A Water Lily Dream – Photographing My Way To A New Perspective

Waterlily Photograph

Blue tropical water lily petals emerge, beautifully dreamy in their softness.

Sometimes life gets too complicated and becomes overwhelming. It just does. Sometimes bad things happen. They just do. At times like these I know I need to slow down and take a moment to view the world in a different way. All too often we are caught in an endless stream of work, stress, and obligation, and we forget to “stop and smell the roses” as it were…instead we are too busy whizzing by them to notice their silky perfumed petals, jagged leaves, and prominent thorns.

Photography has become my way to stop and view my surroundings from a different perspective. I pause, find what interests me, and compose an image. My mind slows and then fills with color, pattern, and composition, instead of the stress of the day. My focus becomes narrowed to something as simple as the blue tips of these water lily petals; somehow this makes me feel better, even after I am done taking photographs.

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Waterlily Photograph

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Its Beach Afternoon In Santa Cruz

Its Beach Santa Cruz photo

Beachgoers, both human and canine, enjoy the late afternoon sunshine at Its Beach (Lighthouse Field State Beach) on West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz, California.

I took this photograph from Lighthouse Point, looking down onto Its Beach and across to West Cliff Drive. This is an image that feels straight out of my childhood. I grew up near this beach and spent many hours in the area captured in this photograph, both on the sand as well as walking on the always beautiful West Cliff Drive. Growing up in Santa Cruz meant growing up in a California beach town; one of the neatest parts of this was the ability to have beach bonfire birthday parties in Winter. Mmmm…s’mores!

I could continue to reminisce, but instead I will say this – it’s Summer, the weather is warm and beautiful…come, join me at the beach!

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Winter Rose With Dew

Pink Rose With Raindrops

A soft and dreamy image of a deep pink miniature rose beaded with winter dew…

One of the best things about living in the San Francisco Bay Area in zone 9b is having a garden that flourishes throughout the entire year. My yard grows lush with new vegetation and both continual and early “Spring” blooms in the months of December, January, and February. By March and April, it is the height of Spring; if I’m not diligent, my vines will sneak ever closer to the house, and begin twining up the sides and entangling their strong and nimble climbing supports into my window screens. One day of inattention, and my passionflowers begin peeping into my kitchen and living room.

While Winter roses lie dormant under snow in much of the country, this time of year brings a heavy flush of blooms to my miniature rose bush. I love to go out into my small garden first thing in the morning and capture images of dew or raindrop remnants on the petals and leaves of various plants. Crouching down low, peering at these little drops of magic through my macro lens gives me great joy.

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Black-Crowned Night Heron And Shadow

Black-Crowned Night Heron Photograph

A distinct shadow in profile accompanies this black-crowned night heron, as it sits on a rock at dawn near Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara, California. The morning light glows warmly on its soft plumage and bright red eye, while it waits for a tasty meal of fish or frogs or some delectable crustacean.

I’ll be honest, we didn’t visit Santa Barbara or get up before dawn to take photographs of black-crowned night herons. While photographing Stearns Wharf and the surrounding beach at first light was fun, somehow we got distracted by the variety of birds hunting and feeding at this same time of day. Before we knew it, we had begun stalking egrets and ducks, great blue herons and black-crowned night herons. Silly as it sounds, we named them as we followed them around.

“Oh! Here comes the Baron von Heron” (The great blue heron).

“Shoot…I just missed a shot of Wilma in flight!” (One of the great egrets)

We named this beautiful black-crowned night heron, Igor. It was one of many, perched on the rocks waiting for breakfast. As the warm morning light grew stronger, I saw Igor’s shadow take shape. I waited, hoping Igor would turn and I could get an angle that would allow me to capture both bird and shadow as complete and separate entities. Igor made me wait for quite sometime, but eventually posed beautifully with his shadow.

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Birds In Flight Over Water – Art At Midnight

Birds In Flight Art

A flock of seabirds soars overhead, gliding on salty ocean breezes. Turquoise waves crash below, throwing mist high up into the unsettled air.

I’ve already established in a previous blog post that I am not the best sleeper out there. I’ve done my fair share of watching infomercials about all sorts of nifty kitchen gadgets, as well as an incredibly wide assortment of beauty products. However, many nights I’d rather do something creative while the house and neighborhood is silent and everyone sleeps. Traditional photo editing just doesn’t appeal to me at 2 AM; I see things differently somehow, and I’d rather step outside of my comfort zone and delve into the unknown. I created this image in the wee hours yesterday morning, incorporating my love for the color turquoise, birds, and the ocean into a dreamy, misty piece of flight and fantasy.

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The Goose Chase

Ah, the simple pleasures of childhood. A young boy chases a large white goose at the park, their steps in synch as they run down to the lake…

Photograph of Boy Chasing A Goose

I discovered that I love photographing people quite by accident. I brought a new lens to test at a local park which has the trail-head for one of my favorite walking paths, and after my walk I took out my camera and looked for something to shoot. People, geese, ducks, dogs, and egrets were everywhere. I’d already established that I enjoy photographing animals, so I was drawn to the people.

Kids of all ages crawled, toddled, and ran, and families played games on the grass. The usual group of old men occupied the picnic tables as they did every afternoon, intent on their mysterious (to me) board game. Women in spandex power-walked past me, arms vigorously swinging and propelling them forward. A small group of people practiced tai chi, their movements deliberate and fluid. The bocci ball courts were in use with varying levels of seriousness, and children flew through the air on the swing-set, and spun around and climbed on various playground contraptions and equipment.

I took in all of this activity, capturing candid moments in time as people went about their business. The geese and ducks were very tame and waddled around amidst the people, hoping for a handout of stale bread or some other delectable treat.

The presence of a goose proved irresistible to a young boy, who chased it down to the lake. I took one photograph of his chase, only noticing later that goose and boy were running in synch with each other. This is that photograph.

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A Permanent Rest – The Mystery Of The Point Reyes Boat

The Point Reyes is an abandoned fishing boat in Inverness, Marin County, California, (in Tomales Bay, north of San Francisco). It is located near Point Reyes National Seashore, and is a popular photographic subject. I was curious to learn the history behind this boat, but Internet searches uncovered surprisingly little information about it…

Photograph of the Point Reyes Boat

I wrote something similar to the text above, and posted it along with this photograph on my Tumblr blog some time ago. I was surprised and delighted to receive the following response to my post:

Luckily for you, I work at a local history museum in Marin County and ran into an Inverness historian who was doing some research in our archives. I asked him about the boat and this is what he told me:

The previous owner of the garage behind which the boat is grounded originally bought the boat and towed it to the sand bar with the intent to repair it. He never got around to it, however, so it mouldered there until the owner sold the land to a company specializing in wetlands restoration and preservation.

Though the rotting boat is exactly the kind of thing the current owners specialize in removing, they’ve left it because they don’t want to invoke the wrath of local photographers.

A big thank you to Kate Dollarhyde for clearing up a bit of this mystery. Given the popularity of the boat (when we visited there were not only other photographers present, but entire families and other people without cameras checking it out as well), I think the decision to leave well enough alone is a wise one, but perhaps that is simply my love for the old and abandoned speaking. What do you think…should the boat remain or be removed? Is it a beautiful reminder of the past, or an eyesore, interfering with the restoration of the local ecosystem?

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