I am a nature photographer because photography provides a wonderful conduit for engaging patterns in nature. I am not looking for wildlife “trophy” shots or artistic landscapes that can be hung on a wall. I am looking for encounters with nature where I am engaged at a perceptual and spiritual level. Whether I get a picture is secondary to the experience of my senses. The joy of living in that moment becomes paramount.
Mike Moats is also a nature photographer. Like myself, he publishes eBooks on his special areas of expertise. He has published a wonderful book called Finding Character In Nature. He emphasizes the importance of “…finding the features that reveal the unique character of a flower, leaf, rock, or pattern in the earth…”. Mike says that distinctive shapes, remarkable lines, exceptional contrast, unusual patterns, unique textures, and special lighting are all character. All of the items in his list appeal to the perceptual — the senses. For this reason, I believe that Mike’s list is important.
Miksang is a Tibetan word meaning “good eye”. It is a form of contemplative photography that attempts to bring the viewer back into the original contemplative state of the author of an image. Miksang requires letting go of the currents of mental activity that obscure our natural insight and awareness. With a quiet spirit that permits living in the present moment, one is able to let his or her senses engage the character of nature’s patterns that Mike Moats mentions.
So, find yourself a quiet spot in the woods or seashore. Acquire a quiet spirit by shaking off past and future thoughts – focusing only on the present moment. Then, through your perceptual senses, lock your soul onto a pattern in nature and engage its special character. Its distinctive shapes, its remarkable lines, its exceptional contrast, its unusual patterns, its unique textures, or the special lighting by which it is illuminated.
Thank you Mike for a wonderful idea.
My name is Bill Graham. As a Marine Biologist who has worked in the US and Mexico for 30 years, I am a student of Nature, a teacher, a researcher, and a nature photographer. Through my work, I have acquired an ever growing passion for how everything in Nature is connected. Today, I travel extensively contemplating about, writing about, and photographing Nature’s connections. I also work with conservation projects in the USA and Mexico and mentor talented youth.