"If by my life or death I can protect you, I will."
J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Fellowship of the Ring
Mr. B. and I have been up since 3:30 A.M. and are waiting for daylight and our Sunday 5 mile jog/race walk. The heat has been oppressive (by U.P. standards) and will require an early start. I am glad I postponed the backpacking trip in the Trap Hills until cool temps and Fall colors, as it would have been just miserable to pack in this humidity and heat. On my first cup of black java and thinking about those things that seem to be a stream of consciouness in the pre-dawn hours-a wonderful and quiet time to ponder those things that the interruptions of the day seem to preclude focus on. One thing that comes to mind in this morning ritual is the notion of simplicity, both in my art and my life in general. In my photographic pursuits, both in the studio and the field, keeping things simple has been a hallmark of my style. My most frequent question from this blog, and more often from Flickr members, has to do with my technique in the studio with flowers and other still life subjects. While I generally respond with all the exegencies involved in low key HDR processing, lighting, and composition, in general, I share that keeping things simple reaps more visual rewards. My lighting involves one or two Photoflex softboxes and continuous tungsten light head inside. Sometimes, only one light is more pleasing. A black velvet blackground and you are in business. Simplicity in my personal life, attitude, and daily rituals has evolved in recent years, but was not always my mainstay earlier in life. Living in a peaceful historical home with a routine characterized by a mindful connection to the natural world here at Rauhallinen Farm has reaped emotional and spiritual (non-religious) benefits of significance. My relationship with one other (you) and my grandchildren have replaced a once frenetic lifestyle with joy.