“Do all the good you can, in all the ways that you can, to all the souls you can, in every place you can, at all the times that you can, with all the zeal that you can, as long as you ever can.” – John Wesley

I’ve just received news that someone I greatly admire has passed away. She had fought long and hard against cancer with such grace and dignity. The goodness that she exuded made you want to do better and be better. She really was a sweet and wonderful presence.

I hope that she has found peace and that in her short 59 years she had the chance to create memories with her loved ones that will sustain them always.

A different point of view

Inspiration from other blogs continues….on her blog, Katie’s Camera Blog (check it out here), Katie Johnson posted a photo upside down. This inspired me to look at some of my raindrops and turn them upside down to see if I could see things from a different point of view. This one is my favourite so far because it is unbelievable to imagine I would ever get a raindrop on top of a small petal – and especially with something reflected in it.

That reminds me…

One of the great joys of reading other people’s blogs is the memories they spark. Often I read travel blogs and am reminded about a trip we took. Recently, I posted photos of a trip we took to the Grand Canyon several years ago. This was prompted by another blogger’s post about the Grand Canyon. Today I saw a posting that included an amazing shot of raindrops http://iltana.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/the-cure/. That reminded me about a few shots that I simply cannot stop reflecting on.

For some reason, I have used this photo for sympathy cards and posts on loss. Probably because of the solitude and reflective nature of the shot.

This shot, on the other hand, is one that is very hopeful and upbeat. It was the first shot I took that had a great reflective aspect.

As I continue to follow other blogs, I will undoubtedly be reminded of others to share.


Walking to the lake

We are fortunate having two small local museums within walking distance of our home. The site we visited today is called the Bradley Museum. It is nestled in a residential area on a green space that has a wonderful path to the lake. There are 3 buildings which have all been moved to this location and restored. The Bradley House has been there since 1963.

There is another building, The Anchorage, which has had to had significant modications to make it accessible, as it is the main building on the site. It houses the administrative offices and a gift shop.

The last building to arrive on the site is now called The Bradley Cabin. It is my favourite building on the site.

Our final destination was the lake; too bad it was December 3rd because there was a perfect wind for sailing.


Disproportionately happy

It seems ridiculous to say, but I’m going to say it anyway. I am incredibly pleased. The reason this is ridiculous to say is that something happened that is small, yet made me want to jump up and down and I kind of, sort of, did.

I spoke in an earlier blog about entering photo contests. I had entered a small local one, and I shot for the moon on a couple others. I was unsuccessful on the “shooting for the moon” ones. Well, actually, in some sense I was unsuccessful in all of them. That is, if you measure success purely by “winning”, or having your photos deemed “the best” or at least top 10, I was not successful.

I guess I’m just a simple gal, cause I feel, well, disproportionately happy. A local newspaper had a photo contest and they received over 2000 entries. A few weeks ago, the top photos were published in the paper and, although disappointed I had not “been successful”, I also knew that there are many, many (many!) good professional and amateur photographers who entered these contests. I also knew (and know) that taking photos, looking at other people’s photos and, yes, entering contests are all enjoyable ways to spend my time.

Yesterday, though, I received an email on my phone which, to be honest, I didn’t pay much attention to because it was talking about the photo contest, which I already knew the results about so I quickly moved on. Later in the day, I had a calmer moment and was rereading all those quickly passed over emails of the day and more closely read the photo contest one. And, to my pure delight, I read that two of my photos had made it into the Top 100 of the contest. That’s when the jumping up and down began in earnest.

My excitement was mildly tempered by the fact that the two photos they chose were rather similar – they could almost be considered two shots of the same subject – but really, who was I to argue with what could only be considered the outstanding good taste of the judges (whose judgement, possibly, I might have, a little bit, questioned a few short weeks earlier when the first place winner was announced….)?

So, yes,  I did not “win”, but I felt like I’d hit the jackpot.


The Tree Project

I’ve just learned a wonderful lesson in blogging – photos can and do disappear between creation and deliverance of a post…oh well.

On October 1st,  I began a wonderful project photographing the tree at the end of our street. Quite simply, it is the most amazing tree in the neighbourhood. Some years ago, a stately tree sat on the front lawn of the local school and that tree overshadowed all around it, but it became diseased and was removed. So, although my favourite tree does not actually receive as much attention as it is not on a main street in front of a public building, it is worthy of a month’s worth of photographing.

It started out just with a few leaves considering changing colour and over time, it became something spectacular. Without a doubt, the fallen leaves also proved to be great photo subjects.

And then, on Thanksgiving weekend, with the children home from university, the tree came close to showing all its glory.

A couple days later, it was there….a grey overcast day with a wonderful showing by the tree.

After the beautiful weather of Thanksgiving, though, the skies turned grey consistently and there was a great deal of wind. So before October was done, the tree’s beauty had all been blown away.


Surprising results

It’s been the greatest gift in photography to be surprised by the results of getting out and shooting. I have said before that working too hard, overthinking the subject, seems to complicate the end product.

The photos that I love are the ones that were surprises. Photos that were intended to be of one subject, usually flowers, become wonderful insect pictures because something literally flies into the frame. (If I go looking for an insect, I can almost guarantee that either I will come up empty, or the photos will be too forced.) Yet, there are so many ways that I have been surprised. The original subject appears too dark or lacking focus, but then on reflection, I realize that something off centre turns out to be the perfect subject.

The idea that one must take hundreds of photos to get one you like – or in this case love – is true. Very true.


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Photo contests

This summer, I decided to enter a couple of photo contests. I shot pretty high, I have to admit. I went with My Shot through National Geographic and Cottage Life’s annual photo contest.

The National Geographic entry was not about me classifying myself along side some of the world’s greatest photographers; instead, I have other people’s submissions and have found comments among the entrants to be helpful and insightful. My Shot allows you to enter one shot per month and then the editor’s look at all the entries and decide which are the best ones to be shared. It’s amazing to see the range of subjects and types of shooting abilities that are of interest to the editors. It encourages me to look at photography differently. And the entire National Geographic website can cause me to lose hours on the computer.

The Cottage Life photo contest entry came about because I looked at the type of work that was being submitted and felt that my work was similar in that it was not polished and glossy, but rather the work of someone interested in learning more about photography, while trying to capture the essence of an experience like cottaging. Admittedly, I also entered this contest because many years ago, I entered a poem and photo in a Cottage Life contest and was chosen as a finalist. (It was about cottage shoes and Tim had an unbelievably beat up pair of shoes which I wrote an ode to. It was a lark to enter and I’m confident it was the state of the shoes that won the judge’s eye!) I am hoping that luck may strike again.

My next goal is to submit photos to a Mississauga News contest. I have an idea about what I want to capture about Mississauga and it would be interesting to see how the vision plays out.

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