Tag Archives: spring

Spring Break

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What do you do when you go out for a photo walk only to discover that the camera batteries are dead? I had just enough “juice” to change the white balance and the shooting mode. The last time I used the camera was to shoot a school pageant in the gym, so I had the shooting mode set to continuous and the white balance to auto because gym lighting is notoriously bad and hard to get right, at least for me.

Well, I just turned myself around, put the camera back in the car, and started walking again, pretending I did have the camera. I looked for things I would shoot if I had the camera. I paid attention to the light and shadow patterns of trees, tree limbs, and leaves on the pavement. I noticed the color of the leaves, and the contrasting greens against each other. I watched the ospreys soar in spirals overhead, their bodies black against blue skies. I noticed the fallen blooms from the trumpet vines. I walked with my eyes open (at least until my legs began to give out. I actually pushed myself a little bit too far after having a medical procedure yesterday).

Sometimes, walking without a camera makes it easier to see things. I can go back tomorrow or the next day or the day after that. Yes, I know the lighting will not be exactly the same as it was today, but there will be something new to notice.

I think that’s what I like about photography. It teaches me to see things I might not notice otherwise.

I did manage to get some pictures of the sunrise at church Sunday morning before the Easter sunrise service began. After the service I went out to the prayer garden to take a few pictures of the trees that were blooming. The cherry was in full bloom with some red leaves beginning to show. The palm was also blooming, at least I think that’s what it’s doing. It’s a funny looking bloom, though! Oh well! It is spring here in the South. Tomorrow, IMG_4285IMG_4290IMG_4292IMG_4293I

will try again. I may even go hiking in a state park in the mountains with at least one of my sons, who is also out of school on spring break.

Picture Spring

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What does spring look like in your part of the Northern Hemisphere? I have to be careful because I have friends in various social media groups who live in the Southern Hemisphere, and it’s winter there.

Today is a kind of stormy looking day. I do hear a bit of thunder now and again, but so far, the day is just cloudy. The jasmine has bloomed, as have the blackberries. I see the honeysuckle, though. My roses are blooming as well. The trumpet vine is not as colorful as it was two weeks ago. Everything is green.

It sounds kind of funny to start a Picture Spring project in May, but that’s going to be my focus this month in my personal photography. I want to look more closely at what spring looks like here in my corner of the world.

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I will be doing some of my own prompts while I take on this project, but I will also be following Tracey Clark’s Picture Spring class. I have taken Tracey’s classes before when she taught through Big Picture Classes, and she is inspiring. I am looking forward to starting on May 15.

It has been hard to get out to photography this past month. It has been incredibly busy as we had Aaron’s wedding on April 1. I still have to go through the CDs of pictures they sent me and choose the ones I want to use in an album so I can show my beautiful daughter and handsome son. Then, no sooner than I get home from the wedding, I get sick with bronchitis and sinusitis. I am still coughing, and having some issues, so getting out with the camera to walk has not been easy.

Hopefully, May will be better. I will go out and start to photograph spring. And, of course, I will mess around with Photoshop and Topaz and the various textures and overlays that I’ve accumulated. It will be a time to create more art.

I will also be putting together a new course on Teachable.com that combines writing and photography. Look for more information about it in the coming weeks.

O Wind, If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

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Anyone who knows me, knows that my received my Masters degree in English literature, specializing in the literature of the nineteenth century. I love my Romantic poets—Keats, Shelley, Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, the Pre-Raphaelites, the Brontes. . . . . The more Gothic, the better!

When I am walking and looking for images to receive in my camera, I tend to think in terms of poetry, especially metaphor and symbolism, mood, setting. Those elements speak to me somehow, and at times, I do think that photography is, as Chris Orwig says, “visual poetry.”

This winter has been gloomy—cloudy, rainy, wet. More often than not, I’ve been kept indoors by the rain than by the cold. In terms of temperature, it’s been a mild winter. Just WET!

But lately, I’m seeing signs of spring. I went for a walk through Dreher Island State Park yesterday as well as through my backyard. Shelley had it right. When there is winter, spring is not far behind.

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Here is Shelley’s complete poem:

Ode to the West Wind

Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1792 – 1822

I

O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou,
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed

The wingèd seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow

Her clarion o’er the dreaming earth, and fill
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
With living hues and odours plain and hill:

Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
Destroyer and Preserver; hear, O hear!


II

Thou on whose stream, ‘mid the steep sky’s commotion,
Loose clouds like Earth’s decaying leaves are shed,
Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean,

Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread
On the blue surface of thine airy surge,
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head

Of some fierce Maenad, even from the dim verge
Of the horizon to the zenith’s height,
The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge

Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre
Vaulted with all thy congregated might

Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere
Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: O hear!


III

Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
Lulled by the coil of his crystalline streams,

Beside a pumice isle in Baiae’s bay,
And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
Quivering within the wave’s intenser day,

All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou
For whose path the Atlantic’s level powers

Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear
The sapless foliage of the ocean, know

Thy voice, and suddenly grow grey with fear,
And tremble and despoil themselves: O hear!


IV

If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share

The impulse of thy strength, only less free
Than thou, O Uncontrollable! If even
I were as in my boyhood, and could be

The comrade of thy wanderings over Heaven,
As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed
Scarce seemed a vision; I would ne’er have striven

As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
Oh! lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!

A heavy weight of hours has chained and bowed
One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.


V

Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
What if my leaves are falling like its own!
The tumult of thy mighty harmonies

Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!

Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth!
And, by the incantation of this verse,

Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unawakened Earth

The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

This poem is in the public domain.

Experiencing Doubts

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I have been absent from writing regular posts—again. I think I wrote last week, but it has been more than a month since I’ve posted regularly. I doubted I had much to say. And I doubted myself as an artist. My work is kind of dull compared to others.

Yesterday and this morning, I think I know why I am in such a state of doubt. I spent an evening looking through a truly beautiful magazine, Digital Studio, published by Stampington and Co. It is a gorgeous magazine. I love their publications, Somerset Studio, Somerset Life, Art Journaling . I could spend a small fortune on subscriptions alone! Then I begin to compare my work to what I see, and I tell myself that I don’t measure up. And then I doubt myself.

I am working on shaking that mode. A wise friend told me yesterday that I should remember that my photography is for me and me alone and that I should not be concerned that others “don’t get it.” You know, that image that speaks only to me, like this one.

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It is a perfect pinecone, for heaven’s sake. And it’s attached to the branch on which it grew, and there are still green needles at the end. And I could not resist taking the image. Beauty. To me. And a little bit of “apartness” and separation and perhaps “aloneness.” (Okay, I’m taking a page from Shakespeare: if he can make up works like fantastical, then why can’t I?)

And there are details to notice in the world, like this:untitled-19

Again it’s only a holly berry lying on the brown earth, but it’s a spot of unexpected color. So, I received this tiny moment as that point of unexpectedness, recorded it, and moved on.

We walked by the creek/stream that runs through Lynch’s Woods yesterday. I admit that I am a “water person,” drawn to water and can abide by water. And I noticed more details—rocks, water, algae, texture.

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I listened to my wise friend’s advice and recorded the images that spoke to me. Near the end of the walk, we both spotted some lichen growing on the tree trunk:

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Do you see it? There is a heart. And Madre Julie wrote to me on Facebook and said, “There is Love.” Someone understood. . . .

Tomorrow, I may face the demon doubt again and wonder if anyone understands what I’m trying to say through my art of photography. But for today, I will be content and know that at least one image has spoken and someone else “gets it.”

I will leave you with one more image of the blossoming of spring (and hope):untitled-55

The Best of Intentions . . . .

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I did start the year with the best of intentions to write regularly in this space. Unfortunately, like so many intentions, this one fell by the wayside—again. The good thing about this space is that it is forgiving. it sits here waiting patiently until I come back to it.

Today, I made myself leave the house and go for a long walk. According to my FitBit, I walked for 71 minutes. Now you have to realize that I took the camera with me. So that meant I stopped—often—to take pictures, or to receive images, as Christine Valters Paintner would say. The weather was excellent, if breezy. At least the wind did not try to blow me off the planet as it did last week.

There were signs of spring and renewal all over Dreher Island State Park today. I will let the images speak for themselves.

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I had to fight against the wind to get these images. I hope I can get back to the park to see how these beauties look in a few days when they are fully open. (I’m also waiting for my flowering cherry tree to bloom.)

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Today’s prompt for the Capture Your 365 Challenge was “spire.” I immediately thought of church spires and steeples, but rather than do the obvious, I chose to photograph trees reaching to the heavens, branches raised in a glorious hallelujah of their own.

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Because there is no hunting allowed in the state park, the deer are very tame. This is the last of four that crossed in front of me. I looked at the deer; the deer looked at me. Then satisfied that he had seen enough of the human with the camera, it walked sedately into the woods to join the rest of the herd.

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And we humans cannot stop nature from doing her thing. These tiny flowers were growing in the cracks of the asphalt parking lot. I don’t know what they are called, but to me, they are tiny purple stars.

And after I came home and downloaded the images, I had to play in Photoshop.

You see the original in the second photo above. This is the final result.spring bloom

I like the “grunge” look, and I’ve been working through Sebastian Michaels’ Photoshop Artistry class to learn how to combine and blend layers to create something like “fine art.” I still have a lot to learn about manipulating layers. So much of what I do is trial and error. (However, my son likes it!)