, this downward focus was rewarded as we strolled the property's beach at low tide.  Beach combing is an excellent way to hone your discriminating skills.  I found this washed up kelp which had created a provocative spiral. (You can visit my Pinterest board, The Spiral is a symbol that has ancient antecedents, especially in the Celtic world and I love collecting examples.)  I could have easily stepped over it had my attention not been focused on the ground at my feet!  Walking slowly and deliberately is important as well.  Take your time and follow Thich Nhat Hanh's advise:

Walk as if you are kissing the 
Earth with your feet.
    A lot of what we do as contemplative photographers involves this discriminating practice and it is well we work on the skill whenever you can.  This summer make a point of doing a little beach combing of your own whether it is by the ocean or on the shores of a lake.  Take the time to look down...   


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