Dynamic Tension Revisited

Whether caused by humanity or natural causes, the hindrance or destruction of energy connections within ecosystems could lead to ecological disaster.    

As a nature photographer, I love to capture images that portray dynamic tension because an exciting perceptual interaction between the viewer and the image is created. It leaves a future moment for the viewer to define.  But, dynamic tension is more than just “perceptual candy”. It is real in every sense of the term. Dynamic tension is Nature’s energy in a state of transformation.

The Great Egret shown in this post is poised to capture a fish. His sees his prey. His body is in full tension ready to spring forth to thrust his beak into the water for the capture. His neck is cocked into an attack configuration. One leg is lifted up ready to stabilize his forward motion. Without knowing what just happened or what will happen, I’m sure you can feel the pent up energy that will be released very soon.

Energy is the connecting force of the entire Universe. Energy is the currency by which all animate and inanimate objects in the Universe operate. Life would not be possible without energy. Dynamic tension is an expression of that connecting force. It is energy on the edge. It is what is emerging. It is a transitional state of imbalance that suggests an emergence into another, perhaps more stable, state. 

Dynamic tension is a manifestation of Nature’s energy in a state of transformation. It is the egret waiting to strike at a fish. It is a quiet mountain lake and the rushing waterfall that pours out of the lake. It is a pelican in a head-first dive.  Through dynamic tension we can actually see energy in action. One’s being begins to feel and comprehend the essence, the vitality, and the critical importance of interconnections in Nature. These interconnections are the conduits of the energy that drives our Universe at all levels.

The major source of Earth’s energy is the sun. Our bodies transform the sun’s energy into life as we know it. But, the electromagnetic energy of the sun is not directly used by our bodies. Instead, a network of energy transformations drive the force of life. The sun’s atomic furnace  transmits its energy outward in the form of electromagnetic waves. Our earth receives some of this energy, filters it through our atmosphere, and makes it available to living and non-living objects at the earth’s surface.

Think of a leaf on a plant. Indeed it is a pattern in Nature that we can see and touch. That leaf is both an energy transformation system and a conduit of energy. It uses its chlorophyll to transform the sun’s energy and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into carbohydrates for the plant. It then transports those carbohydrates to other parts of the plant through the stem. In addition, the plant’s leaf expels oxygen as a “waste” product. This expelled oxygen is used by most of life on earth.    

Animals eat plants. In doing so, they transform the energy and the chemical substances within plants into substances that stores  energy that is useful to the organism. 

The energy conduits that serve to transform the sun’s energy into the life energy of all animals is a complex  network. But, in the end, the pent up energy of dynamic tension portrayed by the images in these pages starts with the sun and is utilized for some life purpose. Dynamic tension is energy in a state of transformation.

The existence and the necessity of this highly interconnected life process of energy transformation is why we humans need to be aware of the importance of Nature’s interconnections and why we must not tamper with or destroy these connections within life. 

We can define all of Nature in terms of energy. All living and non-living things in our universe are connected energy transformation systems.  Energy is always moving. This dynamic quality can be described in terms of what has already happened and what might be. This unrealized potential is the dynamic tension we see in the egret, the waterfall, the diving pelican, and ourselves.

Dynamic tension is a connected series of energy states. Through the enjoyment of viewing dynamic tension in photographic images, we are able to build a consciousness for an interconnected Nature and realize that broken energy connections are destructive. We see that this kind of destructiveness can affect our own survival.

Thanks for reading this blog post. The purpose for these blogs is to develop a dialog between myself and my readers. You are encouraged to offer your comments in the space provided below.

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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.

4 Responses to “Dynamic Tension Revisited”

  1. What a wonderful blog you have.xxx

  2. Ps….I’ve subscribed!xxx

  3. Daphne Harrie says:

    Just finished reading and deciding to purchase a book about Buckminster Fuller. I’ve subscribed too.

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