February 27, 2012

Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time. — Betty Smith

Seeing is a very important part of my job — and not just seeing with my eyes, but my heart and mind as well. This quote resonates with me because it reminds me how important it is to look at things closely — and with AWE — in order to truly “see” what you are looking at. So many times, beauty and inspiration are all around us, but we are so busy whizzing by on our way to somewhere else that we miss what is right in front of us. It is a state derived of our culture. The good news is, we can break the cycle — maybe not everyday, but at least every once in a while if we stop and “see”— make it a conscious effort and soon it will become your nature (again)!

This photo was taken in Morro Bay, California. My visit there was a side adventure on a business trip. Although I wouldn’t trade my precious prairie or my lovely woods for an ocean view, I do love to watch the tide.



February 24, 2012

A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song. — Chinese Proverb

A few days ago a writer friend of mine asked on Facebook for her writer friends to post affirmations on why they write as a career.

My response was because the voices in my head won’t leave me alone until I do (write that is).

Although this may mean I’ve spent my entire life on the verge of a psychotic break,* I think it just means I have something to say — just like a bird has a song. It’s nature — the way I’m built, the only way I can be me. The same goes for my photography — I don’t photograph because I have a camera and can — I MUST use my camera or my world is simply not right. I have a driving desire to share with the world the way I see things — whether they want to look or not. My words and images do not hold THE answer to anything but my personal happiness. Without stories and photographs, my soul could not sing and I would probably just simply cease to exist.

I think one of the saddest things that can happen in life is when people try to analyze the enjoyment out something that they are driven to do — that they truly love to do. I’ve seen other photographers and writers (and horsewomen, too) cut themselves down with negative self-talk and worry until they make themselves utterly miserable. Whether or not you are really good at something doesn’t mean you should or shouldn’t do it — if you like to write, WRITE; if you like to shoot photos; SHOOT! Don’t let the fact you don’t have THE answer stop you — SING anyway! Off key? Who cares!

Read my writer friend, Holly Michael’s, blog here: http://www.writingstraight.com.

*And just for your peace of mind, to quote Sheldon of The Big Bang Theory, “I’m not crazy, my mother had me tested.” Well mine did, too and I passed — for the most part.

February 23, 2012

Surely there is something in the unruffled calm of nature that overawes our little anxieties and doubts; the sight of the deep-blue sky and the clustering stars above seems to impart a quiet to the mind. — Jonathan Edwards

… the unruffled calm of nature that overawes our little anxieties and doubts … oh, yes, how true, true, true. If you really want to feel this, spend the afternoon (and evening) at Chaco Canyon in New Mexico where this image was taken. The peace and beauty of the desert landscape all around you, the gentle night falling from the sky down — it will set you back to right in the blink of an eye. And the best part — there’s no phone signal!!

When I first went to New Mexico, I didn’t think I’d like it. I’m not a desert kind of person … I need lush green and lots of trees to feel safe. But I after just a few days, I fell in love — and now I look forward to traveling west every couple of years. This image was taken in 2009 — and that year’s trip was truly amazing. A friend, Brittney, and I went to Bandilier, Santa Fe, Chaco and then traveled up to Mesa Verde. It was a week of adventure and exploration and I have to say there is no better way to spend a week!

February 22, 2012

Listening is an attitude of the heart, a genuine desire to be with another which both attracts and heals. — J. Isham

Oh how true … if you want really want to hear what someone is saying, then listening is so easy and if not, it is soooooo very difficult. The same goes with “seeing” — really seeing — and being able to capture that “seeing” moment in an image. This is what sets photographers apart from the general population — and it is a skill I try to practice as often as possible.

This image is a perfect example of how “shooting” pictures differs from “seeing” pictures. This image was taken at a Best of America by Horseback ride in (I believe) Arkansas. This lady and her horse were sharing a moment away from everything else that was going on — I love the way she is looking at him, with love and admiration. I  imagine she is telling him how handsome he is — and because she is telling him with her heart, he is listening with his heart. His expression, ears up, focus on her — is intent. There is no language barrier — and  no species barrier here. And that is the moment I saw — that is the moment I listened to with my eyes.


February 7, 2012

Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each. — Henry David Thoreau

I love this quote … although its direct sentiment has gotten a little muddled in our modern culture. Today, in February, in Missouri, I bought fresh strawberries — and tomorrow I can enjoy them for my breakfast with fresh squeezed orange juice. We live in a world where you can confound nature’s laws and manipulate just about everything — including your appearance and the appearance of the world around you. But, if you spend some time with it, you’ll realize Thoreau was really on to something with the notion of enjoying for the sheer sake of the beauty and bounty around you — especially the beauty that hasn’t been Photoshopped and the bounty not grown in a hot house.

The photo here is one close to my heart — it features one of my favorite little horses, Freckles and one of my favorite people, Ian and it was taken on my ranch. The image was shot (on film) about 10 or 11 years ago. Both Freckles and Ian have moved on to new seasons in their lives — Freckles is now a senior horse enjoying her golden years out to pasture and Ian is the very busy father of two little ones.

Oh, and the beauty here is as I saw it on that day — the image has not been altered from the original photograph, just scanned.


February 1, 2012

Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is an adequate perception of the world. –Hans Margolius

I seem to be running into lots of reflections lately — reflections in my photos, reflections in my thoughts. I have been working on the Saturday’s Insight for this blog and it has to do with photographing reflections. It’s been a very reflective week!

This image was shot in the late 90s on film — remember when there was film? (I have to admit I fully embraced the digital lifestyle from the very start — mostly because I love to shoot photos and the cost of film and processing was sending me to the poor house.) The gal on the horse is one of my neighbors and the image was shot at her place. It looks like we’re out in the middle of the woods, but really I was standing in their backyard. We had just finished shooting some photos in the pasture for an art project I was doing at the time. This was just a bonus shot. Bonus shots are one of my favorite parts of photography.

There is a great blog on reflections here: http://www.slrphotographyguide.com/blog/inspirational/photographing-reflections-25-inspirational-examples.html

January 27, 2012

Do you ever wonder if the guy in the puddle is real, and you’re just a reflection of him? — Bill Watterson

This image was taken in Morro Bay, California. My friend Donna and I were out there for an expo and, after setting up the booth, took a few hours off to visit the local scenery. I love days like the one on which this photo was taken — somewhere new, wildlife, and me with my camera!

I love to photograph seagulls. I know many of you who live near the ocean consider them nothing better than flying rats — but to a landlocked Missouri girl, they are fun. They seem to truly enjoy life — and they are always doing something that entertains me. Like this little guy, staring at himself in a puddle.

It’s all a matter of perspective I guess — just like the quote says.