July Week 5 – Follow the LIGHT

Photography (drawing/imaging with light) is my avocation/passion and a form of “visual” spirituality!  First light from the east and fog from the west dance over San Francisco!

July wk 4 - Fog copy

Without light or various applications and uses of light I would not be able to create images or even produce record shots. Conscious of this, I recall one of my favorite quotes: “Whoever follows the light will always have the light of life.”   -Jesus/Mary Magdalene.

Can you imagine trying to walk along a path on a dark night with no light to guide you?   No moon, no stars, no streetlight, not even a flashlight?   Wisdom is a light to help us find our way in life – a life where God/dess finds her way to us, to embrace us with unconditional love and compassion, and then move us towards justice. As we strive to follow the way of compassion, repairing the web of life, we too become “light for the world.”

Stars added in post processing to Havana's fortress

Stars added to Havana’s Morro fortress and lighthouse

We were recently reminded that even this beautiful and liberating metaphor of light can be turned upside down.   A Texas trooper threatened Sandra Bland with a taser when he ordered her out of her car during a traffic stop.   The officer’s car video captured him telling her he would “light her up” if she didn’t get out of the vehicle.

Three days after this incident and her arrest, Sandra Bland was found hung to death in her county jail cell.   Even if she committed suicide, it sounds like that action was a direct result of police bullying.   There are many questions about this case being raised across the country and world.   Although there is nothing good in this episode or what has thus far been the end result, we pray that the deep need for reform to our policing systems and domination/ racist structures might be exposed and that we might make some progress toward the ideal of equal justice for all.

I dedicate this week’s images to the spirit and life of Sandra Bland. “Whoever follows the light will always have the light of life.”   -Jesus/Mary Magdalene

July wk 4 - Sunset copyIn photography, light is needed to create images!    The Dahlia Garden next to the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park peaks in beauty from mid-July to mid-September.   Since 1920, this area has been dedicated to the dahlia, the official San Francisco Flower.

Although these beautiful flowers are photogenic in all kinds of weather, I prefer a calm foggy day.  It is then that the colors really pop! The sunshine will bring out the butterflies, but it can give you a garish light and, just as bad, bright “hot spots” in your background. (The first light of day, however, can be less harsh as it begins to peek through the trees).

shallow depth of field make background Dahlias soft balls

Shallow depth-of-field makes background Dahlias soft balls (f/5.6 with 400mm)

The dahlia originated in Mexico and was used by the Aztecs for medicine and religious ornamentation, and the tubers were used as food for the animals.  The genetic makeup of the dahlia has an uncanny ability to cross-breed into many varieties. Some dahlias are as small as a quarter and some as large as beach balls.  There is even a dahlia that looks like my morning hairdo.

Most mornings you can meet the overseers who donate all of the tubers for their particular area. As you might expect, they are proud of their award-winning gardening.  The California Dahlia Society is a guiding light that helps us get acquainted with the garden and the growing process as well as providing a variety of programs, shows and a plethora of information to the public. Volunteers help plant, dis-bud, de-leaf, water, deadhead, and dig out approximately 500 clumps of dahlias. The garden right now is awash in color, shapes and fragrances.   In whatever light you view it, you are sure to come away with a blessing or two!

The Dahlia Competition and Show is August 15 at the Hall of Flowers in Golden Gate Park at 9th and Lincoln .


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