Thursday, March 31, 2011

Project 365 - Up Close

Today, I decided to reacquaint myself with my 200mm micro lens.  I had put it away quite a while ago, promising that when spring came, I would drag out the tripod and bring my lens home.  I had visions of tiny spring buds and blooms coming into focus, revealing hidden color and nuances that only my lens could see.

This morning was cold.  The spring I had envisioned for my lens and I has been slow in coming. I hesitated, thinking about the prospect of bundling up, pulling on boots.  I began to look around the house for something would keep me warm and satisfy my need for a spot of color.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Project 365 - Red and Black Barn

I love barns. I can't help it.  My attraction may be found in my heritage.  I come from a long line of farmers.  My home town is still rural and full of wonderful reminders of a pre-revolutionary farming community. Most of the barns there are weathered wood or classic red and white.

Here, in southeastern Pennsylvania, the barns tend to be built out of field stone.  Beautiful and quirky from time to time, but always rooted and solid.

The other day, as I was on my way home from a shoot, I decided to take a different route home.  I came over a ridge and there she was, nestled into a gentle hill.  A barn that by all rights should have been snuggled into a fairy tale countryside.  I pulled over and, for a while, I just stood at the fenceline and smiled.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Project 365 - Rushing Water

Over rock and root,
Spring flows downstream,
Tumbling free and wild toward,
Still pools,

Project 365 - A Girl and Her Dad

Sometimes life just happens.  Right there in front of you, everything that is important, wrapped up in one beautiful package.  A girl and her Dad. They are back on the trail now, but moments before they were both hopping from rock to rock in a spring swollen run.  Climbing over fallen trees.  Now they are chatting about fish and frogs.  Headed back to the car.  Yup, right there in front of you.  Sometimes life just happens and steals a piece of your heart.

Project 365 - Square Root

I have never been one for math.  But this?  This, I can wrap even this artist's brain around.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Project 365 - Betwixst and Between

Today my daughter, Maddie, turns twelve.  And, like every other Friday I drove her to school.  As she got out of the car with her usual smile and quick wave, I happened to look over to where she had been sitting.  There on her seat lay the blanket that she has slept with every night since I can't remember when. In her cup holder was a Wawa coffee cup filled with her morning decaf.  And I was struck with the incredible notion that I was witnessing a transformation. A moment betwixst and between.  A child on her way to adulthood.

At home, I did what a photographer might, I recorded this moment.  A piece of childhood rubbing up against what will be.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Project 365 - Yellow Snow

Spring is a dirty trick.

It lulls you into dreamy anticipation with illusions of warmer, longer days.  Woos you with the fluttering of a gold finch dressed in it's newly vibrant hue.  Serenades you with the songs of peepers and toads in love.

It does not tell you how easily it turns a cold shoulder and coats your joyful, yellow ribbons with snow.  It snickers in the folds of the winter fleece you had all but put away.  And as it blinks, how the sun hides behind a thick, gray sky.

Spring, quite simply, does not ever play fair.

Project 365 - Pieces of Light

How is it that something so simple and small can light my way through the largest and most complicated places?

A little better than a year a go, I had spinal surgery.  In preparation, I did a lot of reading on non-medical support for healing.  I learned about cyrstals and the amazing power and beauty the earth produces from heat and presure and rock.  I learned about meditation and the healing strength that resides deep within each of us.  I deepened my yoga practice and pushed to tone my muscles and spirit in anticipation of being still.

And yet, the healing that I received from the simple act of lighting a candle every evening, in the end, is what I remember most.  The gentle pieces of light that illuminated the rest and took me back to health.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Project 365 - The Stone Lady

Down the street and around the corner stands this stately manor house smack in the middle of the Ridley Creek State Park.  I take it for granted.  We drive by on our way to a more remote parking area at one of several trailheads.  I have found it's very shabby and worse for wear neighbor, the greenhouse, a more enticing subject in my photographic portfolio.

She does not seem to mind.  A vision in bygone stately grace, she waits.  Patience is her full time occupation.  It is clear that it was not always this way.

But, still, in spite of her age and the bits and pieces that time has stolen from her, she does not have a bad side.  A portrait of a graceful stone lady.

I'm glad I stopped by for an afternoon visit.  Next time, I will not stay away so long.

Project 365 - 77 Sunset

There are times when your camera does all the work for you.  As I was trying to bring to life the tiny pink buds on the Okame cherry tree in my garden, the brooding blues of daylight's last moan collided with the fire of dusk.  The camera said now and I complied.  A hapless apprentice to the master.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Project 365 - More Than Hot Fudge Sundaes

This is not a the kind of hot fudge sundae that might be featured in a slick and glossy magazine ad. It is kind of lopsided and messy. A bit on the melted side of delicious.  A little bit of joy sitting there on my kitchen table this evening.

When my kids were little, we would play a game, where at any given time I would ask them to guess how much I loved them.  The reply was always a great big smile and a "How much, Mommy?" With that I would throw my arms around them and say, " I love you more than hot fudge sundaes!  And you know how much I love hot fudge sundaes!"

And there it is. Kind of lopsided and messy and a bit on the melted side of delicious.  Perfectly imperfect and the key to my heart.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Project 365 - Bamboo Chimes

They hang from the ancient Lilac in the backyard, and on a windy day like today, they provide the background music to my time in the garden.  There is something organic about the sound of hollow wood on hollow wood.  Different than the temple bells that sing in high scale, the bamboo chimes provide precussin to the wind.

Project 365 - Happy Birthday, Mom

Dear Mom:

I spent a good part of today thinking about you.  About how last year for your birthday I sent you flowers.  About how I let your thank you phone call go to voice mail until it was more convenient for me to call you back.  I did not know or fully appreciate how precious your time was.

This year, I bought you a bit of chocolate topped with peanut butter frosting.  I placed it on a pure white French porcelin plate. One candle, I thought, would do for a quiet celebration of ninty years. The last time I asked you, you told me that red was your favorite color.  So, red it was.

A Windsor chair at the head of the dining room table.  Reserved for special occasions.  Reserved for special people on their birthday.  I sat quietly to the right. I lit the candle and watched it bring light to the darkened room and warmth to a darkened heart. I sang Happy Birthday. A song laced with tears that flowed on forever.  I closed my eyes and blew out the candle knowing that my birthday wish would not come true.

Happy Birthday, Mom.  I love you.

Project 365 - Wearin' of the Green

No sparkly green dealy boppers.  No Kiss Me I'm Irish tee shirts.  The wearin' of the green in it's simplest terms heightens the spirit and turns my face to the warmth of the spring sun.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Project 365 - The Muse

I have taken many, many images of this singing bowl.  I am intrigued by it's beauty.  The way the brass catches the light.  The vibrance of the green. But try as I might, my attempts at a portrait, that does it justice, alludes me.

Today, I carried it outside.  Out into the diffuse light of a cloudy afternoon.  It sat on the deck cafe table for awhile and then off to the black walnut bench under the cedar trees.  I thought that a change of scenery might do the trick.  But, to my eye, I am no closer to capturing all that I see.

I guess there should be some mystery to a muse.  Some allusiveness that keeps you coming back. Someday...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Project 365 - Spring Bloom

There are little pieces of joy everywhere.  Look down.  It's there.  Soft pink gently pushing aside the winter brown. A harbinger of all that is to come.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Project 365 - A Seat By The Window

There is something about a seat by the window. It's a view on normalcy.  A woman walking her dog. Her arm stretched out as her canine friend leads the way and proudly announces her arrival.  A man on his way to a meeting.  His gait hurried, his phone to his ear, his brief case tucked up under his arm.  Vignettes that occur every day in many places.  Nothing special.  No heroes here.  No excitement. And yet a privilege to witness.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Project 365 - The Pearls

The other day I was rummaging around in my jewelry drawer looking for a pair of earrings to wear. I am not in that drawer very often.  I do not wear jewelry on a daily basis, but that day I had a meeting that seemed to require a bit of something.

I knew the box was there, just out of the reach of my probing fingers.  Best left untouched this time.

This evening, as I was driving home from a masterful performance by The Pennsylvania Ballet, she passed through my thoughts and heart.  She had seen the Ballet Russe in New York when she was young.  I wondered which piece they had performed for her.  I wondered if it was Swan Lake.  I wondered if she had left the theater with the same joy nestled in her heart that I felt today.

When I got home, I went straight to my drawer.  This time, my hand was eager for the feel of the small, white box.  I fingered the yellow sticky note as I read it's tender message for the millionth time. I opened the box and removed it's treasure.  Bits of round, smooth, ivory history strung together with love. And for just a moment I held her close.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Project 365 - Raindrop Diamonds

We have had a lot of rain lately.  Gray days where morning seems to hold onto night time darkness a bit longer than I would like.

The creek that runs through the woods behind my house has been overflowing, spilling out of it's banks, carving new directions, running free.

And each tree and shrub glistens with raindrop diamonds until the wind rushes by and steals them away.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Project 365 - The Sunflower

A beacon
The sunflower shines
On days of warm
Gentle breezes
Of a summer
Yet to come

Project 365 - Coffee with John

My son John had been home from his grand adventure to Israel and Palestine for less than an hour before he began digging through his luggage.  He pulled a bag of Arabic coffee from under his crumpled tee shirts explaining how security at Ben Gurian airport had poked holes in the coffee bag because it was vacuum packed.  From under his rolled up pants came bubble wrap and from that three small cups and a brass pot.  Then came the tiled tray.  He asked me to fill the sugar bowl as he filled the pot with water and added the cardamon laced coffee.

Maddie and I waited at the kitchen table as he fussed over the thick coffee as it bubbled on the stove. As he poured out, he told Maddie that she might want to add sugar to her cup. And as we drank to the bitter grounds, the comfort of home and family traveled from Ramallah to Gradyville.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Project 365 - Tick Tock

For an abstract concept, time sure does seem to have a death grip on the reality of living.

I have always found it difficult to navigate.  I was the kid who was always in trouble for being late for dinner.  Getting lost in my imagination out in the woods always negated any urgency I guess I should have felt to be anywhere on time.

I still struggle with time.  It is not unusual for me to be late for most anything.  Try as I might, time constantly wins the speedy foot race and I am left moving in slow motion.  Just once, I think I would like to know what it is like to be punctual.  Maybe even experience the thrill of being early.  A heady concept for sure.  But, what would I miss along the way?  What would scream by me in a blur?  Surely, not the clock.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Project 365 - Laugh Peace

Laugh from your authentic joy
Believe from your open heart
Embrace your peace with both hands

Monday, March 7, 2011

Project 365 - Waiting In the Wings

Alert, watchful, they wait.  Strength reserved. Grace at the ready.  No one sees them as they fill the wings with beauty, as they watch, as they wait, for the step that marks their moment, for the one note that sets them in motion and into the light.

Project 365 - Take a Misty Seat

On days when everyone is scurrying from place to place, heads down, and collars up, it is easy to miss those moments of peace in the making.  A bench that beckons you with a soft, misty invitation to rest for a moment.  A perfect breath taken before the chill sets in and you are compelled to move on.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Project 365 - All In A Row

Duck, duck, goose
all in a row
on a winter's afternoon.
The glow of cold bounces from tree to branch,
to meadow to whispy clouds.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Project 365 - Twirl

If you ever want to annoy a dancer, ask her if she has practiced her twirl.  Especially if that dancer happens to be your almost 12 year old daughter.  Ballerinas do not twirl, they turn, she says.

When I was her age I twirled.  I liked nothing better than to stand out in the field that seemed to run for miles out behind my house, spread my arms out, tilt my face into the sun and twirl until I was dizzy.  Then I would fall into the tall grass giggling, watching tthe world twirl with me.  Crazy little girl syncronicity.

I loved to roll too.  But that is a story for another day.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Project 365 - A Stop In The Woods

Ten plus years ago, as I was driving home one winter afternoon, I noticed this stop sign hiding in the woods just off the road.  At the time, I was not the photographer in the family, my daughter, Erin, was.  I was, however, the family nudge.

At first, I nudged her gently.  Suggesting that this would be an excellent subject for her photography class assignment.  She responded, as most all teenagers would, with a weak little smile, a thanks Mom, and an eye roll.  Maybe she would take a look.... sometime.  Days passed.  Her assignment was handed in without my contribution.  I nudged a little harder.  Ok, maybe it bordered on nagging.  In any case, she did eventually walk up the hill from our house and take the shot.  To this day, her image is tucked in among other favorites on the magnet board above the family desk in the kitchen.

So, as I was thinking about what my shoot would be for today, my mind wandered back to this hidden treasure and why it was then, as it is now, important to make a stop in the woods.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Project 365 - Into the Fog

Into the fog I went,
Tree and twig smeared with gray,
Blurred and soft,
The morning light whispers,
Follow me....

Project 365 - Have A Seat

I walked onto the Westtown campus just before the sun dipped down below the horizon.  It is Sunday.  The term is coming to a close.  A woman walking her dog smiles.  I smile back.  I wander around shooting images of Main Hall, the Meeting House and the greenhouse.  There is a peace about this place today.

But, it isn't until I am on my way back to my car that my camera finds what I came for.  A place to sit a while and rest.