Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Beyond Layers, Day 93, Tag Love

I had already purchased a bunch of regular old tags from Target.  I was not going to do this project--a prompt from Kim's Beyond Layers class--but in the end I could not resist.

I never thought I would care about tags, but I guess I need to remember how much I love the feel of paper. Also these were easy and fun to make. I had some leftover card stock paper and I just used my regular printer. They are simple but will just be a little added touch of something 'hand made' to the gifts I have for people.

Happy Holidays to all!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A collection of single leaves

These days, I have been drawn to photographing single autumn leaves on simple backgrounds.

All of these leaves are leaves I found on the ground that caught my eye. I even found a few on the floor of the parking garage at work or on my own garage floor. I moved the leaves to a different location--sometimes to my porch railing, sometimes to a flag stone on my back yard path, and a few times to a simple white board--for a photograph or two.

I find that each leaf has a character all its own.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Texture Tuesday: Free and Easy Edition

This is the last of Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesdays of 2012. I did not link up as many times as I would have liked. It was a busy year and I stretched myself thin by taking on many new activities:  new role at work with a steep learning curve, starting Tae Kwon Do lessons (which I love), training for a half marathon that I completed in October, more involvement in online and in person photography activities and courses, and more involvement with my kids' in school and out of school activities.

Although I should perhaps pare down the list of activities that I want to do, I do not want to give up any of my new activities that I started in 2012.  I am enjoying every one. Next year, perhaps, I will  try to work my way out of a few activities that I do not enjoy so much or are not worth my effort. Some more delegation (especially of house hold duties) may be in order!


I processed this photograph of a dried hydrangea blossom using Lightroom, Photoshop and Radlab and added a couple of Kim's newer textures. I purposely went heavy on the textures.



Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Shutter Sisters Oasis

"I never thought I would say this, but there really was something magical about it," I told my husband at dinner the day after I got home from Shutter Sisters Oasis.

"Magical?" my six-year-old daughter interjected. "Oh no. I think Mom is going to go crazy!"

My daughter knows all too well that I am not one to believe in magic. I am not one to believe in much at all. I think a lot of things. I have a lot of opinions, but I look at the world from a position that I like to think is firmly grounded in reality.

I went into the trip to Oasis certain that although I would have fun once I got past my initial nervousness and fears, it was going to be just a trip, not a life altering experience; not magical.

I was intrigued when I learned about the 2011 Shutter Sisters Camp, but beyond watching and loving the video slide show that introduced the camp and showing the video to my husband, I did not think that going to something like that was realistic--especially not for me, considering I do not like to break from my routines and step outside my comfort zone--certainly not when I do not have to.

This year, for my birthday, my husband surprised the heck out of me by presenting me with a printout of the registration for Shutter Sisters Oasis. I was so touched by this gift, I cried. But I also had mixed emotions because this was a big (and expensive) gift. I did not know that I was worthy of it. I am not a real photographer, after all. And I did not know that I really wanted to go.

I was nervous about it. I would not know a soul. And I would simply not be like the other women. I knew that. I know how to have fun. I am friendly and loyal and giving and hard-working. But I am not optimistic. I am not a dreamer. I am not a believer. I am not a hugger. I can be cynical. I can seem cold (though, I am not). I am wound tight. From what I have seen of the women who are contributors to and followers of  the Shutter Sisters, I was not going to fit in.

I did get the opportunity to meet one person--Kasey--who lives near me in Indiana ahead of the trip, so that made  the idea of going a little easier; at least there would be one familiar face.And she was cool. It seemed we could be friends.

I arrived early in Palm Springs--well ahead of the three pm check-in time at the Ace hotel. I had rented a car, so I drove around. I went to Target to get a few necessities that I could not bring on the plane.I tried to kill as much time as I could, but I ran out of things to do in this unfamiliar town. And I was without a plan. I went to the Ace hotel early with the intention to find some others who were there for Oasis or to get some lunch or both. Now if I had been going to Palm Springs and the Ace Hotel to stay by myself on my own little vacation, I would have been perfectly at ease. I love to be alone just as much as I like to be with friends and family. And when I am among strangers, I like to stay anonymous. But this trip was not going to be about that. So I was a bit uncomfortable.

I met a couple of women in the lobby and introduced myself. I found out they were first timers to this Shutter Sisters experience like me, so we had that in common. Kasey walked in a few minutes later along with her friend, Amy who also lives in Indiana, so I got to meet her. Soon there was a small group of women in the lobby and before we knew it, we were off to lunch. It was already starting to be something special.

After  the official registration, though, it was Tracey Clark who greeted me first. She asked my name and I told her and then she hugged me even though she did not know me. We had never met before now. I don't think I hugged back; that was not on purpose; that was just me. Part of me wanted to shrink away again.

But I did not. And things only got better from there. I met Kim and we became fast friends and spent a lot of time together for the rest of the trip. Then I met Lin, who lives in Chicago (pretty close to me) and she was a great person to be around; so fun and interesting and friendly. I got to know Lauren (who had eaten lunch with us) and Kasey and Amy better. And any conversation I had with other women was friendly, kind and warm.

There was still a lot of talk about magic and I was not quite buying this but I was certainly starting to have fun. We had dinner and we had drinks (including bad margaritas. One of my favorite moments of the week was when Tracey Clark walked by the table I was sitting at with the other women and she asked the group,  "do you hate the margaritas?"), we had conversations. But magic? Nah.

I also had my plans (I like plans). Well before the trip, I had looked on the internet for places to photograph the sunrise.  The first place I wanted to go was up and out of town on Highway 74. I did that on Monday morning. It did not take me long to decide I did not want to do that again. Apparently, I just do not drive like a Californian! I don't honestly know how people can go so fast down that mountain with all those twists and turns. (I was fine going up because that was not the way the other drivers were going; on the way down, I accumulated such a big line of traffic behind me, I had to pull over to let everyone pass. I was afraid either they would know I was not from here (even with the California plates) or I might be the victim of someone with road rage.)

I had also seen an internet post about going to the Amtrak Station to photograph the wind turbines. The post said the Amtrak Station was always deserted and that was just up my alley. I went there Tuesday morning by myself. Then I went there Wednesday morning with Kim who said she was interested in going and we had a lot of fun--especially when we took photos of our shadows up against the turbines. I went back again on Thursday morning (our last morning there) because I had a car and there were a few other women who wanted to go and had not had the opportunity yet and I certainly did not mind. Each time I went, I got a little closer to the magnificent man-made structures. It was one of my favorite places.

I also wanted to go to Joshua Tree National Park. I did not want to have flown all the way to Palm Springs and miss the opportunity to go to Joshua Tree. I was going to go by myself one of the mornings, but I had a conversation with Kim and Lin and they wanted to go as well. We made a plan to go Wednesday afternoon and be there for sunset. I am glad we went and that I am especially glad I did not go by myself. We had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs. I especially loved that Lin brought her tutu and she was carrying it along with her camera and then said, "I'm going to put this on just so I don't have to carry it." She spent the rest of the time in the park with her tutu on.

I thoroughly enjoyed the planned trip on Tuesday that took us up on the Palm Spring Aerial Tramway to Mount San Jacinto State Park. That is an experience not to be missed. The views and the surroundings up there about 8000 feet are wonderful. And even though I am a bit afraid of heights, the fast ride up was fine . . . even fun.

I was doing everything I wanted to do and I was very busy, which I love. I like to keep moving always--it is a good and bad trait.

I did not realize it right away, but I was changing a little bit, too . . . in small ways and in big ways. I was more relaxed than I have been in a long time. I was not worrying about anything--not about work, not about whether my husband was doing okay with the kids and certainly not about whether he was vacuuming the cereal and popcorn from the carpets every day. (Of course, I missed my husband and kids but to be realistic, it was not that long of a trip I was on!). I also no longer felt like being at Oasis meant--or had to mean--anything in particular. I could just be there and enjoy the company of other women; other photographers; and enjoy my surroundings. And enjoy my time away.

Also, I learned that I do not have to do everything text book correctly. It is okay to get a great shot with a mobile phone; that's not cheating -- in fact, it just might be best way to get a special moment I could miss out on otherwise (thanks to Stephanie Roberts and all those that have iPhones or smart phones with a better camera than mine has for teaching me that.) Now, when can I get one of those?

Taking pictures of people can be fun and satisfying in addition to what I tend to like--nature, macro, landscape--stuff you can hang on the wall. I can learn to take pictures of people better with a little bit of help and practice. Plus, getting a fold up reflector is a great idea. I really enjoyed using Kim's reflector in Joshua Tree National Park. I will be getting one of those.

Also being in the frame is not such a bad thing (some people took some photos of me where I actually think I look pretty good!) and I may even be able to get the hang of the self-portrait thing (though that will take much more practice).

I can be calm. I can relax. I can approach things differently. It is not the end of the world if my son has a horrible morning or two or three and we have to drag him to school; staying calm in the face of that works wonders. Nothing bad is going to happen if I leave all the dishes on the counter during the day while I am at work. I do not have to do everything myself just to prove I can; for goodness sake, it is not a bad thing to hire a house cleaner! I am planning to look into that soon.

Photographically speaking, I learned a lot, too. I may not do a lot of things differently than I have before; it is still difficult for me to promote myself and to refer to myself as a photographer. I still would have to work up a lot of courage to do something like ask to have my photographs put up on display in a coffee shop or book store, but I got a lot of encouragement and I feel inspired to work a little bit harder and do a little bit more. I want to make a difference, even if it is in the smallest way. I want to try.  I still need to figure that out a bit. I can figure it out, though. I will stick with my day job; it is good--even when it is not so good. But I will keep working at photography just because it is a fun. And it is important to me.

Most importantly, I can believe. I do believe--even in magic--in man-made magic. Or, more accurately, woman-made magic.


I want to thank all of those who made Shutter Sisters Oasis possible. I can only imagine the long hours and hard work, talent, skills and thought that it would have taken to organize something like that, with all the research, marketing, phone calls, emails, paperwork, record keeping, and creativity.  And it was flawless; it went off without a hitch. You have my undying admiration and gratitude.

I thought for sure this would be a once-in-a-lifetime trip for me, but now I am determined to come back next year and every year that I can. I am planning on it.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Beyond Layers Day 73--When Inspiration Hits

On Monday, in Beyond Layers, Kim showed us an image on the cover the book A Beautiful Disaster that she found to be inspirational. It was an image of a textured and very blue butterfly in a jar. The image can be seen here.

Kim urged us to use that image as inspiration only and create our own unique image. She also gave us a couple of lovely textures to try out.  I really liked the blue and the texture and the light of the book cover image.

At first, I was not going to process any of the photos I took of these dandelions (yet again) on this particular morning's shoot. Dandelions are not unique for me as a photographic subject. I love them and I cannot get enough. When I first went through the images of this shoot, though, I did not think anything was salvageable. I was a little disappointed because I had done everything technically 'right': I used a tripod; I used early morning light; I had on mirror lock up; I turned off my image stabilization; all of the things I should do. But I felt like the images did not work out. I wasn't sure about the focus. There was obvious movement (which was likely from a bit of breeze), etc. It was just not what I wanted to see with these images, I guess--not what I expected. However, after seeing Kim's post and wanting the inspiration to hit (and also just wanting to complete an exercise in this class because I have gotten myself terribly behind, again), I took another look. I decided this one could work as something to add a lot of processing and textures to . . . go a little overboard; have a little fun.

Below is the image I came up with. I did some cross processing, used Lightroom, Photoshop and Radlab and went heavy on both of Kim's new textures: 'steelish' and 'naturally'. I was a fun exercise.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Texture Tuesday--Free and Easy Edition

A photo of some rain drops on day lily leaves. I used Kim's 'take heart' and 'nesting' textures on this.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Texture Tuesday, Partings eDition

For Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday. The challenge was to use one layer of her 'partings' texture.d a

I call this one 'don't shed a tear'.

I used two layers of Kim's texture--one at multiply and one at soft light blend mode.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Texture Tuesday--The Not-Necessarily Textured Edition

This week for Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday, there are no restrictions . . . anything goes. The image can be textured or not, processed or not--any image. But me being who I am and this being called 'Texture Tuesday', I still have to stick with linking up with a textured image.

This photo was taken at Raquette Lake, NY in the late afternoon sunshine this summer (July 5 to be exact). I so want to go back there right now . . . if only I was closer. It's a 13 hour drive, though. We have a place there--a sort of investment property (but how good of an investment, I don't know--more of dream for the future, I suppose). My parents and brother and his wife are going to stay there this weekend for a little getaway. I am a tad envious that I cannot join them but also happy that they can go there for another fun time at Raquette and also happy to share this place I hold so dear with vacationers who choose to rent from us and are always back in touch with news of an enjoyable and peaceful time at our 'camp' in Raquette Lake.
I processed this image in Lightroom with basic adjustments and a preset and then in Photoshop and Radlab. I added three of Kim's textures ('dream-it', 'take heart' and 'the way' at different blend modes and not too heavy).


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Beyond Layers Day 64

I am really behind in Beyond Layers. I have skipped lots of lessons and exercises. I did not participate in the pieces of me scavenger hunt at all and as interesting as that sounded, I think I will skip that at this point.

I have not yet started on the shape exercises, but I do think that will be a valuable exercise and I want to do that. For me a lot of the problem is I only spend my free time (sometimes) doing photography (usually after work and when the light gets a little better) and I do not ever use a phone camera for spur of the moment photos. I don't have an iphone and my android devices does not have a good quality quality camera, so I don't see the point. I prefer to always use my dSLR and for that, I need to be a bit more deliberate. For certain, there is no taking photos at work or on the way home from work and such.

I can do the shape exercise in time  . . . the important thing is the idea and the understanding of what it can do is there.

Overall, I am realizing I have to relax about the Beyond Layers course and realize that, really, just reading the emails and prompts and watching the videos is enough. I have learned a lot  . . . so much about Photoshop that I never knew and even if I stopped now, it was well worth it . . . and on top of that, I've learned about myself.

I won't stop, but I will relax and do what I can . . .


For the above image, I used Kim's 'Jay' texture and followed a lot of her tips and tricks about masking. I did not need to as much with this as I would have if my image was different, but I really loved the backslash trick . . . that was helpful. How would I ever find out about that if it were not for Kim?


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

'Laundry Mat'

I saw this sign in Indian Lake, NY. It tickles me. I cannot help picturing a big, black mat with laundry spread out on it, drying in the sun.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Texture Tuesday--Free and Easy

For Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday. This is a  photo of the sunset over Lake Pend Oreille (pronounced ponderay) in Idaho. My husband's family has property there and we go every summer for a visit.

I changed the look of the photo with some cross processing in Lightroom, Photoshop and with Radlab and then applied the texture. I don't honestly recall which texture I used (I think it was 'take heart'), but I know it was Kim's because I always use hers. 


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Texture Tuesday: Dream-it Edition

For Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday: dew-covered spider web, taken on a foggy morning on the bridge at Raquette Lake, NY.

I used two layers of her Dream-it texture: one with the multiply blend mode at 22% and one with the soft light blend mode at 45%.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Close-up of a spider web

I had gotten up at dawn to take photos during my annual vacation in one of my most beloved places--Raquette Lake, NY. The fog was dense that morning so I turned my focus and camera to the dew covered spider webs.

Rock the Shot


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Beyond Layers, Day 49, Color Storyboard

Kim Klassen taught us how to make a color storyboard in Day 49 of her Beyond Layers e-course. It is a fun and easy thing to do and makes for a lovely display.

I took the photo of these buttercups on the top of Blue Mountain in the Adirondacks on our recent trip back there. I processed the photo in Lightroom and Photoshop, as well as with Radlab. I added a couple of texture layers as well.

She gave us a bonus lesson to create a shaped color palette as well using the brush tool.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Beyond Layers, Day 47, Polaroid Love

This was a really fun exercise from Kim Klassen's Beyond Layers. She shared some Polaroid frames for download and told us how to make 'fake' Polaroids :)

I edited this photo of my daughter using some presets in Lightroom and a couple of vintage color stylets in RadLab.

I think her scraped-up knee is a nice touch and adds to the feeling of summer, but she would probably disagree. She thinks she has a major wound!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Texture Tuesday--Flower Edition

I used one layer of 'peony' and one layer of 'reverie' on this image. For Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Image for Beyond Layers Day 45

I did a challenge for Beyond Layers on the same day it came to my inbox!

Kim is keeping it a bit more light for the summer, which is welcome for me. It is not that I am too busy, but in summer, it is always more difficult to do projects and computer work because of the longer days, the growing lawn (though we have been in a drought and I have not mowed the lawn in weeks . . . but today, just now, we are getting a bit of rain--yay!) and the feeling that we need to be getting out as much as possible and should not be sitting in front of a screen so much.

For this exercise, Kim shared some of her favorite fonts and gave us a recipe and a few tips to follow in Photoshop. I followed the tips, but I could not help myself and I used Rad Lab on the image as well . . . not sure if I've become too dependent on that app--maybe, but I sure like Rad Lab.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Book Spine Poetry (Day 52, Beyond Layers)

I finally got around to doing my book spine poetry for Kim Klassen's Beyond Layers. I would really like to catch up and do every exercise, but I think that I might have to skip a few of the challenges at this point.

This was a fun exercise that I enjoyed. I have not been reading as much or as fast as I'd like. It is taking me months to finish one book, but looking at my books on my bookshelf made me feel like speeding it up again . . . if I can.

This is 'my' poem :)

Lives of girls and women
In the land of men
out of the dust.

taking chances

A while back, Kim Klassen wrote to those of us in her Beyond Layer class about taking chances (I'm terribly behind in her class). I have always lived my life safely and I have always done the normal thing. I have wrote about that before. The biggest drag on my life in recent years has been my job. Now I know that I should not complain. I know that I am lucky to have a job--a good job with a decent company (most of the time) and with very nice benefits. This is what some people themselves dream about--especially in this economy; it's just that I had no passion for it anymore. It was worse than feeling like a cog in a machine. Honestly, I am okay with that because at least the cog has purpose. I felt like I was a cog spinning outside the machine for several years. But I felt like I could not quit . . . at least not without another opportunity so I could continue to meet my responsibility to support my family financially.

A couple of years ago, I was about to take a big chance. I was going to go work for a former boss (the best boss I ever had) at the company she had started working for as a Vice President. I was going to move out of Indiana and back to my home state of NY (I will always think of that as home) and I was going to be able to work from home full time. I was as close as I could have been but then my former boss got disillusioned with her job and experienced some management changes that caused her to take the chance and resign so she could pursue studies in bio-ethics and try to get a job in academia. I felt like it was the right thing to do for her and in addition, I felt like she was lucky and brave to take that chance (but also, I realized she somewhat set up for it since she had reached retirement age at the company and while, perhaps not drawing a large pension because it was early retirement age, she at least had health benefits . . . let's face it, that is a big and maybe the biggest reason why people work for corporations in the US! Private insurance is just too expensive.) So in the long run, it all may be for the best.

After that fell through, I (admittedly) badgered my husband into buying a vacation home in the a town called Raquette Lake, NY which is in the Adirondacks. This is one of my favorite places in the world. It is another chance that may not be paying off right now (we do plan to rent it out but are off to a slow start on that!). The real motivator was to just do something toward my dream of moving out of Indiana and be able to spend longer amounts of time there. The realistic idea is that after we retire, we can sell our house in Indiana and split our time between Raquette Lake and Idaho (another favorite place and where my husband has family). The, perhaps, unrealistic idea is to be able to go there for a month and work from there for 2 or 3 weeks and take a little vacation time, too. My husband tells me I'm dreaming about that and I probably am, but I also have some work colleagues who have said that it should not be a dream and I have to agree! Why not, right? Even there, I would have all the tools I need (though cell phone service is spotty, but there is a perfectly fine land line). But not sure . . . not many people do things like that at my company; I just think they should. There is really no thought of moving there year round and permanently, though. It is a town that has no kids. The school is 20 miles away . . . just not a place to bring up kids.

I did recently make one small step and I got a new job in the same company I work in. It is not a major chance, but it is something. I think I will like it okay, but I'm off to a slow start. One thing I know is I do like my new boss better than my old one.
                                                                            . . .
The picture above is of my daughter, Margot. I like the way she appears in the picture: she appears to be at once up to something and dreaming of something. She wants to be a veterinarian or a paleontologist or a marine biologist/dolphin trainer when she grows up. I love her dreams and aspirations.                                                                      

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Quote Week Day Four: Intentions (Beyond Layers)

Sometimes I think that the grass is  greener somewhere (almost anywhere) else. Sometimes I wonder that if only I could go somewhere else or had gone somewhere else, do something else or had done something else, what would my life be like? Sometimes I spend a lot of time looking forward to the next thing: 'just wait until such and such a day comes or such and such a thing happens, then I will be happy.' I do not think there is really harm in looking forward and in planning for a future, but I have also grown to realize that I need to appreciate where I am and bloom where I am planted. . . . that is my intention.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Change (quote week, beyond layers)

"You miss 100% of the shots you never take." I love that. One way I need to change is to start taking more 'shots'. I have lived too safely--often afraid to go for something--to put myself out there--because I'm afraid of rejection. I tell myself I will not succeed anyway, so why try?

I had written about my photography goals a while back (based on another prompt from Kim), and I am going to take a shot at getting my work displayed locally.

Recently, a  colleague of mine at work wrote me an instant message that said 'your photography is mind blowing and beautiful'. I did not even know where she had seen it and she said she had ran across it on the Imagekind website where I had posted some items in the past. It turns out she is an artist (a painter) who also dabbles in photography. She said she is trying to get her work displayed in a local library, so I am thinking that the two of us could at least sit down and talk about how to go about that and support each other.

She showed me some of her paintings and they are beautiful. I am going to set up an appointment with her to show her some of the websites I have found inspirational (including, of course, Kim's) and just start that conversation about our 'other' life away from the corporate world of being artists (still that artist word is hard for me to say applies to me). Who knows, much may come from it or nothing as far as publicity but still, it is certain to be a new friendship, which is enough.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Quote for Life (Beyond Layers, Day 38)

I'm jumping around quite a bit in Kim Klassen's Beyond Layers class. I hope to catch up completely someday, but I'm not sure I will. Anyway . . .

This week is 'quote week'. The challenge is to search for a quote that we like based on a word prompt. Yesterday's (yes, I'm behind already) prompt was 'life'. I found this quote and it immediately struck me as true.

There are so many things people should let go of: grudges, regrets, hang-ups, fears, losses, disappointments, envies . . . to name a few.

And there are so many things people should hold on to: friends, loves, hopes, dreams, desires, happiness . . . life . . . now to get to that fine mingling.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Beyond Layers, Day 33, PS Recipe

Kim gave us a Photoshop recipe to follow for day thirty-three's lesson. I followed it almost exactly for this image, but I did end up cooling it off a bit using Rad Lab. I also added a subtle frame.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Texture Tuesday. Free and Easy Edition

After processing this with Lightroom and Rad Lab, I used one layer of Kim's 'Let Go' texture on this image.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Living Fully or Frantically? (Day 30, Beyond Layers)

Kim Klassen, in her Beyond Layers class, asked us this: are we living fully or frantically? She shared with us a few quotes about being busy from a book she is reading, which I loved:
  • "We know you're busy. Now shut up about it."
  • "Busy? Get in line. That's life."
  • "We fill up our lives. That's what humans do. The question is what are you filling it with. Are you out of control busy, or are you full with life? Full is beautiful. Frantic is a buzz kill."
I can relate with all these quotes. I have been getting more and more frustrated with the amount of people around me who have to declare their busy-ness . . .as if it is a badge of honor to be so, so busy. One of my work colleagues consistently remarks to me when he sees that I am using my lunch hour to go for a 4 mile run, "I wish I could do that, but I am far too busy" . . . as if it is a dig. I just smile and move on, but what I want to say is, "no you don't and no you aren't". And I think this is true. We are ALL busy, but it is about priorities. I believe we can make time for the things we want to do. I believe we have a lot more time in our days than we think we do.

As far as living fully . . . well, I'm not sure I've figure that out yet. Do I eliminate the things I don't really want to do? No. That is hard . . . some of those things just feel like responsibilities. I don't think we can go through life doing just what we want to do . . . of course, that is not what Kim was trying to relay; nor what the author of the book she quoted was trying to say. It is more about doing those things just the way they need to be done--with a purpose; with a reason and with a drive to get them done and not whining through it.

 Kim urged us to slow down--in life and in our photography. Slow down enough to be present and to really see; to really think about what we are doing, to really be there in the moment. She challenged us to not snap away just because we can in this digital age (which I love). To think of it as if we were using film--24 shots, 36 shots--that is it.

One thing that helps me to slow down is to use a tripod. I know the importance of a tripod in photography but I often do not want to use one. At times, I am self-conscious about being seen with a camera and tripod and other times I just find it inconvenient and maybe even a little annoying, but it does certainly force me to slow down. The last few times I went out to take shots of water drops and dew, I used my tripod for all the shots whether I needed it or not.