Seeing the world in Black and White

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The older I get, the less I see the world in black & white – more and more I see those proverbial shades of gray.  (Thankfully not on my head yet though! Good genes!) (Oh, and NO reference to the book currently making middle-aged women horny all over the land)

Back on topic – black & white & gray. I’ve been continuing my photographic journey and discovering that sometimes hiding in a very nice photo, is a stunning black and white image.  For me it’s about the shapes, the textures, the composition of the shot.  At first it was sometimes a way of ‘saving’ a photo with colour that didn’t pop for me, but I’ve come to see it more as a tool to pare down an image to its foundation.  There’s an emotion that exists for me in black & white images that can sometimes be obscured by colour.

Here are some of the b&w shots I’ve taken this summer.

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Are you creative?

Whether you believe it or not, we are all creative!  Everyone starts at the beginning, with little skill, and maybe not much more than a vague desire to make some stuff.  Whatever your ‘thing’ is, just do it. Even if you think you fail miserably, you’re a step ahead of where you were before you tried.

For my birthday, I finally got a lovely new camera that is beginning to let me create what I see in my mind’s eye.  I’ve had a bit of access to cameras the last couple of years, but other than my sister’s (which had too many buttons and was too heavy to carry everywhere!) none of them have given me the freedom to create.  I was longing for the days of my lovely Olympus film SLR! 

I often get stuck partway with steep learning curves, but I’m tackling this one one step at a time, rather than all at once.  Instead of seeking perfection, I’m just looking to have some fun!  As long as I keep learning new things, I don’t mind some flops.  I look forward to looking back at these photos and seeing how far I’ve come!

My first night with the new camera I happened to be an awesome rock n’ roll show with a great bunch of bands and got a few lucky shots (considering I was still learning where the ‘ON’ button was located!)

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The only way to really learn is to do, so I’ve tried to keep the camera close at hand with the battery charged and memory card inserted!  As a result I captured some fun shots of a friend’s little guy:

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Yesterday I took myself on an Artists’ Date!  It is one of my favourite (long-ignored!) tools for creative growth from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way.  The premise is that once a week you schedule an activity for yourself and you keep the date!  It actually should be less about creating art, than about refilling the well and hopefully inspiring you to create more.  I decided to go on a 12km photography walk through urban trails.  I’d been feeling a bit overwhelmed by how much there is to learn, so I focussed on 2 things – depth of field & macros.  Here are a few of my favourite shots:

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The Itsy Bitsy Spider the size of my hand!

I posted about these guys last year, but they are so amazing, that I just can’t help photographing them sharing my bravery with others!  (I won’t mention that I ducked while my dad, 5 inches taller than me, led the way…)

If you’d like to learn more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_silk_orb-weaver

These were all photographed at Crane Point Museum & Nature Center in Marathon in the Florida Keys.  The webs crisscross overhead along many of the paths, but they are just high enough up that you truly don’t need to worry about walking into them.

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Feeling Crabby?

Many moons ago, I was a vegetarian.  I dabbled in being full-fledged vegan, macrobiotic, etc, etc.  It was a decision led by many things from environmental issues, to health, spiritual beliefs and even down to basic costs of buying meat.  When I started to really crave meat, I ignored it for a while, and then finally decided to just listen to my body.  For now, I’m happy to eat what makes me feel good and (when I’m not super-lazy), to try to keep a diverse diet and eat as locally as makes sense.

Obviously I’m currently more than ok with eating seafood!  There’s something pretty amazing about harvesting what you put on your table for you and your family; whether you garden, farm, fish or hunt, it’s wonderful to know exactly how your food got to your fork!

While my sister was down we stopped at Mr. Lobster one day – basically your typical fish market, but it’s outdoors and the boats are tied up behind the fish counters!  They have big pools with live crabs and on a whim we bought a couple for dinner. 

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(above photo by Kat)

On the way home we stopped to buy some bait and asked the guys at Caloosa Cove for cooking advice!  Big pot, 1/2 a stick of butter, some garlic, a bit of water, then steam for 6 minutes & eat!

We were overjoyed at the simplicity and he said the magic word – Garlic – so we were sold!

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Of course we had to make some garlic butter for dipping too!  (Thanks to Kat for this photo)

Now came the sketchy step that we really hadn’t thought much about until the moment arrived.  Someone had to put the crabs in the pot!  My sister lovingly took these next two photos of me being the “brave one”.

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Then we put the lid on the pot, ran into the living room and cranked the volume on the TV while I kept one eye on the pot to be sure there were no escape attempts!

And a short 6 minutes later, voila!

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Deliciousness!! And not nearly as traumatic as we made it out to be!

Moral of the story?  Give thanks to Mother Earth for providing you with sustenance.  Your karma will be ok. 😉

Sometimes the sunset is the priority

When you spend some time away from your regular life, you get the chance to rejig things a bit.  You can view your life through a new lens. 

My current lens is filled with sunrises & sunsets (see below for the latter!), with fish and sea creatures, turquoise ocean waters and blue skies.  Jimmy Buffett and ocean breezes are my soundtrack.  Spiced rum & Corona, freshly caught fish and fruit ripened by the sun are the banquet I enjoy here. 

There’s a simplicity about my life at this moment.  Too hot? Take a swim.  Bored?  Bait a hook.  Tired?  Have a nap.  It seems idyllic in some ways, but what it really reminds me is that when I’m at home in my “real” life, I spend far too much time worrying about the how of things.  I get wrapped up in the process, instead of just doing it – whatever “it” may be. 

Here in paradise I take less time thinking about what’s important, and instead allow the act of living become the important thing. 

Reminding myself again to just stop and watch the sunset.  I mean really, truly, watch the sunset.  Shut everything else off and let this moment be what’s important.

 

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Bad Snapshots? Make fun art out of them!

I’ve taken a few shots (ok, more than just a few!) that were less than stellar.  Out of focus, badly lit, poorly composed, etc, etc.  As I tried to fix one that I really wanted to save, I realized that by playing around a bit I could get some fun colours and textures that gave new life to an otherwise ‘garbage’ shot. 

Here are some of them that I’ve created.  Hope you enjoy!

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And here are the original photos in case you are interested in the “before”.

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