Midwestern Wanderlog

2016-01-21 – Stay mindful; be in the moment

7:41:10 AM 4 seconds at f/22 with ISO 100

7:41:10 AM
4 seconds at f/22 with ISO 100

(I have my camera back today.  I’m so pleased!!  Can’t wait to see how much better the images are and how much time I can save in not needing to remove spots!)

When working on a long-term project such as a daily series, regardless of the form that it takes (photography, writing poetry, sketching, painting), there will come a time when you will be tempted to treat it as just one more chore to get done before the end of the day.  Resist that urge.  Stay mindful of your surroundings.  Pay attention to what’s around you.

Be in the moment.  What can you hear?  Any new sounds?  What do you see?  New people, new details, new cars?  What do you feel?  Frustrated, elated, exhilarated?

This morning, with Jerry’s surgery scheduled and thinking about how I had to be sure to get the pictures done and get off the hill in time to have him to the hospital by 8:45, treating the sunrise photos as just one more chore to be gotten out of the way in order to keep on schedule would have been easy.

_MG_5284But thin fog lay over the river valley, touching the world but lightly under the clouds, reflecting the street lights into soft yellow glowing globes.  Not even a hint of a breath of a breeze stirred the water below the bluff or rattled last year’s oak leaves, crisp and red and still clinging to the branches; the Mississippi’s current and warmer temperatures had opened up growing areas of the river, and the water had become a mirror of the trees on the shores above, crying out for a perfectly-framed shot.

How can you not take a deep breath, go quiet, and just appreciate that sight?  What concern could possibly be so strong as to pull you out of the moment to the point where you wouldn’t notice?

Even if the daily series is in the exact same spot, there will always be something unique to see.

Want another example?  Heading back down to the truck, watching where I was placing my feet on the uneven ground, focused on blog posts and the surgery and who knows what-all else, my ears suddenly commanded my attention.

Did you know that birds have different calls for different situations?  Did you know that songbirds will attack crows, but both crows and songbirds will attack hawks?

At first, the bird calls didn’t make much sense.  Then the awareness percolated through; whoever it was, sparrow or chickadee or bluejay or cardinal, they were sounding an alert call.  My head lifted as I was jolted back into the moment and I looked around.

_MG_5286A red-tailed hawk sitting in a tree met my gaze.  Not staring, just glancing quickly up and away over and over, I set down the tripod, slid the backpack off my shoulders and took my camera back out.  Because I know my camera well enough for it to be an extension of my hands and eyes, I adjusted the ISO, aperture, and shutter settings before I lifted it up to zoom in and focus on the hawk.

It really pays to be in the moment!

Panoramic 021

2 thoughts on “2016-01-21 – Stay mindful; be in the moment

    1. Ellemar Post author

      It really was amazing. Despite the road noise from 61, it’s so peaceful up there.
      You know, and it’s a remarkable thing – you can be watching the birds, even talking to them, and they’ll often stay put for you… until you point a camera at them!

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