Monday, September 6, 2010

The beauty of doing nothing

Here in the US, we’re celebrating Labor Day Weekend, which symbolically marks the end of summer for us and is usually spent (for me, anyway) as a day of rest.

My friend Margie, the art teacher at our school, insisted that I read this book that she told me ‘changed her life’. She practically forced it upon me and promised me that I would love it. She also told me she would beat me up if I didn’t return it.

I was skeptical as to loving it but then I thought, well – she has been pretty happy lately.

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I’m reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

And I love it. I love this book.

Margie was right.

I love the way the author writes. She has an absolute gift for the English language and is an artist when it comes to stringing words together, something with which I’ve always had trouble. She’s also quite funny, even when explaining her depression during the long and terrible divorce from her husband.

Right now, I’m only at the beginning of the book and am loving the fact that she went to Italy just to learn Italian, which is the most beautiful language in the world, she says.

Apparently, the Italians are the masters of il bel far niente which means “the beauty of doing nothing.” And the more exquisitely and delightfully you can do nothing, the higher your life’s achievement.

I realized as I was reading these words in the book that I was practicing il bel far niente, something I often do on the weekends.

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I have the use of the borrowed 105mm macro lens until Tuesday, and have been trying to make the most use of it until then.

And I think I’m slowly falling in love with it this lens.

In fact, I know I am.

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I love playing around in Photoshop, too. I downloaded a few new fonts from Dafont.com and used this one called Jane Austen for Miss Blackie’s photo.

I also experimented taking photos in direct sunlight, something I rarely do. I don’t like the glare that the sun causes. So I set the camera to P (Program mode), the ISO to the lowest it goes on my Nikon D80 (100), and the white balance to Direct Sunlight.

I’ve also been keeping my playback mode for the monitor set to the one that lets me see if there are potentially overexposed areas. The areas will blink if overexposed.

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Sometimes it didn’t bother me that I had a little glare, such as the photo above.

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But I thought this one had a little bit too much on the bottom left corner.

Even though I was doing SOMETHING and not nothing, I felt I was doing it delightfully and exquisitely.

I hope to have a lot of pictures to share with you this week. Tomorrow, my husband wants to visit Amish country. They don’t celebrate Labor Day there, so they should all be out and about. And then I will come home and read some more.

It sounds delightful to me.

Until later, my friends . . .

40 comments:

Brynwood Needleworks said...

I knew it! You've fallen in love with the 105, too! Love the photos, Kate. Have fun watching the horses, carts and beautiful Amish people tomorrow. I like the idea of mastering the art of doing nothing. I'm not much good at that these days.
xoxo
Donna

PS. Thanks for the font link, too!

Country Girl said...

The fonts are beautiful there. Watch out for some of them, as there are rules for use. I try to be careful with things that are 'free' downloads.

And yes, that 105mm truly is beautiful. It doesn't even feel heavy anymore.

~ C.G.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kate,
I loved that book...the movie is just as good. You should treat yourself to a movie with a friend one night.
Enjoy the countryside tomorrow.
Kim :)

Angela said...

I'm reading Eat, Pray, Love for the 4th time, and I saw the movie last weekend. It's great! You should go and see it!

SouthernSass said...

Recently I encouraged a friend to start her on book club and Eat, Pray, Love is our first read.

I sure wish I lived in your neck of the woods! Our temps are cooling down, but not nearly like yours. Enjoy tomorrow!!

Farmchick said...

The photos are brilliant, as always. I have been interested in reading this book, so now I will really have to.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Italian is an exquisite language.

Today in my mission to do nothing and feel guiltless about it, I watched Tiger and the Snow with Roberto Benigni (sp). The movie, one of my favorites, is in Italian with subtitles.

Then, to continue the mission of enjoying Nothing, I put on a light jacket and built a fire outside as the sun was going down; dragged the lawn chair out; and watched the seagulls and the geese fly away for the night.

Doing nothing can be the best part of life.

Take lots of pictures tomorrow - your Amish country trips are always full of gorgeous shots.

Anonymous said...

great photos! you are so talented and take such NICE pictures! i so wanted to snap some of my new show horse being turned out after his show shoes were removed this week...he was hilarious! but i'm not very good with the camera and my husband who is normally the photographer in the family is away in bermuda for work...i know i had a hard time with that one too. anyway he is home tomorrow after being gone for two weeks and it is a long weekend here in canada also.
karen
karen_bremermann@yahoo.com

Sweetpea said...

I just wanna hang out with you...your weekend sounds like perfection! And all that lens playing-around-stuff, waaaay fun. Many thanks for the link to dafont...am gonna hop over there now & have a sniff around.

Enjoy your Amish Monday :>}}

deborah said...

I can't wait to read that book!
Lovely photos, always lovely...
Amish country is fascinating, enjoy your day!

Hilary said...

You make me want to try Photoshop....but I am going to resist........there's just no time in my life for that.
I am not very good at doing nothing.......if you didn't already guess that.
:)

Karen said...

You know... I think I might just be one of the handful of people on the planet that did not enjoy that book. It just didn't grab me. I hear the scenery in the movie is fantastic though.

Oliag said...

I love that philosophy of the beauty of doing nothing...I've surely mastered this well since retiring:)

I haven't read Eat, Pray, Love...I didn't think it sounded like something I would enjoy...but maybe I will give it a try...

Low Tide High Style said...

I can see why you are loving this lens, and in your hands it is a great piece of equipment!

I read Eat, Pray, Love a few years ago and loved it so much that I sent it to my daughter to read. I almost never read anything, except package labels, but I didn't want to put that book down!

Kat :)

bv said...

can't believe i don't love anything you do! but~the book left me thinking i am missing something about it. i felt she ~elizabeth g~ was just way to self center...kinda whining. just me but i sorta wanta to say ENOUGH ALREADY....just saying..
bv

Mental P Mama said...

I am doing nothing today. In Tuscany.... Except I know there will be wine at some point.

Scriptor Senex said...

I've always been too hyper to practise il bel far niente. Perhaps one day!

Laura ~Peach~ said...

OK i LOVE that first butterfly pic and if you should decide that i can have it i would be most happy.... I can not ever get a great butterfly pic... am just too slow for the speed demons here...
as for the light and dark you are beginning to speak greek to my poor simple mind who has never tried to do more than crop a pic that i have taken... but as you know I love your pics anyway they are fantastic eye candies... : ) and i must be italian as i am fine tuned in the art of doing NOTHING or so my darling hubby says...
:D
Happy monday!

Jayne said...

OK, so that book (and now the movie) has been the buzz forever, and I've not read (or seen) it either. Sigh... may just have to load it to the Kindle and see what all the buzz is about. :c) Love your Red-spotted Purple in the last two photos! Such a gorgeous butterfly. Have a great, relaxing Labor Day Kate.

Gail said...

I will have to find that book, I need some inspiration!

Great photos. It is sad seeing the butterfly wings worn and knowing their end is near.

Enjoy your day out.

altar ego said...

It does, indeed, sound delightful! I'm about to go luxuriate in the beautiful weather by taking the oldest of my dogs for a long walk through the neighborhood. High excitement here! Maybe I'll convince my husband to venture out on some kind of road trip. Wish we were near Amish country! It's too beautiful to be indoors.

Looking forward to your photos.

beth said...

i do nothing really well :)

i read "eat pray love" twice and saw the movie....and it is life changing in so many ways...or maybe mind changing is the better description....

let me know when you're finished :)

maillady said...

hye, my sisters and i went to the movies this weekend andsaw eat,pray and love. it was wonderful.... enjoy the book. heading to the beach for a few days than it's the start of another year for me in the postal world. have a great day tomorrow. always love your pictures no matter what lens you use katie.

Michelle said...

First of all, you are a FINE wordsmith! Second, as a graphic designer and artist, I LOVE fonts, so thank-you for that link. Third, I am not good at doing nothing; I'm much happier with something to keep my hands busy in my down time, like knitting or spinning. Hmm. Should I read the book or not?

Hilary said...

I hope you're enjoying your day. .. sounds like you are. Maybe I should read this book, eh?

ELK said...

i am happy that you have included such amazing photos as usual..hope that your trip today was lots of fun...muss blackie ..what a cutie

Donna S. said...

That is the book my husband got me for my birthday & I sat for a couple of hours down by the riverfront & read the first part. Loved that part. Haven't had a hunk of time to get thru the second part yet. It is ok but isn't keeping me like the first part. Enjoy!!

Jill of All Trades said...

I loved that book too. Made me think about doing the bucket list.

Fearless Nester said...

Have been wanting to see that movie too, except the last time we went to the movies was forever ago and I got in trouble (can't take me anywhere). Never even thought to read the book, that may be more fun anyway! How do you get those butterflies to pose for you like that? :) Love looking at your photography. ~Lili

Char said...

beautiful shots - and if i never shot in the sunshine....wait, i haven't but i did today and yesterday.

hope you had a beautiful day

Lisa RedWillow said...
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Lisa RedWillow said...

I too am reading the book. I was hooked on the first page.
Love your macros. Stunning.

Lisa RedWillow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BUSH BABE said...

Jane Austen has been in my fonts file for about 12 months and is my all-time favourite!! Nice taste...

HAven't read this book - look forward to your review.
:-)
BB

Daryl said...

Sounds delightful to me too ... you need to remind me what I have to do/set to get my shutter to keep firing .. I seem to have 'turned' that off ...

LOVE the pix ...

mrs mediocrity said...

All gorgeous... I keep meaning to read that book, haven' gotten around to it. But I think I need to now, because I need to relearn the art of doing nothing. It has been so long that I have forgotten how.I love Miss Blackie...she is beautiful.

The Japanese Redneck said...

Glad to see Miss Blackie.

Great shots.

EcoGrrl said...

lovely macro shots! ps. e/p/l is my favorite book. but do not, whatever you do, do NOT go see the movie. the book is pure and perfect :)

TSannie said...

I couldn't finish that book...

oregonsunshine said...

I just found your blog by accident when visiting Adventures of a Horse Crazed Mind. My track pad had a mind of it's own and brought me over when the cursor hesitated over the title of your blog in her feed reader too long.

What a happy accident! I've been cruising through your blog and loving the photos!

I decided to stop and comment here, because for a moment, I could have swore you took a couple photos of my cat, Salem. Your Miss Blackie could be his twin! Well, if she came from a rescue in Washington state 4 years ago.

What a lovely girl and lovely photos!