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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Closer Look

(Sony E6000 - 50mm macro lens, f5.6)

I am a senior citizen. There are some advantages of being a senior. I get a discount at many places to eat and other businesses. People excuse me when I talk to myself. They forgive me when I lose my way. I try to take advantage of as many senior benefits as I can. For instance, a nearby senior Citizen center offered a free macro class to anyone that was interested.

(Sony E6000 - 50mm macro lens, f3/2)

You probably already know that I love macro photography. I love the details and shapes that are revealed through close-up photography. Even thought I already take macro pictures, there were several reasons I was interested in the class: (1) it was free, (2) it was a chance to spend a beautiful day in a beautiful botanical garden, (3) I would be with a group of like-minded seniors, (4) I would be spending time with my sister and sister-in-law doing what we enjoy, and (5) there is always something that I can learn.

(Sony E6000 - 50mm macro lens, f2.8)

The bad things about the class were (1) the wind was blowing, (2) the flowers were covered in pollen that makes one sneeze, (3) my tripod would not hold my camera steady (I have since solved that problem), and (4) my eyesight is not very good anymore (that comes with age, too.) For the life of me I can’t figure out how to manually focus when my eyesight is not good!  Yes, I know about the diopter on the camera, but when your eyesight is bad and you have blurry spots, that doesn’t seem to work. I fought with it all day. Any ideas on this problem, please pass them to me. I need help!

(Sony E6000 - 50mm macro lens, f208)

This was my first “in person” class. All the other photography classes I’ve taken have been online. When we arrived at the garden we divided into three groups lead by professional photographers. The leader of my group asked what we’d like to accomplish. I mentioned that I wanted to work on creating a creamy, soft background. As we walked through the gardens he found different situations that would create that effect, pointed them out to me, and helped me get the picture.


 
(Sony E6000 - 50mm macro lens, f2.8)

I have a confession to make. Probably 95% of the macro pictures I post are taken with a Fuji point and shoot camera, not my big camera. It’s just easier for me. My hand trembles slightly when I hold a big camera (more effects of age) and I can’t stand a tripod. We did take our tripods on this photo shoot and I did use it, but I still don’t like it. I’m just too spontaneous!  I don’t want to take the time to set everything up. Maybe it’s not spontaneity, maybe it’s impatience!

(Sony E6000 - 50mm macro lens, f2.8)

Back to my point and shoot camera. It has a quick shutter speed, a great macro focus, and it fits in my pocket. The drawbacks are that the lowest aperture is three so you can't get those dreamy backgrounds and you can’t  get extremely close. I sometimes have crop to get what I want. That’s fine if I’m just using the image on the computer, but not so fine if I want to print it. I used to be embarrassed that I used a point and shoot for macro photos, but not anymore. I finally realized it’s not about the equipment or even my head knowledge. It’s about capturing what I see and what makes me happy.

I do want to learn to use my big camera and my macro lens with better results. Since I took the class I’ve taken macro pictures everyday with my big camera. They're still as sharp as I want them. I'm still working on that. The only way I’ll ever improve is to do it over and over.

                                 (Sony E6000 - 50mm macro lens, f2.8)                                                         (Fuji FinePix f31 - point and shoot, f5.6)


The macro class was a new and fun experience. I enjoyed observing what others were taking pictures of, but what impressed me most was watching our leader as he walked through the gardens, not stopping to take a picture of every flower, but looking for something that would make a great macro image. I need to follow his example; to take my time, find my subject, to observe the light, and then take the picture.

Just so you know, until I master the big camera, my point and shoot will be in my pocket and used as a backup!  I do want the picture no matter which camera I use!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Art In My Mailbox

ART



What is art?
According to Webster it’s your skill or craft.
Art can take many forms, painting, needlework, mixed media or photography.


Who decides what is art?
The artist, only the artist.


What do we do with our art?
For many of us we LIBERATE it.


How, you ask?
We participate in Kat Sloma’s Liberate Your Art postcard swap.


What is that?
We create a piece of art and take a picture of it; or the picture might be the art, as in my case. Then we turn our pictures into postcards, mail them to Kat, and she sorts them and mails them out across the world.


How much art is swapped?
This year there were:
1050 pieces of art liberated
175 artists participating
12 countries represented

Pretty cool! Huh?


This is the sixth postcard swap I’ve participated in. During this time each year, getting the mail is the highlight of my day! Below is the postcard I created. My art is photography which is how I express myself. Over the past year I’ve begun to seriously journal, to put down on paper my thoughts and my memories. I have three journals; my everyday life, my memories, and my Bible study. I said all that so you will know why the postcard I send means something special to me.


I received a wonderful set of postcards this year. You may notice some white streaks and ink marks, those were added by the post office. Machines aren’t particularly careful with art! As part of the fun, we're asked to "pose" our cards somewhere in their new home. That's always a fun part for me, finding something that will compliment them.

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Postcard #1 is from Jacque who lies in Oregon. Jacque is a wonderful photographer who shares my passion for nature. Getting her art in the mail brightened my whole day. Jacque has a wonderful inspiring website  you need to visit. Thank you, Jacque!



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Postcard #2 is from Lesa. She describes her work as encaustic piece, created with hot wax. It’s beautiful I would love to see the actual piece and see how it's created. Thank you, Lesa!


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Postcard #3 is from Mary Ann who lives in Idaho. Mary Ann’s art is full of the beauty of nature. Looking closely I see a tree trunk, the sun, flowers, a fern, and the earth. Thank you, Mary Ann!



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Postcard #4 is from Judy who lives in Montana. Judy created a digital mandala from one of her pictures. Her work fascinates me. Her website is a real treat to the eyes! Thank you, Judy!



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Postcard #5 is from Rosie who lives in Germany. I’m always excited to get a postcard from another country. Rosie’s card is a wonderful multimedia piece reminding me of the importance to be creative. Visit Rosie at her blog and see what else she does. Thank you, Rosie!



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Our 6th postcard is from Kat, the incredible founder of this art swap. She sent us one of her lovely creations called “Gatekeeper.” Kat creates the most stunning pieces of art with her camera or her IPhone. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Kat, for all your hard work and many thanks to the volunteers that help her during the swap.


I strongly encourage you to visit Kat’s blog and see the video she put together of this year’s art. The talent within this groups is amazing. The art work is breathtaking. If you’re interested in participating next year, sign up for Kat’s newsletter. She’ll send all the information when it’s time next year for Liberate Your Art 2017.

Well, now it's back to normal and the mail is not much fun anymore!!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Pollen Count


"Spring is in the air!" 
Literally in the air.
I'm not kidding.
It is most certainly in the air.


The mighty winds are blowing through the pines and oaks.
Large clouds of yellow float across the sky.
The air is full of pollen.


The flowers and everything else are covered with a blanket of yellow.


Of course, the bees don't mind.
Seems the pollen doesn't make them sneeze!
At least I've never heard a bee sneeze!
This big bee was quite happy covered in pollen from his head to his "toes!"


Spring in Arkansas is not the best time to take macro photographs of flowers. You have to deal with the pollen. You can try to brush it away, but most likely you'll sneeze! 



As irritating as pollen is, without it a flower cannot reproduce. Without reproduction new flowers would not grow and then we wouldn't have lovely gardens filled with flowers to take pictures of.

So, hang in there!
Carry your box of tissues,
Take your allergy medicine.
Wear a mask.
Do whatever it takes to enjoy spring!
It's worth it!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

What Does The Word Mean - Part VII





"I know all those words, but that sentence makes no sense to me."
Matt Groening

Have you ever thought those words as you are reading? I ran across this quote and thought of David Whyte's book Consolations: the solace, nourishment and underlying meaning of everyday wordsThis is a book I am reading with an online group, Adventures In Seeing, led by Kim Manley Ort. We read his thoughts on a word, form our on opinions, and then taking or finding a picture to illustrate the word.

Sometimes Whyte's thoughts confuse me. He likes to use a lot of words in his sentences. For example one sentence I read had:  93 words, 2 colons, 10 commas, and 1 period. That makes it just a little complicated for me to follow. I have to break down the sentence phrase by phrase and then sometimes I just don't understand what he's trying to say. It has definitely been a mental challenge for me, but oddly enough, I like the challenge. I don't always agree with Whyte. He can be negative and I'm not, so I do my own research even on the simplest of words. His definitions usually make me think of the word in a way that I haven't before. 

Here is the next six words in this project, my thoughts, and my pictures to illustrate them. Enjoy!


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PAIN

If we open ourselves to pain, we open ourselves to being compassionate and caring when others suffer.

"Suffering produces perseverance,
perseverance, character,
and character,
hope."
Romans 5:3-4



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PARALLELS

Webster's definition of parallel is: (1) extending in the same direction, everywhere equidistant and not meeting (2) very similar and often happening at the same time. A synonym for the word parallel is companions: one that is closely connected with something similar. 

As I thought about the definition of parallel and its synonym, I thought of our group at Adventures in Seeing. We are a group who are closely connected with our passion for photography. We are walking parallel paths, but sadly we will probably never meet, just as two parallel lines never intersect. I have been encouraged and inspired walking this parallel path with so many talented friends.



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PILGRIM

Who am I?
I am a pilgrim who is on a journey from the moment I was born till the day I will die. What lies ahead is unknown, a mystery, a pathway leading through highs and lows. I am trying to take this pilgrimage slowly, moment by moment, not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, but trusting that God knows what is ahead and strengthens me for the journey.

"What lies ahead is often unknown.
But keep traveling."
Lailah Gifty Akita




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PROCRASTINATION

The word "procrastination" often brings negative thoughts. But, as David Whyte says "What looks from the outside like our delay; our lack of commitment; even our laziness may have more to do with a slow, necessary ripening through time and the central struggle with the realities of any endeavor to which we have set our minds." Sometimes it might be to our advantage to sit back, think things through, and complete the task at a later time, much like this tulip that unfurls its petals slowly and at the right moment.



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REGRET

I have a tendency to say "I won't regret this" or "I don't regret that," when in all honesty I have regrets. Regrets can be like prickly thorns that spear me when I'm most vulnerable or I can acknowledge them, learn from them, and grow.



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REST

"To rest is not self indulgent, to rest is to prepare to give the best of ourselves, and to perhaps most importantly arrive at a place where we are able to understand when we have already been given."  David Whyte

colors of blue and green
sounds of water and birds
feeling wind and sunshine
smelling flowers and damp earth

These things slow my breathing and my mind. In nature I find rest.


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I've recently discovered through a friend's blog a new word that describes me - logophile. A logophile is someone who loves words. I do love words. I like to read them, write them, and study them. I also enjoy this project of taking pictures to illustrate them. Let's see, we've studied words from A through R. I wonder what R through Z will bring. I hope you come back to find out!