"Pay attention to what you pay attention to" is how John Green ended a recent episode of one of my favorite podcasts "The Anthropocene Reviewed."

I like that. It's essential advice for living a sane and purposeful life -- a key component of meditation, prayer, therapy and Kenny Rogers' 1968 hit song "Just Dropped In To See What Condition My Condition Was In" ;-)

Simply paying attention comes naturally enough (well, most of the time) but paying attention to what you're paying attention to requires some effort. Maybe it's easy for the Dalai Lama but I have to consciously remember to turn on my "mindfulness" switch to avoid sleepwalking the day away.

John Green's advice is also valuable for aspiring artists. I've learned over the years to pay attention to things that "catch my eye" and to at least TRY to figure out why I still like it months later. Here are a few of the things that have caught my eye lately.

I added this photo of snow-covered branches hanging over the Charles River to my "Nature" series. The more I look at this image, the more I like it. It's visually interesting, unexpected, peaceful and a little mysterious.

Winter Branches

Winter Trees

My "Hyperbole World" series is up to 80 images -- everything from Appliance World to Yogurt World -- but this recent photo of a small, locally owned, independent Vermont newspaper named "The World" is now one of my favorites. The other 79 "world" proprietors cautiously limited their ambitions to specific "things" but this intrepid publisher proudly claims the mantle of THE world!

The World

The World

I was kayaking on the Assabet River and, while passing under a bridge near my house, noticed these strange reflections and shadows over my head. I had to back-paddle and drift three times to get this image -- now part of my "Strange As It Seems" series.

Strange Reflections

Untitled photo

Lately, I've been experimenting with alternative imaging techniques to keep my "eye-muscles" from atrophying while socially distancing. Here's a somewhat surreal image of steam from an electric kettle digitally overlayed by an image of hot air balloons from last year's Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. I like the two dualities: 1) water vapor expressed as both steam & clouds and 2) hot air uplifting both steam and balloons. Plus, the steam looks like a profile of Vladimir Lenin!

Hot Air

Untitled photo

Much of my walk into town is along the Assabet River Nature Trail. A few days ago, I filled a baggie with fall leaves and layed them out on my scanner. Here's my favorite -- my roly-poly Pine Warbler! Huge thanks to my friend Jill for the leaf scanning idea.

Roly-poly Pine Warbler

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