The Art of Seeing – Week 5

See this week’s post on my new blog at Chased by Beauty


And now for something entirely new…

Quote of the day: “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” ~ Walt Disney

Doorway to Japanese Tea House at Como Park Japanese Garden
Doorway to Japanese Tea House at Como Park Japanese Garden

I’ve been taking Tara Gentile’s Website Kickstart class and learning to create my own website.  In the class I learned how to play around with CSS files and plug-ins and creating my own child theme and today I want to share it with you and ask you to please go there.  All my old blogs have been imported into the new site.

After today I will not be posting any new posts on this site so…please go to:

chased by beauty…

The blog title is different, the header looks different, but it’s going to be more of the same: photos, quotes, and ideas to inspire you.

It’s not done yet – I plan to add more features, but I’m so excited to be making this move.

I’ve also completely re-organized my photo galleries, so if you have time take a look at them too.  I’m very proud of the body of work I’ve put together in the past 9 months.   I’m seeing the flaws in my early photos so much more clearly, some days it’s hard to not be overly critical about my work.  But I’m also seeing the progress and the learning that my last 20,000-some photos have brought me.

So, please join me at chased by beauty… I’ll be looking for you there.  If you’re a subscriber here, please remember to subscribe to chased by beauty.  Thanks!

Take a leap – explore, dream, discover

Quote of the day:Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”–Mark Twain

Hawaii Ocean View
Swimmers in Ocean - Big Island - Day after Japan Tsunami 2011

About a year ago I was on the Big Island of Hawaii at a wonderful photography workshop called Images of Gratitude, led by photographer Doug Beasley. It was a wonderful workshop and I’m so glad I went. But I almost didn’t go.

Last winter when I thought about signing up for the workshop, it was just a crazy idea I had to scratch my travel itch, learn more about my great passion, photography, and escape from a long Minnesota winter.

I almost let my fears keep me from signing up. I had never met Doug Beasley and didn’t know whether he would be a good teacher/workshop leader. I was concerned about whether I could keep up with the group because of some chronic health issues. I hadn’t traveled by myself for many, many years. It was a lot of money to spend. The list of reasons not to go was long and seemingly never-ending.

But I decided to take a leap of faith and do it despite my fears. And I am so grateful that I did. I had a wonderful (and very challenging) 11 days in Hawaii.  I met some amazing people. And I was inspired to find a way to leave my job in the corporate world and do what I love.

A little more than a month after I returned from Hawaii, as fate would have it, I got the kick in the seat of the pants that I needed–a layoff from my 16-year job as a software engineer for a medical device maker. My co-workers and friends were shocked. I was shocked. But when the dust settled I knew that I was not going to look for another software engineering job. I made the crazy, totally ridiculous decision to start my own photography business.

And now I’m making photographs, constantly working to improve my skills as a photographer, setting up a business, designing a new web site, learning about social media… the list goes on and on. I am grateful that I went to Images of Gratitude in Hawaii last winter, because it was my experiences there that inspired me to have the courage to live the life I’m leading now. (Some days it still looks crazy to me but I am loving every minute of the craziness.)

What have you been dreaming of doing? When are you going to make the leap?

Jizo-Sama, Protector of Women, Children, and Travelers - in front of B&B I stayed at
Japanese Lanterns in front of B&B
Tai Chi in the Park - Hilo, Hawaii
Lava Flows in Paradise

Learn some, think some, draw, paint, sing, dance, play and work every day

Quote of the day:Be aware of wonder. Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.” ~ Robert Fulghum

Black and White Dining Room Still Life
Dining Room Still Life
Camera play today. I am so intrigued by wood and light and black and white photos. Which do you like better, the black and white versions, or the original color versions?
Color version of Dining Room still life
Afternoon light
Sun on marmalade jar
Black and White Rocking Chair
Rocking Chair
Color Rocking Chair
Original Rocking Chair
Black and White Hanging Candle
Hanging Candle
Color Hanging Candle
Color Hanging Candle

Wonderful! Wonderful! And yet again, most Wonderful!

Quote of the day: “Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” ~ Mary Oliver

Flower Reflections in Sunken Garden

Here is another reminder to live in wonder and astonishment. I spent Monday morning at Como Park Conservatory.  Wonderful, wonderful, and yet again most wonderful!

Monday, I took my 30,000’th photo (that makes over 20,000 photos in less than 10 months).  My goal is to reach the 100,000 mark.  I’ve taken Henri Cartier-Bresson‘s quote to heart, “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst,” and then translated that into the digital age where I figure I take 10 times as many photos as I would if we were using film.

Photograph number 30,000 - a little bokah in the water
Soft Colored Flower
In the pink
Lovely orchid (I think it's an orchid)
Como Park Conservatory

Beautiful and terrible

Quote of the day: “Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” ~ Frederick Buechner

Back Yard View

I woke up to one of Mother Nature’s late winter reality checks.  Yesterday, we had rain that turned to ice during the night as temperatures dropped, and then all of that was covered with over 6 inches of wet, heavy snow.

It is beautiful–yes–and terrible.  Branches bowed to their limits, some weighed down beyond their limits, broke and fell.  Traffic in the Twin Cities was snarled with spin-outs and accidents galore. Morning commutes for some were long and frustrating.

And still it is magnificent. It is a miracle. It is a gift.

Life is like that. Take in the beauty. Experience the wonder. Don’t let the terrible make you shut out the wonderful.

The view out my window
Ice and snow coat a small tree branch
Lovely tree
My street
Icy branch
View across the pond - bowed down and broken branches


Losing (and finding) myself in play

Quote of the day: “If you can risk getting lost somewhere along the day you might stumble upon openings that link you to your depths.” ~ Anonymous

Interplay Games

I have spent the last few days losing (and finding) myself in play with 3 different groups of women.  Each group has a different purpose,  but we always find ways to play together, sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally. What fun to laugh and play just because we can!

By losing myself in play, I excavate my real self–the self that was there before rules, peers and authority figures caused me to hide the “unacceptable” parts away.

Playing is how I discover and recover my true self.  It isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. It brings me joy, reminds of what gives meaning to my life, and helps me stop taking myself so seriously.

Interplay is an active, creative play form that one of my women’s groups has been doing for almost three years. While letting myself play and pretend and be silly was difficult at first, it has been life-changing and healing.

The photos below are from our play last weekend (interplay and other kinds of play).

Total Silliness
Laughter is the best medicine
Dancing, moving, mirroring movements
More silliness
Child playing
If you can't remember how to play, must watch a child in action for 2 minutes

More texture play

Quote of the day: “To watch us dance is to hear our hearts speak.” ~ Hopi Indian saying

White is the color of hope

Dancing and playing with textures tonight…for this week’s Texture Tuesday theme, which is, “Your image must contain at least one layer of any of my textures and center around the color white.”   Many thanks to Kim Klassen of Kim Klassen Cafe for wonderful textures and classes/videos on using them.



The Art of Seeing – Week 4

Quote of the day: “Once you have tried these exercises, you will notice a definite–possibly a dramatic–improvement in your powers of observation. You will also discover powers of imagination you didn’t know you had…You will have more ideas for photographs than you ever dreamed possible, and be itching to reveal your new awareness of the world around you.” ~  Freeman Patterson Photography and the Art of Seeing

Rosemary plant photo
Rosemary plant - noticed the graceful curve of two leaves

This week’s Art of Seeing exercise comes from Freeman Patterson’s Photography and the Art of Seeing.  The exercise is as follows.

Set aside a minimum of three one-hour periods this week for making pictures.  Choose something in your home–inside or outside–that you want to photograph.

Before making any photographs, go to a comfortable chair and relax completely, following the breath and relaxing your muscles until limp.  Empty your mind. After 15-20 minutes, get up, pick up your camera, and start making photographs of the object you selected earlier. Stay relaxed and spend as much time as you want observing.  You can make only 2 or 3 pictures if that is all you feel like. Don’t critique your pictures or worry about whether they are any good. Just have fun.

That’s it.

I had great fun doing this exercise and found that I did indeed observe more than I usually do.  Here are some of the photos I took (along with a little bit of what I noticed when I made them).

Rosemary plant photo
Entranced by the light reflecting off plant pot
Leaves of Rosemary Plant
Loved the play of the green leaves against the colors of the placemat in the background
Fuzzy underside of gerbera daisy Intrigued by the fuzzy green underside of the flower
Curved gerbera daisy in blue vase
Loved the curve of the drooping stem, the negative space between vase and flower, the way the light played on the flower petals
Color impressions photo
Focused on the colors by chosing to take unfocused shot - shows color play without detail
Flower Petal Rhythm
Took intentional unfocused shot to convey the rhythm of the flower petals
Bell-shaped gerbera daisy Loved the fat bell shape of the upside-down gerbera daisy and the cheerful flips of the petals

Gratitude for Infinite Possibilities

Quote of the day:  “And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating as possibility?”  ~ Soren Kierkegaard

Gerbera Daisy
Gerbera Daisy

I think we live in a world of infinite possibilites. Today I’ve been playing with photographing flowers. I never tire of the infinite possibilities in such little packages. I love everything about flowers.

What a gift to be able to enjoy such beauty!  What holds infinite possibilities for you?

Fading Flower Fell onto Crocheted Placemat
Jasmine Flower
Jasmine Flower
Gerbera Daisies
Gerbera Daisies
Center of Gerbera Daisy
Pretty Petals