Get Out

I’ve been feeling out of sorts lately so we decided to get out of the house for another day trip- this time to the ghost town of Ingalls, Oklahoma.

Even better was the fact that our destination was unknown to me until we arrived. It was so freeing to wake up, hit the road not knowing where I was going. This was a first. I’ll insist on more.


Not much is left except the general store, hotel and livery but it felt great to hit the road.

Minimalist Photography

For awhile now, I have been playing with the idea of minimalist images. This means sticking with the black and white, monochrome images but using less to compose an image with. An old friend named Brandon helped create a unique emulation of the old Kodak T-Max film as a preset in Lightroom. The idea being I would recreate the film look in my images.

This image was made in White Sands, New Mexico in February 2019.

More thoughts on a Stoic philosophy from a Roman Emperor

Wake Up Early and Get To Work

“At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: ‘I have to go to work – as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for – the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?’”

Take Time To Journal

“The recognition that I needed to train and discipline my character. Not to be sidetracked by my interest in rhetoric. Not to write treatises on abstract questions, or deliver moralizing little sermons, or compose imaginary descriptions of The Simple Life or The Man Who Lives Only for Others. To steer clear of oratory, poetry and belles lettres. Not to dress up just to stroll around the house, or things like that. To write straightforward.” — Marcus Aurelius

Prepare for the Day Ahead

“When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly.” — Marcus Aurelius

The Most Important Task First

“Concentrate every minute like a Roman—like a man—on doing what’s in front of you with precise and genuine seriousness, tenderly, willingly, with justice. And on freeing yourself from all other distractions. Yes, you can—if you do everything as if it were the last thing you were doing in your life, and stop being aimless, stop letting your emotions override what your mind tells you, stop being hypocritical, self-centered, irritable.” — Marcus Aurelius

Mindfulness

“Anyone with a feeling for nature—a deeper sensitivity—will find it all gives pleasure. Even what seems inadvertent. He’ll find the jaws of live animals as beautiful as painted ones or sculptures. He’ll look calmly at the distinct beauty of old age in men, women, and at the loveliness of children. And other things like that will call out to him constantly—things unnoticed by others. Things seen only by those at home with Nature and its works.” — Marcus Aurelius

You Will Die

“You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.” — Marcus Aurelius

The Stoic philosophy can be summed up simply: to put each breath to good use, to live virtuously, and to accept fate is either good or bad.

Stoic Virtues

Marcus Aurelius, one of the more decent Roman Emperors, kept a journal on philosophical topics which is now known as the Meditations, such as how to live well and how to be a good leader. Some of the virtues he reflected on are just as relevant today. I am attempting to apply these same Stoic principles daily.

  • Hard Work

Hard work is a desire, not a chore.

  • Courtesy

Being polite and courteous is a recognition of how your own emotion is not any more important than anyone else’s emotions. It is a mark of equality and self-discipline.

  • Serenity

Marcus mentions the ‘Serenity of Temper’. He wants to learn to control his anger because he understands anger is an important emotion to control.Marcus could not let himself make rash and reckless decisions when overcome by anger.

  • Generosity

As the richest and most powerful man in the Roman Empire, it’s interesting he valued generosity as one of the most important virtues. He isn’t talking about material wealth. We need to be generous in our thoughts as well as our actions. Generosity is thinking the best of people, and acting accordingly. It’s giving people the chance to be the very best person possible. Instead of judging a person harshly, you judge fairly.

  • Piety

Piety is respect and dedication towards God and religious beliefs. Piety isn’t preaching your beliefs but instead quietly living them. It’s a religious devotion. It’s the application of personal belief, which could be considered pious.

  • Simplicity

Marcus was rich and powerful and knew it could corrupt. He advocates for simplicity of living ‘unlike the usual lives of the rich’. The only way to balance the extremes between riches and poverty is to live simply. Learn to live with just enough and you will always be happy.

  • Kindness

Patience is an important virtue in developing kindness because it recognizes how other people are in different stages of learning and personal development. Parents should be patient towards children, because they are still learning about the world. Others come from different backgrounds and experiences for which we should try to understand and be patient to.

Marcus Aurelius mentioned other virtues but these seem like the most important in the Meditations. Learning to live like a Stoic Roman emperor can be helpful.

Post-Processing The Past

A year ago, it feels like eternity now, I visited California again; this time through Route 66. I took this photograph in Joshua Tree. I never really got around to processing those images except for a few. Like most of my images they’re stuck in digital storage. I’ve been taking advantage of the pandemic to organize these images and eventually post-process and print them. It’s a small way to distract myself and a big step in organizing the archives. I need more opportunities for landscape photography capture and apply what I’ve been reading up on.

Leave a comment

No Sense

“The world today doesn’t make sense, so why should I paint pictures that do?” – Pablo Picasso

I like this idea and maybe need to rethink some of my photography.

Be Quiet

“The quieter you become the more you are able to hear.”

Changes

“Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise so I am changing myself.”

Both

There is peaceful.
There is wild.
I am both at the same time.

  • Sum

iPhoneography

I just got back from a quick road trip and took almost all my camera gear in one backpack. It was fun but exhausting.

The simplicity of the iPhone camera brings back the same happiness and exploration that made me love photography. I rediscovered the joy of every day life and documented it. Even the mundane. The camera’s limitations force me to focus fully on the subject I am shooting. That child-like wonder wakes up and the mind opens to the possibilities.
I get to discover new surroundings and re-discover the familiar. How did I miss that before? Snap.

The phone can fit into tighter spaces better than a DSLR because of its size. No worries here about apertures, ISO or shutter speeds. Shooting from the hip is possible as opposed to holding up a camera to your face all the time. Brilliant.

Adding some unique character to the photos through a wide variety of apps helps as well. It is fun to play with settings and adjust color, light, shadows and more all without losing the original image. These adjustments can alter the mood or expression as needed. It can be crisp and digitally perfect or go old-school analog photography. Mobile photography has massive creative potential compared to traditional photography.

While we are experiencing a world-wide contagion and the weather is pleasant, it is good for me to get out, remind myself to look for new perspectives and remember the creativity and joy of mobile photography.

In Or Out?

Men seek for seclusion in the wilderness, by the seashore, or in the mountains – a dream you have cherished only too fondly yourself. But such fancies are wholly unworthy of a philosopher, since at any moment you can choose to retire within yourself. Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul; above all, he who possesses resources in himself, which he need only contemplate to secure immediate ease of mind – the ease that is but another word for a well-ordered spirit. Avail yourself often, then, of this retirement, and so continually renew yourself.

Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (4.3)