Friday, December 23, 2011

A Holiday Gift for You

The holiday season is the time for sharing.  While brainstorming ideas for something special to share with you, I was contacted (out of the blue) by Sherry Klinedinst, a talented pianist from South Bend, Indiana.  She explained to me how much she enjoyed my photographs and wondered if I would be willing to share some of them with her to accompany her beautiful piano music.
Together, we created "Winter Essence," a visual and auditory salute to the holiday season.
I hope you will take the time to enjoy our collaborative creation, and I hope you also take time to visit Sherry at

You can access our creation by clicking HERE
Please feel free to continue the Spirit of Sharing by passing this gift to others.

Best to all of you during the holiday season and throughout the new year!


Friday, December 9, 2011

A "Miksang Moment"

Miksang is a Tebetian word which means “good-eye” and describes a style of photography which captures the essence of a fleeting moment in time.  The moment is defined when we synchronize eye and mind, abandon all concepts and predispositions and become completely present in the moment. Miksang photography can also be referred to as contemplative photography.  
We have all had these moments, when something catches our eye and stirs something in our minds and in our emotions.  Usually, it is a very simple, brilliant, and fleeting moment, during which our minds are relaxed and we view the moment without any preconceived ideas about it: in other words, we see it with pure perception. 
For those of us who carry cameras with us, it is a moment we must capture before the connection of our sight, emotion and perception disappear.
I have many images in my photo library which have been made when these three conditions are present.  Today I would like to share my most recent Miksang experience.

We were out to dinner the other night and my daughter had ordered hot tea.  During our meal I glanced at the silver teapot of hot water and saw a woman’s face looking back at me!  No, it was not because of the wine I had consumed thus far with my meal, but a “Miksang moment.” 
As soon as I saw this, I used the only camera I had with me at the time- my cell phone. 

I captured what I was seeing while the song “I’m a little teapot, short and stout…” began to run through my mind.  I shared my capture with my husband and daughter who had been looking strangely at me as I interrupted my meal to shoot a subject they did not see.  (One would think they would be used to my behavior by now after all the years I have been photographing!)
Anyway, after sharing my capture with them, I went to take a second shot of “Mrs. Potts” and she was gone!  The server had removed my husband’s plate (which created her right ‘eye’) I took the photo anyway, wondering if I actually saw her winking at me!  Nope- my Miksang moment was gone.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Dunes Are Alive!

In my last blog, I described the life living WITHIN the dunes, but did you know the dunes, THEMSELVES, are "alive?" Dunes are constantly changing shape by the power of mother nature- especially when she blows strong winds up the windward side of the dunes, causing the grains of sand to blow over the crest to the shorter leeward side. 
Not only does this change the shape of the dune, but also causes some dunes (known as barchan dunes) to actually migrate across the desert a few meters each year; which is enough distance to periodically update maps currently in print.  (especially if they block roads, which they often do!!)
One afternoon on my most recent trip to Namibia, we set out to photograph the dune belt between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund. The wind was blowing quite strong- too strong to subject our gear to the constant abrasiveness of the sand grains blowing through the air. So, we spent some time sitting quietly in our vehicle watching the sand as it blew across the face of the dunes. It reminded me of a "tan blizzard" and it was mesmerizing to watch the swirling patterns of blowing sand as the millions of tiny grains brushed across the dunes and over the crest. I noticed that the speed of the wind and its gusts are what determined the dancing patterns we saw. It was like watching a ballet! I wanted to take this memory home with me since watching the blowing sand was so relaxing and fascinating.

I secured my bean bag bag on the car window for stable support and placed my Canon 5D Mark II on top of it. I braced the camera by placing my hand on the lens to stabilize the camera even more. Then, I shot many video clips of the scene before me hoping to capture the side lit dunes and the dancing sand.
Below is a link to my video page on my web site.  Here, there are two of my favorite videos I made from the afternoon which rival any still shots from the photo session. I hope you take less than 2 minutes from your day to witness the beauty of nature and the "movement" of the dunes.

Clcik HERE to view.