Very excited as I begin learning to use Photoshop for editing my photos. Instead of using the photos that come along with the online course, I tried using my own. Sort of a ‘two birds, one stone’ concept. While this represents only a tiny little portion of the tools available in Photoshop, I love how much more control it offers me. I still very much prefer to get the best shot possible with just the camera but the ability to adjust certain components and remove items that I cannot avoid because, well, I just cannot pull out all of the electrical lines. (Believe me, sometimes I wish I could. While obviously necessary, they sure can muck up great scene.)
I drive by this beauty every day and was sad to learn recently that the land has been zoned for a commercial business park. While that process could take many years, I still get a little emotional at the idea that the trees and the stoic old barns may someday no longer grace this site and in their place could be large nondescript warehouses and concrete.
For the edit, as it was my first lesson, the changes were minimal. I purposefully chose a shot that I was not especially happy with, so I could see how the edits might change my attitude about the photo. A little white-balance adjustment here, some tonal adjustments there and then a little sharpening and I was impressed with how just those subtle little options were able to let me get closer to what I was seeing but unable to capture at that moment on camera. (See before picture below.)
I still have a ways to go but this has been a fun way to spend those darker evenings that accompany this change of season.
We need a little sunshine, A little light to pull us through. Something better to believe in, When possibilities seem so few. A world awash in chaos, Struggles at every bend, Cruelness and evil dominate, When will the sadness end? If only we would listen, To the still small voice inside, And hear our Father calling, Oh, child why do you hide? Within you lies such power, If only you would see, Stop leaning on your worldly guides, And put your faith in Me.
Ever feel like you just need a new perspective? I like to take walks over my lunch hour. It’s a chance to get up and step away from what can be a frustrating and stressful job. It’s also a perfect chance for me to scope out photo sites. After a rough morning of long conversations about insurance, I was thrilled when my lunch hour finally came around. I needed a reboot and, if I’m being honest, an attitude adjustment. One of my favorite walking routes is to head west and walk around the Meredith building and garden. The trees are amazing this time of year and I love stealing glimpses of the gated garden. Still feeling a little aggravated by a particular conversation from that morning I took out my phone and just started snapping pictures of everything I saw. Then I started trying weird angles. Standing on tip toes and getting my phone as far up into the tree branches as I could, twisting and turning for different angles. I had to laugh as I caught one business man eyeing me like I was nuts, then shaking his head as he passed by. If only he had stuck around for this shot! Laying flat on my stomach, my phone resting on the pavement, head tilted and chin almost on the ground, I’m sure I looked quite silly in dress pants and top but again I caught myself giggling and realized that if you want to get a different perspective, sometimes you have to be willing to physically change your point of view.
There’s this thing that happens this time of year that I both love and hate for a couple different reasons. Fall harvest. To me it’s both magical and sad but for today, I’m going to focus on a part of it that I am learning to embrace. Quiet Sunday mornings, all to myself.
With harvest in full swing and hunting season kicking off, I find myself spending much of my weekend alone. A bit of an introvert, you won’t find me complaining too much. I’ve learned over the years that to be the best wife and mother I can be, I need time to myself. This is when I recharge, reflect and renew. I love spending hours just wandering through book stores and reading, taking long walks, binge watching my favorite shows, and working on projects around the house. But mostly I love taking advantage of the amazing weather, camera in hand, as I adventure out to favorite spots or just getting lost on a gravel road.
Today, I indulged in the coziness of an early Sunday morning with a hot cup of coffee and a good book. Days at home usually mean laundry, vacuuming and other household chores but this morning I simply let myself sit in the silence. Ignoring the thin layer of dust accumulating on the coffee table and overflowing pile of clothes in the bedroom corner, I let myself get lost in a world of make believe. I love a book that pulls me in and keeps my attention right up to the last sentence and when I close the cover for the last time I feel a slight loss, knowing that the story is over and I have to say goodbye to the characters that have become such a part of my imagination.
I’m going to confess…this photo is a throwback. Taken in October of 2014, I have been trying to locate this picture for a couple weeks. I took this on a rare visit to my hometown of Marshalltown, Iowa. While I enjoy these trips back, I also find that they often make me a little sad. Despite a somewhat difficult childhood, I was blessed with some amazing people in my life and I often remark that my friends and I had way more fun than teenagers ever should because it made growing up all the more difficult.
At the age of eleven, I was introduced to the youth group at the Marshalltown Assembly of God. At first I was not terribly interested in making new friends. I was tired of the constant moving that my family did. The repeated pattern of packing boxes, unpacking boxes, making new friends only to say goodbye to them and move on to a new neighborhood, new town, sometime new state, was becoming more than I could face. However, this wonderful group of people took us in with such love and care, I soon found myself spending every possible moment with them. It wasn’t just the kids either, the adults were…well, unlike most of the adults I had known.
Three years later I would find myself once again packing boxes and saying goodbye. Only this time it wasn’t just farewells to friends and well wishes. I was fourteen and we were moving to Oklahoma. Before social media and cell phones, keeping in touch from any distance was difficult at best and I truly felt as though I was leaving a part of me. Having been passed around between parents and grandparents my whole life you would think this would be just another move. But these people were the first in my life to really show me what it meant to love and care about someone without expecting anything in return. They accepted me for who I was and truly made me feel like I was worth knowing. Aside from my brother who was my partner in crime through childhood, and my grandfather who died when I was five, I never truly felt that anyone ever really paid much attention to me. I just existed. I was quiet and as independent as a child could be and while I know my family loved me in their way, it was always somewhat dysfunctional and distant.
Two years later at the age of 16, I would find myself back home, back among these precious people and it was like nothing had changed. If anything we were even closer. There is not a doubt in my mind that God brought these individuals into my life for a reason. Over the years some of us have stayed in touch, others have moved on and never heard from again, and some are waiting on that beautiful shore but I cherish them all still and will forever consider them family and this town will always be home.
I love playing around with photography. I love that you learn so much more by stepping out of your comfort zone and looking for a different angle or a way to get the color just right. I only recently acquired Photoshop and I still have not yet used the software to manipulate a photo. I prefer to use my creativity behind my camera. However, I will also be the first to tell you that I find Photoshop fascinating. It requires a great deal of skill and creativity and I am often blown away by the things people can do with it. I’m looking forward to getting into it and learning the basics. If I can learn to remove an ugly electrical pole from an otherwise beautiful shot, then I will be thrilled.
I love finding the abstract in the everyday. Recently I saw an amazing photo of a water droplet with a perfect reflection of a flower just below it. This is my first attempt at such a picture. Obviously it is nowhere as brilliant but it represents a beautiful fall morning spent doing what I love. I love that the water droplets reflect the blue sky and the slightest glimpse of what was a beautiful tree line in the background. I will continue to practice capturing reflections and one day I’ll get the one I’m looking for. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the journey.
Sometimes we just need to STOP…take a breath and soak up the sun.
We live right off the Great Western Bike trail. It is both a blessing and a curse. It’s great to have it right there but we don’t always take the best advantage of it so it is also a daily little slap in the face. “I’m right here. Only steps from your door. Why don’t you visit more?” Yes, I know…but I need to finish this and then I have to go here and was really hoping to work on this. Maybe tomorrow…
This is how I feel about my photography. Everyday I try to do something that gets me either behind the camera or reading about it. This blog has really helped make it a regular part of my day but I still feel like I’m not doing enough. I’m not always spending my time wisely and doing what I really want to be doing in order to succeed. It is my dream to be a photographer and even with my camera at my fingertips, I find that everyday life and sometimes sheer exhaustion keep my camera and my dreams just out of reach.
So, recently, feeling desperate for inspiration, I took advantage of the bike trail. Leaving my camera behind and only bringing my phone, just in case, I let myself just walk. It was a perfect evening. Brilliant fall-blue sky, just warm enough that walking in the shade of the tree lined trail was perfection, but as I walked I could not shut off the continuous chatter in my head. Lists of things to do, wondering how long I can keep up with my current work schedule, concerns over a family issue, do I need to put money on Jake’s lunch account?…
Finally, in the hopes of creating some sort of distraction, I began taking pictures of whatever captured my attention. Ground squirrels peaking out of their little homes, a few fall leaves here and there, the trail itself. At first it wasn’t really helping but then shortly after I turned around to head back home I started taking the same shots again only now with the sun more in front of me everything had changed. Before I knew it I was completely wrapped up in catching odd angles that allowed the suns rays to shine through. It’s one of the things I love about my camera on my phone, it doesn’t try to compensate for the bright rays and tone them down, it simply captures whatever is in the frame. All too soon I was walking up the last little hill towards home when an unexpected reflection glanced across my eyes, blinding me for a moment. Stepping back, I saw “STOP” bathed in an array of sunlight.
I took one last shot of the sign then shut my phone off and walked the last bit home in a peaceful silence. No more lists or random thoughts. Just quiet.
This is my passion. To bring feeling and emotion into an everyday picture. To help us all see the beauty that surrounds us at every turn. To remind us that sometimes we just need to stop.