Morning moving meditation vs huge to do list

I crave my morning moving  meditation.Yeah , its that time of year. SOOO hard to be ignoring the huge to do list.  The to do list that  gets even crazier now. Be it the gym or yoga, or hiking or walking or 20 squats at home , what ever! How do I  NOT  let that time fall off the list? I say as I fall victim to the magnet in my pants taking hold of the magnet on my chair at my desk… HMMM where are my  hiking boots ? I know my brain is working full steam early am so … taking a 5 minute wacko break may help more often during the day. morning meditation, hiking, sunrise, Arizona

 

when my swiss chard is reminding me of my spider veins I stop to ponder

I planted 3 kinds of chard this winter. The birds like them all !!!

And yes we all have part and parcel of our physical body that we can not photoshop out in daily life… but how important is it to be perfect? …. hmmm, yeah right like getting rid of my  spider veins is going to do it !

A ripe peach in the hand is worth more than 2 in the tree (specifically the ones sampled by birds and squirrels!)

I picked  hmm maybe  60 yummy little organic peaches… and then there were those that already had a bite or a peck or half eaten… darn,  almost a 5 gallons bucket worth. This is what I have learned. Pick unripe  ripen them well inside … it really was upsetting to attempt to have them ripen on the  tree and hope we have a chance to enjoy any of them.

After 4 years I am happy to say I  have  finally gotten a harvest. Each year I have gotten a little  tougher love going with the thinning of the small fruit .

SO this is what I have learned…. Do not put in fridge and THEN try to ripen !

Pick them unripe and give them a nap as described in this great video that really helped set me straight.  It worked 🙂

http://tallcloverfarm.com/74/the-best-way-to-ripen-peaches

peaches harvested by the branch!! Prior to giving them a nap inside to ripen.
peaches harvested by the branch,prior to tucking them in for  a nap inside to ripen.

The strategy of the pit

There it was, in plain sight.

An early morning reality check glaring at me

 

It sat there as a bold statement saying

“GOT HERE BEFORE YOU…. HA HA HA HA!”

Yep, the birds and squirrels were in cahoots again .

My precious peaches  had been covered up with bird netting and recycled Trader Joes Sweet potato bags … for what ?

The competition had done what they do so well .

And as a statement of defiance

One single completely  cleaned off pit sat far away from my single peach tree.

It was strategically placed  near the recycling bin so I would be sure to see it.

Of course it lead me to review the tree and wince at the activity they had already done with my peaches even though they were not ripe yet.

And so I was reminded in that “mindful moment ”  that they were  many steps ahead of me .  I had a choice to make . Let it go? Excuse me. Hell no.

The peach pit glared at me reminding me how the birds and squirrels were smarter than me!
The peach pit glared at me reminding me how the birds and squirrels were smarter than me!

The coverings of the peaches just got more intense… to be continued.

 

 

Has MADD been replaced by SMFDD?

 

 

where are I going where have I been. What am I doing towards my life's win?
where are I going where have I been. What am I doing towards my life’s win?

Strange conversations happen during waxing sessions. Hard to explain  the connection of dots that lead to this conversation today but I think it started with talking about dating > how rare anyone is  going out to movies, dancing > how people do not dance anymore, what singles do on dates dinner , drinks etc  and  then ended up  with  her telling me about 16 year old clients telling her about  going to proms and parents being very aware that  the after parties involved alcohol consumption  and parents being ok with the kids driving home at 3am knowing they had been drinking . Seriously?  Wondering how ” normal” this is these days and if MADD has been replaced by SMFDD

( Stupid mothers for drunk driving )  ? Her description of these 16 years old are from very “successful ” homes.  Not like drinking is new for teenagers.

So wondering if MADD is as out of date as dancing that is more like threesomes having  sex with clothes on, or barely clothes on at pool parties.

 

 

Monday Morning Structure

Bridge_#1__0145©_2015_Copyright_Linda_Enger_Photography

Monday mornings are ( in my humble opinion ) easier for those folks who know EXACTLY  , no doubt about it , when and where they have to be someplace, and to whom they need to satisfy in their activities of the day.

And then for many of us it is a matter of creating some kind of internal structure and external boundaries to keep our activities in alignment with our  priorities.

It is not rocket science. I know I have to have reminders on this constantly. And when I see shadows  and structure like this on my early morning walks… it appears to me symbolic  of what my day needs to contain.

 

What time with my monopod taught me about myself, and garbage in garbage out

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Still photo taken on Go Pro Hero3

 

Lots learned on this hike!

First, the photo  above is ironically one of the last photos of the day. But what is important about it is my first time with a GoPro Hero 3 ( yep I confess I am a late adopter on too many things that involve new tools.) My friend Neil graciously  let me borrow it for the day to test it. HMMM without a view finder,or anything to attach it to me while hiking the test changed focus ( sorry can not help myself ) . I wondered what quality  still photo I could expect. Well I still have not gotten through the manual  to see if I could have gotten a larger file  but the  jpegs that came out of the camera were only 2.4 MB… so these are  smaller than my iphone 5s which are running around 3.6 and being they are not Raw files that I prefer I do not have big expectations on how I can tweak them. BUT /AND they both satisfy the the purpose of getting a small image into LR to make nice for you to see here 🙂  With that said I would be happy to have anyone who is really well versed in shooting still and video on both formats chirp in and comment . And that most likely would be my friend Frank who is the GoPro master.

Some background story to this post: I am very grateful that after  more than 2 years of being out of an activity I love so much I have slowly built up the capability to hike again and testing the waters of carrying some camera gear again. It has not come easy . I must say it was quite depressing to go for a 15 minute walk in my hood to find my back was in  too much pain to walk more.My treasured hikes with or without camera gear were, needless to say too painful to do and  in another way and bluntly  probably as painful,my fragile ego was having  little identity crisis. Ok, that may be more information than maybe I should be sharing but for any of you who know what it is like to loose any kind of your mojo… it is tough stuff.

So I have already digressed from the purpose of this blog entry.

This past Sunday I was hiking with a small group of my hiking buddies . We drove down to Tucson to the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area where we set out for Seven Falls. This is approximately a 7.5 mile round trip hike, and by the time we got started on our hike on  Sunday April 19…. it was already very sunny ( no kidding it is Arizona) and kinda hot ( all relative really it is not summer!)  Seems like my body does not deal with hiking in heat as well as it used to. If if ever did.

When I finally arrived to the “destination”  of the Falls  I was very hot, tired, shaky, and honestly worn down .  Of course it would have helped if I had a good night sleep the night before . Oh well. After trying to relax a few minutes , snack on some salty nuts and dried fruit and inhale yet more water  I was reminded  how unfortunately pressured on time we were to get back to Phoenix. Hmmm, thus I internalized tension  with  little shooting time…  I barely had time to review the entire scene when I  found a little shady nook I wanted to explore trying to focus mentally and physically on for a photo .  I was way too shaky and short of time to explore the upper level of the “Falls” . I write “Falls” that way and not Falls because I do not call dribbles real falls! ( again I digress)

So there was a  sweet young  college age looking Asian couple sitting where I wanted to be and they  invited me to join them  in their  quiet space on a  very well worn by the water, slippery rock . We all sat silently as if in partnership with the calming of the space. I used the rock wall behind me to help my arm  brace  my monopod as I kept searching for a photo that best represented the meditative feeling that I truly wanted internally and in my image. I have been shooting these zen like water photos whenever and where ever  I have found them for many decades… but with a tripod.  I like to shoot them  at 1/8 to 1/15 of a second. But here I was without tripod . Hey remember taking this hike was huge accomplishment for me and I had chosen not to bring my little Canon G9 ( which had depressingly become my go to hiking surrogate camera for a while ), nor did I want to use the iphone I had with me ( honestly had forgotten about it ) , or the Go Pro that I had borrowed that day from one of my hiking buddies that was there . I wanted to shoot a “real ” photo. I had shlepped my Nikon D700 and resolved I would only bring my 60 macro with polarizer filter and a monopod that could multi task as a walking stick. I resolved  to do whatever I could. Of course I knew that camera and lens was an issue for my neck and back depending upon how I was wearing it or carrying it and all day long I was CONSTANTLY readjusting my body and holding patterns.

I could hear my Physical Therapist Elizabeth as if she were standing next to me. “You keep doing things that work against all the progress we are trying to make ! You have a lifetime of muscle imbalances that have taken their toll on top of everything else that your back and neck has gone through. ” ( ok so I digressed again )

So more back story (pun intended)  WOW,  it was in the 90’s  that I had done this same 7.5 mile hike alone. I am not talking about long extended back packing like in the story WILD. It was a day hike but…. carrying my own water, along with rented 4×5 view camera with  multiple lenses , heavy 4×5  tripod and a pack of negatives  in their glass holders . I wanted so much to create beautiful 4×5 landscape imagery. FYI I do not now , nor did then have a good back packing size body . There are specific recommendations made by the back packing gurus as to how much weight a person should carry in relation to their body mass.  ( HMM, another time for that topic!)

But this Sunday I was actually humbled by the memory of myown past! Amazed at  how strong I HAD built myself up to be back then.  I had created  the HABIT and COMMITMENT to deliberately workout regularly for this purpose specifically.  I also had younger hormones. I was consistent in my  training physically probably more than photographically ! But honestly the hike was no fun back then. I had looked around me and watched as people were frolicking in the water and enjoying each other’s company. I was lonely, tired but determined. When I reviewed the film after the shoot I came to an epiphany. That was not what I belonged doing nor wanted to be doing. I did nothing with the photos. So what if I got there . I did not feel the love in the images.  I doubt I threw them  out. They are there in my filing cabinets of film that have not been touched for years,decades. Dare I spend the time trying to figure out where they are ? I would love to see them now for one particular reason. Climate change. I am pretty sure the “Falls”” looked different then.

So here I was in 2015 and  I was trying to get a digital image to create something in my digital world.  Early afternoon sucks for shooting landscapes. Nothing has changed that in relationship to photography. Basic photo concept. But rules are made to be broken, and I honestly have lots of history of not following rules. And digital processing has made cheating  too easy. Do we really have to be on location at the crack of dawn anymore? Hey there are filters , right ? Ugh.

Trying to focus. Tired. Shaky. I wanted a nap. I wanted to create a zen like photo but was not feeling very zen like. I needed to meditate. I needed to check out. I needed my nappy. I was shooting variations of the scene with varied exposures with the complete digital mindless approach to photography…. take lots of shots  and work it later in processing. And hope I got something worthwhile.

Honestly.  What has  happened to me ?

SO there I was  finally starting to really see beauty and flow and composition,  getting my compositional groove on , but I am still feeling shaky. Trying to brace my arm against the rock wall to make my monopod and me more of a tripod, when I hear

” Linda , what exposure are you using with all that harsh light and shadow .”

I ignored my hiking companion’s question. But the second time it was asked,  I LET my train of thought shift. Why ? Well I was not alone. I had CHOSEN to hike with others. To be social. SO….I  move away from my spot and go into teaching mode, helping mode.  Ugh.  I was trying to be nice!  Monopods do not stand on their own 🙂  I was on a mono pod. I lost my train of thought. I had not completed my  image. I lost my focus.

When I reviewed my images the next day in Lightroom  my shooting process  was obvious to me. The image with the composition I liked the most was  the one I was interrupted on . But I had not given it the time it needed to shoot several times in hopes one would not show the rocks moving from camera / operator shake. I allowed this person’s desire to make their images better more important than my being in my own zone.

What I needed was a better way of not loosing my focus ( literally and figuratively) before I offered to give a little mini class. Rocket science . No. Just reality check for myself.

SO the take away…

1) When you know you need to not be disturbed because you do not have the mental bandwidth to recoop after an interruption … find a way of politely saying.” I will talk to you after I finish” and hope you are not too flit brained to have that interaction derail you ( or them) and  then be sure to get back to the person if it matters to you to do that.

2) When you are seeing someone photographing (or fill in the blank as to doing anything else quietly on their own) . PLEASE be considerate and wait till they are obviously done to request advice or distract them with questions about anything or if you know them well find a way of disturbing them without disturbing them. Good luck with that. Ha, I am sounding like Miss Manners here.

2 days after hike:

1) My neck hurts from carrying the camera too much of the day around my neck either cross my chest or hanging from either shoulder. … so when will I stop? I  hear my  PT’s voice. FYI , looking at the images,was worth it?

2) So I tried using photoshop’s filter > shake reduction on the  image that had  the composition I really liked and that I ended my shooting with .

I have always gone by the “old ” digital  adage “garbage in garbage out ” when people think software like Photoshop,  can fix everything.  Matters . What do you want?  How bad you want it? What is your  idea of awesome? How good is your skill set with post processing  and how much time do you want to give to make the image sing.  Kind of like lots of things in life!

So to complete  this blog about  patience, and pixels and  photography  I  have included 3 versions of the photo that had the composition I like with the horrid lighting and the moving rocks. By no means am I saying these are art. I would not choose to  blow these up . I am  only sharing them in light ( pun intended ) of sharing as a teacher.  There is just so far the photoshop filter will go with their deshake filter and HDR  filters are not the be all end all. And this was not the kind of shot you could take 3 exposures and really work them with merging in HDR either.  Not exactly garbage in garbage out but … well pixels are in the eye of the beholder.

You know all those “awesome” photos you see on facebook etc. by anyone and everyone with a phone/ point and shoot/ any camera.  Have you ever wondered what they would look like as print larger than 4×6?   Yep, I am so old school.

basic_exposure_4732©_2015_Copyright_Linda_Enger_Photography
Basic exposure in horrible light situation

 

7_Falls__Deshake_filter_4732©_2015_Copyright_Linda_Enger_Photography
Processed in LR and PS with deshake filter to attempt to have image look how I saw it, without rocks moving . Note- deshake  was not shake and bake enough for me to call really usable.

 

 

 

7_Falls__Deshake_filter_ononeHDR_4732©_2015_Copyright_Linda_Enger_Photography

Photo with PS deshake filter then  HDR  filter … just wondering . There ended up being some very weird pixally jagged dewatanabees. (technical term for caca).

 

 

 

 

 

YUK to yummy… and coping with unwanted guests

Aphids_on_Kale__march_harvest©_2015_Copyright_Linda_Enger_Photography

Seems like this winter after srting with varied types and brands of Kale seeds the Lake Valley Organics brand  of Red Russian Kale is the only one that has really taken off . This time only in pots that are strategically placed in various sub climates on the property. As always there tends to be a consistently inconsistent issue I have encountered. In some of the pots , glad to say not all yet 🙂  little buggers  have moved in when they know I am not looking.

When gardening I TRY to spray them off with  the jet setting on my hose but often that is temp fix. I know there is always input I get on how other gardeners deal with this from my friends at http://www.vpaaz.org that has a wonderful permaculture forum and from whom I have learned SOOOO much. I know I can always plug in a search name and find great information to help me. And now  I have been finding more like minded gardening peeps on Desert Gardeners of Maricopa County facebook group as well. I will share more another time on dealing in the garden with these pests but for now I want to talk about eating and food prep .

YUK ! Now some of the die hard , back to the earth type may  these guys are not going to hurt you and very high in protein.  And of course some foodies out there are really tapping into what some other cultures have incorporated for oh so long…..you know the chocolate covered beetles concept…..DOUBLE YUK.

If you are kosher, or other wise NOT interested at all in eating these guys and you want to enjoy your harvest ( which I am one of ) …. here is what I do and recommend.

Disclaimer… this does take some time and focused eyes,  but I really take personal issue with going out and BUYING what I know I have already GROWN!!!

Soak your leaves in bowls of salt water. I use the cheapest kind of sea salt for this ( I get mine at Trader Joes or Costco) . I do MULTIPLE baths. I examine each leaf and make sure I rinse well in clear water after each bath.  Put in my trusty salad spinner ( what did we do before them ). By the way my favorite after trying MANY is the OXObrand which is still going strong after I can not begin to imagine how many hundreds of times it has been spun! Wrap those leaves in paper towels and put in ziplock bags. SO I will not forget about the rotation of my produce I like to mark the date with a Sharpe marker.

Enjoy!

 

 

Gardening analogy – one of many, lemons and my life.

lemon line up #2 web © 2014 LindaEngerPhoto

 

I keep experimenting to see what REALLY works for me in life. Been doing it as long as I can remember.

When I see what works for someone else I can not help but wonder if it will work for me too.

I plant and see what happens.

I get caught in the process when I am really into it and loose track of time.

I keep working on  growing deep roots

I am so grateful when the results I am working for actually happen

I keep trying

I guess I am too foolish and  obstinate to know when to give up. More on that later.

Despite how much certain aspects of the work seem to be hard on me or/ and for me … I keep trying a way to either ignore it, find a work around, or just keep complaining about the pain and keep doing the work … right and not just find someone  to pay to do it!

I know if I have all these thoughts…. others do as well.

These lemons are just a few of oh so many I have harvested from our neighbor’s tree . Really not the best image for this analogy?

Thanks to our dear neighbors there has been lots  of lemonade, and varied dishes using the lemons….  and art as often as I can think to take the time.

Wondering when the lemon tree we planted last winter will bear fruit. Just covered the ground with more home grown compost and lama dung. ( another post), and free wood chips before the big rain hits.

OK- photographically…. I found that workflow for  this image  in Light Room  to On ONE did not give me the quick and easy results I had hoped for where LR to Photoshop  worked much faster for the clean up .

Zen? So what is my why for this blog?

Zen_study_in_blue#1_©_2013_Linda_Enger_Photography7041131215I finally got around to getting a managed word press that does not have the name lindaengerphotoblog in it …. why?  I am years overdue on my photo website and been up to many many other cool trajectories in my life that it seems like there is too much in me to ignore or post on  facebook . I have been doing everything I can possibly do to avoid working on my LindaEngerPhoto.Com website…. so why not just put energy into this site and see what happens? A place for me to visually and verbally create a fusion of my  explorations. AHHHH, feel much better finally getting this started. Actually feel calmer with it out of my head !