Picture to Ponder – V4 – Issue 29 – Rushing to Onion Layer 10

by Sheila Finkelstein on August 12, 2008

red onion peeled layer 10

red onion layer 10 on black background

red onion layer10 colorized and desaturated

IMPORTANT: If these photos inspire writing or anything else that has you share it and the photo, please be certain to credit the source, including the URL of this issue, http://www.eteletours.com/v4-issue29.html

Today’s Picture to Ponder Photos
Peeling layer 10 of the red onion I introduced in the last issue of Picture to Ponder

As I stated in that issue, I have been featuring one or more photos a day, on my Photography and Transformation blog of the peeling away process of the layers of this one red onion. The onion has been featured on mixed backgrounds, sometimes the wood snack tabletop and other times on a black cloth.

The photographs I’m sharing in Picture to Ponder today are more about the beauty of the imagery than about the peeling process. I so love the elegance, smoothness, shape and colors in the onion, as seen in the top photo, that I feel drawn to share it with you.

As I photographed, I felt the remaining onion definitely needed the richness of the black background to “show it off” in all its glory. I then went further and experimented with the photograph using a Photoshop Elements 6.0 technique I just learned in the online class in which I am currently enrolled. For more photos from that lesson see PSE6 – Lesson 3 and 4.

As I write, I keep scrolling back up to view the photos. I hope that they bring you some of the same pleasure.

Self-Reflecting Queries
When I first started with this self-initiated project on observing the onion, analogous to stripping away layers of ourselves, I was intrigued with the parallels that kept coming up for me in terms of reaching inside myself. I also thought that many of you might find this an interesting tool for reflecting upon your own multi-layers and dimensions.

I initially committed to myself, and I think on the blog, that I would post each day the revealing of a new layer.I had intended, I thought, to photograph a new layer each day. After the seventh day, it occurred to me that it wasn’t about photographing a new layer each day. Rather it was simply about recording the process and what was left each time a new layer was peeled away.

Actually, as I’m writing, I’m thinking that the latter statement may well be “justification,” a process I have mastered well.

Although I was still finding what was happening interesting and sometimes exciting, overall I was getting bored and impatient, wanting to hurry to the end. I wished to see everything that was there and be finished.

So, thinking it didn’t really matter if I did the rest of the layers at once, I spent just under an hour and took 150 or more photographs and went from layer 8 through layers 12 or 13. The reason the numbers are not definite is that, in the process of getting finished, I neglected to put systems in place for accurate recording.

The photographs at the end were not as high in quality. Perhaps I simply took fewer, so had less from which to choose.And, the photographs became almost a blur of noise, not knowing which was what, having relied on my brain to retain it all.

The saddest part is that I “ripped” myself off, depriving myself of the full pleasure of each new discovery, of which there still were many. And, I can forgive me. In addition to what I learned about myself, analogous to the onion, I discovered procedures I can use the next time I undertake such a project.

For more about the onion and my discoveries, I invite you to follow along on the blog, starting at the most current, and scrolling down, or start in the July 2008 archives and work your way up.The message here today is not about the onion layers. Rather it’s about how we approach our activities and passions –

Thus, Queries for the Day – I invite you to look at your own life and consider:

1 – When you take on a project, do you have systems in place for sticking with it and, also, for being flexible, adjusting, if called for, as you move along?


2 – Are there places in your life now where you are currently justifying shortcuts that, in fact, may not be the best solution? Are there similar situations in the past from which you can learn, or already have done so?and, as I review them before deleting, I think several of the queries from our last issue are worth repeating:

3 – Do you jump right in, or do you slowly peel away the levels of a project, to get at the heart of it? As you look at, and think about the onion analogy, are there any shifts, you might want to consider making?

4 – Do you usually have an intention when you start an activity? Do you have a method for keeping that present, a reminder system? If not, is there something you would like to set up? (Pretty much the same as number 1, today, adding “intention.”)

5 -And, on a slightly different track, is there a playful practice that you’ve been meaning to do, something simple to which you might like to commit to doing on a daily basis for a week?

I committed to photographing fruits daily this week. Right now it feels like a burden AND I know once into it, because I said so, the play will come. Sometimes the “burden” is simply in thinking about it, dwelling on it.

6 – Is there a place in your life right now where you are feeling burdened, where getting in action might bring in the missing playful element(s)?

I’d love to hear from you. Simply fill in the box under REPLY to place your comments.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Gina August 13, 2008 at 6:14 am


These are really good questions to consider! I may print them out to think about as I proceed with some things coming up for me. I have yet to view all the previous inion photos, as I just signed on, but I love the metaphor it offers.. with its many layers, but also it’s very sensual complexity.. pungent and sweet, and it can make you cry!:)


Katherine Reschke August 13, 2008 at 6:52 am

Wow, lots of deep questions there.
I am a big fan of systems and know I will succeed when I have them in place. Part of me will always rebel so I always leave some wiggle room and time to play in every system.
Again without intention, I will rarely get a result. Sometimes my intention is deliberately broad and at other times I have a much more narrow intention.

The “burden” comment was interesting – you are so right that the heaviness and dread come from over-thinking something and when you just jump in, you realize that it is a lot more fun and easy than first envisioned.

Thank you yet again for jump starting my brain this morning!


Lauren Strouse August 13, 2008 at 10:54 am

Who knew that an onion could be so “artistically,” beautiful? The last two photos are truly lovely. I will never look at this common vegetable quite the same way again. Also, your commentary in this one really provides alot of “food” for thought as well.


Nancy Dault August 13, 2008 at 11:27 am

I agree with the last comment. I was also surprised at the beauty of something I normally consider pretty mundane.

Once again, you’ve somehow psychically tuned into my own dilemma, it seems. I have a terrible time following a system, and as a writer, that can be a pretty scary thing. I’m finding what works for me is having a theme rather than too much structure. That way I have guidance, but I also have freedom to go off in different directions. If I had to draw what I mean, I would say instead of a step ladder, I have a point in the middle from which many lines can go off this way and that.

Love your photos and thoughts!

Nancy D


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