Photo Journal

The Last Day—Write 31 Days is “Officially” Over

I made it to the last day of October. While I managed to write most days, I did not write every day. Life sometimes gets in the way, and sometimes the inspiration, motivation, and desire just up and leave me high and dry. I am working on that latter bit, though, and learning to “show up” to do the work whether I am inspired or not. Sometimes, just showing up is the only thing that I can do.

This morning, I went out for a quick walk around the yard with the camera. The zinnias are beautiful in their last bit of autumn loveliness. The butterflies are covering them. I could sit on the ground and watch them for hours, I think. And yes I found that one butterfly with the dry, papery wing that’s beginning to show its “age”. It’s a subtle reminder of the impermanence of things. And yet, it’s still as beautiful as the butterflies that are still perfectly whole.



I did go out this morning with an idea of what I wanted to accomplish. I chose my 50mm f/1.8 lens, a fixed lens. If I “zoomed” in on something, I would have to do it with my feet! I also took my extension rings to work on some macro, or close-up, photography. I wanted to get close up for detail and to create some kind of abstract of the subject of the images. It’s harder than one thinks! And I was not satisfied with my results. Still I found some things I liked.

I started with my hibiscus.


This image, of course, is taken without the extension rings. I just love this flower. Then I started focusing on details.




I love the curves and the yellow on the underside of the petals.

There are other indications of autumn all around the pond as well. Of course, I had to take the picture of the fallen leaf—just one—lying on top of the green grass.


So much texture and lines in this image of the leaf.

While I had some intention when I began this walk, I also went out with an open mind to see whatever presented itself to me. One of the principles of contemplative photographic practices is to approach the world with an open mind, to see what is there without judgment whether the subject is appropriate or beautiful or photogenic. The idea is to see what is there as it is.

This walk was just what I needed this morning, too, as it put me in touch with creation and its beauty as it is, even the broken butterfly.

Photo Journal

Wednesday Photo Journal #2

This past week was beautiful for the most part. We had a few thunderstorms and some much needed rain, but Saturday was typical South Carolina summer—hot and humid. I went out with the camera for a few minutes to walk around the back yard and to check out the secret garden that is so secret, it doesn’t know it’s a garden. I am not the one with the green thumb here. Most of my “garden” is in planters—one red-orange hibiscus, some white and purple verbena, dianthus, and lavender (which is not blooming yet). Over in the other garden, I have sown a variety of wildflowers, but they have not matured enough to bloom yet.

The last few times I’ve gone out to ramble with the camera, I’ve taken very little gear with me. I choose a lens before I go out. This time, I chose the Lensbaby double optic with the Composer Pro. I took the macro filters with me to use—if the spirit moved me. And it did for a few images, but not many. One of the things I like about the Lensbaby double optic is that it is like shooting with an 85mm lens. It is a 50mm lens on a full-frame camera, but my Canon 7D is a crop sensor. I almost get the effect of a macro lens without the filters. The two filters are 4mm and 10mm each. I think I mainly used the 10mm.

Here are a few of the images:



I have been playing around with the Topaz Labs plugins for Photoshop. I especially like Simplify because I an achieve some painterly effects, as I did on these first two images. The old barn is on my father’s-in-law property. I have been photographing this old barn for a while now, and each time I get a different effect. for this image, I chose to use a watercolor effect. It needs a bit a tweaking yet, but I like of like it. (I even cloned out a building on the right side of the image so that barn would be the star.


I love the texture of hibiscus. You can see the veins in each petal.


I tried to create a vintage look for this rose, but as I wrote last week, red is a difficult color for me to photograph well and to process well. I think I may tweak this image more and use the Topaz Labs BW Effects. I love the Opalotype effects. I think that would give the image a vintage look. What do you think?



Even though I walk around the back yard and the ponds frequently, I always see something different, something new. That’s what I love so much about contemplative photographic practices: it’s all about seeing the world through eyes that are wide-open, receptive to possibility.