Sea Blue Lens

New Beginnings


I have missed my blog. I’ve missed writing. I’ve missed photography. I’ve still been taking pictures, but I can’t remember the last time I used my “real” camera. It’s been months. I got a new iPhone a year and a half ago and since then I photograph with it almost exclusively. Why not? It’s easy, it’s convenient, it’s always with me. It does limit some of my creative control, but the iPhone camera is now so much better that I’m satisfied with the results. Mostly. Or maybe I’ve just become lazy.

Anyway, in the interest of prodding my creativity, I’ve decided to take on a couple of photography projects. One is the Summer Scavenger Hunt #Sharewhereyoulive2019, the inspiration of my friend Sarah. She has written about it and posted a prompt list on her blog, here. It’s a fun list of prompts designed to get us out and about, with 28 targets to find between now and Labor Day (June 2-Sept 2). I have not started yet, but I’m looking forward to it.

My other project is to work (and play) my way through the exercises in a book I found recently, Shooting with Soul: 44 Photography Exercises Exploring Life, Beauty, and Self-Expression by Alessandra Cave. It’s not a new book — it was published in 2013 — but it’s new to me. The title sounds inspirational, doesn’t it? I plan to jump around the exercises, depending on weather and what’s going on in the rest of my life. After what felt like a long winter and late spring, I’m ready to get outside, so I’m jumping in on Chapter 4, Wanderings: Taking the Scenic Route.

My first exercise is A Walk in Nature. I didn’t have to wander very far to find it, just over to the little park next door. I love the place, and photograph there often. It seems there’s always something new to discover.

What I noticed today is that almost every flower blooming in the park right now is white.

I was greeted by this bower of tiny white flowers with a sweet fragrance that reminded me of jasmine.

Here’s a closeup. I have no idea what they are, but the scent was wonderful.

These were very pretty, tossing to and fro in a strong breeze. They had no scent, and again, I have no idea what they are.

These flowers will develop in the fall into hanging clusters of bright red berries.

There’s honeysuckle everywhere, mostly white, but some pink, too.

Don’t these look like wild strawberries? But I’ve never seen a single berry on them. (I didn’t discover that little insect until I enlarged the photo — one of those little surprises that make photography so fun!)

These tiny flowers were scattered here and there along the edges of the lawn.

And there are still a few violets. In past years, I’ve seen lots of blue violets there with an occasional white one. This year that was reversed. Nearly all the violets have been white, with very few blue ones. (Or should I say Violet ones?)

Of course there were birds, robins and sparrows and one cardinal singing his heart out. I only saw one duck, which is unusual. Perhaps they’d all gone out for lunch. And then there was this guy:

I really wished I’d had a telephoto lens with me! This is one of the reasons I’m contemplating buying a new camera, something small with a built-in zoom lens. I’m considering the pros and cons of various models and weighing their features against my creative desires and my need for something lighter than my DSLR.

So there’s my first “walk in nature.” There could possibly be another before the week is out. (I still need to find those five leaves for the Scavenger Hunt.) I don’t have any rules, and I’m just kinda feeling my way as I go along.

31 thoughts on “New Beginnings

  1. So glad you are back! I’m also doing the #sharewhereyoulive2019 scavenger hunt for inspiration. I’m also reading ‘The Art of Noticing’ which has inspired me to get out and take more photos.

  2. SO MUCH GOODNESS HERE! I was thrilled when I opened my email and saw Sea Blue Lens. I think you found your leaves they were just all attached to plants yet, which is totally good. No rules right. I just love that blue picnic table. I think it is the little bit of humanity in a natural place.

    • Thank you, Sarah. You can take some credit for giving me the push I needed! I like the blue tables, too. There are three of them that suddenly appeared late last summer.

  3. Missed your blog, wondered what happened to you. The Saco Heat is beautiful. Met you there years ago.

  4. So glad Sea Blue Lens is back!! So glad you are out on your nature walks again! I am definitely checking out those books and the share where you live scavenger hunt! Looking forward to your next post.

    • Thank you, Carol. Do you use Instagram? I think quite a few people will be posting there using the hashtag #sharewhereyoulive2019. You could join in, too. I’d love to see photos from your new area!

  5. You. An get an app for your phone that will identity flowers,etc..

  6. You go Girl !

  7. So nice to see you back Leon…and what a great series to start with. All of the photos are lovely and nothing like a leisurely walk in the park to spark your imagination. I gave up the big Canon a few years back (although I still have it) and went with the Fuji XE-2 at first and now I have the XT-2 which I just love. I do have a few lenses but not as many as the Canon and I won’t be building an arsenal this time around. I do love the 55-200 though for a bit of wildlife. Thanks for the book recommendation also. I’ve added it to my never-ending growing list.

  8. León – I am thrilled that Sea Blue Lens is back! I love the way you share your thoughts, vision and photos in your blog posts. I really like the idea of the share where you live project.

  9. H Leon. It’s so interesting – I was thinking about you and Jenny just this week and wondering how you are. Have you considered the Olympus OMD series of cameras? I have a big Nikon full frame DSLR but rarely use it. Olympus is my go-to for most things and I have the OMD-EM1 Mark II. It’s quite a bit smaller than the big DSLRs but with full functionality and a fantastic electronic viewfinder since it’s mirrorless. I’ve been using these cameras for travel, hiking and my underwater photography for many years. These cameras are the micro four-thirds format and several companies make lenses for them – although I guess I’d say I’m an Olympus snob. Olympus glass is some of the best out there. I love your shots today and I’m so glad to see you posting.


    • Hi Cathy! It’s so nice to hear from you! Jenny and I are both doing well, and I hope you are too. I remember asking you once about your gear. Are you still posting your photos online somewhere? I always loved your underwater photography — stunning shots of things I’ll never see in my own life. I miss them.

  10. I’m doing the happy dance!! So glad you’re blogging again! I’ve missed reading your stories and feelings behind your photos. I think I have the book “Shooting With Soul.” I need to pull it back out! I’m following Sarah’s scavenger hunt and also taking Kim Manley Ort’s “Place” workshop, which I’m really enoying! There’s a lot of research, but I love research! I’m looking forward to spending the summer with you and Sarah!

  11. I’m so happy to see you posting again. I love what you photograph and how you write about it all.

  12. Oh Lee, how wonderful to see you in this place again! I missed you and were repeatedly looking whether you’ve come back. Now you have! And such a lovely post – I love all the flower images!
    Have you considered the Canon Powershot? It’s smaller and much lighter than a DSLR and has a very good telezoom. I use it some times when I walk around the lake although I still prefer my DSLR for the most part. I can understand your feelings about the phone – I just got a new phone with an excellent camera (the Pixel XL) and it is a lot of fun to take pictures with it.

    • Carola, thank you for those sweet words! It’s good to be back. I’ve looked at so many different cameras, reading reviews on them all. It seems each one has features I like but lacks others I want. So many choices!

  13. I’m happy to see you back on your blog! I enjoyed your nature walk and the white flowers – and am so glad that it is finally spring in New England!. I am checking out your book with the soulful photography exercises, it sounds like something I could really get into.

  14. Im glad to see you here too….i still like a blog but find it harder to do, especially with the ease of instagram and facebook. I use my phone camera a lot more than i though i would and also downsized to an all in one Canon. Its nice to have it, but the picture quality is noticeably less sharp that my big heavy DSLR and all its lenses. Decisions, decisions!

  15. So nice to see you back, Leon! I have no photo project for this year and I feel I need some new ideas to grab and hold. Investing the time and energy into it is inevitable but without it, one starts to stagnate… Looking forward to more of your posts here! 🙂

  16. I’ve all but abandoned my blog. It’s too easy to share stuff on social media sites like FB and IG. What is shared on a blog is deeper. Thanks for this post…it’s encouragement I needed.

  17. Your post has inspired me. I, too, haven’t blogged or taken many photos lately and need to get back into it. I will try that book and the summer scavenger hunt exercise (when it’s summer – still winter here). Thanks!

  18. I agree with you that the new phones are great for taking photos, but I am trying to just the opposite way and instead return to using a camera. I have one of the newer iPhones with more of a zoom than my no-zoom digital camera, but have this sudden urge to get “back to basics.”

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