Archive for January, 2011

Paris, Je T’Aime

I haven’t posted in almost 3 weeks.  So much for that resolution, huh?  I did have a good excuse for part of it, a business trip to Paris and extremely limited internet access.  I’ve thought of Paris as my spiritual home for several years,  as it’s been both a refuge and a healing place for me during several tricky patches in my life.  The last time I was in the City of Light was almost five years ago, so this was a long overdue visit.  The Picture Winter prompts provided some good inspiration to look beyond the usual snapshots and find new ways to capture one of my favourite cities anywhere in the world.  Here are some of them.


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This was our prompt on Wednesday, appropriately enough as I had intended to blog every day this month – as usual, life got in the way and it’s already Monday again.  My excuse – I went back to work on hump day and well, enough said.    Trying to find inspiration in every day things, I realised that the grille on our semi-new HHR gave some really neat reflections of the sky and trees, so I went with that as my shot.  

And because I was having trouble focusing in more ways than one that day, I gave myself a little reminder of something else which is intended to be used daily.

“Everything has cracks in it. It’s how the light gets in.”
– Leonard Cohen

And that was Thursday all over.  A day cracked open with deadlines, crazy questions, and a slew of things to do.   I didn’t like any of the shots I took of the window blinds, door, sun, so I went with an abstract idea of cracked pepper looking toward the salty light.   A stretch maybe, but it’s all I had time for.

And then, finally it was Friday.   Look for quiet beauty, our prompt said.  I needed some of that after the first week of the year.  Winter, is after all, supposed to be a time of rest.   Buds sleep underground,  birds huddle quietly against the cold, snow falls gently (well, not where we live, but you get the drift),  everything seems to be suspended, waiting for spring to happen.  My life on the ground has been anything but quiet lately, so for this prompt I decided to look up at the sky, and am so glad I did.    When I was growing up in England I remember we used to call that kind of sky a mackerel sky because it looked like the markings of a king mackerel fish.    If we lived up north the weathermen would be predicting snowstorms and flurries.   Down south, it’s more likely to be rain showers.   The clouds looked so puffy and soft, like cotton wool pillows – or snow on a frozen lake. 

When life is crazy on the ground around you, how do YOU find your quiet beauty?

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Or not, as is the case today.  It’s cloudy with no sun in sight, and this morning’s non-sunny excursion involved taking NB to the doctor for her belated 4-year check up.  She was stellar as usual even with 4 shots and a flu spray.   She’s like me, just gets on with it (insert pat on the back here).  So now we’re taking it easy and enjoying our last vacation day together – tomorrow she’s back to school and I’m back to work.    Sigh.

Yesterday’s Picture Winter prompt found us looking for promise and possibility, either intangible or in our daily lives.   I have a basket of sweet clementines on my kitchen table, and it reminded me of a photograph taken by a fellow classmate from our Picture the Holidays class which I loved and had been wanting to try a version of myself.  She had cut out a little heart from a clementine skin……so I did the same.    I was really pleased with my interpretation and excited to receive many lovely comments in our class gallery.    And an extra compliment was that someone in our PW class was inspired by my capture to do the same for today’s prompt (more on that shortly).

This quote from Mother Teresa (posted by another classmate) sums it up perfectly: 

“Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand.”

Ironically we rented a movie last night and actually watched it to the end.  We have a bad habit of renting and not watching, or falling asleep during.  I believe this happens to all parents with small children on regular occasions.    This one really touched a chord with both of us for many reasons – Crazy Heart with Jeff Bridges.   If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it, not just because it’s well written and acted, but also for the fabulous soundtrack, which we’ll be buying or downloading I expect.

Love is definitely within reach of every hand, whether it’s love for another, or for yourself.

Today’s prompt asked us to find a little sunshine even if it’s cloudy out.  Which it is.  The colour of sunshine can be found anywhere if you take a little time to look for it.   I found mine in my breakfast-for-lunch.   Where did you find yours today?

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A Walk in the Woods

Today’s Picture Winter prompt encouraged us to get outside and find our muse in nature.  This morning as I walked the dog along the bayou adjacent to our house, I heard our state bird singing, and saw him hiding out in a half-dead oleander bush.  I got as close as I dared and snapped some shots among the branches.   Dexter disturbed him with his noisy snuffling and he flew up to the wires above me.   The photo I chose for the prompt was a one-shot deal looking up.  I love the angle of the bird’s neck as he looked around the blue sky.  A little cropping gave me the negative space I needed for a better composition.

Bird on a Wire

It was too nice to stay inside so I texted a good friend and we took our kids to the Arboretum  – spent a good 2 hours wandering the trails and enjoying a wonderful Sunday afternoon in the fresh air.  Now back at home watching the last few minutes of regular season football and reviewing the photos I took.  It was a great day outdoors.  How was your day today?

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Picture My Life

It’s a New Year and I’ve decided to start a blog.  Today I began my fifth class over at Big Picture Classes : Picture Winter with Tracey Clark:  www.bigpictureclasses.com.

January is usually a bit of a downer so I’m excited to have a daily message to inspire my creative eye.  Today’s theme was a Day for Rest.   Many of the others in the class posted cups of tea or pictures of family just hanging out and relaxing. 

For me, today was all about rest-oration through rehydration – I noticed a bottle of Perrier catching the morning light in the kitchen so I decided to shoot a few photographs and used one for today’s theme.  It’s amazing how looking at something in a different way can totally change your perspective, isn’t it?

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