I met her two years ago. When our time together started, she would not leave her mothers side. As the session progressed she became more comfortable with me. Slowly she let me into her world and gave me her eyes. I clicked.
This is not technically perfect, but it represents my beginning. The time that I learned how to connect with those who weren't so sure they wanted to connect.
Lesson: Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow - that is patience. (source unknown)
This section of a larger building actually had beautiful colors and reminded me of something you'd see in China Town. I was initially discouraged because of the trash bags right outside of the door, but once I got home I decided I liked the trash. It makes the image more real. The colors would compete too much with the black trash bags, so I converted to black and white. I'm not sure if that was the best choice, so I may change that...
I had quite a few hours alone today and my thoughts drifted to A Wrinkle in Time. We just finished it a few days ago and there was an interesting lesson in unconditional love, among other things. I suppose learning to see what's in front of you and loving it in spite of the *trash* is much like offering unconditional love to the people in our lives.
Lesson: The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them. --Thomas Merton
While I was out perusing the area to find something of interest to photograph, one of my constant companions found a vine of honeysuckles. After announcing the great find, my young companion then proceeded to make a dress out of the honeysuckle for one of the members of our entourage--Raidia, a female LEGO.
I remember being in the home of a new friend for a play date years ago. The children were coloring something (details are fuzzy) and the mom beside me was growing increasingly more frustrated as each minute passed. Her 3 year old just would not color within the lines no matter how much she admonished him to do so. I understood her frustration, it comes from wanting or maybe needing to fit in with the crowd.
Watching my little one today create this cool dress made me smile. I'm so glad I've never encouraged my children to color inside of the lines.
Lesson: "Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower." --Steve Jobs
I actually tried to position myself so that the children would not appear in the frame and then before I clicked I realized that including them would actually make the image more interesting. They provide balance and make me smile!
Both groups are equally engaged and equally (seemingly) unaware of the other! Wouldn't it be great if we always took our leisure time so seriously!
"Let your photography stand on it's on..." Zack Arias
Now the above quote is not profound, but it's a great reminder.
I have noticed that the photographers I admire most have a keen eye for composition. They don't use lots of props or darkroom "actions" to enhance their images. They think about what they want to capture and actually see it before they shoot it--at least that's how it appears to me. They sometimes study the subject ahead of time and think about how to manipulate the light or how to include the light in the image. Their work is very often simple and timeless. Simple subjects, handled in unique and interesting ways.
I am thankful today for all of my mentors and look forward to meeting those who have not yet arrived!
Lesson: Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it. (Michelangelo)
Be open to possibilities. You never know when they will spring up, so be prepared and decide that you will at least consider it before tossing it aside for someone else. Someone else will surely have the courage to gather it up and treasure the gift.
I was presented with an opportunity to do something that I've said for years I'd love to do! Now that I have the chance, I seem to be dragging my feet. This dragging is also called RESISTANCE. RESISTANCE is my current nemesis. I recently read that the greater the resistance, the more you know that you must do THE THING that you resist. Now I don't think that will always be the case, but in this instance, it's true. I have the opportunity to live one of my dreams and I've decided that I will step up to the plate. Sink or swim, I'm goin' in! We'll see what happens.
Lesson: “Live life so completely that when death comes to you like a thief in the night, there will be nothing left for him to steal.” ( source unknown)
I took such care with this weed. I wanted to get close. I was concerned about every step I took toward it. It seems that the wind always blows when I want to do outside macro work, so I approached my subject expecting wind at any moment! The wind never came and I was able to hand hold and focus on just the spot of interest.
I have the honor of sharing a home with a little person whose heart is just as fragile as today's subject. However, I don't always approach that little person with the same care and thoughtfulness. Sometimes I'm tired or distracted and my words are careless or my actions downright rude! This image will serve as a reminder to be more mindful of how I interact with those I profess to love. To be more gentle with tender hearts.
This was not on my mind this afternoon when I was thinking about my photo of the day. As I drove through the streets of a nearby city, I felt as though I was being pulled in this direction, so I decided to just go with it. As I walked through the oldest part of this historic cemetery I was struck by the peacefulness of it all. I wanted to pay attention to my thoughts, my thoughts about being here. How was my body responding? Was I nervous? Afraid? I found that I was okay with the environment. As I thought about death and dying, I was okay with those things too. I felt at peace and really enjoyed being there.
As a child I loved horror movies and because of all of the things I chose to take in when I was younger, I had some scary thoughts and feelings attached to death and dying. I suppose today was the day that I actually confronted the last of my fears surrounding this issue.
Lesson: “One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure its worth watching.” (unknown source)
Today was one of those days when I just felt like being whisked away if only for a moment. This image seemed to match that emotion. It wasn't a bad day, just busy...a little too busy.
This is one of my mom's images (from her trip to Switzerland) and I have the honor of editing them! I just added a little *punch* to this one, so it's sort of my image too! :-). Can you believe this was taken with the Canon Powershot? Not too shabby!
Lesson: Today I learned about boundaries. When to relax them and knowing when to put them firmly in place in order to maintain balance, peace of mind and physical safety.
I missed another day! I guess that makes me human, although I so want to be SUPERhuman!
We went out to eat today and our constant companions, LEGOS, joined us. One of my children began to draw circles on the table. The characters were then divided up and placed them inside of their defined circle. Notice there is one character all alone in the circle marked ROYAL.
It seems so much easier to stand in the crowd and go virtually unnoticed. It takes so much more courage to stand alone, so I suppose that's why very few ever make it to that circle. This scene reminds me of lines from one of Nelson Mandela's speeches:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
I too believe that it is our fear of greatness that keeps us from stepping away from the crowd and into that circle of great success; the circle of abundant life, the circle where royalty stands, no longer going unnoticed.
Lesson: Learn to be comfortable even when you have to be alone in a crowd. Alone because you dare to step into your full potential when others do not.
This reminded me of a New Orleans Courtyard. It's tucked away in a small business district. I've passed by this spot for years and have never noticed this place. Yes, my awareness of the world around me is increasing. I love the look of the wet sidewalk and street.
Lesson: Be flexible as a photographer and never lose your sense of adventure. Be willing to invest the time it takes to see things differently. It's wonderful to see how the same scene changes with the seasons or with the time of day.
I'm pretty certain that this is some type of weed. I wanted to stay close to home and create something from whatever I had on hand. I also wanted to see what things looked like after the rain. It's amazing to see the beautiful things that are emerging from the ground. They've always been there, I've just never noticed. That's the other amazing thing, once you make the commitment to capture the world around you, you actually begin to awaken to things, places and people like never before. At least that's my experience.
I started another book today, The War of Art. This is a must read for artists, writers or entrepreneurs who are struggling with moving forward in their craft. I have only completed the first part of the book and I had the things I've learned today in mind when I photographed the gorgeous colors of this weed. It's a visual reminder of where I find myself at this moment in time. Breaking away from the weeds and becoming something different, hopefully something colorful and beautiful (inside and out).
I thought this line from the John Lee Hooker blues song fit nicely here so I'll share it with you! I was introduced to it in the War of Art:
One night I was layin' down I heard Papa talkin' to Mama. I heard Papa say, to let that boy boogie-woogie. 'Cause it's in him and it's got to come out. --John Lee Hooker, "Boogie Chillen"
Lesson: Live the life you were created to live and let go of those things that hold you back. Consider even letting go of people who don't support your vision.
I had the pleasure of spending time with this little lady and her family today. I met her when she was about one month old and today (7 months later) she was christened and I was invited! She really is one of the sweetest babies I've met and oh so personable! Her family is one of the warmest families I've yet to meet and it was a joy hanging out with them today.
There was live music, great food and sweet treats for all.
Lesson: Be the type of person people actually want to be around. Practice kindness, love and acceptance.
A few months ago (has it been a year??) I listened to a friend as she spoke about her experience with her self portrait. For her it seemed empowering and enlightening. She encouraged me to give it a try and today I did! I will challenge myself to do a different one every 2 weeks or so to see how much of myself I will feel comfortable revealing. It was fun and I was able to see how my clients must feel when I'm pointing a big lens at them and asking them to relax! Yeah...right...relax!
I finished a small project today and rewarded myself with a tall white chocolate mocha! Yummy!
Lesson: Reward yourself for even the small accomplishments!
"I shall get well! I shall get well!" he cried out. "Mary! Dickon! I shall get well! And I shall live forever and ever and ever!" Those are the words spoken by Colin as Chapter 20 of The Secret Garden closes.
I was reminded of Colin when I saw the house in my picture of the day. When we first meet him, he's very sick and close to death. He is angry, sad and uncared for like this house. By the time the close of the book draws near, Colin is very much like the buds to the right. He becomes vibrant, with ruddy cheeks and a new person blooms where the old one once lived. What changed? The very basic answer: his thoughts. He began to confess that he would live and not die. He began to believe in the deepest crevices of his heart that he would get well. Each day Colin began to confess what he believed to be true and then he would "act" as though it were true. In time, his body began to line up with his thoughts and his confessions. Colin learns to live
I placed a textured layer over the image above. The black color in the layer helped to bring out the saturated colors in the grass and sky. The tree branch that held the buds to the right was swaying in the wind when I tried to capture it by hand holding the camera. Because of the movement, I had difficulty finding a place to focus. I am starting to understand why it's suggested that one use a tripod with the macro lens. My images are much more pleasing when I take the necessary steps to do things the "right" way. :-)
Lesson: If you're unhappy with your present circumstances, create new ones.
I had to lay down on my stomach for this one. I'm trying to move out of my comfort zone. So, in the park with lots of people around, I had one of my kids stand over me with a reflector while I got down into a pile of ants to shoot the brown fungus emerging from the damp earth.
This image is more about me growing as a photographer than capturing something beautiful. Am I willing to do what it takes to get the shot? Prior to today, I would say, not really! However, I'm starting to become less self conscious as I move closer to the 365 goal.
I just cropped the photograph using the rule of thirds, ran midnight sepia and called it done! This shot doesn't move me, but it will serve as a symbol of growth!
Lesson: Challenge yourself once in awhile, you might actually love the results that come from being just a tiny bit uncomfortable.
Today I pulled out the macro lens at the park and started out at this tree with white blooms. I focused and enjoyed the intricate details. Then I turned and looked back at my children and wondered when the last time was that I really focused on the intricate details of their lives. Sure we're together all the time, but I have not taken the time to really focus on the details in quite some time. I have been focusing on the details that make me, me.
I have discovered that I live my life in extremes. I go from one end to the other and slowly work my way back to the middle--a place of balance. I'm coming back to the middle with my family. I'm learning to enjoy my time alone, but understanding the need to enjoy being *with* the people in my life and not just taking up space.
I'm not sure what the bud is below, but I liked the contrast of it against the green leaves behind it. As I shot, I made sure to position myself so that I would have a pleasing background. The other shot is sand art. I don't know who the artist was, but I really liked what the artist created.
I had my first OPLove session today with this gorgeous couple. You should see the baby!! I'll post some of my favorite images on my new business blog this week, but this is one of the first ones I've edited and I wanted to get it posted.
Lesson: If you don't love what you do, do something else! :-)
For many years I was like this old barn, hidden behind lots of clutter. Many of the things that covered me needed to be pruned away in order to expose the new growth. One of the things that was hidden was the fact that I enjoy solitude. I enjoy being alone. For years as a mom I would feel so terribly guilty for wanting to leave the house just to hear my own thoughts. I felt as though I was abandoning my children instead of just giving them time to bond with their father while I went away to get refreshed. I simple paradigm shift helped to shed the guilt, but the shift didn't happen over night.
Now I understand that while there may be moms who never need to be away, I am not one of those moms. I'm just getting to the place where I can be okay with that part of me. I'm okay with being different from the other moms who only need an hour or two in the bathtub. Calgon does not take *me* away! I often need much more than a long bath before I can feel ready to rejoin my beloved children and husband. And that's okay!
Lesson: The unexamined life is not worth living. (Socrates)
I turned off of a main road today and found some interesting things in a fascinating place. A monastery operated by monks at the end of a long road. A huge seemingly uncared for field with an old barn that doesn't appear to be used anymore. Interesting rocks hanging from a ceiling. A slice of my day.
Lesson: Be open to exploring. You never know what you may find or how it may stir your heart.
It's been a little more than a month and I've lost several inches along with a few pounds. My jeans are slightly larger than they were when I started. Woohoo!
I live with a little boy who rarely hesitates to speak whatever is on his mind (we're working on that charming quality ;-) )! A few weeks ago he told me that my thighs were as big as Desperuex's ears. Had it been another time of the month, I might have considered crying. Instead I took an honest look at me and could see his perspective. I did weigh much more than I wanted to weigh. I was already motivated to do the necessary work, but his comment sealed the deal!
Lesson: Once you determine why you want to lose weight, it's much easier to stay on course.
61 Lily in Snow
I was curious about how the lily would look with snow as the background. The snow has melted everywhere except in this one shady spot on the lawn. I wasn't feeling my best yesterday so it was an effort to do this much. This image is poorly composed and I'm not at all pleased with my results. However, I post it as a reminder of the lesson learned on the day it was created.
Lesson: Your best will be different on any given day. Best is relative. Your best when you're feeling great may very well be different from the best work you create when you're ill or otherwise distracted.
"You're beautiful and I'd like to photograph you."
If those words were ever spoken to you, how would you respond?
Would you let the person capture your curves:
What about the tiny lines around your mouth or eyes? Would you allow them to see that part of you?
Would you let them come close to examine the smallet details or see the flaws in your skin:
Or, would you want the photographer to blur the lines and leave the details to the viewers imagination:
I don't think there is anyone harder to photograph than a woman. I have heard every complaint you can imagine. My hips are too large. My chin is... My eyes are too... Please hide my... Becoming whole means being comfortable in your own skin. It means loving the flaws and learning to treasure the tiny wrinkles. Embracing the hips, the nose, the thighs. Loving yourself unconditionally so that you are free to love those around you.
We're listening to The Secret Garden now and it's inspiring to witness the growth of Mary. As she learns to love herself she is discovering the joy that comes with loving others in spite of their flaws. She is blossoming before our very eyes! Those around her are starting to see her beauty.
Lesson: You can only love others to the extent that you love yourself. The more you love, the more beautiful you become inside and out.
Have you read The Tale of Despereux? If not, you're missing a treat. We are book lovers and we're always reading or listening to great books. I actually cried at the end and stood up to applaud! It's a wonderful story of love, forgiveness and redemption.
Speaking of good stories, I've never been so impacted by a movie as I was with the very simple story called Fireproof. It too, was about love, forgiveness and redemption. I could not ignore that recurring theme that was popping up in my life, so I ordered the Love Dare book and decided to take the challenge. Although the movie is Christian based it deals with a theme that transcends religions and I highly recommend it.
Like Princess Pea in The Tale of Despereux, and Caleb in Fireproof, I am learning how to forgive and to love unconditionally in order to save my own heart. I'm finding love to be a very grown up emotion that I've taken for granted for many years.
Just a few days ago we were sweating and wearing short sleeves. Today it snows!
I drove around for awhile today and just shot some things that seemed interesting. It was fun coming up with ways to protect my gear while I ran around alone in the cold. A few months ago I didn't think I would be able to come up with ideas for each day, but as I press forward it's actually becoming easier. Who knew! I'm so glad I didn't give up days ago when I just could not come up with a single idea. It's interesting to look back and to see how my photography is changing and expanding.
I think I'll give up trying to give myself assignments. It's really more fun just to see what each day brings.
Lesson: Life is a gift, relax and enjoy the surprises that each day brings. Unwrap the day in the same way you unwrap gifts from a beloved friend.