The Majestic Oak: A Model of Endurance and Wisdom

This is a “Bur” oak, a massive tree that grows upward of 100 ft. tall and just as wide. Oaks can live more than 300 years. The name derives from “Burr,” the cup of the acorn which resembles the spiny bur of a chestnut. The species extends farther north than any of the other oaks. […]

Willow Tree: Model of Flexibility, Adaptability and Growth

Willows are graceful and easily recognized by their long thin branches that sometimes reach the ground. Their green leaves are also long and narrow with  finely toothed edges. They grow well near water, especially where the soils are acidic, loamy, and well-drained. They grow fast, more then 24” per year, reaching heights up to 80′ […]

The Aspen: A Model Of Interconnectedness

When I began using a camera creatively, I approached trees and forests mainly as objects to facilitate the development of my aesthetic eye. Recently, Peter Wohllenben’s book The Hidden Life Of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate expanded my appreciation by describing their acute sensory and communication processes. After reading that book I discovered […]

Symmetry

According to Nobel laureate Phil Anderson, “It is only slightly overstating the case to say that physics is the study of symmetry.” The word “symmetry” comes from the Greek, synnetria, meaning “Agreement in dimensions, due proportion, arrangement.” I’ve chosen this theme for contemplation because, somewhere along the line, having gotten into the habit of noticing […]

Growth And Development

  The chambered nautilus is a creature that inhabits the Pacific and Indian oceans, today between depths of 600 to 1200 feet. Appearing in the fossil record before fish, dinosaurs and mammals some 500 million years ago, they grew up to 20 feet long! The spiral occurs as walls are formed to seal off and […]

Nature’s Design Principles

Over time, a species of tree that evolved into the maple did so in part because it succeeded in finding a way to disburse numerous seeds over a greater distance. As kids we called them “pinwheels” or “helicopter seeds.” Hedging no bets in the area of reproduction, between 12,000 and 90,000 of these seeds can […]

III. Holons And Hierarchy

This is the 3rd in a series of postings on whole systems thinking. A holon is a discrete, living system composed of sub-systems, and is itself a sub-system of larger whole systems—simultaneously a whole and a part. The word isn’t one you’re likely to use or even hear, but because it points to the nestedness […]

VI. Depth Of Field

This is the 6th posting in the series, “The Aesthetic Dimensions.” The first, posted January 6, 2019, explains the series and deals with “Abstraction.” To follow the series, go to davidlsmithcontemplativephotography.com and click “Follow” (bottom right corner of the Home page). The postings will show up in your mailbox on Sunday mornings. To find other […]

Phase Transition

For me, every element of this image provides opportunity to reflect. The color alone evokes the sensibility of winter, the time of year when, for many of us, the often overcast sky tends to dampen the desire for activity. The lines where snow meets ice meets water recall phase transitions: changes of state, chapters in […]