Sea Blue Lens


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Photo-Heart Connection: February

Collection=Connection

Finding the photograph from February that spoke to my heart was not an easy assignment. Due to weather, work, and various other constraints, I didn’t take many photos in February. I didn’t want to use one I’d already posted before. What was left?

This is one I took for Scavenger Hunt Sunday a few weeks ago, but didn’t use. It’s a little vignette in a corner of a bookcase, a part of what I think of as my natural history shelf. These objects speak of my love of nature and wildlife. And each of them holds other memories, as well.

The two little birds and the frog are hand-carved from found wood by an artist in Eastport, Maine. My daughter and I visited “Downeast” for a week each summer for several years, and each piece commemorates something notable about the trip when it was purchased — the summer we saw flocks of goldfinches, the year the frogs in the pond serenaded us all night long, the time the woods were full of flitting chickadees.

The two small black books are from 1920, field guides to Western Birds and Western Flowers “of the Rockies and West to the Pacific.” They belonged to my grandparents-in-law, and there are penciled notes in the margins where they recorded dates and places of sightings. I’ve even added a few of my own over the years, and those bring back memories too, of other places lived, and long-ago camping trips when my children were young.

The white shadow box in the back contains treasures from closer to home: small shells and beach pebbles, tiny pine cones, a bit of driftwood, a moth’s wing. Just junk, I suppose, but precious to me.

Whenever I look at the objects on this shelf, I am reminded of my connections — and of my need to stay connected — to nature, to family, to my history, to the wider world around me and to my own inner self . . . to my heart. And that, dear friends, is exactly why I take photographs.

Linking to Kat Sloma’s Photo-Heart Connection at Kat Eye Studio. Come check it out – and even join in!

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in·spi·ra·tion

Shhh…photographer at work. I’m thinking.

I’m very glad the weekend is finally here. It seems like it’s been a long week, and I’ve been feeling very tired. Last night I slept for ten hours straight, something that’s almost unheard of for me. I’m looking forward to catching up with my lessons and photojournal posts.

Lesson 5 in the Find Your Eye: Journey of Recognition course asked me to consider which part(s) of the photographic process I’m most inspired by. Intending, seeing, taking, editing, sharing, getting feedback, and so on. I’ve never even considered before that there were steps to the photographic process, never mind breaking down which parts inspire me the most.

I’ve been thinking about this for almost a week now. I’ve realized that what excites and inspires me most about photography is discovery. And capture. I am most excited about photography when I go to a new location, or when returning to a favorite place that I don’t visit often. I’m stimulated by new things I see and feel, and I want to explore and capture them with my camera – both the “thing,” whether it be a single object or an entire landscape, and the feeling it gives me. It’s a way of holding on to “there” even though I have to return to reality here.

Here is an example. These photos were taken on two separate trips to the same place in downeast Maine. On my first visit to this spot, I took dozens of photos of this old smokehouse from all angles, inside and out, in various weathers and times of day. (It’s where I found the spiderweb shown here.)

I also loved this old shed in its field of wildflowers.

A year later, a new discovery: winter storms had further decimated the shed, and I could frame the old smokehouse through what was left of the shed roof.

After a photo shoot, I typically download the photos and take a quick look at them. Then they become a slideshow screensaver on my computer, where I enjoy seeing them every day, and that’s the end of it. However, in this class, I’ve become interested in the other aspects of the photographic process. The  assignments make me photograph with deliberate intention. I’m then reviewing, considering, choosing, and editing. I have to think. And try to express what I’m thinking in writing. All of that is much harder than just snapping away as the mood strikes me. But I’m learning to enjoy those parts, too, more so as I practice and become more skilled at them.

Through this photojournal, I am also sharing my photos publicly for the first time. The response to these posts and my photographs has been encouraging and confidence-building, and has made me think and helped me grow. Receiving feedback is not the reason I take photographs, but I’ve discovered it can be a very rewarding part of the process, and for that I thank all of you!

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