Photography

Sense of Place

Near Sedona, Arizona

Near Sedona, Arizona

When I snap a photograph, I often feel a little sad that the picture can’t show the sense of place. There can be a powerful emotional feeling that is inherent to some physical places, and the photo just can’t do it justice. The eye sees what is physically present, but the heart sees something less tangible.

Outskirts of Sedona, Arizona

Outskirts of Sedona, Arizona

Sedona is known for its energy and power, which I always thought was a bit over-done – until I went there. Yup, the energy is palatable. This photo of Sedona shows a scene that took my breath away, but it looks pretty pedestrian here. The cars and highway detract from the drama, but show just how up-close and personal the landscape is there.

petroglyph, Albuquerque, New Mexico

petroglyph, Albuquerque, New Mexico

In Albuquerque, my husband, daughter, and I toured a field of volcanic stones that were etched with hundreds of petrogylphs (drawings pecked into rocks by Native Americans, hundreds of years ago). At first, we were excited to have found them and to see them so clearly. As we walked among them for awhile, though, we were overcome by a profound feeling of sacredness.

Petroglyph group, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Each glyph felt like it had taken on a bit of the energy of the maker. Or perhaps, each glyph called upon a specific energy of the cosmos, and that energy remained. I’m not sure what the modern theory is about petroglyphs, but it’s my personal belief that each glyph represents a prayer.

Place of Refuge, Hawaii Island

Place of Refuge, Hawaii Island

In Hawaii, we visited some sacred sites, and I took this photo at the Place of Refuge. It was once a place of solace, a refuge for those in trouble. Open to the public now, it still retains a sense of comfort. It feels much like the land there was imbued with a reverence that doesn’t fade, yet the photos appeared ordinary. This sea turtle (below) had clearly chosen this beach to comfort him as he passed on. We were sad to witness what I felt sure was his last day, but it felt right that he would come to the Place of Refuge.

Place of Refuge dieing sea turtle 1

This photo, taken on the winter solstice, 2012, looks like a typical winter scene with some elk. What you don’t see is the absolute feeling of expectation in the air. That had to be seen with the heart.

Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

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