Broadleaf Forest Horicon Wetland Wisconsin
Mixed Hardwood Forest South West Lower Michigan
Botanical Garden Canopy, Southern Wales
Riparian Rainforest Canopy Near Napo River Headwaters Ecuador
Connecting through the canopy
by Associate Editor Steph Januchowski-Hartley
Most smartphones now have camera features enabled on them. Being a late adopter, I didn’t get my first smartphone until January 2018, can also mean that you have time to ponder and think about what it is you would want to get out of technology like a smartphone. After much thought and many discussions, I decided that one of the primary ways I could use a smartphone for my work and interests is the camera feature. Since January I have been snapping pics of nature all around me, from here at home in Wales to Australia, Ecuador, and the USA. Because I travelled a far bit for work this year I was also able to use my new camera to capture a diversity of activities, including field work in an Amazonia stream, hikes through different forests and coastal paths, and of Cassowaries sneaking up behind me in a north Queensland garden. Most of my photos are taken in my spare time, not necessarily during work related activities, but I have found that having my camera at hand does make it easier to capture work events, and my general passion for nature. This collection of images captures my connection through the canopy, whether I am walking along a stream for work, or strolling in a park with my six-year-old niece looking for song birds, I often find myself looking up, and consistently fascinated by the shapes, colours, and patterns that emerge in different canopies. We can use technology like the cameras on our smart phones to capture nature at different times and locations and use this to compare and contrast what we see and feel. One way that I use images like those of different canopies is to capture scenes that inspire thoughts and reflections that I’d like to share in poems. How do you use imagery, either in your mind, through photos, or art to capture thoughts or feelings about nature? Do you find that taking photos creates a type of connection between you and nature? How so?
As an additional point, while discussing this post and the themes with Steph, she highlighted a post on the website ‘Brainpickings‘ (an amazing find for me in itself), showcasing a beautiful illustrated book that paid testament to the value of “…the Wilderness and the Human Role in Nature Not as Conqueror but as Humble Witness”.
The book is called ‘The Forest’ and is by Riccardo Bozzi and Violeta Lopiz and Valerio Vidali.
‘The Magic of Moss and What It Teaches Us About the Art of Attentiveness to Life at All Scales‘ is an equally interesting and relevant read.
So to return to Steph’s question:
How do you use imagery to capture your thoughts and feelings about nature?
For me the smartphone camera is a non-imposing, non-threatening way to capture the moment, and to easily share it with others through social media. And recently a friend introduced me to Speech to Notes function which means I can whisper into the camera microphone and have the thoughts captured in text for later editing. I have to still fully explore this function, but I think it has some nice possibilities.
That’s a really nice way of putting it also. The opportunity to share the moment through social media must allow a greater capacity for connectedness with our community, which is important in increasingly isolated societies. Seeing others doing this also builds confidence in the individual to have a go. After Steph sent me her images, I was certainly more mindful of my environment when on my lunch break – a small moment in the day of being outside with the environment.
Thank you for highlighting Speech to Notes function – this would be good for lots of situations.