Category: Art

Sextain

  1. Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
  2. From Blossoms
  3. Wild Geese
  4. The Peace of Wild Things
  5. My Gift to You
  6. Departing Spring
  7. The Skylark
  8. What a Strange Thing!
  9. Although The Wind …
  10. The Old Pond
  11. Spring Is Like A Perhaps Hand
  12. Hast thou 2 loaves of bread …
  13. Youth and Age
  14. A Postcard From the Volcano
  15. The Kraken
  16. He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
  17. There Is a Solitude of Space
  18. Because I Could Not Stop for Death
  19. Mad Song
  20. Answer July
  21. Success Is Counted Sweetest
  22. Hope Is the Thing with Feathers
  23. The Bluebird
  24. A Vision of the End
  25. The Crying of Water
  26. A Rose Has Thorns As Well As Honey
  27. Winter
  28. The Dark Cavalier
  29. There is no Life or Death
  30. Sheep in Winter
  31. To a Snowflake
  32. Sextain
  33. A Crocodile Scheduled for 5th March 2024
Snowdon From Pernsarn, a painting by Charles Thomas Burt

Snowdon From Pernsarn by Charles Thomas Burt. Photo by Birmingham Museums Trust on Unsplash.

The Heaven doth not contain so many stars,
So many leaves not prostrate lie in woods
When autumn’s old and Boreas sounds his wars,
So many waves have not the ocean floods,
As my rent mind hath torments all the night,
And heart spends sighs when Phœbus brings the light.

Why should I have been partner of the light,
Who, crost in birth by bad aspéct of stars,
Have never since had happy day or night?
Why was not I a liver in the woods,
Or citizen of Thetis’s crystal floods,
Than made a man, for love and fortune’s wars?

I look each day when death should end the wars,
Uncivil wars, ’twixt sense and reason’s light;
My pains I count to mountains, meads, and floods,
And of my sorrow partners make the stars;
All desolate I haunt the fearful woods,
When I should give myself to rest at night.

With watchful eyes I ne’er behold the night,
Mother of peace, but ah! to me of wars,
And Cynthia, queen-like, shining through the woods,
When straight those lamps come in my thought, whose light
My judgment dazzled, passing brightest stars,
And then mine eyes en-isle themselves with floods.

Turn to their springs again first shall the floods,
Clear shall the sun the sad and gloomy night,
To dance about the pole cease shall the stars,
The elements renew their ancient wars
Shall first, and be deprived of place and light,
E’er I find rest in city, fields, or woods.

End these my days, indwellers of the woods,
Take this my life, ye deep and raging floods;
Sun, never rise to clear me with thy light,
Horror and darkness, keep a lasting night;
Consume me, care, with thy intestine wars,
And stay your influence o’er me, bright stars!

In vain the stars, indwellers of the woods,
Care, horror, wars, I call, and raging floods,
For all have sworn no night shall dim my sight.

William Drummond of Hawthornden (1585 –1649) was a Scottish poet.

Mark McGuinness reads and discusses the poem in his podcast A Mouthful of Air, a podcast of classic and contemporary poetry. Podcast transcription is available.


To read more poems, click here.



All Art Is a Point of View 

In the car wash

You see a car wash.

I see beauty.  

All art is a point of view.


Related Posts


If you liked this post, share it on your preferred social network or forward it to a friend.


To a Snowflake

  1. Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
  2. From Blossoms
  3. Wild Geese
  4. The Peace of Wild Things
  5. My Gift to You
  6. Departing Spring
  7. The Skylark
  8. What a Strange Thing!
  9. Although The Wind …
  10. The Old Pond
  11. Spring Is Like A Perhaps Hand
  12. Hast thou 2 loaves of bread …
  13. Youth and Age
  14. A Postcard From the Volcano
  15. The Kraken
  16. He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
  17. There Is a Solitude of Space
  18. Because I Could Not Stop for Death
  19. Mad Song
  20. Answer July
  21. Success Is Counted Sweetest
  22. Hope Is the Thing with Feathers
  23. The Bluebird
  24. A Vision of the End
  25. The Crying of Water
  26. A Rose Has Thorns As Well As Honey
  27. Winter
  28. The Dark Cavalier
  29. There is no Life or Death
  30. Sheep in Winter
  31. To a Snowflake
  32. Sextain
  33. A Crocodile Scheduled for 5th March 2024
Snow landscape with a bench by the sea and heavy falling snowflakes.

What heart could have thought you?— 
Past our devisal 
(O filigree petal!) 
Fashioned so purely, 
Fragilely, surely, 
From what Paradisal 
Imagineless metal, 
Too costly for cost? 
Who hammered you, wrought you, 
From argentine vapour?— 
“God was my shaper. 
Passing surmisal, 
He hammered, He wrought me, 
From curled silver vapour, 
To lust of His mind;— 
Thou could’st not have thought me! 
So purely, so palely, 
Tinily, surely, 
Mightily, frailly, 
Insculped and embossed, 
With His hammer of wind, 
And His graver of frost.

Francis Thompson (1859 –1907) was an English poet; he is best known for his poem “The Hound of Heaven.”

 


To read more poems, click here.



Photography Takes an Instant Out of Time

Black and white photo of a group of people standing in front of the clock at the Orsay Museum in Paris, France

Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.

Dorothea Lange


Dorothea Lange
(1895 – 1965) was an American documentary photographer and photojournalist. She is best known for her work for the Farm Security Administration during the Great Depression.


To read more quotes, click here. To read more on photography, click here.


Sheep in Winter

  1. Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
  2. From Blossoms
  3. Wild Geese
  4. The Peace of Wild Things
  5. My Gift to You
  6. Departing Spring
  7. The Skylark
  8. What a Strange Thing!
  9. Although The Wind …
  10. The Old Pond
  11. Spring Is Like A Perhaps Hand
  12. Hast thou 2 loaves of bread …
  13. Youth and Age
  14. A Postcard From the Volcano
  15. The Kraken
  16. He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
  17. There Is a Solitude of Space
  18. Because I Could Not Stop for Death
  19. Mad Song
  20. Answer July
  21. Success Is Counted Sweetest
  22. Hope Is the Thing with Feathers
  23. The Bluebird
  24. A Vision of the End
  25. The Crying of Water
  26. A Rose Has Thorns As Well As Honey
  27. Winter
  28. The Dark Cavalier
  29. There is no Life or Death
  30. Sheep in Winter
  31. To a Snowflake
  32. Sextain
  33. A Crocodile Scheduled for 5th March 2024
Two sheep in the snow

The sheep get up and make their many tracks 
And bear a load of snow upon their backs, 
And gnaw the frozen turnip to the ground 
With sharp quick bite, and then go noising round 
The boy that pecks the turnips all the day 
And knocks his hands to keep the cold away 
And laps his legs in straw to keep them warm 
And hides behind the hedges from the storm. 
The sheep, as tame as dogs, go where he goes 
And try to shake their fleeces from the snows, 
Then leave their frozen meal and wander round 
The stubble stack that stands beside the ground, 
And lie all night and face the drizzling storm 
And shun the hovel where they might be warm.

John Clare (1793 – 1864) was an English peasant poet of the Romantic school, and one of the English literature’s finest nature poets.


To read more poems, click here.



Favorite Photos: January 2024

  1. Favorite Photos: January 2023
  2. Favorite Photos: February 2023
  3. Favorite Photos: March 2023
  4. Favorite Photos: April 2023
  5. Favorite Photos: May 2023
  6. Favorite Photos: June 2023
  7. Favorite Photos: July 2023
  8. Favorite Photos: August 2023
  9. Paris Is Always A Good Idea
  10. Favorite Photos: October 2023
  11. Favorite Photos: November 2023
  12. Favorite Photos: December 2023
  13. Favorite Photos: January 2024
Close-up of white calla on a light blue background.

Another year, another month, other photos. I took this photo of a calla back in July when there was plenty of natural light. I usually take a lot of shots during spring and summer, which I can later edit during the long, dark winter days.

For this particular photo, I decided to give it a cool edit to complement the winter season.

Eurasian tree sparrow (Passer montanus) in the snow.

Eurasian tree sparrow (Passer montanus), winter edition. I love how the few remaining leaves poke through the snow and add a splash of color to the wintery scene.

Wood nuthatch (Sitta europaea) striking a pose. Nuthatches have such a graceful way of landing and taking off, pausing for a few seconds while posing like a model on the catwalk!

Common redpoll (Acanthis flammea)

I photographed this common redpoll female (Acanthis flammea) back in 2022 but only got around to processing it now. When I looked through my photo library for an image to edit, I realized I hadn’t seen many redpoles last year. I’m not sure why. I do hope they’ll return that year; they’re so beautiful and always fun to photograph, especially the males; they have pink breasts!

Blackbird female (T. merula). I shot this in the darkest December last year at ISO 12.800. It was 11am, and the brightest light you could get was some kind of grayish twilight. You wait and wait for the daylight to appear, and then, suddenly, the sun starts to set, and it gets dark again.

As mentioned above, I rarely shoot in November/December because it’s too dark. As you can see, you can still get beautiful photos, but I find it’s too much work; it’s not worth it. I ran the image through Topaz Photo AI to reduce the noise and then Nik Color Effex to retrieve some feather details.

To get away shooting in low light with a high ISO, you do need to shoot to the right (of the histogram), as noise hides in the darker areas. It helps if you have a lens with a large aperture (f/2.8 or F/4) to let in more light, but unfortunately, I don’t. My Canon RF100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens’ largest aperture is f/7.1 at 500mm.

On the other hand, problems are good; they force you to get creative and work around them. As I always say, creativity thrives on constraints. Look past the issues and see the opportunities!


As an avid birdwatcher and photographer, I always try to capture the beauty and grace of these magnificent creatures. Birds are fascinating creatures that come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and taking their photos can be a challenging yet rewarding experience.

Overall, these photos are just a tiny glimpse into the incredible beauty of the natural world. By taking pictures like these and sharing them with others, I hope to inspire a love and appreciation for nature that will hopefully last for generations.

I hope you enjoyed these photos; there are more to come next month.


Related Posts


If you liked this post, share it on your preferred social network or forward it to a friend.



There is no Life or Death

  1. Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
  2. From Blossoms
  3. Wild Geese
  4. The Peace of Wild Things
  5. My Gift to You
  6. Departing Spring
  7. The Skylark
  8. What a Strange Thing!
  9. Although The Wind …
  10. The Old Pond
  11. Spring Is Like A Perhaps Hand
  12. Hast thou 2 loaves of bread …
  13. Youth and Age
  14. A Postcard From the Volcano
  15. The Kraken
  16. He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
  17. There Is a Solitude of Space
  18. Because I Could Not Stop for Death
  19. Mad Song
  20. Answer July
  21. Success Is Counted Sweetest
  22. Hope Is the Thing with Feathers
  23. The Bluebird
  24. A Vision of the End
  25. The Crying of Water
  26. A Rose Has Thorns As Well As Honey
  27. Winter
  28. The Dark Cavalier
  29. There is no Life or Death
  30. Sheep in Winter
  31. To a Snowflake
  32. Sextain
  33. A Crocodile Scheduled for 5th March 2024
Abstract painting in blue hues

There is no Life or Death, 
Only activity 
And in the absolute 
Is no declivity. 
There is no Love or Lust 
Only propensity 
Who would possess 
Is a nonentity. 
There is no First or Last 
Only equality 
And who would rule 
Joins the majority. 
There is no Space or Time 
Only intensity, 
And tame things 
Have no immensity.

Mina Loy (1882 – 1966) was a British-born artist, writer, poet, and painter labeled as a Futurist, Dadaist, Surrealist, feminist, conceptualist, modernist, and post-modernist artist.


To read more poems, click here.



A Great Photograph

Eurasian tree sparrow (Passer montanus)

A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.

Ansel Adams


Ansel Adams
 (1902-1984), American landscape photographer and environmentalist known for his black-and-white images of the American West.


To read more quotes, click here. To read more on photography, click here.


The Dark Cavalier

  1. Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
  2. From Blossoms
  3. Wild Geese
  4. The Peace of Wild Things
  5. My Gift to You
  6. Departing Spring
  7. The Skylark
  8. What a Strange Thing!
  9. Although The Wind …
  10. The Old Pond
  11. Spring Is Like A Perhaps Hand
  12. Hast thou 2 loaves of bread …
  13. Youth and Age
  14. A Postcard From the Volcano
  15. The Kraken
  16. He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
  17. There Is a Solitude of Space
  18. Because I Could Not Stop for Death
  19. Mad Song
  20. Answer July
  21. Success Is Counted Sweetest
  22. Hope Is the Thing with Feathers
  23. The Bluebird
  24. A Vision of the End
  25. The Crying of Water
  26. A Rose Has Thorns As Well As Honey
  27. Winter
  28. The Dark Cavalier
  29. There is no Life or Death
  30. Sheep in Winter
  31. To a Snowflake
  32. Sextain
  33. A Crocodile Scheduled for 5th March 2024
Shadow of tree branches on a wall

I am the Dark Cavalier; I am the Last Lover: 
My arms shall welcome you when other arms are tired; 
I stand to wait for you, patient in the darkness, 
Offering forgetfulness of all that you desired. 

I ask no merriment, no pretense of gladness, 
I can love heavy lids and lips without their rose; 
Though you are sorrowful you will not weary me; 
I will not go from you when all the tired world goes. 

I am the Dark Cavalier; I am the Last Lover; 
I promise faithfulness no other lips may keep; 
Safe in my bridal place, comforted by darkness, 
You shall lie happily, smiling in your sleep.

Margaret Widdemer (1884 – 1978) was an American poet, novelist, and children’s writer.


To read more poems, click here.



Beyond Reality: The Beauty of Photography as Art

Eurasian blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Eurasian blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)

“This is not what that background looked like,” my friend said in a half-puzzled, half-accusatory tone. “And it wasn’t snowing.”

My friend had dropped by for a cup of coffee and some girl gossip and was peering at my computer screen while I was making coffee. The screen showed a before and after photo of a blue tit posing on a perch.

And this is the trouble, I thought, with everybody being a photographer nowadays. You snap a picture with your phone, and there you go, a dog, your children, a blue tit. What you see is what you get. Change that, and you alter reality. You fake it. You cheat.

What they fail to see is that even a “real” picture that seems to show you precisely what you saw is a two-dimensional depiction of a three-dimensional reality. Our eyes see more than that camera does. What you’re looking at is what the camera saw, not you.

And what you see is different from what I see. Ask a group of people what they saw, and you’ll hear different accounts of the same thing. We’re different, and we’re interested in different things. If I walk into somebody’s house, my eyes will instantly travel to bookshelves and pictures while my husbands will find the LPs. Same reality, different outlooks.

Eurasian blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Before
Eurasian blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)
After

The important thing here is not what you look at but what you see. Some people would see a blue tit on a perch, and this is what they would attempt to record, the photograph an exact recording of reality. The result may be technically perfect but also impersonal. A good illustration for a bird guide, maybe, but no indication of the creator’s personality.

An artist, on the other hand, has a vision. S/he sees beyond the obvious, beyond the “bird on a stick.” S/he sees the promise, what it could be, the hidden layers of reality. S/he doesn’t attempt to record reality but create it anew.

Photographs are subjective, and it is the photographer’s vision that shapes the final result. This is where the line between photography and art blurs. While anyone can take a photograph, not everyone can create art. An artist sees beyond the obvious and captures the essence of a moment, not just the physical reality of it. They see the hidden layers of reality, and their photographs are a reflection of their unique perspective. The beauty of art is that it is not limited by the camera’s lens or the photographer’s perspective. It is an interpretation of reality; therefore, it can be anything the artist wants it to be. It is a creation, a representation of the world as the artist sees it, rather than a simple recording of it.

Everyone can be a photographer, but not everyone can be an artist.


To read more on photography, click hereArtsy has a good article on how to learn to see the world as an artist here.


Related Posts


If you liked this post, share it on your preferred social network or forward it to a friend.