Shades of Blue: Part 6 Summer Skies and Garden Flowers

Football is on the television, fresh rain is clearing the last of the forest fire smoke and I’m reaching for a fleece vest while looking back through my pictures for another summer gallery.

Today’s choices are all about summer skies, summer flowers, summer nights and summer salads.  Plenty of flowers and time by the water with fresh salads and cool drinks make my happy place complete.  🙂  What are your favorite ingredients for a happy summer place?

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Waiting…

“The greatest fear dogs know is the fear that you will not come back when you go out the door without them.”
― Stanley Coren

Labor Day has come and gone, our summer weather is turning to fall and after a long stretch of quiet days Ryan is back to school enjoying his junior year.  Dogs always notice when a routine changes and Wednesday morning two months of Ryan’s undivided attention came to an end. Finn watched with worried eyes as he packed a lunch, picked up his backpack and walked outside for the traditional first day of school picture.

Finn spent the day waiting, curled up by Ryan’s computer chair ready to jump up and welcome him home.  New routine firmly in place until next summer.

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Waiting.

 

 

 

Shades of Blue: Part 5 – Dusty Corners

Walk, run, cycle – When you live inside your head for such long periods of time, you have to open the windows, air it out a bit, let sunlight stream into all the dark and dusty corners of your mind. Twinkle Khanna

I like to think of summer as a time for some personal “deep cleaning.”  There are vacations to look forward to, school routines are forgotten and we open the windows to fresh air both literally and figuratively.  I knew this year would be a little different but my plan was to spend at least one day each week outside enjoying the best the Pacific Northwest has to offer.  I could take plenty of photos along the way and re-emerge in September with months of new post material and a renewed outlook on life.

Well, you know what they say about best laid plans. Today is September 1st and Ryan and I made it outside for 5 days of hiking, I have a library full of new pictures to share and as I write this my windows are wide open but I’m still searching for that sunlight moment that means the cobwebs have been brushed aside and the corners are clean.

We’ve had a busy three months as a family, John started a new job, Ryan rested and recovered after a stressful school year and some oral surgery, I’ve continued to work my two jobs as well as run our two online stores so our days are full from morning to night.  When you add in politics that I just can’t turn away from, weeks of forest fire smoke that put a damper on our hiking calendar and now the hurricane in the Gulf States and I have to admit finding my focus for creative work and blogging has been a challenge.

Through it all though I’ve continued to take pictures and hope soon I’ll be ready to start sharing them because there is plenty to love about 2017 and I’m determined to shine some light on the bright sides.

The photos in my first gallery above are from some lovely June nights while the gallery below is from the hike we took on my birthday.  Our first outing of the season and the beginning of my summer quest to get outside of my own head.

 

Textures and Elemental Sounds

The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach.  Henry Beston

Regular readers know I like to start these WordPress photo challenges with a quote that leads to a small story related to a favorite photo and I build the post from there.  It usually takes me a few days to find a quote that both catches my interest and matches a picture but 9 times out of 10 it all comes together.

Every once in a while though I start the process at the end deciding on a picture first and sometimes I don’t quite make it through the full circle of quote with challenge word, story and images.  Today’s post is one of those exceptions where I hit 2 of the three marks but that elusive third is not quite complete.  Oh well.  I feel a connection to the quote, it works with my photos and it’s a good intro to this weeks story.  The fact that the word prompt, textures, isn’t in the quote will just have to be ok because this primeval wood is full of texture.

I started nodding my head as I read this quote for the first time and when I called Ryan in to read it he looked over and said “Mom, you say those things all the time.”  My words don’t quite match Henry Beston’s but these are indeed the three natural things I enjoy most about this part of our country.  I pick remote hiking and camping locations just so I can hear the uninterrupted sound of wind through the trees and the mesmerizing rhythm of waves rolling onto an otherwise quiet beach is something I seek out often as possible.  I even find ways to enjoy the sound of rain and find comfort in the pitter patter of wet drops on the roof while trying to fall asleep.

As luck would have it Ryan and I found all three of these elemental sound textures during our latest hiking trips through the islands and forests of Washington state.  I’ve included a photo of a small waterfall to illustrate the rain because we’re in the middle of what may turn into the longest rain-free stretch in Seattle area history but take my word for it, a small trickling waterfall sounds a lot like rain.

 

Satisfaction

Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction.  E. O. Wilson

 

If you’ve ever wondered why Pacific Northwesterners put up with dreary, wet winters it’s because of summers like this.  We don’t have formal vacation plans this year but when an island hike is a short hour away from home who needs an airplane!

It only took a few minutes for Ryan and I to pack a lunch and check ferry schedules before we were out the door and on our way to Whidbey Island for our favorite hike along Ebey’s Landing.  We started at the top soaking up these beautiful views then made our way down to the beach for lunch where  Ryan found a driftwood fort just the right size for two and we settled in for our picnic, watching the waves and listening to seagulls.

A day away from our usual routines does wonders for the soul and the satisfaction of a true escape to nature can carry us through the weeks ahead.

 

Shades of Blue: Part 4

I’ve got a photo filled post for you this week as we continue my June walks through town and along the beach.  You get to see my mother’s day flowers blooming by our backdoor, views from the marina, an accidental shot of beach sand when I was trying to put my phone away and if you look closely at the left side of the last photo above there’s a quiet seagull waiting patiently for dinner.

 

We’re lucky here to have not one but three public beaches with plenty of room to explore and the hardy summer roses are a must see for me at each stop.  We slowed down to see a tiny crab, found our place on the map and were surprised by a big boulder with a perfect peep-hole to the water. We sit by this spot all the time but this is the first day I’ve noticed the opening…

If you’re new to this series and wonder why these photos are all shot in Hipstamatic or why I call them Shades of Blue my first Blue post explains it all.  I haven’t decided how long the series will last but I have plenty of photos for a few more weeks at least so I hope you’re enjoying them. 🙂

Shades of Blue: Part 3

I’d better pick up the pace with these spring themed posts or I’ll still be working through May photos after the 4th of July. 🙂  Today you get to see Ryan and I out in the neighborhood looking signs of spring, roaming the beach skipping rocks and finding interesting driftwood/seaweed combinations. To keep things interesting you also get to peek at one eclectic corner of our garage…

Transient

In the presence of eternity, the mountains are as transient as the clouds.  

Robert Green Ingersoll

I don’t know about you but the question “what do you want for your birthday/Christmas/Mother’s Day?” always makes me a little uncomfortable.  I know the asker means well but I don’t like telling people they have to give me something and then there’s the chance that my lack of an answer means I might be a little disappointed on the big day when I receive a gift that comes from a place of love but isn’t really something I want or need.   Third world problems indeed…

As a way around this I’ve started asking for things I know John and Ryan won’t say no to if I present it as my gift.  Things like waking up at 6am on a Sunday morning so we can hike to a quiet riverbank for lunch.

This year I tried to think of an object they could give me but what I truly wanted was quiet.  A peaceful stretch of time away from noise, news, social media, politics, bills; you name it, I wanted a break.  We can’t leave home for a big trip now but I do have a list of hikes I want to try this summer and this one along the Stillaguamish River looked like a good way to start the season.  Sure enough, an hour down the trail I asked everyone to stop and we stood together in the forest unable to hear a single man-made sound.  It was wonderful.

So, how do I tie this experience into a post about transience?  By using the quote above and substituting a few words to match current experiences.   For me the day served as a reminder that in the presence of nature external pressures fade away.  We made it to the river in time to eat our picnic lunch and enjoy this pretty little cairn on the beach.  Mini mountains tumbled to smoothness by time, preparing for their next adventure.

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Transient.

 

Shades of Blue: Part 2

Continuing my thoughts from last weeks post about Hipstamatic and Shades of Blue I have a new series of small photos from my walks around town.  This was a surprising spring morning filled with fog that could have passed for fall if you looked past the brave new blooms.  The air was damp and cold but since I was out I thought I’d make the best of it and see what I could see.

My day started with the early morning walk to the bus stop next to this warning sign for motorcycles.  Later I detoured to the beach on my way to the gym and our day ended wine tasting with friends.

All photos shot with my iPhone 7+ using Hipstamatic and the Elijah/Love 81 combination.

Shades of Blue: Part 1

If you’ve been with me for a while you might know I take all my photos with my iPhone and if you are a details person you’ve noticed I typically tag each photo or post with the editing app used in case a reader wants to try something new with their own work.  I’ve got more apps than I want to count and each has at least one unique feature that inspired me to download but when it comes time to edit images and post my results I skip over all of them and open one of these favorite three every single time.

In no particular order my favorites are Snapseed, VSCO & Hipstamatic.  Sometimes Oggl substitutes for Hipstamatic if I want to process a straight out of the camera shot into something with a Hipstamatic filter but really I like the immediacy of shooting and finishing all in one.

Snapseed is a great easy-to-learn app that quickly offers subtle balance corrections, straightening, cropping and some fun filter effects if you want a more dramatic change.

VSCO also offers corrective features, a large library of soft and pretty filters that mimic film photography and has a vibrant online community full of like-minded photographers.

While Snapseed and VSCO are my apps for subtle changes Hipstamatic is where I go to explore small moments in time.  When I’m overwhelmed and tired of the chaos that comes with a busy life I like how the square format directs my focus to just one or perhaps two things.  It’s a photographic chance to slow down and take a breath while tuning out distractions.  I know some people find the editing heavy-handed but I like it for just that reason because when I use Hipstamatic I’m not trying to capture a realistic image of the moment, instead I’m exploring how each little square is a work of art hidden in the day.  The lens/film/flash combinations add a painterly quality that transforms something easy to overlook into something that makes me think.

All of this is a long-winded way of introducing my next series of posts.  For months I’ve wanted to post more regularly but I was out of new pictures to share and as a result out of anything interesting to say.  Now I’ve got a series of Hipstamatic images ready to go and I thought I should give you a little behind-the-scenes insight into why they were shot this way.  Over the next week or so I’ll have several posts full of images from my daily escapes outside but instead of big, beautiful PNW vistas these are small in scale and more personal. Now you’ll see the one element in a big space that drew me in instead of a panoramic shot with something for everyone.  I have those too and will share them another day but this week will be all about Hipstamatic and shades of blue.

All photos shot with my iPhone 7+ using Hipstamatic and the Elijah/Love 81 combination.