It can be an enjoyable creative experiment to produce a series of images in keeping with a theme like Emerging From Darkness. Using a mirrorless camera system for this type of creative execution is ideal since we can see how our images will look in real time without any guesswork. Obviously this is important when purposely underexposing images.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
All of the photographs featured in this article were captured handheld using an OM-D E-M1X and an M.Zuiko 60 mm f/2.8 macro lens. The in-camera focus stacking technology resident in my E-M1X was used with a focusing differential of 4, and with the number of focus stacked images set to 10. I kept my ISO constant at base ISO-200 and used shutter speeds that ranged from a high of 1/320 to a low of 1/8. Aperture settings ranged from f/4 to f/8.
Regardless of the camera gear that we may happen to own and use, it is important to understand our equipment’s capabilities, and how we can apply them to create the photographs that are in our mind’s eye.
All of these Emerging From Darkness images were created within a 90 minute timeframe, during a recent visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens.
While a theme like Emerging From Darkness can make for an enjoyable photographic outing… it is also a metaphor for the journey of self-discovery that we are on during our lifetime.
We all begin our time here leaving the warmth and security of our mother’s body. Although there is no memory of those first independent moments… they must be truly shocking as we are being thrust out into a cold, foreign world. So shocking that we immediately seek comfort and support. Some of us never leave these comfort and support yearnings behind, and end up failing to fully mature as individuals.
If we are fortunate, our parents provide for both our physical and emotional needs in ways that allow us to discover ourselves and grow. We are born as blank slates… only to be written upon and moulded by our parents. Sometimes we are taught to appreciate nature and value all living things around us. We may learn the importance of equanimity in what can be a harsh and tumultuous world. The relative strength of our moral compass is created.
Some of us have dogma thrust upon us, and are taught to hate by our parents and so-called friends. We are sometimes encouraged to be intolerant of others who we deem to be different than ourselves. Racism, misogyny and homophobia can take over our everyday lives. We may exist in weakness and fear, spending our lives lashing out at others. Our human potential can be lost in a raging sea of emotions that are manipulated by others.
Tribalism and xenophobia can dominate our lives. It may result in us having no sense of self… and no appreciation that potential to affect positive change in our lives even exists. Emerging From Darkness in these situations can become increasingly difficult the longer we are exposed to a toxic environment… and for some… impossible.
Like quicksand, we may become totally enveloped. Not by ovular grains of sand… but by hatred, fear and weakness. In extreme cases we become so divorced from our human potential it is like we were stillborn.
Emerging From Darkness takes personal strength and courage. It takes courage to constantly question the dogma that we’ve been incessantly pressured to blindly accept. It takes personal strength to look inside ourselves to identify our core values and see how those values guide our behaviour. Then to take ownership of our less-than-desirable traits, and to commit to self-development.
Our talents, skills and passions may lie dormant under a blanket of self-doubt. Emerging From Darkness allows us to celebrate our gifts and use them to make positive contributions. As we begin to enter the light of our lives, we can learn to radiate it back to others.
An important stage of Emerging From Darkness is to identify our own weaknesses and acts of selfishness. These moments of self-awareness can provide the fuel for personal growth and deepen self-understanding. They can help stop the never ending illusions of self-importance that hold us back… and fuel our selfishness.
Emerging From Darkness puts us on a path to seek understanding rather than leaping to judgement. We can learn to dispassionately observe the behaviours of ourselves and others as the true measure of intent. Words can be hollow and self-serving. Examined actions are laid bare on the anvil of truth.
At birth we’re each given a token for a ride on the merry-go-round of life. Not everyone decides to ride it fully and joyfully. None of us knows when that token will come due… and when we’ll have to hand it back in. There’s no escaping that eventuality.
For many of us, Emerging From Darkness is a journey of self-discovery that never completely provides all of the answers or understanding we seek. Our token often comes due before that happens. Even if that’s the case… it is still an incredible journey to pursue and experience. We only have one opportunity to do so.
Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from out-of-camera focus stacked jpeg images using my standard approach in post. I used handheld in-camera focusing stacking with the Focus Differential set to 4 and the number of focus stacked frames to 10. A single auto-focusing point was engaged. This is the 1,224 article published on this website since its original inception in 2015.
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