climbing up these stone stairs puts me closer and closer to the stars, my own personal heaven on top of the world awaits me one day, as the stars are seemingly at the same time calling to me in silence, reaching down to meet me in this impression at the top of the stairs...up and up
"how can we elevate our lives? just tilt your head back 90 degrees and look up, breathe in, breathe out, the answer is up..." ― bodhinku, elevate
the word "up" has many many meanings, maybe some of the most meanings of any word in any language...
the most used meaning of up is "to a higher position or level” ...literally, there are two staircases in this image leading up, to a higher position and level...and they intersect with each other at the horizon level of the image...the timeless stone steps, and the even more ancient milky way in the sky...up and up
but there are other meanings to the word up that fit this impression, i can think of four more....
“up” can signify all of the things (material and emotional) that we have hanging up above our heads that really weigh us down and hold us back…we need to cut those things loose and free ourselves or we will not be able to live out our dreams...imagine how lovely it would be to let go of one thing with each rock step you climb towards the stars...soon you will be light enough to just fly...
"up" is the opposite of down—down can mean depressed, and this impression is a metaphor of a stairway to heaven, a pathway up to the stars to enlighten us, lift us up, elevate us higher, and make us feel "up" in a happier state of being...
and the stars are spirits “up” in the heavens, loved ones watching over us to make sure we experience their glow in our lives...and when we look up, they bring us up...
"up" also means to be awake, and with each step upward, we are closer to being fully awake, and alive, as we climb up closer and closer to the stars...
those of you who truly know me, know of my love for the movies...good movies with beautiful cinematography and even better dialogues (but not a big fan of the current trend to computer generated action hero movies though)...a big influence on my photography has always been my favorite movies, ones i watch over and over and over...classical movies like alfred hitchcock's "north by northwest" and "vertigo"...to award winning movies like "rainman" and "dances with wolves"...to beautiful cinematography movies like "a river runs through it" and "avatar"...to romantic movies like "the titanic" and "the notebook" and "the bridges of madison county"...to sports movies like "the natural" and "the blind side"...to action movies like "raiders of the lost ark" and "point break" and all the james bond films...to character studies like "pulp fiction" and "the big lebowski"...to comedies like "caddyshack" and "austin powers"...and cartoons, yes cartoons....and there is one cartoon that come to my mind so often when i am out shooting with my camera...the cartoon, "up"...here is a clip to the movie "up"...such a beautiful cartoon, my favorite cartoon of all time...so many deeper messages and truly perfectly named as "up"...the clip is sad, but the deeper meaning is the rest of the movie that truly gives us ways to be up, and climb out of depression from the loss of a loved one...again, so many deep messages in the cartoon, all beginning with the name, "up"...
"when you wake up in the morning, and get up and out of bed, walk outside and look up into the sky...truly look up, the clouds, the sun, the blue sky, some birds, or maybe even the moon and stars if you are up early enough, and maybe even raindrops if the weather is not looking up, but just see the bigger world above you, so much more up there than what is below your feet....by looking up, you are not looking down, and that is such a more positive way to start the day, so much more hopeful and bright...just look up, and honestly, everything will start looking up, as your spirits are lifted up..." ― bodhinku, up
"my heart pitter-patters a little bit extra with each step i take upward towards you, my excitement builds as the butterflies have gone wild in my belly and my heart continues to build its rhythm, an upbeat stronger and stronger...then you appear, at the top of my staircase, everything seemingly stops on cue as silence drops around us, a sigh floats down from the stars as you breath the most wonderful sound, i love you..." ― bodhinku, up at the top
“today, like every other day, wake up empty and frightened. let the beauty we love be what we do...there are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground” ― jalaluddin rumi, the essential rumi
STORY BEHIND THE PICTURE
"as i look up to the sky, deep in the middle of the night, the stars on easter island are just so beautiful and vivid, they are a dream that's painting itself before my eyes while i'm still up and awake...the glowing milky way parting the giant universal ocean above, with jupiter and mars riding in its galactic wake...and there is me, magically transported, just floating, being lifted up in their twinkles and shine, a true heaven on earth to behold" ― bodhinku, up above easter island
this impression was taken on easter island this past july 2, 2019 while i was visiting rapa nui for my third time...i was fascinated by these old stone steps and the pathway they create leading up to the heavens, and these stars are just so bright, and glowing on easter island...and here before you now is my impression of my fascination, to try to convey that vision of mine from this magical island, so remote, in the middle of nowhere in the south pacific ocean...a magical place where i just feel up, with my spirits lifted up to the heavens...
the original name for easter island is te pito te henua...in rapa-nuian this means "the end of the world"...and again, one thing that attracts me for more future returns to the island is its remoteness, keeping the entire small island relatively unspoiled from the reaches of greedy capitalism and destructive corruption...
so, last july 3rd there was a partial solar eclipse (about 85%) on easter island, and i wanted to see it for myself, and capture impressions with my camera as well, so i booked my third trip to rapa nui and paid the island another visit...i did manage to get some very unique images of the eclipse from the rano raraku quarry, as well as numerous new star images around the island (of course, if you know me), and some beautiful and unique sunrises over the lava rocks and surf...and a beautiful rainbow over the ahu tahai complex (my "magique" impression)...and this beautiful old stone staircase leading up to the stars...
"magical is just a word, but the vision it represents in our mind's eye is a memory, or a dream, or a love of something that is just too magical to describe with merely a word" ― bodhinku, magical
easter island is one of those places that is just to0 magical to describe with one word...but if i had to, and could only use one word, one word only, then that one word would be "magical" for me...
my first visit in 2015 was special, and i left the island in awe, not wanting to leave...so i returned, twice more, once in 2018 and again in 2019...and each time i arrive i always have to leave, and i leave, but i leave wanting more, i'm not done yet, not even close...i want to go back again because i know i still have things i want to do, and unfinished moments there to spend, to live, to just be...i am not even close to being done with easter island in my life, i feel like this is all just only the beginning for me, my relationship with rapa nui is only just starting to develop like a grand and epic love story...for greater adventures and so many more beautiful moments still lie ahead of me the rest of my life, together this island and me...
however, i have noticed regrettably now-a-days, that most people create a "bucket list" of places to go, and it also seems more and more people are adding easter island to their list... but personally i hate the term, because it means you are going to visit somewhere you have always wanted to go before you die or "kick the bucket," then check it off your list as a "been there, done that" item, and move on to the next item on the list, and then never go back again...
but to me, this is crazy, for after that initial magical romantic "first kiss" visit to a place, it is all the revisiting moments that are my best times, and much more meaningful and magical moments always happen during the times when i revisit places i have already been... especially as a photographer when my best impressions happen after i go to a location numerous times...i can relate more of myself to the place with more visits, plus i do not have pressure that i "must capture that image now" for fear i will never get another chance...going back over and over just makes a place more familiar, more personal, more beautiful as you discover more each time about yourself and the place, discoveries which you did not notice the first time...
this past summer in june-july 2019, like i said above, i made the trip to easter island (rapa nui) for my third time in a span of four years...but why in the world would anyone travel to one of the most remote places on our planet, spending a nice sum of money to get there once again, when they have already been there twice already? simply put, and as i alluded to it above, it is the meaning behind the title of this image you see before you today, the place to me is purely magical to me...and i will be going back again very soon...
rapa nui, isla de pascua (a.k.a. easter island) is one of my favorite places to go on this earth, i have such a strong affinity for it...there is just something about it that draws me in, draws me back to it time and time again, i truly love it there...a mystique that i just cannot stay away from no matter how hard i try, and i find again and again, that i am compelled to travel to this tiny and remote south pacific island, returning over and over and over, so strangely beautiful, captivating, fascinating, and magical for my soul...ella esta mi isla de suenos...
when asked about easter island, i always tell people that if you want to travel to a tropical island, sit under a palm tree on a sandy beach and drink a frozen margarita, then this is not the island for you...easter island is tropical, but there are few palm trees, even fewer sandy beaches as it mostly volcanic rock, and no ice or blenders to make a frozen concoction on the island...this is not a resort island where a beautiful location is combined with modern luxuries of comfort and convenience...it is none of that..
and this island is my favorite because it does not have those kind of amenities, so it still keeps away many people who would not appreciate it for being such an unspoiled place on this planet, a true breath of fresh air and peace...the whole island is considered a national park by its parent country of chile, so it is protected by legislation to keep out development and exploiting commerce...i just hope it stays that way...
what is missing from rapa nui (easter island) is what makes it so appealing, so beautiful to me...there are no neon signs, no billboards of advertisements, no city lights, no freeways or speeding cars (maximum speed limit on island is 60 km/hr), no commutes or road rage...no buildings taller than 10 meters high, no corporate parks or warehouses, no mcdonalds or fast food chains, no starbucks or walmart or department stores or giant supermarkets with huge parking lots, no cell phone towers and satellite dishes, no drones flying around...no western corporatocracy, no traffic lights or smog, no drive-thrus or 7-11 convenience stores, no beggars or homeless people on the streets or trash and litter anywhere, no graffiti spray painted about...no condos and apartment complexes or housing developments, no big luxury resorts or even any hotel chains, no outlet stores and auto malls...no amusement park, zip-lines, wax museums or red-light district, no crazy noise and street corners full of protestors...always so very few people scattered out on this tiny island that is only 23km across...
...but unfortunately it seems more and more tourists are on the island as i have been noticing with each subsequent trip that i make to the island...now latam air is offering two flights a day to isla de pascua (easter island) from santiago chile, instead of only one in the past, which is opening up more and more access to tourism...just hope the extra influx of tourists do not spoil, corrupt, and ruin the island's beauty and rusticness...but still, even with all the extra people flying in with the added flight, it is only 200 or so extra a day, with 200 or so extra leaving a day, compared to all the other places in the world, there are still so few people traveling to this island...
still, no matter what, rapa nui, a.k.a. easter island, a.k.a. isla de pascua, is simply magical always to me...a place on this planet that always make me feel more up, just lifting me up...
"fly free, rise in love
two as one, up, up, and up
"what is magical, really? i think magical is somebody to hold. someone to be held by. to be treasured by a treasure and weather all storms. and trust everything is going to be alright as the rainbows appear...somebody magical to notice birds with. to catch flashes of blue and green and purple and brown, and to feel the excitement of soaring little wonders. to see life as it is, not as it seems...somebody magical to stare at in wonder, with hearts bursting between eyes, and admire their magic and to think, “that heart loves mine” ― bodhinku, somebody magical
MORE MEANINGFUL QUOTES
“when you realize how perfect everything is, you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky” ― gautama buddha
"these bodies are not forever and yet we swallow so much thinking we have all the time in the world to do as we wish. we clutch our feelings close to us, trying to obscure them against the very skin that yearns for the touch of them. we have few precious breaths on this planet, a finite number of days in which to weave our beautiful stories through the tapestry of time. the soul may live on eternal, but this earthly form doesn’t. eventually we all return to stardust once more. we as mortal beings on this planet are here to experience a short-term reality, one that is jam-packed with experiences on this roller-coaster we call life. all the ups, downs and creamy middles are ours to embrace with arms wide open. so let’s take a vow to plunge ourselves head first into the very world that we are here to experience. just jump, you will find instead of falling, you will rise up, and up and up, living" ― c. ara campbell
"in every step, in every breath of yours, you’ll feel me…i am up above you, i am beneath your feet...i am in every sight you see, in every voice you hear… your ears will be filled up with my whispers, my laughter and my cries… my fights and tantrums will never leave you…my footsteps, my shadow, will haunt you in every corner you go…i will be your mornings, your days and nights…i am the breeze that wraps your body in the morning… i am the moonlight that bathes your body at night… i am the fire that will burn you. i am the storm that you cannot handle… i am the rain that will wash away the dust from your soul…i am in your reflection. i am your shadow…your heart whispers my name in every beat...every word you say, echoes my name… i am the secret you want to hide, but the secret that the world knows…i am your dream…i am your nightmare…i am your darkest sin...i am you" ― c. ara campbell
“we sit in silence and watch the stars, i suppose because there are no words, not in all the languages on earth, that can properly describe the feeling of being in love. and perhaps those little burning lights out there in the dark, are the closest we come to something that does" ― beau taplin
“only do not forget, if i wake up crying
“i want you to know one thing, you know how this is: if i look at the crystal moon, at the red branch of the slow autumn at my window...if i touch near the fire the impalpable ash, or the wrinkled body of the log, everything carries me to you...as if everything that exists, aromas, light, metals, were little boats that sail toward those isles of yours that wait for me....well, now, if little by little you stop loving me, i shall stop loving you little by little. if suddenly you forget me, do not look for me, for i shall already have forgotten you....if you think it long and mad, the wind of banners that passes through my life, and you decide to leave me at the shore of the heart where i have roots, remember that on that day, at that hour, i shall lift my arms and my roots will set off to seek another land....but if each day, each hour, you feel that you are destined for me with implacable sweetness, if each day a flower climbs up to your lips to seek me, ah my love, ah my own, in me all that fire is repeated, in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten...my love feeds on your love, beloved, and as long as you live it will be in your arms without leaving mine.” ― paublo neruda, if you forget me
"the night, with all its charms, is also a path to enlightenment. just as a dark well has thirst-quenching water at its bottom, the night, whose mystery brings us closer to the mystery of life, has a flame capable of enkindling our soul hidden in its shadows.” ― paulo coelho
"no matter how you feel today, get up, dress up and show up” ― paulo coelho
"if people really pay attention to their everyday lives, they will discover that magic moment....a moment when all the power of the stars becomes a part of us and enables us to perform miracles.” ― paulo coelho, the alchemist
“falling in love you remain a child; rising in love, you mature. by and by, love becomes not a relationship, it becomes a state of your being. not that you are in love - now you are love" ― osho, awareness: the key to living in balance
“let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful” ― gautama buddha
“come josephine in my flying machine
going up she goes, up she goes
balance yourself like a bird on a beam
in the air she goes, there she goes
up, up a little bit higher
oh, my, the moon is on fire
come darina in my flying machine
going up all on, hello!
oh, say, let us fly girl
where dear? to the sky girl
oh you flying machine
jump in, miss darina
come darina in my flying machine
going up all on, hello!” ― alfred bryan
"can you take me higher? to the place where blind men see... so let's go there, let's make our escape, come on, let's go there, let's ask: can we stay?” ― scott stapp, creed lead singer
"an artist must make time for long periods of solitude. solitude is extremely important an artist should stay for long periods of time at waterfalls. an artist should stay for long periods of time looking at the horizon where the ocean and sky meet. an artist should stay for long periods of time looking at the stars in the night sky” ― marina abramovic, walk through walls
“the reappearance of the crescent moon after the new moon; the return of the sun after a total eclipse, the rising of the sun in the morning after its troublesome absence at night were noted by people around the world; these phenomena spoke to our ancestors of the possibility of surviving death. up there in the skies was also a metaphor of immortality" ― carl sagan, cosmos
"up and up we reach the sky
floating feathers on a sigh
wide open, no longer shy
climbing now higher than high
stars reflect each other's eye
only joyous tears can cry
so happy we could just die
no reason or need of why
“people want you to be happy. don't keep serving them your pain! if you could untie your wings and free your soul of jealousy, you and everyone around you would fly up like doves”― jalaluddin rumi, the soul of rumi
“when i am with you, we stay up all night.
when you're not here, i can't go to sleep.
praise god for those two insomnias!
and the difference between them.” ― jalaluddin rumi, the essential rumi
ABOUT THE IMPRESSION
"up above me, when she is there, that is when i am sitting on top of the world" ― bodhinku, up above
"the idea of 'falling' in love is ludicrous. for usually when we fall, we almost always get hurt. which seems to always happen to people who fall in love, they get hurt...like osho said once, let's instead 'rise' in love, let our love rise as it flows freely between and through us, for the rest of our lives, up and up" ― bodhinku, rise up in love
this is a two frame image composition that is merged into one final impression...and since both merged images are of a semi-long exposure time (15 secs for the stars frame, and 30 seconds for the stone steps frame), a stable and sturdy tripod was an absolute necessity in order to keep the images sharp in the places i wanted sharpness (i use selective focus on most of my images, similar to the way our eyes see things)...for this i used a dolica 70" carbon fiber tripod, because it is sturdy, tall, and perfectly compact for travel to remote places on the planet such as easter island where how much luggage and equipment you can travel with is limited....for me, this shot would never have been possible without my friends daniel and april at dolica tripods.
in my photography i always use filters to create longer exposure effects and to 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 the case with the stone steps frame of the composition (no filter was needed for the star frame of the composition), i used three filters to get the effects and balance i was looking for...so, i chose to use the amazing 3.0nd progrey antarctica magnetic filter (and holder) to slow down the exposure 10 stops to 30 seconds and naturally saturate all the blues and greens more....plus in combination with the 0.6gnd progrey genesis filter (the two foreground steps were much brighter than all other steps in middleground) and the 1.2gnd progrey genesis filter to help balance in-camera overall the image the way i envisioned it, as the sky was considerably brighter than the foreground and middleground...about 4 stops brighter than the rest of the darker parts of the image composition...
i wish to openly thank my sponsors who have always supported me through both the good and bad times...for truly this semi-long exposure impression would not be possible without the use of my trusty dolica tripod in combination with the progreyusa filters which i use with every photo i take...
"say nothing and say everything, look into my eyes and smile at me, lift me up and up" ― bodhinku, lift me up
"contemplate without thinking. stop the world. slow down everything. shut off the noise. breathe in. breathe out. relax. seize this moment. reconnect. feel and sense what surrounds you. listen to all the colors of light that envelope you. see the melody and harmony that floats about unnoticed. taste the solitude of all this wonderment. smell the beautiful silence within your peaceful serenity. then, reach out and touch your faith. this is my world. awaken." ― bodhinku, my world
above all else as always, i hope this message and image find you well.
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