The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship. ~ William Blake
Did you know that when you receive a feather it is a token of friendship and respect? One of my students in a creativity class I was teaching years ago gave me a beautiful note thanking me for the friendship I offered. She included a soft gray feather letting me know of this native american tradition. I still have it tucked into a jar filled with all the other feathers I find hiking. Every time I look at the jar full of feathers, I think about all of the friendships I cherish.
I wish I could give you this actual feather, hopefully the cyber version will suffice? I found this beautiful gray quill with a soft red tip a few months ago, each time I wander to the ponds out back, I look to see if it’s still stuck on the branch. I’m delighted each time I find it floating in the wind or tangled in the damp conditions. It’s so fun to have something to visit and check in on.
Once I walk past the feather I go check on my nest. The first time I found this tiny treasure, I was devastated to see the broken abandoned eggs, but that’s life, sometimes things just don’t work out. (Sometimes they do, I’ve found so many other wonderful empty nests). I’m so curious about what kind of bird used to live in this one, it’s pretty small, it could fit comfortably in the palm of my hand and the white eggs are about the size of jelly beans?
Do you have something or someone to visit on a regular basis?
Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. ~ Buddha
Each day that we get more sun, I feel more alive and filled with a renewed sense of possibility. Even though winter officially starts on December 21, solstice somehow feels like a half way point for me. As soon as the days start getting longer, I shift into knowing that things are getting brighter and some part of me thinks, oh good… winter will soon be over. It’s a weird way of thinking, but it seems to keep my spirits up on the cold gray days?
Luckily the sun has been shining bright the last few days and it feels so good!
For me, I think it would be ideal to live in the northern hemisphere May – October and the southern hemisphere November – April. Maybe someday.
What would be ideal for you?
We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day. ~Edith Lovejoy Pierce
I’m excited for 2012, I feel like it’s going to be a year filled with dynamic change. I love the surge of energy I get from a fresh new start. This morning I took a blank canvas and made this fun little painting to celebrate the new year.
Now, I’m sitting at the computer narrowing down my top 10 photos of 2011. I loved all the comments on my top 15 ~ Thank you. My husband rated each photo from 1- 10, he gave my backwards bumble bee bokeh shot a 4. I almost could not sleep because of that low rating! I love that photo, perhaps more because of the experience shooting it than the quality of the shot. I was inside a canopy of blooming peppercorn trees. There were thousands of bees pollinating, the hum of the wings was like a symphony. It was amazing to watch them work. I’ll never forget it. His problem with the photo is the focus and when he explained his confusion on where to look, I could see why he did not like it, so I dropped that one.
On to the next elimination… I let go of the caterpillar, the lighting that day was not ideal. I dropped the scrub jay, when I think about all of my bird photos, I think I like others better…the baby blue jay, the snow on the beak of this finch, or the way this junco was looking back at me. Finally, I decided to drop my landscape shot & my street shot. These styles of photography intrigue me but I’m happiest when taking photos of natures intimate details, and I think sometimes that joy can be felt in the images.
Here are two collages of my top 10 final choices –
To answer a few questions…
Why did I create a top 10?
I love looking at and reading others year-end lists and reviews. I wanted to take the time to look at my photos and judge them individually. I’m amazed at what I have learned in this long process, it was so worth it.
Do I use Photoshop?
No ( not yet ) most of my photos are SOOC ( straight out of camera, except cropping ) sometimes I tweak the exposure or shadows inside iphoto. I look forward to actually learning and using Photoshop someday. Right now, I’m focusing my energy on learning all the ways to use my camera before I learn an editing program.
Did you do any type of year end review of 2011? If not, I highly recommend it. It may take some time, but I guarantee it will be worth it.
Little by little one walks far. ~ Peruvian Proverb
I started my blog about a year and a half ago with the thought of sharing creative inspiration. I imagined I’d share some of my mixed media artwork, DIY, and interior design ideas, which I have here and there. But, I’m amazed at the direction I headed after realizing how much I enjoyed taking photos with the camera my husband gave me for my birthday, a Nikon Coolpix P100. Since then, it’s been such a pleasure to experiment with telling visual stories. I seem to feel most at home when I blend my photography & thoughts in hopes of evoking something new in me or you. I’m deeply grateful for your interest and interaction. Thank YOU for the kindness and encouragement.
I’ve decided to end the year by attempting to choose my top 10 photos of 2011. Ingo Mechmann inspired me to do this, he is a photographer who offers great how to tips on G+. His task is to select a top 10 out of 26K! Having seen some of his portfolio, it surprises me what he chose as his ‘best’ work. I think our audience often differs, and might even be a better judge of what our best work is? With that in mind, I’ve decided to cheat a little and ask for your help if you’re up for it.
Which of these images move you?
Which of these images reminds you of me?
Which of these images would you want to look at for a long time?
I’m emotionally attached to many of the shots I’ve taken over the year, it’s tougher than I thought to choose what I think are my best shots. I feel strong about these top 5 images above, but the second 5 I’ve yet to narrow down out of these 10 below?
I think it’s so interesting that we can’t see our own work the way others do. I am so emotionally attached and there are so many variables… the subject, the mood ( mine and sometimes the subjects mood ) the memory of the experience when and where I took the photo, the story I folded the image into, the title I gave the image, etc. All of these things affect my opinion of my artwork. Today I’m just trying to sort a top 10 on the merits of the individual photo?
It just crossed my mind that it’s not fair to have you narrow down only from my top 15, perhaps you feel other images I took in 2011 should fit into the top 10? And perhaps you think some of the above don’t deserve to be in the top 10. Either way, I’d love to know, it’s fun to hear your thoughts.
One of my favorite photos from 2011 did not end up in this exercise. As I reviewed my portfolio, there are many shots that have a soft focus, I seem to like a dreamy otherworldly view of things, but I don’t think many of them are my ‘best’ shots. I still love them but they don’t rank as high in my weird wonderful way of judging myself?? It’s all arbitrary and yet I’m dying to know what you think?
Birds are a miracle because they prove to us there is a finer, simpler state of being which we may strive to attain. ~ Doug Coupland
I can sit for hours staring out the window watching the birds, I wonder what this one is staring at?
The tree with all my feeders get’s pretty crowded on the snowy days.
This one needs a napkin.
I was zoomed in with my camera watching this mourning dove fall asleep on the branch.
I just love their blue eyelids.
We both were surprised when this one flew in and landed right by his side!?
The jays were being fairly nice to the others ~ surprised me.
The titmouse are so skittish. They rarely sit in one spot for long? I’m determine to get a good shot of these beauties someday. Maybe that’s why I sit by the window for hours bird watching, I love a challenge.
Sometimes I feel like some of the birds are looking right back at my with something important to say.
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the conversation. The kettle is singingeven as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots have left their arrogant aloofness and seen the good in you at last. All the birds and creatures of the world are unutterably themselves. Everything is waiting for you. ~David Whyte
The winter blues grab hold sometimes, especially when one gray day folds into the next. Sometimes I sink in and swim around in the sorrow other times I shift, turn on my heals and choose a new direction… as I made my way on a new path, I found something better than blues I’ve been collecting ~ purple, plum even some pink YEAH!