Sea Blue Lens


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Messages from the Universe

Last week I decided to tackle the exercise titled “A message from the universe” from the Shooting with Soul book. I think the Universe must have a sense of humor. The day I decided to go out specifically looking for “messages,” the first thing I came across was this:

Me: Seriously?

Universe: No, just kidding. I meant:

Me: ???

Universe: Sorry, kidding again.

And so it went. Messages from the Universe can be confusing.

I never even thought of trying to see the wizard, but now I kinda want to.

The signs of the times are not so pretty these days.

But live in the moment and be grateful for little things . . .

Keep smiling . . .

Because, really, there is so much to be grateful for.

Those messages are all around me, every day.


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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.


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Scene & Story: December 2017

I’d hoped to discover a really spectacular image when I reviewed December’s photos, in order to finish up Scene & Story with a bang, so to speak. What I discovered instead was that I didn’t get out much in December. Winter set in with snow storms, cold winds, and early darkness, compounding my usual pre-Christmas blues. Most of my photos were of icy landscapes seen through the window.

Light in the Darkness

So this one turned out to be the winner, representing a brighter, happier aspect of the month. The glow of colored lights shining into the night and reflecting back again, and the warm nostalgia of treasured ornaments from Christmases past. The blessing of having a safe, warm refuge from bitter cold days and nights. The sharing of love, kindness, and the goodwill of the holidays with family, friends, and neighbors near and far.

And now it’s a new year, with who-knows-what on the horizon. The decorations are packed away until next time, which I know will be here all too soon. The weather outside is still frightful, even snowier and colder. I’m looking forward to a break, to being able to get back outside with my camera. Until then, I will turn on some lamps to shine out into the darkness, and enjoy the peace and pleasures of being at home.

Home, my “word” for 2018.

* * * * *

Click here for the Scene & Story link-up at Paisley Rain Boots.

This is the last Scene & Story linkup. Sarah and I have enjoyed hosting the linkup for the past year. It’s been a fun practice and I’ve loved the rhythm of this monthly post, but it’s time to move on to new adventures and projects in the new year. A huge Thank you to those who have joined in or followed along over the past year. It’s been a joy to share the first Sunday of each month with you!


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2017 – In a Nutshell

This is my third annual round-up of the Project 365 Pro daily photo calendar I’ve been keeping on my iPhone. This year I did not post each month on Facebook, as I did in the past. But I am gathering them together here, as I have for the past two years. It’s fun to have this collection of thumbnails and be able to scroll through the whole year at once. As before, I tried to include at least one photo of myself each month, since so often we photographers aren’t actually seen to be participants in our own lives.

To be honest, by mid-October, I really felt done with this project. September 1 marked four years in a row of non-stop 365’s and I was tired of it. I still am, and I think the photos show it. I wanted to finish out the year, but I’m planning to let it go for a while and concentrate on other projects.

Of course, I could still change my mind. I guess we’ll find out in a year.

Day’s End / Year’s End

Farewell, Old Year! My New Year’s wish is for the world to be a brighter, kinder place in 2018. I’ll try to do my part to make it so. Happy New Year and much love to you all, my dear friends and family, wherever you may be.


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Scene & Story: November 2017

Ghost Trestle

So there I was, out for a walk around the neighborhood on a dull grey day in Maine, while chatting on my cell phone with my sister in California. I left the house with no expectations of taking photographs. (Stop laughing!)

I also had no expectations of adventure or discovery as I set off down the familiar street. But for some reason, when I reached the old, disused railroad tracks a mile or so from home, I turned down them to the left for the very first time. Now, to the right, the way I usually go, the tracks run between two neighborhoods, and all you can see there are glimpses of houses and back yards. But to the left — things began to get interesting.

There was a vacant field surrounded by brush and trees, their limbs mostly bare already. There were stacks of old railroad ties, weathered silvery grey. The ground sloped steeply down on both sides of the tracks, lined with trees, an occasional bough still festooned with bright-colored leaves. Water pooled in the low ground on both sides, reflecting sky and branches. There were scattered leaves of scarlet and gold along the tracks at my feet.

Photos needed to be taken! I was still talking to my sister via my bluetooth earpiece, and I began using my phone to take photos at the same time. Then…surprise!…I came around the corner, out of the trees, and saw the scene above. That’s my river, the one that runs behind my apartment building! That’s the oh-so-distant trestle that I’ve seen many times from the road. I had no idea it was so accessible, and within walking distance!

I kept walking, chatting away and blissfully snapping photos of all this newly revealed scenery, when suddenly — my phone died. No warning at all, it just shut itself off. That was the end of my walk, my talk, and my picture taking. I headed home as quickly as possible so I could plug in the phone and call my poor sister back to explain. Fortunately she loves me and is very forgiving.

There’s a moral to this story, and it’s this: Expect the unexpected!

There are other lessons to be learned, too. Notes to self:

  1. Get out more.
  2. Take the unfamiliar turn more often.
  3. Always take a camera . . .
  4. AND a backup power source!

I should know by now that I’m inevitably going to spot something I want to photograph. Whether I carry a camera and backup battery, or just a pocket charger for my phone, I want to be ready next time.

* * * * *

Click here for the Scene & Story link-up at Paisley Rain Boots.

NOTE: December’s Scene & Story on Sunday, January 7, will be our last “official” linkup. Sarah and I have enjoyed hosting the linkup for the past year. It’s been a fun practice and I’ve loved the rhythm of this monthly post, but it’s time to move on to new adventures and projects in the new year. A heartfelt Thank you to those who have joined in over the past year. It’s been a joy to share the first Sunday of each month with you!

 


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Scene & Story: October 2017

Oh, October, you most brilliant and colorful of months! I hate to see you go.

October has always been a favorite month, no matter where I lived. Where I grew up, in southern Nevada, there wasn’t much color to speak of, but by October the weather was always pleasant — not too warm nor too cool — and life would be well-settled into the fall routine of school or work or whatever.

October is usually quiet month, before the excitement and anticipation of the winter holidays set in. It brings with it a touch of nostalgia, as my father’s birthday is (was) in mid-October. He died in 1994, but would have been 99 this year. I still miss him.

The year after Dad’s death, I moved eastward, first to Ohio and later to Maine, and experienced the “real” autumn that I’d previously only read about. It’s been over 20 years and I still haven’t gotten over the wonder of it. So, even though it’s a total cliché, my October scene is all about the leaves.

High winds and heavy rain last weekend brought an end to the peak color, but I have memories and I have photographs to remind me of its glory until October comes around again.

* * * * *

Click here for the Scene & Story link-up at Paisley Rain Boots.

Scene & Story is a monthly collaborative creation that Sarah Huizenga of Paisley Rain Boots and I dreamt up to encourage one another in our photography and writing. We’d love to have you join us! Share a favorite photo from the previous month along with a short story or description and link up your blog or Flickr photo. 


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Autumn Musings and Summer Reflections

October Marsh

Well, I can no longer kid myself that there’s anything of summer left. October is definitely autumn, though it feels like fall has been slow to really take over. For the most part the weather has been quite warm and mostly clear. The leaves are slow to change color this year, and many trees seem to be letting go of their leaves without the usual spectacular display first.

Autumn Solitude

Today really does feel like fall, though. The morning was overcast and there’s been some rain, and I can see a few colorful branches among the green ones outside my window. A light wind is fluttering the leaves in the trees and scattering them like confetti on the ground.

Dawn Beach Patrol

With the new season I’m thinking about my blog again. It’s been a year since Sarah and I started our monthly Scene & Story posts, and since May that has been the only post I’ve published each month. Last year in September, I took Susannah Conway’s Blogging From the Heart course, thinking it would revitalize my blog. That didn’t exactly happen, but I still have hope — and tomorrow’s another day!

Noontime “Crowds” and Clouds

Today I looked through WordPress’s blog templates, thinking perhaps I’d select a new one to change things up a bit. While there, I learned that mine has been “retired.” I also learned that there’s none I like better, so I’ll be keeping it as long as they will let me! It’s clean and simple and it suits me. I can always change my header photo for a new look now and then (and in fact I just did).

Evening Falls

I have ideas for posts and a mass of photos to sort through! Though I haven’t been blogging much, I have been taking photographs nearly every day, mostly with my phone. I love my iPhone for its convenience, spontaneity, and ease of sharing. Lately I’m feeling drawn back to my Nikon for its creative control and photo quality, but now I almost have to learn how to use it all over again. I think that “A Year With My Camera” may be 2018’s project.

Lone Leaf

The photos in this post are a random sampling from summer and early fall. I am so glad to be able live in this amazing place.

Wishing you all a wonderful week!