Sea Blue Lens


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Photo-Heart Connection: January 2014

I have been doing a 365 project since September 1, and am happy to report that I’ve been keeping up with photographing something daily to post to our Flickr group. Some days I take a lot of photos. Other days are not very inspired, and I struggle when I realize it’s bedtime and I haven’t picked up a camera all day. Should I let it go, just this once? Then I start looking around at the accoutrements of my everyday life, hoping to see with new eyes something that might make a photogenic subject. By lamplight, of course, since I dislike using flash. Some of those late-night desperation shots, to my surprise, have turned out to be among my favorites.

But all of that is really irrelevant to my Photo-Heart Connection this month, because when I looked over all my January images, the one that spoke to me was not one of my 365 photos at all. Instead, it was this one:

DSC_3890 BenchViewpoint

This image was taken on the first day of the new year. Friends from Canada had come down for a few days, and we’d driven out to try to spot some snowy owls that had been reported nearby. We were all thrilled by some good sightings of the beautiful birds, but it was wicked cold and we were glad to head back to our friends’ condo for hot coffee and tea, cookies and conversation.

I was drawn immediately to the window. I used to live in this same building, a renovated old industrial mill next to the river, and always loved the views of the rushing water and the neighboring town on the other side. But this day as I looked down, I was captivated by this view. The snow-covered ground, the fence alongside the drop to the frozen river, the small bare tree and empty bench. The black against white. It’s so clean, almost a blank slate — except for that single set of footprints. Lonely? Or merely solitary? (They are not the same, you know.) A bit of mystery, a story, whatever I choose to read into it. 

The scene outside was in stark contrast to the light and warmth within, and as I look at this photo I remember that. Through the cold heart of winter, in spite of time and distance, there’s friendship to sustain and cheer us. Under the ice, the river still flows to the sea. Under the snow, the grass merely sleeps. The seasons will turn. Where will my own footsteps take me? I’m looking forward to the rest of the story.

I’m linking to Kat Sloma’s Photo-Heart Connection for January. It seems like this month has passed in a rush, and I haven’t posted since last month’s PHC. It’s not that I haven’t thought about my blog, but rather that I haven’t felt I had much to say. I’m grateful to Kat for hosting this monthly practice that pulls me back and provides a bit of an anchor for me here.


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Shootout at the Cole Road Cafe

I am famous now. Well, maybe not famous, exactly. More like notorious? Yesterday my friend Susan, who blogs as Happy No Ears, wrote about — me! And posted pictures. I had hat hair. I vowed revenge.

Here you go:

Gotcha Back!

This is Susan, gloating over her “Don’t you dare!” capture. Doesn’t she look pleased with herself? I’m not sure if she even noticed that I snapped her back. (I know, what kind of revenge is this? She looks good in this picture!)

When I took an online photography class last year, the last thing I expected was to find a real, flesh-and-blood friend. Because we were supposed to keep a photojournal that we could share with classmates, I started this blog. As I read the blogs of fellow students literally from around the world, it was a shock to see one of them posting images of subjects that looked awfully familiar. That train station, for example — wait a minute, that’s MY train station. The one I can see from my window! Turns out she lives just a few miles down the pike from me.

She noticed it too. “Hey Neighbor,” she wrote one day in a comment on my blog. It wasn’t long before we were tossing around the idea of getting together for a photoshoot. And so we have done, followed by breakfast, several times now.

Cold Hands, Warm Coffee

If you’ve ever read Susan’s blog, then you know she’s a very quirky and funny writer. She’s really like that. It’s even better in person. She’s very considerate, too. She switches to decaf after the first cup, “for the world’s sake.”

As Susan noted, we are very different, but somehow it works. We get together and she does her thing and I do mine. It’s comfortable. And it’s fun!

Going Her Own Way

The wonderful thing about blogging friends is that they stay with you no matter where you or they go. We can connect in deep and meaningful ways, even though we may never actually meet. Getting to know Susan in person has been an unexpected gift, and when I move away I’m going to miss her. But we will keep in touch, and she can be sure I will call when I’m coming back this way. Meanwhile, there are those daffodils to look forward to . . . and another breakfast. With coffee, but please — only one cup of regular for Susan. We’re trying to keep the world safe here.

PS — Like Susan, I highly recommend Kat Sloma’s Find Your Eye e-courses. They got me to look at my photography and at myself in a whole new way. You’ll probably make some new friends, too. If you’re very very lucky, one of them might even be close enough to have breakfast with.