Sea Blue Lens


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Photo-Heart Connection: October

The Way the Wind Blows

I’ve had a hard time with the Photo-Heart Connection this month, and, in fact, almost let it pass me by. It’s not that I lack for photos to choose from. The problem is with the heart.

Fall has always been my favorite season of the year, even though I grew up in a place where fall was marked not by spectacular color, but merely a cooling and mellowing of the summer’s blistering heat. Leaves simply turned brown and fell off the trees, leaving behind bare branches against blue sky.

Seventeen years ago, I left the desert behind and moved east, where I finally experienced autumn in all its glory and loved it more than ever. Now I’m back, not exactly in the desert but close to it. I’m far away from a lot of people I love. And while I’m happy and grateful to be here in this beautiful place, close to other people I love, my heart is torn.

Fall for me is a nostalgic time of year anyway, and this year it feels especially poignant. I love my new home, and find joy in it every day. I’m also seriously homesick for Maine and the friends and family left behind. I feel tears welling up at unexpected moments. I feel a bit like that weathervane up there, turned in a different direction with each passing breeze.

I’m keeping busy (in a relaxed sort of way) and try to do something every day to settle in here a little deeper. Like a transplanted tree, it will take time to put out new roots and become established in this new soil. It will take a bit of protection from the strongest winds. But in the end, those winds will help to strengthen the trunk and roots and branches of that tree.

I try not to think too much about it all, but just let myself feel what comes. I know it will pass. Whichever way they blow, the winds always die down and calm returns.

So that’s my Photo-Heart Connection for this October. For me, fall is still what it was all along . . . a time both for looking back and for new beginnings. I wonder what November will bring?

Thanks to Kat Sloma for hosting this linkup each month. It’s a great chance to look over the images taken during the month and think more deeply about the one that speaks most to my heart.

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Trendy? Not So Much.

Schoolroom Flag, Willowbrook, Maine

Assignment #8 in our Find Your Eye: Journey of Recognition course was to study current trends in photography and see whether they influence our own photography.

This lesson was both easy and hard for me. Hard because I can’t relate to it very well, and easy because the short answer is simple: No. Then hard again, because clearly that answer is not sufficient!

I’ve never been accused of being trendy, except jokingly. I seldom even know what the latest trends are, so if I occasionally happen to appear au currant it’s generally accidental rather than intentional. Whether in fashion, home decor, or music, my taste tends to run to the conservative, classic, and comfortably familiar.

Prior to taking this e-course, I only followed a couple of photography blogs. I’ve been introduced to many more through this class and the Liberate Your Art postcard swap. One trend I have noticed is post-processing for special effects, whether it be layering on textures, altering the color, or applying edges or frames to an image. While I admire others’ creative results, I’ve never tried any of these things myself, nor have I (yet) felt any desire to. (This will be no surprise to those who have read my previous posts.)

For this assignment I also looked at some nature, wildlife, and travel photography blogs. I saw a lot of wide angle photography with closeup foreground areas enlarged by lens distortion, macro shots with very shallow depth of field, and lots of “milky” flowing water. I don’t see these as new trends, since I recall similar techniques from photography books and magazines that I was reading back in the 1970’s and ’80’s. I noticed that particular photographers tend to use certain angles or techniques more than others do, but I think that is related more to personal style than trends.

When I look through my own photo archives, the only trends I notice are related to the materials available to me at the time. My skills have (I hope) improved, but the subject matter hasn’t really changed much over the years. I photograph what I have access to and interest in. Nature and travel have always been themes. What seems a lifetime ago, I documented my kids and family activities. My earliest photos are in black and white because that was what I had. Later I switched to color film, then slides, and another brief B&W phase when my husband had a darkroom in our home.

In the fullness of time, I moved over to digital photography. I love its spontaneity and the freedom it allows me to shoot anything I want, as much as I want, without worry about the cost of processing. But I’m still striving to capture what I see and feel. So far, I’ve had no desire to try to alter my images in an “artistic” sort of way. Those of my photos that look like streaky old Polaroids really are streaky old Polaroids, and the ones with the “seventies processing” actually were processed in the ’70’s. Back then, those were considered flaws. Why would I want today’s photos to look like that?

Part of me longs for the simplicity of older times, as reflected in the image above. Could this image be made to appear more “period” by applying some cool, current editing tools to it? I suppose so. But I really like it just as it is.

For now, I’ll continue to follow my heart, and let others follow theirs.  Who knows, maybe in 30 or 40 years I’ll be trendy.  If it can happen to seventies processing… !

Note – I chose this image particularly in honor of today’s anniversary. Not that we could ever forget . . . .

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