Stargazing by Bodhi Smith

"stargazing" a brand new impression and blog from me...
"so many love letters lost under my tongue, and the beauty of love is hidden behind my eyelids...but when the milky way comes out and i'm stargazing, the love letters speak and my eyes see again"  bodhinku, stargazing
"connecting the dots. that's what stargazing is all about. it's the same up there as it is down here. you have to look for the things that connect us all. find the ways our paths cross, our lives intersect, and our hearts collide" ― clare vanderpool, navigating early
“i often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day” ― vincent van gogh, letters to theo
"she met a boy, and called him stargazer. because instead of poems, he recited the names of constellations. he said the freckles on his arms were roadmaps to the sky, and the bruises that he carried were supernovas in disguise" ― alaska gold, growing light
"sometimes while gazing at the night's sky, i imagine stars looking down making wishes on the brightest of us" ― richelle e. goodrich, making wishes
"i believe the night i’ve never met
hides one elusive star i need
to divide me between darkness and light" ― 
munia khan
"i do not want to sleep, for fear i might miss the twinkle of the brightest star...and i fear i may never know, how the milky way glimmers, in the darkest hour" ― sanober khan, a touch a tear a tempest
this song is the newest from a favorite alternative group of mine, and it's title is the exact same as the name of my impression here today...the song is beautifully sung with lyrics up an upbeat love song, whenever i listen to this tune, i always have to sigh for it's one i connect with on a deep i am so very often in my vehicle under the stars, stargazing. i long for the days again when i can share my love of the stars with another girl, and have this same experience under the stars...sigh, one day... "stargazing" by the neighbourhood ... (just click on any of the words in the blue links to listen to the musical selection)....

"take it from the top. if i start, i just can't stop. all the patience that i've got, it's not enough to save me. it's a race against the clock, but we don't wanna watch. keep running until we're lost. you got me thinking...pull it out of park, put it in drive. i can feel your heart beating with mine. underneath the stars looking for a sign, glowing in the dark until the sun shines. made it pretty far on the first try. might've set the bar a little too high. started with a spark, now we're on fire, started with a spark...ooh, baby, you take me on a ride. gonna drive me crazy. ooh, baby, i feel like we've made it pretty far, now we're stargazing...push until it pops, tryna clear my thoughts. better keep the ac on for me, not enough, yeah. windows start to fog. clothing coming off. makin' it too hot...ou got me thinking, pull it out of park, put it in drive. i can feel your heart beating with mine. underneath the stars, lookin' for a sign. glowing in the dark until the sun shines. made it pretty far on the first try. might've set the bar a little too high, yeah. started with a spark, now we're on fire...ooh, baby. you take me on a ride, gonna drive me crazy. ooh, baby, i feel like we've made it pretty far. now we're stargazing. ooh, baby, i feel like we've made it pretty far" ―
 the neighbourhood, stargazing    
"dwell on the beauty of life. watch the stars, and see yourself running with them" ― marcus aurelius, meditations
"look up; notice how the stars shine. look in; notice how the stars shine" ― laura jaworski  
"you are from beyond the stars and void of space.
transcendent, pure, of unimaginable beauty,
bringing with you, the essence of love

you transform all who are touched by you.
mundane concerns, troubles, and sorrows
dissolve in your presence, bringing joy
to every single soul who can sense you

you bewilder with your grace.
all evils are transformed into goodness.
you are the master alchemist.

you light the fire of love in earth and sky,
in heart and soul of every being.

through your love existence and nonexistence merge.
all opposites unite; all that is profane becomes sacred again" ― 
jalaluddin rumi
"the universe said, let me show your soul something beautiful" ― aberjhani, elemental
"the light we see from the stars took millions of years to reach our eyes, so when we are stargazing, it's like we are looking back into time, so far far away. the night sky is a time machine where magic happens in the form of an eternity of energies, and truly nothing is ever lost or ever, imagine if love was just like this starlight..." ― bodhinku, stargazing
"when the sun sets, the stars rise, and i fall in love again. loneliness fades...she stretches her whole beautiful celestial body across the sky, taking my breath away as she moves higher and higher while the earth spins all through the night" ― 
bodhinku, stargazing 
to better understand my meaning of this impression, i need to talk about how a movie recently effected my on a deep personal level... 
(and just a foreword...this was not meant to be a movie review of "nomadland" but believe me, i do have a point about it all, just read along and it will all make sense in the end i hope...)
i watched "nomadland" a couple nights ago. imho, it's truly worthy of winning the coveted academy awards for best picture, best director (chloe zhao), and best actress (frances mcdormand) this year. i know many people didn't like this movie at all and would vehemently disagree with me about its deservingness of accolades, but i believe they just do not get it and place judgement on the characters instead having a willingness for watching and living through their experiences with them...
the movie is just so wonderfully directed and edited by chloe zhao, with devastatingly beautiful cinematography by joshua richards, and a tour de force acting performance by frances mcdormand (easily the highlight of her prestigious hollywood career). it's such a minimalist film. impressive in its amazing simplicity. full of a profound mixture of sadness, wonder and gratitude...subtle daily joys mixed with grief and sorrow, the inevitable pains of growing old and becoming that which we all must...
it's also the story of so many americans who feel lost nowadays, unsure of where to go next or what tomorrow will bring. the impressions in "nomadland" feel like answers to the unrest and anxiety of 2020, and these moments are the ones that contain so much beauty about the simplest things—the smile of a friend, a dip in a river, a kind gesture of a stranger. we may not all be able to relate directly to the struggles of the main character, fern, but we can all feel that sense of unease and uncertainty. and know that maybe it is time that we should hit the road...
a large part of "nomadland" was filmed in quartzsite, arizona. coincidently, my impression today, "stargazing" was captured in an area of arizona nearby as well, and the landscape is so dramatically similar to many scenes in the movie, so strikingly similar, that there's no way possible that i cannot see the connections with my photography, my memories, and within myself as well...
i live out of my jeep grand cherokee on the road for many months out of the year as i travel with my dog to fascinating places, tring to capture each of their unique essences in my photography. i have many adventures and amazing experiences while i am out and about, both good and bad. i meet many different people along the way, and i hope to leave them better for having known me, no matter for however long it was. i never say goodbye to them,  hoping to see them again someday somewhere down the road...
"nomadland" really strikes home for me. i can relate deeply with it on so many different levels. i'm moved spiritually, appreciating the movie on a profound emotional level...could i have a similar destiny, to be a nomad on the lonely road of loneliness like this one day? just bouncing around america, meeting people in beautiful scenic places, as i go about living out the rest of my life behind the lens of a camera? what is my meaning of this life?
and each of the definitions of "stargazing' is applicable here with me today...

"stargazing" is defined as:  
1. the practice of actively observing the stars
2. absorption in chimerical or impractical ideas; woolgathering
3. the quality or state of being absentminded
am i lucky, or unlucky? am i unhappy, or happy? am i restless, or at peace?...lately i'm so confused about myself and what i want, what i need, and about my current every weekend i take a drive to a dark place trying to become lost, away from everything here in socal, away from the lights of the great big festering neon distraction we call civilization...
the sun sets, the stars rise, and i fall in love again...i'm magically calmed. i hug my doggie. my desperate thoughts retreat, i breath, i smile, i live...
i ask myself, what just happened??
sometimes it's like my real true love is the milky way. i think about her all the time. i long to see here glow in the night, all night long. during the daylight, i daydream of the night, out alone with her in the middle of nowhere under dark skies, surrounded by all the stars and thoughts other than love and the peaceful easy feeling of being exactly where i belong, at exactly this moment in time...
"if your love for me was a star in the sky, my love for you would be the milky bright and alive, with billions of you glowing inside me" ― bodhinku, my love
in the daylight there are so many love letters lost under my tongue, and the beauty of love is hidden behind my eyelids...but at night when the milky way comes out and i'm stargazing, the love letters speak and my eyes see again...
so when the sun sets, the stars rise, i fall in love again. and loneliness fades...she stretches her whole beautiful celestial body across the sky, taking my breath away as she moves higher and higher while the earth spins all through the night...
and i know my meaning at least for this night...  
i take a deep breath and slowly find real love and true peace is simple, all you need do is immerse yourself in the silence between your breaths...
my doggie and i, all alone together, under the stars and the flowing milky way, bridging the space between the celestial and the terrestrial, no civilization around for miles and miles...engulfed in the loving eloquence of silence, in the desolace of the arizona night, in a beautiful place still unexploited, unspoiled, remote and is good, never forget that...
and here is a wonderfully profound song about starlight, and hope and love, all amidst thoughts of doubt and unclarity: "starlight" by muse ... (just click on any of words in the blue links to listen to the musical selection) ...
"far away, this ship is taking me far away. far away from the memories of the people who care if i live or die. starlight, i will be chasing a starlight until the end of my life. i don't know if it's worth it anymore. hold you in my arms, i just wanted to hold you in my life, you electrify my life. let's conspire to ignite all the souls that would die just to feel alive. i'll never let you go, if you promise not to fade away, never fade away...our hopes and expectations, black holes and revelations. our hopes and expectations, black holes and revelations...hold you in my arms, i just wanted to hold you in my arms. far away, this ship is taking me far away. far away from the memories of the people who care if i live or die...i'll never let you go if you promise not to fade away, never fade away...our hopes and expectations, black holes and revelations. our hopes and expectations, black holes and revelations...hold you in my arms, i just wanted to hold you in my arms..." ― matthew bellamy (muse lead singer-songwriter), starlight  

"i could be having the worst day, week, month...when i just can't get out of my mind so many damned useless thoughts taking me over with so much damn useless noise that i feel truly beaten solution for dealing with tough times is to immerse myself in nature; going out into the middle of nowhere, in the mountains or in the desert under a starry canopy. i find a beautiful night sky split down the middle by the milky way can cure almost any wound, cleansing me of almost every single meaningless thought occupying my time" ― 
bodhinku, immersion 
and now here are a few more quotes from bodhinku from past blogs to help add to the deeper meaning of this blog today...
"damn...makes you think and wonder about destiny at any given place, at any given time...important junctures, being where i am, at exactly when i am supposed to be there...good planning? fate? luck? well, aren't they really the same thing?" ― bodhinku, junctures 
"at this time, at this place, i know something of this certainty comes but once in a lifetime, this juncture in my life is exactly where i was supposed to be at exactly this moment" ― bodhinku, this juncture 
"i'm always so drained the next day from staying up all night to be under the stars. but i'm at my best and brightest under the stars, truly happy. i'll not leave them, they have to leave me when the daylight dawns...and then i'm left feeling so fulfilled that next day, regardless of my lethargy" ― bodhinku, up all night 

"to have meaning, the darkness needs the love of the light, just as the light needs the love of darkness, nothing else matters except them together...without their union, no impression of mine could ever exist, nor could i either..." ― 
bodhinku, the union  
"in the darkness of the night i find my path to peace as the stars flower my world with angelic is in the light of day that i am tormented and lost, as the sunshine bedevils me, and bleaches out all of my dreams with its blinding reality" ― bodhinku, bedevilled
"as an artist sometimes i'm a drifter, a vagabond bouncing from one spot to the next when i'm just not feeling good vibes. it's really quite impossible for me to capture anything beautiful with my camera if i'm just not in the right peace of mind. if i'm not feeling calmness and quietude in my mind, and instead feeling negative and noisy thoughts, i'm not letting nature around me sooth and caress my soul, and i just cannot create anything from my heart" ― bodhinku, peace of mind
"many days the blues enter my life, and often that is a good thing...i need sadness sometimes to produce better artwork and write more words from my heart. sometimes pondering sorrow and regret inside helps me to create things more delicately beautiful on the outside. pain becomes pleasure as the blues scintillate into an luminous glow, warming my entire being knowing i have created something enduring that is endearing to others" ― bodhinku, sometimes  
"focusing upward at night and staring at the milky way is like taking a train ride back into the depths of time. in those endless pinpoints of light are timeless sunbeams. and within those stars are the words of the universe, and some of those words are mine. i am haunted by the stars..." ― bodhinku, all aboard 
"i find myself at this juncture, this very spot, just me and my doggie, alone under the stars, in the center of the desert, feeling the confluence of so many energies simultaneously can i not be overwhelmed and feel so wonderfully insignificant, when surrounded by such harmonious beauty?" ― bodhinku, at the confluence
this next song i would like you to give a good ear and listen to is an exquisitely beautiful cover version of the the chart-topping hit "dust in the wind" by kansas (original version) from the early 1980s. this version (link is below) is sung by caroline jones, who i first heard singing a duet "breathe in, breathe out, move on" with jimmy buffett (easily one of my all-time favorite artists) her eloquent voice adds so much depth to the meaning of the song, to me this version is even more beautiful than the original by kansas....and although many people think his song is depressing, i see it as hopeful and magical, and a perfect fit for my impression and blog today... 
we began as dust in a celestial wind, and will return to that one day. and while we exist on this plant, we are really insignificant specks, beings who are who we are for only a tiny moment in the infinity of time, one that is quickly running out, "like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives"...and we all really are only dust in the wind when compared to the vast eternity of the universe and should never feel any more special than that. all we truly need to recognize and realize in our hearts is the magic of life, and the magic of love, and how important it is to live to the fullest during the short time we have in this universe before returning to be just dust in the wind once again..."dust in the wind" by caroline jones (kansas cover version) ... i sound old, but they just do not make songs like this anymore...(just click on any of words in the blue links to listen to the song)...  
"i close my eyes...only for a moment, and the moment's gone...all my dreams pass before my eyes, a curiosity. dust in the wind, all they are is dust in the wind...same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea. all we do crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see. dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the, don't hang on. nothin' lasts forever but the earth and sky. it slips away, and all your money won't another minute buy. dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind. dust in the wind. everything is dust in the wind, the wind" ― caroline jones, dust in the wind (kansas cover)
"when you come upon a path that brings benefit and happiness to all, follow this course as the milky way journeys through the stars" ― gautama siddhartha buddha
"do you imagine the universe is agitated? go into the desert at night and look at the stars. this practice should answer the question" ― lao tzu, tao te ching  
"you're my star, a stargazer too, and i wish that i were heaven, with a billion eyes to look at you!" ― plato, phaedrus
"only in the darkness can you see the stars" ― martin luther king, jr., strength to love 
"one of the most beautiful things to do is to paint darkness, paint the void which nevertheless has light in it, just like the starry night" ― vincent van gogh, dear theo
"she was at once a mystical journey into the heart of the earth and the calm found in the fading light of sunset. she was like a moonless sky; dark, deep and eternal. upon her skin a blanket of stars was scattered to be traced by knowing fingers..." ― c. ara campbell
"night air, good conversation, and a sky full of stars can heal almost any wound" ― beau taplin, remedy
"the night is full of stars,
and the stars, blue, shiver in the distance.
the night wind whirls in the sky and sings.
i can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
i loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.
on nights like this, i held her in my arms.
i kissed her so many times under the infinite sky.
she loved me, sometimes i loved her.
how could i not have loved her large, still eyes?
i can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
to think i don't have her. to feel that i've lost her.
to hear the immense night, more immense without her.
and the poem falls to the soul as dew to grass.
what does it matter that my love couldn't keep her.
the night is full of stars and she is not with me.
that's all. far away, someone sings. far far away.
my soul is lost without her" ― 
pablo neruda, twenty love poems and a song of despair
"if you concentrate always on the present, you'll be a happy man. you'll see that there is life in the desert, that there are stars in the will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we're living right now" ― paulo coelho, the alchemist
"we are travelers on a cosmic journey,stardust,swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. life is eternal. we have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. this is a precious moment. it is a little parenthesis in eternity" ― paulo coelho, the alchemist  
"meditation is getting into oneness with the whole that surrounds you, from the smallest blade of grass to the biggest star, millions of years away" ― osho, the secret of secrets  
"a certain darkness is needed to see the stars" ― osho, book of wisdom
"i will forever be colliding
with a billion unnamed
undiscovered stars, each of us
on our own orbital paths" ― sanober khan, turquoise silence
"because she looks to the sky so often, people think that her life is sweet, that her eyes are dotted with dreamy stars. but quite the opposite is true and I wish they could see—she looks up so much because all around her it's hard to see without breaking her heart. she once saw in a movie a window sign that said "we're all in the gutter; but some of us are looking at the stars." from that movie onwards, she decided to look up! doesn't mean her life is sweet, doesn't mean her eyes are dotted with dreamy stars" ― c. joybell c.  
"we'll see a light to lead us all the way home, and wherever we go we will know, here we are, under the stars...all the love was holding on all of us, no matter what we've done, we are not alone, alone with our heart. we are one under the stars. here we are, under the stars"  john legend, under the stars
"be humble for you are made of earth. be noble for you are made of stars" ― serbian proverb
"stargazing is one of the oldest human pastimes and there’s good reason for it. gazing at the stars reminds us that there’s more than we’ll ever realize and that every day is another chance to follow the clues. find a star to wish upon" ― sarah ban breathnach, simple abundance
"at certain junctures in the course of existence, unique moments occur when everyone and everything, even the most distant stars, combine to bring about something that could not have happened before and will never happen again. few people know how to take advantage of these critical moments, unfortunately, and they often pass unnoticed. when someone does recognize them, however, beauty happens" ― michael ende, momo
"what my heart does whenever you’re near isn’t just about chemistry. it’s like…stargazing. i feel insignificant and dazzled. hopeful yet completely unprepared" ― z.a. maxfield
"the universe, so far as we can observe it, is a wonderful and immense engine; its extent, its order, its beauty, its cruelty, makes it all so impressive" ― george santayana
"unknowingly, we plow the dust of stars, blown about us by the wind, and drink the universe in a glass of rain" ― ihab hassan, in quest of nothing
here is some music which you might like to hear.. "under the milky way" by sia ...this is a beautiful song with very meaningful lyrics to my impression here, it is a softly moody song with a melody that adds a wonderful ambiance as you continue to read the rest of my blog is a delicately beautiful cover of the original 1987 version of the song, "under the milky way" by the church...(just click on any of words in the blue links to listen to the any song in this entire blog) 

"sometimes when this place gets kind of empty, the sound of their breath fades with the light. i think about the loveless fascination under the milky way tonight. lower the curtain down in memphis. lower the curtain down all right. i got no time for private consultation, yeah, under the milky way tonight. i wish i knew what you were looking for. i might have known what you would find. and there's something quite peculiar, something that's shimmering and white leads you here despite your destination under the milky way tonight. i wish i knew what you were looking for. i might have known what you would find...i wish i knew what you were looking for, i might have known what you would find under the milky way tonight, under the milky way tonight...the milky way tonight...ohhh, under the milky way tonight..." 
― sia, under the milky way (the church cover)
“i will love the light for it shows me the way, yet i will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars" ― og mandino
"a sky
of stars
and he
was staring
at her" ― 
atticus, love her wild     
"where in the world would a star be without the love of the sky?" ― munia khan  
"a still more glorious dawn awaits...not a sunrise, but a galaxy rise. a morning filled with 400 billion suns, the rising of the milky way" ― carl sagan, cosmos
"only from the heart can you touch the stars in the sky" ― jalaluddin rumi 
"you've come to know the fortunate and the inauspicious stars, but you don't know whether you yourself are fortunate or lucky" ― jalaluddin rumi, bridge to the soul  
"billions of stars will lose their fuel from the brightness of the only face, the guest of your heart, the beauty of your soul" ― jalaluddin rumi, whispers of the beloved   
"i have been a seeker and i still am, but i stopped asking the books and the stars. i started listening to the teaching of my soul" ― jalaluddin rumi, the music and silence of the heart
"i say, show me the way. you say, put your head under your feet. that way you rise through the stars and see a hundred different ways to be with me" ― jalaluddin rumi, poems of ecstasy and longing
"i've gotten free of that ignorant fist that was pinching and twisting my secret self. the universe and the light of the stars come through me" ― jalaluddin rumi, in the arms of the beloved
"we come spinning out of nothingness, scattering stars like dust" ― jalaluddin rumi, hush don't say anything to god 
"i take a deep breath and slowly find real love and true peace is simple, all you need do is immerse yourself in the silence between your breaths" ― bodhinku, real love & peace
this impression of a labyrinth under the arch of the milky way was captured standing in the middle of the sonoran desert of arizona, just after sunset on the night april 17, 2021, and then a few hours later in the wee hours of the morning on april 18, 2021...
this is a composition comprised of 22 separate exposures, all shot at 24mm (and each in a portrait orientation), all taken in succession of each other on a uniform horizontal plane, in two separate panoramic rows comprised of 11 photos each level (one row of 11 for the milky way arch and one row of 11 for locomotive, train tracks and surrounding desert scene)...each separate row of 11 images was combined and stitched together using the photomerge function in adobe photoshop cc...then the two separate rows were merged and stitched together into one cohesive composition using again the photomerge function in adobe photoshop cc, creating a single 2:1 panoramic image of 22 separate exposures.
the individual shots in each separate row of 11 images has the same exact camera settings...
for the 11 of the stars/milky way arch taken at 2:22am on 04/18/2021:
f/1.4 @ 24mm for 13 seconds, iso-1600...
in these 11 exposures of the upper row of images of the stars and milky way arch, no filters were needed and thus none were used...  
taken 7-1/2 hours earlier than the stars at 7:27pm on 04/17/2021, and captured just a few minutes after the sunset behind me, the 11 exposures of the labyrinth and ground up to the horizon...f/11 @ 24mm for 11 seconds, iso-64...
in my photography, i always use filters to create longer exposure effects, saturate colors naturally, and balance the light in my composition in-camera. and this composition is no exception...i often use as many as four filters at time, and i always use at least one filter...for this exposure, to get the effects and balance i was looking for, i used two progreyusa filters in the capture of this composition...  
the two filters i used in the capture of the lower row of 11 exposures in this composition: a 3.0 nd progrey antarctica filter to bring the post-sunset light in the image down 10 stops to permit for the 11sec exposure and naturally saturate all the blues and reds in the image...combined with a 1.2 reverse gnd progrey aurora filter to help balance in-camera overall the image the way i envisioned this case, to stop down the brighter sunsetting sky an extra four stops and help permit details come out better in each of the 11 exposures in the shadows and the details in the foreground of the labyrinth...
to hold the filters and secure them to my nikon d810 mounted with a nikon nikkor 24mm f/1.4 prime lens, i used the progrey g-120z magnetic holder...
with this being a series of 11x2 semi-long exposures put together, an excellent panhead and a stable and sturdy tripod are absolute necessities...i used my faithful induro phq1 series 5-way panhead with tripod...these are necessary in order to keep the 11x2 separate exposed images of each of the two rows in perfect line on the same plane with each other, and in sharp focus in all the places i wanted sharpness...
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 an induro phq1 series 5-way panhead and tripod (70" carbon fiber), in combination with the progreyusa filters which i use with every photo i take...
"if nothing else...if i open my eyes, 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" ― bodhinku, 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" ― bodhinku, into my photography
"contemplate without thinking. be certain only in your uncertainty. stop the world. slow down everything. let it all be. shut off the noise. relax. seize this moment. reconnect. feel and sense what surrounds you. listen to all the colors 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!" ― bodhinku, my world
"my photography is my way of keeping a diary" ― bodhinku, my diary  
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.
please visit me at:
#inspiration #labyrinth #arizona #progreyusa #induro #dolica #nikon #d810 #lowepro #columbia #stars #milkyway #sonoran #desert #nomadland #believe #dream #faith #namaste #impressionist #surreal #bodhinku #vangogh #rumi #coelho #neruda #osho #buddha