Sea Blue Lens


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Adventures in…Water

I grew up in a desert. As you might guess from the name of my blog, I have a “thing” for water, especially the ocean. When I was a girl, I dreamt of being a mermaid and half-believed it was true. Now that I can choose for myself, I live with water all around me. There’s a river right behind my apartment building, and the Atlantic Ocean is just a ten minute drive away.

So, when “water” came up as a topic in our Adventures in Seeing group, I knew I couldn’t just post one or two photos and feel satisfied. And so I set off to photograph water, on a day that began with rain and ended with fog.

Rainy Morning

Snowmelt

Peaceful Landing

Solitude

Rock, Ocean, Sky

Shore Lines

Then home again, to my river:

Flow

Total Immersion

 

If I did have to choose just one image of the day’s shooting to express the essential humility and grace of water, it would be this, my favorite photo of the day:

This one has no name.

 

 


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Springing into Summer

Not only is winter over, but I have completely skipped spring here on the blog. Well, not completely, since officially the first day of summer is still a couple of weeks away. But around here, Memorial Day weekend is the real beginning of summer regardless of what the calendar says.

My daughter and I took advantage of the last week before that holiday to take a day trip to Ogunquit, a popular vacation destination that’s packed with visitors during the summer months. It was one of those idyllic days that linger in the memory long afterward.

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Wouldn’t you love to stay at this beautiful inn? I always like to imagine what places like this were like when they were private homes.

We browsed in a few shops, then enjoyed lunch at a new restaurant: delicious clam chowder and a Maine crab melt sandwich with Old Bay fries, the sandwich grilled to tender, crispy perfection and the fries offering a spicy counterpoint to the delicate crab.

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After lunch we strolled along Marginal Way, a popular path overlooking the ocean. On a midsummer weekend, you would not be able to see the pavement for the people!

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The blue-green sea softly melded into the sky at the horizon.

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The sun-warmed breeze was sweet with the scent of lilacs and wildflowers.

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Did you know that Mallard ducks will visit the ocean to bathe and feed? I had thought they were strictly freshwater birds. I was very surprised to see them paddling around in this tide pool.

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The sound of the waves mingled with birdsong and the quiet conversation and laughter of others out enjoying the day.

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There was even music!

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Who could ask for more?

We drove home tired but happy. It had been a perfect day. It was just a few hours, spent less than an hour’s drive from home, but it truly felt like a vacation. It reminded me of how little it takes to break out of my routine for a refreshing change, and how good it feels when I do. Here’s to more “Daycations”! *

* Credit goes to my friend Cathy H at Gramma’s Little Corner for introducing me to this delightful word.


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Out and About

I don’t like cold weather. I often think about going out, but when the thermometer registers below zero Fahrenheit, it’s really hard to get motivated to get outside and play. Nevertheless, inspired by Sarah’s Wanderlust Wednesdays post yesterday, I bundled up and ventured out to my favorite beach.

Oh, the difference a few months makes! In June, July, and August, the sand is covered with beach umbrellas, blankets, chairs, towels, and (of course) people. Hundreds of them. The only thing on the sand yesterday were shells left behind by the last high tide. I only saw one other person walking on the beach. The little village center was a veritable ghost town.

IMG_6945Dessert, Deserted

IMG_6941Apparition

IMG_6937Closed for the Season

IMG_6836Bright Spot

IMG_6837Summer Dreams

IMG_6866My Rocks

IMG_6859Goosefare Brook, High Tide

IMG_6862Where Waters Meet

When I got to this point, where the brook empties into the Atlantic, instead of turning back and retracing my steps along the beach as I usually do, I followed a path around the little bluff below to circle back along the road to my car.

IMG_6869Windswept

IMG_6870Future Sea Glass?

Beyond Wabi-sabiBeyond Wabi-sabi

Along the way I made a most surprising discovery! I found a short trail that led to a tiny, hidden beach I never knew existed.

IMG_6897Tucked Away

IMG_6899A Secret Place

IMG_6906Tranquility

I sat here in the quiet, feeling thankful for having found this beautiful place, until my hands and feet turned numb with cold.

IMG_6915Frozen

And then I went home . . .

DSC_6393Home Comforts

. . . thankful for this place, too, but so glad I went out. I plan to do it a lot more often.


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Hunting and Gathering

Inspired by this week’s Be Still – 52 lesson, I took a couple of nature walks to gather materials for creating some still life photographs. My first impression, as I thought of “gather – drop – place and prop,” was that Mother Nature does such a fine job of gathering and dropping that she doesn’t need any help from me. All I needed to do was “place” my own two “props” and snap away:

IMG_5376 Fall FeetMagic Carpet

However much fun that was, it didn’t really satisfy the requirements of the lesson, so I set off to collect some autumnal miscellany around the neighborhood. There can be hazards to this kind of still life photography. Did you know that if you bring certain dried wildflowers into your house, you will soon have seeds of said wildflowers everywhere? The Queen Anne’s Lace was so messy that I didn’t use it after all, in spite of its fascinating structure. I’m still vacuuming up prickly little seeds. My basket of goodies also contained other unintended “organic matter” that was inclined to make itself at home in my home, but don’t worry, I put the little spiders safely back outside.

Anyway, after gathering a basketful of colorful leaves, berries, seeds and twigs, more than enough for a dozen still-life photo shoots, I came home to arrange and photograph them. I’m still working on where and how to set up still lifes in this apartment — finding space, light, and clean backgrounds is a challenge. My workspace for this project was an antique folding sewing table set up by the living room window.

DSC_6941 work spaceMy Garden and Reflecting Pool

DSC_6942 fallen leaf pondFallen Leaf

DSC_6926Autumn Joy

This was my final composition, taken from above and processed with Kim’s moodswing Lightroom preset. Okay, assignment done, I thought.

But then . . . Sunday I woke up in a melancholy mood. Thinking it might be interesting to try the assignment with odds and ends I could find at the beach, I headed to one of my favorite places, the Audubon Walk at Biddeford Pool. Five minutes of sea breeze and sunshine, and I was a new person. It works every time. I must remember this!

P1040477 Wood Island LightWood Island Light

I took my usual path, which was more overgrown than I’ve ever seen it before, probably due to the very rainy July we had this year. The only birds I saw were sea gulls and chickadees, but there were lots of butterflies and bees on the wild asters.

P1040389 butterfly-bee-asterAutumn Feasts for Tiny Beasts

I came home with over 100 photos in my camera and a much lighter heart. Oh, and a few bits of this and that in my pockets.

DSC_6961 beach treasures_aboveA Day at the Beach

Some granite eggs, a few shells, a bit of old brick and scrap of wood, seaweed, three hearts (I only asked the Universe for one!), and two tiny bits of sea glass. I was amazed at how many red-berried trees and bushes I saw. These were only one of at least a half-dozen different kinds of red berries I discovered. The yellow ones are bittersweet berries. There are tons of it out there, but it’s not quite “ready” yet — the outer casings haven’t yet opened to show the orange berries inside.

DSC_6971 beach still lifeBe Still, My Heart

Lesson learned from this week’s still-life photo assignment? I must get out more. Literally out: outside, into nature. I need it as much as I need food, water, sleep, and air to breathe.


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Photo-Heart Connection: November 2013

OceanParkHomecoming

 I arrived back in Maine a week into November, and my household goods were delivered by moving van about 10 days later. I spent the next several days trying to bring order out of the chaos that was my immediate universe. The weather was cold, and a nasty storm was predicted. It seemed good to stay indoors.

Then…instead of that expected nasty storm…we got a day of sunshine and a high temperature in the mid-60s. Enough with the unpacking, already. I threw on a light jacket, put my phone in my pocket, and headed out to pay my first visit to “my” beach since my return.

Oh, my friends, it was glorious! The water was a deep blue-green, the breeze was gentle, and the sun so warm I took my jacket off and tied it around my waist. There were only a few people out — it was midafternoon on a weekday, after all — most of them accompanied by their dogs. It was the kind of day when strangers greet each other in passing with joyful grins and lighthearted comments, exulting in sharing such an unexpected blessing.

One woman, walking a bouncy small dog on a long leash, asked, “Did I sleep through winter?” Then, before I could respond, she said exactly what I was thinking:

         “What a gift!”

Welcome home to the sea, Sea Blue Lens.

That’s my Photo-Heart Connection for November. Come check out the linkup at Kat Eye Studio.


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Memories, Dreams, & Reflections: 2012

A friend inspired me to take on Ashley Sisk’s Memories, Dreams and Reflections 2012. It’s like a Super Scavenger Hunt Sunday, with 25 prompts to fulfill using photos from the whole year. You’d think it would be easy, having so much to choose from, but actually that’s the problem…there’s so much to choose from! But I thought it might be fun, and a good opportunity to review my year in photos, so here goes.

1. Me!

{In the Picture}

{In the Picture}

One thing I’m proud of accomplishing in 2012 is the {In the Picture} self-portrait challenge hosted by Christy at Urban Muser. I’ve taken a self-portrait (or several) and posted at least one on my blog every month all year. Here is one from each month . . . mostly outtakes that didn’t get published.

2. I Love You

My Favorite Couple

My Favorite Couple

This is my Dear Darling Daughter and El Boyfriendo (hers, not mine). I’m not sure who took the photo — a friend of theirs, I think — I “borrowed” it from her Facebook page because I love it (and them) so much. It’s a great shot of two of my favorite people at one of my favorite places.

3. Still Laughing…

Hangin' Out

Just Hangin’

Can you see our visitor, the little guy with the skinny neck and really long nose, there in the center of the frame? One afternoon my sister and I were looking out her kitchen window when we saw our resident roadrunner dashing along the driveway. To our surprise, he ran into the gazebo and flew up onto the railing. He sat there for several minutes, turning his head this way and that, surveying the property like the Lord of All. Finally he jumped down and disappeared into the brush . . . probably off to grab some grub. We still laugh about how odd he looked there. He is such a funny and fascinating creature and I absolutely love it that he graces us with his presence.

4. Winter Wonderland

Sea Smoke

Sea Smoke

I suppose it’s not called sea smoke if it’s on a river. But anyway . . . this was from last winter, taken behind my apartment building in Maine. It was a very cold morning, mist rising from the water and the trees white with frost. As the rising sun hit them, every twig glittered.

5. Birthday

Another Year Older and Who Cares?

Another Year Older — So What’s Next?

For my birthday, my sister and brother-in-law took me all the way to Little India in Cerritos so I could have Indian food, which I love, for my birthday dinner. We took the scenic route over the Angeles Forest and Angeles Crest highways. It was a beautiful drive, requiring several stops along the way to take photos. A fun and memorable day!

6. Friends

Painting Pals

Painting Pals

I became friends with these beautiful women over a decade ago, shortly after I moved to Maine. We met through our local adult ed program when Carol, Sue, and I took a series of watercolor painting classes taught by Judith (on the right). During the summer, when there was no class, some of us would get together once a week at Sue’s house to paint. Before I moved away in May, Carol and Sue invited me to lunch and surprised me by having Judith come too. I asked our server to snap this shot of the four of us with my iPhone. I miss these talented and very sweet friends.

7. I Was Inspired…

Me, Myself, and iPhone

Me, Myself, and iPhone

Meeting my friend Susan for a photoshoot after work one day, I discovered I’d brought my camera bag but not the camera! I was very disappointed, but then I was inspired to try my iPhone camera. I hadn’t used it before except for a few snapshots, and I didn’t have high expectations. Much to my surprise, I loved the resulting photos and it turned out to be one of my favorite shoots ever. (I blogged about it here.) Of course, the wonderful company didn’t hurt, either.

8. Spring Fever

Spring Faces

Spring Has Sprung

You know it’s spring when the daffodils are up in Laurel Hill Cemetery. They sweep down the hillside to the river and people come from all over the area to see the spectacle every year. This image is from another photoshoot with Susan. It was great to be able to share the experience and the photo op with a friend.

9. Travel or Vacation

Bye Bye, Ocean

Bye Bye, East Coast

My last glimpse of the Atlantic, as I flew to my new home in California. This is New York, where I changed planes. I saw nothing of Maine as I left — we were in clouds as soon as we left the ground. It’s probably just as well.

10. Summer Days

California Girl

California Girl

August at the beach in Ventura. Need I say more?

11. A Day In My Life

Where I "Work"

Where I “Work”

Even though I’m retired now, I still spend quite a bit of time at a desk. The difference is that it’s MY desk, and I can get up and walk away from it whenever I want! This is where I process photos, write this riveting blog, peruse Facebook, and watch birds through the window. In case you’re wondering, I think retirement is awesome!

12. All Smiles

Beaky Smiles

Bird Smiles

Do birds smile? No, but they and their antics make me “all smiles.” They are always entertaining and can make me forget any problem. These are only a few of the many species I’ve photographed right here in our yard.

13. Autumn Harvest

All You Can Eat

All You Can Eat

This is just a sampling of the bounty to be found at Sanchez’s roadside produce stand. Some of it is grown in fields and gardens right behind the stand, and most of the rest is locally sourced. Sanchez’s and our local farmers’ market is where we bought our fruits and veggies all summer and fall.

14. Family or Home

Moving In

Moving In

This is my home. I know, it doesn’t look like much here. (Trust me, it’s improved since this picture was taken.) I have moved many times over the course of my life, and some of the contents of these boxes have been with me every step of the way. I’m pretty good at packing and unpacking my life. Each new house or apartment is a new beginning, and I love turning it into a comfortable home.

15. Celebrate!

Aunt and Uncle Sam

Aunt and Uncle Sam?

2012 marked the 50th anniversary of Acton’s annual Fourth of July parade. The parade is a big deal. People start parking their RVs and setting up tent shade shelters along the parade route days in advance. There’s much hilarity as some parade watchers blast floats with water guns, and riders on the floats return fire . . . uh, water. Even the fire truck that opens and closes the parade gets into the act and by the time it’s over, anyone who wants to be is thoroughly drenched. Remarkably, those who don’t wish to be sprayed are respected and stay dry. It was a great time of celebration and good-hearted laughter.

16. Let’s Do It Again…

Friends Through a Lens

Friends Through a Lens

In the fall of 2011, I met in person a fellow photographer and blogger, Susan (Happy No Ears). We’d connected with through Kat Sloma’s Find Your Eye classes and discovered we lived only a few miles apart. Our growing friendship was one of the joys of 2012. We went on several photography outings together, always followed by something delicious to rejuvenate ourselves with. I really miss her and look forward to getting together again when I visit Maine. (She’ll probably want to kill me for posting some of these, but I think I’m safely out of reach!)

17. I Miss You

Dawn

Sunrise at My Beach

Maine! I miss everything about it, except maybe the long winters . . . and long winter nights. But I especially miss being only ten minutes from a beautiful beach, where I could go on the spur of the moment and walk in near-solitude even on summer evenings. I miss friends and loved ones left behind. But don’t worry: I’ll be back! I’m already planning my next visit.

18. Beautiful

Sharing a Cup

Sharing a Cup

These are my daughter’s beautiful hands. We still have tea together now and then — we just do it by phone.

19. Dress Up

No Place To Go

No Place To Go

This is about as dressed up as I get these days. Please note the lovely polish on my toenails. I think that’s a nice, dressy touch. It even matches my fancy, flowered tee-shirt!

20. Macro

After the Rain

After Rain

These are berries of Juniperus Californica, the beautiful native California juniper. There are several large specimens of this tree on our property. I woke one morning to find it had rained overnight, and water was dripping from everything. I took my camera out and took nearly 200 shots of  various weed-and-water effects. This was one of my favorites.

21. Holidays

O Christmas Tree

O Christmas Tree

I really enjoyed dressing my new little cottage for the holidays. This is the first time in a dozen years that I’ve decorated a Christmas tree.

22. My Favorite

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl

One of my favorite memories of 2012 is from New Year’s Day, when I went on a photoshoot with my son-un-law and a birding friend of his. The weather was surprisingly warm and beautiful for a winter’s day in Maine, and I’d gotten a new lens for Christmas. We went to Nubble Light in search of a snowy owl that had been reported in the area. As you can see, we found it, as did a small crowd of other folks on the same quest. The warmth of that day of sunshine, nature’s beauty, and casual fellowship have lingered in my memory all year long.

23. Don’t Ever Change

Picture of Contentment

Picture of Contentment

I’ve been a reader all my life. I’m grateful for the pleasure, companionship, consolation, inspiration, adventure, tears, laughter . . . you name it . . . that I’ve gotten from books. They are always there when wanted or needed, asking nothing in return. I can’t see my love for them ever changing, nor would I want it to.

24. Just Because…So There!

Summer's End

Tattered

I don’t know why, I just like it.

25. Hopes and Dreams

Charisma

Charisma

I hope to bloom like this beautiful rose as I continue to explore my new life and environment. I also dream of having this beautiful rose bloom again in my garden . . . and not be eaten by bunnies the very next day!

And that’s a wrap.  Now it’s time to put 2012 in the archives and look ahead to a new year full of possibility. I’m joining the linkup over at Ramblings and Photos and looking forward to seeing everyone’s reviews of 2012.

 


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This Is My Life

It’s time for the next installment in the {In the Picture} self-portrait project. This month’s theme, optional as always, was “My Life, Right Now.” The idea was to capture a memory, an emotion or mood, something that would reflect our everyday life, right now.

Since I am retired now, I suppose you could say my whole life is a vacation. Nevertheless….

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

I have been missing the easy access I had to the beach when I lived in Maine. A couple of weeks ago, my sister and I took a day trip to Ventura, where we had lunch, poked around the many second-hand shops on Main Street, visited the mission, and wrapped up the day by getting our feet all wet and sandy at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. It might have been short, but it felt like a real vacation! I took a lot of photos, but these were the only ones with me in them. That middle one is SOOiP (straight out of the iPhone) and not very flattering, but who cares? It records the fun I was having and that’s what counts, right?

Window On My World

I will always remember this summer as the beginning of a new chapter in my life. In Maine, I worked full time and lived in a rented apartment that looked out over a river. Now I live in California, my time is my own, and my view is of chapparal and mountains.

Dreams Fulfilled

And…instead of an apartment, I live in a cottage that is mine to make exactly as I want it. I’d been considering the possibility of this move for over four years before it actually happened. During that time, I’d visited and had taken photos and measurements of the cottage. I drew up a floor plan to see where my furniture would fit. I’ve spent the last three months bringing that floor plan to life, and it’s turning out just the way I imagined it. As you can see, I”m enjoying the fruits of my labors. For me, this is the picture of retired contentment.

And that’s it for another month. This was a fun theme, and I can’t wait to see what Christy has in mind for us for September. I knew this would be a year of changes for me and I wanted to record it in self portraits. Having {In the Picture} to look forward to each month has helped to give me focus and keep me going when I might otherwise have given it up, and I’m grateful for that.

You can see what everyone’s been up to this month over at Urban Muser’s {In the Picture} linky party.