Red Flamenco

Can you hear the music

and see those skirts twirling

until the dance is done.

Putting it all together

What are the main things I have learnt in this Journey of Recognition?
I have learnt how important lighting is to capture the quality of the photo I desire. I especially enjoyed going out at twilight to take photos in the "blue hour". The results astonished me, even though they were all taken in an urban environment. This particular experience was a real adventure and filled me with enthusiasm and excitement.

I also noticed what fun it was to photograph subjects that I would never have thought of photographing before.
Nature is my first love and will probably always remain my favourite subject, but now I can look at many other subjects and feel a connection with them.
When something speaks to me, when I feel a pull, I know that the emotion I feel will appear in the image which has been captured.
It was an amazing experience for me to take lots of shots, sometimes over a hundred. This allowed me to connect with the subject on a much deeper level. I became totally lost and absorbed in this exercise and lost all notion of time.
Trying out different angles and the way the light falls differently can really make a huge difference to the final result and then I choose just a small handful of these images which really express what I have felt.

Why do I take photographs? I love to capture atmosphere, the way a certain light suddenly illuminates or enhances, sometimes just for a brief moment, something which grabs my attention, which pulls me in.
This moment is unique and when I get it at just the right moment, it's quite exhilarating!
Photography is a means of bringing forward an inner creativity which is seeking an outlet. 
I have to feel moved to make a scene or a subject emanate that special something which shows the heart connection that I felt when I took the photo.

If my heart is not in it, the end result will lack substance and soul.
Learning about angles and depth of field have widened my scope and shown me just how much these two elements can give impact to an image.

I can see my photography changing. I have become more daring, more confident. I can see my own personal style emerging - which will evolve as I also evolve on this journey of discovery.
My next step is to study photo settings, epecially exposure and shutter speed, and to learn everything which is connected to improving the delicate art of capturing meaningful images.
Why do I show the images I take? Good question!
Well, I like to share the beauty I see around me or share the emotion of a single moment in time.
 Some of this beauty and emotion may touch others and allow them to become more aware, more conscious of the fact that all living beings share a soul connection.

Recognizing that I'm on the never-ending journey of life
Sometimes stumbling
but always moving and evolving
in all ways.
This is my Journey of Recognition.

Observing Photography Trends

Do I follow any photographic trends?
Well, not consciously!
But maybe I am developing a style which is just my own way of perceiving and capturing things which speak to my heart.
The above photo is slightly underexposed and slightly out of focus. This just happened and was not intentional, but I liked the soft look the way it was and simply kept it.
Here is one of the same Lobelia flowers in its true vibrant colour

All I have done here is change my position and thus the lighting.
Lighting is important to the way I like to capture images.

Macro photography is something I really enjoy
Is this a trend or a personal choice?
I feel that it is simply my love of detail which draws me into this way of capturing images.

Moving in even closer to see the glorious structure of the centre of this beautiful flower

Trends come and go and I see them all around me. As far as I can notice, texturing seems to be very much in vogue at the moment. So much so, that everyone's photos seem to look the same. It can be so easy to lose one's personality in trends.
My very simple editing programme, ACDSee, doesn't offer all these trendy options, so I am perfectly happy  finding my own way and letting my subjects remain as natural as possible.
This does not mean that I do not sometimes have fun by doing crazy special effects on some photos for special occasions or just to amuse myself.
Most of all, I seek to capture beauty
and in nature
everything is just perfect
the way it is.
Just to end up with, this soft shot of a Snapdragon flower which, although in a central position, would have lost something if I had cropped away the green parts of the plant on either side.
I love the way those enticing soft, yellow flower lips pop out at us and attract the bees. What pleasure it is for me to observe these little useful furry creatures wriggling their way into the flower to collect their pollen.
I couldn't imagine using any sort of texture or other special effects on a perfect little bee, could you?

Twilight communication

Enjoying the peaceful and silent communication between the sky, the intermingling branches and being part of that and not separate from it.
Experiencing oneness.

Intuitive Photojournaling

This capture of tall trees reaching for the sky immediately came to mind 
when I thought of choosing an image intuitively.

What is it about trees which makes me feel alive?
When I look up I feel as if I am floating , as if my feet no longer touch the ground.
I feel the essence of the trees, their strength and their acceptance of how things are, the way they are, 
without wanting anything at all to be different.
I have so much to learn from trees
How they sway with the movement of the wind
How they follow the flow of life.
When I look up to the sky
surrounded by trees,
I feel free
of all thoughts
about this or that.
I am completely in the moment
the oneness
I feel
with all life.
When I close my eyes,
I'm no longer 'me',
I'm deliciously, joyfully,
a swaying tree.

The Blue Hour

Going for a walk in my neighbourhood at that beautiful time of the day known as the "Blue Hour".
This expression comes from the French words: "l'heure bleue" or twilight - each morning and evening
where there is neither full daylight nor complete darkness.

Standing at the top end of my local park, to look beyond the buildings onto the horizon and mountains.
This is the time when people start putting on their lights (those little dots of light on the hillside) and the street lamps are turned on.

The crescent moon is coming into view and I am homeward bound after taking in the wonder of 
the Blue Hour.

New Light Photo Shoot

Car lights at rush hour. The effects of the lights against the darkness give me a rush of excitement!

What happened to Nature Girl?
It looks like she's having fun!
This is so exciting and I'm realizing just how my creative energies are stimulated by leaving my comfort zone and reinventing the way I usually like to take photos.
Not only is the lighting different from what I have ever chosen before, but the subjects photographed are also new - and I'm discovering a whole new world!
I didn't stay with one subject and walked around my neighbourhood in the early morning and early evening between 6.30 and 7.30 at both ends.

There had been a light sprinkling of snow in the night. The bus had just gone round the roundabout, and is heading for the town centre, and the sky was suddenly taking on a lighter hue.

The roundabout with the trolley-bus lines above. I like the way they shine in the street lights.
I love the sheen on the road and the shops starting to open giving off friendly yellow lights.

The baker's are setting out their wares for the day and customers are coming in to get their croissant or raisin bun to have with their morning coffee!
I adore the atmosphere in the morning as everything is waking  up.

Here is part of the tea-room window still decorated with poems for Valentine's Day.
This is what the poem on the right reads:
"A poem is a smile on a rainy day,
Love is a poem to recite each day."

I love the deepening sky here and the red blinds still out in front of the grocer's shop.

The windows from a restaurant glow in an orange light through the curtains and the shutters upstairs start to close.

People return home and the lights come on as they go about their evening routine.
I return home too after this new adventure in my neighbourhood.

I couldn't resist this last exciting photo of the Community Centre just opposite from where I live!
I just adore the crazy lighting effect, don't you?!

Well, what an exciting new experience. I certainly didn't try out any new techniques... I shall be learning those one of these days though!
My camera was hand-held and I didn't use a tripod.
The camera settings were on automatic ... I still have to find the time to study all about manual settings!
The two most exciting images for me are the first one and the last one. They are quite surprising and totally new to the way I usually take photos.
I had four outings to complete this exercise to my satisfaction. Two in the morning and the other two at night.
The whole experience was fascinating and I learnt a lot.

What is Valentine's Day?

What is Valentine's Day and why do we like to celebrate love on this day?
Valentine was a priest near Rome in the days of the Emperor Claudius II.
There are many stories about Valentine and some of them may be true. They are easy to look up!
So why am I wishing you a happy Valentine's Day?
Can we not celebrate love every day of the year?
Of course!
But, like many others, I like an excuse to wish everyone that comes this way:
A Happy Day
Every Day
and may the love inside
be given to those 
who feel unloved
who feel alone
who are despondent in their life situations
may a little light shine on them
each day
to allow them
to continue
and feel the love vibrating
their way
for this moment
in their day!
Let the love radiate
Every Day!

Recognizing Inspiration

My main inspiration comes from nature. I feel a deep connection with it. I love to get away from concrete and buildings to totally connect with life in its purest form. To feel and breathe in oneness with it all makes me more alive and aware.

I like to get very close to a flower, to go beyond what my eyes see...

The following things count for me the most in photography:
1) Total awareness in the presence of my subject. Feeling the essence within, getting to the very heartbeat of what I am observing.
2) Capturing an image that depicts that heart connection. One that conveys that initial feeling I experience, rather than over-editing what I see later on the screen. I don't care for special effects unless I'm doing something for fun! I don't like to 'embellish' a photo beyond recognition in which the whole subject loses its soul in the process.
3) I prefer an image which speaks to me, which captures what I feel as opposed to one that is visually 'perfect' photographically speaking, but doesn't create that warm glow inside of me.

When I am in the presence of trees, I can feel the life force emanating from them

When I observe a flower, I penetrate into its heart and lose myself in its presence
I let the colours and the shapes penetrate my very being, I feel as if I am breathing them in
When I observe a blade of grass or see a leaf illuminated by the sun, I am pulled into the world of the subject I am observing and we join together in a silent exchange 

Any excitement I may feel comes from being in the presence of nature. At this point, I am capturing what I see with my eyes and all my other senses, there is almost no need for the camera because everything is being imprinted within me.
However, when I do have my camera with me, there is the feeling of capturing that precise moment in time and taking photos from different angles.
Editing is not my favourite part and I hope to edit less and less as I get into the manual settings of my camera.
Looking at the  images on the computer tells me if I have captured what I felt in the moment. I eliminate the photos which do not express the essence with which I entered into contact at the time of capture.

Editing is not a very strong source of creative inspiration for me. In fact, it can sometimes remove the meaningful depth of the subject photographed.
In the last few weeks, I have also noticed that I can  be captivated by abstract shapes and that I could be inspired by those shapes, as well as by texture and by colour.

Exploring new subjects

Choosing a new subject was a thrilling way to start a new photo shoot.
Because of extreme cold weather, I decided to choose a subject that was in my household.
It's something I see every day and yet I've never purposely chosen to photograph it.
This certainly makes a change from taking pictures of nature!

Looking inside - hmmmm.

What happens on the other side?

Of course!
I just love keys and all they represent.
Isn't this exciting?

Two of my favourite numbers: seven and eight!
Now where shall we go?

A slice of clock time
How about a little reflection?

Well, a little bit of nature did sneak in. Can you see my potted plants?

And here she is in her full glory - with a three-quarter view to show off her curves!
I received this clock as a gift from my brother many years ago.

How did I feel after this photo shoot? 
Do I like the end result?
Yes, I believe I do.
When did I lose a sense of time?
Well, don't tell the clock, but I didn't notice time at all!
Did my favourite images change between capture and review?
Sometimes, but not always.
Did I feel frustrated or want to stop?
No, I could have gone on much longer.
The most difficult part was choosing the images I wanted to put here. I took way over one hundred.
The experience of photographing a new subject was wonderful and is nothing like taking shots of something familiar - except maybe for my love of capturing detail.
I never felt uncomfortable in this exercise.
I don't know if I would change my way of approaching a new subject.
I will only know when that moment is here!


Watching a tiny bud


and opening

and drinking up the sun coming through my window

Learning from other artists

I'm inspired by skies

The art exhibition I visited over the weekend was called: "From Tiepolo to Degas".
What did I learn by seeing another artist's work?
What inspired me?
What did I like about their art?

Which artist inspired me the most from the exhibition?
His name is François-Louis David Bocion, born in 1828 in Lausanne, Switzerland.
He was well-known for his paintings of Lake Léman.
He also studied in Paris and made many paintings in Venice.
What I like about his art are the beautiful reflections in the water and his vast skies, dotted with clouds.

painting by Bocion

I have noticed that these elements sometimes appear in my own photographs
like this photo taken of the same lake that Bocion loved to paint.

What did I dislike in this exhibition?
I didn't enjoy looking at art that was flat and lifeless looking or that contained a maximum of muddy tones.

What did I noticed that was new to me?
I noticed that I could also enjoy looking at rather abstract art where I was able to take pleasure in shapes and colours without labelling them.

painting by Bocion of a very calm lake

It's true that I feel "called" to calm waters with gentle reflections
rather like this one of a smaller lake

I love the peace that is felt in the above picture with the play on light and shadows and the soft reflections of the white house to the left of the trees and the other reflectionsof the trees to the right of the capture.

Of course, I like many other types of paintings, but these were about the ones I saw in the exhibition.
There were also a few paintings of well-known artist, René Magritte. I really like the quirkiness of some of his works. Here are two examples:

René Magritte
This one is called "The Human Condition". I love it!

René Magritte
This one has two elements I am really attracted to: sky and water

There are often blue skies with fluffy clouds in Magritte's paintings. They really draw me in.

I will be doing the exercise more often now... allowing myself to be inspired by other artist's visions and noticing how many of my photographs  have already incorporated what I have seen elsewhere - without even realizing it.