changing seasons | v2 | seven

As time goes on, you’ll understand. What lasts, lasts; what doesn’t, doesn’t. Time solves most things. And what time can’t solve, you have to solve yourself.”
― Haruki Murakami, Dance Dance Dance

In my piece out in the midday sun | 4 I wrote about my decision to go manual with my camera, the gallery above is my first real attempt at doing so (well, at least the first time to do so for many years).

Each shot was taken with my Nikon D700 and my favourite Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.4 lens. All the shots were taken with ISO200. I selected an aperture of f/1.4 each time because I was looking for a very shallow depth of field. One side effect of using such a shallow depth of field at this lens (at least in my experience) is that the images are not so sharp, but I still love the effect. The only auto setting that I left in place was white balance which I left sitting at auto. The images were recorded as NEF (Nikon’s proprietary RAW format) which I left at 12-bit (maybe I will switch this back to 14-bit). I used the camera’s on board exposure meter to help figure out the best shutter speed to allow the wide open aperture that I had selected, it was a very sunny day, without a cloud in sight, so some of the shutter speeds were very fast.

I developed the images in Lightroom CC applying the lens correction tools to ‘remove chromatic aberration’ and ‘enable profile corrections’ for the lens that I had chosen. I must also confess that I did also tweak the exposure setting, and add a little sharpening, on a couple of the images, so my experiment was not as pure as my original intention.

But, by and large, these images were as shot using manual settings. I have no plans to revert to any auto settings any time soon, what do you think?

Also, this is part 7 of changing seasons, I missed parts 4, 5 and 6 but then nobody’s perfect.

Oh, and as you can see, I am busy growing a selection of things that can be dropped into drinks, although I forgot to include a shot of my first vine.

for changing seasons | cardinal guzman | v2

changing seasons | v2 | three

War is what happens when language fails
― Margaret Atwood

I had half a mind not to contribute to the challenge this month. No specific reason.

On my last trip through London, I was browsing the shelves of a bookstore that was offering discounts on a range of Penguin modern classics. One of the books I selected was Storm of Steel by Ernst Jünger. I have long had an interest in the first world war, initially inspired by reading various British poets and bibliographers, a visit with family members in search of a grave some ten years or more ago, and, more recently, by living in Belgium. A country that bears the scars of that futile conflict perhaps more than anywhere else. Scars that are perhaps deeper and less well healed than seem apparent at first sight.

Storm of Steel is written from the point of view of a German soldier in the trenches. The author makes no attempt to take sides, makes no particular political point, includes almost no contextual remarks and the narrative is at times almost claustrophobically restricted to the immediate surroundings of the protagonist. What appeals to me about the book is the opportunity to see some of the events that shaped our world from (for me at least) a fresh perspective.

The feeling conveyed by the book for me so far (I am only half way through because one of the other resolutions I didn’t make, in addition to reading more, was to get out and exercise more) is one of detachment and surreality. And, on top of that, there is a curious sense of equality between the soldiers entrenched on either side of the hell that is no mans land. They appear to have similar rules and abide by them. There are terrible scenes of carnage and brutality and yet, through (and despite) the horror, there seems to be a sense of fair play and straight forward behaviour. Even if the politics behind the war made, perhaps little sense, to the slaughtered millions, they at least appeared to know their enemy, understand their enemy.

Which brings me to the events of the last few days in Brussel.

How the seasons have changed in the last 100 years.

Our enemies are not in the opposite trench, badged and bearing arms under the flag of their country.

Our enemies now seem to move amongst us, one hand gloved as they wheel their death laden luggage trolley, unseen in plain site.

Their targets are not the uniformed soldiers across no mans land, men who knew what to expect (death mostly). Their targets are children, you and me waiting to board our flights, airport staff serving the needs of weary, frustrated travellers. Their targets are our peace of mind, our ability to live and move in freedom. Their rationale is alien to us, their means of attack incomprehensible, how can we understand the mind of persons who can walk into a checkout line and, with the press of a button, destroy themselves, innocent children, women and men, and our freedom?

One thing perhaps we can learn from the (not so) Great War, is that unleashing mind numbing retaliation in fury simply creates mud, pain, loss and despair.

As we mourn those who lost their lives this week, and all those who have lost their lives in similar circumstances over so many years of our generation, let us hold our blood lust in check, let us not lash out in fury.

Let us think, let us work together to find a way to deal with the root causes of the horror in our world. Let us not close our borders, our hearts and our minds. Let us continue to welcome those poorer than ourselves, those who carry a greater burden, those who have lost more than we can ever comprehend.

Now, more than ever, we need to stand tall, to show those who dare to intimidate us that our way is the way that will prevail.

United we stand.


for changing seasons | cardinal guzman | v2

*composite image created from a book cover shot using an iPhone 6S, and a screen shot of a typed page, both images previously published on my Instagram page*