Friday, September 30, 2011

Unexpected Blessings

Two things happened pretty unexpectedly today.
1. My camera was ready for pick-up! The camera hospital happened to have the right part in stock and could fix it for me in a day's time instead of the two weeks predicted. Happy day!
2. My daughter came home for the weekend! Double happy day!
I did head out into my backyard to snap a few pictures just because I could. In keeping with my recent pendulum swing between colour and black and white, I give you two.

Sky's Spill

I didn't see it happen; I just saw the puddle. The sky must have spilled while I wasn't looking. Nobody cleaned it up and I guess I didn't either. I stood at the edge of the sky but didn't dare step in it; you never know what might happen. I walked around the puddle and kept to my path.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Catching Wind

Today I played around in Lightroom with this picture. It was a little bit of fun and I am pleased with the final result.

The wind was really blowing this morning when I took this shot. The leaves are not tack sharp, nor should they be if it is windy! In order to really show wind, sometimes showing something still alongside the movement works well. Here, the chain link fence was the stability that contrasted the fluttering of the leaves.

And then my camera died. Well, the shutter refused to flutter. It looks as though I'll be without my trusty tool for a couple of weeks. I'll continue to post but will be digging up images from my archives until new images are possible again.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Back to Black and White

These days I move between colour and black and white photography on a dime! In this day of digital photography, we are afforded this luxury.

This afternoon I found a dying Gazania and loved how it looked with the textures of our weathered fence. Its brilliant orange shade would have dominated this image but in black and white, texture becomes the subject.

And So It Was Colour

Today the colour was important. I thought about shooting in black and white but this morning I was seeing in colour. The way the morning sun caught the greens, reds and yellows was just right.

These three images, by no means a grouping other than in today's post, would each have lost some interest in greyscale.

The pops of reds and golds amongst the railway tracks and ties would diminish to tufts and tracks.

Yellow blades would disappear into a blur.

 The sunny daisy top with the lively green background would become dull and depressing.

And so it was colour.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Autumn in Black and White

Autumn is such a beautiful time of the year. The sights and sounds are its own, not shared with another season.

Though we tend to immediately think in reds and yellows, autumn is not always captured in colour. Sometimes the crispness of the dried grasses is better shown in black and white. Though void of colour, these two images still successfully convey the fact that the growing season has gone and the transition between summer and winter has come.

Quiet Welcome

Today is a spectacular autumn day. Summertime temperatures meet the beginning of rusty reds and golden yellows.

I walked the trail a couple of times today and during my second time around I took my camera with me. I ventured into the wooded section of the pathway; it welcomed me with quiet. As I entered, the rush of the traffic was replaced with the rustle of the leaves. I stood still and looked and listened. Gone were the worries of the day. Soaking the sights and sounds of the stillness in, I began to move through the woods and out. Interestingly, the noise outside the woods did not seem so loud anymore.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Criss and Cross

Criss and Cross.
Crisp and Calm.
Colour and...oh dear...I can't think of a C-word to go with this...

Shadows and Substance

Where does substance end and shadows begin? Here in this image this is not easily discerned. With the macro lens, these lines are blurred even more.

I'm often surprised at what is to be seen. This world we live in is so very interesting. It is worth taking the time to look and to look closely.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Autumn Days

It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life. ~P.D. James

Just like an echo, the branches repeated the pattern of the leaf's veins, all around, reaching higher and further, until the pattern disappeared into the distance.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Market

The patrons were gone; all was quiet. The market would bustle again, this is for sure, but for now, the teal sky and the memories echoing up from the cobblestone were its company.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Be Careful With Our Lives

I like Frederick Buechner's writing. Those of you who know me well will already know this as I quote him from time to time. I've even quoted this particular quote before. It bears repeating, if not for anyone else than for my own sake.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dreamy Dandelion

The dreamy dandelion fluff...this is what caught my eye today as I hit the trail this morning. I revisited the spot where the giant fluffs were located along the tracks with camera in hand this afternoon. I'm not even sure if these were actually dandelions or some other kind of weed or wildflower. No matter, they were beautiful and my macro lens did not disappoint me in allowing me to see closer.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I Never Know What I'll Find

I never know what I'll find. Well, I guess I do have a pretty good idea of what is in my own backyard, but what I mean is I don't know what will find me. What will stand out to me, call for my attention, and ultimately be what I see?

Today it was this flower going to seed. As has often been the case, when I uploaded my images to my computer, I wondered what it was about this familiar sight that stopped me long enough to see it and take its picture.

Here's what I like:

I like the contrast of the faded flower against the gorgeous green of the leaf it rests on. I like the burnished edges of the bloom and how they echo the colour found in the background.

Here's why I like:

Living holds on in this image, at least for today, supported and belonging.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Still Here

Summer's softness is still with us. We may have to look for it but it is here.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Stay Awhile

Have a seat. Stay awhile.

These blades have done just that. They've found their roots here, beneath the shelter of the bench. Now grown up and through, they show themselves as part of this place.

The Road, it Winds

The road, it winds; it is not straight. The road to recovery, to knowledge, to healing, to becoming old and wise is rarely without bends and curves. I wonder if the additional miles we trod and the more we experience along the way, I wonder if these make us stronger. If it were so easy, so direct, would the end result be the same?


Don't be afraid to get close. If your lens can focus, get closer until it cannot. Then back off a smidge. A little blur can work for you. It adds mystique, depth and interest. By contrast, blur can accentuate form and texture. In this image very little of the subject is actually in focus, just enough to show you the pointed tips of the thistle. Shape eclipses overall detail here and it is just right for me.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My God, He does good work.

How I love Your works, my God, my King.
     ~ Down Here "Great Are You"

From the majestic mountains to the tender tulips...My God, it is good!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Creation is Tired

It is not in the absence of loss that beauty exists but rather it is in the presence of light. The leaves fall. The grass begins to droop. Creation is tired. Yet there is beauty.

I took this picture several years back and ended up using it together with the words above for some cards I had made up. The words continue to be true for me as I journey through life.

Hard times come. Difficult and challenging circumstances continue on. Sometimes it is hard to see beyond the darkness.

This image has dying grasses, dark shadows and fallen leaves but we're not left with an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness after viewing this. Why? Because there is light.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Chicago Blues

Blue washes over Chicago, leaving patches of sepia only where the sky couldn't reach. Almost like a dream, the boats and buildings blend together. Though strong and edgy, there is room for the heart in the flow of one to the other, here in this city.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Night Ride

Parked on the Magnificent Mile, the bicycles wait for their riders. It is a beautiful night in the city. Excitement reflects off the street's surface in cobalt and magenta. This is the first stop. There will be more. The evening is just beginning and there is a whole city to explore.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Autumn's Court

The temperature is summer's but the court is autumn's. The crunch beneath my feet says it is so. The deserted beach echos this back to me. I don't feel ready, not yet. I'm not ready to let go of summer's heat, the walk out the door without the added weight of a coat and boots, the extended daylight hours...not yet. It has been an exceptional summer: many sunny days, high temps and no mosquitoes.

But autumn comes...and with it, cozy sweaters, steaming cups of coffee, slippers waiting at the side of my bed and a beautiful wash of colours over the sun-scorched trees and grasses. Maybe it isn't so bad. Maybe it is more about being thankful for the exceptional summer we've had and at the end of the day, when autumn comes, it too will have its charm.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pattern Two

My husband and I went out to the countryside yesterday evening. Evidently, I am still searching out pattern and balance based on the pictures I uploaded to my computer when we returned. This image is particularly soothing to me. Though their lines go in different directions, the tracks and the towers share both numbers and form and give balance to the picture.

Monday, September 5, 2011


Life can be unpredictable, unfamiliar, filled with change, and ever in transition. This can make me long for pattern, a familiar pattern where things repeat...not for all time but for a time. It is the quest for balance, to equalize the chaos with calm.

There are important physical actions I can take to this end and do (getting proper rest, exercise, healthy eating) but the spiritual ones reach further. Taking time to be...with God...listening for Him...learning about Him...waiting with Him...these go deep and bring calm into the chaos.

Because chaos doesn't often go away quickly and will never avoid us entirely, I need to find my way through it (each of us - we all do). What is the alternative? Getting stuck.

On we go.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Story's Inspiration

Sometimes it just takes one scene, real life or photo of real life, to trigger my imagination to conjure up some of the most interesting stories and circumstances. Take this scene for instance. I saw this and couldn't look away...11 pillows hanging in a row on the line to be dried...spotted...with tears perhaps...and an empty lawnchair...who sat there and why? My mind can wander many different directions on this. What about you?

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Pop of Happy

Downtown can be serious and sometimes scary but if you look closely, you might just see a pop of happy mixed in there as well. This week I've spent a fair bit of time in the downtown area. I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed it.

I loved watching the businessman walk quickly with a coffee on one side of the street while the elderly man slowly peddled his basket-laden bicycle down the other, the rusty cars parked in the alley-ways and the UPS trucks huddled together in the parking lot, the semi-trucks rumbling down the road as the pair of horses slowly walked the other way carrying police officers on their beat. I loved the older buildings and hydro lines with a pop of happy strung over the wires. This seemed normal. The juxtaposition was normal. I liked that a lot.

Blue Moon Pumpkin

Autumn is around the corner. The time is coming for sweaters then coats, rakes then shovels, and turkey followed by pumpkin pie.

You can use a regular pumpkin to create your pumpkin pies or you can use something a little more unique. The Blue Moon pumpkin is quite an interesting pumpkin. The outside is blue and the flesh is cantaloupe's orange. In fact, when I cut it open, it smelled like the cantaloupe as well. I used a Blue Moon pumpkin to make a pumpkin pie and it turned out quite nice. When at the market this fall, pick up a Blue Moon pumpkin. You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Scents of the Past

Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains; another, a moonlit beach; a third, a family dinner of pot roast and sweet potatoes during a myrtle-mad August in a Midwestern town. Smells detonate softly in our memory like poignant land mines hidden under the weedy mass of years. Hit a tripwire of smell and memories explode all at once. A complex vision leaps out of the undergrowth.

~Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses

As I stood on the pier and looked out over the water, the smell of the lake and the scent of the donuts and corn dogs on the fair grounds behind me brought me back to sweet memories. How true it is that smells can be a powerful trigger to our past.