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Some of us fear the woods

Some of us fear the woods


Heather Von St. James knows fear. She is a mesothelioma survivor who had her left lung removed in order to save her life. That was back in 2005. The operation and treatment were successful and Heather is a “seven year cancer survivor.” I put that in quotes because that term must, at times, still frighten Heather. We all are survivors of whatever life has thrown at us, but most of us have not had the terror that a diagnosis of cancer creates.

So to ward off any residual or persistent fear, Heather has created a special holiday in tribute to the surgery that saved her life — Lungleavin Day. Here’s what she says about it:

“With Lungleavin Day coming up, the opportunity is here to write our fears on a plate and smash them into the fire, I’m going to once again take control of my emotions and overcome. I know I have the power to do it; sometimes it is just making the choice to do so.”

The date is February 2 and its a online event as well as one at Heather’s home with her friends, loved ones and supporters.
Here’s a link to Heather’s blog in case you’d like to know more about her story.

Fear might be the most corrosive of all passions, eating away our ability to be happy. Fear is one of our most troublesome pitfalls — no doubt about it. If you are dealing with a terrible illness or know someone who is Heather’s story might just be what you need to help you deal with fear and the uncertainty that creates it.

Thanks to Heather for helping us to understand that fear can be confronted and vanquished. We fear lots of things, after all we live in the liminal space allotted to us by our nature. What is linminal space? From the blog Liminal Space:

“The word “liminal” comes from the Latin word limens, meaning literally, “threshold.”

A liminal space, the place of transition, waiting, and not knowing is…

…a unique spiritual position where human beings hate to be but where the biblical God is always leading them. It is when you have left the tried and true, but have not yet been able to replace it with anything else. It is when you are finally out of the way. It is when you are between your old comfort zone and any possible new answer. If you are not trained in how to hold anxiety, how to live with ambiguity, how to entrust and wait, you will run…anything to flee this terrible cloud of unknowing.
– Richard Rohr”

A cloud of unknowing is created by every diagnosis of life threatening disease. Its also created when we get lost in a strange city or the woods. Job change, divorce, auto accident, fire, flood, etc — all these things put us in Liminal space. How we deal with this condition will determine how happy we can be from that point on.

Years ago Muhammad Ali explained what he did when he was knocked into liminal space — in other words almost knocked out. He said that in that state the boxer hallucinates, he might see a theatrical dressing room, with a magician’s top hat and cane, clown’s costume and makeup, a zebra and dancing girl. He said if you let this place freak you out you will be knocked out. But if you look around, put on the top hat, pick up the cane and say hi to the dancing girl you should be able to clear your head and leave liminal space getting back to the fight (hopefully the bell will end the round by then!).

I believe we exist in liminal space. Constantly. To survive on earth we need a very narrow set of conditions, temperature, humidity, availability of nutrients, biological balance so that our bodies are able to ward off bacteria. We are always between a rock and a hard place. I find it helpful to explore the space afforded to me but don’t feel a need to stretch beyond my comfort zone simply to test myself. Others want to explore the entire globe and ski where no one should be skiing, etc. Whatever it takes to help us deal with being in a place of transition. Learning what we can about our liminal space is a great help.

We came from a place unknown and are headed to another one. No matter how religious or spiritual a person might be no one knows where human consciousness is headed. We live in a cloud of unknowing; in liminal space. So we need to figure out how to deal with it. I’m with Ali — let’s look around and see what we find interesting, attractive — see what and where we can contribute what we do best. After all, our time in this frightening space is short no matter who we are — best to make the most of it and enjoy the journey to the other side. Smash plates, dance the tango, ski, pray, meditate, (I take photographs!) Enjoy your liminal space!


Burlesque at the Beach
I started a new blog today to keep track of my online photography posts. The first post is here:

http://frankwintersphotography.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/first-post-in-winters-photography/

Please take a look and let me know what you think. Many thanks!


Sunday Morning: Winters of My Life.

I thought this was well worth sharing — Thanks David. See — there’s beauty right in your backyard, especially this one.


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I’m the driver when we take Mom or Dad to see Doctors. Today it was Coney Island Hospital. Most of the campus is in disarray due to repairs of damage from hurricane Sandy. The Tower building, one of the newest one’s, wasn’t damaged.

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These ladies were having a smoke and chat in front of the sign saying “no smoking within 15 feet of this sign.”

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Street life on Ocean Parkway.


Wolf Moss Lichen

Wolf Moss Lichen

Here is my gem of the day — a photo I took while hiking in the woods on Cape Cod. Its Wolf moss, or Lutharia Vulpina its poisonous I believe. (Its actually a lichen not a moss) It was used to poison wolves years ago. Intimate glimpses into the forest floor yield endless beauty; it pays to look.

To order a print of this image please go here:

Photography Prints


When I visit Brooklyn to help my wife care for her elderly parents, I often visit Coney Island. I take my “real camera” and my iPhone. The Hipstamatic shots I take work well. That AP seems designed for Coney. The beautiful beach and funky boardwalk the crowds and fast food — the rides — all great subjects for me and my non-camera with its creative APs.

I also use a few other APs too — ProCamera, PhotoForge2, and PerfectlyClear turn my phone into a portable photo lab.

I learned a lot about using my iPhone for photography from Dan Burkholder. Dan is a deep well of knowledge and a great resource if you want to learn the skills for great iPhone work.

Here are some samples of my iPhone images:

Hipstamatic

ProPhoto PhotoForge2

iPhone Camera with HDR mode set on. PhotoForge2


The creative potential of the phone with these APs is vast. Resolution is adequate for large prints (11 x 14″ at least). Wide angle and macro lenses are available (I have a nice set– $69) so the only camera I need is on my iPhone.I have an iPhone4. The 4s and 5 have better cameras so I’ll upgrade in January when Verizon will let me. I’m not going to give up on real cameras — yet — but I find myself using the the iPhone more often lately, especially at Coney Island. Nice to have a camera, software and computer in my pocket!

ProCamera PhotoForge2


Magnificent sky early afternoon — as the thunderstorms that never happened threatened.

I was waiting for my father-in-law to have his Doctor’s visit at Lutheran Hospital in Sunset Park Brooklyn. So as usual I walked around the neighborhood. The sky had been threatening all day and now clouds of enormous proportions came together. I walked out on the Sanitation Department’s pier on a public street but past many no trespassing signs and got out to the chain link fence closing off the pier. Only had my iPhone — forgot to bring a real camera. Note to self — iPhone is great but sometimes you need a real one. I stuck to lens of the phone between the links and got a few decent shots. The sky deserved a better photographer and camera but I am happy with my results — considering.

I think my online friends Vladimir Brezina and Johna Till Johnson were out in the water heading from Manhattan to Coney Island the same day. They recorded some really great images from their kayaks — posted here in their wonderful blog — Wind Against Current.

Later that day there was a double rainbow back at my in-laws home in Gravesend —

Double Rainbow — Gravesend Brooklyn

It was a great day for photography and I’m glad I didn’t miss it entirely. Next time I hope to have both my iPhone and a real camera. Or at least an iPhone 4s upgrade!

To see these images in my online gallery please go here and look in the Brooklyn gallery.


A couple of iPhone shots. I just got a set of olloclip lenses. Trying them out.

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Walking around Sunset Park, Brooklyn again. Bright sun yesterday made so many images. Here are two taken with my iPhone and edited in the phone with Photoshop app for iPhone.

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Smokestacks on the water.

I was recently exploring the Sunset Park Waterfront neighborhood of Brooklyn with my iPhone. I was waiting for my father-in-law who was at Lutheran Hospital for a cat scan and so had an hour to use (I try not to kill hours). The Sunset Park waterfront is being revitalized. Naturally, its very cool and mysterious — as is. There are abandoned buildings and urban blight, etc, making it run down and interesting. The Brooklyn waterfront is going through a period of rebirth. Brooklyn Bridge Park is an example of this as is Dumbo. There’s a ferry to Manhattan from a pier that was deserted when I visited last week. Kiss and Sail — a nice idea! (I don’t know if this ferry is operational now. I can’t find information about it and the large pier was deserted when I was there, unless you count me and sea gulls.) The Brooklyn Army Terminal is here as is Bush terminal. A good place for walking around with a camera, tho.

I wonder if this building will survive revitalization?

I look forward to these developments. But exploring living history is more interesting. And now there are less crowds than there will be.

Kiss and Sail. Why not Sail and Kiss?

Me and the birds on the pier.

Use of photos

Photos on this blog are copyright protected. Therefore, if you wish to use photos please make a donation in an amount of your choice. My PayPal email address is fwinters@verizon.net.

Prints are available at Fine Art America

Or contact me directly.

Thanks.

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