Sea Blue Lens


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Scene & Story: July 2017

Damsel Fly on Daylily

Once upon a time — well, actually, it was just a few years ago, but I love stories that start with “once upon a time,” don’t you? — anyway, once upon a time, an Older Lady (about 60-something) and a Small Boy (about 6) had a conversation while walking around her back yard.

Lady:  Look, a dragonfly.

Boy:  Aunt Lon, may I tell you something?

Lady:  Of course.

Boy:  Would you like to know an easy way to tell the difference between a dragonfly and a damselfly?

Lady:  Yes, how can you tell the difference?

Boy:  When you see one resting, if its wings are opened flat, it’s a dragonfly. If its wings are folded together over its back, it’s a damselfly.

Lady:  Oh, so this is a damselfly. That’s good to know. Thank you!

Boy:  You’re welcome.

I’ve never forgotten how to tell the difference between a dragonfly and a damselfly, and I never see one without remembering this conversation. Not so much because of what the boy said, as the way he said it. So polite, so careful and kind in sharing his knowledge to correct the lady.

Time darts and spins and flies as fast as any dragonfly. That formerly small boy will start high school this fall, and I know he will do well. I’m as proud as ever to be his honorary aunt.

* * * * *

Click here for the Scene & Story link-up at Paisley Rain Boots.

Scene & Story is a monthly collaborative creation that Sarah Huizenga of Paisley Rain Boots and I dreamt up to encourage one another in our photography and writing. We’d love to have you join us! Share a favorite photo from the previous month along with a short story or description and link up your blog or Flickr photo. 


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Scene & Story: December 2016

dsc_1153Balance

There she stands, that little squirrel, poised and ready to leap. Focused, concentrated, intent upon her destination, the next branch, the next tasty bud. I wonder if she enjoys the leap, that brief moment of flying through the air. I wonder if her tiny heart beats a little faster in anticipation of the launch.

I’d like to be as focused on my next move and as sure of my goals as this little creature, but human lives tend to be more complicated. What do I want to accomplish this year? What do I want to learn, do, create? What do I want to be? To become?

I ponder these questions as I stand poised on the edge of the unknown, at the start of a new year, another new beginning. My heart beats faster in anticipation of the launch. And I hope for moments that will feel like flying.

* * * * *

It’s official, we have a linkup!
You can find it at Sarah’s Paisley Rain Boots blog.

**Scene & Story is a collaborative effort between myself and Sarah of Paisley Rain Boots. We encourage you to 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.


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Turn, Turn, Turn

This song keeps running through my head: To everything (turn, turn, turn) there is a season (turn, turn, turn) and a time for every purpose under Heaven. My favorite season has just begun. Fall always makes me feel a bit melancholy, yet excited and happy about the changes and new beginnings that always seem to hum in the air at this time of year.

DSC_2849 misty morningMisty Morning  21/365

The last day of summer dawned cloudy and cool, with fog veiling the mountains. By mid-morning it had burned off, leaving a clear blue sky and a sun already shifting to the south. The air is cooler but the light itself seems to have a warmer, more golden quality even at midday.

DSC_2772 blackbirdWatcher

A few flora are flourishing despite the drought:

IMG_1104 yellow daisiesYellow Spiny Daisy

DSC_2833 purple astersMystery Aster

California Buckwheat 23-365California Buckwheat 23/365

Fauna are frolicking in the cooler weather:

DSC_2805 NiñaKickin’ It Up

DSC_2904 bunny hopThe Bunny Hop

Fall visitors are coming back:

DSC_2894 Nutall'sWoodpeckers and Finches and Sparrows, Oh My!

I’ve seen male and female Nuttall’s Woodpeckers here before, but only one at a time. I was really excited to spot this pair in our Charlie Brown tree on the first day of fall.

DSC_2887 WC sparrowRight on Cue

This little guy, the first of the season, showed up the same day, just hours after I said to my daughter, “I hope the White-Crowned Sparrows come back soon.” They winter over here but leave in spring to spend the summer elsewhere — probably somewhere cooler, if they are at all sensible. I haven’t seen one since April. I don’t know why I like them so much. They sing the same few notes over and over, but it always makes me smile to hear it.

And last but not least, the apples have been harvested. We had plenty of help:

DSC_2446 apple birds

DSC_2565 bunny apple

DSC_2656 squirrel apple

But we did manage to salvage a few for ourselves.

DSC_2867 apple basketLast of the Harvest  22/365

At the beginning of September I began a 365 project, my first, with a small group of online friends. It has so far truly been a gift of grace, keeping my interest in photography up even while other concerns are occupying much of my thoughts and time. I thought I might feel intimidated by the group, whose work I already knew and admired, but instead I’m loving it! I’m being inspired and uplifted every day by their photography, while learning to look wider and go deeper with my own. I can’t think of a better new beginning for this fall.


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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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That Sixth Sense

I’m still busy Finding My Eye over here. Next lesson: recognizing intuition. I’m finding this a hard assignment, which is odd, since I think of myself as an intuitive photographer. I seldom go out to take photographs with a goal in mind, but just meander along until something “speaks” to me and I think, “Yes! Try to catch that!”

But is that really intuition? When I take my eyes from the glorious color of the autumn foliage and look down at my feet at exactly the right moment to notice this:

leaf loopLeaf Loop

. . . is that intuition or just a lucky chance? I still remember my excitement when I spotted it. Perhaps it was my intuition that told me it was a good subject for me. Perhaps a different photographer’s intuition would have told him to just keep walking.

I sometimes wonder whether what appears to be a “sixth sense” is simply the result of paying attention to information received, perhaps subliminally, by the usual five senses. A bit of barely-glimpsed motion or color that causes me to look in a certain direction, or a whisper of sound or scent that makes me turn around. But perhaps it’s intuition that tells me to pay attention to that hint of sensory stimulation.

When something tells me a subject would probably make a good photograph, is it intuition or just experience? In fact, Psychology Today’s website has this to say about intuition:

We think of intuition as a magical phenomenon—but hunches are formed out of our past experiences and knowledge.

My past experiences and knowledge tell me to continue seeking out places where the subjects that tug at my heart are likely to be found. My intuition nudges me to keep walking, just a little farther, just around one more bend, and look right over there. . . .

IMG_4797So glad I came this way!


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Scavenging the Yard

Had to go on the Sunday Scavenger Hunt today. It’s a great distraction from the wind, which is driving me to distraction. Wind is my least favorite kind of weather. It blows here a lot, but usually doesn’t bother me. Today it’s got me a bit on edge.

Let’s think about something else and go hunting. This week’s targets were Yellow, Getting Ready, Bright, Teeny Tiny, and Connections.

Yellow:

Eye of the Beholder

I found this tiny “weed” blooming all by itself early one morning and thought it a lucky way to start the day.

Getting Ready:

Rest Stop

This beautiful bird is pausing for a drink, getting ready to head off to wherever. I believe it’s a female Nutall’s Woodpecker. My bird book says it’s “uncommon.” This is not its normal habitat, so for me, it was a truly special sighting. Please pardon the pink and green blurs — I was shooting from my desk, through the window, between the branches of the crape myrtle, which was blowing back and forth. Yup, it was windy that day, too.

Bright:

Rose Red

This rose’s blossoms are only a couple of inches across, but it’s the brightest, most vivid red I’ve ever seen. The camera hardly does it justice.

Teeny Tiny:

Eensy Weensy Spider

Luckily for me, and for it, this tiny spider was posing for me on the outside of the window glass. His body was barely a quarter of an inch long, and resembled a small freshwater pearl.

Connections:

Two-birds of Happiness

This pair of Western Bluebirds has been here all summer. I’ve also spotted a couple of juveniles that could be their offspring, though I can’t know for sure. It pleases me to think of the connections of this little bluebird family. When they spread their wings and fly into the sunshine, they are like pieces of the sky.

The common theme of all these images is the connection that I feel to all the wild things around me here. They are a distraction, too, but in the very best way!

Linking with Ashley’s Ramblings and Photos for Scavenger Hunt Sunday. Thanks, Ashley!


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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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