This is looking southeast across the lake and river channel during another particularly pretty sunset this past January. Interestingly, the sunset to my west was pretty but this view was fascinating. The mauves and pinks of the clouds reflected in the water was exquisite, and the cloud formations really popped. The Giraffe Head Tree was enjoying the show, as you can see.
The phones were ringing everywhere. "Are you seeing this sunset?" It was truly one of the more remarkable sunsets I've ever seen in my life. This photo doesn't really do it justice. We hadn't had the Sony Cybershot 5.0 for very long and were just getting started in the world of digital photography. Digital photography has come a long way since 2003.
Normally we cannot see much of sunsets from our house due to the house just west of us that juts into our view. However, this sunset spanned the entire sky from west to east in deep purple, blue, magenta, fuchsia, peach and yellow. The lake waters reflected the symphony of colors adding its own into the mix. It was truly spectacular.
Today we received some lovely healing rain from Tropical Storm Fay with more expected over the next few days. One can practically hear the earth smacking her lips drinking in the precious liquid from above. This has been a much better year for us here as far as rainfall, but our water tables remain far below the norm. This drought must come to an end soon. These extreme conditions are sucking the life out of any exotic cultivar but the native plants seem to be handling things fairly well.
In honor of our glorious rain today with more to come I offer up a sunrise taken in September 2005. Hurricane Rita had churned through the Gulf of Mexico striking Texas and Louisiana before curling northeast expending her energies and waters on the south. The fourth-most intense Atlantic hurricane ever recorded sure brought us a pretty sunrise. (source: Wikipedia)
I'm in sort of a photographic, literary slump. Just not much to blog about. Well, that's not entirely true. There's tons going on but nothing that can be blogged about. You've all been there - especially if you have one or more teenagers in your home.
Since I've not been out taking many photos but feel compelled to keep this blog running and at least mildly interesting, I've decided to offer it up as a place of beauty and respite. Call up the photos and use them to focus while doing Yoga, if you like them save them as a screensaver (please ask me), or just simply enjoy them....or not.
Most of the sunrises and sunsets were taken when we first moved to the lake. At that time my husband had purchased our first digital camera. I was at that time a dedicated film snob and preferred my Canon EOS Elan II. However, I became fascinated with the digital process and especially enjoyed the instant gratification. No film to mess with, no waiting for development which could be such a disappointment. Shoot, download, voila! I fell in love with digital and promptly claimed the Sony Cybershot as my own. My trusty Canon EOS Elan II still sits at my side, but sadly is never used. Today, I use a Canon 20D with which I have a deep and true love affair.
The above shot was taken October 26, 2004 at 7:13am: F/4, 1/160 sec. ISO 100, 34mm focal length. That's another thing I love about digital - it collects all that data for me and it's always available.
For awhile I'll post some pretty pictures. Some will be old, some will be new. Simply enjoy them, breathe, and enjoy the rest of summer.
Once again, I must brag on the offspring. My daughter knows every button to push to get on every single nerve in my body, she tries my patience with every breath and she's always bored with me and everything I do...until she needs money. Typical teenager.
However, this kid has a natural photographic talent. The shot above she took in an abandoned playground down the road. She's been creative all her life and has shown me time and time again an inborn sense of artistic composition in her paintings, sketchings and now photography.
The teenager taking a photo of herself...which she loves to do.
She and my husband just returned from a Father-Daughter Trip to Las Vegas to see her other sister and the brother-in-law. They had a ball. My daughter - THE Primo Shopper - brought home this shot...which I love!
Okay. That's it. I'm just bragging here. Have a lovely weekend everyone.
"Life happens when you're busy making other plans."
My blog of late has become more a journal of thoughts and ponderings than initially envisioned. I'm thinking this shows that blogs are simply our lives personified in pixels and prose, ebbing and flowing and following along nicely thank you very much. It's no secret that I've envied those who can stay on track, on topic, while my "sacred space" seems to be so random. Obviously, my haphazard thoughts here have been mirroring the disquiet within my soul, hence my search for "self."
It's easy for a parent to recognize their child's upcoming growth spurt. Their little bodies seem to plateau, then "thicken" in preparation for bone and sinew to gain an inch or more in seemingly rapid fashion. My unrest and pondering here ad nauseum (my apologies) has been my own "thickening" in preparation for the next burst of growth. Thank you all for your patience.
The burst may be imminent. An opportunity has unexpectedly been laid at my feet for consideration. So far, it feels good and there's even a tickling of excitement deep within. I'll be off for a bit as I explore it in depth, wear it a bit and see if it "fits."
Sting says "Life rewards the risk takers." This opportunity may not be much of a "risk" as defined by Sting, but I just wanted to end with his words as he's my touchstone, my talisman. Time to set sail.
I love these lyrics, which were recently highlighted on one of Robert Genn's newsletters. Art needs time and input to develop within us, much as a soup has to simmer to allow flavors to blend. Everything we do affects our art, be it photography, painting, music, writing, stitching, sketching, cooking, whatever our individual craft. In addition to the hard wiring of our genetics, the imperfections of the day to day instills our distinctive character into our works.
Too many times I've dismissed a photograph or a paragraph because I deem it not worthy to share. "It's cracked," I'm thinking. "No one will like this," I'm positive. "This was a waste of time," I tell myself. However, Mr. Cohen has it so right. There are no perfect offerings, and our perceived imperfections are what allows our creative lights to shine.
Embrace your imperfections and cast them into the light. (...yes, I'm talking to myself)
Brett Trafford at 365 to 42 got me to thinking about some of my landscape photos. His are extraordinary (check out Brett's August 7 post - OMG!) Brett has been a generous teacher in a short amount of time. He's not aware of that of course, but probably will after this post ... should anyone even read it.
Brett talked this week on his blog about how desaturating landscapes into black & white can make them really pop. Me being the purist and all hadn't even thought about that. I'm not crazy about my landscapes. To me my landscapes seem to be flat and uninteresting. Too, sometimes I count on Photoshop to correct my blunders so I tend to think of Photoshop as doctoring. Intellectually, I realize that Photoshop is much more than a tool for doctoring photographs. It's great for cropping, sharpening and enhancing images. Even Ansel Adams tinkered with exposures during the development process. Those black blacks and white whites of Yosemite were not that crisp out in the field, and obviously his landscapes were originally in color. Ahem. Photoshop is basically a digital darkroom. Ansel used many of the same tricks, just not with a computer.
I wanted to give Brett's techniques a try, so I turned off my brain and simply played. For my subject matter, I chose some recent shots I took of a dried up swamp. While these are not stellar shots of anything, the exercise proved Brett right. Even the most mundane of photos - mine - can be made more interesting using the technique.
Above is the original shot - close-ups of tree stumps in the middle of the swamp far away from my perch by the roadside. To me, the original lacks a certain ooomph. It's flat and simply...dull
Here is a more of a true landscape shot of the swamp. Dull, dull, dull. I do hope you are able to enlarge each photo to see them more clearly.
The black & white version is far more ethereal, with black stumps amid silvery grasses and behind the white tree trunks have a darker backdrop. Still not a perfect shot by any stretch of the imagination but clearly indicates that even so-so shots can be made better in black & white. If nothing else, this exercise frees up some backward thinking on my part and has given me the license to play and experiment with some shots that have always left me wanting.
Yesterday I received my first Scent of Water Photo Swap package in the mail. Oh, I am not worthy! Leanne at The Stitching Room neatly packed several photos, one in a frame, a couple of her cards and a darling handmade notebook. She took some phenomenal photos to interpret the July theme "In Motion." Naturally, the nature pics grabbed my attention first - water flowing around rocks in a stream. However, the one that makes me stare at it and daydream is one that captured fire licking around pieces of wood. Campfires are a favorite activity of mine. I could watch them forever, poke at them and watch the ends of the sticks glow in the night. She captured some unique shots of the everyday - an umbrella in the rain, underneath which is her son running. It's unearthly and awesome. For the cooks among us a delightful capture of a kitchen concoction being stirred, which is buttery and creamy. My daughter in particular loves the shots she sent of an amusement park. The handmade notebook feels good in my hand, and will fit nicely in my photo bag to jot down notes about my work.
This was my first photo swap and I can see I need to step up more. The poor recipient of my gift received a handmade card and two photos. It's definitely time to get more creative.
What I've enjoyed about the photo swap is observing the talents and interpretations of a theme, and the sharing and delightful comments from people across the globe who enjoy playing with their cameras. Shooting around one topic made me think differently about the way I photograph objects. I didn't want to do it the same old way so I experimented with all manner of manual settings and positioned myself differently to get shots. It was a terrific exercise, and I'm grateful to Diane at Alberta Postcards for inviting me to join the group. It was a kick!
Now.......I'm ready for the next topic. Bring it on.