Morning

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.

Poranek

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

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.

What bird is this?

The weather this week been uncharacteristically warm for February. The air temperature has ranged between 8°C and 22°C. Normally we would expect cold, windy and wet weather. It feels more like late Spring than late Winter.

I was ill all last week; since last Sunday. Normally I am not sick this time of year. I have a fairly strong immune system. I also usually get a flu shot. This year I just didn’t take the time. I think my system was overwhelmed by exposure to sick people. My wife’s best friend had returned from India and debarked the plane with the flu and my wife had gone over to bring her some food. The next day my wife was sick and two days later when her symptoms worsened, I took her to urgent care. I think everyone in the waiting room was sick.

All this week I’ve stood at the window looking out at the incredible weather. I was upset that I could not enjoy it. I wanted to got out into the Sourland Mountain for a hike in the woods. I wanted to feel the sunlight on my face. I wanted to hear the sounds of nature. I had been listening to the whir and whoosh of the central heating and cooling system all week. I hate that sound.

Yesterday I opened the sliding door, grabbed my camera, and sat outside on the steps at the back of our home. I sat there enjoying the almost quiet. In the distance, I could hear the leaf blowers. Short gusts of wind caressed the tops of the trees. The aches and pains in my back were uncomfortable. I lay back and watched the winds higher up push the clouds through the sky.

The bird appeared and hopped from branch to branch above the bird feeder. I sat up and followed its travel for a bit. Then I remembered I had the camera. I fired off a few bursts of the shutter. The bird hopped to another branch. Then another. Each time, I captured a burst of images. It seemed to be confirming that I was not a threat. I grabbed a few more shots and then I stopped. I watched the bird eat. Having had its fill, the bird then flew off.

  • Aperture—ƒ/2.5
  • Camera—NIKON D5100
  • Taken—24 February, 2017
  • Focal length—85mm
  • ISO—100
  • Shutter speed—1/1000s

I have no what type of bird this is. Do you?

UPDATE: According to my Instagram contacts, this is a downy woodpecker.