Sea Blue Lens


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Memories, Dreams, & Reflections: 2012

A friend inspired me to take on Ashley Sisk’s Memories, Dreams and Reflections 2012. It’s like a Super Scavenger Hunt Sunday, with 25 prompts to fulfill using photos from the whole year. You’d think it would be easy, having so much to choose from, but actually that’s the problem…there’s so much to choose from! But I thought it might be fun, and a good opportunity to review my year in photos, so here goes.

1. Me!

{In the Picture}

{In the Picture}

One thing I’m proud of accomplishing in 2012 is the {In the Picture} self-portrait challenge hosted by Christy at Urban Muser. I’ve taken a self-portrait (or several) and posted at least one on my blog every month all year. Here is one from each month . . . mostly outtakes that didn’t get published.

2. I Love You

My Favorite Couple

My Favorite Couple

This is my Dear Darling Daughter and El Boyfriendo (hers, not mine). I’m not sure who took the photo — a friend of theirs, I think — I “borrowed” it from her Facebook page because I love it (and them) so much. It’s a great shot of two of my favorite people at one of my favorite places.

3. Still Laughing…

Hangin' Out

Just Hangin’

Can you see our visitor, the little guy with the skinny neck and really long nose, there in the center of the frame? One afternoon my sister and I were looking out her kitchen window when we saw our resident roadrunner dashing along the driveway. To our surprise, he ran into the gazebo and flew up onto the railing. He sat there for several minutes, turning his head this way and that, surveying the property like the Lord of All. Finally he jumped down and disappeared into the brush . . . probably off to grab some grub. We still laugh about how odd he looked there. He is such a funny and fascinating creature and I absolutely love it that he graces us with his presence.

4. Winter Wonderland

Sea Smoke

Sea Smoke

I suppose it’s not called sea smoke if it’s on a river. But anyway . . . this was from last winter, taken behind my apartment building in Maine. It was a very cold morning, mist rising from the water and the trees white with frost. As the rising sun hit them, every twig glittered.

5. Birthday

Another Year Older and Who Cares?

Another Year Older — So What’s Next?

For my birthday, my sister and brother-in-law took me all the way to Little India in Cerritos so I could have Indian food, which I love, for my birthday dinner. We took the scenic route over the Angeles Forest and Angeles Crest highways. It was a beautiful drive, requiring several stops along the way to take photos. A fun and memorable day!

6. Friends

Painting Pals

Painting Pals

I became friends with these beautiful women over a decade ago, shortly after I moved to Maine. We met through our local adult ed program when Carol, Sue, and I took a series of watercolor painting classes taught by Judith (on the right). During the summer, when there was no class, some of us would get together once a week at Sue’s house to paint. Before I moved away in May, Carol and Sue invited me to lunch and surprised me by having Judith come too. I asked our server to snap this shot of the four of us with my iPhone. I miss these talented and very sweet friends.

7. I Was Inspired…

Me, Myself, and iPhone

Me, Myself, and iPhone

Meeting my friend Susan for a photoshoot after work one day, I discovered I’d brought my camera bag but not the camera! I was very disappointed, but then I was inspired to try my iPhone camera. I hadn’t used it before except for a few snapshots, and I didn’t have high expectations. Much to my surprise, I loved the resulting photos and it turned out to be one of my favorite shoots ever. (I blogged about it here.) Of course, the wonderful company didn’t hurt, either.

8. Spring Fever

Spring Faces

Spring Has Sprung

You know it’s spring when the daffodils are up in Laurel Hill Cemetery. They sweep down the hillside to the river and people come from all over the area to see the spectacle every year. This image is from another photoshoot with Susan. It was great to be able to share the experience and the photo op with a friend.

9. Travel or Vacation

Bye Bye, Ocean

Bye Bye, East Coast

My last glimpse of the Atlantic, as I flew to my new home in California. This is New York, where I changed planes. I saw nothing of Maine as I left — we were in clouds as soon as we left the ground. It’s probably just as well.

10. Summer Days

California Girl

California Girl

August at the beach in Ventura. Need I say more?

11. A Day In My Life

Where I "Work"

Where I “Work”

Even though I’m retired now, I still spend quite a bit of time at a desk. The difference is that it’s MY desk, and I can get up and walk away from it whenever I want! This is where I process photos, write this riveting blog, peruse Facebook, and watch birds through the window. In case you’re wondering, I think retirement is awesome!

12. All Smiles

Beaky Smiles

Bird Smiles

Do birds smile? No, but they and their antics make me “all smiles.” They are always entertaining and can make me forget any problem. These are only a few of the many species I’ve photographed right here in our yard.

13. Autumn Harvest

All You Can Eat

All You Can Eat

This is just a sampling of the bounty to be found at Sanchez’s roadside produce stand. Some of it is grown in fields and gardens right behind the stand, and most of the rest is locally sourced. Sanchez’s and our local farmers’ market is where we bought our fruits and veggies all summer and fall.

14. Family or Home

Moving In

Moving In

This is my home. I know, it doesn’t look like much here. (Trust me, it’s improved since this picture was taken.) I have moved many times over the course of my life, and some of the contents of these boxes have been with me every step of the way. I’m pretty good at packing and unpacking my life. Each new house or apartment is a new beginning, and I love turning it into a comfortable home.

15. Celebrate!

Aunt and Uncle Sam

Aunt and Uncle Sam?

2012 marked the 50th anniversary of Acton’s annual Fourth of July parade. The parade is a big deal. People start parking their RVs and setting up tent shade shelters along the parade route days in advance. There’s much hilarity as some parade watchers blast floats with water guns, and riders on the floats return fire . . . uh, water. Even the fire truck that opens and closes the parade gets into the act and by the time it’s over, anyone who wants to be is thoroughly drenched. Remarkably, those who don’t wish to be sprayed are respected and stay dry. It was a great time of celebration and good-hearted laughter.

16. Let’s Do It Again…

Friends Through a Lens

Friends Through a Lens

In the fall of 2011, I met in person a fellow photographer and blogger, Susan (Happy No Ears). We’d connected with through Kat Sloma’s Find Your Eye classes and discovered we lived only a few miles apart. Our growing friendship was one of the joys of 2012. We went on several photography outings together, always followed by something delicious to rejuvenate ourselves with. I really miss her and look forward to getting together again when I visit Maine. (She’ll probably want to kill me for posting some of these, but I think I’m safely out of reach!)

17. I Miss You

Dawn

Sunrise at My Beach

Maine! I miss everything about it, except maybe the long winters . . . and long winter nights. But I especially miss being only ten minutes from a beautiful beach, where I could go on the spur of the moment and walk in near-solitude even on summer evenings. I miss friends and loved ones left behind. But don’t worry: I’ll be back! I’m already planning my next visit.

18. Beautiful

Sharing a Cup

Sharing a Cup

These are my daughter’s beautiful hands. We still have tea together now and then — we just do it by phone.

19. Dress Up

No Place To Go

No Place To Go

This is about as dressed up as I get these days. Please note the lovely polish on my toenails. I think that’s a nice, dressy touch. It even matches my fancy, flowered tee-shirt!

20. Macro

After the Rain

After Rain

These are berries of Juniperus Californica, the beautiful native California juniper. There are several large specimens of this tree on our property. I woke one morning to find it had rained overnight, and water was dripping from everything. I took my camera out and took nearly 200 shots of  various weed-and-water effects. This was one of my favorites.

21. Holidays

O Christmas Tree

O Christmas Tree

I really enjoyed dressing my new little cottage for the holidays. This is the first time in a dozen years that I’ve decorated a Christmas tree.

22. My Favorite

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl

One of my favorite memories of 2012 is from New Year’s Day, when I went on a photoshoot with my son-un-law and a birding friend of his. The weather was surprisingly warm and beautiful for a winter’s day in Maine, and I’d gotten a new lens for Christmas. We went to Nubble Light in search of a snowy owl that had been reported in the area. As you can see, we found it, as did a small crowd of other folks on the same quest. The warmth of that day of sunshine, nature’s beauty, and casual fellowship have lingered in my memory all year long.

23. Don’t Ever Change

Picture of Contentment

Picture of Contentment

I’ve been a reader all my life. I’m grateful for the pleasure, companionship, consolation, inspiration, adventure, tears, laughter . . . you name it . . . that I’ve gotten from books. They are always there when wanted or needed, asking nothing in return. I can’t see my love for them ever changing, nor would I want it to.

24. Just Because…So There!

Summer's End

Tattered

I don’t know why, I just like it.

25. Hopes and Dreams

Charisma

Charisma

I hope to bloom like this beautiful rose as I continue to explore my new life and environment. I also dream of having this beautiful rose bloom again in my garden . . . and not be eaten by bunnies the very next day!

And that’s a wrap.  Now it’s time to put 2012 in the archives and look ahead to a new year full of possibility. I’m joining the linkup over at Ramblings and Photos and looking forward to seeing everyone’s reviews of 2012.

 


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Up a Creek

With a Paddle

So, say you plan to meet a friend after work for a photoshoot. It’s kinda last-minute, so you dash home at 5:00, quickly change clothes, grab your camera bag, toss it into the car and head out. You get to the appointed spot, open your bag, and . . . .

There’s no camera in there, just a lens and some accessories.

What would you do? More to the point, what did I do? Well, after saying a couple of things to myself that I won’t repeat here, I decided I wasn’t going to let it ruin my day. It was another crazy-warm-for-March, beautiful day, and the evening light was gorgeous. It would be great just to be out in the fresh air, enjoying the scenery and the company of my friend. Besides, we were going for pizza afterwards. Life was still good, though I did feel a little silly.

And then I remember I’ve got my iPhone with me — I can take some photos with that! My iPhone is still fairly new to me, and I haven’t used the camera much. So my expectations aren’t very high, but I figure, what have I got to lose? So I wander around, snapping this and that, trying to frame subjects on the viewscreen. In that light, the surface is like a mirror and I’m mostly seeing my own reflection. Still feeling a little silly, but having fun.

Maybe it was because I didn’t expect much. Or because I wasn’t taking myself or my photography very seriously. I wasn’t trying very hard. But to my great surprise, I got a bunch of images that I really like. Here are a few of them.

Dock

All Tied Up

Loner

Seawall

Gossip

Inner Light

Outer Glow

Molten Sky

At Rest

These images were taken with the iPhone camera, no apps involved. Some were lightly processed in Lightroom, but many are SOOC — or should I say SOOP (Straight Out Of Phone)? I was impressed with their color and clarity.

May I just say that I love my iPhone? I’m really glad I gave it a try that evening. It turned out to be a great night. (And the pizza was delicious.)

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Shootout at the Cole Road Cafe

I am famous now. Well, maybe not famous, exactly. More like notorious? Yesterday my friend Susan, who blogs as Happy No Ears, wrote about — me! And posted pictures. I had hat hair. I vowed revenge.

Here you go:

Gotcha Back!

This is Susan, gloating over her “Don’t you dare!” capture. Doesn’t she look pleased with herself? I’m not sure if she even noticed that I snapped her back. (I know, what kind of revenge is this? She looks good in this picture!)

When I took an online photography class last year, the last thing I expected was to find a real, flesh-and-blood friend. Because we were supposed to keep a photojournal that we could share with classmates, I started this blog. As I read the blogs of fellow students literally from around the world, it was a shock to see one of them posting images of subjects that looked awfully familiar. That train station, for example — wait a minute, that’s MY train station. The one I can see from my window! Turns out she lives just a few miles down the pike from me.

She noticed it too. “Hey Neighbor,” she wrote one day in a comment on my blog. It wasn’t long before we were tossing around the idea of getting together for a photoshoot. And so we have done, followed by breakfast, several times now.

Cold Hands, Warm Coffee

If you’ve ever read Susan’s blog, then you know she’s a very quirky and funny writer. She’s really like that. It’s even better in person. She’s very considerate, too. She switches to decaf after the first cup, “for the world’s sake.”

As Susan noted, we are very different, but somehow it works. We get together and she does her thing and I do mine. It’s comfortable. And it’s fun!

Going Her Own Way

The wonderful thing about blogging friends is that they stay with you no matter where you or they go. We can connect in deep and meaningful ways, even though we may never actually meet. Getting to know Susan in person has been an unexpected gift, and when I move away I’m going to miss her. But we will keep in touch, and she can be sure I will call when I’m coming back this way. Meanwhile, there are those daffodils to look forward to . . . and another breakfast. With coffee, but please — only one cup of regular for Susan. We’re trying to keep the world safe here.

PS — Like Susan, I highly recommend Kat Sloma’s Find Your Eye e-courses. They got me to look at my photography and at myself in a whole new way. You’ll probably make some new friends, too. If you’re very very lucky, one of them might even be close enough to have breakfast with.


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Scavenger Hunt Sunday

I skipped SHS last week and I missed it! Here are my responses to this week’s prompts, which were: Water, Light, Chocolate, Animal, and Crowded.

Water:

Just Like You

I was taken by the echo in the lines of these two boats, and that old song “Cat’s In the Cradle” popped into my head . . . I want to be just like you, Dad, I want to be just like you.

Chocolate:

Afternoon Delight

Does this even require a comment? I’ll leave it to your imagination what happened to this setup after the photo was taken.

Animal:

Above the Dawn

This image could just as well have served as “Water” or “Light” this week, but I’m counting that lone seagull as my token animal for the week.

Crowded:

Tight-Knit Community

Mussels snugged up tightly together under the dock, with barnacles clinging fast on top of them.

Light:

Susan in Sunlight

Saved the best for last, because I love this image. My friend Susan and I went out before the crack of dawn this morning for a photoshoot, followed by our now-traditional after-shoot breakfast. There’s more than one kind of light, and special friends bring that into my life. It’s such fun to have a companion to chase photographic light and share light-hearted moments with. Thanks, Susan! (Does this photo remind anyone else of that scene from Titanic? You know the one.)

That’s it for this week. I’m linking up with Ashley Sisk for Scavenger Hunt Sunday. Can’t wait to see what everyone came up with!


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Laudholm Lessons

Laudholm Morning

Last weekend I went on a photo walk with my friend Susan. We visited the Wells Reserve at Laudholm, a historic saltwater farm on the coast of southern Maine. It’s a beautiful property that, shortly after sunrise on a Sunday morning, we had all to ourselves. Light frost covered the ground and lingered in the shade, but soon vanished wherever the sun touched.

Cold Clover

At first, I found myself so caught up in just being there that I kept forgetting to take photographs. I just walked around, looking, breathing, occasionally snapping the shutter.

We “worked” the old farmhouse and barn, a field full of weeds, and a frost-covered rail fence.

The Yellow House

Big Tree, Little Tree

Barn

Boundary

We followed a path that skirted a marsh and led to the beach.

Blue Marsh

Relics

Relics

On the way back, we detoured along a boardwalk that passed through a wood, trees winter-bare against the sky.

Standing Out in the Crowd

Surrounded

It was fun to be out with a friend on a beautiful day, companionably each doing our own thing. I think we both learned things about our own photography. It was interesting to observe how we could stand practically side-by-side yet be photographing very different subjects. Or be photographing the same subject, but in very different ways. Susan was captivated by things I didn’t even notice, and vice versa.

Susan, illuminated

It was a great day! Then…I went home and downloaded my pictures. And I didn’t like them. Any of them. At all. I had a sense of “been there, done that” too many times before. It might have been a new place, but they felt like the same old images.

Several days later, the immediacy of the experience having passed, I was able to review them again, weed out the obvious mistakes, pick out a few favorites, and edit them to some satisfaction. The lesson learned from that is to cut myself some slack, wait a bit, and don’t make too-hasty judgements.

Still . . . I really do want to figure out a fresh approach to my old familiar subjects. I love grasses, trees, flowers, vistas, water. I will continue to photograph them, but I want to seek out new angles and perspectives, something to make them special. Something that better captures what I felt that drew me to the subject in the first place.

To do that, I need to get out more. Shoot more. Get more comfortable with my camera. Practice, practice, practice! Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? I’m looking forward to it.

Treeline

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