Category Archives: Landscape

2018 | Renew the Authentic and the Compassionate Heart

We have the capacity to choose what echoes through the coming years of our lives, whether it be the pain of hurt and regret or the memory of those times when we pushed through with faith to carry-on to new growth and possibilities.

The temptation to remain in the comfort of hurt and regret is always there, particularly when we find ourselves in environments where we are surrounded by reminders of our past and there’s a constant, dark shadow energy of playing it safe and serving something that will never serve what’s best for our hearts.

It’s all meaningless when we commit ourselves to the discipline of growth and change and shake loose the tentacles of our past who are dependent on maintaining their cold, hard grips. It’s all noise when we choose to listen to the soul-destiny of what should – and still can – be in the full fruition of our talents. It’s nothing compared to the light of our courage to go on and prove to the dark shadow energy just how dark and sad it really is.

The excuses we convince ourselves of are just that, excuses. Instead just imagine the wonderful power of change and example being set for the generations to follow, to not succumb, to challenge, to grow, to stay fully in awareness of heart, mind and soul. To be beyond our present circumstances in fully in the light of possibility.

May 2018 be the year all of us break free from all that is toxic for the soul and return to the essence of what is good and lasting and hopeful.

Modernity and its money-induced machines have placed in us this tendency toward unhealthy addictions that do nothing but serve our fears and egos while starving the heart, of true connection, of authenticity, of compassion beyond mere appearances. There is so much more to life than all of that. I know!

May 2018 be the year we regain the high ground not of pride and self-appointed authority of some pain we refuse to release but of reawakened wonder and pursuit of what it is that makes the heart sing in pure, honest joy. Hold there – the real high ground – and let love hold what is beautiful in you and let the light fill fully where it has longed to be.

The Great Expanse

The great expanse. Perhaps we are naturally drawn to scenes of great distances not just for the beauty of the vista but also because of what such scenes have come to represent within ourselves. The opening, a journey, an adventure. More than anything else the overcoming of the fears that keep us stranded within our starting points and our visions limited and small. Out upon that great expense is our faith. Beyond ourselves a love far greater and more powerful than what we assume keeps us safe and comfortable. The ships of our souls weren’t built to be tied and anchored. They were built for full sails toward the light.

Early March at sunset over meadow at Sugarcreek MetroPark near Dayton Ohio by Jim Crotty
September in the meadow at Sugarcreek MetroPark near Dayton Ohio by Jim Crotty
Farm fields in late March near Laurelville Ohio by Jim Crotty

Seek the Authentic – Be Authentic

Seek authenticity, marvel in its presence but resist the urge to simply imitate. What is truly authentic should only inspire you to find what is already authentic in you. Doing so has become increasingly challenging in the popular culture of today where the emphasis is on appearance and immediate visual stimulation. Popular culture devours the authentic with an insatiable appetite and then sits in the corner, sad and empty-hearted. Just look what has happened to the most well known art and music “festivals.” There’s the perfect example. Imitation is a disguise for those who can’t – or have failed to – locate their own voice and it doesn’t help that we have entire industries that cater to imitation. Inspiration is the far better journey. Defy popularism. Be true, be inspired and become a source of inspiration versus imitation. That’s where you will find the good and lasting stuff.

Sunset sky over Albuquerque New Mexico on August 7 2014 by Jim Crotty
Scenes, landscape and skyscape on the journey between Taos and Santa Fe New Mexico by Jim Crotty
Sunset sky near Los Alamos New Mexico on March 6 2012 by Jim Crotty
Scenes, landscape and skyscape on the journey between Taos and Santa Fe New Mexico by Jim Crotty
Weathered texture of abandoned homestead in the Cabezon Peak Wilderness Area of New Mexico by Jim Crotty
An August day out on the Diamond Tail Ranch near Albuquerque New Mexico with Roch Hart of New Mexico Jeep Tours

Change | Powerful and Persistent

Nature is a persistent and patient teacher with the life lesson of change. Having been involved with nature photography for over 40 years has allowed me to observe the power and importance of this lesson. The one thing that doesn’t change has been change itself. It is consistent.

People naturally fight change. They hate it. Honestly I do to. The very thought of ever moving again brings on a sense of dark doom. Change is so disruptive to what most perceive as safety and security. It goes against this inherent human fallacy known as control. But then nature comes along with her lessons, sometimes subtle; sometimes quite harsh. Late summer and into early autumn seems to be the time when mother nature too likes to put school back into session, with vigor and suddenness, particularly for those living in the coastal states.

Ohio’s lessons on change this time of year tend to be far more subtle but there they are, nonetheless. Summer ends, school begins, cool evenings give way to fields and meadows covered in webs and dew. The balance between day and night returns, and life goes on.

The opposite of fighting change within our own lives is to fully embrace it, with courage and faith. To emulate nature not in the struggle but in the quiet acceptance of what is meant to be will be. Ego insists on the struggle and attempts vainly at controlling the inevitable. Nature flows with it. She goes with the confidence of what changes never truly goes away but is returned again and again in new seasons and forms.

But with our modern lives embracing change is easier said than done. Ego and security are often buried generations deep with the help of inherited fears. This dire need for the “bricks and mortar” and monuments to persona do little to assuage wounds never properly healed. The falseness of our beliefs in ourselves and controlling everything prove to be powerful barriers for free spirits to overcome.

Nature continues to teach otherwise. I think it’s why I could never really leave her classroom. My camera has become my pencil and the photographs my growing stack of doodled and dogeared notebooks.

Change in the seasons and in life flow with an energy that when it comes down to it, I never see as negative. It’s continuous and so are the lessons. With energy so immense and eternal how could anything – or anyone – truly “end.”

In our lives we are given this gift of continuous love that we would rather shove into the corner in favor of what’s immediate and more serving of our needs for control and security. It isn’t until the hard lessons are put upon us whereby we return to the treasure behind our here and now. This gift of continuous love can be found and observed in both nature and in each of us. Change is the energy for it to fly in orbits that will never end but only become better and brighter through time and generations.

Early September evening in the meadow at Bill Yeck Park in Centerville Ohio by Jim Crotty

The rising of the full Corn Moon on evening of September 5 2017 from Bill Yeck Park in Centerville Ohio by Jim Crotty

Fall Nature Photography in Ohio | October 21 Workshop in Hocking Hills

Fall nature photography workshop by Jim Crotty at The Inn at Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills Ohio on Saturday October 21 2017

I am pleased to announce a one-day, fall nature photography workshop in the heart of Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio for Saturday, October 21st, 2017. Once again this fun-filled learning program will be based from the beautiful conference room facilities at The Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls.

This will be a small group workshop limited to 20 participants. My one-day workshops in Hocking Hills place more emphasis on field instruction with just the right amount of classroom time on best practices for digital editing and workflow.

October in Hocking Hills can be a spectacular combination of ideal light and fall color along the woodland trails, streams and waterfalls of the region. I will also be looking forward to guiding the group to the newly opened Whispering Cave trail with the Park.

To register please call 937-896-6311 or email jim@jimcrotty.com. The fee per person is $100 which includes lunch at The Inn and all handout materials.

Save

2nd Photo Workshop Added for May 20 2017 in Dayton Ohio

I’m happy to announce that I have added a second, full day nature photography workshop for May 2017. In addition to the workshop in Hocking Hills Ohio on Saturday May 6th I will also be presenting a workshop at Cox Arboretum MetroPark near Dayton Ohio on Saturday May 20th. Both programs will be based on mastering the craft and art of spring nature photography. I present my workshops as an effective balance between both in-classroom instruction and field instruction, culminating in a review of select images from the students. The majority of my workshop students are those just starting out with their first DSLR camera but I also make it a point to include advanced instruction for the more experienced photographers. Additional details and registration information is available at http://jimcrotty.zenfolio.com/photography-workshops

Spring nature photography workshop by Jim Crotty at Cox Arboretum near Dayton Ohio on May 20 2017