Sea Blue Lens


A Hike on the Heath

I woke up early Saturday morning, too early. I got back into bed and closed my eyes, hoping for another hour or so of sleep. There was really no reason to get up. Except…there’s a place I’ve been thinking about visiting, and I had a sudden urge to do it NOW. So I got up again, got dressed, grabbed a jacket and my camera, and headed out the door.

A few minutes later, I was alone in the small dirt parking lot at Saco Heath — but not for long. Another vehicle pulled in as I was getting out of my car and a man got out, a large coffee in a disposable cup in his hand. We walked along the woodland trail together for a short way, chatting about the beautiful morning. Then he excused himself to “set a pace,” and took off down the path with long strides, leaving me and my camera in happy solitude.

dsc_0708Ferns glowed in the dim woods.

dsc_0711Sunlight brushed just the treetops.

dsc_0721A graceful fungus thoughtfully placed itself exactly at my eye level.

The heath is a unique geographic feature that is interesting and beautiful any time of year. And as I emerged from the woods onto the boardwalk at the edge of the heath, the sight took my breath away.

dsc_0737The heath glowed in the rising sun and ground fog lingered among the trees.

dsc_0728Every web, twig, and blade of grass was covered in silvery dew, backlit by the sun.

dsc_0750I’ve never seen the cottongrass in such abundance before.

dsc_0766The farther I went, the more magical the light became. It was like wandering into a fairyland.

dsc_0788At the opposite side of the heath, the path enters another wood. It was brighter now.

dsc_0774Two tiny strands of web at the tip of a pine needle were beaded with the minutest drops of water.

dsc_0810Streaks of sunlight picked out details on the ground.

dsc_0816A stray beam spotlighted a branch of golden leaves.

The walk back under full sun had a very different look and feel.

dsc_0840The bordering woods displayed a wall of bright color.

dsc_0847But the path through them still looked dark and mysterious.

dsc_0848Leaves sprinkled the boardwalk like confetti.

img_4083And the ferns in their festive autumn garb gently waved goodbye.

I didn’t miss that extra hour of sleep one little bit.



Scene & Story, Chapter 1: September 2016

Scene & Story is a new project my friend Sarah (Paisley Rain Boots) and I dreamed up last week, in hopes of stimulating our photography and writing. She wrote about our idea and how it came about in this post. Basically, it’s the practice of reviewing our previous month’s photographs, choosing one that speaks strongly to us, and writing a blog post about it. It’s reminiscent of the old Photo-Heart Connection linkup that we both loved and miss.

The photograph I chose from September is not my favorite image, nor even the one that calls most directly to my heart and soul. That would have been the woman on the foggy beach from my last post. Since I didn’t want to use that one again, I turned to runner-up number one, a photo that speaks to me for both positive and negative reasons.


I love the colors, the reflections, that hazy moon, the tranquility of the scene and the moment. The best thing about my apartment is that it backs onto a river. All I have to do is go out the door, down the stairs, and walk a few steps to see the view above, which I love at any time and any season. Sunset often fills sky and water with exquisite colors and textures.

There are lots of stories here. The old brick mill buildings are finding new life as condos, businesses, and artists’ studios. The railroad bridge is traversed day and night by both freight trains and the Amtrak Downeaster. That huge industrial stack on the right is all that’s left of a former trash incineration facility that was the bane of the communities on both sides of the river.

On this particular evening, I noticed the changing light through my window and went outside with my camera. It was a perfect end-of-summer evening, and the not-quite-half moon was following the sun towards the horizon. I took several photos, then just sat on the granite blocks edging the river, soaking in the peace that I always find in nature, especially by the water. I am so grateful to have this right here, right now.

So…what’s the negative? Looking through my September photos made me think about how close to home I stay most of the time. My river view is beautiful and photogenic, and so is my little park next door. It’s so easy, so comfortable to stay home, to stroll around the familiar neighborhood, to photograph the same subjects over and over. But there is so much more out there and I want to explore it!

This morning, inspired already by this new project, I did just that. But that’s a story for another day.

Be sure to visit Paisley Rain Boots for Sarah’s September Scene & Story.

If you’d like to post your own “Scene & Story,” you’re more than welcome, and we’d love to know about it. We hadn’t planned on a formal linkup, but if you feel like joining in, you could leave a link to your post in the comments.


In Search of a Mission

img_3206Finding Myself

I am in the midst of Susannah Conway’s Blogging from the Heart course, and one of the first assignments was to write a mission statement for my blog. I have been stumped, pondering on this for almost two weeks. I wrote a lot of notes about the why, what, and how of my blogging. But I couldn’t seem to make it coalesce into a sentence or two that sounded anything like a “mission statement,” a phrase that has ponderous and corporate overtones in my mind.

Then, yesterday. Yesterday I found it — by accident, synchronicity, coincidence, or providence, depending upon your point of view. I found it posted on the Facebook page of the poet Mary Oliver.

Instructions for life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.
~ Mary Oliver, Sometimes (from Red Bird)

In these uncertain and often fearful times, it seems more important than ever to seek out the good, the beautiful, the curious, and the awe-inspiring in the world around us, and to notice even tiny things that astonish and amaze us. To embrace life and our fellow beings on this vast yet small planet with grace and kindness. To share our discoveries and our delight with others, so they might experience it, too.

And so there it is, my mission statement: I will pay attention, be astonished, and tell about it. That sums it up in a nutshell — the reason I take the photographs I do, the reason I write about them, the reason I press “publish” on this blog.

Thank you, Mary Oliver.



Summer’s End

I walked out to check the mail this afternoon, and on the way back from the mailbox I had a spur-of-the-moment impulse to explore the vacant lot where I photographed a field of dandelions last spring. It turned out that I was taking my life in my hands because the place was swarming with mosquitoes and other creepy crawlies. Nevertheless I made my way through the jungle photographing what was left of the wildflowers, and I have the battle scars to prove it. I have mosquito bites in places that I wouldn’t have thought they could reach, in one case through three layers of clothing! Next time I get such a harebrained idea I will go back to the apartment to cover myself with bug spray first.

But I enjoyed my little ¬†expedition, anyway. Here’s a bit of what I saw.

IMG_3072It’s a Jungle Out There


IMG_3055Down But Not (Quite) Out

IMG_3065A Patch of Blue

IMG_3053Tattered Wing

IMG_3051Summer’s Last Wish

IMG_3044Ready or Not

I know it’s not officially fall yet, but — like it or not — the signs of its imminent arrival are clear to be seen. There’s still plenty of green around, but things are looking a bit battered and worn. There’s a cool freshness in the air that speaks to me of new beginnings. I’m not eager for the winter that will follow, but I plan to enjoy the pleasures of autumn to the fullest.


An Anniversary


Today marks five years since I began this blog, intended to serve as a photojournal for an online photography class I was taking at the time (Kat Sloma’s “Find Your Eye” course). For the first time, I shared both my photography and my writing with a wider audience than just my family and close friends. Since then I’ve become more confident not only about my photography, but about myself. I’ve made connections online that have become friendships as real as any in the “real world.” I not only found my eye — I also found my voice.

IMG_1757Just Breathe

Why do I pursue¬†photography, anyway? My motivations haven’t changed in the five years since I first thought about that question for Kat’s class. I take photos to capture a moment, a memory, something I want to hold on to. My subject may be permanent as a mountain or ephemeral as a sunbeam, vast as an ocean or tiny as an insect, but it is always something that has captured my eye and my imagination and demands to be captured in turn with my camera.

IMG_1119Quicker Than the Eye

I take photos to explore the world around me.¬† I love the way my camera helps me to notice things, and even to see things invisible to my naked eyes. I love the way photography allows me to share the things I discover with others. I think what keeps me going, photographing even familiar, “same old, same old” subjects over and over, is the possibility of discovering something new and never-before-seen — at least not by me.

DSC_0052Mother Love

IMG_0630Wings of Light

I photograph the places and things I love. My photography is not a means to an end, it is an end in its own right. I do enjoy publishing my photos on my blog and it’s a special joy when someone tells me one of my pictures has touched or inspired them in some way. But underneath it all is still just that basic need to express myself, to create something that seems beautiful and satisfying to my own eyes.

IMG_0621Summer Sun


If I’m troubled or anxious, a walk with my camera takes me out of myself and brings peace better than any meditation. Is my photography going to Change the World? No, probably not. But it captures a bit of the beauty I see in the world, and that makes me happy. If it gives you pleasure, too . . . that makes me even happier. Purpose fulfilled all around.




Summer Shower

We had a brief thunderstorm this afternoon. It didn’t rain long, or much, but it freshened the air and rinsed the pollen dust off everything. Afterward I walked to the park next door to see what I could see.

DSC_0198Birds of a [Different] Feather

An American Robin and a House Sparrow were keeping company on a dripping overhead cable.


A maple leaf had let go of its lifeline.

DSC_0203Mystery Blossoms

Raindrops freshened flowers and foliage and pattered down from the trees overhead. I don’t know what these flowers are — the pink ones are on a large shrub, and the blue ones are a vine entangled in it. (If you know, please tell me!)

IMG_1153The Last Iris

IMG_1158The First Daylily


This web is strung horizontally between the leaves of a huge hosta. There was no one home, but as you can see the larder is full of gustatory delights…if you’re a spider, anyway.

IMG_1169-2Storm? What Storm?

Behind the apartment, all traces of the storm were gone.

DSC_0236Rosa Multiflora

Bowers of tiny roses climbed high into the trees, their petals already dry.

DSC_0241The Calm After the Storm

leaf light and sky shine
illuminate clear water
ripples reflect peace

Wishing you a happy Wednesday, friends.


Evening Out Back

Late afternoon. Something about the quality of the light through the window catches my eye and I head outside for a better look.


The “golden hour” approaches — those last few minutes at the end of the day before the sun goes down. It’s one of my favorite times of day. I don’t need to go far, just down the stairs and around behind my building, to capture the interplay of glowing light on leaves and water.

IMG_0609The low-angled sunlight casts a beautiful sidelight on the trees at the edge of the river.

IMG_0607The mosses and ripples seem lighted from within.

IMG_0615Leaves glow against deep shadows.

IMG_0618Reflections dance quietly on the water.

The sun sets, the light fades and in moments is gone, and another day is done.