Seated on my left, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh is doing calligraphy. To my right, a Buddhist nun is pointing out the window and saying: "Look deeply at that blue sky. Have you ever really looked at a blue sky?" I follow her instructions. Man, the sky looks blue! Talk about present moment awareness.
I encountered the meditation master and his followers 8 years ago on assignment at a monastery in Woodstock, Vt. Photographing this week, the experience still resonated deeply as I stood on a bridge spanning the Connecticut River, surrounded by blue sky, blue water, green trees and green bridge superstructure. New Hampshire on one side. Vermont on the other.
I suggest taking several deep breaths and looking at the blue sky.
|Spanning and Connecting|
While digitally processing this multiple exposure of the bridge and Brattleboro's brick buildings and spires, I simplified the image elements. The trees and their river reflections thrilled me as I felt they echoed the serenity that emanates from the paintings of my friend Julia Purinton.
Feeling fully alive and fully in the moment - two key ingredients for creative exploration - I decided that instead of layering multiples exposures on top of each other, I would layer three exposures, but selectively block portions of each frame with my fingers.
|I Am Sun|
In my excitement, I forgot to set my camera to layer the shots, so I ended up with three distinct images, rather than one comprised of three overlapping planes. I assembled the result in this triptych. See it larger.
This error opened a new way seeing for me. I explored it.
I treasure the encounters photography has brought into my life. I stay connected to Thich Nhat Hanh's calming influence with one of his books: Peace is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Every Day Life.
TechTalk: Nikon D700, 24-70mm, ISO 200. Spanning and Connecting is an in-camera multiple exposure treated with Topaz Adjust, a plug-in for Photoshop CS4. The assembled images were shot at 1/25 sec and f22 while I shook the camera. ©2010 John Nordell