“What did you do as a child that created timelessness, that made you forget time? There lies the myth to live by.”

Joseph Campbell

As a child, I had a feeling of timelessness when I was engulfed in Nature.

Watching a sunrise on the shoreline of Lake Michigan, its sandy stretch of crushed seashells and pebbles tickled by an ever-lapping lick of the lake water on the land.

green tree photo

Exploring a corner sandlot, undeveloped, unconstrained by concrete and buildings, with tall trees and half-exposed roots stretched around and over me.


Nature was there even riding in the car with my father to the country to get fresh sweet corn, the window open and the air streaming over my upturned little face, watching the vastness of the cloud-spattered blue sky streaking by.

To me, this was the timelessness that Campbell speaks of—the type that was infinite and that exposed the beauty and secret corners of nature.

Another kind of timelessness is a blanking out of time—a numbness to time. It was solving problems, and being paid to do so. A job. Perhaps not always as much fun as being out in nature, but a nice way to pass the time and get paid for it. Raise a family from it. Take my own kids on a vacation in nature.

Working in information technology, I was the magician, taming the machine to do what the client needed, to save that user profile or lookup an insurance claim payment.

Now, I am retired from corporate life, no longer bound to solve those problems. I seek more and more of the first kind of timelessness. And I will create more photographs along the way that remind me of those timeless times.

Note: Corn and tree root Images on this post are courtesy of Pexel.com

Change the Way You Look at Things

Milky Way Arch (a composite by Harry H. Hitzeman Jr., created from free images found on Unsplash.com

“Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.”

Michael Michalko

In my last post, I ruminated on how my history of shooting photographs in which I was limited by striving to eliminate “hand of man” may have hampered my creativity.  I was going to go back over my images and see what I could find that did have hand of man that I would be excited to show you. These images are primarily photographs of cityscapes, and can be seen in my flickr album of Chicago.  I have also enjoyed photographing architectural interiors, such as the Milwaukee Art Museum ( The Calatrava ), the Chicago Cultural Center, and a few churches, namely the Church of the Transfiguration, St.Peter and Paul Church in Naperville, IL, and St. Volodymyr and Olha Church in Chicago, IL.

Another area of creativity, involving photography and some proficiency in using editing software such as Adobe Photoshop, is the creation of composites.  I had been noticing online several photos of the Milky Way, with some artificially lit geological formations in the earth portion of the photo. I wanted to see bigger arches, more well-lit, and a centering of the Milky Way through the arch.  I realized this could be achieved by a composite of a Milky Way photo and an arch photo. The “Milky Way Arch” was born!

My thanks go to the photographers Tom Gainor and David Becker for donating their images to unsplash.com.

And deep thanks to my imagination for helping me change the way I look at things! 🙂

Why Do We Like an Image?

Gone the Sun

Gone the Sun – Ontonagon, Michigan

Since the beginning …

Since the beginning of my “pro” digital photography life (back in 2009) ,  I wanted to get some outside confirmation that my photography was any good.  So I chose to compete in the local camera club competitions.

The camera club only allowed nature photographs.  The club defined a nature photograph as a photograph of nature that did not have evidence of hand of man, as defined below. So, I have looked mostly to create nature images, eliminating such hand of man images from my own artistic consideration.

“Nature photography is restricted to the use of the photographic process to depict observations from all branches of natural history, except anthropology and archaeology, in such a fashion that a well informed person will be able to identify the subject material and to certify as to its honest presentation. The story telling value of a photograph must be weighed more than the pictorial quality. Human elements shall not be present, except on the rare occasion where those human elements enhance the nature story. The presence of scientific bands on wild animals is acceptable. Photographs of artificially produced hybrid plants or animals, mounted specimens, or obviously set arrangements, are ineligible, as is any form of manipulation, manual or digital, that alters the truth of the photographic statement.”

— The Hand of Man as defined by the Photographic Society of America

Until now!

What changed my mind? In the voting for my top photographs of 2017, the image above was in the top four, and, there were two people (that I know of) who liked this image the best.  Is there a problem?  Yes, the fire on the beach is definitely hand of man!

I have essentially been keeping most of my hand of man images unpublished.

So now, I am going to go through my hard drive inventory of nature type images that contain hand of man, and I will share that collection with you.

Thank you for you support over the years, and for the voting for a campfire that has given me a new thought.

I hope you will enjoy whatever comes next!   🙂

Heaven or Hell? You Choose

One of my earliest childhood memories of joyfulness was taking my friends down to the corner sandlot and exploring.  In there, among the trees and the bushes and sandpits we could find a world of adventure, away from the grownups, exploring “nature”.  Or, were we exploring our own nature?

Fall Forest Panorama

Fall panorama in Morton Arboretum

Since then I’ve morphed into a what I thought a grownup should be, and spent most of my life putting away the sandlot explorations in pursuit of the almighty dollar. With the market crash of 2008-2009, some of those dollars vanished.  I wondered if my quest for sandlot adventures had vanished too.

With some nudging from a dear spiritual teacher, I discovered that the world was still my sandlot.   I enjoyed being in nature, and photography became my focusing lens to help me to concentrate on beauty and the seeing of it.

Photography has brought me many benefits:

  • The busy one who has been chasing the buck has found beauty and an increased intelligence about what my emotions are telling me (gift of feeling)
  • The introverted one who is unsure around others has found confidence (gift of self-esteem)
  • The quiet, reserved soul has found a way to connect with others (gift of leadership)
  • The Capricorn soul who is always carrying such burdens of doingness has had his load enlightened (gift of wisdom)
  • The sandlot explorer has reclaimed his childhood joy of discovery by capturing the beauty of the world (gift of wonder)

What a beautiful place!  Waterfalls!  Sunrises!  Sunsets!  The Moon and Stars!  Canyons! Mountains!  Rivers!  Oceans!

Water Color

Water Color
Cannon Beach, Oregon

Lake Moraine Sunrise

Lake Moraine Sunrise
Banff National Park, Canadian Rockies

Little River Sunrise

Little River Sunrise
Great Smoky Mountains NP

Haystack Moonset IV

Haystack Moonset IV
Cannon Beach, Oregon

LaTourell Falls I

LaTourell Falls I
Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Perfect Moon Waves

Perfect Moon Waves
Cape Cod National Seashore

Hickoy Nut Falls I

Hickoy Nut Falls I
Chimney Rock State Park, North Carolina


Beauty helps us to recognize who we are.  We are all explorers, and creators of our own lives. Let us share in the joy of creating with the One who created all. It starts in the choices of the mind …

“The mind is its own place and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.”  ~~ John Milton

Saturday Night Pacific

Saturday Night Pacific
Oregon Coast

My wish for you in this season of Light — Have a Joyful, Heavenly Holiday, and an Amazingly Beautiful 2018!

— Harry Hitzeman

Reaching into Reality

Tree Light

There are moments in our lives … when we seem to see beyond the usual – become clairvoyant.  We reach then into reality.  Such are the moments of our greatest happiness.  Such are the moments of our greatest wisdom.  …

At such times there is a song going on within us, a song to which we listen.  It fills us with surprise.  It fills us with purpose.  We marvel at it.  …  These moments are the pinnacles of our experience, and it is the desire to express these intimate sensations, this song from within, which motivates the masters of all art.

~~ Robert Henri, The Art Spirit