Contemplative Photography 11

28 05 2012

Here is another post in my Miksang and Contemplative Photography series.

This post outlines the process that I follow when approaching Miksang.  I don’t have any official training but I outline here what I’ve learned as I go out and shoot with ‘a good eye, an open heart and an open mind’.

Try it for yourself.  It’s interesting (but not easy) to leave your inner critic behind and photograph whatever captures you, even when you’re not sure why.  That is easier said that done and I spend a lot of time ignoring the nagging, but still aware that it is there.

I carry my camera with me each day and I usually take a walk at lunchtime, mostly just to get me out of the office for a while. I don’t go out deciding to do a photo shoot, if it comes, it comes. I just walk, feel centred, wander and look. I enjoy walking meditation rather than being still. I clear out judgement and expectation and just see freshly and clearly. Think about your trip to work each morning. Whether it is a drive, a train trip or a walk to your home office, there are things you pass every day without even noticing them.

The practice of Miksang helps you notice all around you and see things, without judgement.  Most times, something will catch my eye, capture me, fascinate, surprise, delight or jar me. It demands a reaction, it stirs an emotion. I stop and often say “Whoa! Look at THAT”.  It attracts or repels me.  I get the feeling but I hold all judgement about whether it is a ‘good’ subject or a ‘bad’ subject, whether the light or angle or distance is ‘right’. For some reason, it has captured and connected with me, if not, I move along. Later I try to look deeply to see what it was that caught me.

Was it the shape? colour? texture? shadow? light? contrast? the grouping? the arrangement? the odd number? the symmetry or asymmetry? the negative or empty space? the angle? incongruity? context?

I don’t try to find a ‘better’ angle, I don’t zoom, I don’t crop, edit, straighten or do any post production. I shoot what I see. What you see is what I saw and what captured me. Hopefully the shot shows you things that capture my eye, my heart, my mind (when it is free from clutter and judgement).  So, that’s where I am on my journey into Miksang. I hope you give it a go as well.

If you’d like to find out more about Miksang and the art of Contemplative Photography, check out these links:

Miksang Institute for Contemplative Photography
Miksang Society for Contemplative Photography





Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer

26 05 2012

I always look forward to summer in Australia not for the sunshine, the weekend barbecues or trips to the beach.  Summer to me means the arrival of Cricket Season and I enjoy nothing more than a relaxing day out watching a leisurely game.  I love it.

A day/night game at the WACA Ground: Western Australian Cricket Association

The picture above was taken during a one day game at the WACA which is the International Cricket venue in Perth, Western Australia.  I’ve walked on the hallowed turf in bare feet.  It is softer and more luxurious than the finest carpet.  It was a balmy summer evening and we had good company, a great view and cold drinks.  The one below is a suburban game of cricket by a country team visiting Perth for their annual Country Week Tournament.  Deep shade, a comfy chair, good company and a good book.  The perfect way to spend a day off.

Senior Country Week Cricket: January 2012

I think that’s one of the main attractions for me – the pace of the game is slow and can verge on boring.  Some people  liken it to watching paint dry.  I don’t mind that at all.  Watching cricket lets me give myself permission to sit in a chair for a few hours in the sun and fresh air and not think.  After a busy year summer comes in December and cricket slows me down so I relax, take a drink, enjoy the sunshine, wait for play, watch a bit of the game, read the paper, have a walk around the boundary, take another drink, watch a bit of the game, lay on a blanket for a while, cheer for a wicket, read the paper some more, have a doze, watch the seagulls, eat a snack and relax.  Ahhhhhh.

You can join in the Weekly Photo Challenge too – visit the Daily Post for more details.





Contemplative Photography 10

21 05 2012

My approach to contemplative photography (or Miksang) has been quite intuitive. I’ve read everything I can find and am developing my ‘eye’ but it’s hard to describe miksang without it sounding like a riddle.

Miksang, or contemplative photography is more of an ‘approach’ or a ‘way’ rather than a set of rules. To me (and remember I’m only learning), it is about going out with an open heart, open eye and open mind. I clear out judgement and expectation and just see freshly and clearly. Think about your trip to work each morning. Whether it is a drive, train trip or walk to your office, there are things you pass every day without even noticing. Miksang helps you notice all around you and see them, without judgement.

I usually take a walk at lunchtime, mostly just to get me out of the office for a while. I don’t go out deciding to do a photo shoot, if it comes, it comes. I just walk, feel centred, wander and look. I enjoy walking meditation rather than being still.

Most times, something will catch my eye, capture me, fascinate, surprise, delight or jar me. It demands a reaction, it stirs an emotion. I stop and often say “Whoa! Look at THAT”. I hold all judgement about whether it is a ‘good’ subject or a ‘bad’ subject, whether the light or angle or distance is ‘right’. For some reason, it has captured me, if not, I move along. I’m look deeply to see what it was that caught me.
Was it the shape? colour? texture? shadow? light? texture? symmetry? asymmetry? space? angle? incongruity? context?

I don’t try to find a ‘better angle, I don’t zoom, I don’t crop, edit, straighten or do any post editing. I shoot what I see. What you see is what I saw and what captured me. Hopefully the shot shows you things that capture my eye, my heart, my mind.
So, that’s where I am on my journey into Miksang. I hope you give it a go as well.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you’d like to find out more about Miksang and the art of Contemplative Photography, check out these links:

Miksang Institute for Contemplative Photography
Miksang Society for Contemplative Photography





Weekly Photo Challenge: Blue

17 05 2012

This week’s WordPress challenge is to feature something BLUE.   Here is a selection of blue things from my world, captured during my lunchtime walks around the city of Perth, Western Australia.





Contemplative Photography 09

14 05 2012

See more posts in this series on my Contemplative Photography page.

Miksang – The Art of Contemplative Photography
Miksang is an art form centred on Contemplative Photography. Miksang is a Tibetan word that translates as “Good Eye” and is based on the Shambala and Dharma art teaching of the late meditation master, artist and scholoar Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche.According to the Miksang Institute for Contemplative Photography, miksang “is (at its most basic level) photography concerned with uncovering the truth of pure perception. We see something vivid and penetrating, and in that moment we can express our perception without making anything up – nothing added, nothing missing. Totally honest about what we see – straight shooting.”

My weekly Monday Miksang Offering to you:
How did it happen that their lips came together?  How does it happen that birds sing, that snow melts, that the rose unfolds, that the dawn whitens behind the stark shapes of trees on the quivering summit of a hill?  A kiss, and all was said.– Victor Hugo 1802-1885

If you’d like to find out more about Miksang and the art of Contemplative Photography, check out these links:





The Art of Wabi-sabi

7 05 2012

Relax.  Look.  Now what do you see?

I’m taking a break from my Miksang photos to remind you of (or introduce you to) the art of Wabi-sabi. You might find some similarities here.

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese aesthetic that honours the beauty of things imperfect, impermanent and incomplete. It is quite a contrast from the “Western” principles of beauty that often centre around perfection, flawlessness, symmetry and clarity. Wabi-sabi is not purely a japanese version of ‘modernist’ or ‘minimalist’ art, it is a visual and intuitive appreciation of a transient beauty in the physical world. Indeed much of wabi-sabi beauty can be found in decay or decline which brings us to a melancholy contemplation on the seasons of life. Life is transient which makes it all the more precious. In that sense, wabi-sabi lets you find beauty in the ragged teddy bear and that soft and fraying jumper. You can let it be (or can you?). It is perfect in its imperfection.

There is a great introduction to the principles of wabi-sabi at The Hermitary, which outlines the categories of Type, Form, Texture, Beauty, Color, Simplicity, Space, Balance and Sobriety. Fellow blogger “Raw Earth Living” has an interesting post on wabi-sabi if you’d like some history.

For now, here are some of my wabi-sabi shots. See what they stir in you as you view them. Can you find beauty? Can you let them be? Do they jar you? unsettle you? intrigue you? inspire you? bore you? annoy you? Do you long to clean or fix them up?  Let your viewing tell you something. Enjoy.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For more contemplative photography – check out my Page of Miksang posts.





Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocussed

5 05 2012

Unfocussed – my camera toss experiment

This week, it’s all about being unfocussed.  To capture this image I tried the risky business of Camera Tossing. The fancy name for this growing art form is Kinetic Photography, meaning photography in motion, but really, it is a matter of throwing a camera in the air several times and trying to capture an artistic and abstract image.

There are some fantastic examples around from people who have experimented with the technique. They tend to shoot at night and use a light source to capture great patterns in light by tossing, bouncing, spinning their cameras!

I used an old small compact which is automatic so I couldn’t really change settings or exposure length. I took a risk and set the timer for two seconds, then threw it up in the air a few times. The first time it just took a great shot of the patio, another got a shot of me looking up with a big frown on my face (because I don’t catch well). Then I tried throwing the camera a little higher, with more of a spinning action (side ways spinning, then end over end spinning) and got some interesting results!!  If you’d like to see more from people who REALLY know what they’re doing in this art form, check out Designzzz for some examples.  Oh, and when you get started, you might want to put some cushions on the ground too.   🙂








%d bloggers like this: