Hokkaido Shrine 02

During my visit to Japan last Spring, I spent a lot of time alone at Shinto Shrines. I cannot put words to the calm and peaceful feeling that I found in these spaces but it is a gift both from the place and from inside oneself. I believe this serenity is available in many places – shrines, mountains, churches, forests, temples, the seaside, open water, rolling fields, hidden lakes and even your own back yard if you are willing to seek it there. 🌳✨💚

Shimoubakubetsu Shrine in Hokkaido in June 2019
Share

Make Something New 08 – bubbles

For this creative challenge lets focus on something fun – Bubbles! 
You can of course be as creative as you like in creating something new with the topic – it can be backyard bubbles or social bubbles.  Physics defines a bubble as “a globule of one substance in another, usually gas in a liquid.” 😳 😆  How you interpret it is entirely up to you.  Free your mind to play with the idea of bubbles and see what you come up with. Hopefully lots of happy sparkly fun will ensue.  🌈✨

I chose to make a mess in my studio.  Well not intentionally.  I wanted to capture a photo of rainbow coloured bubbles on a black background and so setup an old piece of velvet as my background and commenced blowing bubbles.  It was a lot of fun and well, the floor needed to be mopped anyway.  😃

You can contribute to this creative challenge here: https://www.facebook.com/athena.carey/posts/10221691810918462
I am looking forward to your creation.

Share

memories

Just for a moment, lets remember better times when we could roam happily around the earth making photos of beautiful places…

Ayr (Scotland) 4350

a quiet moment with the sea
Share

Viral Kindness 06

I am still sending letters. 🙂

Hello again Friend,

I hope that you are keeping busy and staying well in these exceptional pandemic times.  I am trying to keep active in my house with my treadmill and am growing many new vegetables outside in my garden.  While I am spending quiet time with my plants, I often wonder what others are doing in their homes or gardens or going for their daily exercise in their surrounds.  I imagine there are a lot of puzzles being made these days.

This thoughtful state reminds me of a photo that I took last year.  I had a long-time friend visiting me while he was traveling through for work.  I planned to take him out to see the famous Stonehenge.  We arrived early and still were among a large crowd while we made our way around the awe-inspiring stones.  After lunch, I had the idea to take him to a quieter but equally wonderful set of stones – Avebury. 

We arrived to a much smaller crowd.  It was such a more relaxed and enjoyable experience.  I set up to photograph these stones but had to wait for a group of school children to leave.  While I waited, lying on my belly on the ground behind my low mounted tripod, everyone left…except this man.  He was lost in thought and I realized that he was the photo I was waiting for.  It was a beautifully serendipitous moment. 

I will never see this man again and in fact, wouldn’t even know if I did, but I am grateful to him for this gift.  When I hold this photo in my hands, it reminds me that there are many people in our lives like this – strangers who in some way meaningfully touch our lives.  This thought brings me comfort.  I hope it will for you too.

Fondly,
Athena

Share

Make Something New 07 – mandalas

The topic for this creative prompt is “mandalas”. A mandala is a circular pattern of shapes, colors, tones, textures… Creating mandalas and even just looking at them can be used as a way to focus attention. I have been wanting to make one with the plants in my garden for some time now and this past week we had a short break in the rain allowing me the space to do it. I spent about an hour making and remaking these in my back garden. It was a hugely calming experience. I would make one and then either the wind would blow it away or I would be inspired to reassemble it in a different way. These are all just iPhone photos. I didn’t even bring my bigger camera outside with me. In the end, I let the wind take all but the large yellow flowers, which I kept on my dining table to enjoy for a few days.

Please do not feel restricted to garden bits for your own mandalas. You can make them from anything – food, paper, utensils, sand, etc. They can be photos of things you have assembled or they could also be drawings or paintings. Let your creative mind fly. I am very much looking forward to seeing what you will assemble. I may well put together some more this week too. The calm that ensues from such no-pressure creative attention is delightful.

Creative interpretation of the prompt is highly encouraged. Remember that the ultimate goal is to create something new for this challenge and in so doing give yourself a break from these stressful times. Relax into the prompt idea and you may be surprised by how creative your thoughts will be. 🦋 Please do keep things family-friendly so that everyone can participate.

You can share your response to the prompt here: https://www.facebook.com/athena.carey/posts/10221624015063608

Share

Viral Kindness 05

Dear Friend,

This week has been filled with ups and downs for me but I am keeping my hope up.  Whenever I begin feeling down about our current situation I remind myself of the very good things I also have in my life.  Even the warmth of the sun can make me smile when I look at things this way.

The enclosed photo is another one from my time in Japan.  As I mentioned before, my trip there was a challenge to myself and I certainly did struggle with everything from understanding road signs to figuring out what to eat.  But overwhelmingly during that struggle I was happy because I stayed aware that I was keeping my head above the water line and accomplishing my goals. 

One of these goals was to find and photograph many beautiful trees in the Hokkaido landscape.  This photo includes a set of four that I found quite by accident.  I was driving without navigation, following a huge billow of smoke that I could see far in the distance.  I could not understand anything on the radio so was unaware that a volcano had erupted.  Once I reached an area with a good view of the smoking mountain, I pulled over to watch.  This gorgeous group of trees was silently waiting for my attention on the other side of the road.

You may be wondering why the trees and the field are white.  This is an infrared photograph.  The light that we can see with our eyes is only a small part of the light spectrum.  Another part of it is what is called infrared light.  I have a camera that is specially modified to “see” infrared light.  This is what plants look like in infrared.  It’s a reminder to us both that things can be looked at in many different ways.  Most often there will be one that is joyous.

Fondly,
Athena

Share

Make Something New Update

This past week was severely challenging at our house and as a result, I am going to let the “home” creativity prompt run for a second week. I feel a bit guilty about this, but hopefully, the overall result will be that more people have time to participate.

Which brings me to this question:
*Should we have two weeks per prompt?*

Perhaps it would preferable for the prompts to be a bit longer now that many people are returning to work as lockdowns ease? I have had several people tell me they would like to participate but cannot manage it within just one week.

ps: the attached photo is a visual representation of how I have felt this past week…drowning. Things are getting better now though.

Share

Make Something New 06 – home

This week’s creative prompt is “home”.  Home is something hugely relevant to us at the moment.  As a result of the pandemic and the ensuing travel restrictions and lockdowns, most of us have spent more time at home in the last few months than is “normal”.  What does home mean to you?  How has being home so much affected you?  What is different about your home during the lockdown period?  You can choose any sort of perspective to answer the prompt.  I am looking forward to learning more and having my ideas about home expanded through your work.  🏠

Creative interpretation of the prompt is *highly* encouraged. Remember that the ultimate goal is to create something new this week. Don’t push yourself too hard though – sometimes creativity thrives best in the pauses between thought.  Just leave yourself open to receive it.  ✨ Please do keep things family friendly so that everyone can participate and make sure that what you post has been made now, as a response to the prompt.

Like many, my time at home has drastically increased recently but that is not all.  The way I manage my home has changed as well.  We went through two separate two week home quarantines one when each of the boys returned.  During that time, I had to find ways to source everything- from our basic needs to any small pleasures – without leaving our house.  Unfortunately, the grocery stores here were overwhelmed with delivery orders.  Unable to get a delivery slot, I turned to other more creative sources.  Wherever possible, I have shopped with local merchants to keep delivery travel down and to support the small businesses nearby.  However, the largest supplier of things to our house has been Amazon.  I have ordered things from Amazon that I didn’t even know they sell.  Among the items Amazon has delivered to my house are flour, canned foods, soap, disinfectant, cleaning products, garden supplies, a guitar, vitamins, gin, wine, cat food and of course books.

Cardboard box home on a drawing background with Amazon sticker windows and door.

This image is a playful way to express what part of my life has felt like during the lockdown.  My shopping has been almost completely online, filling my house with cardboard boxes.  I have spent an unbelievable amount of time indoors, wearing slippers, going stir-crazy.  The whole world beyond my door has felt unreal and unreachable to me.  I’ve switched to sandals now that it’s warmer but the rest still largely applies. 🤪

Share

#viralkindness 04

This week’s letter to my local care home residents. They are still unable to go out and cannot have visitors so I am trying to bring a little bit of the outside to them. 🙂

Dear Friend,

I hope that you are well and managing to find interesting things to do inside during our pandemic lockdown.  On some days, I find it stressful not being able to go out.  I miss my regular photography trips very much.  But I know we are doing something very powerful in the fight against this virus so I am trying to take comfort in that.  It doesn’t feel like doing much but it is.

I have another little photo escape for you today.  A few years ago, I took a group of fellow photographers to this lighthouse at night with the aim of photographing its beacon.  We arrived at just the right time to also capture The Milky Way in the sky above.  The light moves in a circular path around the lighthouse, so timing was very tricky.  It took several attempts but with this click, I had the most excited feeling.  I knew it was the one.

Originally, this lighthouse was on the strand on a narrow island off the coast of North Carolina in the United States.  Erosion was threatening it and so several years ago a massive project was launched to move it inland.  Now the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse sits just on the other side of the dunes, still shining its light of safety and hope to all near enough to see it.  We are far away on the other side of the ocean but here is that light of hope for you.  And for me too. 🙂

Fondly,
Athena

Share