Tag Archives: photography

Believe

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Ernestly engaged with her spirituality and religion, Kathy lived 66 years with Cerebral Palsy. In this photograph my cousin was 25 years old and in college. I believe a room mate or good friend made this image for a photography class in 1976.

This image seems appropriate to illustrate scale among several other themes. Consider the scale of one single person alone in a church but not alone as she connects with her relationship with the Holy Spirit. I think the statement is made by the long empty pews and the empty church. How small we are, aren’t we?

Weekly photo challenge:  Scale

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Disturbance in my mind

What rhythm and blues looks like to me. Evanescent* moments in time. Big Mac and Neighbor Dave . . . disturbing sound waves.

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*ev·a·nes·cent [evəˈnes(ə)nt]

adjective

  1. Soon passing out of sight, memory, or existence; quickly fading or disappearing.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: EVANESCENT

Belly Biology: yellow wild flower surprise

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Belly Biology. I invented the phrase for workshops and daily programs that I taught at Port Townsend Marine Science Center. Basically it means to lay on your belly and see what you can see, most often laying on the dock and looking at what lives under it. Now a good DSLR’s flexible LCD screen can save me the stretch but I still came home with pitch on my jeans, really, from laying on my planet. Try it! Next best thing to laying on my back and looking at clouds!

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Butter Cup (Ranunculaceae)and Avalanche Lily (Erythronium grandiflorum) Note this Avalanche Lily supports 7 blossoms with one stem. Commonly the plant produces 1 blossom per stem. They are edible but don’t store well. Use them to top salad or cake and serve as soon as possible or eat them in the wild but only a few per patch to preserve the patch. This is the first edible wild flower to spring forth in spring, Rocky Mountains, USA.

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Surprise Shot with Olympus OM-D 5 set on close up scene, camera on ground. You don’t have to actually lay on your belly but it’s awe-fully fun if you do.

 

Old Pond

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Furuike ya
kawazu tobikomu
mizu no oto

— Basho

The old pond

frog jumps in

sound of water

                 Bashoo

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Literal Translation

Fu-ru (old) i-ke (pond) ya,
ka-wa-zu (frog) to-bi-ko-mu (jumping into)
mi-zu (water) no o-to (sound)

Translated by Fumiko Saisho

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An old silent pond…
A frog jumps into the pond,
splash! Silence again.

Translated by Harry Behn

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Antic pond–
frantic frog jumps in–
gigantic sound.

Translated by Bernard Lionel Einbond

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MAFIA HIT MAN POET: NOTE FOUND PINNED TO LAPEL
OF DROWNED VICTIM’S DOUBLE-BREASTED SUIT!!!

‘Dere wasa dis frogg
Gone jumpa offa da logg
Now he inna bogg.’

— Anonymous
Translated by George M. Young, Jr.

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The old pond, yes, and
A frog is jumping into
The water, and splash.

Translated by G.S. Fraser

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The old pond,
A frog jumps in:.
Plop!

Translated by Allan Watts

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Weekly Photo Challenge:  It IS easy being green!

DIY Winter Solstice Ceremony

I’ve been anticipating Winter Solstice for weeks, another chance to cleanse myself of dark inner voices and illuminate them with hope and renewal. When I participated in the Horror Writers Workshop 2015 in Transylvania I learned that burning a bonfire with intention keeps evil spirits from harming your property or family. Bonfires in Bran are rather small and quick burning, but sufficient to send intentions into the darkness. And people there light fires frequently to ward off dark energies.

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I’m planning a very simple celebration that will be personal for me but not too heavy for guests. To keep it simple I’m following the guidance of  Stacey L. L. Couch in her blog post How To:  Winter Solstice Celebrations. Couch says you need just these activities and she expands on how to accomplish each:

  1. Fire to light up the darkness. Any sort of fire is OK like even a candle or incense but an outdoor fire is preferred.
  2. Go outside, at least for a little while to experience the dark where it exists – outdoors. Turn off all lights except your fire to really feel the darkness around you.
  3. Offerings to burn in the fire. Invite guests to bring offerings, too. Stacey has some brilliant simple ideas about this so please check out her post. I bought oysters to roast over the fire and I’m writing a letter to someone who died but I still have something dark inside I want to tell him, to let it go. One guest is bringing cookies.
  4. Gathering of friends. You can go it alone but inviting new and old friends brings a community together. I’m keeping my gathering small, just 5-6 of us this first time. We moved our date to Friday to work with everyone’s schedule. It’s close enough!
  5. Quietude, prayer, and contemplation. I’m thinking a moment of silence and then sharing poems, quotes, or songs will fill this element. It can be serious, light or humorous, or all of it. I’ll ask  guests to bring some and I’ll dig some up, too. How many songs can you think of with Sun in the title or lyrics? “You might as well be walking on the sun”, “You are my Sunshine, my only Sunshine”, “Here Comes the Sun”, “Good day Sunshine”, “Sunshine on my Shoulder” . . .
  6. Sources of light. Candles, holiday lights, flashlights, matches, whatever bring about light in the darkness. Stacey says, “And may you remember the infinite light of your divine essence once again.”.
  7. Prayers for the Season. Stacey offers a couple of short prayers you can use or find your own or make them up.

This may seem like a lot but I think it can happen in about 10 minutes if you want it short or you can make it as long as you and your guests like. I hope you take some time today or this week to recognize the darkest time of the year and that the sun will bring light more and more each day. Please tell me how you plan to celebrate Winter Solstice. Read more to see how one brave woman used her imagination to create her ceremony.

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A friend who lives with a serious illness sent me this ceremony this morning. Let your self imagine your ceremony if you can’t have it in reality. Images can be very convincing.

“The morning of Winter Solstice 2016, and a new beginning.

I woke up unusually early with a negative feeling, one that was probably with me when I went to bed. I had fallen back into a pattern of attempting to force the truth from someone. Instinctually, I know this will not happen within any number of days set by me, if ever. So it felt as if I was already living the disappointment.

Wanting to feel better, I thought of the blog Kay Addington McDonald recently made about smudging and how smoke removes negative energy. The idea of this practice reoccurred in the story of Charlotte Pope’s daughter, Marston Blow, when she used sage liberally on herself and the Indians during the violence at Standing Rock.

Being in my cozy blankets, not having sage and it being dark outside – I used my mind to visualize as I’ve been taught in guided meditations by Jodie Lea and Renee Silvus [local yoga teachers]. I saw, the sage wrapped tight and burned down to a fat stick with a smoldering glow. I imagined that by my or some other hand, the smoking sage was made to circle me at and below the root chakra. Slowly, it was brought up and around my chest, neck and then my head. By this time, I felt free of the issue if not for my attention and intention alone.

In my mind, I stood and held the sage over my bed and let it drift about my room and then walked through my small home spreading smoke and letting all negativity disappear with it. I did feel better, but wasn’t able to fall back to sleep. So I made coffee and left a message for this person that allowed them to continue in whatever place they are, but without me.

I acknowledged that I slipped into initiating talk even if it wasn’t right because it’s hard to lose a friend, but that I’m learning to honor myself. I also explained the requirement of truth for me, even in a friendship because it is part of respect and love. I wished them well in their grief from a personal loss that has exaggerated both our shifts, and offered to be available should things change in a manner that becomes appropriate.

I’ve got changes to keep making in the New Year, and want to start my Winter Solstice in a manner that represents that.

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Anticipation

 

Delila state of mind

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They always said DeLila daydreamed too much; she needed to pay attention to her work.

They always said DeLila was rather spacey . . . drifty . . . flighty . . .

Some said DeLila’s imagination was too fantastic; she wasn’t grounded in reality.

One said DeLila would never amount to much.

Another said she was likely to one day just flit away and never come back.

You know what, that’s just what she did.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge:  State of Mind and reposted today for Magic. I wish more people would, if just for a portion of their day, use a state of mind more like DeLila, who I invented here. We could just pop ourselves into a bubble and let the breeze carry us somewhere else. I have no doubt many bloggers practice this way nonetheless. I used this photo recently in another post but it felt appropriate for this week’s challenge. I love the weekly challenges, I ponder them all week and look at my world through a different lens because of the themes.

By the way, after I composed this flash fiction I made a quick internet search for the name Delila which I chose for no good reason. I found this story and songs of Delila, a Kurdish song writer, drummer, protester, warrior woman who was killed by a Turkish soldier. She was not at all like the character I invented here. Her music is delightful and mesmerizing, though I don’t understand the lanuage of her lyrics. 

 

transmogrified

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Definition of transmogrify

transmogrified

transmogrifying

  1. transitive verb

  2. :  to change or alter greatly and often with grotesque or humorous effect

  3. intransitive verb

  4. :  to become transmogrified

I’ve been enchanted with the grotesque since I learned about gargoyles in my 7th grade French class. And I’ve always liked the humorous. Walking in Madrid in September I paused and clicked a few shots of this window decor while my friends advanced ahead of me, not noticing the window or that I was no longer keeping up. The skulls and rocks have been transformed to serve practical functions; they are no longer in their original forms. Go back and look closely and you will see what’s going on inside the room as well as reflections of street action. Let your mind feel the shifts in perception captured by the lens.

And if you like to feel the mysterious and horrifying I think you will like Transmogrify (Starring into the Abyss), the collection of dark and disturbing stories by Richard Thomas. He writes unique blends of horror and noir that dig into your psyche and leave  you cringing for more. The Kindle collection sells for only $0.99 on Amazon.

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I met Richard Thomas when he was instructor at the Horror Writers Workshop Transylvania, Edition 2015, in Bran. One day on our way to write in a haunted castle we had lunch in an ancient cemetery. Richard made the original photo of this group of grave markers and I messed with it a bit to create this transmogrified image.

This post is for the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Transmogrify.

You might like these related photos and posts:

haunted castles and morbid stories

piles of bones, transmogrified, in Washtucna

skull on a blood colored wall

Now, please excuse me. I have crates of bones to transmogrify, and a pair of pumpkins, too, before we ignite the Samhain bonfire this stormy evening.

 

How to be a street performer

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  1. Make yourself an appealing costume.
  2. Pose like a statue until someone puts cash in your box (which you have also decorated and set out in an obvious and inviting way).

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3. With cash secured in your money bucket do your best to pose with the payers.

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4. Stay in character and interact with your patrons. After all, they paid for a performance.

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5. Have a blast with the people you meet. It calls more attention to your performance and makes everyone’s day better.( Eduardo’s slide show has 5 photos; wait for them or click the arrows.)

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6. Perform in Madrid plazas. (Or you own street.)

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7. Or create an interesting sculpture with support so it looks like you are performing a magnificent feat when really you have built something to rest on.

I feel like I saw more street performers in Madrid than I photographed. I have encouraged my drama students to do street performances for fundraisers and I think with more confidence and rehearsals some might do it. Really, I should do this to raise funds for my next travel. Yeah, thinking about it.

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Local

You can’t buy this in a bottle

Spanish Vermut, what a surprise I found in Spain! You can’t buy this in a bottle from local makers. The best vermut bars create their own secret recipe and store it in huge earthen casks like the two you see behind the bartender below. You have to go there to drink their recipe. They start with sweet white wine and infuse it with their own blend of botanicals and spices. Caramelized sugar added at the end gives it the reddish hue. Vermut originates from the German word wermüt which means wormwood, an ingredient generally regarded as one of the first to be infused into aromatized wines. Wormwood is also the main ingredient in true absinthe.

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Doesn’t he look like a local? As I sat with my friends sipping my first ever Spanish Vermut with tapas I couldn’t help notice the architecture and decor of this building in Granada, including the local people who seemed to come here regularly plus the tourists. I shot almost all of these photos from the hip hoping to get candid authentic images without disturbing the feeling that was going on in the bar. We sat at one of the few tables while many people stood at the bar; there were no bar stools. Later, in Murcia vermut bars, I noticed it is common to have no bar stools and a much smaller bar space. Vermut is a Spanish aperitif and people generally walk to the bar, drink a vermut, perhaps with tapas, and then move on. Standing for this makes sense to me. It’s a temporary stop, no need to sit.

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It looked like some patrons came in to see who’s there that they know, or perhaps they planned a ritual check-in with someone. For many it felt like they were performing their routine. It reminds me of “happy hour” before dinner. In Spain it’s “La Hora de Vermut”.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAVermut is served with a thin slice of lemon floating in it or perhaps an orange slice, and maybe stuffed olives for garnish. Tapas might be something pickled.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat has he been thinking about!? And what is she doing on her tablet? Tourists or locals?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHow long has he been working here? Is he the owner?

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I walked so many places in Granada, I’m sorry I don’t remember the name of this place. I think it is Bodegas Castanedas because the images I found in my search are very similar but slightly different from mine. It is near the Moroccan shopping area. If you can identify it, please tell me.

Can you buy Spanish Vermut in the US? . . . Maybe. Check out this guide to the Spanish Vermouth Renaissance to learn more about the varieties, then go to your favorite wine dealers and Spanish restaurants and ask.

This post if my response the the Weekly Photo Challenge: Local.

 

 

 

 

By accident of fate

“Anything  else you’re interested in is not going to happen if you can’t breathe the air and drink the water. Don’t sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet.” » Carl Sagan

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For the Weekly Photo Challenge: H2O

Who’ll Turn the Grindstone?

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Ax grinding was a necessity 70 years ago. A well sharpened tool made work more satisfying. Skill in ax honing was an art. The man or woman at the grinder peddled foot pumps to turn the grindstone. Notice the grinder’s posture as he leans against the tree and holds the blade at a certain angle. He looks fully focused on the task, perhaps in mindful meditation as he listens to the steel and grindstone in harmony with the motion he creates using his body.

When I feel nostalgia* for times gone by, like this sort of work that was part of rural life before I was born, I wonder if people really felt satisfaction from such tasks. Certainly life moved at a slower pace for most before all our modern conveniences, but was it any more pleasant or annoying than our lives today?

*Nostalgia:  a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition. (Mirriam-Webster  Dictionary)

How do you spell ax or axe? Where did the phrase “an ax to grind” originate? What is the story “Who’ll turn the grindstone?”?

By the way, that’s my Great Grandfather Barlow grinding the ax in this image from family archives. He was known for this skill and for growing bountiful vegetable gardens. And this image is my response to this week’s photo challenge:  nostalgia.

For a beautiful photograph of a blade sharpener in a different culture click here. The photo tells a story.

 

What is your Quest?

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Spain’s Parliament Building in Madrid, early Sept. 2016

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA               Spain’s Parliament Building in Madrid, early Sept. 2016

This week’s photo challenge is “Quest”. The topic can be taken a multitude of ways and I have been thinking and free-writing about it. When I looked at photos I made in Spain the first 2 weeks of Sept. this year, this one strikes me as an ultimate quest: the search to be welcome in a country, to take refuge, when people are fleeing unconscionable hate in their homeland. Thank you Spain for displaying your welcome!

Since I returned to Idaho my dad has been in ICU for 12 days in quest for his life. He’s recovering now and is in quest of a drink of water, which he is still not allowed. His ultimate quest is to regain his health. Health and freedom and a welcome environment, how easily we might take these for granted, but for many people they are the only thing important today. What is your quest today?

 

 

Edge

The Arch of Madrid!

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If I sat on the edge of the city arch, would you sit with me? Would you watch the coming and going and secretly comment on the fashion of the times as they pass by? I think it would be rather dreary and dull, don’t you? To sit on the edge for ever so long and never participate in the worldly affairs of human beings, the dull little things.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Edge

 

Frame

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These are first photos using my new Olympus OM-D: E-M5 Mark II. It’s a mirrorless digital camera, very light weight and will do more than a DSLR. I’m taking it to Spain Tuesday and I have no doubt it will perform superbly as a travel camera.

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Frame

The ringlet

Mom & me ringlets

How Mom worked to get my hair in ringlets! And how I wanted to run off and play! My hair is incredibly thick and not easy to curl. But Mom was determined. This photo looks like we had fun, but it wasn’t always a pleasure to sit while Mom fussed with my hair. Dad is still the jolliest man I know and I bet he took the photo. Dads take the best family photos. I don’t know if we were smiling because we loved the ringlet or because we loved each other and Dad made us laugh so easily. All of it, I’m sure. I still wear big straw hats and long hair but I don’t worry much about getting my curls just so.

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Fun!

 

Umbrian Hills

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Sonnet 13        by Mark Jarman

Drunk on the Umbrian hills at dusk and drunk
On one pink cloud that stood beside the moon,
Drunk on the moon, a marble smile, and drunk,
Two young Americans, on one another,
Far from home and wanting this forever—
Who needed God? We had our bodies, bread,
And glasses of a raw, green, local wine,
And watched our Godless perfect darkness breed
Enormous softly burning ancient stars.
Who needed God? And why do I ask now?
Because I’m older and I think God stirs
In details that keep bringing back that time,
Details that are just as vivid now—
Our bodies, bread, a sharp Umbrian wine.

Quilt from Council Quilt Show 2016 in Council, Idaho. 

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Details

Pollinator Partners

 

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Celebrate National Pollinator Week, June 20 – 26, 2016!

I registered my gardens in the Million Pollinator Gardens Challenge. I’m on the map now as “Syringa Hill Farm” at Glendale, Idaho. Registering my garden means simply that I am one in a million gardeners who grows one or more plants that attract pollinators like butterflies, honey bees, bumble bees, bats, humming birds, lizards or any of a number of animals that pollinate flowers. I have several gardens, each a little different from the others. What blooms at my place has to withstand serious summer heat, winter cold and snow, and attacks from rodents that live underground and above ground, and occasionally range cattle and deer when they can get over or through the fence. Wildflowers do well! Having 8 acres, I used to garden on the deck before we fenced out range cattle and deer. Deer tracks in wet soil beneath our new Autumn Blaze maple a few mornings ago warn me that I still need to put up deer net to extend my fence higher than they want to jump.

Just some of the stable plants that I can grow easily here, and on which I’ve seen pollinators include:

bright geraniums

verbena

herbs: comfrey, cat nip and cat mint, sweet marjoram, thyme, oregano, sage, borage

mustard

arugula

squash

any garden food that blooms when I let it go to seed

“Pinks” and Jacob’s Coat roses

lavender

sunflowers

elderberry

wild cherry

How wonderful! As I’m writing this two black chinned humming birds are exploring potted flowers on my deck. I didn’t bring out my camera and the cat is on her harness nearby so I have to keep my eye on the situation. One way I assure more birds in my gardens is to keep the cat tethered. She has a long enough lead but I have to find strategic places to let her enjoy the outdoors considering our predators, including her, and the food chain when we live with wildlife! Just perfect!

You can register your garden here or  here to join the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, too. Do it! You get to display their enchanting logo on your blog and help spread the word about making pollinator friendly gardens and farms. Even one sole flower counts.

You can find out more about growing pollinator gardens and get lovely posters and wall paper and education materials at the websites below.

*Pollinators Home Page: US Fish and Wildlife Service  https://www.fws.gov/pollinators/Index.html

*Million Pollinators Garden website      http://millionpollinatorgardens.org/

*U. S. Forest Service: posters, wall paper, and many resources about wildflowers, native plants, ethnobotany and much more. Gorgeous posters of wildflowers, ferns, bees, grasslands, forests, and other pollinator partners. You can get some free and others you can download the pdf. and print them yourself.           http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/features/posters.shtml 

There are many more websites if you just google “pollinator partners”. Please send me a photo of a flower or garden you grow or find that attracts pollinators. Use the comments below to post them. And please register your garden in the challenge! I’d love to see it! You don’t have to garden in the US to register. My badge is way down at the bottom of my right sidebar. Scroll down to see it.

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Partners