Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Going Wide

“Look wide, and even when you think you are looking wide
– look wider still.”
Robert Baden-Powell (founder of the Scouting Movement)

“Cleverness is like a lens with a very sharp focus.
Wisdom is more like a wide-angle lens.”
Edward de Bono

“Accept the terrible responsibility of life with eyes wide open.”
Jordan Peterson

I absolutely adore landscapes! I love to hike and have worked for a land trust protecting land. Just this morning, I was interviewed by a land trust in my new home state of Oregon for their annual appeal video. I was eager and honored to share my passion for an evolving land ethic to guide humanity into better harmony with the Earth and my gratitude for organizations that uphold those ethics.
This week’s challenge is about wide-angle photography. The truth is, however, I don’t own a wide-angle lens. I do have a Landscape setting on my Canon Rebel T3i, though. It provides a large depth of field and color saturation to enhance greens and blues. I use it extensively when I’m out in the wide open spaces of the USA.

Maybe some day I will invest in additional lenses for my camera. I encourage you to visit Patti’s blog to see some stunning examples of wide-angle photography and learn more!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Inspiration

Inspiration…that moment when you draw in breath, a gasp, an awe-filled audible inhalation, the desire to take in the spirit of something beautiful, breath-taking.

I moved to Oregon exactly one year and one week ago. I have been inspired by something about it every single day I’ve been here, I think. The natural communities are incredibly diverse and resilient and interesting and beautiful. Today, for example, I joined a work party collecting camas seeds. These little seeds are nestled in the dried flower petals like beans in maracas. They shake and rattle as you walk through the meadow grass. Indigenous people roasted the bulbs of these plants as a food staple, high in natural sugars, similar to sweet potato. When I returned from this adventure, I walked down my driveway and began collecting blackberries from the invasive Himalayan canes that grow as a huge, prickly nuisance to most landowners, a deliciously irritating problem. They are everywhere. Free food!

This has not been an easy year for me by any means. It hasn’t been an easy year for most people. On top of the universal griefs and fears, I am new in town, isolated, unemployed, and missing my mother who died in October. There are always mornings when I find it hard to get up and get on with my life. But when I look out my window at OREGON, I find motivation to join the young hawks and the gentle deer, step outside and breathe in the rich scent of Douglas fir.

In such a setting, I feel like I belong to the Earth, like a tree taking root and creating a tall, strong life. I’m grateful to have this new inspiration in my life. If you’re curious about previous explanations of my blogging inspiration, visit THIS POST. Thanks to Patti for creating this challenge and sharing her beautiful photos.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #145: Getting to Know You

“To acquire knowledge, one must study;
but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.”
― Marilyn vos Savant

It is a great honor to be your host for this Lens-Artists Photo Challenge and to be part of a community of observers. Thank you for visiting my blog and getting to know me. I look forward to getting to know you, too!

The artist’s gaze, the photographer’s eye, when cast on a subject begins a relationship. That relationship can grow into a deep affection and a profound wisdom. It is that aspect of relating to your subject that I invite you to explore in this challenge.

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.” ― Brené Brown

I am a very visual person, as you might be also, and consider observation to be the first tool in my learning kit. To look carefully, curiously, enthusiastically, enduringly, and lovingly at something changes me. I begin to feel connected to that subject. I develop an affection that fuels further and deeper observation and understanding.

“Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins as in art with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language. ” Aldo Leopold

My journey from Nature-observer to Nature-lover to Conservationist to Earth advocate is the story of how my eyes opened my spirit to a deeper wisdom about the world in which we all live. I celebrated International Earth Day on  April 22 with others around the globe who are deeply in love with our planet and concerned for her health and welfare. As I’ve gotten to know Earth better, I have grown in relationship to her and in my understanding of the factors impacting her. The photos I’ve chosen to illustrate the development of this relationship start with a monarch butterfly caterpillar on a milkweed plant in a restored prairie and progress to a field of coneflowers hosting a swallowtail butterfly and other pollinators. I took all of these pictures while I was working at a conservation foundation and learning about the interconnection between plants, animals, soils, landscapes, and the humans who cultivate, steward, and extract those resources.

My invitation to you is to present a “Getting To Know You” post showing your relationship with a subject you’ve photographed. The subject could be a Person, a Place, a Culture, an Object…anything that has captured your attention, won your affection and taught you a thing or two.

In your post, include a link to my original post and use the Lens-Artists tag so that everyone can find your post in the WP Reader.  We hope you join us and share what you know and love!

Next week, Patti will be hosting Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #146 on Saturday, May 1, so please be sure to visit her site and joint us then, too. Her theme will be “Focusing on the Details”. 

Thank you for spending a little time to get to know me and these butterflies in their natural habitat. I again want to thank the Lens-Artists hosts – Patti, Amy, Tina, and Ann-Christine – for inviting me to host this week’s challenge. It is an honor and a joy to be a Lens Artist!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Happiness Is…

I see trees of green…

…red roses, too…

…I see skies of blue and clouds of white…

…the bright, blessed day…

…the dark, sacred night……and I think to myself, “What a wonderful world!”

The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky…

…are also on the faces of people passing by…

I see friends shaking hands, saying “How do you do?” They’re really saying, “I love you.”

I hear babies cry; I watch them grow…

They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know. And I think to myself, “What a wonderful world!”

This wonderful song always makes me cry. In my mind, I hear the voices of Louis Armstrong, David Attenborough and the Barrington Childrens Choir expressing these words of appreciation. I feel myself dancing to it with my daughter at her wedding. It is my song of happiness for the best the world has shown me…the Earth and Sky, loving People and my children. It is truly a wonder-filled world, and I am forever happy to be in it.
Thank you, Ann-Christine, for challenging us to articulate all our reasons for happiness. 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Corner

Standing on the corner…is this a familiar corner? Or are you just passing through this place, this place in time and history? Where are you headed? Straight on? Or will you decide to turn? Which way? Right? Left? Or a complete turn-about?
So many decisions, choices that could lead to adventure or conflict or character change. 

Whatever corner of the world, whatever corner of your life journey you find yourself standing at…I wish you happiness and peace. 

Corner

Weekly Photo Challenge: Collage

Here is a gallery collage of photos from my recent series, An American Adventure. In a two-week road trip, I visited eight National Parks and Monuments in Colorado, Utah, and South Dakota. If you would like to see the entire collection of 17 blog posts, click on the banner headline An American Adventure. 

Collage

The Grandparent Project: Part Three

Today is the day after Grandpa George’s birthday. He’s been on my mind quite a bit as I do this Grandparent Project. He was the family photographer when I was growing up, and I used to beg him to get out the slide projector and put on a show. I always loved seeing pictures of myself, naturally, but I loved the stories that went with them, too.

We are in the third installment of this family story, and I have introduced four of my parents’ seven grandchildren. In the summer of 1989, here’s what they looked like: That’s Aunt Dharam, Cousin Guru Bakshish, my mom, baby Becca, Susan, Aunt Sarah, Josh and me.  I’m guessing Uncle David took this picture. This was the first Cousins Day we celebrated. It became a tradition to get everyone together whenever the Galassos visited the Bay Area. Here are a few more of that visit that include Uncle David and Uncle John:

 

 

And this is, I believe, the only photo of Rebecca and Josh with their great-grandmother Marion:My Grandma Marion turned 84 about a month after this was taken, and she died the next spring.  (* this one of those places where family members can help by adding corrections, comments, other photos and details)

Rebecca’s baptism was on the weekend of my parents 34th wedding anniversary, September 3. Yes, she’s wearing the same baptismal gown that her sister and her mother wore. We had a party at a Chinese restaurant that included Grandpa Mo & Wendy, GranMarni, Aunt Maggie, Godfather Michael and my dad’s childhood friend and best man, Jim Ajemian…as well as Uncle David, Aunt Sarah & Uncle John, and a few others.   These photos were taken by Aunt Maggie. My camera is in one of the pictures, but I don’t seem to have any pictures of the whole company. (* help?)

In the summer of 1990, we visited Los Gatos again and had another opportunity for a Cousins Day and some outdoor fun.  

 

 

* my husband is absent in these photos, which caused me to remember that I took an Amtrak train from LA to San Jose with these 3 kids, thinking that it would be more entertaining for my active toddler to be able to walk the aisles of the train than to be confined to an airplane seat. What I didn’t figure accurately was that I was trading 10 hours of this “entertainment” for 1 hour of that “discomfort”. I was pretty exhausted by the end of it.

And at the beginning of 1991, I looked like this. Which means that the story of Grandbaby #5 is next!

The Grandparent Project – Part One

What is The Grandparent Project? 


I hate to disappoint anyone, but it’s not a new federally funded program to help grandparents with anything as useful as medical care or as life-enhancing as access to the Arts. However, it is a personal blog project to help connect my children in the Midwest to their one surviving grandparent, my mother, in California. It serves as a family history forum so that we share memories and details with each other. (Hopefully, aunts, uncles and cousins will join in as well!) It’s also a project to motivate me to convert my photographs from prints to digital images. 


So let us begin with the First Grandchild: Susan.  She was born in Montclair, CA on January 24, 1985, less than a month after my mom turned 50. Roughly two weeks after she was born, Grandpa George drove down from Los Gatos with GranneLouise and Uncle David to meet her…and take pictures. (first photo of Grandpa in The Hat…this will be a recurring theme)In April, the family got together for her baptism. It was a grand affair on a Saturday evening; afterwards, we had a private party at La Piccoletta. Great Grandma Marion came along for that, as well as Godmother/Aunt Sarah and Uncle David (all of 11 years old) and a host of extended family on Jim’s side. (Grandpa Mo, Wendy, GranMarni, Great Aunt Millie, Great Uncle Jim, Great Cousin Joan, Aunt Maggie and Uncle Dave) There was a professional photo shoot for that event, with Susan wearing the baptismal dress that I wore as a baby, too. That photo is in a frame and too large for me to scan, so here’s one taken under the tree at St. Ambrose Church the next morning.  There are four generations of brown-eyed girls here. Needless to say, Grandbaby #1 was A Big Deal for both sides of the family. 
The next big event in the family was Sarah’s wedding, and Susan traveled north to Los Gatos and then up to Coos Bay, OR (via the Benbow Inn) for that. She was 9 months old and walking, but very petite.  (click on the pictures to see them in a full frame)

A month later, the Gran Family came down to Pomona to visit again. In the spring, I had a miscarriage, but that summer, we went up to Los Gatos. This one was taken at Big Basin Redwoods State Park, I think. 

By the end of the summer, I was pregnant with Grandbaby #2: Joshua. He was born April 5, 1987. He first met his grandparents when they came down at Easter; his baptism party was in August. Michael Goggins is holding him in this picture, but he had to wait until Grandbaby #4 to become an official Godfather. Let’s just say that he did such a great job at the dress rehearsal that he stole the role for the rest of the show. There was another trip north to LG in June. 

In October of that year, GranneLouise did us a special favor and came with us to the Far Western District Barbershop competition in Reno to stay with Josh in the hotel room while I watched my husband compete and celebrated his victory afterwards. For that effort, she won the Choice Nanny award from the quartet, Musician’s Choice.The next visit was in Pomona after Christmas for GranneLouise’s birthday on New Year’s Eve. That party involved the animal noses and the wind-up toys, and you can see that Josh was getting into the spirit of it as a full-fledged member of the family!

Although, he seemed a bit more shy the next day.

This brings us to the year 1988 and the end of Part One. More to come!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Bridge

“Only connect.” – my mother

“Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die.” – E. M. Forster Howard’s End

“True self is non-self, the awareness that the self is made only of non-self elements. There’s no separation between self and other, and everything is interconnected. Once you are aware of that, you are no long caught in the idea that you are a separate entity.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Bridge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Transient

The Wilderness Act of 1964 protects designated wilderness and defines it as “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain”. 

Hikers passing through in Canyonlands National Park, Utah, leave no trace…

Ancient desert communities left the pueblos centuries ago…

And my tent is pitched on this Earth for just a short while.

Transient