Sea Blue Lens


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Be Still Weeks 40 and 41: Make and Take

It’s another Be Still twofer! For week 40, we were supposed to photograph making something that we would then include in a still life that we would photograph during week 41. I swear I’m not trying to be difficult, but once again I had a hard time with this assignment. I don’t do crafts. I don’t sew anymore. I can knit but haven’t in ages. I thought of something garden related — planting a dish garden, maybe? — but it’s still winter here and there aren’t any plants available yet.

I don’t cook much, either, but it was the only thing I could think of that I could photograph while making, and then photograph again when finished. And that’s the reason the two weeks are run together here, because the perishable nature of food meant the “making” project had to be followed immediately by the final still life “taking” project.

In honor of the first day of spring, and also to cheer myself up because we have snow predicted for the second day of spring, I decided to make strawberry shortcake. That’s usually an Easter tradition in my family, but Easter is late this year and I can’t wait!

Part 1, Making

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DSC_8757

Part 2, Taking

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Part 3, Partaking!

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DSC_8788Yum!

It’s probably not necessary to explain which part I enjoyed the most! Actually, though, I really did enjoy setting up the tabletop still lifes. That shot from overhead is my favorite of the project. I think it captures that happy, springlike mood I wanted. It really does cheer me up to look at it.

Cleaning up afterwards was no chore at all!

 


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A Natural Spark

This week’s still life exercise was a continuation of last week’s, another “spark” from that same catalog spread. Assignment: to create a vignette and hang or attach pompoms or bunting or something to the background. Well, I’m in full rebellion mode now. I don’t have any bunting, I’m not interested in pompoms, and besides, I draped a necklace over a flowerpot last week. Doesn’t that count?

Just kidding. Sort of.

Anyway . . . .

I collected a few goodies from my bookshelves and carried them up to the spare bedroom my Studio, where I arranged them on my little antique maple writing desk.

DSC_8714What This Country Needs

DSC_8712 Chickadee and Field Guides

DSC_8725Goldfinch & Grapevine

DSC_8729First Draft

Then I started playing with the pieces, trying different setups. After a few tries, I decided the Goldfinch was too much. That bright spot of color didn’t seem to fit with all the other muted tones, so I eliminated him from my next compositions. (Processed with Kim Klassen’s Lightroom preset kk_summersun)

DSC_8719Revision I

I tried a dark background, and I did find something to hang up that made sense to me.
(Processed with kk_darklight preset)

DSC_8722Revision II

With light background (the bare wall) and kk_truegrit preset.

DSC_8709-2Final Version 

(kk_darklight with some adjustments of my own)

If I had to turn in homework, this would be the one. As I look at it now, I can see things I’d like to change up a bit — maybe the placement of that little hanging ornament, for one — but overall I’m pleased with the way it turned out. And I enjoyed spending some time “in nature” even though it was again too cold (minus 15, brrrr) to go outside.


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Photo-Heart Connection: November 2014

I’ve missed posting my Photo-Heart Connection the past couple of months, and now Kat has announced that she will be ending the monthly link-up at the end of this year. It’s always sad when something good and much loved goes away, but change is inevitable as we go through life, and the old must make way for the new. That’s what the image I chose for this month speaks to me about, too.

DSC_7645 Melancholia

This image is straight out of the camera and sums up my feelings about November very nicely. The month always seems a bit melancholy to me. The days grow short and the nights long. The sky is often gray and the weather turns cold and damp. Forecasts are filled with rain, fog, and even snow. The colorful leaves fade and fall, leaving naked branches behind. By the end of the month nearly all the trees are bare, tender plants have been frost-killed, and the natural world settles into dormancy.

There’s a sense of the year (perhaps of life itself) rushing to its close, a feeling of disbelief — what do you mean, Christmas is coming again? It seems only yesterday. . . .

It seems only yesterday that my children were young, that I was young. That the whole world was young and clean and innocent, but that was probably only my own naiveté. This is now, and it is what it is.

And so I observe with interest as the sunrise comes a minute or so later and the sunset a minute or so earlier each day, knowing the turnaround will come in only a couple more weeks, when the days will begin to lengthen again. I shake myself out of my lethargy enough to put on boots and warm, waterproof jacket, and go outside with my camera, seeking and finding beauty in bare branches and inclement weather.

Once again, the wonder of seeing the world around me through my lens works its magic, and I make peace with my November.

Thank you, Kat, for creating and hosting the Photo-Heart Connection — this practice which has added so much to my life over the past three years.

 


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Mother Nature’s Little Joke

I should not have been surprised, but I didn’t see it coming. Yesterday it rained most of the day, and it was still raining when I went to bed last night. The wind howled and moaned around the chimney all day, but it wasn’t very cold. This morning when I looked outside I was startled to see this:

IMG_2976Patio Seating Still Available

IMG_2965Turn Up the Heat, Please

IMG_2967Cold Coverlet

IMG_2969Waiting In the Wings

A robin sat still in one spot for the longest time as if bemused by the change, wondering what happened to the lovely warmth of the past few days.

DSC_4732“I thought it was spring….”

 Still, a bird’s gotta do what a bird’s gotta do.

DSC_4737Looking and Listening

 And you know what they say.

DSC_4738The Early Bird [228/365]

I’m sure it was all just a late April Fool’s joke, and this was absolutely the last snow before spring comes to stay, right?

Right?

 

 


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Change of Scene

I’m a bit late to the {In the Picture} linkup this month, but I think I can claim extenuating circumstances. I flew from Maine to California last Thursday, with all my worldly goods to follow by moving van a couple of weeks later. I did carry my camera with me, but my tripod is still in transit on said moving van.

After I got here, it took a few days to get an Internet connection squared away. But that’s done now, and here I am. I was determined not to miss the party altogether. Better late than never, right?

On the Boardwalk

I took this image on my last Maine photoshoot, when I visited the Saco Heath. I tried several of these but this was the only one I liked at all. I was glad I tried it, though, because it was from this position that I noticed the tree I called “Dancer” in my last post.

Surveying My New Domain

Now, on the other side of the continent: standing at the edge of the driveway, looking down over the landscape below. I wanted a higher viewpoint, but the only place I could find to put my camera was on a low fence, only a couple of feet off the ground. I’ll be glad to have my tripod in my hands again!

The World at My Feet

The next two aren’t portraits at all, just a couple of photos from my first morning at my new home. I woke in the early-morning dark and got up before the sun.

New Dawn

As soon as the sun rises, the breeze does, too. Until then, the air was perfectly still.

Soft Morning Light

This view is looking southwest across the yard. The early sun touches the distant mountains first, and everything glows with reflected light. It’s hard to express the feeling of peace it brings. It’s a good place to be.

Thanks to Christy at Urban Muser for hosting {In the Picture}. It’s a great project, challenging but fun.


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Transition

Last Look

It’s official, I’m in transit. Yesterday the movers picked up all my worldly goods, except for my laptop and camera gear, which will be in my carryon luggage. (Who needs clothing, right?) Today I finished cleaning and tidying up last minute details and turned in my apartment keys.

Now I’m at my daughter and son-un-law’s place, and tomorrow I fly to California. It’s calm and lovely here and I can finally relax and rest a bit. It’s hard to remember the last time I was this tired and sore, though I suspect it was the last time I moved.

Jenny’s Lilacs

I am fond of saying that all of Maine is just one small town. It seems like everywhere I go I’m always running into people I know (or who know me, which may not be the same thing at all). One day last week, my daughter said to me, “C. said he saw your picture in the library.”

I asked if he meant one of my photographs, though I couldn’t imagine how or why that could be. No, she said that he said it was a picture of me, not by me.

OK, this I had to see. I mean, I know I spend a lot of time at the library, but I didn’t expect to be memorialized on the wall. So I went over to see for myself. Here’s what I found:

Oh, now I understand.

And yes, here I am:

But that’s not what I was doing!

Of course, I had to take a photo of the photo someone took of me taking a photo!

The backstory is that C. and I had gone on a nature hike at a local park a couple of years ago, sponsored by Saco Bay Trails, a local group that promotes public access to recreational hiking trails. I was fascinated at finding two or three gravestones all alone in the woods, just a little way off the trail, and naturally stopped to take a few photographs. I never noticed someone else photographing me!

Ah, Maine, I love you. I’m going to miss you!