Is it possible to capture calm? So that we may return to it when we need it. Can we freeze a moment of serenity and save it? So that it can be shared to spread some peace in turbulent times.
This month we explore some engaging games and activities in nature, based on the art of photography. Almost all smartphones carry a camera now. While we are often caught up in it’s web of apps, there are simple ways to use this tool for helping us find our calm and creativity.
Let’s see how we can turn our device of distraction into a mode of meditation.
Our visual sense is the strongest sense. We are influenced by the quality of light, the colour of light and also the source it comes from. It affects our mood as well as energy levels. The colours of nature soothe our mind and the play of light in the forest helps to break our pattern of thoughts. Certain fractals, the geometric self-repeating patterns present abundantly in nature activate the parts in our brain, which are involved with regulating emotions. It is the same region, which is active while listening to music.
Being out in nature has multiple benefits for our mental, physical and emotional health. Check out some interesting links, films and articles on our resources page. Large scale research from UK, found fewer cases of disease amongst people who lived near parks or open green spaces. Studies also showed that people with no windows or unattractive views took longer to recover when compared to those who could see trees and grass from their hospital windows. Similarly classrooms with windows revealed better performance by students and lesser incidents of violent behaviour.
Here’s a set of creative exercises in nature that use the camera to create some calm. You can try them on your own, but it’s more fun when you go out with a group of friends. It’s a great way to get new insights and create new bonds.
Directions: The only points to note are – move in silence and go slow. Think less and feel more. Spend 10-15 minutes for each activity in a particular area. Group together to share your pictures and thoughts for a few minutes. Walk in silence for 10-15 min to another area before continuing the next activity.
Take a close-up shot of something in nature that represents a part of you. Look closely, open your senses and start observing. Connections will begin to appear. Notice the things that you connect to.
Library of Textures and Patterns
Become aware of the myriad textures and patterns that are present in nature. In the bark of tree, among rocks by the river, in the wings of a butterfly…and so much more. Try and capture some calming textures and patterns on your walk.
Create a story through a set of images. No words required. Build a relationship between your images and your imagination. When doing this activity in a group, you can either choose a theme for the story before you start or share your pictures in a circle and see what story emerges.
“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”
Snapshot of silence
Take a few minutes to compose a picture in your head that evokes peace and stillness. As you walk in nature try to recreate a frame which comes close to the picture in your mind or click a picture that echoes the same emotions.
Portrait of a tree
Get to know a tree. Look at it from different angles. Try to find out it’s story. Once you have spent some time with the tree, capture the essence of the tree in a portrait shot. If you’d like to know more about your tree later, you can download the plantsnap app.
* If you have a group size larger than 10 people, it is advisable to break into smaller groups of 5 or 6 for sharing and discussion at the end of each activity. It will save time. Remember, conversations with nature should take priority over conversations with people in this walk.
Download a free poster to create an event. You can easily add details in the blank space using sites like Canva.com | Download link
We are creating a collaborative short film to explain this concept and spread it to a larger audience. If you would like to join in, simply send us a set of your pictures based on the games mentioned above. We will make a selection from all the entries and create a montage film.
Please note: Only share pictures that have been taken by you or those for which you have permission. You may post your pictures on our Facebook group. Or send it by email : healingforest(dot)org(at)gmail(dot) com
Last date for submission of pictures is 30th September 2018. Please use #photosofpeace when posting the pictures on our fb group or in the subject line of your email.
This film is being created in the giving spirit of the trees. There will be no names, no sponsors and no logos in the film. All people will be free to use the film as they please. A download link to the film will be available to all participants by 31st October 2018.
* List of people and cities participating. Join our Facebook group or add your name and city in the comments to show your support in case you plan to participate and we’ll update our list.
“A photo is not just a memory of a moment, it is also an expression of You”
END NOTE: Let us know your experience when you get a chance to try out these wonderful games and activities. If you have more recommendations for some fun nature based activities with the camera, please add them in the comments below to grow our collective knowledge.
You can subscribe to our monthly blog posts here. We are a small group of friends trying to find new ways to reconnect people with nature. Our aim is simple. Helping people heal. Helping forests heal.