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…
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.
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.
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.
Night is brushed aside like so much cobweb. The day is wound up and begins even before the last haunted dreams, the last of the fog, those spectral and evanescent residues, have faded away.
Gregory Maguire, After Alice
That 2017 is setting records for the coldest and wettest spring in pacific northwest history goes a long way toward explaining my confusion when I walked out our backdoor and into a scene that is expected in fall but unheard of in May. Nothing is following a normal schedule – my April blooming lilac opened yesterday, the flowering plum tree still has a few tired blooms and here we have fiery red maple leaves below a surprise spring fog in an evanescent combination of seasons and textures.
Evanescent: tending to vanish like vapor. merriam-webster.com
Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge: Evanescent.
Education begins the gentleman, but reading, good company and reflection must finish him. John Locke
We live in a house full of books. Stacks and shelves of printed pages line our walls, our phones and Kindles have digital titles for break time and the cars usually have an audio book ready to play. Interestingly enough while we are all readers our preferences rarely cross and I’m pretty sure that someone who didn’t know us could tell after a quick walk around that three quite different people live here.
I prefer fiction, John enjoys design, art and architecture while Ryan has always been drawn to natural science. He’s grown up with access to plenty of books and from the earliest days it’s been clear where his interest was. He’ll happily listen to a great story and enjoys fiction and poetry at school but when he sits down with free time and a book of his choice it’s usually non-fiction.
His first picture books were all about animals and his early readers were filled with sea monsters, dragons and mythical beasts. Soon books about astronomy, bones, archeology and medicine joined the stacks.
Each of these photos are from Ryan’s collection and many of them are books he’s chosen for himself at book stores and second-hand sales. I’ve had to give up pretending I know all the answers to his constant questions about life, the universe and everything. Now I just sit back and enjoy the discussions that come from each new chapter.
Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflecting
You don’t even know where I’m going. I don’t care. I’d like to go anywhere.
While the word wanderlust brings to mind images of grand vacations and months long backpacking adventures I have the Merriam-Webster Dictionary to thank for a definition that makes sense to those of us who work more than one job and rarely have time for vacations.
strong longing for or impulse toward wandering
I may not be on vacation but I do get the urge to wander and last week I wasn’t alone on my ramble…
My real destination was the gym for an early morning workout but after a week of rain and clouds the sun was finally out and at the last-minute I turned right instead of left. I know I’m lucky to belong to a gym where I can see the water but there are times when the proximity tests my resolve for a good sweaty hour in the weight room.
On this particular day I had company on my ramble and this little bird followed me over the bridge and out to the pier. We walked together to the end when it flew away and I turned my thoughts to the rest of the day.
Eventually I did make it to the gym and smiled during my warm up cycle while I scrolled through pictures of my detour ramble.
Side note – @MerriamWebster is one of my favorite twitter feeds. If you’re not already following them take a look. They make words fun!
Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge: Wanderlust.
Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace.
My goal for today was to write an Earth themed post for the Weekly Photo Challenge but I’m still in the previously mentioned photographic dry spell and unless I wanted to recycle another forest related image my options were limited to new product shots for our Etsy store and Finn from last weekend. Hmm…
My next thought was to look for quotes that contained both the words “earth” and “dogs” as a way to tie my one new shot to the challenge but all I found were hundreds of dog quotes. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good dog quote but what I really wanted was one perfect quote that brought these two things together in a way that made it seem like this was my plan all along. Like I set out to take a shot of Finn lounging on the grass (earth) to illustrate my carefully prepared essay.
Now it’s posting time and I still don’t have a beautiful mother earth essay but I do have a dog photo, a quote that speaks to me and a story about Saturday afternoon on our grassy hill.
Many of you know we adopted Finn as a rescue dog. He’d been facing doggie death row, was afraid of everything, could barely tolerate people touching him and any sudden movement or new interaction set him off into fits of barking. Anything to keep the fearful object/person/smell/animal/car far away but the one thing he relaxed for was looking at John, Ryan and I together. It’s been a long road for Finn as we’ve slowly introduced him to new people, a few kind dogs, several trainers and his friend and walking buddy Colleen. Basically anything we could think of to give him a chance at a normal life and the opportunity to just be a dog. He’s slowly become comfortable in the backyard but last weekend was the first time he successfully relaxed in the front yard. Yay Finn! He was with us for hours as we tried to reclaim flower beds from weed-pocalypse 2017 and dutifully followed me around and around when it was time to clean up the buckets, clippers, yard waste bins and rakes. We were both tired, the sun was out, the grass was dry and the little hill in our backyard looked like a nice quiet place to sit and catch our breath. For a few special minutes we were not bored, we were at peace.
Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge: Earth.
The creative process is not like a situation where you get struck by a single lightning bolt. You have ongoing discoveries, and there’s ongoing creative revelations. Yes, it’s really helpful to be marching toward a specific destination, but, along the way, you must allow yourself room for your ideas to blossom, take root, and grow.
I’m looking at a calendar tonight and am shocked to admit it’s been one month since my last post… wow. I can honestly say it’s not for lack of desire, I miss everyone here, and I’m really tempted to say it’s because I’ve been allowing myself room for ideas to blossom which is partly true but really the biggest obstacle has been time limitations. I have plenty of new ideas and future post topics are scribbled on notes all over my office but in reality I’ve been buried in work and family obligations and after three years of illustrated posts it’s actually happened – I’ve run out of pictures. Yikes!
Now that our days are longer and our weather is (a little) drier I have a healthy list of places I want to visit and photograph so things should improve soon but in the interim I hope you enjoy this pretty view of cherry blossoms snapped quickly last night while Finn pulled and tugged on his leash trying to chase every single bird in the neighborhood. 🙂