In the darkness..

try to shed a little light.

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When you start hiding things away, that’s when the darkness creeps up. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

Steve Kazee

This week’s events hit a little too close to home for me.

 While I certainly had no immediate connection to either Anthony Bourdain or Kate Spade other than reading his books or carrying her handbag, their suicides did get me thinking about my own brother who many years ago, chose the same path.

Starting today, there is never a better time to start listening to people.

When you ask how are you…really listen to the response.

If someone bites your head off and it doesn’t exactly connect with the situation…look a little deeper.

A little compassion goes a long way and as one of those people who can lock up internal struggles very well, just know that your actions can make a difference.

Happy birthday, Trevor. 

I hope that you know how much you are loved and missed.

Today’s a great day…

to take a few stairs.

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The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps-we must step up the stairs.

Vance Havner

One of the things that I’ve been working on is living in the moment. For me that means appreciating what’s good in my life and not dwelling on those things that could be better.

ThoseĀ things will resolve over time and as is life, others will no doubt come in their place.

I’m trying to remember that I have a choice to make each day. I can be happy and content or I can dwell in those things that are beyond my control.

Today looks like a great day to take a few stairs…

Moving forward…

while purging the past.

We cannot tear out a single page of our life, but we can throw the whole book in the fire.

George Sand

A note about the post that follows:

It’s not my intention to give the impression that the last 37 years of my life didn’t matter and that they were filled with bad memories. That simply wouldn’t be accurate, there were good times and we become the person that we are by the sum of the parts. I doubt that this story is unique, I’m fairly certain that there are others just like me out there; putting on a brave face and acting like their life is oh so normal. It’s easy to see now that the choices I made in my late teens were motivated by emotion and not a lot of practicality. I wonder if at some point in the future I will regret being so transparent about my divorce. The flip side of that is if my words could stop someone from making the same mistakes that I did, wouldn’t that be worth it? If I could share one piece of advice with another young person it would be to choose your partner wisely: it is one of the most important decisions that you can make. Don’t make a decision based on potential and never make excuses for behavior that you don’t like. Those behaviors are likely to never change and are more likely to get worse over time. The  people in this story weren’t fundamentally bad, they just didn’t belong together and if you’re reading this and it hits too close to home, know that you can change the course of the rest of your life. Understand that, no matter how badly you want to change or help someone, some things are not fixable. I used to take pride not in the quality of my marriage, but in its length. Ending a long marriage is an invasive, unpredictable, expensive, and highly stressful event. Know that getting out will be one of the hardest things that you do but that it will be so worth it.

Fire has long been a method of purification and for me there is something deeply satisfying about watching flames dance and reduce an object to ash. As a photographer it’s important for me to have visual images: it’s how I process things.
Stepping back a few decades, I would never have envisioned that object would be my wedding gown.
Looking at my wedding photos I find it difficult connecting with the girl in that gown with the monstrous train. It’s not me and even as I try to reconcile myself with my wedding day it still feels like an event that I got caught up in.
The dress looked like something that could be replicated to top a wedding cake. The bridesmaid’s dresses were not the color that I wanted for my December wedding. The song sung by the groom’s sister at my wedding was not one that I had chosen. I spent the afternoon ignoring the voice that said  you broke up five years into this relationship for a reason and marriage won’t change what hasn’t changed after getting back together. You know that right?

What occurs to me as I look at my wedding pictures now is that I don’t see the moments that I would capture today as a photographer who specializes in moments.

I write this not from the viewpoint of that young girl in the photos but from the viewpoint of a woman who finally got the courage to leave a dysfunctional marriage. That girl believed that with enough nurture the nature would change.
That girl had no idea that without the sacrifice of her own values and principles her marriage could never be a true partnership. That girl would never have imagined that she would one day read words that would chill her to the bone. Words describing how she would die because she dared to choose to move forward and live a life of love, honesty,  and simplicity.

This girl after 31 years of marriage finally walked away and on a dark, snowy, December night, set fire to the dress that lingered at the bottom of her closet.
As the flames moved up the dress I exhaled and felt the beginning of closure.
There are many things that should be recycled and passed forward for someone else to make use of but for me it was important that the symbols of my marriage be laid to rest alongside my marriage.

A good friend once said to let go and that the universe will provide.  Turns out it will and it has and today finds me in a relationship based on an old friendship and shared values and that has been the biggest surprise of all!

If there’s a young person in your life that may be struggling with a relationship or if you know someone who thinks that there is no way out…please share this post.

Working on …

a comeback.

DSC_5401-Edit-Edit-2The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That’s real glory. That’s the essence of it.

Vince Lombardi

On a personal note… I am so proud of this man.

Portraits are not my first love but when there is an amazing story attached, one that inspires and gives you faith in the human spirit, it’s a treat to be behind the lens!

Don’t pass up an opportunity to photograph anything that you connect with even if it’s outside your comfort zone.

Life doesn’t always…

go the way that you planned but if you stay open to opportunities…they WILL come!

Colors answer feeling in man; shapes answer thought; and motion answers will.

John Sterling

It’s a joy to be back behind the lens after a life induced hiatus.

The week-end was one of inspiration filled with photography from both air and ground level.

The company was perfection, the subject matter thrilling, and it put me right back in my zone.

Thank you for the support and patience…each and every one of you who take the time to check in and read, comment, or share my blog post.

Hand eye…

co-ordination.

DSC_5451-Edit-EditPhotography is like a moment, an instant. You need a half second to get the photo. So it’s good to capture people when they are themselves.

Patrick Demarchelier

I’ve had some interesting thoughts on photography lately and not just about subject matter but how everything pulls together to capture that image.

I’ve had some opportunities lately to photograph some more environmentally themed portraits. People photography is not something that I usually gravitate towards but capturing people engaged in something that brings the light from with-in outwards has been extremely satisfying for me.

I find myself enjoying crafting how I want that image to come out and at the same time getting some exposure to new things like the speed bag.

I don’t want to be one of those photographers who can’t carry their own gear and can only shoot from a standing position because my body can’t move, so for me that means continuing to incorporate more, and more varied, physical training into my life.

I have never tried punching a speed bag before and wasn’t sure that I would even be able to do it having been told by my eye doctor that I don’t track objects coming towards me with any degree of accuracy.

What I found though was somewhere along the way, all this daily shooting has bridged that gap and my focus and timing has improved. It only took one session to realize that this is perfect conditioning for a photographer. Not only does it build and tone muscle in your arms but it greatly improves the hand/eye co-ordination so valuable to the photographer. You’ll also see improvements in cardio by doing timed sets of 3-5 minutes followed by a minute break.

If that’s not enough there’s the rhythmic sound of the bag striking the platform…almost as seductive as the click of a shutter.

A memory of my father…

in frozen rain.

DSC_5494Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.

Frank Lloyd Wright

This image just reinforces for me why I love winter so much.

I was awakened by the sound of wet snow sliding off of my metal roof; the snow having turned to rain sometime during the night.

I treat almost every surface as a canvas and on this morning my eyes were drawn to the image of a forest, etched in frozen rain, on the plastic side window of my Wrangler.

It was reminiscent of the trees that my father would carve with a palette knife into his acrylic paintings. Many years after his passing I still use that palette knife to carve into my encaustic paintings of photographic images.

Stay close to nature, it will never fail you.