3 Lessons From The Imagination Paradigm

Art & Life: Married in Imagination

Creative photo processing isn’t for sissies. Especially if you share images publicly. There’s always bound to be someone who says something like… “Oh Karen” (fill in your own name for full effect)… “you’re so beautiful, your photos are so beautiful, but you do too much. You should try to be more natural. Also, try cropping to the golden third, it would be better balanced” (fill in many other trivial, uninvited bits of advice here for full effect.) Whatever. You know.

This is alot like walking down the street in a big city, with your tough girl face on (I always think of it as “my neutral face”… but have been informed it’s actually kinda scary. Which is OK with me, when strolling in an unfamiliar big city with expensive camera gear in my hands)… and having some dude slow down and leeringly say “Hey sweetheart, why the big frown? C’mon, lemme see you smile. Hey baby… ” as they sort of lunge toward you.

Ugh.

In my superhero imagination, this doesn’t end well for the poor sod. A few cool, swishy sound effects, punches and grunts, action too quick to catch on-camera and the poor sod is lying there unconscious with little cartoon tweety birds chirping over his head. My inner superhero is striding down the street, dusting off her hands, smiling that she was able to save the day. Yet again.

But I digress.
Or… did I?

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I Am Not Afraid

I Was Born To Do This

I love watching people doing the thing they were born to do. They have no fear. It’s magic. There’s that moment when they ‘lean in’… embracing their true talent, their soul’s genius. It’s the moment when they let go and free-fall, landing in the waiting, loving arms of Creation itself. Oh man, that’s the moment that makes me weep with… I dunno, exactly. It just does. I feel like I’m witnessing a miracle – a burst of the Infinite. Cue the waterworks.

Those moments give me hope. Strength. But more, they fill me up with a presence so much greater than “little me”. In those moments I know there is a God. When someone goes there, they light up with their connection to the Greater Power.  I thought of it when I watched Lady Gaga perform the “Sound of Music” medley at the Oscars this year. I’ve experienced it in so many gifted athletes, teachers, artists… and photographers. “I am not afraid.”

When we stop questioning our gifts, but embrace them… when we lean into what we love… when we listen – and heed – the quiet voice within… light and magic is unleashed. Knowingness takes over. Fear backs off. We’re clear, we’re present, we’re in ‘the zone.’ Darkness flees when the light shines, y’know?

Reach-NotAfraid

What were YOU born to do?
I’d love to hear in the comments below!

 

But wait… there’s more!

Continue reading “I Am Not Afraid”

And Now, Let’s Breathe

Let’s All Just Take a Breath

It’s been an interesting week. On SO many fronts!! My goodness. Vic Gundotra leaving Google, all the crazy world stuff… whew!

So today, being Friday… I’m just going to leave you with this. A breath, a fresh, minty moment, just a spot of peace in the midst of all the rabble.

That is all. Have a lovely weekend!

Vigil

 

Shark Fin Cove

The Perfect Pirate Name

How can you resist a place that sounds like a pirates’ landing? From the moment I heard the name “Shark Fin Cove”, my hearty imagination had me hobbling around on a peg leg “Arrrr-ing” to passersby. Of course, I know the whole “Pirates say Arr” thing is a myth… but don’t tell my Hollywood imagination that!

In any case, we ventured out one day recently after some recent storms had passed through – and a nice sunset looked like a real possibility. The shark’s fin looking sharky… the water really wild and loud. Some of the waves’ thundering crashes startled me, even from my bird’s eye vantage point. This mountain girl views the ocean with a combination of admiration and suspicion. Tsunamis, rip tides, every 7th wave… you have to keep your eye on it at all times lest it wrest you from this life into Davy Jones Locker! But I digress…

SharkFinery

Filters: From “GAH!!” to “Ahhhh”

I’ve photographed Shark Fin Cove near Santa Cruz a number of times. I usually do something HDR-ish with multiple auto exposures. I usually like the churning water, the depth of color and textures – and being able to capture all the levels of light. Today, however, I was in the mood for something different.

I’m not much of a filter girl… I fumble with them, worry about dropping them, fuss over the time it takes to set them up. I have a Lee Big Stopper which I rarely use. It makes me nervous about breaking it every time I set it up… then I wrestle with the damn thing and when I finally get it all set up it only does the one thing: 10 stops down. It just leaves me wanting more. And I really don’t fancy carrying a quiver of colored sunset and gradation filters either; multiply the whole mess? Ack!

Then my friend Barry Blanchard introduced me to GenusTech Eclipse ND filters. They screw on the end of your lens, adjust from 2-8 stops and provide a ton of options to delight even the fussiest among you! Or me, since that’s who’s really fussy around here!

Approaching the “Done” With New Eyes

So I played with it that day. Wanted to make the incredible churning of the waters below seem more misty and mystical. Turn the absolute into more of a suggestion. Make a purely wild expression of nature seem more like a potential: sort of soothing and menacing at the same time. I liked it!

It also made the clouds seem more misty, adding to the mystique.

For this image, I used 2 images: one exposed for the sky at 8 seconds, the other for the ocean at 20 seconds. Both f/14, ISO 50. Blended them together in Photoshop and applied my mind’s eye vision of colors and gradations of light. For that, I used some NIK Collection goodness (Viveza, Pro Contrast, Skylight filter), as well as some Photoshop color fill layers and a pass with one of OnOne Software’s glow filters, brushed into certain areas. I’m thinking of making a short video showing the process. Should I?

I also made a panorama of the whole area; I’ll share that with you later. It was quite the day for doing things I don’t normally do! Plus it was a decent sunset to boot(y)!

A fine day all around, Arr!

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