Sea Blue Lens


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Photo-Heart Connection: August 2014

I took the photo below exactly one year ago today. I walked outside, put my camera on a tripod, and took this photograph of myself standing in front of the view I saw every day from my home.

My World 1-365September 1, 2013:  My World [1/365]

I’d been invited to join a small group of photographers who were going to take a photo every day and post it in a Flickr group. It was my first 365 project, and I had no idea if I could do it. Of the dozen who formed the group, eight finished out the year.

This was my final image, taken yesterday, of me in front of the view I see from my windows now:

My World Redux 365-365August 31, 2014:  My World Redux [365/365]

I decided a couple of weeks ahead of time what I wanted to do for my last photo:  to echo the first one. I even deliberately wore the same outfit. I wanted to bring the project full circle for myself, back to where I started — yet, in more ways than just location, very far from that starting point.

My Photo-Heart Connection this month celebrates that journey. I’m a person who has trouble making commitments, following through, and completing things I start. Not things I’m doing for other people — I’m very diligent and  responsible, then — but personal projects. I’m really proud of sticking with it all the way through this 365. But I doubt that I could have done it alone.

Perhaps the best part of the experience has been the bond formed with my fellow participants over the past year. Some I was already acquainted with online, and some were strangers to me when we started. Their comments, critiques, and encouragement kept me going, and kept me photographing, through the physical and emotional chaos of three moves, four seasons, and various dramas and traumas. We’re not strangers anymore.

It’s been a joy and a privilege to see their images every day, with mine amongst them, and to witness their (our!) photographic growth over the year. They have inspired me to try new subjects and techniques and to step outside my comfort zone. I’ve learned things that surprised me about my own photography, and I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn!

I’m not planning to start another 365, at least not right now. I have other projects to work on, and I’d like to get back to blogging more regularly, too. But completing this project, this year of photos, with these people, has changed me, and I’m grateful for it. It’s going to linger with me for a long, long time.

Thanks to Kat Sloma for continuing to host the Photo-Heart Connection linkup each month. This is my Connection for August.


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Photo-Heart Connection: July 2014

P1040313 Be the GoodBe the Good  [329/365]

Sometimes it’s not easy to believe.

Our town was in the news last week because of a tragic event:  a man here took the lives of his wife, their three young children, and himself. In a town as small as this one, such an occurrence strikes close to home for everyone. For me, it was very close to home. This family lived right across the street, in the same apartment complex that I just moved into a month ago. I didn’t know the family, but I had met him. He was on the maintenance crew here, and had been in my apartment to make a couple of minor repairs only two weeks before this unthinkable tragedy. I remember the conversation we had, how nice he seemed, and the pride he took in the quality of his work.

Disbelief, shock, horror, grief. How could anyone do such a thing? Why? Sometimes it seems the whole world has gone insane. Passenger planes shot out of the sky, children killed by bombs raining down on schools, wars and rumors of wars around the globe. Death and destruction seem to be everywhere. It would be easy to slip into despair, and for the past week I’ve been struggling against that.

By pure chance (or not, if you prefer) I took this photograph last Saturday afternoon — just hours before that young man did what he did. I do believe there is good in the world, but most of all, I want to remember it. To dwell on it. On peace, love, joy, gratitude, kindness…goodness.

And that’s why this image is my Photo-Heart Connection for July. I need the reminder of its message. Let me believe, and let me “BE THE GOOD” as much as it’s in my power to be.

______________________

As hard as it hit me, I know there are others who were much more closely connected to this family than I was. My thoughts and prayers go out to their extended families, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.


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Photo-Heart Connection: June 2014

DSC_5252Dear Old House

Dear House,

I just wanted to say “thank you.” For taking me in and giving me shelter. For warm winter fires and cool summer breezes. For snow drifts and icicles. For crocus and lilies of the valley and daisies and roses. For squirrels and birds and that one little chipmunk that came to say goodbye. For surprises and treasures from basement and barn, attic and cupboard. For your amazing light and all the photo ops. For fulfilling some lifelong yearnings over the past seven and a half months.

‘Bye, House. I’ll never forget you.

Love,

Me

 

Linking with Kat Sloma’s Photo-Heart Connection. I moved into my new apartment July 1, so I’m surrounded by the chaos of My Life in boxes, but didn’t want to miss posting this month.


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Photo-Heart Connection: May 2014

Two WindowsThread the Light  [249/365]

This month’s Photo-Heart Connection contains a tiny touch of Photo-Heartbreak. And a very large amount of gratitude.

I’ve had the privilege of living in this beautiful, historic home since last November. Now it has been sold, and in a couple of weeks I will be moving to an apartment. I’m looking forward to getting settled there, in what I hope and expect will be my long-term home. I’m tired of moving.

What I had not expected was that I would be so sad to leave this house. It is large, simple, gracious, and elegant. It’s over two hundred years old, with slanted floors, crooked doors, and wavy windows. And the most beautiful light, threading its way into and through every room. It has a warm, welcoming spirit, a “presence” of its own. It’s altogether the loveliest place I’ve ever occupied.

I moved in here knowing it was only temporary. I unpacked everything anyway. Yesterday my friend Susan asked if I was sorry I did that. That’s an easy one: No!  I moved in completely, bag and baggage, and apparently heart and soul, too. And I don’t regret it for a minute. Living here fully, not just camping out, has been a wonderful experience, and one I’ll always treasure and be thankful for.

The photo above was taken late one afternoon as the sun shone through an old window onto the rough-sawn boards of the mudroom wall. It will be the perfect reminder of the winter and spring of light (and delight) that I spent in this old house.

The title comes from the chorus of a song I’m very fond of, “Down Low” by The Swell Season, that goes like this:

Thread the light
Thread the light
Shine the light
Don’t hide the light
Live the light
And give the light
Seek the light
And speak the light
Crave the light
And brave the light
Stare the light
And share the light
Show the light
And know the light
Raise the light
And praise the light
Thread the light
And spread the light

I don’t know the meaning of the song (I don’t think it’s religious), but every time I think of this image, the tune and words start running through my head. It feels right, somehow.

Linking with Kat Sloma’s Photo-Heart Connection for May.


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Photo-Heart Connection: April 2014

Yes! [242-365]Yes! [242/365]

It’s funny how often my Photo-Heart Connection image has turned out to be one from the first day of the month. This time it’s different. This image was taken on the last day.

Winters in Maine are typically long and cold. Along about mid-February, I begin yearning for sunshine and warmth. I start to feel claustrophobic from having to wrap up in layers of sweaters, coats, scarves, hats, and gloves just to step foot out of the house. This winter has seemed even longer and colder than normal, whatever “normal” means these days. I’ve tried not to complain, since it was my own free choice to move back here from sunny California last November — just before winter set in. (People have questioned my sanity, or at least my timing.)

April began with piles of snow still lying in shady areas around the house and garden. We even had a fresh dusting of snow mid-month. But just when it seemed she would never come, Spring began showing her colors. She works her way from the ground up. The grass turns green. Tiny bulbs began poking up and then blooming. Sap begins to rise and twigs brighten with red or gold. Leaf buds began to swell, first on shrubs, then trees.

And then…and then…everything seems to simply explode into leaf and bloom, as if all that pent up energy simply must release itself at once. That’s what the image above represents for me. One day, all is cold and dark; the next day — suddenly, finally — Spring is here in all her glory.

She never lets us down. And she is so worth waiting for.

Linking with Kat Eye Studio’s Photo-Heart Connection for April. 


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Photo-Heart Connection: March 2014

The moment I saw this photograph, I knew that it was going to be my Photo-Heart Connection image for March.

IMG_2826Through the Looking Glass [208/365]

Why? That’s the question I’m still pondering. Perhaps it was the surprise element in how it came to be.

It was very early (for me, anyway) in the morning and I was getting dressed to meet a friend for breakfast. The rising sun was streaming in the window, striking the mirror on my antique dresser and backlighting me at the same time. The sunlight was doing interesting things to the scratched and hazy surface of the old mirror, so I grabbed my iPhone and took several shots, moving around a bit in relation to the sun, shadows, and reflection, hoping for an interesting self-portrait.

This photo was the last shot of the series, and a complete accident. All the rest were sharply focused — and sharply disappointing. None of them captured the excitement I felt at seeing that light. This one made me stop and suck in my breath, all the while wondering, What happened? How did I get this out-of-focus image? Who cares? Let’s process it!

So I cropped it a bit, and converted it to black and white — something I seldom even think of, but it felt right for this image. Then I brought it into the Distressed FX app and used a filter that added some colored, grungy texture. Quick and sure, yes, that’s it, perfect!

Both the image itself and the making of it are quite unlike my usual practice. The end result is both Me and Not-me. A sort of spirit selfie, not quite corporeal. Who is that blurry woman? What is she doing, where did she come from, and where is she going? All I know is…she’s discovering more of herself every day. Every time I look at this serendipitous, spontaneous photo, I’m reminded of the excitement I felt when I first created it. I can’t wait to see what will be next.

Linking with Kat Eye Studio’s Photo-Heart Connection for March.  Come join us! 


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Photo-Heart Connection: February 2014

Morning WindowsMorning Windows

I’ve been living in this house for three and a half months now, and I still feel a sense of wonder at being here. It is only a temporary refuge — the owners are trying to sell it — but for now, it is home, and I’m treasuring every moment I spend here.

There’s just something about this place. A sense of timelessness and of history (is that a contradiction?), of connection with people and a way of life long past. I like to imagine what it might have been like to live through a winter such as this one with only fireplaces for heat and for cooking. I’ve never seen or felt any ghostly presence, but I do feel a sense of companionship with those who were here before me. It’s almost as if the house itself were alive and glad to have me here. Fanciful, I know.

Pictured above is the room where I sleep. It’s a large and gracious room. Judging by the window casings and other details, I believe that when originally built it must have been the parlor or “best” room of the house. The mantel remains, though the fireplace was bricked up long ago.

At night, when the shutters are closed, the room is very dark and the quiet is profound. In the morning, daylight shows itself in small slices around their edges. I open them to see what the day is like, and the room floods with light even if the sky is cloudy.

On the morning I took this photograph, the sun had come out after several days of gloomy overcast skies, cold, and snow. I went to the kitchen to make tea, and when I walked back into the bedroom it was glowing with sunlight. And so I picked up my camera, to save and savor this moment in time. 

They say “home is where the heart is,” and this month, home is also where my Photo-Heart Connection is.

Linking with Kat Sloma’s Photo-Heart Connection for February