Photo Essay Series
By Jenny Leigh Hodgins
This is the eighth of my photo essay series featuring images from YourCreativeChord’s newly designed 2020 nature photo calendars. The calendars include monthly self-care themes highlighting strategies for nurturing your creativity and inspiration.
I woke up one wintry morning to find that it had snowed. Bundled up, I went outside just past sunrise to explore. My fleece-lined boots pounded the first footprints into the snow as I made my way to the end of the parking area. Four inches of snow covered everything with an immaculate layer of gleaming white. The dreamy scene of a soft-hued sky over rolling white hills and tree silhouettes inspired the poet in me.
Though it was cold, I lost myself in the splendor of this romantic scenic view, mesmerized like a child, by the clumps of snowy evergreen branches and the morning sky’s mellow pastel colors of blue, orange, pink, purple and yellow. The light of early morning permeated the vista with a tranquil glow.
Winter is often used to symbolize troubles we face in our lives. Living beings brace against the cold. People have to deal with potential problems caused by snowy roads and walkways. The freezing temperatures and winter snow are like the sufferings in our lives. There is a tendency to want to avoid these, hunkered down, hidden away, hoping for the passing of the chill.
The Buddhist teaching, ‘winter always turns to spring,’ came to mind. It’s true in nature that seasons change from one to another. But to create a springtime in the heart, we must use our difficulties as fuel for our inner light. The energy of our heart’s burning light is born of our ability to use the fire of challenges to ignite our full potential.
Viewing challenges, like this amazing winter scene, with the heart of a poet, changes my entire perspective. What if, like the beauty of this lovely winter snapshot, we could see every difficulty as an opportunity to inspire appreciation and creativity?
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Photo Essay Series
By Jenny Leigh Hodgins
This is the first of my photo essay series featuring images from my newly designed 2020 nature photo calendars. The calendars include monthly self-care themes highlighting strategies for nurturing your creativity and inspiration.
I enjoy taking nature photos because each captured image represents my excitement, joy and appreciation for the wondrous beauty available within an ordinary moment. My pictures are symbolic of my personal dreams and inner prayers for experiencing life to its maximum potential.
It helps that I live in beautiful Lexington, Kentucky, surrounded by agricultural and horse farms, near enough to the Kentucky Horse Park that I can ride my bike there. I also lived in sunny Florida for half my life, enjoying the gorgeous beaches of Venice, Fort Myers, Sarasota, Clearwater and Dunedin.
I snapped the photo above at Siesta Key Beach, Sarasota, during a sunset walk with a friend, determined to capture the serenity of the sun’s gentle departure beyond the horizon. This memory reminds me of my sincere friend, who graciously spent the weekend with me there to literally force me to enjoy some relaxation in between my whirlwind of events surrounding that time period.
The kindness of my friend’s compassionate gesture, the therapeutic nature of the deep, pulsing waves of the water, the setting of the sun as it sprayed its pastel wash of colors across the sky, and my deep love for Sarasota, as the place my Buddhist practice began (the starting point of hope in my life), exist within this momentary pause. Just as an entire lifetime of memories, personality, knowledge and emotion are represented within a person’s name, a single photo is full of kaleidoscopic meaning.
My photos are about slowing down enough to take one, solitary second out of a busy life to celebrate myself, my progress, this chapter, and the hope of the next one. It’s about letting my creative heart lead in my daily life, not my head.
I don’t compare my nature photography to other great photographers. Though I admire and deeply respect the works of others who’ve dedicated their lives to mastering technique and skill, that is not what inspires me.
I began taking photos because I was deeply moved by Daisaku Ikeda’s photography and underlying philosophy. He doesn’t claim to be a professional photographer. He began taking photos to commemorate experiences with others and leave something behind to encourage them.
I bring my photos to YourCreativeChord with a similar hope and intent; to inspire us to continually expand our lives by letting our true authenticity be the ultimate authority of our creative process. My photos are about seeing the world through the lens of my Greater Self (not my lesser self, ego).
I share my nature photography as a way of recognizing and celebrating our universal yet vulnerable point of human connection, and to experience the rejuvenating power of nature’s beauty within my images.
My photography is meant as an example of courageous creative exploration, as that is a prime point for me as a creator. I blog and podcast about the importance of allowing creative adventures, setting aside the theoretical mind, to allow one’s heart to express itself, unhindered by any limitation.
I’m a writer, poet and composer, but I venture into photography without my thinking hat. Instead, I bring childlike wonder and profound appreciation for nature’s astonishing allure.
I want to share this with you as a way of encouraging you to see your world as the artist within you knows it to be. When you see my photos, my hope is that it sparks your belief in your own creative vision. Enjoy the view.
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In my CREATIVITY blogs, you’ll find tips for exploring creative flow, and inspiring content related to the inherent challenges and tremendous joy within the creative process.