Sunday, April 29, 2012

Spring's Flow

There is a flow to spring that is refreshing and invites me to move after the stillness of winter. The bursting forth of life after a season of dormancy and rest stirs something inside me to the same.

Today I choose to grow (accepting the growing pains that come along with it) and hopefully, eventually, bear fruit.


I chose to use my macro lens for this capture, to blur the seeds in front and behind my focal point. Together with the lines of the composition, it lends a movement to the picture that would be lost to full clarity.

Choosing textures and shading that move the eye around the image was also intentional.

Composition is fluid and grows from thought to sight to capture to processing to output. And then it may lie dormant for a time but once someone else sees it and brings their perspective formed by experience to the image, it begins to grow again.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Confederation Building



Pineapple Dance

Oh she is happy! She's got her pineapple hat and a skirt just right for dancing! Hands in the air, she celebrates the moment.


It is so much fun to look beyond what is in front of me to see what else there is to see! Personifying a tree seed swings wide the door of imagination.

I shot this image with my macro lens, a 60 mm prime, blurring out the background and enabling me to focus in on this little island dancer alone. The wind didn't allow for sharpness all around but even that worked in my favour, adding movement to her dance.

Peeling Layers

This morning I took a walk to a small woodland patch not far from my home. I brought my camera and also my thoughts from my Bible reading. How soothing and nurturing this was for me. Hearing from my Heavenly Father from His Word, in the beautiful creation around me and also from inside my heart...there is no greater part of my day.

It has been a grueling and growing time for me spiritually, these past months. Layers have been peeled back to show me what I've needed to see. I have prayed for this. It is not an easy thing to pray. It is a more difficult thing to not pray it back.  But I have not.  There is purpose in the peeling. And it is good.


Hope Emerges



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Calm in Chaos

Life can be chaotic. Life can be hard. Life can feel overwhelming.

Is calm possible in the midst of this all?
Calm in chaos?
Tenderness in the hard?
Peace in the overwhelming?

In the midst of the tough stuff, I have experienced this. Today, in fact. I've experienced a peace that passes all understanding when situations and circumstances in all their reason and reality have screamed otherwise. An intentional shift of my focus is required, a shift from the chaos to the Calmer of the seas.  Am I always faithful in making this shift? No. Sometimes I choose to stay focused on the chaos and then the calm can remain elusive. To what end?


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sweet Morning

I pulled back the curtains this morning and saw that my grape hyacinths had bloomed...overnight it seemed. What a sweet morning greeting!



Getting close, and then closer still was the magic in this morning greeting. How often do we miss details like the white lips of the bells gently opening to the earth below? The rest of the garden did not help tell this sweet hello so I moved in with my macro lens and shut out the rest, the noise, the clutter.

Using some sepia toned layering in processing enhanced the images in a way that was pleasing for me.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Drama



How Beautiful, the Ordinary

How beautiful, the ordinary. This pleasant little grouping of daisies is nearing the end of its shelf life. The petals are beginning to wilt but, like we humans, their age brings character, and their character is beautiful. Perched on a kitchen windowsill we are all invited to remember vases or jars of picked petals sitting above the kitchen sink in our own homes.


Capturing the beauty in the ordinary is what I love to do most with photography.

Originally tempted to get up close and personal with my macro lens, shooting only a petal or two, I resisted the urge and stepped back a few feet to include the other ordinary pieces in the composition. Using the window ledge and also the blurred-out fence lines in the background allowed for more of the ordinary, more of a connection.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Ladybug



Turtle Island

I have spent a good deal of time looking out over at this island. I've canoed to this island, swam around this island, and I've even camped on this island. There are many good memories that come back to me when I see this picture.

More recently, my daughter has spent a good deal of time looking out over at this island.  She too now has significant memories of being in the same place but hers are her own memories and are different than mine. Hers is her own growing and learning and becoming a beautiful, strong woman of faith.

How beautiful.


Eerie Quiet

Pulling off the highway into an area marked by destruction of some sort, I got out of the vehicle and wandered around. Trees were down, bent, snapped, burned...I'm not even sure what their story is. There was an eerie and fitting quiet that had long settled into these grounds around me.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

I Wish to be by the Sea

To hear the waves
To feel the breeze
To see the gulls
To taste the salt
I wish to be by the sea


I salvaged this image today. Sitting in my archives from years ago, it was missing something though I didn't know just what it was. Still there was something about it that didn't allow me to delete it permanently.

I pulled it into photoshop and played with some layers and found not what was missing but rather a layer that allowed me to see on the screen exactly how I saw this lighthouse and the sea in my heart.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Standing Water



Barriers

Barriers can be perceived or real. One might argue that perception is reality and maybe for a time it is.

Sometimes the barriers are not permanent. They might just require increased effort or stepping back to see the bigger picture in order to get around them, under them, over them and sometimes even through them. Sometimes it is more about timing. We might need to rest, be still, before the path is cleared and we can move forward.

At times the barriers we encounter can be actual barriers, closed doors, that can point us in a different direction.  If we turn around and look in a new direction, the path may be clear.

Barriers don't have to mean stuck.


I took this picture a couple of years back and do wish I could return to take another shot with a greater depth of field and better focus on the leaning tree. At the time I thought it was a great shot and if it weren't for the things I mentioned it would be better shot. Like life, that is where I was at the time in my photography. I took what I knew and used it, lived life out of what I knew. Not giving up because I didn't know what I would know two or three years later was choosing not to be stuck behind the barrier of limited understanding.

Today I am aware that what I know now might seem like nothing in a few years time. I do have so much to learn and not just in the area of photography! So on I go.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Yesterday's Fair

Happy memories come swiftly. The music, the corn dogs, the candy floss and the clowns emerge from the carnival tents in my mind. Giggling toddlers are held tight atop the ferris wheel. Giddy girls flirt with the boys who try to win the big stuffed bears...and maybe their girls' hearts too. Dripping ice-cream cones and teacup rides all around!


In trying to bring the viewer to the past, I used a treatment in processing that yellowed up the colours just enough. The appearance of an old photograph was my reward.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Colour My World with Gentleness

We all long for a little gentleness in our lives. Perhaps if we choose it, to extend it no matter the chaos we may be experiencing, we might even see it around us and see it grow. Choosing gentleness can change the outcome of a conversation, soothe a person's spirit, and invite another to choose gentleness. The ripple effect is not only possible but probable.


For this image I used my macro lens to create a soft and soothing composition. A shallow depth of field softened much of the picture.

The eye moves effortlessly from colour to colour, stopping for a moment on the violet and then gently continuing on to the green and yellow. We're invited to linger here and almost float through the image, without being hurried from one leaf to the next.

Imagine if you will...

...where does this bring you?


Can You Hear the Blue?



Silhouette

These tree seeds almost have a halo effect with the sun shining through from behind. New life emerges and is easily found by the sun, silhouetting the recent growth beautifully.

Though the blue sky was lovely on this day, I chose to take out the colour, turning it into a black and white image. I felt that the lines and form of this image were better shown in greyscale. When contrasting light and dark in an image, colour is not often necessary.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Play Ball



Be Present

Sometimes it is pretty easy for me to look ahead and own all of tomorrow's troubles today. The thing that happens when I do this is I actually forget about today. My mind is so busy trying to figure out how the future will look, to see the hazy ideas of what it might bring and try and make some sense out of it that am not present here, now. What value is it to worry about tomorrow? There is no value in it. In fact, it takes away from today.

Don't get me wrong, to look ahead, to anticipate, to hope, to wonder, to make plans (knowing plans can change)...these are all good things to do but not at the expense of today...not if it robs me and those around me of being present.


As I was walking on the trail this morning and saw the dotted lines, they spoke into my life. Being present on the dotted line of today is what I want. I needed to get this shot. I used my macro lens and a shallow depth of field to make sure that all but one dot and only part of that dot was in focus. It marked being present in today. Adding a layer of texture increased the blur of tomorrow's dot, encouraging me to remain on today's while it is still today.

Spring's Exchange

I am looking forward to spring's accessorizing! The bright greens against a backdrop of brick and mortar adds a fresh new look that I am ready to embrace.

Here is a shot taken in Winnipeg's Exchange District last year.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Upward

Focused, she moves upward.

The negative space in this image helps me to show the focus and drive of this goose. It is as though nothing else matters, only her destination.

Had there been other things in this image, like high-rises or trees, it may not have had the same impact as it does now.

I am inspired by the determination I imagine this goose has. It encourages me to block out the clutter and distractions and focus on my goals, allowing the noise to blend quietly into the background while I move forward, upward.


Monday, April 9, 2012

The Robin's Return



Macro Image of Hydrangea



Downhill

A valley can be beautiful and green and full of life. A valley can also mean the opposite of a mountaintop when speaking about life experiences, contrasting euphoric successes with deeply challenging times. When we say, "it's all downhill from here," we can be speaking about ease of effort or we can be referring to deterioration. Context is key.

When we look at this image, we are on the high ground looking down. The picture alone speaks of life and beautiful abundance in crops and harvest. But what if we are coming up to a place in our personal lives where we know we will be meeting challenges? We might see this picture in a different light. What is our response in times of challenge? Do we turn around and avoid looking at what is to come? Do we stay on the hilltop, afraid to go down? Or maybe go down, slowly like entering an icy cold pool of water, little by little, unsure of whether or not to commit to full immersion.

I'd like to think that if the valley is a valley of challenge, that I would have the courage to journey on and through. I think I'd go slowly and sometimes I might turn around to look back, wondering if I made the right decision. Once through the valley, I might turn around and see that the very challenges I managed to face (and this would not be in my own strength!) did actually produce a harvest, a good harvest. And maybe the valley was green after all.


I took this picture in the rolling hills of Alberta, Canada. I don't often like to take pictures so centered but it seemed to work for this particular image. Before seeing it as completed, I brought it into photoshop to add a texture layer. Sometimes layers add. Sometimes they take away. Here, I think it added.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I Captured the Hydrangea

The gentle colours in this hydrangea were not to be captured in full sun. The light was too harsh and the shadows too dark for romance and tenderness.

I moved my potted treasure to a room with a north window. The window coverings were a soft ecru fabric, allowing just the right amount of light in to blanket these blooms. Still too shadowed at the front, I pulled out my reflector and bounced the window's light to the shadowed petals. I mounted my camera on a tripod and used the shutter release cable in order to allow me some room to move to hold the reflector at a good distance from the plant. In processing I added a texture layer for the final touch.

I captured the Hydrangea.


Monday, April 2, 2012

Dreaming of Love

This lone goose is dreaming of love. Sitting, waiting, looking out into the water, all she sees are hearts glistening and dancing on the water's surface.


Using a filter can add a magical touch to your image. Keep your subject in mind when selecting the filter to be used. Not all filters are for all subjects. Pay attention to the story you want to tell with your photo.

I found a post on Craftgawker that showed me how to make a homemade bokeh filter. Here is the link. I chose a heart cut-out for mine and off I went to capture some love! It is easy to do and so much fun. Why not give it a try?

Space Between

There is space between time. Sometimes long and wide. Sometimes short. What fills the space for you?

I took this picture of a vintage spoon. The spoon belonged to my mother. I believe it was part of a set received as a wedding gift.

Many years lie between the day this gift was received and the day I took this image. Much fills that space. Laughter and tears, hardship and happiness, disappointments and dreams.

I think sometimes we can be in a hurry to fill up the spaces with many things but I think we might just lose sight of the fact that there is already something of significance in some of the spaces...quiet. Might I suggest that leaving room for space,    for quiet,    is important every now and again? It allows us room to breathe, to consider, to reflect, to enjoy, to notice, to hear.

I deliberately left space in this shot, hopefully allowing room for you and your reflections.

Using a 60 mm macro lens, I was able to get up close and personal, capturing the textures in the worn edges of the spoon and also the grain in the wood surface it rests on. Adding a layer in processing allowed for additional focus on age and time's passage, without getting too cluttered and distracting. When adding layers, choose wisely. Just as a well chosen digital layer can be a tool to enhance your image, it can also detract if the wrong one is chosen.