03 Mar Co-Creating with Mother Nature
Four Spinner dolphins form a vertical column of alignment with the sun’s rays, streaming through the big blue off the coast of Hawai’i.
To my delight, a pod of about 100 Spinners swim with me, and my smile is so huge that I have to physically bite down on my snorkel to keep it from popping out of my otherwise goofily joyous mouth.
They’re all around me in pairs, trios, quartets and more. 10 on my left, 15 on my right, 8 below me, and countless more ahead of and behind me.
It’s an incredible gift, but I quickly realize the equally incredible challenge:
How to compose photographs that express the deep emotional resonance I feel with these gorgeous beings *and* do it in a visually concise way? Without making the photos a chaotic mess. All in a fraction of a second before the agile dolphins swim circles around me, changing the composition almost instantly.
I quiet my rapid-firing mind, which is a couple of excited steps behind these under water rockets.
I align, instead, with my creative intuition in an intensely focused flow.
I listen into my body while I watch the criss-crossing of dolphins all around me, weaving patterns and shapes in the turquoise water.
My gut guides my eyes and hands to look to my right, as a pair rises to take a breath and dive down again, lining up with another pair.
This image was one one-thousandth of a second. A fleeting moment in a vast world.
During my laser focus, time stops. My consciousness pours into my surroundings and the creative act until the vortex of flow is over.
I come out of this trance-like altered state, and usually have little clue what just happened.
“Did ya get any good shots?,” a new friend on the boat asks.
“I have no idea whatsoever,” I pant, “But it felt amazing!”
It’s not until I process the photos that I remember what I experienced with vivid clarity.
When I saw this image, a wave of excitement pulsed through me, as I examined it like the work of a stranger. “Wow I LOVE it. I can’t believe I co-created this image!”
Then suddenly I’m in that moment, remembering every micro moment of that sequence.
Oh wow: the ocean’s warmth caresses my skin; dolphin echolocation penetrates my inner organs as I’m scanned with x-ray sound-sight; my gut intuition to turns me to the right; I’m present with the movement of the dolphins; the reflections dance on the ripples of ocean surface; the sun’s rays purr inside me.
It’s all back as though it went through a blank tunnel of obscurity, and popped out with incredible transparent detail.
I zoom in and scrutinize every technical detail of the photo: focus? Sharp! Grain? Not much! Exposure? Highlights and shadow detail intact! Yes!
My shoulders breathe in relief. “Yes! I can share this image!” I giggle in disbelief.
Finally a wave of gratitude bursts forth. “Oh my goodness! I actually experienced that! I’m so thankful, so so very thankful! Thank you thank you thank you!”
Then I get to re-experience it through words as I share it with you! Thank you thank you thank you thank you!