Nature’s Guests

In the thick of things, we are just guests to the bigger forces of nature. The rain and clouds were here before us.

It’s been a stormy evening with thunder and lightning shattering the dark sky. I’m here sitting on the floor, just listening to the sounds of nature battling it out for supremacy. This is one of the wildest, relentless storms I have witnessed in a while, the first this summer. I came home this evening to the sounds and sight of rain pouring down and the first booms of thunder in the background. Bright flashes of light made me jump out of my skin. It is rather calm and soothing, just sitting here to myself, letting my thoughts wander while the heavens shouted out from above.

A few years ago, I witnessed a first for myself. I was outside in a thunderstorm with only three walls of thin, rain-resistant fabric keeping me dry and safe

I stayed in the tent and tried to imagine that I was really in the wild with help miles away, not just a few feet away in my house. A few weeks later, my family and I would be going camping and living in the rustic outdoors. That means no electricity, plumbing, or phone/Internet service whatsoever. The tent session was in preparation for the day we go camping by testing out my wits in a thunderstorm. The tent held up well the whole night and through this treacherous morning so it wouldn’t be a problem when the real games commence. In a style reminiscent to The Blair Witch Project, I used my phone to film myself talking about my stay in the tent and various things around me, while the rain came down outside and thunder rumbled, adding to the spookiness. There wasn’t much light in the tent so when I played back the video all I could see was a creepy silhouette of myself hiding under a blanket.

I listened to the appropriate song for this occasion, “Thunder Rolls” by Garth Brooks, seeing how the thunder sound effects in the song mesh with the real world sounds, making it really authentic. I must had been in the tent for almost two hours, waiting for the loud but fairly tame storm to pass. The storm did pass eventually but not without a few flashes of Ben Franklin kite power appearing as I was just about to leave my sanctuary, scaring me out of my skin. I finally did get to fold my blankets up and head outside into the morning light. That stupid water hole of our’s was full of, well, water again.

Like the brave storm chasers, we need to learn how to become one with nature and tackle her beastly villains we call storms, wind, and rain. No one can control or change the weather, but we can be tough and try to see the real beauty of our planet Earth at work. Amazingly, our world’s cycles of random weather have been going on for billions of years. Patterns and seasons may have changed and become unpredictable but Earth still follows her unruly task of making us selfish humans realize what is out there for a minute. Okay, so the planet isn’t trying to seek revenge on people and only has crazy weather because of changes in the air, but humans still need to realize that the home they inherited thousands of years ago is being ruined by their selfish actions and greediness just to get a leg up in the world. Photographers and geologists alike are the few that really appreciate the true essence of the Earth.else could care less. They are more than just guests, they are the ones who shake hands with nature and become something like friends.

Guest

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Photo 101: Day 10 – Mystery

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Day ten of our adventurous photography course has arrived. Darkness and mystery consume our pictures today. We feel uncertainty as our eyes wander in a calming fashion around the somber mood set by the scene. Questions will be asked while answers will be playful and full of wisdom. My entry of mysterious levels was composed by a chance shot of light streaming in through the curtained window and being channeled into a light beam. It was so enthralling and when I placed my hand in the spotlight, I felt like it was full of the white light of some powerful human. And then, obviously, I thought, “Hey, what a cool picture to get,” and took my camera phone and snapped a shot of my “Hand of Glory.” I then had to darken out everything on either side of the main focus to make it truly shrouded in mystery.


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I bought this book sometime last year at a Barnes and Noble store but rarely look through it for tips and tricks of the finest photographers on our planet. I’m just glad to have it by my side whenever I need some great ideas to spice up my wacky world of picture taking (that has just started to get on a more civilized track). I would recommend it to anyone, whether you are an idiot photographer (as the title suggests) or a seasoned, proven preserver of light or darkness.

#photo 101

Photo 101: Day 9 – Warmth

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I walked about a half mile in the brutal freezing cold to create this picture, stringing some leftover pumpkin lights over a jungle gym bar and photographing them from above. These pictures consisting of warm colors are sure to perk me up and induce cozy feelings by a fireplace within me. There wasn’t much sun today but I made up for it by creating some artificial light later on in Photoshop. The yellow of the playground tower and the orange of the pumpkin lights clearly define what warmth is. The translucent material of the pumpkin lights also create different colors that contrast with the yellows, oranges, and blacks.

#photo101

WPC: Weird Science Experiment

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The sheer hardness of the first glass is really being pronounced above and in the reflection. The screwdriver seeming to “sink” in a zig-zag manner down to an infinite bottom is also intriguing. Shadows are being cast in the background giving everything a nice 3D effect. There seems to be a flicker of a flame in the measuring cup as well. Oh, did you think I would forget about you, middle glass? The part on the stem of the glass that is brightest is amazing as well as the white lighting on the reflective underside. I think two evil looking, white hot, green rimmed eyes are staring at me on that stem and on the reflective side a smiling something can be seen. This looks maddeningly like a weird science experiment. The nightlife of a bar also comes to mind.


Photo Challenge for Week of October 17: Refraction

WPC: April Sky of Dreams

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Oh, what a sight, the April sky of my dreams, found while walking home one evening.

Those clouds are like dark smoke, fluffy, roaring, billowing out with the fierceness of giants. The streak of light pierces the evening sky, creating an electric connection between two cloud nodes, as if it communicating back and forth.

But what became most surprising is when I stared at this long enough and the image of a demon god monster suddenly formed, holding the “lightning bolt” in a smoky grey hand, a scowl expression on his frowning face. An eye and a crown shaped head can easily be seen. The god, who might actually be Zeus, also seems to be sporting a large beard. It looks like he’s prodding the cloud below. And now I have just made out the image of a cannonball or bowling ball being lifted over the right shoulder of “Zeus” with a muscular arm and he apparently wanting to throw it – or it might be a large dark fist being raised in fury. His formless, ghostly body also materializes in the open space of the sky and it looks like he’s floating on his side through the channel. Now it is quite apparent: a thunderous god is in the clouds with his magic bolt or wand of lightning; I cannot look at this picture without seeing it now.

Fiery orange, somber blue, wispy white, smog grey, amber yellow, all sifting together harmoniously to create this unimaginable scene.

At the fiery core of the masterpiece is what looks like a volcano about to erupt. The eye of the storm. The sun simmering down on a calm April evening.

This shot is absolutely beautiful. There is so much vibrant color, the rich shades of grey and deep blue tinged cumulus’ are marvelous.

I cannot stop looking at the sky god, it is so amazingly clear now…it’s head is now fully shaped. I move in closer and wow – there’s an ear as well.


Photo Challenge for Week of October 10: Dreamy

One With Nature

It’s been a stormy evening with thunder and lightning shattering the dark sky. I’m here again lying in the tent, just listening to the sounds of nature battling it out for supremacy. This is one of the wildest, relentless storms I have witnessed in a while and also the second one I have witnessed today. I woke up this morning to the sounds and sight of rain pouring down and the first booms of thunder in the background. Bright flashes of light made me cower under my thin black blanket. It was rather calm and soothing, just sitting there to myself, letting my thoughts wander while the heavens shouted out from above. This was a first for me, being outside in a thunderstorm with only three walls of thin, rain-resistant fabric keeping me dry and safe. Of course, I was much braver than the person before me, my uncle Jack. He chickened out and left the tent at the first sign of the storm, retreating back indoors. In SURVIVOR, that would be the equivalent of quitting the game. And yet Jack has never been one to tucker out challenges that come his way. Oh well, I guess I know who he would play in the Wizard of Oz.

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I stayed in the tent and tried to imagine that I was really in the wild with help miles away, not just a few feet away in my house. In a few weeks my family and I will be going camping and living in the rustic outdoors. That means no electricity, plumbing, or phone/Internet service whatsoever. We will be forced to use other unconventional means of ‘relieving ourselves’. In outhouses for that matter. If I am going to use one of those nasty things I am wearing a gas mask and bringing a can of Lysol with me! Of course that’s not possible since I don’t even own a gas mask. As for the rustic part of the camping trip, I do not believe that people like Zeke or Charles will be able to live without their computers.

ImageAlso, Charles and mom will likely eat at a nice restaurant than bother with cooking food on the fire. It’s their choice but the whole idea of going camping is to live without the luxuries and necessities of every day life and learn to survive.

Well, back to my tent session… I am preparing for the day we go camping by testing out my wits in a thunderstorm. The tent held up well the whole night and through this treacherous morning so it shouldn’t be a problem when the real games commence. In a style reminiscent to The Blair Witch Project, I used my phone to film myself talking about my stay in the tent and various things around me, while the rain came down outside and thunder rumbled, adding to the spookiness. There wasn’t much light in the tent so when I played back the video all I could see was a creepy silhouette of myself hiding under a blanket.

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I listened to the appropriate song for this occasion, “Thunder Rolls” by Garth Brooks, seeing how the thunder sound effects in the song mesh with the real world sounds, making it really authentic.

So this is Day 1 and my uncle already ran away from the challenge – facing mother nature in her darkest hour. I must had been in the tent for almost two hours, waiting for the loud but fairly tame storm to pass. The storm did pass eventually but not without a few flashes of Ben Franklin kite power appearing as I was just about to leave my sanctuary, scaring me out of my skin. I finally did get to fold my blankets up and head outside into the morning light. That stupid water hole of our’s was full of, well, water again.

This is only just the beginning. Tonight is one of the biggest storms this year and we are sleeping through it. The end of my army blanket is soaked as I forgot to zip the tent back up after I left, much to Jack’s dismay. Jack is much braver tonight, deciding to endure the fierce storm instead of seeking the safety and common sense warmth of his bed indoors. C’mon that would be too easy! We need to learn how to become one with nature and tackle her beastly villains we call storms, wind, and rain. No one can control or change the weather, but we can be tough and try to see the real beauty of our planet Earth at work. Amazingly, our world’s cycles of random weather have been going on for billions of years. Patterns and seasons may have changed and become unpredictable but Earth still follows her unruly task of making us selfish humans realize what is out there for a minute. Okay, so the planet isn’t trying to seek revenge on people and only has crazy weather because of changes in the air, but humans still need to realize that the home they inherited thousands of years ago is being ruined by their selfish actions and greediness just to get a leg up in the world. Photographers and geologists alike are the few that really appreciate the true essence of the Earth.

Everyone else could care less.

With these survival tent runs, I am really starting to see just how wonderful our planet is once all of the material stuff is put aside. Night 2 is here and my journey has only begun…I still need a bear and an ax murderer on the loose to freak me out. And a tent that is actually in the woods.

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