Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Soft

“But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?” ― Romeo

“Whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. What is soft is strong.”
― Lao Tzu

“Our love of what is beautiful does not lead to extravagance; our love of the things of the mind does not make us soft.” ― Pericles

“When you are old and gray and full of sleep, and nodding by the fire, take down this book and slowly read, and dream of the soft look your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep.” ― William Butler Yeats

Thank you, Ann-Christine, for inviting us to interpret the word ‘soft’ for this week’s challenge. In the midst of a really hard time, globally, it’s nice to remember the softness that inspires and relaxes us. 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Starts with ‘S’

This is Susan.She has such a sweet smile. And she sure is silly!

She has some seriously silly siblings as well, and simultaneously, their silliness is something super special. ‘Specially the sisters!

Silliness by the seashore is a specialty as well.

This post has been brought to you by the letter ‘S’ and by Patti of Lens-Artists. I hope you found it scintillating!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: A Glimpse into Your World

A Glimpse into your world’. Show us the things you love that make your world spin or things about your world that make you delirious with joy. – Sheetal Bravon, host for Lens-Artists

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

“We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something.”
― Mother Teresa

“I can wade Grief—
Whole Pools of it—
I’m used to that—
But the least push of Joy
Breaks up my feet—
And I tip—drunken—
Let no Pebble—smile—
‘Twas the New Liquor—
That was all!”
― Emily Dickinson

“You are not a drop in the ocean; you are the entire ocean in a drop.
― Rumi

My joy at being reunited with the ocean and with my adult children approaches delirium. These loves are far bigger than myself and help me to expand in appreciation and generosity beyond myself. They are a world of life and the life in the world.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: From Forgettable to Favorite

This week’s challenge host, Tina, has crafted some amazing images using editing technique. Click on that link and see how she has turned some indistinct snapshots into stunning art.

I have to admit that my editing craft is quite rudimentary. The only software I have used post-production is the one that came with the Canon Rebel T3i. I can crop and adjust contrast, saturation, brightness, and hue. That’s about it. I don’t remove pixels, extend background, or add textural effects.  Still, I have created favorites from humble beginnings.

Cropping allowed me to get closer to my sister without actually crawling onto the ledge she chose to sit on. A little more color saturation and contrast took out some of the glare of the California sun, while adding some brightness brought details out of the shadows.

This one is definitely a favorite!

And here’s the original shot…I might also have used the Angle Adjustment tool to straighten the horizon a tad.

Here’s the original of a photo that I’ve treated in several ways:

Digital photos allow for a host of artistic possibilities when you use editing software. I have only scratched the surface. I look forward to seeing other responses to this challenge!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: My Photography Journey

In the beginning, there was the Kodak Brownie Starmite, the camera that I took to Hawaii when I was 10 years old. It hung around my neck on a piece of kitchen string. I got blurry pictures developed at the drugstore with a smaller “bonus photo” next to each one. I have a few of these snapshots in an old album.

Then came the Kodak Instamatic camera with the little film cartridge. I took this one on family trips and my Girl Scout National Opportunity. A few more of these snapshots exist in my photo albums.

When I was a senior in High School, my boyfriend (who later became my husband) bought me a Canon AE1 35mm camera. I attached it to a guitar strap, and it became my ‘art’ for the next 30 years. I photographed my family, m children, my travels, nature, abstract objects, anything that I thought would make a good composition. Here’s a gallery of shots I took with that camera.

Not long after my husband died, the advance mechanism on my Canon jammed, and I stopped using it.

My first digital camera was one I borrowed. I think it was a Pentax? Here are some shots from that camera:

Finally, for my 50th birthday, I bought myself the camera I have now and have been using for the last eight years: a Canon Rebel T3i. I have not yet purchased any additional lenses, but that may be my next milestone birthday treat!

Thanks, Amy, for inviting me to share my Photography Journey and for sharing yours! 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Striped and Checked

“You want what now?” asked Miss Plaid…

Stripes?…

And Checks? Do you mean personal checks?”

Okay, since you asked, Ann-Christine, here are a few:

 

Thanks for a fun challenge this week, all about looking for patterns in line! 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Emotions

“Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Patti, this week’s host, writes, “Show us portraits or street photography that captures people’s feelings, such as happiness, anger, sadness, curiosity, or fear. Or, choose a subject or scene that evokes an emotion in the viewer. If you are able to shoot new images in your area, consider how light and shadow, the weather, warm or cool colors, the surroundings, and your choice of subject might impact the emotional response of your viewers.”

“All the knowledge I possess everyone else can acquire, but my heart is all my own.”
― Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

“You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.”
― Colette

“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”
― Dr. Seuss

“But the love of sisters needs no words. It does not depend on memories, or mementos, or proof. It runs as deep as a heartbeat. It is as ever present a s a pulse.”
― Lisa Wingate

“Compassion is the basis of morality.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer

I find, as a photographer, that it is very difficult to capture a subject’s emotion without being intrusive. The most common expression when someone is taking your picture is one that is happy. When you’re in the throes of an uncomfortable emotion, do you really want someone snapping photos? To be allowed that privilege, the subject must either be very willing, trusting, motivated or without any choice. I would imagine babies are great subjects for capturing numerous human spontaneous emotions without any objection to being photographed. As adults, I suspect most of us would like to be more in control of what emotions we permit people to observe and record. Tricky subject, actually.

Instead, the photographer can use a simple object or scene to spark emotion in the viewer. Still tricky. What gives an object emotional significance at first view? That’s a good question for me. I’d like to explore this further in my photos.

Thanks, Patti, for the challenge!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: It’s A Small World

We have a guest host for today’s Lens-Artist challenge – Anne Sandler – and she just taught me the difference between macro, micro, and close up photography. Since I only have one lens, my choices for today’s challenge are all simple close-up shots.

 

I do have to date myself and say that I remember learning to sing the Disney song in elementary school chorus. Later, when I lived in California, I visited Disneyland and took the Small World ride. Favorite verse: “There is just one moon and one golden sun, and a smile means friendship to everyone. Though the oceans are wide and the mountains divide, it’s a small world after all.” That is totally from memory. Didn’t even Google the lyrics. I have to admit that it took me years to realize I had an automatic close-up setting on my Canon Rebel T3i. What a wonder…so much easier!Still, I’d like to treat myself to a macro lens and learn more about that 1:1 ratio. I cropped the image above to get the extreme close-up I wanted…those tender little “hairs”. I really enjoy how photography has helped me to see things in detail with my own eyeballs. I am always fascinated by what my eyes can do almost instantaneously. My photos are never as breath-taking as what I see with my very own lenses. I love really getting in there with my nose up to the subject. Especially when it’s truffle cheese!There are worlds in a droplet……and communities atop a flower. How fun to study them and learn appreciation and affection for them!

 

And then, how right to take responsibility for protecting them. 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Images of 2020

Tina, this week’s host of the Lens-Artists, challenges us with a “Favorite Images of the Year” post for 2020. Here is my calendar of memories: 

January FebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember

This year was on of tumultuous change for me, as I’m sure it was for many people around the globe. I appreciate the weekly Lens-Artists photo challenge for providing a constant throughout the year. Every Saturday, no matter where I was, I knew that I would spend time doing something creative to connect me with a section of humanity.

Thank you, my followers, for helping me feel visible in a year of isolation and strangeness. You have moved from Wisconsin to Oregon to California and back to Oregon with me. You read about my mother’s illness and death, and you celebrated my reunions with my children and siblings. Thank you for your ‘likes’ and your comments; they’ve meant a lot to me this year.

I am very much looking forward to the possibilities this new year presents. May it bring us all growth, joy, and peace as we practice loving ourselves and the others who share this marvelous planet. 

New Year’s Eve

Reblogged from 2011 and dedicated to my Mom, born this day in 1934 and transitioned from this life on October 22, 2020.

The social tradition in this country is to spend New Year’s Eve with the person who is most important to you, someone with whom you’d like to spend your future.  That first kiss of the New Year is supposed to impart good fortune for the year to come.  For many Americans, then, it’s off to parties to drink up and link up in an attempt to avoid the curse of loneliness for the rest of your life.

Yeah, well, I’ve never seen it quite like that.  You see, New Year’s Eve is also my mother’s birthday.  We always spent it at home, having a family celebration.  When I got married and moved out, my new nuclear family did the same thing.  We dressed up in prom gowns and tuxes (and sometimes like pirates) and danced in the living room, sipping champagne and listening to the weirdest music we had.  Kisses were passed between husbands and wives and fathers and daughters and mothers and sons and sometimes siblings.  Our future was with the family; our past was with the family.  The two were intertwined, and we liked it that way.  We watched the ball drop in NYC some years, and sometimes we just let the kids run outdoors with big spoons and pots and pans and make all the noise they liked at midnight.  One year, we were visiting Jim’s best friend’s family, and the kids had a silly string fight in the middle of the street that afternoon.  They made a huge mess.   Which makes me wonder: who cleans up the confetti after New Year’s Eve in NYC?  How much gets recycled?

New Year’s Eve 1992 or 1993?

Who do I want to be next year?  My future is rooted in my past and lived in the present.  I will always live with my family legacy coursing through my veins, pulsating in my brain.  I am my father & mother’s daughter, Jim’s wife, my kids’ mother, and that will stay with me year after year.  I am also a writer, a budding naturalist.  I hope to become a home economist & ecologist.  I want to keep on practicing awareness, appreciation, attitude and action.  Ultimately, the person with whom I will spend my future is…myself.  At the stroke of midnight, I’ll look myself in the eye and say, “You and me, kid!  It’s gonna be a great year!”  Hopefully, I won’t feel cross-eyed and alone when I do.  And I promise I’ll clean up after myself.