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. 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: The Holiday Season

When traditions meet transitions…

For most of my life, my Holiday Season was centered around traditions that originated in the Anglican community. We celebrated Advent, then Christmas, and finally Epiphany. For forty years, beginning when I was 7 years old, I sang in an Episcopal Church choir and spent a good portion of my Christmas break in rehearsal and in church. The birth of Jesus was the reason for the season, and I never told my children there was a Santa Claus. The first gift they unwrapped was always the wooden Christ figure for the creche, in a golden box marked “Unto Us”. These traditions were rich, comforting, and firm. I think they provided many benefits to my four young children. As the children grew, our family made Christmas about broader values. We supported needy families, donated to organizations that contributed to world causes, and gave gifts that were homemade or from sustainable sources. As my children became young adults, we approached our holiday traditions with hard questions about life and meaning and community. What is truly holy and valuable to us? How do we celebrate the divine spark in all of life? Perhaps the most poignant question became “What is our family now that Dad has died?” Transitions are the hallmark of growth. Things that are growing change; living things evolve. There are Universal transitions that are holy. December 21 is the Winter Solstice, when the Earth is furthest from the Sun and daylight is at its ebb. This year, Saturn and Jupiter will align on that day. And three of my children will be living in Oregon with me. The list of transitions our family has braved over the last year is weighty. It includes several moves, relationship changes, and my mother’s death. In the midst of all these changes, we remember and celebrate the thing that makes a Holy Season: the invitation to Love and the recognition of divine presence in every living thing.

I’m sure that for many people around the world, this will be a Holiday Season that seems very unusual, perhaps quite unsettling. I wish us all the Peace of knowing that transition and change is intrinsic to Life. May we reach out in holy Love and celebrate the divine presence in all living things, expressing our gratitude and committing to doing good.

Thank you, Ann-Christine, for hosting this week’s challenge

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Cherished Moments

“The secret of life
Is enjoying the passage of time.
Any fool can do it,
There ain’t nothing to it.
Nobody knows how we got
To the top of the hill.
But since we’re on our way down,
We might as well enjoy the ride…

The secret of love
Is in opening up your heart.
It’s okay to feel afraid,
But don’t let that stand in your way.
‘Cause anyone knows
That love is the only road.
And since we’re only here for a while,
Might as well show some style.
Give us a smile...

Isn’t it a lovely ride?
Sliding down, gliding down,
Try not to try too hard,
It’s just a lovely ride…

Now the thing about time
Is that time isn’t really real.
It’s just your point of view,
How does it feel for you?
Einstein said he
Could never understand it all.
Planets spinning through space,
The smile upon your face,
Welcome to the human race.

Some kind of lovely ride.” ― James Taylor

Amy, the Lens-Artists host this week, invites us to “share some of the precious moments we have had, before or during the pandemic”. These images are favorites of mine, as is the James Taylor song. In my days alone of late, I have often returned to the pictures and music etched in my mind. I am grateful to have a rich array and a powerful memory. 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: The Letter ‘A’

Patti, today’s Challenge host, writes:

In this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #126:  An Alphabet Challenge–Subjects That Begin with the Letter A, we invite you share images that feature a subject that starts with the letter A. You can also include signs and graffiti with the letter A. For an added challenge, capture an image that illustrates a concept with the letter A, such as alone, abstract, or afraid.

As a “bio-phile” and nature photographer, here are some wonderful subjects whose names begin with ‘a’ — arachnid, apple, Arboretum, atmosphere.

And some concepts: adoration……abundance……active.

Hoping your week is A-Okay! 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: California Picks

 

“There is science, logic, reason; there is thought verified by experience. And then there is California.”
— Edward Abbey

For this week’s photo challenge, Tina invites us each to pick our own theme. Having just returned from three months in California journeying with my family of origin through my mother’s hospice care and death, I have new photos to share and a complex perspective.

A jewel in the sparkling allure of California to me is my siblings who live there. I reconnected with them in an intense situation and discovered that they are exceptional human beings…and they really do like me, after all!Our days together were full of the poignant joys of life: memories, change, and resilience. We hiked the mountains, beaches, and urban green spaces to keep a grounded perspective. The natural surroundings in California are breathtaking, but the impact of humans is often completely overwhelming. While I was there, record-breaking temperatures, catastrophic wildfires, and the Covid-19 virus often prohibited us from leaving the confines of our protective shelters. How ironic that the things that make California a popular place to live also create the populations that make California unlivable. Finding a sustainable balance is the never-ending challenge here.

“It was a splendid population – for all the slow, sleepy, sluggish-brained sloths stayed at home – you never find that sort of people among pioneers – you cannot build pioneers out of that sort of material. It was that population that gave to California a name for getting up astounding enterprises and rushing them through with a magnificent dash and daring and a recklessness of cost or consequences, which she bears unto this day – and when she projects a new surprise the grave world smiles as usual and says, “Well, that is California all over.”
― Mark Twain

How to live gracefully on this planet, in a human body, with all the complex interactions going on all around me, continues to be the challenge that I strive to meet. Grace is an attitude of balance and mercy, I think…but I’m still pondering it. 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Now and Then

“A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.” — Roald Dahl

Some recent nonsense…

And some nonsense from ‘then’…

My family has gone through some very painful and pivotal changes during the pandemic. However, we all manage to make each other laugh even in the midst of difficult times. Yesterday, eleven of us gathered to lay my mother in the earth to join my father, my husband, and my sister. We were outdoors and masked. Our next gathering will be a Zoom call for Thanksgiving. I’m confident that there will be some nonsense and laughter again. 

Thanks to Amy for hosting this week’s challenge and giving us occasion to reflect on the differences and similarities between Now and Then.