Monday, February 11, 2013

On Fearlessness

Don't Fall, Tel Aviv, Israel, November 2012, Nikon D600 with FX 28-300mm VR lens, 
28mm, 1/500 sec @ f3.5, ISO 100, -0.3 EV, no flash © Steven Crisp  [Click on the photo to enlarge]

Stop!  Don't Jump!  Or Slip and Fall!  Or get accidentally pushed over the edge!

Do you ever have that feeling of vertigo when you get near the edge of a top floor on a tall building?  What is that exactly?  I'm not sure, but it does lead me into my topic today.

And that is fear, and its alternative, fearlessness.  It's something I've been struggling with a little just under the surface of my everyday existence.  

Things going well, life arranged as one had planned, financial situation comfortable, family situation wonderful, etc. etc.  Pretty much the definition of happiness.  And yet there is the small tingle of underlying fear.  Nothing grave.  Just that lingering worry that at any instant, something beyond your control could completely topple your well organized life.  A major illness, or an accident, or a financial scandal, etc.  (I know, this is the kind of problem many people, facing real tangible crises and challenges, would like to have.)

I think these fears are common, but my sense is they are preventing deep, abiding inner peace and contentment.  This morning I received this article on fearlessness by one of my favorite spiritual authors, Thich Nhat Hanh.   My plan is to reflect on it and see to what extent I can work on addressing this underlying fear.  We'll see how it goes.

Oh, and have no fear ... no flowers were hurt during the photo shoot ;-)

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Clowning Around

Clowning Around, Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii, December 2012, Nikon D600 with FX 28-300mm VR lens, 
72mm, 1/500 sec @ f5.5, ISO 100, -0.7 EV, no flash © Steven Crisp  [Click on the photo to enlarge]

I was walking around seeing the bubbles coming from somewhere, so I figured there must be one of those machines somewhere shooting out soap bubbles.  Well, in a way I guess there was.  Only this one was wearing a clown suit and using two giant fly swatters.  Pretty clever.

This was in the finish area of the 2012 Honolulu Marathon.  Everyone was hot, sweaty, thirsty, and tired, but this guy managed to bring a smile to people's faces.  Who doesn't love a clown?

So the next time you or someone else you know needs a little cheering up, break out that rubber nose and start clowning around.  Laughter really is the best medicine and pick-me-up.

Moon Rise

Moon Rise, Berchtesgäden, Germany, September 2012, Nikon D5000 with DX 18-200mm VR lens, 
225mm, 1/100 sec @ f5.6, ISO 200, 0 EV, no flash © Steven Crisp  [Click on the photo to enlarge]

It was a beautiful crisp morning, and this photo was taken right outside our hotel.  We were very lucky to have such nice weather.  And officially, it's a moon set, not a moon rise.

But as happy as I am with this photo, it is not really why I brought you here.  Instead, I think you will be amazed by this Moon Rise video below.  Simply amazing.  And here is the description about the video:

Full Moon Silhouettes 
Video Credit & Copyright: Mark GeeMusic: Tenderness (Dan Phillipson)

Explanation: Have you ever watched the Moon rise? The slow rise of a nearly full moon over a clear horizon can be an impressive sight. One impressive moonrise was imaged two nights ago over Mount Victoria Lookout in WellingtonNew Zealand. With detailed planning, an industrious astrophotographer placed a camera about two kilometers away and pointed it across the lookout to where the Moon would surely soon be making its nightly debut. The above single shot sequence is unedited and shown in real time -- it is not a time lapse. People on Mount Victoria Lookout can be seen in silhouette themselves admiring the dawn of Earth's largest satellite. Seeing a moonrise yourself is not difficult: it happens every day, although only half the time at night. Each day the Moon rises about fifty minutes later than the previous day, with a full moon always rising at sunset.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Stud Muffin

Stud Muffin, Ewa Beach, Oahu, Hawaii, December 2012, Nikon D600 with FX 28-300mm VR lens, 
105mm, 1/30 sec @ f5.3, ISO 560, 0 EV, no flash © Steven Crisp  [Click on the photo to enlarge]

Perhaps not the photo you were expecting from the title?

Trust me, this old man (I think he's 15 years old or something) truly is a stud muffin.  As in $500 stud fees.  I'm not kidding.  We spoke with the owner when we were visiting our daughter in Hawaii.

So what do they say -- beauty is in the eye of the beholder?  Apparently so.  Beauty, and some earning potential ;-)

Dancing Sunset

Dancing Sunset, Tel Aviv, Israel, February 2013, Nikon D600 with FX 28-300mm VR lens, 
300mm, 1/30 sec @ f13, ISO 1000, -0.3 EV, no flash © Steven Crisp  [Click on the photo to enlarge]

I'm not sure if you can easily see it in the photo, but look closely where the waves are crashing on the rocks, and you'll see the sunset dancing in the wave spray.  Cool.

But really I just wanted to use this photo to segue into this cool video I received a while ago of a sun that is truly dancing.  Now this is some amazing photography.  Note that this 17 second movie actually represents 4 hours of time-lapsed photography of this coronal mass ejection.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Before ... and After

Wild Stallion, Jaffa, Israel, November 2012, Nikon D600 with FX 50mm lens, 
1/15 sec @ f1.8, ISO 1600, 0 EV, no flash © Steven Crisp  [Click on the photo to enlarge]

Now that is some impressive graffiti.  Certainly a talented artist made this mural on the side of a concrete bulding.  And I love how the artist ignored the depth and material changes in his "canvas".  I think it is really impressive.

Now if you take a look at the photo below, you will see what the building looks like without the mural/grafitti.

Now you might think this is a "Before and After" comparison, and it is.  However, the second shot is the "after".  Yes, for some reason, the building owner (I assume) decided to paint over the mural with this really attractive grey paint ;-)

Now I don't begrudge the owner doing whatever he thinks is needed.  Nor am I lamenting the loss of that great Wild Stallion mural/grafitti.  No, my point is that you must not assume things will always remain as they are.  Everything is impermanent.

That's not good or bad, it just is what it is.  So seize the day, and make your art while you still can.   Tomorrow, who knows?  Your mural may be lost, but everyone who has seen it will be the better for it.  And now look what you have -- another blank canvas.  What more could an artist hope for?

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Catch It ...

Catch It, North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii, March 2011, Nikon D5000 with DX 18-200mm VR lens, 
300mm, 1/1600 sec @ f5.6, ISO 200, 0 EV, no flash © Steven Crisp  [Click on the photo to enlarge]

Catch it ... and then let it go.  You must if you wish to ride it.

I love this shot, with the wind so clearly whipping the waves in the back of the frame.

This was a red-flag day, and you had better know what you were doing to be out in the water.

But if you have the skill, and the guts, you might just have some fun.

Don't cling.  Roll with it.  Go with the flow.  You know what works.  And what doesn't.

Friday, February 01, 2013

The Unfurling

The Unfurling, Akaka Falls, Big Island, Hawaii, December 2012, Nikon D600 with FX 28-300mm VR lens, 
300mm, 1/30 sec @ f5.6, ISO 720, 0 EV, no flash © Steven Crisp  [Click on the photo to enlarge]

Are you managing and controlling all aspects of your life?  Checking off your to do list?  Ensuring each day is crackerjack-full of productive activities?

Or are you letting your life unfurl before your own eyes?  Are you open and receptive to opportunities that might just be around the next corner?  Are you leaving space -- precious space -- during your day for something magnificent to unfurl?

We've been conditioned by time management experts and self-help gurus to shape our lives to fit our preconceived notion of success ... only to realize later in life that we may well have been sold a bill of goods (quite literally).  

What would our life be like if we followed our nose to see just what opportunities were ever-present that ignited our creative spirit, or touched the depths of our soul, or let us express our deepest compassion.

Life has its own way of unfurling, and will do so quite nicely without any help from us, thankyouverymuch.  Can we learn (or unlearn) to accept that unfolding, and consider what is the wisest response to each situation?  

You will be surprised the degree of peace that can arise from that unknowing, that lack of control.  Indeed, it is our desire to control our world that introduces tremendous stress and suffering (when things inevitably don't follow what we had in mind).  

So resign today from your envisioned job as master of the universe.  And watch the miracle of life unfurl all on its own.  And then ... be at peace.