Trees, Leaves, Blue Spring Road, Fall, Morning

The image is a row of maple trees along Blue Spring Road in my neighbourhood. I went out for a 30-minute walk before breakfast and noticed how the morning sun was illuminating the varying colours of the leaves.

The photo was captured with the Adobe Lightroom mobile app on my iPhone 7. I applied an Orton Effect preset to the image in Photoshop.

Morning, Tree, Leaves, Light

My vision for the morning keyword challenge was to use one of two concepts, Komorebi and Shinrinyoku.

“Komorebi” refers to the sunlight that filters through the leaves of trees.

Shinrinyoku” is a term that means “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing.” It was developed in Japan during the 1980s and has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine. For relaxation, practitioners go deep into the woods where everything is silent and peaceful.

Those were the two concepts I had in mind for the weekly challenge. I also envisioned a fog among the trees that would make that filtered light look a certain way. In my vision, the photo would evoke a mild spring fog among the trees of the Sourland Mountain with early morning sunlight shining on a single spot on the forest floor.

In my mind, I envisioned something like this. The photograph below is by Tomasz Przywecki captured in Trzebiez, West Pomeranian, Poland.


But instead I captured an image of light falling on the trees in my backyard. Not inspiring.

In many ways, this photo is a compound failure. I failed to get out of bed early. Normally, I am a morning person. Weekdays my alarm goes off at 6 AM. On the weekends I sleep in, waking around 6:30 AM. Unless I am tired. My son is a senior in high school and starting college this fall. He was accepted into the Honors College at Rutgers University. Yesterday, we toured two of the fours campuses. I was tired last night. I did not get up for the sunrise at 6:30 AM.

One of the challenges of outdoor photography is being at the mercy of nature. We had a nice foggy morning one day this week. In the middle of the week. Is there such a thing as a fog forecast? Had I known about that fog, I might have been able to get up early for some photography. But … it was overcast that day, so there would be no light filtering through the trees. Just fog.

I live on a slightly hilly area in a valley beneath the Sourland Mountain Range. Most of my sunrises and sunsets are through the tops of the trees. But there is one place I could have gone this morning; Carnegie Lake.

On a fall morning two years ago, I looked out the kitchen window and saw a light fog hanging over the area. I can’t see the lake from my home but I imagined what scene might be unfolding.

It was a work day. I quickly assembled my diabetes kit, took a bolus of insulin for my liquid breakfast of Soylent, packed my TimBuk2 messenger bag, grabbed my iPhone 6 and Nikon D5100 and headed out the door. The tripod was already in the car.

Driving along Blue Spring Road I noticed some colour in the sky. A sort of reddish-orange. I headed toward the Princeton side of Carnegie Lake, expecting to capture images of the fog over the lake. But as I pulled off Route 27 into the parking area I knew I had something special. I mounted the iPhone 6 on the tripod and set about capturing some images.

After a few long exposure shots of just the lake, I tried something new. I put myself in the image. I don’t normally put myself into my scenes. With a shutter speed of 60 seconds, I knew I had to stand very still to reduce motion blur and ghosting.

sunrise, man, silhouette, water, lake , morning
Sixty Seconds
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As I stood there counting down the seconds I forgot about the photography. The camera had long ago captured the scene. I stood still. Not moving. Just enjoying the scene before me. It was just me and the lake and the sun. I could hear the sound of the lake water lapping against the lake shore. I listened to the early morning birds call out to each other across the water.

Sixty seconds.

Created by photographer Frank Jansen, the Tuesday Photo Challenge is a weekly theme-based challenge for photographers of all kinds to share both new and old photography. This week’s theme is morning.

Coffee, MacBook Air, Notebook, Morning, Pencil
Morning Routines (Brian Matiash | Photography, Lightroom, & Photoshop Training)

I’d love to know what your morning routines are. What routines work for you and what utterly sucks? I’m genuinely  6AMcurious so please share away!

Photographer, Brian Matiash, considers some of his morning routines and asks his readers to play along.

During the work week, the alarm rings at 6 AM, and I reluctantly exit my bed and the warmth of the electric blanket. I shower the night before so after a quick shave, brushing of the teeth, and refresh of deodorant, I dress and head downstairs to make the coffee. Showering the night before saves me some time in the morning.

Other than the timing, I like this part of my morning. I would prefer to sleep in until 7 AM. I think that’s my natural “wake up” time. I almost always feel more tired when I awake at 6 AM even when I go to bed earlier. But very rarely when I awake at 7 AM if I go to sleep later.

I head downstairs and decide on breakfast, count the carbohydrates, test my blood glucose and bolus for my meal. Sometimes I may stop and login to my Mac and launch my feed reader. I tell myself I just want it to be ready for later. But sometimes I get caught up in it and time will pass and then I have to rush the rest of my morning. I could do without this.

I make coffee from freshly ground beans. I have a choice of Chemex or French Press. These days I prefer the Chemex. Unlike the French Press, pouring water in the Chemex requires focus and technique. Making the coffee is the best part of the morning. Perhaps because I get to enjoy what I made or perhaps it’s that I made something.

After the coffee is ready, I sit at the computer to catch up on the “news.” I read a lot of security news early in the morning. I work in an industry where it is expected that you stay on top of the latest potential threats and vulnerabilities.

I tend to avoid reading email in the morning. It feels too much like work. I feel that almost everything I get in email is a demand for me to take some action; solve some problem. I put off reading personal email as much as possible. Sometimes for days. It backs up. I tend to leave personal email responses for the end of the day. That’s when I’m least able to respond cogently, but my snark is higher.

My daughter is usually up and getting ready for school at this time. I feel guilty most mornings that I am reading the news instead of using the opportunity for some one-on-one father-daughter conversations. That’s the part of the morning routine that sucks. That’s the part I want to work on changing.

What about you?