At dusk along the northern shore of West Lake in Hangzhou China there is a beautiful water show lit up by an array of colored lights. Right at the waterline there are dozens of little fountain heads that shoot the water high into the air – sometimes 50 feet or more. The fountains of water change angles as well in a coordinated fashion, making the mist seem to dance across the lake.
Hangzhou is one of my favorite cities in China. It’s a city that has modernized quite eloquently without loosing its charm or cultural heritage, and while still upholding the beautiful natural landscape that surrounds the city. Even when venturing into the main parts of the city, Hangzhou never quite feels like the large metropolis of over 8 million people that it is – which is part of why I like it. After spending the day peacefully meandering around West Lake, or exploring temples, tea fields, and museums, the light show is a nice finale. I easily become memorized by pretty lights.
Not far from the mists of West Lake in Hangzhou, China, clouds of rising incense fill Lingyin Temple (灵隐寺). As Buddhist pilgrims meander through the hilly terrain, a young woman burning incense lifts her gaze with an intense focus and a sense of hope.
Having hope, especially in the midst of dark times, requires a focus on that inner light. Illumination from a Buddhist perspective also comes from within – the inner Buddha-nature of all sentient beings. Although she may gaze towards the luminous heavens, the light she sees is a reflection of her inner being.
How does hope illuminate your life?
Want to see the photo-editing magic that illuminated this once-dark photo? Check out my tutorial here!
mugs and more
Available at my Inner Bodhisattva Zazzle store – (due to Zazzle policies not allowing photographs of people, the image has been cropped and retitled “Incense Ascending”).
A few shout-outs to some other Illumination entries that I liked:
mikehardisty has two stunning photos and a great discussion of color balancing in both natural and artificial light
timetobeinspired shows multiple photos from different churches featuring different kinds of lights, my favorites being the candles, the chandler, and the church at sunset
sherrygaley has a beautifully lite photo with starbursts, with a corresponding poem
skww brings a peaceful Stockholm night a-glow with life with beautifully vivid colors
milnersblog used long exposures to capture the path of the International Space Station
museandsparrow shares night photos full of many bright colors that really pop against the black backgrounds
adayinthelifeofjennay shows a variety of different photos, my favorite being the soft glow of the autumn leaf