Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Adventures in Seeing - Open

Hi! And welcome to what might be a regular or occasional post in the year ahead. I received a new photography book from my son for Christmas, called Adventures in Seeing, by Kim Manley Ort. The chapters take you on a journey and invite you to slow down and connect with what you see before you take a photo. This appeals to me. As a keen photographer I have always taken my camera everywhere and been open to what inspires or draws me but recently, caught up in other things, my passion has got lost. I got lost. So I am trying to find my way back.

I like projects and focus and for a number of years I did Project 365. But when I got too busy with other things the photos just piled up as computer downloads and eventually I gave up. I did complete a year of Tree Following, and posted a monthly blog about the changes I saw. I enjoyed this but decided not to continue for a second year and so last year I took a break from both these projects.   

And now, with a new camera and an intention to reconnect, I am excited to discover this book and the closed Facebook group where members will work together.  There are 45 weekly themes and as I want to enjoy the course and not feel pressured I do not plan to post regularly. But I will share from time to time and thought I would start with some of the photos I have taken this week.

The theme is OPEN. It connects with me, because I am practicing ways to be more present, such as meditating and taking time to pause or go more slowly. Open is a good place to start, and it invites all kinds of ideas. Here are a couple of examples:

These reeds drew my attention, the different textures and the way they gently waved in the breeze. However, it was my husband who pointed out the sound of the stems as they gently touched. I realised my eyes might be open but not my other senses.
A good lesson learnt.

On our way we noticed part of a building that interested us. Usually hidden by trees it now stood out clearly so we left the river edge and ventured down a path that led towards a row of houses. We paused to admire their location and unusual architecture then retraced our steps.  It is good sometimes to explore and be open to what the day brings.  To follow the path unknown.

I hadn't intended to take a photo, I simply opened the front door and noticed frost on the car windscreen. I immediately had the urge to pick up my camera. I am getting used to the new settings and features and after a couple of shots I noticed that the frost was quickly melting. A few more minutes and their crispness would be lost. I learnt that sometimes you have to grab the opportunity while it lasts, as some are fleeting.

On my walk this morning this gate and hedge make me think of the word OPEN. I like taking photos of gates, doors, windows, and what look like openings - they invite investigation and mystery. A portal into the unknown. So I walked closer for a different perspective.

And sometimes what first appears open, isn't.

An opening suggests a way of entry, a coming and going. There are cattle in this field so the padlock might delay or deter rustlers. But it might have another purpose too. Last year someone abandoned a pony into the field, leaving the farmer with responsibility for it's welfare. Who'd have expected this?

Sometimes being open invites surprises and unwanted outcomes, but wouldn't life be dull if it was safe and predictable? So, take the unknown paths and didn't forget to pause to look more closely as you go about your day!  I'll be back sometime with more Adventures in Seeing.
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