I’ll say it right here and now: “Good riddance, summer! Hello, sweet fall… ”
Sometimes, It’s Just Tough
I’ll admit it, summer sucked. I’m frankly stoked to be moving on from those hellish weeks. Over these past summer months, I needed to focus on backend admin/business systems stuff that had to be done, but am SO not gifted at doing myself, nor do I enjoy it. UGH! There were big learning curves and they were slooowww. But I plugged away at it for weeks – and eventually got it done. Not much photography got done, not much else besides slogging away behind a computer. REALLY not my happy place.
Where it went sideways was in my head for some reason; I had this weird stumble in terms of confidence and feeling good about stuff. Like, everything. It went to a dark place. Somewhere along the way, I got all off and judgy about myself, to the point of considering quitting and doing something else entirely. Luckily that last one didn’t last TOO long, only for the length of… summer! Blech! 😝
Mind you, I have really great self-care tools, from years and years of personal development work. I used ALL of them. Then had to get creative and develop a few more. Those voices in your head… man, you gotta stay on your toes to not start listening to them! I have a friend who says “My mind is out to kill me”. Mostly I think she overstates. But a few times over the past couple of months I actually thought she had a point!
Life itself really hadn’t changed, but suddenly I felt intense pressure about everything – and like a failure in certain areas on top of it. Like I’d made too many mistakes to recover from – and like my life just was never going to be as wonderful as I dreamed. And on and on from there. #Misery.
The ICK Overlay
At the same time, in the very same breath, I counted every one my blessings, looked around and saw the amazing things I’ve accomplished. What an amazing home I have, fabulous husband, friends. Yet, I couldn’t tell ANY of them how tortured I felt – and how I had feelings like nothing I do matters and how I felt like my dreams were slipping away.
It was like having this nasty overlay of ICK pressing down on top of what I really know is true and real in my life (the good stuff)… and having two clashing soundtracks playing LOUDLY at the same time. Definitely one helluva rackety dirge of misery!
My Bettylou-ism Of the Day
It was weird, I’ll tell you that. But something my mother taught me stuck with me (I call these “Bettylou-isms”). Even on the worst days, this one was my shoehorn into eventually allowing a shift: “If it makes you feel bad, it’s a lie.” I kept thinking; “OK, so here I am… a talented, blessed person who has friggin’ LIES spewing in her head 24/7, keeping her awake at night, gnawing at her soul by day. Awesome!”
But knowing they were lies helped. I mean, I’ve had times like this in my youth, but not in a loooooonnnnng time. Back then I didn’t know those nasty critical voices weren’t really mine. This time I did, even if they had me by the short hairs for awhile.
So I did the one thing I know to do: focus on the light of all-that-is and hang in there. Just… Hang. In. There. EVERYTHING gets better, everything changes… and I’m not in control of how and when. I just know I have to choose the highest Light and focus on that.
One thing I finally had to step back from: social media. It is so NOT a confidence builder! I even stopped writing here on my blog for a bit – and spent as little time on my computer as possible. Every time I sat down in front of either or both, the voices got louder. My skin felt hot and prickly. It made me want to walk away and never look back.
On the bright and somewhat amusing side: all this crapiola was certainly not without humor ( if a little dark) and the appropriate theatrical expression. You’ll appreciate that I have THE movie moment (it played in my head ALOT) for this entire episode. You know how I movie moments.
It’s from “Inside Daisy Clover”, starring Natalie Wood – complete with French subtitles:
Yep, some nutbar moments there. I love how it all happens in a recording studio, which is kinda perfect in my world! Anyway, there it is: my summer in a nutshell.
Now: I’ve rolled over the hump and am motoring down the other side. WHEW! I’m sooo freaking glad! Right now, I’m not back on social as much as I was and I’ve had to simplify things in my life. I’m getting back to my roots of photography… both on the ground and in the air. I’m starting to feel energy and excitement over what I do again… and about sharing it with all with you. I care about my purpose in life again… and love the way that feels in my veins.
So, bring it, fall… and HELLO to all the awesome stuff that has just happened and that’s coming up. KelbyOne, DJI, my Artist’s Voice Retreat in France, my stepson’s wedding at the end of October… me ‘n Valerie Jardin‘s photography project in Mexico in December, guest appearing on her new podcast: “Hit the Streets”. All upcoming, all will be shared… and all happening because I managed to remember a few simple things:
- If it makes you feel bad, it’s a lie.
- Focusing on Light is key.
- This too will pass. (another Bettyou-ism)
My humble thanks to God and the angels… and to those who love for as I am. Not perfect, but amusing to hang around. 😉
PS… Here a couple new recent pieces (one impressionistic, one more based in reality) I made after NOT creating anything new for WEEKS. It felt really good. Welcome back, creativity!
Both photographed with my favorite camera: the Fujifilm X-T2. Love that little beast like the old country! It gives me ideas and encourages me to try things… DEFINITELY my happy place!
Holy cow, time is flying! I feel like it’s been ages since we met up and the days just keep getting shorter, even as the clock says they’re longer (at least on this side of the world)! How is that even possible??
Getting Ready for France, ‘n Stuff
Over here, I’ve been working behind the scenes getting projects, business stuff, life stuff and travel stuff all fluffed up in preparation to be gone for 3 weeks in France!! That’s a long trip for me… and I couldn’t be more excited! So much more to come, but today I thought I’d share where I’m at with Lady Fuji.
Since I’m going mirrorless with a Fuji XT1 on le upcoming trip, I’m doing my best to get comfortable with my new camera system. Y’know, learn from the ground up… find its strengths and weaknesses… find MY strengths and weakness.. and generally be as quick-draw ready as I can be. There’s alot to learn! You really can’t apply full-frame rules across the board with these mirrorless cameras.
NOTE: In case you’re curious, this is the most recent in a series of posts I’ve been making about my personal search for the most suitable mirrorless camera solution for my particular needs. Here’s how it went down:
Ansel Adams is a legend. His explorations, both in photography and in wilderness, as well as his environmental work have informed all who came after. Wouldn’t it be something to have that kind of impact over time? Of course, you probably wouldn’t know it – because you’d be gone, but that’s beside the point.
I know for sure he influenced how I see light, how I consider composition… the tones I aim for in my black and white work… and my love of photographing the outdoors.
Recently, I was searching for quotes to go with a project I’m working on. In the process, I kept running across these really great ones from Ansel Adams. They didn’t work for the project – but I saved them anyway. I thought I’d share a crop of my fave “thoughts du Ansel”. You’ll notice I put a photo with each one – NOT because I’m comparing myself to the Master, nor imagining that I’m “all that”.
It’s just that each of these are things that I do my my best to keep in mind, that actually inform my choices, that drive my own growth, that I have to remind myself of often, that make me smile or that I just think are cool. I imagine some variation of each of these in every image I create… and certainly did my best to do so in the ones I’m sharing here.
“Photography, as a powerful medium…
offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation and execution.” – Ansel Adams
What’s in a Name?
I think up names to entertain myself. Like the title of this post: “Ibarionex & Mini Cooper.” Doesn’t that sound like an awesome kid’s book? You read it and think “Who the heck ARE these characters? I must read it to find out!”… and you dive into the exploits of these two as they duck, bob and weave their way through a plethora of wild adventures.
I should probably write that book.
But for this reality selection, Ibarionex Perello is actually a wonderful photographer, workshop leader and podcaster. He’s also a lovely human being and he interviewed me for his Candid Frame Podcast this week. You can click the link and scroll down to listen. We had one of those “life is light” conversations… as much about the esoteric side of art and photography than hard core tech. OK, a lot more! I loved chatting with him – hope you enjoy having a listen!
The Mighty Mini
As for Mini Cooper… well, we have a Cooper’s Hawk. I say we “have” a hawk (even thought it’s more like he has us) because he’s taken to spending a fair amount of time on top of our 2-story house, hunting. He’s excellent at catching moles and voles with his (or her) incredible vision. That’s awesome for us, since we’re just about overrun with them! Our house is next to a small lake, which is rather like hanging out a bright, underground, neon sign that screams: “Rodents and Vermin Welcome Here!” They tear up the ground so badly we could hardly walk across certain sections without falling through to our ankles. At least until our hawk showed up. Grin.
He’s not as big as the other birds of prey who frequent the ‘hood: the red tailed hawk and Osprey are much bigger. But I love our little Cooper’s Hawk… especially the day he was hunting in the rain and stopped to shake off the water. Hawks always look so intense to begin with. Then the moment right before he shook he just looked so… Angry Bird. Hahah! So late one night, I just went there with the whole idea – just to entertain myself.
I share it on the chance you’re easily entertained too. 🙂
Frequencies of Intent & Waterfall Love
Waterfalls always feel so cleansing, don’t they? The sound, the spray, the colors, the ions… all spell ‘reinvigorate’.
I always feel like art and photos can contain a ‘frequency’, just like sound does. Having worked with sound waves thousands of times over the years as a professional voice artist, I’ve thought a lot about this; the way feeling and emotion weave themselves indelibly & deeply into a wave form.
When I settle in with a favorite photo or other form of art, I can likewise feel the intent and purpose of the artist – hear their “voice” – just as clearly as if they’d spoken. Which they did! I love works with positive intent the most. The ones with intent to make you feel fuller, better, uplifted in some way. That’s the energy I want around me all the time. And now… more than ever… I believe it’s important to be purposeful in our lives about that.
Waterfalls feel cleansing. Soothing. Invigorating and peaceful all at the same time.
I love waterfalls, don’t you?
This one is Horsetail Falls in Oregaon. 2.5 second exposure. It felt REALLY good to be there… when I look at this, I can still feel it. Love that!
Me Loves Options
Sometimes I don’t know if I love black and white or color better. Or… big, open space epic photographs or macro. Or… chocolate or really ripe raspberries.
Then I retrieve my senses and remember that I don’t have to choose! In this lifetime, on this planet – we get options and choices. I treasure that to my very core.
(SIDEBAR: I created this one in Macphun Software’s Tonality Pro. I love how fast it is – and how you can bring back color selectively like here, or split tone in the blink of an eye. Should I tell you that all of Macphun’s software is 40% off until Nov. 29? I think it’s fair… cause maybe you love a discount as much as I do and want the option to git one!)
Visiting San Diego
San Diego was calling. I answered.
Mostly, I answered my awesome friend Laurie Rubin. She a wildlife and nature photographer, fabulous teacher and recently moved back to San Diego, where she’s a regular at the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park. She’s been beckoning. How could I resist?
So the hubs and I jumped on a plane this weekend and visited all of Laurie’s incredible animal friends. It was a rich time to visit: they’ve got more babies this year than they’ve had in a looooooong time. That’s one of the cool things about both of these places; the animals have families, live long lives and what an amazing place they have to do it in! The Safari Park is where many of the animals are conceived and raised… and it’s all done in a very large area, where even sensitive animals, never successful bred in captivity before, have large families. A few have been saved from extinction here: one species, the white rhino, has 2 of its last remaining 7 members of its species living out their final days here.
Truly Amazing Animals
Little Joanne is 8 months old. She lives with her mama, papa, brother and grandparents and here, had a little downtime on mom’s back. Just before then, she had entire crowds of people cooing, oohing and ahhhing with a blink of her baby brown eyes… and even as the pair disappeared for some privacy, folks sighed.
Some Stuff I Like About This Photo
Y’know what I like about this photo? The colors. The light. The tree. The clouds (lerrrrrv the clouds!). The way it looks like the tree is dreaming those clouds out of its dreamy little noggin. That it’s vertical. Just some stuff I like about it. It’s not a million dollar print, but it’s a cool little photo, IMHO. It was taken in Croton-on-Hudson, New York (literally ON the Hudson!) a couple of weeks ago.
The questions cycles around with irregular regularity: “If you knew __________________ (the world were ending, this was your last day on the planet… you know, fill in the blank with whatever dire thingie you choose)… would you still photograph?”
Two things always come pop into my mind on that one…
First: you really never know WHAT you’d do until you’re faced with such a dire thingie. Or the opportunity to ONLY what your heart desires most.
Second: Yes. And if I didn’t have my camera with me… I’d take pictures with my eyes and imprint them on my soul. I would take the time to do that; that’s the part of photography I love most, anyway. And I know that THAT’S what I’ll be taking with me out of this whole photography deal.
Rolling In The Deeper Side of Things
“Good God, Karen!” I hear you exclaim. “What sent you off into the deep end of philosophical tangents?”
Well, I pretty much always think about such things. But on top of it, I gotta say – building a website as a brand to contain your true heart and soul fine tunes your focus. It makes you REALLY dig deep and think about what’s most important, what you stand for – and stand behind, it defines you in ways you never expect until you build one. Mine will reflect who I am more completely than ANY website I’ve ever had. And I’ve had them since 1998.
And then lately – that question has been cycling around, as it does. I’ve been seeing it on blogs, in articles, in conversation. In fact, I just read a variation on it again on a good photographer friend James Brandon’s blog.
Dream States and Green Smoothies
Creating content for my new website (due in Oct/Nov) has put me in a semi-dream state.
I’m not dreamy all of the time, mine you – only some of it. It’s unpredictable. Like just now, for instance. I was daydreaming about a piece I’m working on… as I poured green smoothie into my coffee mug. Mind you, I had a glass right there awaiting said smoothie… but instead I looked down and realized my coffee cup was full, glass was empty. Hmmmm.
But I’m getting used to it. For weeks on end over the summer, it was all about work on the “crunchier” side of website creation… copy, concept, organization, decisions, research and learning curves ad nauseum. The stuff that is SO necessary and definitely time-intensive, but that is about as much fun as gnawing on a rawhide bone. (Which, from time to time over the summer, I’ve actually considered doing as a stress reducer!) That was ON TOP of having over-committed earlier this year, then spending the next 6 months fulfilling on those promises. Whew! It’s been a ride, to say the least.
And now… Aaaaaaah! It’s time to create new works, experiment, dream stuff up, play. Yes, there are still emails to return, commitments to show up for and all that… but getting to finally spend time in my happy art zone is soothing my tattered nerves.
Yesterday’s post about Phil the Peacock has a Part 2.
It’s name is Jim.
He’s Phil’s fully technicolor counterpart.
He also lives at The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine; and was named after the dean of the Cathedral, The Very Reverend Dr. James A. Kowalski.
What follows is what I learned about Jim during my short visit.
Back from New York… aaahhhh
I’m back on my mountain home turf… in incredible contrast to the marvelous urban jungle of New York City!
I loved every minute of my time in NYC… and have SOOOOO many photos to share yet. But after a late night arrival back to California, a quick flight down to Southern California the next day, followed by a 6 hour drive (with stops) up the hill to Truckee the day after that… man, I’m ready to park it!
Tired, sore-throaty me finds incredible soothing and restoration in visiting some of the images I brought home from Washington, the week before heading east.
Like this one, from Sol Duc Falls. Aaahhhhh, it’s like a cool, soothing throat lozenge for the eyes…
The Thing About Waterfalls
You get soaking wet, unless you wear rain gear.
Your ears ring after awhile.
You REALLY don’t want to fall in!
Photographing waterfalls is exhilarating, fun, tricky as heck, full of endless possibilities!
Me Loves Our Geese
You have no idea how much I love the geese who live on our pond. It’s crazy! Every year the same core group come back in the spring, no matter the weather, nor how freezing it is… no matter what.
Every year, I eagerly wait to see if any babies arrive. They don’t always – it must be part of nature’s checks and balances. Three years ago, a pair had 4 adorable little ones… I was in love! Then, I went away for a few days in May – we had a cold snap, a snowstorm, sub-freezing temps. (It’s been known to snow on 4th of July on rare occasions around here!). I came back and… no more babies. I was crushed. Morose for weeks. Even the geese seemed depressed for quite awhile after that.
The next year – nothing. Sigh.
Last year – one precious baby. We named him/her Junior (how creative!) – and I documented his/her growth into adulthood. He/she grew up with a entire flock of aunties and uncles watching out for him/her and eventually the whole gang flew away for the winter.
This year they’re back and… its Gosling-palooza out on the pond!! A veritable nursery out there. A dozen new babies… one family of 5, one of 6 – and a pair with just a single gosling to call their own.
OMG, they make me nuts… this is just one example why:
Opportunity in “Meh”: Change Your Eye-Set
It wasn’t an incredible day at the beach, photography-wise. No epic skies prepping for an eye-popping sunset, no late-day golden filtered light turning everything in sight to spun gold. No, it was just a nice fresh day at the beach. And I was in the mood to photograph.
So I had to change my eye-set. Like a mindset shift for my eyeballs. I started thinking depth of field, movement, cool rocks, green seaweedy/algae stuff growing on said cool rocks… and the locals. I always call the sea gulls and whatever critters live, work and play in an area “the locals”.
This was one funny moment. Let me ‘splain myself…
The hubs and I took an afternoon to go out shooting. We decided to trek up into Sierraville and Sattley, two small towns in the Sierra Nevada mountains near where we live. I love that whole area; with its big, epic valleys and sweeping views. It’s mostly cattle and working ranch country… and I love photographing the old barns out there.
As we rolled down the road to a site we wanted to photograph, this long herd of cattle strolled along the fence lining the road. They were lovely ladies, one and all… and marched along with great purpose, single file. Clearly, they were on a mission… and it needed to be photographed! So, we drove a little ahead of them, pulled over and grabbed our cameras and long lenses.
The Chat: Part 2 with Daria Musk on Monday!
Part 2 of my Chat with Daria Musk is coming this Monday! Watch it here on the blog and on my streams on Google+ and Facebook. It’s so much FUN!! We finish our conversation from last week (if you didn’t catch that one… you can see it here!) Then she sings!
Did you know: Daria has a philosophy about “Laughing in the Face of the Lion”. She explains it here. It’s very cool. It was just one of the many insights she shared with us throughout both episodes.
That IS what this show is all about, after all.. insights. From folks who have been/are engaged in living their life as if it were their art… and being successful at it!
They laugh in the face of their lions (or tigers, as the case may be)… stay focused and follow their star.
It’s end of summer and also the end of my unplanned bloggity-blog hiatus. You may not have even noticed; I know how busy you are. 😉 But I’m back now, with much I’m about to announce! Stay tuned for that. But first: I thought I’d ease back into the swing by sharing one of my recent artsichord (like that word? I made it up. heh.) experiments. A triplet of roses, plus a neighbor; with one showing everybody else how it’s done.
My about-to-be-announced project started like they all do: me thinking “Oh, that’ll be a piece of cake!”… and ending up on a steeper learning curve, with more delays and challenges than I ever dreamed possible! But there’s universal intelligence at work for ya. If you knew how hard something was going to be going in, you’d probably not even start! Along the way, I had less time to process photos, less time for everything except total immersion.
Somewhere along the way though, I finally had to just stop, smell the roses and process some photos! Not surprisingly, my creative desires are emerging from my “voyage d’immersion” with cravings for some different flavors. Here, I ended up playing with textures, light and contrasts in an entertainingly (to me, anyway) new way. Figured I’d share the steps. This is ONE of the finished pieces, followed by each step along the way. There are about 10 of them. You might want to get a little coffee, glass of wine, a nosh. Here goes:
Since I love shooting sunsets, I especially watch for thunderstorms. Up in the Sierra Nevada mountains where I live, they are most prevalent in July/August – and are pretty much “drop everything” events if you’re a photographer! My electronics and computer equipment doesn’t love them – but my camera sure does! Here’s one from a few days ago:
I’m engaged in an ongoing creative experiment. It’s about shifting myself into new way of thinking – and living. Maybe “more expanded” is a good term for it. I’ve been at this in my personal life for awhile (OK, my whole life has been about this sort of thing!)- now I’m actively taking it new places in my photography. I walked you through one late evening adventure of it on this earlier post.. For this post, although I’ve got 3 photos to show you – I’m not prepared to tell you exactly how they happened. Note to self: get better at floating around in these right brain zones and still take notes! But I do have some thoughts. And they start with this photo… a jpg of the original RAW:
I live by a little lake in the mountains. We moved here a few years ago from only 2 miles away – but the entire world has changed. Before, it was all pine trees, all time. Truckee is, after all, in a national forest. But here, everything’s open. And the lake attracts a totally different kind of life.
Continue reading “We 3 Pelicans”
Mention “HDR”… then Duck!
Mere mention of “HDR Photography” can be very polarizing amongst photographers. There are thems that love it – and thems that think HDR is the end of civilization as we know it. Or something along those apocalyptic lines. I like shooting HDR (High Dynamic Range). It’s fun. I like color – and I like the option the see allllll the variances of color and light in a photo. Where a typical photo can handle 6 or so f-stops (levels) of light, a human eye can take in 12 to 14 levels of light. HDR lets you create a photograph that’s more in line with what your eye sees. And I love doing that.
I visit the Redwoods whenever I can. I’ve talked about my history of swinging through the trees in a previous post (click the link to see it). Here, there are some bay trees in the mix; they’re the ones with broader leaves and thinner trunks in the foreground. They smell awesome and add some nice variety to the leaf/needle visual mix. There are a few tricks to photographing in forests. And since, in a world of possibilities, you may well find yourself wandering through one some day – here are some things I keep in mind.