Sea Blue Lens


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Adventures in…Water

I grew up in a desert. As you might guess from the name of my blog, I have a “thing” for water, especially the ocean. When I was a girl, I dreamt of being a mermaid and half-believed it was true. Now that I can choose for myself, I live with water all around me. There’s a river right behind my apartment building, and the Atlantic Ocean is just a ten minute drive away.

So, when “water” came up as a topic in our Adventures in Seeing group, I knew I couldn’t just post one or two photos and feel satisfied. And so I set off to photograph water, on a day that began with rain and ended with fog.

Rainy Morning

Snowmelt

Peaceful Landing

Solitude

Rock, Ocean, Sky

Shore Lines

Then home again, to my river:

Flow

Total Immersion

 

If I did have to choose just one image of the day’s shooting to express the essential humility and grace of water, it would be this, my favorite photo of the day:

This one has no name.

 

 


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Muted Brilliance

Where I grew up, fall was welcomed for its cooler temperatures, but there was no spectacular visual display to mark the changing season. In those “long-ago” days, grocery stores sold pumpkins to carve for Halloween, but there weren’t the festive displays that are found everywhere now. Trees? Well, their leaves just turned brown and fell off. I didn’t know anything different. I’d seen pictures of New England autumns, but they were no more real to me than fairy tales.

Now I make my home in New England — and sometimes I do feel like I’m living in a fairy tale. The fall colors are so brilliant that it’s almost a relief when the leaves finally come down, leaving a more peaceful, monochromatic landscape.

Don’t get me wrong, I love all that color. It still amazes me every year, and I run around trying to photograph it all. But once in a while comes a day of fog and misty rain that transforms and softens the colorful world around me.

dsc_0889Rain on River

dsc_0893Wet Paint

img_3875Crystal Beads

img_1586Refreshed

dsc_0898Blue Dawn

dsc_0896

Fog

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

~ Carl Sandburg


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Summer Shower

We had a brief thunderstorm this afternoon. It didn’t rain long, or much, but it freshened the air and rinsed the pollen dust off everything. Afterward I walked to the park next door to see what I could see.

DSC_0198Birds of a [Different] Feather

An American Robin and a House Sparrow were keeping company on a dripping overhead cable.

DSC_0200Dropped

A maple leaf had let go of its lifeline.

DSC_0203Mystery Blossoms

Raindrops freshened flowers and foliage and pattered down from the trees overhead. I don’t know what these flowers are — the pink ones are on a large shrub, and the blue ones are a vine entangled in it. (If you know, please tell me!)

IMG_1153The Last Iris

IMG_1158The First Daylily

DSC_0226Hammock

This web is strung horizontally between the leaves of a huge hosta. There was no one home, but as you can see the larder is full of gustatory delights…if you’re a spider, anyway.

IMG_1169-2Storm? What Storm?

Behind the apartment, all traces of the storm were gone.

DSC_0236Rosa Multiflora

Bowers of tiny roses climbed high into the trees, their petals already dry.

DSC_0241The Calm After the Storm

leaf light and sky shine
illuminate clear water
ripples reflect peace

Wishing you a happy Wednesday, friends.


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Summer Miscellany

A few random images of the summer just past, and random thoughts on the season to come….

IMG_1789From Stackpole Bridge

As I begin writing this, it is Labor Day in the United States, and for me this holiday has always marked my personal end-of-summer. Here in Maine, the three-day holiday weekends of Memorial Day near the end of May and Labor Day at the beginning of September bookend our “official” summer tourist season.

IMG_3961Summer Rain

While I’m reluctant to see summer go, I do love fall. The crowds are gone and there are a couple of months of warm sunny days and cool nights to enjoy before winter descends…and of course there are the glorious leaves to look forward to.

IMG_4436Between Cities

When I was growing up, school used to start — always — on the Tuesday after Labor Day. Though school days are (thankfully) a distant memory, September still feels like a time of new beginnings. Maybe it’s just old habit, or maybe there really is something in the air that triggers the urge to clean things out, get my “nest” in order, and embark upon self-improvement projects.

IMG_4059Johanna’s Garden

One thing I’ve been wanting to do for a long time is blog more regularly. I began this blog four years ago as a photo journal for an online photography course I was taking. Without the class to hold me accountable, and to “tell me” what to photograph and write about, I haven’t really known what its purpose was/is.  But I do like having a place to share some of my photographs (which otherwise just sit in my computer) and I enjoy writing about them. I also treasure the friendships I have with people I’ve met online here, many dating back to that first “Find Your Eye” class.

IMG_3948Summer Sky: Scarborough Marsh

Last week I pledged to one of those friends — and to myself — a commitment to publish at least one post a week during the months of September and October. After that, we’ll see! I feel that I need the structure and discipline. I also need to do something with all these photos I keep on taking, or what’s the point? I hope by the end of October to have found a purpose and direction for the blog. Perhaps it will just be my own personal photo journal, pretty much as it has been all along. Perhaps I’ll discover that I really don’t want to keep doing it at all.

IMG_4504At the Farmers Market

So…come along, if you’d like, on my journey of random exploration. Welcome!

IMG_5334Season’s End

And welcome to you, too, Beautiful Autumn!


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Photo-Heart Connection: May 2013

raindropsRain, Rain

Do you remember the old children’s rhyme that goes:

Rain, Rain, go away!

Come again some other day.

As I looked through my photographs taken in May, searching for the one that resonated most with my heart, I realized that I’d photographed smoke in the sky from three different wildfires during the month. And it’s not even summer yet.

Before I moved here I looked up climate statistics for the area and learned that the average annual rainfall was between 8-1/2 and 9 inches. Pretty arid, right? Well, yesterday I looked up some recent actual rainfall statistics. In the year before I moved here, only 4 inches fell. And in the year since I came, we have had only 2.03 inches. That’s right, two inches of rain for the entire year.

It’s no wonder the squirrels and rabbits are eating every green thing they can reach in the garden, even things they normally don’t care for, like sage and lavender. There’s not much for them anywhere else.

So you can understand why, when I woke up on the morning of May 6 and saw raindrops suspended from the tips of the pine needles, I grabbed my camera to memorialize the occasion. We got a grand total of .06 inches (1.5 mm) that day. There’s been none since. It looks like it’s going to be a long summer.

Rain, Rain, come, I pray!

You are welcome any day.

Linking with Kat Eye Studio for the May Photo-Heart Connection. Anyone is welcome to join in — come check it out.


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Blurred Vision

Coming and Going

Coming and Going

Hi — I’m back! I didn’t deliberately set out to take a month-long blogging break, but that’s pretty much what happened. Don’t know why, but I guess I must have needed it.

I can’t say I’ve got any deep thoughts or dramatic breakthroughs to report upon my return. But since my Word for 2013 is Explore, I thought I’d jump in with Kat Sloma’s Exploring With a Camera. Each month, Kat offers up a lesson on an aspect of photography, with clear explanations, how-to’s, and plenty of examples. This month’s exploration was “artistic blur.”

I spend a great deal of effort in trying to get my photos to be as sharp as possible. The concept of trying to blur a photo by moving the camera around during exposure, for example, or by deliberately not focusing before capturing an image is difficult for me to grasp. I tried some experiments for this lesson but, sad to say, they were not successful. However, in looking through my archives I found that I do use other types of blur to create the effect I want in a photo.

Desert Willow

Desert Willow

In this photo, I used a shallow depth of field to hint at the setting of this desert willow, but the blossom is clearly the subject.

Eventide

Eventide

In this case, even though it’s the grass that’s in focus, it leads my eye to the cottage in the background. For me, the cottage in the soft, warm evening light, with its sense of peace and quiet solitude, is the real subject of the photo.

Summer Storm

Summer Storm

I took this photograph because of the blur caused by a brief but intense summer rain pouring down the window.

Window Waves

Ripples in Time

While this image was taken on another rainy day, the blurred distortion of the clapboards is caused not by rain but by the wavy antique glass of the window that I was shooting through.

Ripples In Time

Water World

These are ripples of a different sort. The water in this cove seemed very calm, but the blurred reflection tells another story. This is one of my favorite reflection photos.

Downtown

Downtown

In this image of the Los Angeles skyline taken from the Angeles Crest Highway, the mountains and distant city are blurred by mist and rain.

Slow Water

Slow Water

This blurred water is caused by using a slow shutter speed, a common technique used by landscape photographers to give moving water that milky effect. To be honest, it’s not something I do often, but I was experimenting with it one day and this was the result. To me, milky water looks very unnatural; I prefer to freeze the motion, leaving the water clear. But I did enjoy trying and comparing the effects of different shutter speeds on this occasion, and I’ll experiment more with it in the future.

Spots and Stripes

Spots and Stripes

This effect was achieved by shooting through a flowering shrub. Focusing on the bird beyond caused the foliage to blur into a translucent wash of color. I’d like to say I did this on purpose, but I was quite surprised by the result when I downloaded the images.

Illumination

Illumination

The blur here is caused simply by hand-holding the camera. The interior of this church was very dark so the shutter speed was slow. It’s sharper than I expected to get, but I like the softness of the glowing candles.

Angry Squirrel

Angry Squirrel

Autumn Gold

Autumn Gold

My apartment in Maine backed up to the edge of a river, and I had wonderful views from my windows. I took a lot of photos through those windows, with more or less success. These are two of my favorites. I was shooting through a double paned window and a screen, which gave these images a soft-focus effect that I like.

The Blues

Singin’ the Blues

Car window + Raindrops + Reflected Sky + Wide Open Lens. Once I’d have just thrown this away, but I like it. So with this little abstract, I’ll close my exploration for now and go link up with Exploring With a Camera: Artistic Blur. I think I’ll make it just under the wire.


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Scavenging in a Gray World

It’s foggy and rainy today, perfect for sitting at the computer and going through photos! Today’s Scavenger Hunt Sunday items are: Missing, Numbers, Purple, Music, and Bracelet. Let’s get to it!

Missing:

Blank Slate

Blank Slate

What’s missing? My view! This is what I woke up to this morning. The mountains over which the sun rises apparently got up and walked away overnight.

Numbers:

Feeding My Flock

Feeding My Flock

Filling the feeder with sunflower seed brings in large numbers of house finches, among other songbirds. Hungry birds aren’t much on politely waiting to take turns, so things get pretty exciting around there.

Purple:

Watercolor

Watercolor

I don’t think I will be sitting out on the patio in my pretty purple chair today.

Music:

Halleluia!

Hallelujah!

More years ago than I care to think about, I sang in a large community chorale that performed Handel’s Messiah every year during the Christmas season. I learned it by heart and still remember most of it, but I still have my music. And I’m listening to it on my stereo right now.

Bracelet:

Memories

Connections

I was doing a lot of research into my family tree through Ancestry.com while I was putting together this bracelet.  My father had left home as a teenager and never had contact with his family again. Many of the beads and charms represent family members that I discovered and connected with through my research, as well as other people and places dear to me. Every time I look at it, I remember the thrill and excitement of that amazing ancestral “scavenger hunt.”

And that’s it for this week. Thanks again to the lovely Ashley Sisk for hosting. Click on over to check out everyone’s linkups.