Sea Blue Lens


29 Comments

A Hike on the Heath

I woke up early Saturday morning, too early. I got back into bed and closed my eyes, hoping for another hour or so of sleep. There was really no reason to get up. Except…there’s a place I’ve been thinking about visiting, and I had a sudden urge to do it NOW. So I got up again, got dressed, grabbed a jacket and my camera, and headed out the door.

A few minutes later, I was alone in the small dirt parking lot at Saco Heath — but not for long. Another vehicle pulled in as I was getting out of my car and a man got out, a large coffee in a disposable cup in his hand. We walked along the woodland trail together for a short way, chatting about the beautiful morning. Then he excused himself to “set a pace,” and took off down the path with long strides, leaving me and my camera in happy solitude.

dsc_0708Ferns glowed in the dim woods.

dsc_0711Sunlight brushed just the treetops.

dsc_0721A graceful fungus thoughtfully placed itself exactly at my eye level.

The heath is a unique geographic feature that is interesting and beautiful any time of year. And as I emerged from the woods onto the boardwalk at the edge of the heath, the sight took my breath away.

dsc_0737The heath glowed in the rising sun and ground fog lingered among the trees.

dsc_0728Every web, twig, and blade of grass was covered in silvery dew, backlit by the sun.

dsc_0750I’ve never seen the cottongrass in such abundance before.

dsc_0766The farther I went, the more magical the light became. It was like wandering into a fairyland.

dsc_0788At the opposite side of the heath, the path enters another wood. It was brighter now.

dsc_0774Two tiny strands of web at the tip of a pine needle were beaded with the minutest drops of water.

dsc_0810Streaks of sunlight picked out details on the ground.

dsc_0816A stray beam spotlighted a branch of golden leaves.

The walk back under full sun had a very different look and feel.

dsc_0840The bordering woods displayed a wall of bright color.

dsc_0847But the path through them still looked dark and mysterious.

dsc_0848Leaves sprinkled the boardwalk like confetti.

img_4083And the ferns in their festive autumn garb gently waved goodbye.

I didn’t miss that extra hour of sleep one little bit.

 


11 Comments

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!


14 Comments

Change of Scene

I’m a bit late to the {In the Picture} linkup this month, but I think I can claim extenuating circumstances. I flew from Maine to California last Thursday, with all my worldly goods to follow by moving van a couple of weeks later. I did carry my camera with me, but my tripod is still in transit on said moving van.

After I got here, it took a few days to get an Internet connection squared away. But that’s done now, and here I am. I was determined not to miss the party altogether. Better late than never, right?

On the Boardwalk

I took this image on my last Maine photoshoot, when I visited the Saco Heath. I tried several of these but this was the only one I liked at all. I was glad I tried it, though, because it was from this position that I noticed the tree I called “Dancer” in my last post.

Surveying My New Domain

Now, on the other side of the continent: standing at the edge of the driveway, looking down over the landscape below. I wanted a higher viewpoint, but the only place I could find to put my camera was on a low fence, only a couple of feet off the ground. I’ll be glad to have my tripod in my hands again!

The World at My Feet

The next two aren’t portraits at all, just a couple of photos from my first morning at my new home. I woke in the early-morning dark and got up before the sun.

New Dawn

As soon as the sun rises, the breeze does, too. Until then, the air was perfectly still.

Soft Morning Light

This view is looking southwest across the yard. The early sun touches the distant mountains first, and everything glows with reflected light. It’s hard to express the feeling of peace it brings. It’s a good place to be.

Thanks to Christy at Urban Muser for hosting {In the Picture}. It’s a great project, challenging but fun.


10 Comments

Farewell Visits

In between packing and visiting with friends and getting ready to move, I managed to revisit a few favorite places and take some photos over the past few weeks. I haven’t had much time for processing or posting, but here are some shots from one last trip to Saco Heath, which I love to visit in the spring and fall.

Saco Heath

See the faint trace of an animal trail?

Stripes

This boardwalk used to be made of wood weathered to a soft gray. Unfortunately, the wet conditions of the heath have caused the wood to rot away, and the trail is being rebuilt now with artificial planks which I believe are made from recycled plastic.

Bristle Brush

I love the bristly rows of new growth on these branches.

Rhodora

I was fortunate to catch the Rhodora in peak bloom. It masses in lavender-pink clouds beneath the trees.

Rhodora Closeup

The individual blossoms seem fairy-like to me.

White Bells

I can’t remember what these are. My wildflower book was already packed, so I couldn’t look it up!

Pink Bells

They come in pink, too. Aren’t they pretty?

Seeing Double

We came upon a patch of the tiniest violets I’ve ever seen, barely over 1/4 inch across. Then I noticed this odd creature that looked like a cross between a hummingbird and a bee. As you can see, it is also tiny — less than 1/2 inch long. I looked it up online later and learned that it is a bee-fly. I love the shadow — I didn’t even see that when I took the photo.

Drinking Violets

Here’s another shot of the bee-fly. You can see the blur of its wings and its long, black proboscis reaching for the nectar in the heart of the violet.

Dancer

Can you hear the music?

And now I’m dancing off to somewhere new. But that doesn’t mean you’ve seen the last of my Maine, and certainly not the last of me!


7 Comments

Wrapping It Up


Our final, bonus exercise in the Find Your Eye photography e-course was to review and assess what we actually got from the class. Immediately after the class finished, I went on vacation for a couple of weeks, so I’ve had some time to consider this. But it’s still not easy to put my thoughts and feelings into words.

Having reviewed my lesson posts and inspiration file, I note the following discoveries:

  1. I do have an “eye.” My photographic interests and style have remained pretty consistent for all of the (ahem) many years I have been taking photographs.
  2. My eye is unique to me. While others may take similar photographs, mine are still . . . somehow mine.
  3. I will always be able to find subject matter for my camera. (More on this in a future post.)
  4. Sometimes it really is about the equipment. (More about this later, too.)
  5. Looking at the work of other artists, whether it be photography or other media, helps me to grow in my own work.
  6. Photoshop is not evil, but simply a tool, or sometimes an artistic medium in its own right, to help us achieve the image we envisioned. Post-processing can be fun!
  7. Photographing with intent and purpose can be interesting, informative, and fun, even if I do have to be dragged into it kicking and screaming.
  8. Stepping outside my comfort zone can be challenging and frustrating. It can also result in some very nice pictures!
  9. Thinking is a vital part of a photographer’s tool kit. This is a valuable lesson for someone whose photography is mostly intuitive.

All of these discoveries have been made in community with an amazing group of fellow students. As I’ve mentioned before, this is the first time I’ve ever shared my photography outside of a small circle of family and friends. During this course, I have learned so much specifically from feedback and interaction with the other students and our instructor, Kat, through all of our online photo journals.

My photography is usually a solitary pursuit, but through this course I’ve made connections with kindred spirits from across the country and around the world who now feel like friends. Not only have I found my eye, but I’ve found a new respect for my own work by seeing it through the eyes of others. It’s been remarkable to discover that images I’ve captured with my heart and mind can touch others, even complete strangers.

I’ve discovered a new joy and enthusiasm for my old pastime. I can’t wait to continue the journey in our next class, The Journey of Inspiration.