Tag: nature

A Photographer’s Least Favorite Thing to Do

A Photographer’s Least Favorite Thing to Do

Mountain Sunset taken with a group of friends from Asheville, NC. We were on a photog outing.
Mountain Sunset taken with a group of friends from Asheville, NC. We were on a photog outing.

I am celebrating a huge project that was finished just today. For many years I have attempted to sort and organize my photography library of thousands of images. The general work flow started with A and I usually quit by the time I got to D or E but those first few projects in my Aperture library were always neat and sorted. This time, however, I made it all the way through. It only took me three months of steady work to do it. I had to add an external RAID drive for additional storage since my D800 has files the size of buses. So all is well.

In celebration of this momentous occasion and in honor of what I love to do several images are included with comments. Over the past few days certain images have reminded me why I love photography as an art form and a way of communication. I hope you enjoy the images. And thanks for your interest and support….always. I feel the love.

When wild animals make contact with me I always feel so blessed...so fortunate...so joyful!
When wild animals make contact with me I always feel so blessed…so fortunate…so joyful!
Sometimes I think they are laughing at me....
Sometimes I think they are laughing at me….
Or playing peek-a-boo.
Or playing peek-a-boo.
Moments of nature's glory lead me to rapturous joy.
Moments of nature’s glory lead me to rapturous joy.
Or moments of intense stillness and inner quiet.
Or moments of intense stillness and inner quiet.
When the light and colors align and I happen to be there...magic happens!
When the light and colors align and I happen to be there…magic happens!
Of course sometimes you can't really take a bad photograph if you are alive and breathing and present enough to lift your camera and click the shutter...remembering to set the correct exposures....and lift the bottom jaw as it gapes from unimaginable beauty.
Of course sometimes you can’t really take a bad photograph if you are alive and breathing and present enough to lift your camera and click the shutter…remembering to set the correct exposures….and lift the bottom jaw as it gapes from unimaginable beauty.
One of my favorite experiences centers around children gaining experience in nature and learning about wildlife...like wolves for instance.
One of my favorite experiences centers around photographing children gaining experience in nature and learning about wildlife…like wolves for instance.
Water captivates me and my favorite images center around water...waterfalls...big water...underwater.
Water captivates me and my favorite images center around water…waterfalls…big water…underwater.
I revisit images and can describe my emotions, the lighting, the thoughts that came to mind from moments such as this....I am right there again.
I revisit images and can describe my emotions, the lighting, the thoughts that came to mind from moments such as this….I am right there again.
And while the image isn't great I wanted to capture the size of this old tree soul by standing on it and including my feet in the image. It was a profound experience.
While the image isn’t that special, the experience was.  I wanted to capture the size of this old tree soul by standing on it and including my feet in the frame. It was a profound experience.
My favorite images capture the soul, the spirit, of places and animals...and those of people lost in the creative process.
My favorite images capture the soul, the spirit, of places and animals…and those of people lost in the creative process.
While solo exploring the desert in Bonaire I took this self-portrait. It demonstrates perfectly how I feel when I'm there.
While solo exploring the desert in Bonaire I took this self-portrait. It demonstrates perfectly how I feel when I’m there.
My favorite people images this past year are of my daughter and son-in-law. My 'kids' bring a very special light to my life.
My favorite people images this past year are of my daughter and son-in-law. My ‘kids’ bring a very special light to my life.
I celebrate everything that is beautiful and right in this world...and hope we can add to the list of good things happening as we move through 2014.
I celebrate everything that is beautiful and right in this world…and hope we can add to the list of good things happening as we move through 2014.
And my favorite image of this past year (besides my kids)...this green sea turtle I met in Bonaire.
And my favorite image of this past year (besides my kids)…this green sea turtle I met in Bonaire.

So now I can get out and do what I love….photograph nature and people enjoying the creative process…and beauty. I like to celebrate beauty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Our Voice

Finding Our Voice

simonelipscomb (13)In her book, When Women Were Birds, Terry Tempest Williams writes about what it means to pair voice with inner truth. She shares two examples that reminds us to keep speaking our truth, even when people refuse to hear it.

She was at a public hearing speaking up for Utah wilderness lands that were being put on the chopping block by politicos. As she stood to speak Congressman Jim Hansen began coughing, yawning, shuffling papers and in general trying to distract her and show he wasn’t listening. She stopped speaking and asked him if there was anything she could say that might change his negative perspective on wilderness. His reply? “I’m sorry, Ms. Williams, there is something about your voice I cannot hear.”

Poppy

It wasn’t the microphone he was referring to; it was a metaphor of the politicians, elected to hear comments from citizens– more than 70% of whom wanted more wilderness, not less–to show their displeasure in having to listen. Their mind was already made up without consulting the will of the people.

In another instance Senator Larry Craig stood up during the conservation delegation’s testimony and said, “This one is your Senator Hatfield,” and walked out of the hearing. Senator Hatfield then read a book during the entire testimony before Congress.

The result of the senator’s behavior fueled the determination of those speaking on behalf of wilderness. They hurriedly got writers and poets to submit a piece of their work on wilderness, had a graphic designer work for free to design a book and produced Testimony, which was eventually read aloud by various senators during a filibuster about the wilderness areas that were proposed to be sold. The vote that was eventually taken upheld the law that set them aside. The vote favored the protected the wilderness areas.

May our beautiful water planet be blessed. May we be good stewards of our water resources.

About a year ago I signed up for a one hour telephone call where I could listen to a live interview with Terry. I greatly respect her writing and work as a voice for all things wild and was excited to be able to hear the conversation. I called a couple minutes early and listened to silence and then a voice came on the line, “Hello? Hello? Is anybody there?”

I didn’t say anything. Not wanting to connect with anyone really because I didn’t know what to say, I remained silent. The voice would occasionally say, “Is anybody there?” This went on for over five minutes as we waited for the interview to begin. Finally another voice came on line, the moderator. She began talking…talking to Terry who was the one asking if anyone was there. I could have been having a meaningful conversation with a woman I greatly respect and I chose to remain silent. Several minutes of valuable time with a mentor was lost.

morningglory (1)It was a valuable lesson. I could have asked her about her work. How do you stay inspired when facing such apathy? Where do you find the will to keep working when the message goes unheard? I could have learned from this woman of power. Instead, I chose silence.

Random, wandering horse in desert. Bonaire, N.A.

Is there something that needs your voice? A mountain? A river? Sea turtles? Manatees? Black-foot ferrets? Your heart?

Speaking our truth has never been more important. Bringing light to our planet, our communities, our homes is a practice that must be cultivated to help shift us from the darkness that we see and experience around us.

With compassion and love and gentleness let us speak from our hearts and together create something truly beautiful. It’s time to use our collective voice.

DSC_8075

 

In the Flow

In the Flow

800_2004My last morning on photography retreat was spent in my favorite place to work with water in the Smokies. It was so early, in fact, that I hardly saw anyone else…except a bear that scurried off as I drove by him. Standing beside or in flowing water made it difficult for me to hear snapping twigs if a big critter like a bear approached so I did a bit of singing hoping they would hear me and choose to wander elsewhere.800_0293Aside from that slight tingle of bear awareness it was the perfect ending to four days of connecting with nature through photography. Blissful quiet, hardly another human in sight and verdant beauty that seemed to reach into forever made me glad I had awakened before dawn and made the hour’s drive before the weekend crowd became active.

800_2054At one point I was braced against a large, gray rock with both feet wedged in between smaller rocks in the cold water while balancing with my tripod and camera taking long exposures. I checked the exposure on the screen and felt so grateful to be capturing such lush and endless beauty. My heart and mind merged with the flow of clear water and I felt a sense of purpose and direction that had eluded me for months.

Self-portrait...goofing off with my really dusty and happy car.
Self-portrait…goofing off with my really dusty and happy car.

Focused intention, open heart and profound love and appreciation for nature became interwoven elements that made for an excellent photography retreat. Being present with what I love doing in a place that I love kept me in the flow.

Kneeling in the Rain

Kneeling in the Rain

I found myself kneeling with my back toward rain blowing sideways. Thankfully I brought along my fleece jacket and my GoreTex North Face waterproof jacket. For an August night on the Alabama Gulf Coast it was chilly and wet. Very wet.

As so often happens when we are waiting for sea turtle hatchlings to make a break for the Gulf of Mexico, they waited until it was late. And of course, the storm. For some reason they just love making their way to their new home in the sea in a driving rain.

They were making their flippered march to the water when a few decided the porch lights of a beach home was their destination and their determination was epic. We try not to handle them at all but body-blocking the lights, blocking their way with our hands, pleading…nothing worked. And even when we gently picked them up and pointed them toward the sea, they would have nothing of it.

I had crawled along beside the final turtle babe and pleaded, “Please crawl toward the Gulf.” I didn’t think it was possible but rain was blowing through my moisture-wicking, hiking pants and with my rear facing the fierce wind…let’s just say I didn’t know rain could do that.

Finally….finally we neared the water. But no….my friend decided to turn around….AGAIN! Then….BAM!!! Lightning and I said….’THAT’S IT KIDDO! GO!” and pointed toward the warm, salty wave.

In a flash the baby loggerhead was  beneath the inviting water and I waved goodbye as she joined 105 of her siblings. I high-tailed it for my car.

I had hoped to be able to simply stand as a guardian and sing to them as they flapped their tiny flippers on the sand, heading south but that was not to be. I not only kneeled but crawled in the wet sand and at one point laid belly to sand to block light. Beneath a sky heavy with rain and feeling the wind whip water around me, I realized there was no place I’d rather be. Prayerfully, lovingly and with compassion I joined our team as we witnessed the Earth release Her children to the sea.

Happy trails kiddos!

The Pause Between Breaths

The Pause Between Breaths

sunset over Mobile Bay from Shell Banks
sunset over Mobile Bay from Shell Banks

As I was driving back from a photography session of family portraits on the Ft Morgan peninsula, I noticed the sky was looking especially inviting. Hopeful that the Shell Banks area of Mobile Bay would provide a nice vantage point, I excitedly nudged the accelerator until I saw the pull-off.

simonelipscomb (1)Sky conspired with water to offer a most pleasant and relaxing half hour of nature’s fine beauty. In times like these I find myself relaxing into the present moment, open to receiving the gifts nature offers and I lose myself to photography…to connecting with the essence of water and sky and light through my camera.

Sunrise at Little Lagoon
Sunrise at Little Lagoon

The magic hours of sunrise and sunset often have bountiful blessings and such sweetness. These gifts are found when I take the time to stop, breathe and open myself to the moment.

Present moment….sacred moment. Holy moment. Beautiful moment…found in the silence and stillness between breaths.

Sunset over mountains in North Carolina
Sunset over mountains in North Carolina