It’s the middle of October, and yes I know in my mind, it is Spring here in the Southern Hemisphere. But in this moment it is my heart, that is doing the reflecting and feeling. And in my heart, October means Autumn. So in this moment I am feeling into fall and specifically this time last fall.
Narelle was in Brisbane, I was in Santa Fe. Our computers and iPads were in a whir with images, words, and many heartfelt emotions singing across the wires between our individual homes. We had just launched our lovechild, Fig & Agave - our collaborative website. We were up to our knees in the photographs and poetic musings that were parts and pieces of the three limited edition books we were creating. We were also talking, a lot.
We were talking of our growing love and connection. We were beginning to talk of plans. It was around this time that the thought of actually meeting, in person for the first time, was actually voiced in a real way. It was Narelle who casually mentioned she would like to stop for a few days in Santa Fe, on her way to New York City, where she would be teaching a yoga workshop. It was scheduled for the following February. I seem to recall shaking in my boots just a bit at the thought.
It wasn’t too long later, that we agreed to meet in Honolulu, in January. It was neutral territory, as neither of us had ever been there before. It was also in the middle of the wide Pacific. In reality, Honolulu is almost exactly equidistant between Brisbane and Santa Fe. We both agreed it was the perfect location for our very first rendezvous. And it truly was. I made this first portrait of Narelle on the North Shore of Oahu. It will always remind me of the deep love and courage it took to walk away from our old lives. And to meet in the middle of the wide Pacific Ocean.
Narelle and I have created a new online photography course to celebrate how we each listened to our hearts. We are calling it “Heart Whispers” and you can find all of the details here: Fig & Agave
We would love to have you join us on this intimate journey.
Love to All . . . Glen & Narelle
A Story: The sky and the sand, with an ocean between.
The cloud-scudded blue expanses of the high desert, and the sea-kissed wash of the beach.
New Mexico, and Queensland.
Santa Fe, and Brisbane.
With an ocean in between. The whole great and wide Pacific.
Two years ago; I’m looking at his images, reading his words, every day. On Facebook. And something is beginning to whisper to me, to tug at my heart. It’s a visceral sensation. At times, it feels like I am looking in the mirror, at my own reflection. Looking at The Beloved. I listen more closely. I’m seeing images that I might have made - little mandalas of consciousness in their exquisite detail. I’m reading words that might have come from the calligraphy of my own bones. Who is this person?
Glen and I would love to share with you, a journey into the territory of listening to the stirrings of your soul, the Whispers of Your Heart. We’ve made a photographic online course for you - inviting you to listen, and make images that call you home to your own heart. Come, walk with us. We begin November 6. You can join us now. Once our two voices, and images, sounded across the Pacific. Now, they ring as One.
I could hear these two Pandanus Palms, along the water’s edge, whispering softly to one another. Even across this distance, they were able to communicate, because they spoke the same language. Watching and listening to them, called to mind Narelle and I, calling to each other across the wide Pacific. That we spoke the same language, our communication came easily. Our roots were ancient, just like these palms. Our souls have been whispering to each other since the beginning of time. We have learned to listen well.
If these words speak to you, you might be interested in our online photography course, “Heart Whispers.” We will be using images and words to communicate the whispers we hear, when we listen closely. You can find all the details at Fig & Agave.
We would love to have you join us on this intimate journey.
Love to All, Glen & Narelle
I watch myself being quiet. Very quiet. There is the preeminent sense of something coming that is truly life-changing. Or, at the least, potentially life changing.
I've waited for this, for what feels like a very long time, possibly my whole life. A little like arriving a bit early to a party and waiting, not only for the other guests to arrive, or turning up even while it's still all being set up, but arriving before the folk hosting the party even know that they will host an event.
And here we all are. Right at the very doorway of that potential. That active pivot of choice. We are, each one of us, potent creators of our own lives, and powerful co-creators with our collective experience; our world.
Whilst we always have an opportunity to create, to re-choose, to reorient, to step into something completely new and fresh and vital and alive at any time, this moment, right now, is exquisitely attenuated to that act of choice. To our conscious creation. A shift in focus. Now. Right now.
What will you choose?
What are you choosing?
A lot is happening for Narelle and I here at Fig & Agave. Maybe it is the eclipse season we are experiencing. Maybe it is the air we are breathing here on Waiheke Island, New Zealand. Perhaps we are approaching critical mass, as the loving and creative collaboration we embody every single day. In the end, I'm not so sure the 'why' even matters. What does matter is we feel and express always from this loving space we inhabit together. And the exciting part is the momentum that is growing and gathering daily.
Our creative collaboration is playing out on several fronts. We are currently working on two major writing projects. One is, Our Story, a memoir of how our love and travels came to be. There is also a photo book, Four Months - Three Islands, that is a record of our early nomadic, naturalist wanderings. Our online photo e-course, "Seeing with Fresh Eyes" begins August 21st. And Narelle will be launching her online course, "Movement Monastery" in late September. And there's more.
In early September our two months here on Waiheke Island will come to a close. It's then back to Australia for three months at Coolum Beach on the Sunshine Coast. We will continue writing, photographing, and walking on the beach every day. Narelle will also be offering her "Yoga on the Move" private yoga sessions. Glen will continue his Photo-Mentoring sessions with clients online.
There are also exciting plans in the works for 2018! The beginning of the year will find us in Hawaii, putting the finishing touches on our memoir. We will then be in Europe for an extended stay. We are in the process of scheduling workshops and retreats. Narelle will be leading workshops in both Yoga for Scoliosis & Back Care, and Dance & Movement Improvisation. Glen will be documenting these workshops and offering Yoga and Dance Portraiture. Together we will be leading Photography Workshops, and our new Creative Couples Retreats.
Wow! And to think this all started last January in Honolulu! Life can be amazing when you live out of one suitcase without a permanent address. It all started by saying "Yes" to Love. Then dreaming and trusting completely, that the next step will always appear. And it does, always.
If you would like to follow along, you can receive all the latest news in our Fig & Agave Newsletter that goes out twice a month. You can find it on our Home Page here at, Fig & Agave.
All images from Oneroa Beach and Palm Beach on Waiheke Island, NZ.
I love Tim Winton's description best:
"I am a 'littoralist', someone who picks over things at the edges."
I am captivated by the accuracy and poetry of Tim's wondering whether he goes beachcombing in order to "simply keep the sea in view"; and by his acknowledgement of his obsession - like every Australian's - to "stare out at the blinding field". I share his "possibility of finding something strange that keeps me walking" - Talismans and pieces of magic and wonder. And, I love his observation that, as Australians, we are "verandah dwellers"; a population clustered around the coasts, the edges, the fringes of land and sea.
Beachcombing is itself, something of a personal obsession. Look down, look forward, look to the sea as touchstone. The walk can never be taken swiftly; too many treasures stretching heart and mind and jaw. And always, there is the awe-filled and breathless moment, "look at that!"
And, there is the camera. Seeing it all. An experience exposed. Time suspended.
Akin to meditating, the beach, with its littoral zone of tidal conversation, anchors me in myself.
It is the place I re-turn to when my own inner edges are frayed, or threaten to unravel completely.
What is it? Can I name it?
Yes, there is space; of sky and of ocean. Light.
Yes there is sand; always changing face of the land. Transformation. In tides and semi-tides.
Yes, on a good beach - for me at least - there will be rocks. Ground, Earth, sounding my Bones.
And of course, there is the water itself; an expanse, a rock pool, a washing-through-sand. Echoes of all my own interior fluids. Memory of something ancient within...
There are the little creatures. Fellow travellers.
And finally, for me, above all else, here is what the essence of this experience holds, like a chalice:
Here is innocence. Here is curiosity and wonder.
Here is Purity and great wild Joy.
Here is Home.
Excerpts from Tim Winton, Land's Edge: A Coastal Memoir.
Fig & Agave is excited to announce our new photography e-course, “Seeing with Fresh Eyes” that Glen has created. This new offering will run from August 21st through September 1st.
Why This Course
We all have a tendency to fall into habits and ruts when it comes to our photography. When our shutters are on auto pilot, we just keep doing things the same way. This new e-course, "Seeing with Fresh Eyes" will present you with a number of ways to both 'see' and make images differently. You will be introduced to new techniques and aesthetic choices that will give your photos a fresh look, and offer you fun new perspectives for creating them.
About This Course
Over the ten days of this course we will cover topics including; framing and composition, subject selection, black and white versus color, simple digital editing techniques based on traditional darkroom controls, zooming versus moving closer, and the advantages of using one camera and one lens. We will discuss questions like; what do you want to communicate, what is the subject of an image, and when is a series more powerful than a single image.
Who Is It For
This e-course is for thoughtful photographers of any skill level who are looking for some fresh inspiration to enhance their images and photography practice. All cameras are welcome. This is not a technical course and not about the latest camera gear.
How It Works
Each day you will receive an email that includes a short video discussing the day's topic. There will also be some examples and suggestions for your consideration. We will have a private Facebook group page for sharing your images, thoughts, and questions about the daily topic. Your questions will be answered and feedback offered here as well. This course is also about creating a community, and all are encouraged to participate. You can also use the hashtag, #seeingwithfresheyes when posting on Instagram.
Glen has been a dedicated Fine Art photographer for over 40 years. The first 30 years were spent with view cameras, sheet film, and long hours in the darkroom. All of this film experience continues to inform his daily practice of photography, most of which today is done with the camera in his iPhone. In this course he will talk about how the iPhone is similar to the 35mm camera with a 50mm lens so many photographers cut their teeth on.
"Seeing with Fresh Eyes" will begin on Monday, August 21st and run through Friday, September 1st. The cost is $50 and payable via PayPal at the link below. After receiving your payment you will receive an email confirmation and you will be added to our Facebook group. If we are not already Facebook friends, please send a 'friend request' to Glen McKerrihan.
Thanks so much for considering this new e-course. We look forward to seeing you in "Seeing with Fresh Eyes" later this month.
I had forgotten the experience of "temperate", on the beach. My body associates the word "beach", with warmth, and bare feet splashing in waves. Soles in sand, foam around calves and knees. Hop-skip-and-jump over rocks. And, this is a different experience.
Here, my feet are in walking boots; the sand, and the waters of the Hauraki Gulf, are chilly.
But the skies are stupendous! Clouds and light and opalescence that uplifts.
Most days, the waters are clear as gin.
And always, the sand-scape ripples speak their native tongue in Waveform.
Shells open their hearts...
...and the sea whispers its treasures into little boxes.
And forever, there is the playground of Delight; Rock Pools!
For the Now - all there is - I am here. Waiheke, in Winter.
I am sitting here at the table, in our sun drenched home on Waiheke Island, New Zealand. And I’m feeling the long term effects of “seasonal deprivation.” According to my Google search, there is no such thing. Yes, there are seasonal disorders pertaining to lack of adequate sunlight and similar things, but I’m talking about something different.
Low Tide - Oneroa Beach
I’m talking about missing out on entire seasons. And it’s all about this Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere thing. I’ve been in the Southern Hemisphere going on five months now. It will be another three months before I cross the Equator once again.
Last September I experienced the Autumn Equinox in Santa Fe, and the days began to get shorter one by one. Then came December and the beginning of winter. I left for Hawaii the first week in January and felt the days slowly getting longer during the glorious tropical winter. Ten days after we experienced the Spring Equinox at Waimea Bay, we flew here to Waiheke Island where alas, Autumn had just begun. Ten days later it was onto Tasmania where the latitude is the southern equivalent of Oregon, and the days were getting shorter, again.
Today it is mid-winter and the days are growing longer by fractions of an inch. We will be back in Australia shortly before the Equinox, when Spring will begin once more. On the Sunshine Coast, the longer days of sunshine will be welcomed and celebrated. We will stay until early December, when my three month visa expires.
Then we will move on once again, back to Hawaii or perhaps Mexico. Yes, back to the Northern Hemisphere, where Winter will soon begin again. And yes, it will be warm during those short Winter days. And yes, by then I will be aching for a big dose of long, long, Summer days.
They grow seemingly directly out of the rocks, their limbs appearing ancient.
Gnarly, twisted, deeply wrinkled, their skins breathe a presence that I feel strongly.
They speak to me.
I confess, I do not know their species*. I am unsure even, if they are native to this land, although I would guess their kind have been here a very long time. That they have witnessed much.
I see them emerging from beach edges, climbing out of the spaces between stones. These trees, that feel like guardians of Place, are an embodiment of "Ancestors" in this land.
My first week or more on this island, and the cosmos is aswirl. Great changes are moving through the universe, humanity, and me - as part of the great pulsing whole. Personal changes in the lived landscape of my life, which, by the very nature of connectedness, effect everything in the whole ecology of my being. There is pain and there is simplicity, as things break off in cleaving rents, exposing raw edges. Upthrust of wonderings and emotions arise, exposing patterns and strata of my life I thought I'd put to bed ages ago. Sometimes I sulk. Sometimes I rant to the wind and the sand and the rocks and, of course, to the trees. The trees. Like Grandmothers.
They watch me and they listen to me, and I feel their enormous compassion. Their Grand Mothering. Their comfort. Their stability and their own bending-yielding to tidal winds and to time itself. And, I sense something of their own stories.
Whispers of whaling. Of sealing. Veils of history and of stories past. Sun and wind and mists and storms. This is what I hear, as I listen. And more, sensed, rather than articulated.
We are beings of different species. Of wholly differently ways of living a life and of experiencing. Beings with different expressions of consciousness.
Yet. Still. We see each other.
And we Know.
Communion. In this time of Transition.
* NOTE; I emailed the lovely folk at Te Ara - the encyclopaedia of New Zealand, with an image of a tree and my question; what is this please? They replied immediately. Apparently the tree is
pōhutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa)
You can find out more about his tree, and indeed, all things New Zealand natural history, here
and in particular:
Yes, this is the first blog post written here since we left Waimea Bay at the end of March. Yes, we agreed to take a break from our Blog as we focused on our travels. And no, we didn’t expect it to last three months, but it did. So what happened to Spring, in the Northern Hemisphere, or as we call it here in the Southern Hemisphere, Autumn. Read on and I will fill you in.
On the 31st of March we flew to Waiheke Island in New Zealand. It was our ten day transition time to the Southern Hemisphere, so I could get used to my blood running backwards. Narelle also taught a yoga workshop during our visit. We both fell in love with the island for many reasons.
It was then on to Tasmania for five weeks. We had the great good fortune to house-sit for friends in the little town of Penguin on the northern shore. Once again we fell in love with another island. We noticed there seems to be a theme running here, so we listened closely. The result is a new photo book project called, Four Months - Three Islands. Watch for more details to come here on the Blog.
Then it was on to Brisbane for a ten day re-group as we prepared for a month of house-sitting in Sydney. We saw friends and family in Brisbane, did a bit of sightseeing, and stayed in a wonderful Airbnb in Bulimba.
Our time in Sydney was a bit of a mixed bag. Our home was without Wifi, so we were at the local library almost daily. We created a Sunday tradition of riding the train to the Circular Quay and exploring the areas surrounding the harbour. We made weekly day trips to the local beaches to get our toes back in the sand. We were grateful to visit the Manly, Narrabeen, Coogee, Bondi, Palm Beach, Avalon, and Dee Why Beaches. Narelle shared her stories of growing up at Coogee and we revisited the rock pool where she learned to swim.
We then drove north spending a night in Port Macquarie, and two nightsat Byron Bay before making our way to Brisbane. We then continued northward to the Sunshine Coast, were we stayed for nearly ten days. The weather was warm and the squeaky white sand was a delight under our feet. We also made arrangements to return in September for a three month extended stay.
We flew to Auckland and caught the ferry back to Waiheke Island, where I am writing this post. We are here for the next two months living in a wonderful home that is a ten minute walk from the beach. The past three months have been very good to us and we have used our time well, deepening our love and affection for one another. We are ready to return to our work of making images and writing. There are multiple new projects on the table in front of us, and we are excited about all of them. You will hear of all the details as they emerge here on the blog and on our Facebook pages.
We are living the life of our dreams and are excited to share it all with you.
The book cover* feels like suede, and, as I run my fingertips over it, I’m wondering if the colours are real. They electrify me. I’ve been photographing the bark of trees, especially eucalyptus, (or gumtrees), in my native Australia, for several decades now, and I haven't seen the likes of this skin-palette.
Rainbow eucalyptus, or, Eucalyptus deglupta sheds its bark several times a year, to reveal an underskin, (phloem), of vivid frog green. The surface layers, which shed in stages, sing rich tones of orange, scarlet, vermillion, crimson, maroon, and purple. A little like seeing the layers in a dissection, where I’ve several times, unwrapped the gift of the donor’s form, layer by layer. As usual for me, the echo is there; body : land. All One.
I’d been told that these trees are native to northern tropical Australia. That one could, with a little careful searching, find them in the subtropical Brisbane surrounds, my (then) home of around two decades. I searched. I walked. I asked. But, I never saw one. I heard they grew in Hawaii. A seemingly random piece of information, at the time. And I resolved, if I should ever go there, I’d find one.
It felt like a homing beacon for some reason; a Call.
It turns out, that, whilst indeed, rainbow eucalyptus are found in tropical Australia, they are native to the Philippines, New Guinea, Indonesia, and are, in fact, the only indigenous eucalyptus tree in the northern hemisphere. Think high rainfall, intense humidity, heat. They grow up to 250 feet tall, six feet in diameter. They thrive in Hawaii, where they were introduced in 1929. And where, totally unforeseen three years ago when I held that book in my hands, I’ve been living for a little over two months now.
So. Again, I asked, I walked. And this time, I found.
Skin shedding in strips and whorls, revealing colours that reminded me of an Australian opal. Part of the bones of my continent.
My own skin - indeed my whole Being in my new life here, is shedding in the same way, albeit metaphorically. Layers of a lifetime peeling and spiralling away. Revealing the same rainbow. The same light and colour. The same beauty. Mirrored to me. A timely meeting.
A Call answered.
Rainbow eucalyptus, and opal-skin. In a new home.
*Euphoria, by Lily King. 2014 hardcover edition.
Note, Rainbow Eucalyptus is sometimes known as Mindanao gum, or simply, as rainbow gum.
Yes, I will readily admit, my favorite camera is in my iPhone 6s. I have used it exclusively for the past two years. I also fall more in love with it every time I pull it out of my back pocket. And to think I had another iPhone for nearly two years before I ever even tried the camera. Yes, there is a back story here, and I will gladly share it with you.
Truth is I have been a camera snob for over forty years. I fell in love with photography after reading Edward Weston’s Day Books back in 1974. My first serious camera was a medium format Mamiya. I completed a degree in Photography and Visual Design at the University of Oregon, where I studied with Hal Halberstadt and Ted Orland. They both had assisted Ansel Adams in his Yosemite Workshops. I was firmly planted in the f64 Group aesthetic. I spent 30 years exposing sheet film using large format view cameras. All that time developing my own film and making prints in a darkroom.
It was truly hard enough to finally even give digital cameras a try, but I did in 2006. I used both Canon and Fuji cameras and ended up loving them, for a whole lot of reasons. But the camera in my iPhone? No way, that would be nothing short of sacrilegious.
That was until I walked into a tiny pop-up gallery in Santa Fe in the summer of 2014. That’s when everything changed. I couldn’t tell if the prints I saw hanging on the wall were photographs or fine etchings. So I asked, only to find out they were all made with an iPhone and printed on an Epson wide format printer with archival inks. That’s the day my life in photography did a U-turn.
For the past two years the camera in my iPhone is the only camera I’ve used. First, it is alway with me, everywhere. My process goes like this. I see something and my heart responds, it really is a love thing. Then my eye has it framed by the time my iPhone is out of my pocket. It’s simple, it’s direct, it’s pure love in action. In so many ways it reminds me of my very first film camera, a cheap 35mm with a standard 50mm lens. It made me work for the image, if I wanted something to be larger in the frame I had to move closer, just like my iPhone. I don’t use the zoom or the flash. I move my body, I compose the image, and I click the shutter. And I love photography more than ever. To wide open lenses, and wide open hearts. Love, Glen.
“Oh, wow!! Look at that!” And, once again, I’m stunned. My heart agape, my breath stopped.
For on the ground, at our feet, lies a long trail of fish vertebrae. Near a meter long. Muddy. And, we are clueless from whence they came. When we walked here last night, on our way home from the beach, this archaeology of Being was not here. And for once, I don’t have my camera on me. But, my Glen does.
Out comes his iPhone, and he hands it to me wordlessly as I crouch on the ground, trying to get the best angle, the right light falling on these bones; a prayer. We speculate together; how did it get here? How long was this creature! What type of fish was this? Which end is the head end, (the head is missing)? The anatomist in me tries to piece the clues together; pectoral fins, narrow tapering of the place that in a human would be the lumbar fanning to the sacrum. But I am not a comparative anatomist. And, besides, this isn't an exercise of osseous identification. What it is, is an encounter of the heart. Of awe. Of wonder. What does strike me is the diameter of the spinal canal, and the bony prominences that echo my own. And I am struck, once again, at the Oneness of us all.
We run around this planet, believing that because of our distinct physicalities, we are separate. That we are complete. Isolated. Safe. And I could add here, controlled.
But here is the truth.
We are none of us separate.
We are Whole.
We are, as Hiro Boga says, “part of the greater ecology”.
All around me is evidence of this. Profound evidence, that brings me to my knees again and again. It is everywhere I look, and it forms the nexus of every image I make. Everything is a Hymn to unity. And each time I see it, I am compelled to make an image. As much as my breath catches and my heart gapes, and my whole Being is riveted, I have to make an image of what I see. It is part of the way that I ground this experience in my body and in my psyche. “Capturing” it, so as to “make it real”. And witness-able to Others. Like a shaman.
Bringing it Home.
Beach Rock, or aerial image of an arid desert landscape, or aging skin.
Or, an electron microscopy image of our inner terrain.
Rocks; bones of the earth.
Old palm surface, or chipped fingernails, or reptilian scale-plating.
Parallel lives, lived on a fig tree.
What do you see?
In the past ten days, both Narelle and I have written about the recent rains and flooding here on the North Shore of Oahu. We have posted pictures of debris, changed beach landscapes, and brown waves. We have also noted the flat, tranquil seas that allowed the brown to prevail.
Slowly the larger waves have returned, beginning the deep washing and cleansing so needed to return these waters to their pristine blues and greens. Yesterday we saw the biggest waves yet, reminding us of early February, and the crashing majesty we have grown to love.
We aren’t the only ones noting the changes, and acknowledging the shifting seasons here on the North Shore. Standing at Waimea Bay in the early morning, we marvelled at the walls of water folding into crashing splash. We also were thrilled by the number of surfers showing up to celebrate the end of the season. It was obvious they were locals. Each one carried a long board, the unadorned kind the big wave riders use. They all knew it was probably the last really good ride of the season. They were here to pay homage to the reason they live on this particular coastline, the giant waves of winter.
Narelle and I are also talking of the passing of this season, our first together, and the great good fortune of spending it here, with the waves. The Spring Equinox is a mere ten days away. Ten days after that we will be heading for the Southern Hemisphere, and the next leg of our journey together. We love the North Shore, and will never forget our time here. We have spoken often of what an amazing home base it could be. So who knows, we are after all pretty good at turning our dreams into our reality. We’ll keep you posted, with big grins and tan skin. Love, Glen.
Over three decades ago, like many of my Australian friends, I made an extended trip to Europe, Scandinavia and Great Britain. It was a Pilgrimage of sorts. A transitional time between completing my undergraduate degree and doing “something sensible”. Although still relatively minimal, I took way more camera gear than I would dream of now. An Olympus OM1 (film, of course, digital cameras being science fiction back then), an unbelievable box of lenses (two wide angles, two zooms, a standard 50mm), a frightening array of filters (from basic neutral densities and a polariser to more “artistic” scrims), a tripod. Oh, and about 50 rolls of 36 exposures of Fuji slide film in lead bags.
From freezing Nord Cap at the top of the Arctic Tundra in Norway, (and yes, I hiked 17 km from my log cabin to get there, when there was no other transport available), to the sizzling olive groves embedded in the ridiculously clear and vivid turquoise in the Greek Islands, all my “stuff” came with me. In a day pack. Shared with my husband. Secreted through tiny Greek monasteries and vast English Cathedrals, and finally making us swear and fantasizing about ditching the lot while climbing Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Scotland. Hey, we even jumped our tiny mine sweep off Hydra, and swam, camera and minimal gear in ziplock-bag-in-between teeth each, to a tiny island of ruins. Because we wanted to take pictures.
It was all about my heart bursting open. Often I would weep. Too overcome to make an image, I simply stood there. Until I could collect myself. Breathe. Decide on a lens. Attach it to the camera body. Release my lens cap, (sometimes I forgot to do this). Look through my viewfinder. Did I need, or want, a filter? Were my fingers freezing off? Once, in a Finnish forest, at dusk, my hair actually did freeze. And, whist it’s not about the F stop, in those days it was F stops and shutter speeds. And then I needed to FOCUS. All the while, often losing the “moment”. You know, that moment, when time stands still and all space expands to what is before you, as you - literally - stand there, an open heart surgery of awe and wonder.
I had visions of mounting slide shows with stunning soundtracks, sharing it all, with suitably stunned audiences. But, I never did. Although the choreographer in me loved the sequencing and story telling in the creative process, the physical process of it all had me beat.
Thirty odd years on.
And I am travelling again. With a much simpler “kit”. My tiny compact Panasonic Lumix TZ30, (which, I will add, hasn't had its digital sensors kissed by light since my first few days here in Hawaii, two months ago), and my new iPhone 7. Which goes everywhere with me, in my little dilly-bag around my neck.
What does this mean? It means that I walk, forever the child, mouth often open, heart skipping beats, and whatever I encounter before me that has me prayerful, or joyous, or, more usually, both, I can simply reach in, grab my iPhone, frame my communion, (because make no mistake, this is what I am actually doing), and gently tap the little button. And then, I can play with my image, in phone, as if it’s a darkroom. And then, I can share it. Because, at the end of the day, yes, that matters.
Why do I make pictures? Because I cannot help myself. I see something and my heart leaps. It leaps in recognition of Beauty and it leaps in recognition of the Oneness that we all are, that we are with our world.
P.S. Have you seen our Slide Show and iPhone Photo Walk free Events that Glen and I are offering?
The months change from February to March, and the difference is somehow palpable. We move from an yin interior experience to an outward yang experience. Time seems to have speeded up, and everything in the outer world appears to be moving faster. I am certainly feeling it all here at Waimea Bay, on the North Shore of Oahu.
Narelle and I just returned from our evening walk to the beach across the highway. It was Monday evening of last week that the rains began. By last Wednesday morning the water had crested at twelve feet on the Waimea River flood gauge. The waves in the bay this evening are still brown from all of the flood flow. Our beach experience has noticeably changed as a result.
This evening while sitting on a favorite log on the beach, we spoke of our time here on the North Shore rapidly coming to an end. It’s a bit more than two weeks until we return to Honolulu for a few days before leaving for Waiheke Island, off the coast of Aukland, New Zealand. Yes, it’s that, “time being speeded up thing,” we are feeling. A bitter-sweet sense of moving from the comfortable known into the new unknown. Exciting, and also unnerving. The coming three and a half months will find us in Tasmania, Sydney, and on the Sunshine Coast of Australia, in addition to Waiheke. All exciting indeed.
Today we also created the framework for a couple of photography events we will be hosting in each of these locations. One will be a slideshow and presentation of our photographs highlighting how we each approach image making. The other will be an experiential Photo-Walk, that will focus on the extraordinary creative potential of the iPhone camera. A new page will be up on the website here later this week with all of the details. These are free events and we would love to have you join us if you’re in any of these parts of the southern hemisphere in the next few months. Until then, to wide open lenses, and wide open hearts, Glen.
“Often when traveling with the camera we arrive just as the sun slips over the horizon of a moment, to late to expose film, only enough time to expose our hearts.” - Minor White
Along the road, in the median strip, I find three fish washed up. Dead. All around me, grasses are flattened. The bare bones of the land are exposed; expansive tumbles of large rocks are strewn in long lines, gouged out banks reveal the skeleton of tree roots. Tree trunks, branches and flood-tangled assorted vegetation, have all been caught by their more sturdy cousins and by bridge pylons. It is a purging, of sorts. A cleanse.
And yet, I am shocked. Yes, we heard rain in the night. Yes, it lasted for hours. And yes, we live at the base of a Valley, with a river running to the sea.
I am a Queensland girl. I am used to big rain in the Wet.
Every Australian knows these words, from the Dorothea Mackellar poem,
“I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.”
In the wet season, Brisbane is known for its severe storms, and indeed, its sometimes devastatingly, “flooding rains”.
But this? This takes me by surprise.
Simple rain. Over a night.
And I am aware that I do not know this ecology, here, at all. That would require a more extended stay, allowing greater intimacy with the patterns of place.
The pulse of this land flows a different rhythm to my own.
And so; the invitation to listen anew.
To pay attention to the seemingly quieter rhythms of a land I am yet to hear the voice of deeply.
The Parking Lot at Waimea Bay Today
I will admit, we have truly been spoiled for the past six weeks here on the North Shore of Oahu. The weather has been outstanding! Lots of sun and blue sky. Sure, there’s been the occasional day or afternoon of clouds and a bit of rain, always like a blessing. And now the forecast is calling for steady rain for the next 9 - 10 days straight. Wow!
Rainy Day at the Beach
It rained most of the day yesterday, and heavily last night. I woke at three and could hear it was pouring. It did so until mid-morning before beginning to let up.
Waimea River Flowing Towards the Bay Blocked by Sand
The Waimea River flows in front of our home. There is a bridge on the Kamehameha Highway spanning this river. It continues to flow towards the bay. Most of the time the sand is washed up and blocks the river from flowing into the bay. This creates a wide flood plain of standing water.
The Current View After the Flow Opened a Channel in the Sand
View From the Beach Across the Open Channel
Last night’s down pour changed all of that. The heavy flow in the river cut a channel through the sand nearly thirty yards wide. This created banks of sand six to eight feet high on both sides of the flow. A now the water in the bay has gone from blue to brown, really brown, nearly out to the horizon. Once again, the power of moving water is phenomenal.
The Muddy Water Filling the Bay
This collection of images illustrate the contrast the rains are creating. And we are hoping for some blue skies soon.