WQWWC #43 – Imaginary imagery

“What we imagine in our minds becomes our world…”  Masaru Emoto

Masaru Emoto and his water crystals:

“Water consciousness first gained international attention with the unconventional but groundbreaking experiments of Japanese researcher Masaru Emoto. While you may not recognise his name, chances are that you have seen or heard of his work – namely, the theory that water can understand and retain the energy of human intention.


“In the 1990s, Emoto performed a series of experiments in which water was kept in a variety of bottles, each carrying a label with a different message. The messages ranged from positive and caring (thank you, love) to negative (I hate you, I want to kill you), and then drops of water from these bottles were placed on slides and deep-frozen to form snowflake-like crystals. 


The crystals that formed on positive messages were found to be ore geometric and aesthetically pleasing, while the crystals fired  by water with negative messages were chaotic  and non-uniform in shape.“ He called his findings ‘hado’ – the life force energy-consciousness of varying frequencies infused in all matter.

The follow-up argument has been this: Given the high water composition of the human brain and body,  if water is in fact conscious and receptive to energy frequencies, how can these positive or negative messages affect our bodies on a molecular level?”

Was this a self-fulfilling prophecy – just imagine it and it becomes real?  Or is it an example of the creative force of the imagination?


What a rabbit hole I dived down into here –  it was almost a wishing well of watery wonderment. My imagination was definitely working overtime.


And it made me wonder….

Is it better to live in an imaginary world or in this harsh real world? I guess that depends on how happy and satisfying your own experience of the ‘real’ world is.  And even if your current reality is not yet the best, escaping into an imaginary world can be both restorative and healing. Or it can be if you just let yourself be free to imagine.


Throughout my life, retreating from time to time into the imaginary world of books has been a constant relief from the trials and tribulations of daily life. Immersing oneself into another world creates imaginary images within our minds, and sets the mind free to dream; and it encourages creative thinking.  

You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus”  Mark Twain

As a photographer, I use my imagination to first visualise my story then try to recreate my vision into the image. Finding the best point of focus is part of the storytelling but sometimes  I purposefully throw the focus out to create my vision. And yes that might make it hard to focus my eyes but I can depend on my imagination instead. It is such a delight when I create an intriguing image using Intentional Camera Movement (ICM), or compositing several images to create a new story. 

So many things to ponder in my imagination and yet….   in the words of the imaginary Dr Who

I’ll just be a story in your head. But that’s alright. We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one.” – Doctor Who

#SundayStills – Spring has sprung

Nothing says Spring to me as much as the daffodils and blossoms bursting forth and shining bright all around me.

Except maybe the territorial Tui who tumble and savour their way through the kowhai trees, sipping nectar from the yellow flowers.

Territorial Tui tumbling through the trees, 
One flies in and the other flees,
Sipping on the nectar,
Flying near and far.

It is such a delight 
To see them take flight
Soon they will build a nest 
To prove which bird is the best.


https://secondwindleisure.com/photography/sunday-stills-photo-challenge/

WQWWC #42: Communication and Connection

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood” – Steven Covey

I am a huge fan of Steven Covey’s 7 habits. Habit 5 encourages us to “use empathetic listening to genuinely understand a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to be influenced. This creates an atmosphere of caring, and positive problem-solving.”


To clarify my own understanding I wrote this slightly random A-Z poem on communication.

Again I start writing 
Because I can better
Communicate my 
Desires by using words that 
Energise me to 
Feel differently about these
Grand ideas although
How they find form
Inside my mind by
Jumbling around
Kinetically seems
Like
Mindful 
Nonsense that 
Originates without
Purpose yet  
Quickly
Random thoughts
Scramble
To be heard and
Understood and at least the 
Veracity of my
Xenial
Writing is
Zealous.

It reminds me of these words too:

"Write to be understood,
Speak to be heard,
Read to grow"

I definitely needed to read to grow my understanding of the meaning and usability of several of the words that tumbled out of my subconscious thought. Stream of consciousness is certainly one of the ways I communicate my random thoughts. All I need is an empathetic listener or reader. I hope you can understand it. When I read back what I had written, it made me smile anyway. 

“Great communication begins with connection” – Oprah Winfrey

Thank goodness for the internet, FaceTime, Whats App, and Zoom. If you can’t meet face-to-face, then an internet connection is the next best thing. I heard a radio talkback session considering the benefits of using video or not when zooming. How can not being visible assist effective communication? 


I attended a community zoom meeting recently with 160 participants, many of whom had turned their video off so there was a better internet connection for all. Unfortunately not everyone had muted their microphones so we could hear all their groans, snuffles and coughs. It was a good reminder about the need for social distancing, and yet… also about the value of face-to-face communications.   Eventually, the facilitator managed the mute buttons and the presentation continued. 


The meeting was to share and hear about the progress (or lack thereof) of the road repairs.  Our road has been closed since an extreme weather event  in mid-July which resulted in massive road slumps, slips and property damage. We heard the road closure will be in place for at least the next few months, if not a year for some residents, and that to use the road, residents have to apply for a pass to be used before 9am or after 3pm only. However this is only available for those of us within the first 10 kilometres of the 72 kilometre road. The others have to rely on boat access through barges and water taxis to get their groceries, fuel and mail. This highlighted again the importance of finding other ways of staying connected.

The chat message window was instantly filled with questions – some of which were answered during the presentation or in the Q&A session at the end. People had an overwhelming need to communicate their questions and anxiety. Needless to say there were lots of questions, although not many answers – yet!  I guess we will just have to keep talking or communicating in any way we can.

“lt’s not distance that keeps people apart, but lack of communication”

In these times of social distancing, it is even more important that we communicate well.  Yet talking and hearing messages through masks brings its own challenges. And just how can we read non-verbal communication?  Are our eyes able to convey our emotions?  How else can we communicate?

Communication is not a one way street– Jim George

Except, just for now, for us it is – and that one-way street is closed.

All that glitters is gold (to me)

Gold must be the flavour or favour of the month. The topic for both this week’s Sunday Stills and for Life in Colour –  September is gold. I thought I would combine the two to see where it goes. 

Gold in the sky, 
Gold in the sand, 
Gold in the architecture 
Gold in the sea!
All that glitters is gold to me!

Way back in the days when we could -and did – travel internationally, I visited historic buildings and saw golden statues glittering within the cloisters and altars  of churches, and the museums displaying the gilded treasures of history.


It starts with golden entrances, and continues through churches and museums that glitter with gold.  

Windows and water features reflecting the precious glitter of gold.

Whilst I enjoy the glittering history, my favourite golden hues are still found in nature.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #165: Going Wide expands my appreciation

 A wide angle lens was the choice I made to capture the magnificent views of New Zealand’s mountains, lakes and valleys.


Man-made structures also look spectacular when viewed with a wide angle.

Leaving the mountains, it was time to appreciate the wide views that form the coastline and islands at the top of the South Island where the river meets the sea.

Wide angle lens truly expands my appreciation.

Lhttps://lagottocattleya.wordpress.com/2021ake/09/14/lens-artists-photo-challenge-165-going-wide/

The Changing Seasons – August (and a bit of July thrown in)

It started in mid-July with an extreme weather storm event on the West Coast and Marlborough regions. Roads were so badly damaged with many slips, slumps, under and onto the two main roads into the Marlborough Sounds, they were impassable for most of the residents and those of us that could drive out had to negotiate muddy unstable roads.

August arrived and whilst the roads were still closed, some of our quiz team could make it to our local tavern. We were very organised for the 70s dress up theme – and the questions. We won by a big majority – probably something to do with the average age of our team. We had lots of general and specific knowledge of the 1970s. After all, it was a great decade dedicated to music, movies and fashion, and we had all lived through it. One of us had even been to the ABBA museum and sung Dancing Queen as the 5th member of the group.

We socialised at dinner parties and popped into the tavern again to watch the rugby.  I prepared and printed our community newsletter at the local school. Chopping up several fallen trees and mulching the smaller branches occupied my significant other for most of the month – when it wasn’t raining and blowing some more. 


Due to the road closures, I had already been having a couple of SeniorNet committee meetings via Zoom so when I got the invite to join a zoom workshop on how to make stop motion animations, I thought – why not?  That was fun. 

After an eye check in Blenheim on Tuesday, we stocked up on groceries, had a meal in Picton then carefully negotiated the wrecked roads towards home, and settled in to watch the tv news……. And then came the Delta variant of Covid-19. 


Suddenly, overnight New Zealand went into Level 4 lockdown. Not only were we locked in by closed roads, we were now locked down as well. We had to cancel dental and car service appointments as we hunkered down to stop the spread. At least we had sufficient food, beer and wine for a couple of weeks – oh – and toilet paper! 


Whenever was I going to be able to get my new spectacle lens fitted? Last year’s lockdown resulted in the dental appointment being cancelled too. Bad timing I guess.

Still, we are luckier that most. We still have the beach to walk on, and that dreaded exercycle was put back into regular use. After half an hour panting and pushing those pedals, I reward myself with a dabble in my art journal, and listen to some of that 1970s music.

Painting, sketching, writing and photography are back on my lockdown project list. And reading – lots and lots of reading – and maybe some more writing.  

I am grateful for not being too affected by the current lockdown but I certainly feel for all the essential workers, the home-schooling parents and those who are being impacted financially and emotionally. 


As September arrives, our road is still closed to the public and residents drive in and out at their own risk. Another zoom meeting, this time with the road recovery team, informed us that the road repairs are likely to be ongoing for several months. We have had to make a decision about cancelling this season’s homestay bookings. Our guests cannot use the road whilst it is closed to the public. I guess this means we may have time to enjoy summer ourselves this season. There is always a silver lining.

And the silver lining is – that 70s music!  – I am so very excited this week to hear the best news – ABBA are back and the words of their new song ‘Don’t shut me down’ speak to me ….

"I'm like a dream, within a dream, that's been decoded, 
I'm fired up, I'm hot, don't shut me down”

Needless to say, this song is on repeat on my playlist.  If you haven’t heard or seen it yet check it out but be warned – its already addictive for me. Enjoy!

So despite all the doom and gloom of July and August, September is springtime in the southern hemisphere – a time of renewal -and there is always HOPE and ABBA to look forward to.

https://bushboy.blog/2021/09/01/this-is-august-2021/

Lens Artists Photo Challenge #162 It’s all about the light

Remember: Always walk in the light.

And if you feel like you’re not walking in it, go find it.

Love the light.

Roberta Flack

From the glow of a misty morning moonset to the last rays of the setting sun, everywhere I wander I seek the light….

And I find light in the skies amidst the storms. 

I find the light hiding in the clouds…

Surprising me with its rainbow hues …

Lightly kissing the rolling hills …….

Silhouettes shining through the trees whilst reflections glimmer on the lakes….

I create my words and images to capture the light in my life.

https://travelsandtrifles.wordpress.com/2021/08/21/lens-artists-challenge-162-its-all-about-the-light/

Len

WQWWC #37 – The therapy of Lakes/ Oceans/Water

“To some, it's just water,

To me, it's where I regain my sanity” 
 - Author Unknown

I took a look through my photographs of lakes, oceans and water. I have many examples of water in all its various states.

Water falls down then it blows up….

Water is tranquil then it is turbulent…….

Water is still and then it is stormy……..

Water is white and then it is wavy………..

Water is murky and then it is a reflective mirror………..

How water is reflected back depends on what lens you are looking through.  

Talking to my optometrist today at my very overdue eye check, I mentioned the impact I thought my ‘cataracts’  may be having on my photo editing.  I thought I was over saturating the colours in compensation. He fortunately doesn’t think my cataracts are that bad yet.  He also said that the older Claude Monet got,  the ‘browner’ his paintings had become. Intrigued as I was, what could I do but google……

These landscapes of water and reflection have become an obsession. 
 
- Author: Claude Monet

Monet’s Art Changed Because of His Eyes

“In 1905, Monet was sixty-five and began to notice changes to his vision. The colors he saw were no longer as bright, and his paintings began to feature more yellow and purple tones. In 1912, when he was seventy-two, Monet was diagnosed with nuclear cataracts in both eyes. Because Monet so often repainted the same subjects over the years, viewers can trace the way cataracts affected his vision over time.”

“Scientists have even studied changes in the color and style of Monet’s paintings over time—along with the works of his fellow Impressionist, Degas who also had eye disease. By using computers to simulate the blurriness one would see with eye disease, scientists have been able to find out how the artists likely saw their own paintings, which has given new insights into the artists’ works.”

Monet Might Have Seen Ultraviolet Light

“Initially, Monet did not want to have surgery to correct his cataracts, because he had seen other artists’ careers ended by failed surgery. Monet finally agreed to have cataract surgery on his right eye in 1923, but he did not have the surgery on his left eye, which still had cataracts and could not see violets or blues.”

“During the surgery on his right eye, however, the lens of his eye was removed, which let more light into the eye. Because the lens is the part of the eye that filters out ultraviolet light, it is believed that Monet might have begun seeing ultraviolet wavelengths, which humans typically cannot see. After the surgery, he used more blues in his water lily paintings, which could indicate he was seeing ultraviolet light.”

“After his cataract surgery, he destroyed many of the paintings he created when he suffered the worst of his vision problems. Altogether, he is thought to have destroyed up to 500 of his own paintings.” 

I am not about to destroy my photographs, but I might re-edit some of the saturation – or then again I may not. I do love  bright colours and gazing into water keeps me calm.

Your mind is like water. When it is agitated it becomes difficult to see.

 But if you allow it to settle, the answer becomes clear.”

– Bill Keane

After all is said and done, water is essential to life. And we never know how far the ripples we make when we drop  a stone into the water will spread. 

"THE DROP

Be the drop that falls freely and becomes one with water…..
You might not be able to perceive the ripples you have created right away
But water will allow you to feel how their love
Comes back to you again and again.”

  - Author unknown

https://alwayswrite.blog/2021/08/11/wqwwc-37-lakes-oceans-water/

WQWWC # 36: Lofty Mountain

Whāia te iti kahurangi ki te tūohu koe me he maunga teitei

Seek the treasure you value most dearly: if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain


This whakatauki (Maori proverb) is about aiming high or for what is truly valuable, but it’s real message is to be persistent and don’t let obstacles stop you from reaching your goal.


Each time I venture near to the highest mountain of the Southern Alps of New Zealand, I look to photograph another perspective of this magnificent mountain.,  This proverb goes some way to describing how I feel when this mountain is in front of my camera.

On clear days, Aoraki / Mount Cook is visible from the West Coast as far north as Greymouth, some 150 kilometres away, and from most of State Highway 80 along Lake Pukaki and State Highway 6 south of Lake Pukaki. The near horizontal ridge connecting the mountain’s three summits forms a distinctive blocky shape when viewed from an eastern or western direction.

Aoraki / Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand. Its height, as of 2014, is listed as 3,724 metres (12,218 feet).

https://alwayswrite.blog/2021/08/04/wqwwc-36-writers-choice-or-mountains/

Pictures of the past – precious memories

I have a picture in my mind’s eye.


Once I was a little  girl with blonde curls and blue eyes, clutching a cuddly soft toy under my arm.

Those eyes blinked once, and then suddenly I am ten. Already I have found some interests to pursue. 

I had my first riding lessons on a black racehorse named Chunkette. She left a lasting impression on me (and not just on my tender bottom) Gentle to ride yet she had a quietly determined character. She liked to lead the way when trotting along the jungle path.

I took many photos with my brand new camera and instantly I was hooked into an abiding passion – photography. Such magic to be able to capture pictures of the present which would become fond memories of the past. What an exciting and absorbing activity this has become. Little did I realise at that moment how my childhood interests would become my lifelong passion.


I blinked again and it was the next decade  I kept up my horse-riding. I took  pictures to record my interests and life experiences but alas they  went missing over the years.


I learned to develop and print my own film photographs in the school darkroom. Precious pictures of those schoolgirl years long since past but still they remain in my albums.


A decade after my first riding lessons, I bought my own horse. Yes it was another beautiful black racehorse. It seems I had a certain affinity with racehorses. I took pictures of course.

My first job when I left school was hand-painting aerial photographs using photo oil paints. My second photographic job saw me making large mosaic aerial photomaps of rural properties. No horses but plenty of farm animals in the photo maps. Lots of time spent in the darkroom, developing and printing very large aerial photographs, using copy cameras and retouching negatives.

Once again I was making pictures to identify the present land use and to record these for posterity.


In my third decade my passion for photography was set aside for a short time as motherhood and parenting took priority.  However there were still plenty of photographic opportunities in that part of my life journey. I  took many pictures of my children and I put them in my family albums.

I look at these pictures  of the past quite often these days. 


Fourth decade: As I travelled the country with my work in early childhood education, I became aware of the emerging importance of photo documentation of children’s learning journeys.  I took many pictures of early childhood environments, examples of best teaching practice, and of the many work colleagues who became close friends. I was able once again to focus on my lifelong passion for photography. 


I had also discovered digital and video cameras. Now there were limitless images to capture and record. And so much more to learn. The internet arrived.  I started a 365 project – a photo a day for 365 days.  I’m now into the 8th year of my 365 project. What can I say… it is an addiction. And I’m still learning.

Over the last three decades I have been capturing my travel memories in photographs. So many pictures to record our amazing trips around the world.  Travelling internationally may now be a distant memory. 

These memories are already my pictures of the past.

Fortunately, I now have 7 grandchildren. My latest and greatest joy is when I capture pictures of their blonde curls and blue eyes. The pictures of the past have become the pictures of the present generation.


I must have blinked my eyes at least once for every decade as my life changed direction, yet I still remain focussed on my abiding passion.

And the pictures of my past? they are still there to remind me of my lifetime memories.