Sea Blue Lens


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Be Still Weeks 38 and 39: Dark vs. Light

I have two Be Still lessons to post today. The first, from last week’s assignment, is a still life with organic elements, photographed with side light. Kim’s examples for this lesson were dark and moody, so I headed in that direction, too. I used one basic setup for these, varying the cropping but mostly just experimenting with some Lightroom presets in post processing.

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Processed with Kim Klassen’s kk_organic, with decreased clarity and slightly increased saturation.

I bought this hand-painted bowl on a trip to the Grand Canyon about 20 years ago from a Native American man sitting on a blanket at the side of the road, selling pottery that he told me he made himself. It is stained with smoke inside and out and looks like it was fired in a campfire! It reminds me of my roots in the Southwest, as well as of that rather magical trip.

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Processed with David duChemin’s Toxic Warmth preset.

The little lizard crawling out of the bowl is one of those little critters that are meant to be hung on the rim of a flowerpot. I don’t remember where I got him, but I do remember that I bought him just because he looked so much like the lizard painted inside the bowl. It amuses me to think they might be related.

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Processed with kk_moody-ish
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I found the nest when I was living in California a couple of years ago. The egg, which is broken open on the side you can’t see, I picked up here in Maine. I have no idea what kind of bird made either one. The stick and cluster of cones came from two unrelated trees in my daughter’s yard.

This week’s lesson is just the opposite: glass, light, bright, white, airy. For this one I tried several different arrangements.

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Sea Glass

Vintage mason jars filled with sea glass, old linen napkin, backlit through lace curtains. Processed with kk_slightlight with clarity reduced quite a bit because I wanted that glow-y look.

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Sea Girl

I’m afraid I can’t begin to tell you how I processed this one. I tried so many variations, including starting over several times,  that I completely lost track. I’m not thrilled with it, but it’s a whole lot better than what I started out with!

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Home Comforts I

This is as it came out of the camera, plus Kim’s kk_touchof-1 texture. I like the soft, natural look of this one.

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Home Comforts II

Here it is with with the same texture, processed with Kim’s kk_slightlight preset. It’s more dramatic and I like it, too. It’s so hard to make decisions about these things.

And that’s me caught up again and looking forward to the weekend! I hope you all have a good one.


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Photo-Heart Connection: August 2013

IMG_1039 NestNest

This is one of the images from my every-day-in-August series that I wrote about in my last post. Towards the end of the month, it occurred to me that most of my photos so far had been taken outside, so I looked around the living room for potential subjects. I’m not much for setting up still lifes, so I wanted a subject I could shoot as-is, in available light.

Aha! The bookcase. My little bird’s nest under glass. Last year, when I discovered this little domed glass dish with a perky little bird perched on top, I just had to buy it. Inside it I keep a little nest that I found on a walk during my first visit here four years ago. It’s woven from grass and pine needles and tiny twigs, and lined with something coarse and fuzzy like raw wool. The eggs in the nest are from my sister’s cockatiel, who tries to make babies a couple of times a year even though she has no mate.

The resulting photo made me happy the moment I saw it. What surprised me about this picture is how real and three-dimensional the background appears. The rock and ferns are actually one of my own photographs, printed on canvas, which leans against the back of the bookcase. The light in that print seems to be coming from the same direction as the light from the window reflected on the glass, melding the two separate elements into a whole that enhances both of them.

This photograph combines a bit of my life in Maine (the photo on canvas) with my life here in California (the glass dome and nest), illustrating and expressing my love of nature, birds, and, of course, photography. It has enabled me to see a little collection of familiar odds and ends in a new way that makes me appreciate them even more. It reminds me to savor the small, simple things that bring me joy and connect my heart to the everyday world around me.

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


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The Last {In the Picture} Show

In The Picture

We’ve come to the end of our year-long self-portrait project, {In the Picture}. I have to say that I’m pretty proud of myself for sticking with it for the entire year. I knew this would be a year of change for me, and I really wanted to document it in some way.

As one who is usually taking the photographs, I’m not often seen in them. It’s been a change to put myself in front of the lens, and even more challenging to learn to look at the results objectively. It has definitely been a growing experience, and one that I’ve enjoyed much more than I expected to.

In addition to learning to see and appreciate myself in new ways, I’ve loved being able to see my fellow photographers on this journey. I love having faces to put with the personalities that I’ve come to know through your photography, art, and writing. I’ve been moved and inspired by the honesty, courage, and creativity with which you have revealed yourselves not just physically but emotionally.

Our optional theme for the month of December was “celebrate.” 

Happy Birthday Girl

Celebrating Myself!

I’m one of those lucky people who have a close-to-Christmas birthday. In honor of the occasion, my sister and brother-in-law took me on a day trip over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house . . . oops, wrong story. Actually, we went to Little India in Cerritos for some delicious Indian food, which I love.

We drove over the Angeles Forest and Angeles Crest highways and the views were amazing. The devastation of the wildfires two years ago is heart-breakingly evident, but the regrowth of vegetation is encouraging. The weather looked frightful but wasn’t, and really added to the drama of the scenery. In reality I’m just holding my camera here, but I like to think my arms are outstretched to embrace all the beauty around me and whatever the next year will bring.

Celebrating Memories

Celebrating Memories Past

Next came Christmas. You knew there had to be birds on my tree, right? One of the things I love about all our family’s Christmas trees is that each ornament brings back the memory of a time, place, person, or event. I have ornaments going back to my kids’ first Christmases.

The goldfinch is from a favorite place in Maine where my daughter and I vacationed several times. The little crystal bird is new this year and stands in for all the new birds I’ve discovered here at my new home. And that tiny angel was a gift from a dear friend and her small son a few years ago.

Celebrating Memories To Come

Celebrating Memories Future

I raise my glass to all of you! I hope you have been able to celebrate whichever holidays you observe at this time of year with love, joy, and hope for tomorrow.  My wish for every one of us is a happy, healthy, creative, and prosperous New Year.

Come to our final linky party and celebrate with us! Once again, many thanks for Christy’s inspirational lead in hosting {In the Picture} all year long. It’s been a rewarding journey.