Photography 101: Landscape

Landscape is the theme for day fifteen of Photography 101.

“Today, snap a picture of a landscape. Focus on the gestalt — the entire setting as a whole… rather than a specific subject or focal point within the scene. The setting itself is the star.”

Yesterday the clouds were looking pretty cool, so I headed down the railroad tracks to get a couple of shots for the day’s theme.

This first photo was the view north. When I got just past the evergreen in the center of the photo, I turned to my right and snapped the second photo.
Looking north along the tracks.

 

This was the view to the east of the tracks.
The view from the tracks looking east.

I had been up on the hill, past the white silo pictured above, a couple of weeks ago, and had taken my next photo then.  Continue reading

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Refraction

This is my response to the WordPress weekly photo challenge: Refraction. I took these photos in 2011 while visiting with friends in St. John, US Virgin Islands.

St. John, US Virgin Islands
I was very happy to capture that little bit of a mirage along with the slight alpha shape of the sun as the light was bent through the atmosphere. Some of the very center of the sun was blown out. I cloned-in the surrounding color, but I’m not sure if I’m happy with that. Constructive feedback in the comments below would be helpful!

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I also came across this quote by J.R.R. Tolkien from Tree and Leaf.

“Man, Sub-creator, the refracted light through whom is splintered from a single White to many hues, and endlessly combined in living shapes that move from mind to mind.”

It reminds me that we are all individual expressions of the One Universal Light with the power and responsibility of sub/co-creators. We can help or hurt. Hinder or facilitate. Create or destroy. The choice and the struggle is ours from moment to moment, circumstance to circumstance. Are we an asset or a detriment to creation and our fellow co-creators?

Wishing you a wonderful rest-of-the-week.

Blessings 🙂

Dreamy

Never fear shadows. They simply mean there’s a light shining somewhere nearby. ~Ruth E. Renkel

Harriman State Park, Harriman, NY

This post is  my response to the photo challenge Dreamy. It’s also my belated response to the Blogging 101 assignment Try a New Posting Style. I decided to pair one of my photos with a quote. This isn’t stretching myself much, but it’s all I could muster these past several days to catch up a bit.

I wish I could have gotten out this weekend to photograph the fall foliage, but I was occupied working in our little gallery. It was quite busy because of a fall festival which ran Saturday, Sunday and the holiday Monday. It might have also been nice to stroll around town and photograph the crowd.  The festival-goers and leaf-peepers were out, but sadly I was not.  With my eyes wandering out the window and my mind drifting to fall color and this weeks photo challenge, I remembered this dance of light and shadow that I captured a couple of years ago. It was a fantastically bright day, rich with contrast. Standing in the shadows of the forest looking into the light, the landscape seemed a bit surreal and dreamy.

… And since this is the second time I have responded to the weekly photo challenge, I think I’ll make it a habit thereby completing another Blogging 101 assignment, Create a New Regular Feature. 🙂

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Nighttime in Assisi

I took both these photos of the Basilica of Saint Francis in the city of Assisi during a wonderful trip to Italy. Assisi is absolutely beautiful, and even though it’s inundated with tourists much of the time, it retains a peaceful atmosphere reminiscent of its patron saint. My husband and I were walking toward the Basilica that evening to attend a jazz concert and had the good fortune to meet this sunset and crescent moon.

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I edited this second photo aiming more for a pleasing image rather than a strict record-what-you-see photograph.

Basilica of St. Francis if Assisi

I almost never take night shots. I really need to learn more about the process instead of just experimenting and fiddling about. I could consult google, but if anyone can recommend a good tutorial, please leave a comment below 🙂

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/nighttime/

Sign, Coincidence, Synchronicity

Hello, I’m still here! I’ve been absent from Blogging 101 for several days. Sometimes life, work, fatigue and unending tasks just snowball, and unable to find enough rejuvenating alone time, I slip into overwhelm.  Tonight I finally found some time to sit down at my computer when I am not completely exhausted, unable to think or write. I’m behind at least 4 assignments maybe 5 so I was a bit apprehensive to look and see exactly what I needed to do to catch up in Blogging 101.

Tonight the most recent assignment is to Try Another Blog Event. I visited the page, clicked on the link Community Event Listings, and was happily relieved and excited to see The Daily Post Photo Challenge titled Signs. Post a photo of a sign… Yes! I’m ready for this one! I have a photo waiting in the wings all set to go.

And here is the sign. It’s a simple one, of a very common variety, a small variety that I encounter every day.

IMG-2685-Gratitude-Mug-600x600wmTo drive home their message, as with exit signs or advertisements, sometimes signs are repeated. This “sign” repeated itself several times, yes several, in one day.
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Fall’s Approach

Asters
Asters. Heralds of fall.

I was aware of fall’s approach, but hadn’t appreciated its wispy, damp presence rubbing up against the edge of my doorstep until reading posts by fellow Blogging101 participants, GaH and Tantoverde.

I had heard the geese on the move for the first time on August 8th, their distinctive trumpeting announcing their departure. I was aware of the changing sounds of the evening insects; crickets, grasshoppers katydids and the like. I saw the asters, harbingers of fall, blooming in my garden. It just hadn’t yet hit me that summer was over, until, as I said, I read these two blog posts.

Asters
More asters. Summer’s last hurrah!

Tantoverde’s post conjured images of copious amounts of apples and baking, baking with abandon, baking to keep up with the yield. It made me yearn for warm apple pie with a hot cup of tea.

Honey Crisps and Macs
Honey crisps and macs.

More visions of a bountiful apple harvest and abundant baking came to me with the reading of GaH’s post contrasting the lazy days of summer with the clues of  fall’s arrival.  GaH transitions between summer and fall with the phrase, “Then comes a storm, and when it ends, the air is cold, and won’t get warm again. And suddenly you realize that fall is here.”

Fall maples
Maple leaves beginning to turn color.

The day after I read this, the storm came as if on cue. Well, not exactly a storm, but a definitive rain which changed the quality and the smell of the air. Now, even when the sun is out and there is warmth, there is a damp crispness around the edges of the day like the juicy crispness you find when biting into a fresh fall apple.

After reading these two blog posts I just had to go out and buy apples. Not grocery store apples… orchard apples, newly plucked from a local tree.

Applewood Orchard
Apple orchard.

With the first bite, I  engage in being a locavore and it pays off. A perfect blend of sweet and tart, crisply yielding.

Apples awaiting harvest
Ready for harvest.

I’m ready now for fall, ready to enjoy the last few warm days that will tease us. Ready for the nights to cool more and more, plants tucking themselves into the ground for winter, trees shedding their excess in colorful glory.

Fall is a time of transition, a time to transition from outdoors to indoors. The tablecloth comes off the picnic table. Meals are eaten inside. The hammock gets stored. The gas grill will still be used, but not nearly as often. The raking will commence, hopefully to be finished before the first snow. The firewood gets stacked, the chimney cleaned, and the window screens are exchanged for storms.

Harriman State Park
Harriman State Park

I feel the transition beginning within myself as well, shifting my attention from external doings to a more inward view. Fall is a time to pause and reflect. To take stock. Some things end. Some become dormant, to rest and refresh. Nature turns inward and so do I. Fall brings clarity with bright color and light, a focusing introspection.

What meaning does fall hold for you?

This post was written as a response to the Blogging101 assignment, Be Inspired by the Community. All of the photos in this post, except for the last one, were taken a couple of days ago after reading GaH’s and Tantoverde’s blog posts. I would like to extend many thanks to them for the inspiration. 🙂

Letting Go

I drove by the building I sold earlier this year and my stomach unexpectedly churned. I thought I had moved on and let go of this part of my life and punctuated it with a period or perhaps even with a happy punctuation mark, but seeing the fence around the building that had occupied much of my time and housed my business for about 15 years hit me viscerally. The erecting of the fence signals that the demolition of the building is immanent. I thought I had come to grips with this in stages over time, so my reaction upon seeing the fence was unexpected.

fence

I thought I had moved on…
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Blog Title, Tagline

As part of Bloggong101, we participants were asked to reevaluate our blog title and tagline. My title, “Through the Lens of my Life” and the tagline, “Thoughts and images from my perspective” might be too unfocused, but I’ll stick with it for now. They’re descriptive of my intent in a broad way. I like the freedom that this offers, allowing me to explore, through word and image, a variety of topics.

Yes, obviously the photos I take are taken through the lens of my old Canon G9, but they’re also taken with my particular “take” on whatever it is I see. Certain things pop out at me. This is why I chose the title and tagline which I did. Someone else would notice something different. They would frame a shot in a different way or choose a completely different subject. Everything that we mentally absorb, every event, scene, or scenario, comes to us through a lens. A lens formed by our own unique life experiences. Each time we express ourselves with either words or images or with any other creative process, it’s from our own personal perspective.

So, in keeping with my blog title and tag line I’m posting several photos that I took while my husband and I were in Cape May, New Jersey this summer. They’re  a few of the moments, scenes, shapes and colors that I collected as we strolled the town and beach.

Cape May is a beautiful Victorian seaside town. The softness of the sea grass contrasting with the geometric patterns of porches and balustrades are what caught my eye here.

Cape May. NJ

Even though the light wasn’t the best, I couldn’t pass up this touristy shot late in the day as we walked the beach.

Cape May life boat

The vastness of the sea and sky always leaves me in awe. The sunbathers and kite flyers seemed so small in comparison, just small swathes of color. I love the bits of red here and there.

Kite & sea. Cape May, NJ

I love seagulls. This one was such a poser. The sparkling water was a plus, although I’ll have to learn how to handle it when shooting and editing.

Seagull

This woman and her dog came rambling down the beach as I strolled in the opposite direction. As she passed, I pulled out my camera and managed to get this photo just as the dog gazed up at her. Perfect! Both she and her dog stood out as unique individuals. I love the contrast between her outfit (hat, long sleeves, full long skirt, bulky socks and work boots) and the sunbathers further down the beach.

Cape May dog walk

My husband and I were sitting on the beach, watching a hazy sunset when this group of children paraded by. Perhaps I could have caught more arm swing if I had a camera that could take lots of multiple shots very quickly in succession, but I’m happy to have caught what I did.

silhouettes

In this last photo the sunset, though beautiful, wasn’t enormously fantastic. I enjoyed it all the same. The surfers were fun to watch… even though the waves weren’t enormously fantastic either!

surfer at sunset. Cape May, NJ

Perhaps my future posts will be just words or perhaps just images. This one includes some of both, just to get myself going and to ride the blogging wave a bit.

An introduction

Hi, my name is Terry. I am just shy of being five years past the half century mark and have started this blog to access my creativity and put my thoughts, via words and images, out into the world. I am participating in Blogging101 to give some structure to the process and to improve my writing and communication skills. The thought of blogging makes me somewhat nervous, but it’s a journey and I love to travel, when I have the occasional opportunity to do so!

My shadow

I am creatively inclined, teach yoga, and can be quite chatty even though I am an introverted thinker and observer at heart. I am also a natural/alternative health enthusiast and have somewhat worn out the ears of my husband and grown-up kids with this topic. Maybe that’s what I should write about, though at this point in my life I am looking for a broader conversation. This blog will be a way for me to exercise my voice, communicate thoughts and ideas, and perhaps interact with others who have put themselves out into the blogosphere. It will be an experiment and an exploration. A way to not only create, but more importantly, to express and perhaps connect.