Thursday, June 24, 2010

Just Because

An image I love, just because of the green and brown. Just because of the depth of field and the light. Just because of the contrast of budding, growing life against the peeling paint and grungy pot. And maybe just because there is peeling paint involved. Enjoy this image from Braubach, Germany. It could be from anywhere, even in your own little corner of the world. Can you go out and find your own "just because" image today?

PS - I'll be disappearing from the blog for a little over a week as we travel to new places. I'm already anticipating much creative excitement, poring over photos upon my return, and sharing them with you here. Ci vediamo! (Which roughly translates as, we'll see each other later.)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Into the Wilderness

Images of this place, Vintgar Gorge near Bled, Slovenia, have been popping into my head recently. Honestly, I hadn't looked at them since downloading them from my camera last summer. But the were filed away in my head somewhere, and lately they call to me. "Come back," they whisper, "Revisit us. We have something to show you."

I have moved into a new phase of my creative journey, I have moved into the wilderness. I hesitated on the threshold of this new land, of the unknown, for a while. But my journey calls me onward, and so I move into the uncharted territory. I've been acting with confidence in this new territory for the last week, forging ahead, diving into new things with a sense of purpose and as if I know the outcome, as if I know what I'm doing.

But today, I feel fragile. I feel alone in the wilderness. The fears are coming up. The realization that this is a journey that only I can travel, and that I truly don't know where it will end. There are places that I hope it ends, but life has a way of offering twists and turns when you least expect it. I can only move forward, one step at a time. I will have to face my fears, be lonely at times.

Today's image does have a message for me, I just had to be ready to hear it. It shows me that there is a path in this wilderness. There is beauty. It might look rugged at times, I might not be able to tell exactly where it leads or how long it will take, but I will get somewhere. And in the process, I get to experience this beautiful place and all it has to teach me. It tells me that it's ok, to rest for a moment and acknowledge the feelings inside. When I take the next step I'll be refreshed and ready to go.

Fresh and Juicy

So red. So fresh. So juicy. So delicious. I'm not usually a big cherry fan, but even I like these cherries. We picked them up last week, while driving through the hills outside of Vicenza. We just wanted to see the countryside, and it turns out we were in a region that grows cherries. And they were ripe. And we saw a roadside stand. So, since Patrick loves cherries we did a u-turn back to it and bought their minimum amount for 10 Euro - 3kg (for us Americans, that's 6.6 lbs). That's a lot of cherries!

I took this photo for a photo challenge with the theme of "fresh" and it makes me smile. Maybe it's the color. Maybe it's the story. Not my usual shot, but at least they are Italian cherries!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Quiet and Empty

What a difference a few hours makes! During the day, this location in Piazza San Marco by the Doge's Palace is brimming with people. People in line to tour the Basilica, people shopping at the overstuffed souvenier carts, people wandering around taking photos. But just a few hours later, near midnight, it's almost empty. How wonderful for me!

Recently, my husband asked me why I don't like people in my photos. Sometimes I will patiently wait for minutes for just the right shot, as people move in and out and through the frame I'm trying to capture. He and my son have to wait patiently too, until I'm ready to move on. They are good sports, I must say!

But there is a good reason for it. What I've discovered in my photography, is that I like to provide a place for the viewer in my photograph. A place for the imagination to wander. If there are clearly other people in the photo, if they are the subject, then the viewer might just see those people, and their experience, from the outside. If it is of an empty place, the viewer can participate in the photo... project themselves into the place, let their minds wander, imagine themselves there or create new story in the place. We all have a unique vision to show the world, this one just happens to be part of mine right now.

So, today I ask, what story do you see in this photo? Have you ever had that experience with a photograph before?

Be still my heart...

Bright, fun color, peeling paint and such texture. Could it get any better for my creative soul? I don't think so! This picture just makes me happy. It is from one of my happy places, Burano. It made me happy when I first saw and captured the image last week, and it makes me happy to share it today. I hope that it also brings a smile into your day, if only to chuckle at my fascination with peeling paint lately!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Time to Bloom

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." - Anais Nin

I read this quote in three different, unrelated places in one 24-hour period a couple of days ago. On a blog I follow, in an online class I'm taking and in a book I'm reading. When something like that happens, you can't ignore it. There is a message for me here... it's time to bloom!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Natural Illumination

Sometimes nature provides the most wonderful images, and all you just have to do is be there to capture them. As the sun dipped behind these clouds during my boat ride from Burano back to Venice, I caught these amazing rays of sunlight. It was a beautiful sight! A little treat for those watching the transition between day and night.

You just have to be there. Get out with your camera, and see what nature presents to you.

Heading Home

After a long day of work, a gondolier heads home in Venice. The first of my night images from our one-night trip to Venice this week, this was one image that I knew I would love when I took it. As with any image, I hoped it would turn out well, but you can't always tell at the time. I'm sure there will be more photos that I missed, and more that surprise me as I go through them. In the meantime, here's the sneak peek for a Friday - have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Follow your Bliss

This may not look like a blissful photograph to you, but it is to me. Photographing Venice in the day is wonderful, photographing Venice at night is blissful. I'm so excited to be going back for a one night visit for a special session of night photography, I'll be absent here for a couple of days. After the last visit I knew I had to get back for this while I'm here in Italy. It called to me.

What about you? Do you follow your bliss? Do you feel the little tugs on your heart that pull you in a certain direction? How do you respond?

When life gives you rain...

Take photos anyway! This photo is from a back alley in Orvieto, a hill town in Umbria. I love the old scooter, the textures of the wall, the greenery and the reflections of the wet ground. A peaceful little scene, I can almost feel the cool, damp air.

The two days we spent in Orvieto on our April were rainy. I found that I wasn't as inspired to take photos - have you ever tried to take good photos with a two handed camera while holding an umbrella? Not the easiest thing to do. But the photos I did take, I find that I like. They have a very different mood than the sunny, perfect weather photos. Maybe even a little more character.

As we travel around, sometimes only a day or even less visiting a new place, I have to make the most of that time. Regardless of the weather, my goal is to capture some essence of that place. I don't have the luxury to visit again and again, to study a certain place in all light, all weather, all seasons. And you know what? I find that's ok. I've learned that when life gives you rain, you take photos anyway.

As usual, another life lesson we can take beyond photography or our other creative endeavors. Today, here in Italy, it is rainy. I think I'm going to make the most of it!

Monday, June 14, 2010

In Motion

Go Lance, Go! Lance Armstrong riding by in the time trial of the Tour of Switzerland.

We spent the weekend in Lugano, Switzerland to watch the Prologue of the Tour de Suisse bicycle race and explore the area a little bit. Patrick got to see lots of cyclists he follows, Brandon got some autographs and I got to play around with photographing cyclists in motion. It was fun to do something out of the ordinary and explore the settings on my camera. Everytime I do something like this, I learn more.

Below is Fabian Cancellara, last years champion and this years time trial winner. I think the cameramen on the back of the motorcycles are awesome! Imagine riding around like that!

I have no clue who these riders are, but I love the look of intensity on their faces.

I have some pics from other locations on the course, but this was my favorite spot to photograph. No distracting background and on a hill so they were slowing down. I won't bore you with the gazillions of photos I have that are similar, but if you have a favorite rider or team and want a pic let me know the team name and I can email the ones I have of that team. Patrick will have more on his blog too!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Fundamental Shift

I came to a surprising realization this morning, that somewhere, sometime in the last year I have made a fundamental shift. I can see this shift in several ways...

In my photography, I have moved from the idea that I'm just capturing our travels to share with family and friends and remember later, to the idea that I'm creating art.

In this blog, I've found my voice, sharing my unique vision of the world around me and my creative journey.

In my self, I have moved from identifying myself as an engineer (my day job for the last 18 years) to identifying myself as an artist.

I am an artist.
Photography is my medium.
I have a unique vision to show the world.

Wow, that feels great to put out there. This is an exciting realization for me. I hope you continue with me on this journey, because who knows where it will lead.

(Photo is the entrance to the Marksburg Castle, outside of Braubach, Germany in the Rhine River Valley.)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hard and Soft Edges

A wrought iron handrail in La Pedrera, aka Casa Mila, another building by Antonio Gaudi in Barcelona is a great example of soft edges. The handrail could be all straight lines, right angles, functional, forgettable. But it's not, it's art - part of the decoration, the feel of the place. It's beautiful. I never thought much on wrought iron before living here in Europe, but now I've seen so much beautiful and functional wrought iron work I respect it as it's own art form.

In another forum, I had someone comment on the contrast I was seeing in my Barcelona photos. She put it as hard vs. soft edges. I hadn't even noticed that before, the contrast that I had noticed in Barcelona was the old vs. new, modern vs. classic, but there is definitely the hard and soft contrast too. Straight lines and flowing curves. I love getting a comment like that, that helps me to see things I captured in a different way. Keep them coming!

Architecture as Art

The attic of Casa Battlo, one of Antonio Gaudi's houses, is a magic place. All arches and light. Gaudi was an amazing architect of the Modernista age in Barcelona, he was able to create such a wonderful feel in the spaces he designed, even in something as mundane as an attic where only the servants would go. He was an artist, and his canvas was the buildings and spaces he created.

The feeling of light, design, art inside Gaudi's Casa Battlo was reminiscent for me of visiting Frank Lloyd Wright's Gordon House in Oregon. It's like you enter the space of genius. These places make me look at architecture differently, not just from the outside but from the inside too. And then I wonder why most of our buildings are boxes with holes in them for light, when we could have spaces like these.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tapas, anyone?

Hey look, here are a few seats in a tapas bar in Barcelona, just waiting for us to come in and sit down. What time should I meet you there?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Blissful Color

Tiny flowers for sale in the market on Las Ramblas in Barcelona. Wrapped up in paper for a Euro a bundle, these bright little buds were too cute, too colorful to resist. I bought a packet, tucked them in the pocket of my suitcase and then forgot about them until yesterday. I thought they would be crushed as I dug them out of the suitcase, but they survived just fine. As bright and colorful and whole as they had been in the market, they are now smiling at me from my bulletin board next to the computer. A colorful little reminder of our time in Barcelona.

It's funny, in all of our travels we really don't buy too much. For me, the photographs and experiences are enough. Occasionally a small piece of art, an interesting mug for tea or a small item, like these flowers, call to me as a little something physical to take back from a place.

This month's theme at Creative Every Day is "bliss" and I was having trouble with the word, until I realized that for me color is bliss. Bright, happy color. Like these little flowers.

A New View

One of the things I loved about Barcelona was the modern architecture. Such wonderful, creative buildings around the city. A feast for the eyes, with the lines and the reflections. Such a wonderful contrast of old and new in this place. It was a nice break from the older, historic architecture I love and have been photographing so much this last year.

Another new "view" today is my blog redesign! This is the project I've been working on here and there, using the technical side of my brain for a creative purpose. I've tried to make it easier to find posts by labels and also to bookmark or share. Let me know what you think... what you like and don't like. I want to make this a place you like to visit, so please let me know!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Radiating Lines

In the Avigunda Tibidabo station in Barcelona, the Line 7 subway comes in. I loved the radiating lines and emptiness of the station. The black and white really draws your eye to the lines. The chairs, the walls, the lights, the tracks. I love the station signs on the wall that tell you the location, the city and location within the city if you know enough, but it could be any station, any where. The radiating lines that are echoed in the subway map of the city, spreading outward to the edges.

The funny part is, this train came into the station, sat there for a few minutes and then left without letting anyone board. During that time the station filled up with people and the opportunity for this shot disappeared. It was as if the train came down the runway, posing for the beauty shots with perfect timing like a good model would. Thanks!

Back from Barcelona

Barcelona is... architecture and color and sangria and Mediterranean breezes and Gaudi and mosaic and art and a wonderful place to spend a long weekend. We had a slow start to our weekend when our flight was cancelled Friday night. We were able to get a new flight early Sunday morning and back Thursday morning so we still had 4 days there to explore and enjoy. I am soooo glad we didn't just throw in the towel when our flight was originally cancelled, because Barcelona is a wonderful city and worth the time to visit.

This first image from Barcelona is a mosaic by Gaudi, in Park Guell. Gorgeous. I loved this method of broken tile mosaic, so colorful and random. I'm going to enjoy going through these pictures!

By the way, I should show you what I had to do to get this shot:A new level I'm will to go to for my photos... down onto the floor! Thanks to my husband Patrick for capturing this "behind the camera" shot.