About Me

My photo
Somewhere in the Mojave Desert, California, United States
Gazing into this abyss called Life and wondering.....what's next !?!!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Early evening hikes

Took a night hike last night with some new trekking pals. The weather was more than bearable. The horizons were lined with receding storm clouds after having deposited some much needed moisture on our parched landscape.

Here is a bit of what we saw.

At the beginning of the trail, this.......
























....and later on, this.....

























I never get tired of the light in my desert.

Breathing space.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Toby's first vacation...

Ah, summer time....

Yes, I know I mentioned my next post would be about the pros of hiring a professional photographer. But I am feeling semi-productively lazy today - I'm working on it! My windows are wide open. French Cafe is wafting around me from Pandora. Thunder is rumbling in the distance. The smell of wet desert permeates the house. Heaven.....

I was playing around with some ideas, spawned from my recent respite up the coast with my son and our dog, today. This was our first vacay with the pooch - who is a very energetic 2 1/2 year shepherd mix - mostly Belgian Malinoise with something else with a floofy curled tail and strong herding/snuffling-for-small-varmits instincts, we think. And I am very happy to report that Toby did exceptionally well on this trip - which means that we had a great time, too. There is nothing like spending time away from home in a place that resonates to everyone and everyone has a great time - simultaneously. If you travel with family or close friends or anybody really, you totally get what I mean....

The small coastal community of Cambria has been my mecca for two decades. (That's Cambria, California for my international readers....) I discovered it on a return trip from a conference in Monterey while then pregnant with my oldest daughter. It is the one place that replenishes what the day to day 'regular' life can grind down. I am always in a much centered place when I return, whether I think I needed it or not. Over the years, I've met some lovely people I enjoy seeing while I am up there. It is now a familiar home away from home.

Our beach bungalow, built in the 1930s - just 500 feet from the beach with sounds of crashing surf to lull you to sleep at night. Toby thought it was a pretty cool pad to hang out at for awhile...




























Mornings, always chilly, were spent with a hot cup of tea by the window overlooking the garden - working on my daily journaling - waiting for the fog and the chill to be lifted by the sun....




























Another view on a chilly, foggy morning from a cozy bungalow kitchen...


Toby preferred teatime on the sunny front stoop, nose trained on all the new smells and sights coming from earth and sea...




























And then, there's his first walk along the ocean. The boardwalk can get busy during the summer. It is a couple of miles of bluff trails overlooking kelp beds draped with sea otters, tide pools, and sea lions basking on the rocks below. That particular stretch of beach is off limits to 4 legged family members so Toby had to stick to the boardwalk with its ever teasing band of squirrels...  Mmmm, take a whiff. Sweet grass. Salty air. Kelp. Wildflowers. Wonder what Toby's nose picked up?


The real test was a walk through town. Yes! Toby passed with flying colors! My son does a great job working with Toby consistently. Most of what Toby knows, he learned from his boy. It is very liberating to be finally able to take Toby to dog-friendly, public places. I enjoy traveling but hate leaving him home most of the time. Not only is it a pain to find someone to let him out, but he is such a people-dog - he'd rather be with his humans than do anything else....


This is Abner, an icon at The Garden Shed, my favorite shop filled with local artists and tradesmen along with luscious succulents and gardening tidbits. When my kids were little, elementary school aged, we used to love visiting Abner who snoozed in the sun someplace in the gardens. Abner is somewhere between 14 - 17 years old, the owner figures. I was happy to have found him lounging on a potting table this day, looking healthy and well. So were my kids...


The best part of each day was the daily romp on the beach. Toby had no trouble immediately tromping through the waves. Fearless. Doggie joyful. Happy to be with his boy....


Where will Toby's next adventure be................?








Saturday, July 20, 2013

Chasing rainbows? Nope. Not this time...

In search of....


This morning found us shrouded in this stuff. Thick. Wet. Beautiful. And very much needed as our local mountain wilderness area, San Jacinto, is engulfed in a week long, raging fire. We desert dwellers get as excited about clouds and rain as a Northwestern dweller cheers for the sun.

The most magical scenes emerge through the mist.

However....

I lingered too long at home. Charged my battery. Yakked with my visiting daughter, trying to talk her into recreating our fog capturing escapade last January. Hedged on what camera, what lens to bring. Just had to post my pending adventure on Facebook. THEN, I ventured out - in search of that unique capture of my mystical desert. Like it was going to wait for me?

I piddled an hour too long.

Here is what I managed to capture. Still unique-ish but not the spectacular find of last winter. The smell of sage and creosote and cedar and wet rock was prize enough for this early, but not early enough, morning in my desert. That and the quiet so deep your heart can breathe...


The fog was quickly retreating. I was hopeful that it would be waiting for me at the top of Key's View...


....and it was. What you don't see in the upper gray half is Mt. San Jacinto as well as the Coachella Valley and Palm Springs below. In the center of the above photo is a steep canyon descending to the near sea level desert floor.  I was really hoping that this thick, damp blanket was working wonders on squelching the fire on the distant mountain top.


Here the fog is thinning a bit and you can make out the desert valley floor - but still not Mt. San Jacinto (10, 833 ft.) across the way - or Mt. San Gorgornio (aka Old Greyback), standing at 11,503 ft. to the west.

My morale to this story:

When it comes to weather, don't dither.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Preserving a life well loved, Part 1...

These 'easier' summer days afford me the opportunity to play and perfect some new skills. This week was spent learning more techniques with photographing children. I was happy to see that many things I have already been practicing were presented in the workshop. That is always validating. And, it's always great to pick up something fresh as well.

Every photographer develops their signature style. I tend to want my images classically simple with black and white or sepia-ish tones or faded color. I don't care to sit in front of the computer for too long to 'fix' images - preferring to accomplish my vision using available light or using fill flash, diffusers, and reflectors while composing the scene in the camera. However, looking at the trends in more casual photo shoots, it is good to have an arsenal of skills and styles for clients to choose from even if it means using the processing programs for what they were created to do - make an image. Sometimes, just a slight shift in focus via cropping makes all the difference in the world between a good image and one that draws you in to its essence, making it a great image - one that tells you who the people are.

 Because this was a lifestyle project photographed in my client's home, every one of the photographs below had many distractions in the whole scene originally captured. By cutting that out and not being afraid to get in close to the subjects or isolating certain elements in the original scenes, you can better feel what is going on.

So why hire a professional photographer when there are a gazillion easy to use digital cameras and apps making it easier for everyone to capture their own moments?  Glad you asked that. 

I will answer that question in my next blog post...

Here are a few images from a family lifestyle shoot I did earlier this summer. This couple is expecting their 3rd child. It's tough to try to get everyone (meaning toddlers and preschoolers) to be on the same page; looking where you want them to look, posing the way you'd like them to pose, and keeping everyone upbeat and sane (meaning mom and dad) at the same time. Being flexible and spontaneous is key; remain totally aware of the energy that is happening, and have that finger on the button at all times!

Preserving the moments and capturing the love....






































...all in a day's work.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Find Your Light

A different kind of musing today. Someone very near and dear to my heart sent me the following piece. No particular reason other than to share something that had meaning for her and, in turn, probably for me. 

It brought tears to my eyes.  

Hope you are having a beautiful day. Start with looking in the mirror....


"A flower doesn't stop being beautiful just because somebody walks by without noticing it, nor does it cease to be fragrant if its scent is taken for granted. The flower just continues to be its glorious self: elegant, graceful, and magnificent. 

Our Mother Nature has provided us with these immeasurably valuable teachers that blossom despite their short lifespan, stars that continue to shine even if we fail to stare at them, and trees that don't take it personally if we never bow down in gratitude for the oxygen they provide. 

We also have an incredible and unlimited capacity to love, but the question is: can we do it like a flower? Without needing to be admired, adored, or even noticed? Can we open our hearts completely to give, forgive, celebrate, and joyfully live our lives without hesitation or need for reciprocity? 

It seems like sometimes we go beyond taking things personally and are noticeably deflated when unappreciated. In-fact, devastated, we wilt in sorrow and then attempt to guard ourselves by withholding, using all sorts of protections and defenses. We get hurt (even angry), if our boss fails to recognize an astonishing feat, if a lover pulls their hand away, or when a friend forgets our birthday. Can you imagine a flower copping an attitude for not being praised, or the moon dimming its glow because we're too self-absorbed to notice it more often? 

Make an effort to shine no matter what, to love unconditionally, and to be a kind and gentle soul (even when nobody is watching)." ~Buddhist Boot Camp
























(Love you, Menehune....thank you for this...)