Wabi-Sabi: Autumn in DC

You know it's fall when the dazzling display of pumpkins pops up overnight and overflows onto the sidewalk in front of Whole Foods on P Street. Pumpkins used to be orange or maybe white, but now they are also green, gray, and an exquisite shade of peach. Even though they were delivered to the market by truck in large cardboard boxes, the stem remained on many of them, giving us city dwellers a hint of the farm, the vine, the dirt in which they grew. Those vines will be withering soon, and the growers will collect the seeds from these heirloom varieties to begin the cycle again next year.

Apps: Hipstamatic


The Zen Eye

Today was my first class with Zen artist photographer Tuan Pham at the National Arboretum. The theme was compassion and having a more inclusive perspective of ourselves in the world.  The assignment was to photograph with a "liberated eye" and to discover what we might just miss without careful observation. It was an exercise in letting the subject "choose us" and to engage it in a conversation. 

I have always been attracted to Gingko leaves as a subject, but today it was the fruits, almost hidden from view, that found me.  They are an ancient medicinal food at least as powerful as the towering tree itself. For the first time, I noticed their color, shape and texture.

The image is not a "perfect" composition, but it honors the subject which spoke to me this morning.

Apps: ProCamera, Oggl  


Wabi-Sabi: Paris #2

This is my second visit to the Jardin de Luxembourg and the ritual early morning walks in the park continue to reveal its quiet beauty. It is summer again, and I am alone with the chairs, the birds, the trees, not knowing who will come or how the landscape will change in the next hour or two. 

Apps: Hipstamatic


Wabi-Sabi: Kimono Prints

A dear friend gifted me with several old prints of women / men in kimonos.  Re-imagining them through the lens of Hipstamatic brought this traditional Japanese aesthetic into the 21st century. The random nature of the Hipsta lens and film combination always makes the final product a little unexpected.

I was inspired to create my own contemporary version using the techniques of Zentangle (more on this beautiful, meditative art form later) and watercolor.

Apps: Hipstamatic, Retouch


Wabi-Sabi: Sage

This sage was grown in the backyard garden of a friend in Chevreuse, a lovely hour out of Paris by train at the edge of a forest. Sage has been part of the culinary tradition in those cultures that grew up around the Mediterranean, and it has been used for healing and sacred ceremony since ancient times.

So it is not surprising that I find myself browning sage leaves in butter for a mysteriously delicious French sauce or burning the same kind of sage leaves in a mysteriously beautiful ritual to clear the energy in my new apartment.

Shooting images of this sage with the Hipstamatic lens "Tinto"and the film "Robusta" captures the essence of this magical herb. The changing light and a different background made these two images of the same subject unexpected and surprisingly different. 

Apps: Hipstamatic


Wabi-Sabi: Cherry Blossoms

Spring came late to the Tidal Basin. This image reminds me of the cold winter, snow on the tree trunks just weeks ago, and the delicate beauty of the cherry blossoms before they peak. As in all things wabi-sabi, we savor the moment of appearing and disappearing, the journey of a flower from bud to bloom.

Apps: ProCamera, Photostudio HD 


Wabi-Sabi: Snow 3

This morning at sunrise was the perfect time to start my annual obsession with the cherry trees ringing the Tidal Basin. The ice and snow of this cold winter created a serene backdrop for the wild profusion of budding branches that herald the arrival of spring. An exquisite moment of beauty in transformation.

We often forget that the seasons overlap and tangle with each other. According to ancient Celtic tradition, the true beginning of each season comes with the cross-quarter day, the midpoint between the solstice and the equinox.  

Apps: Procamera, Oggl, Filterstorm


Wabi-Sabi: Snow 2

Two views outside the window of Peregrine Espresso on 14th. Each is just a moment in time.

Apps: Procamera, Hipstamatic, Filterstorm

Wabi-Sabi: Snow

This is my first snowy winter on the east coast.  I love the patterns and forms that suddenly appear and then (especially here in DC) disappear almost without notice. This patio inside someone's front gate was an irresistible subject, even though I couldn't quite reach in far enough to get the full shot.

Apps: Procamera


Gingko Project - the last leaf in DC

Three versions of one last gingko leaf that posed in the snow for my iPhone. It was beautiful in that moment, but I envisioned it in the days to come, slowly disintegrating and becoming, perhaps, even more beautiful.

Apps: ProCamera, iColorama, Snapseed, Procreate


Gingko Project - winter

It's January, and I'm always surprised to see trees begin to bud when it's freezing outside. Still, I find it interesting to walk along the "Gingko Streets" in Northwest DC - Corcoran, Swann, Hillyer - with the beautiful bare trees and to remember what it was like just a few months ago.

Apps: ProCamera, Oggl, iColorama, Photo Studio HD