"Metamorphic" by Bodhi Smith

 
born in fire
 
cooled by air
 
twisted by heat
 
molded by pressure
 
transformed into beauty
 
i become me
 
 
 
MY THOUGHTS 
The path of life I've walk has metamorphosed me into being Bodhi, and I wouldn't change any of my changes ― Bodhi, Metamorphic
 
Happy New Year! And welcome to my first blog post of 2024...
 
"Metamorphic" is defined by Merriam-Webster as:
1. relating to rock that has undergone transformation by heat, pressure, or other natural agencies
2. relating to change of the form or nature of something or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means
 
In a scene from the California Eastern Sierra that would make the Greek God of Fire Hephaestus smile, metamorphic rocks of infinite shapes and sizes are strewn across the landscape…these 200 million year old volcanic rocks are twisted and molded by intense heat and pressure, then cooled, and then weathered over ​millennia to create these formations we see today. The stars and Milky Way have beared witness to this amazing transformation ​across all time, through eons​ and eons, how lucky are they?
 
I can imagine how Hephaestus would be smiling, these rocks have been forged as if they were fired by a blacksmith ― Bodhi, Metamorphic
 
​Standing here, it almost feels as if I'm standing on the edge of the Earth, looking into the dropoff of space and time, feeling the metamorphosis of the Universe before me. I feel small, and quite insignificant, but in a good way, in the grander scope of things. I know my place. Even more so, through my photography, I know my meaning and why I'm blessed to be on this planet, alive and healthy, active and artistic. I'm drawn to wild places like this under the stars for that very reason...
 
None of us really changes over time. We only become more fully what we are ― Anne Rice, The Vampire Lestat
 
And like these rocks, since I was born, I too have transformed over time to become more of who I'm supposed to be. I'm a metaphor of being metamorphic. From infant to toddler, to child, into boyhood, to teenager, to young adult, into adulthood, into the prime of my life, then into middle age where I find myself now. I've changed and grown through all my 56 years on this pale blue dot that's revolving around a small yellow dwarf star in a remote arm of the Milky Way Galaxy, which is but just one of millions of galaxies in the infinity of space...I'm very insignificant and small, but I'm quite comfortable and happy with whom I've become. The path of life I've walked has metamorphosed me into being Bodhi, and I wouldn't change any of my changes...
 
Over the course of my life, I've become me ― Bodhi, Metamorphic
 
To take it a step further, I'm also a metamorphic traveller...I come from stardust, and journey through the cosmos over the course of my life, returning to the heavens above once my days have all expired. But before my expiration date, I want to explore and see as much of this planet as I possibly can, photographing her in my own unique style, illustrating how our Earth exists within its place and time in the universe, and then share that beauty with anyone who wants to see what my eyes have seen...Through this realization of the process of my life, I know my life has been good. And I truly know that life is good. Life's really, really good...
 
I​'m small and insignificant when set against the backdrop of the vast heavens above. But my photos help me find the meaning of my life, as I experience being alive and in love with this beautiful planet of ours ― Bodhi, Metamorphic
 
 
​Here's a rock classic from 41 years ago in 1983...this banger of a tune is all about the phrase "rock of ages", whose spiritual meaning is "an unfailing source of strength"...many words also allude to change through fire, being metamorphic in many ways...I almost named this image "Rock of Ages" as well, ​and as such it's the perfect accompaniment to connect music with the meaning of my impression and blog today​... "Rock of Ages" by Def Leppard. ... (just click on any of the words in the powder blue links to listen to the tune and watch the video) ...
 
Gunter glieben glauchen globen
All right, I got something to say
Yeah, it's better to burn out, yeah, than fade away
All right, Ow gonna start a fire, 
C'mon! Rise up! Gather 'round. 
Rock this place to the ground
Burn it up let's go for broke, 
Watch the night go up in smoke
Rock on! Rock on! Drive me crazier, 
No serenade, No fire brigade, 
Just the pyromania, come on
What do you want? What do you want?
I want rock'n'roll, yes I do. Long live rock'n'roll
Oh let's go, let's strike a light
We're gonna blow like dynamite
I don't care if it takes all night
Gonna set this town alight, C'mon!
What do you want? What do you want?
I want rock'n'roll, all right! Long live rock'n'roll
Rock of ages, rock of ages. Still rollin', keep a-rollin'
Rock of ages, rock of ages. Still rollin', rock'n'rollin'
We got the power, got the glory
Just say you need it and if you need it, Say yeah!!
Now listen to me...I'm burnin', burnin', I got the fever
I know for sure, there ain't no cure
So feel it, don't fight it, go with the flow
And gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme one more for the road
What do you want? What do you want?
I want rock'n'roll, you betcha
Long live rock'n'roll, Now hit it
Rock of ages, rock of ages. Still rollin', keep a-rollin'
Rock of ages, rock of ages. Still rollin', rock'n'rollin'
We got the power, got the glory
Just say you need it and if you need it, Say yeah!
We're gonna burn this damn place down, Down to the ground
 
 
This ​next song​ is a​nother ​ageless rock classic from ​long, long ago--46 years in 1977. It's an absolutely wonderful tune to ​help connect music with the meaning of my impression and blo​g, as I hope that "I will rock you" with my impression here today... "We Will Rock You" by Queen. ... (just click on any of the words in the powder blue links to listen to the tune and watch the video) ...

Buddy, you're a boy, make a big noise
Playing in the street, gonna be a big man someday
You got mud on your face, you big disgrace
Kicking your can all over the place, singing
We will, we will rock you
We will, we will rock you
Buddy, you're a young man, hard man
Shouting in the street, gonna take on the world someday
You got blood on your face, you big disgrace
Waving your banner all over the place
We will, we will rock you, sing it
We will, we will rock you
Buddy, you're an old man, poor man
Pleading with your eyes, gonna make you some peace someday
You got mud on your face, big disgrace
Somebody better put you back into your place
We will, we will rock you, sing it
We will, we will rock you, everybody
We will, we will rock you, hmm
We will, we will rock you. Alright
 
 
 
THE ALABAMA HILLS***
Twisted and beautiful, to that I can really relate ― Bodhi, Metamorphic

On the eastern slope of the Sierra Mountains, just three hours north of Los Angeles, lies the deceptively-named "Alabama Hills"— a wonder of geology and Earth science. Sitting around 5,300 feet in elevation, this rolling vista of rock formations, classic Western landscapes, and spectacular natural weathered arches is a treat for anyone who visits

Why Is It Named “Alabama Hills”?
First of all, why the heck is this desert area in the middle of California named Alabama Hills? After all, it looks nothing like Alabama, and “hills” is quite a euphemism for an area boasting giant boulders and a view of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. In fact, the area was first named by local miners after the CSS Alabama, a Civil War era warship that was near to the hearts of those namers. All these years later, the odd name still sticks.

Does Alabama Hills look familiar to you, but you can’t quite place it? That might be because it’s been used in countless films, commercials, and TV shows to depict the rugged Wild West. Its vistas are the quintessential American West prototype: sprawling expanses, jaw-dropping mountain views flecked with snow, and dusty roads that don’t stop ’til the horizon.
 
Besos and Cyclops Arch, Alabama Hills, CA
 

What Are The Rocks At Alabama Hills Made Of?
Any visitor to Alabama hills will immediately be struck by the fact that there are three very different-looking types of rock visible everywhere you look. One is a reddish-orange metamorphosed volcanic rock that looks almost flaky or scaly in places. The next are the more tan-colored, seemingly smoother-looking monzogranite boulders (though these are actually quite rough to the touch, much like sandpaper when you get close). Finally, you’ll be struck by the grayish, imposing peaks of Mount Whitney and the Sierras that loom menacingly over the entire Alabama Hills area.

Let’s start with the volcanic rock, which is quite weathered looking and often found in fairly massive formations. This metamorphic rock, incredibly, can be dated to between 150 – 200 million years old. What is metamorphic rock, you ask? Simply put, it’s rock that changes its original form (protolith) over time, usually due to intense heat and/or pressure.

The lighter colored rock, found throughout Alabama Hills in the form of spherical, egg-shape, teardrop, or even as an arch, is biotite monzogranite. What’s monzogranite? It’s the final form (or fractionation) of molten rock called magma. In Alabama Hills, this rock gets its smooth, spherical appearance because it’s been weathered in uniquely even patterns since it first formed around 85 million years ago.
 
Besos beside Mobius Arch, Alabama Hills, CA
 
 
Besos in the Alabama Hills near Lone Pine, CA
 
 
​***This section is excerpted from an article on the Applied Earth Sciences website: 
 
Before my expiration date, I want to explore and see as much of this planet as I possibly can, photographing her in my own unique style, illustrating how our Earth exists within its place and time in the universe, and then share that beauty with anyone who wants to see what my eyes have seen ― Bodhi, Metamorphic
 
 
 
SOME APROPOS QUOTES
My love, It’s me....I know you may not recognize me yet, but I know I’ve been on your mind a lot. I know you dream about me at night and wish upon every star that I was right there beside you. I know because I do the same....I want you to know that I am real, even though I know you doubt it a million times a day. I want you to know that I do exist. Maybe our souls have even met before in our travels on this planet, like I know they’ve done in many lives before. I want to say that I’ve been busy and that’s why I haven’t found you yet. I know, that sounds so cliché. I’ve been evolving and growing in new directions, learning and expanding along the way....See, I want to be the best version of myself that I can be when we are finally together, which we will be, please know that. I want to be whole for myself so I can be whole with you. I want to embrace my passions and my purpose so I can inspire you to embrace yours....I have so much baggage in my basement and shadows I need to dance with first. I’m slaying my dragons, climbing my mountains and waltzing with my demons. I’m not trying to be perfect because there’s no such thing, but there’s just some things I need to see to first. I know we’ll still have dark times we need to walk together, but I’ll be ready for them and we will face them united....I will find you and when I do it will be because I have done my work and am able to love you to the depths of my being, like we both deserve. I want to be able to embrace all of you, every facet and every layer, every shade that makes up your vibrant tapestry. I want all of you, every part you’ve been taught wasn’t loveable or that you needed to hide, I will kiss with reverent lips. You are worthy of a soul deep love, one who knows who they are and what they have when they stand beside you. I do too, so I heal the parts of myself that keep me from receiving it fully so I can open wide to your heart....I’m not asking you to wait for me. Live your life fully until I am able to catch up and live it by your side. Choose to celebrate each day and make the most of each moment. Embrace the wild creativity that flows in your veins, laugh out loud at all the silly things that tickle you and go on tons of adventures. I want to hear all about them when I find you and we are on the path to forging new ones. Until then, I will be loving you from afar and knowing in my heart that one day, I will be able to choose to live that life with you fully. I know we get what we are ready for, and I’m not ready for you yet. If I’m not by your side right now, it means I have deeper in my own seas to dive so I can dive endlessly into yours...Don’t give up on me, my love. I’ll see you soon....Love, Me ​ ― C. Ara Campbell (modifications by Bodhi)
 
Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like​ ​― Lao Tzu
 
Be the change that you wish to see in the world ― Mahatma Gandhi
 
We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty​― Maya Angelou
 
The only way that we can live​ is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself​ ― C. Joybell C.
 
People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life​...A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.​..A soul mate​'s purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master​ ―​ E​lizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
 
I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they're right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together​ ― Marilyn Monroe
 
I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.​ It's all a Delicious Ambiguity​ ― Gilda Radner
 
It’s only after you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone that you begin to change, grow, and transform​ ― Roy ​T. ​Bennett, ​The ​Light in the ​Heart
 
Yesterday I was clever, I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, I have begun to change myself ― Jalaluddin Rumi, Music and Silence of the Heart
 
Anyone who knows me, should learn to know me again;​ For I am like the Moon,​ you will see me with new face everyday ― Jalaluddin Rumi, Poems of Ecstasy and Longing
 
 
 
SPECIFICS ABOUT THIS PHOTO
I​'m a metamorphic traveller...I come from stardust, and journey through the cosmos over the course of my life, returning to the heavens above once my days have all expired  ― Bodhi, Metamorphic

These unique rock shapes and formations under the Milky Way and stars give you the feeling of being at the edge of Earth…this scene is located in the Alabama Hills of the Eastern Sierra Mountains ​in the Owen's Valley near Lone Pine, California. And if you closely watch Quintin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained”, you can see this band of rocks in his old-school style western film from 2013...

This impression was created on​ May 19th, 2023...To get the effects you see here, I needed to capture two photos, all-the-while knowing later I would be merging them together into one single composition using layers in Adobe Photoshop CC...
 
In my photography, I always use filters to create longer exposure effects, saturate colors naturally, and balance the light in my composition in-camera...I often use as many as four filters at time, and I always use at least one filter in my completed impressions...
 
And to get the effects and balance I was looking for in this composition, I used two ProgreyUSA Filters. along with the ProgreyUSA G-120Z Antarctic Magnetic Holder. to secure these filters to my Nikon D850 with a Nikon Nikkor ​70-200mm f/2.8 lens. ... 
 
Camera Settings for Black Lava Rock Beach and Pacific Ocean: 
ISO-64, 1​35mm at f/​11 for ​111 seconds​. Image​ taken ​on 05-19-2023 at sunrise 5:48am PST ​just before the sunrays reached over the Inyo Mountains to the east down into the Owen's Valley. I us​ed a ProgreyUSA 0.9 GND Aurora Filter. to bring the top third of the composition down 3 stops and help darken the brighter sky, creating a better in-camera balance in the overall image with the foreground of the image, especially the shadows in ​rocks in the foreground...coupled with a ProgreyUSA 3.0ND Antarctic Magnetic Filter. to stop down the image 10 stops and permit for an ultra long ​111 second exposure at f/​11 which helps to​ naturally saturate all the red, green, & blue (RGB) hues in the image...
 
Camera Settings for night sky with the Milky Way: 
ISO-1600, ​24mm at f/1.4 for 13 seconds at​ 3:33am on 05-19-2023 ​(for this image of the stars, I used my Nikon D850 with a Nikon Nikkor ​24mm f/​1.4 prime lens)...no filters were necessary for the exposure of the night sky, so none were used...
 
The two images were then merged together using layers in Adobe Photoshop CC...
 
I wish to openly thank my sponsors who have always supported me through both the good and bad times...for truly this long exposure impression would not be possible without the use of my Induro PHQ3 Series 5-way Panhead with an Induro (now Benro) Stealth Carbon Fiber Tripod. in combination with the ProgreyUSA Filters. which I use with every photo I take...
 
if nothing else...if i open my eyes, if i hope, if i cry, if i think, if i sigh, if i giggle, if i dance, if i love, if i breathe, then i have lived a full days worth of life...nothing is wasted, nothing ― bodhi, if nothing else
 
i do not want you to just be into my photography, instead, i'd much rather you take a journey into my pictures, and feel the impression i have created, feel it with all your senses ― bodhi, into my photography
 
my photography is my way of keeping a diary ― bodhi, my diary
 
contemplate without thinking. be certain only in your uncertainty, content to be completely incomplete. stop the rush. slow down time. breathe and notice. slow down everything. let it all be. shut off the noise. hush. relax. seize this higher moment. reconnect. feel and sense what surrounds you. listen to all the colours of light whisper as they envelope you. see the melody and harmony that float about unnoticed. taste the solitude of all this wonderment. smell the beautiful silence. now discover your peaceful serenity. then, reach out and touch your faith with all your senses. this is my world. awaken! ― bodhi, my world
 
I leave you today wishing that bright joy 
and spiritual peace fill your life...
imploring you to make every moment count, 
no matter what, always and forever, 
for that is the only thing that truly matters... 
 
And above all else,
I hope this message and impression find you well.
 
Namaste,
Bodhi
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