Sea Blue Lens


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Scene & Story: February 2017

My favorite photographs are often the most serendipitous ones, the unexpected subjects that catch my eye and take me by surprise. I took a lot of photos in February, most of them outdoors: landscapes, seascapes, and snowy nature shots. Maybe that’s why this one stood out when I reviewed my photos for this month’s Scene & Story.

LightMagicA Trick of the Light

One morning in early February, I got up at a ridiculous pre-dawn hour to meet a friend for breakfast. (I’m not much of a pre-dawn sort of person, but she’s worth it.) Now, my apartment’s windows all face west. Therefore, I never get morning sun in my home, and it was still dark as I got out of bed and quickly got ready to go.

The sky was brightening by the time I came downstairs, but the living room was still dim and shadowy. Imagine my surprise when I turned toward the door to leave and discovered this beautiful golden light and shadow there. It must be some kind of magic!

In reality, I quickly realized it was just ordinary…what?…physics, I guess. The rising sun was striking the windows of a building across the river, and the angle was just right for the light to reflect into my west-facing windows and shine all the way across the room to illuminate the door on the opposite wall.

But you know what? I’ve never seen it before in the two and a half years I’ve lived here. There are probably only a couple of days a year when everything lines up perfectly, and I just happened to be there at that exact moment. It felt like a gift, and I left the house with a smile on my face and a skip in my step.

Serendipity. That’s magic enough for me.

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Click here to join our Scene & Story link-up at Paisley Rain Boots.

**Scene & Story is a collaborative creation that Sarah Huizenga of Paisley Rain Boots and I dreamt up to encourage one other in our photography and writing. We’d love for you to join us. Just share a favorite photo from the previous month along with a short story or description and link up your blog or Flickr photo. Please remember to visit the other story sharers and leave a little love everywhere you visit. It’s a wonderful way to find and build a community of kindred spirits.


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Evening Out Back

Late afternoon. Something about the quality of the light through the window catches my eye and I head outside for a better look.

IMG_0601

The “golden hour” approaches — those last few minutes at the end of the day before the sun goes down. It’s one of my favorite times of day. I don’t need to go far, just down the stairs and around behind my building, to capture the interplay of glowing light on leaves and water.

IMG_0609The low-angled sunlight casts a beautiful sidelight on the trees at the edge of the river.

IMG_0607The mosses and ripples seem lighted from within.

IMG_0615Leaves glow against deep shadows.

IMG_0618Reflections dance quietly on the water.

The sun sets, the light fades and in moments is gone, and another day is done.


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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.

IMG_8582
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.

IMG_8580
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.

IMG_8583
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!

IMG_8623small
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: May 2014

Two WindowsThread the Light  [249/365]

This month’s Photo-Heart Connection contains a tiny touch of Photo-Heartbreak. And a very large amount of gratitude.

I’ve had the privilege of living in this beautiful, historic home since last November. Now it has been sold, and in a couple of weeks I will be moving to an apartment. I’m looking forward to getting settled there, in what I hope and expect will be my long-term home. I’m tired of moving.

What I had not expected was that I would be so sad to leave this house. It is large, simple, gracious, and elegant. It’s over two hundred years old, with slanted floors, crooked doors, and wavy windows. And the most beautiful light, threading its way into and through every room. It has a warm, welcoming spirit, a “presence” of its own. It’s altogether the loveliest place I’ve ever occupied.

I moved in here knowing it was only temporary. I unpacked everything anyway. Yesterday my friend Susan asked if I was sorry I did that. That’s an easy one: No!  I moved in completely, bag and baggage, and apparently heart and soul, too. And I don’t regret it for a minute. Living here fully, not just camping out, has been a wonderful experience, and one I’ll always treasure and be thankful for.

The photo above was taken late one afternoon as the sun shone through an old window onto the rough-sawn boards of the mudroom wall. It will be the perfect reminder of the winter and spring of light (and delight) that I spent in this old house.

The title comes from the chorus of a song I’m very fond of, “Down Low” by The Swell Season, that goes like this:

Thread the light
Thread the light
Shine the light
Don’t hide the light
Live the light
And give the light
Seek the light
And speak the light
Crave the light
And brave the light
Stare the light
And share the light
Show the light
And know the light
Raise the light
And praise the light
Thread the light
And spread the light

I don’t know the meaning of the song (I don’t think it’s religious), but every time I think of this image, the tune and words start running through my head. It feels right, somehow.

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


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Holiday Scavenger Hunt: 12.22.13

Hard to believe it’s only three days til Christmas. My holidays are usually small and quiet and I’m feeling ready now. The decorations — not many, but enough — are up. Gifts have been wrapped and placed under the tree or mailed to far-off places. I’ve enjoyed shopping with my daughter, and getting together with friends for a meal or a movie or just a cup of tea and a chat. On Christmas morning presents will be opened in front of the fire, in pajamas, accompanied by carols on the stereo.

Meanwhile, there’s still time for Scavenger Hunt Sunday! This week’s list includes: Lights, Tree, Big, Makes You Feel Merry, and On the Door. Let’s see what we can find.

Lights

DSC_3706Lighting Up the Night

It would not be my choice to leave this light on all night, but the other tenants and the landlord like the security it provides. We had more snow Tuesday night, and the warmth of the bulb caused the falling flakes to melt and icicles to form on the cover.

Tree

DSC_3746‘Tis the Season 112/365

A friend hung these ornaments on the bare branches of a small tree in her front yard. I loved the unexpected color against the wintery woods on a cold, drippy morning.

Big

DSC_3688Red Door

Big house, big yard, big snow (another 10 inches), big blue sky, big trees and a big shadow.

Makes You Feel Merry

DSC_3743Highways and Byways

Waking up to fresh, fluffy snow and seeing that the squirrels have already plowed their way between the trees and the house made me laugh. The one you see climbing the trunk had just jumped from the roof into the snow, disappearing completely for a second or two before digging his way out and rejoining the main “road.” You can see where he landed and came up again in the foreground of this photo. The interesting thing is that they NEVER jump off the roof onto the bare ground. How do you suppose they know it’s okay to do it into the soft snow?

I love the squirrels and birds and all the wonders and mysteries of nature that surround me wherever I am. They make my heart merry in every season of the year.

On the Door

DSC_3734Simplicity

On the front door is a simple balsam wreath adorned with a red velvet bow. In typical Maine fashion, only the mailman and strangers ever come to the front door. Rather a shame, really, because it’s such an elegant entry.

That’s it for my official scavenger finds, but I’ll leave you with one more that actually incorporates most of the prompts in one image:

IMG_1799Pink Santa 108/365

Lights – check
Tree – check
Big – sigh of relief to have the tree done, check
Makes You Feel Merry – ho, ho, ho! check
On the Door – well . . . Santa won’t have to knock on the door, cuz I have a chimney for him to come down. Check?

Wishing those of you who celebrate Christmas a happy and blessed one, and to all a happy Winter Solstice. For those of us in the northern hemisphere, that’s something to rejoice about!

Come check out this week’s linkup at Ramblings & Photos.


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Photo-Heart Connection: March 2013

DSC_0269Illumination

This photograph is a mystery to me. I walked into my living room one afternoon and was immediately attracted by this shadow on the wall. I picked up my camera and took three shots of it, then went on about my business. It wasn’t until I reviewed the images that the mystery occurred to me.

Where did that light come from?

This pottery jar of dried California buckwheat has been sitting in this spot on my mantel since fall. My fireplace spans a corner of the living room and is the one spot in the room that receives no direct light at all. Ever. The only explanation I can think of is that the afternoon sun must have bounced off my car in the driveway and reflected through the window and into the corner. But I’ve never seen it before or since, and when I peer through the window from the outside, I can’t even see the mantel.

So there you go. There is a perfectly rational explanation — probably. But the point is that I don’t need an explanation. I like the mystery of it. This photo reminds me that there are things in this world that don’t have easy or pat explanations. There are many things I don’t understand or have the answers to. That’s okay. I don’t need to have all the answers.

I just want to be ready to catch the light when it comes.

Linking with Kat Sloma’s Photo-Heart Connection, a monthly practice of journaling about the one photograph I’ve taken during the month that speaks most strongly to my heart.


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SHS Oct 7

Happy Sunday! I’ve enjoyed thinking about Scavenger Hunt Sunday all week, and looking for images to fulfill each prompt. This week the topics are: Shadow, Keys, Smile, Unedited, and Spice. Here we go . . .

Shadow:

Sundial

This noontime shadow of a pine tree in my garden reminded me of the symbol for a tree used on architectural drawings. I liked the crisp outline of the branches clearly showing the circular shape of the tree from the sun’s-eye view.

Keys:

Breakfast Bar

I didn’t find any interesting literal keys to photograph, so I’m going with a more metaphorical interpretation. One of the keys to successful gardening is knowing the challenges to growing things in your area. A couple of days ago I saw for myself the reason why this particular plant never seems to grow.

The other key here is not to believe everything you read on the internet. Many sites state that bunnies will only nibble as high as their noses. My mistake was in thinking that meant from the ground. Clearly my rabbits are smarter and more athletic than average.

The filter-blur effect is from an actual filter . . . my screen door.

Smile:

Hello, Handsome!

This guy has been hanging around a lot lately, making me smile every time I see him. He’s just so darned cocky. Did you know that roadrunners eat other birds, as well as lizards and snakes? And that they stalk their prey like a cat? It’s fascinating to watch him as he hunkers down flat and creeps along the ground trying to sneak up on the smaller birds in the garden.

On this day, I saw him through the window, grabbed my camera, and quietly stepped outside. He came trotting through my open gate and up the flagstone walk straight toward me while I snapped away. About four feet away, he noticed my presence and veered off. He paused on these timbers and had a casual look around (“I’m not scared of you!”) before heading on up the hill.

I think he’s so beautiful. If you click on the picture, you can see there’s a lot of green in the feathers on his back. When the sun hits them just right, they’re iridescent.

Unedited:

Owl Drug

I went into the bathroom one afternoon and my eye was caught by the late afternoon sun coming through the pebbled glass window and illuminating these bottles. I took several images and will probably play with some post-processing later, but this is my favorite SOOC (straight out of camera).

Spice:

Hot and Cold

Lunch — a homemade tamale and spicy green salsa from a vendor at the farmer’s market, with sliced cantaloupe from a local grower for a cool, sweet counterpoint.

And that’s a wrap for another Scavenger Hunt Sunday. Check out the links over at Ramblings and Photos and see what everyone’s been up to this week.

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