My "Third Eye"

Why "third eye views"? I think of my camera as my third eye, capturing images that my 2 eyes frequently miss. I am legally blind in one eye and very limited in the other. I got my first SLR camera when I was 18 years old and have been a hobby shutterbug ever since. I learned to shoot around the blurred vision and blind spots that developed over the next decade or so (meaning I can seldom use manual focus!) When a resulting shot turns out to be "successful", sometimes I am shocked and sometimes see elements in it that I didn't even know were there when I composed it. I hoped to aquire mad skills over the years and have learned a lot by trial and error. It's a great feeling when I carefully set up a shot and it turns out just how I envisioned it but sometimes I have to credit my successes to some intuitiveness on my part (or possibly by sheer accident!) In Eastern medicine, the third eye chakra is associated with inner sight, which surely must at times be kicking in where my literal sight leaves off. Enjoy the pics and know that for every good shot, there are a dozen bad ones and that good or bad, I have enjoyed every single click of the shutter.

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Think Like a Tree

Soak up the sun
Affirm life's magic
Be graceful in the wind
Stand tall after a storm
Feel refreshed after it rains
Grow strong without notice
Be prepared for each season
Provide shelter to strangers
Hang tough through a cold spell
Emerge renewed at the first signs of spring
Stay deeply rooted while reaching for the sky
Be still long enough to
hear your own leaves rustling.
-by Karen I. Shragg
I LOVE this poem!

I took this photo just north of Eureka, CA near sunset on a misty overcast evening. As we drove north, with glimpses of the gun-metal grey Pacific thru the trees, I was getting more excited knowing we were getting closer to seeing some redwood trees, one of the top things on my 'bucket list' at the time (returning there is still on the list). I was worried it would get dark but soon, we turned a bend in the road and my first view of this stand of redwoods was there. I was too overcome to even remember to get my camera (I took this picture the next morning). I made my husband pull over and turn off the engine and walked to the edge of the road facing the ocean, a few miles beyond these trees. The mist had come in from the sea and was settling in the tops of these giants which were so tall, they disappeared into it. I don't know if it was the trees, the mist, or the time of day but the quiet was wind or even a bird. If there was any sound at all, it could be compared to the unbroken and vaccuous sound you hear when holding a seashell to your ear. I had read that the Indians used to think of this as sacred ground and would walk for days out of their way to avoid walking thru a redwood forest. I can totally see why they would feel such reverance for it truly did seem like a place God would dwell. (Unlike the Indians however, walk in I did!) I don't believe in worshipping the creation instead of the Creator, but that came as near to a spiritual experience as anything I've ever felt. Until my 2 impatient kids shattered my 'moment' by blowing the horn.....

Sunday, December 26, 2010

It's a white Christmas in Georgia!

And it's the first time since 1883, I heard someone say. I never thought I'd see it. Apparently Georgia didn't get the global warming memo and we had a Christmas "miracle". (It began snowing Christmas day late in the evening so technically we can say it's a white Christmas, not just a white day-after-Christmas.)
There's something calming and yet primeval about snow. The quiet, the stillness after a snowfall, the untouched expanse of pure white across a meadow...I'm always a teeny bit disappointed to see footsteps in the snow, like I wanted to be the one to step on it first. As the snow blankets and smooths out the landscape, hiding all the details and muffling the noise, it has a similar effect on me as well. Details that clutter our minds get pushed aside and the most elemental needs of survival are not taken for granted....heat, shelter, food, family. Although this miraculous snowfall obliged us by being the nice powdery kind, snowfalls are usually accompanied by dangerous freezing roads and power outages, leaving us stranded for days sometimes. Survival skills are tested and resolutions are made to be more prepared next year. 4-wheel drive....check. Fresh-baked bread that never made it into gift baskets, jars of last summer's garden bounty, holiday leftovers, and coffee....check. Propane tank is full, wood chopped...check. Generator ready....check. Rain barrels are full, hay is in the barn....check! Bring it on, Winter!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Proud Mama

I can't claim credit for taking these 2 pictures (although I did add the transparent flag and edit the top photo). It just isn't possible for me to have a photo gallery blog without including 2 of the photos I'm most proud of. The pride is not in the taking of the picture but in the making of the man. this is my son, Lance Corporal Asa Compton.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Into the Past

My mama is such a nostalgic person, more so with age. She is constantly reminiscing about "the good ol' days" and telling us stories of her childhood growing up in the little southern mill town, Whitehall, Georgia. In October, the town of Juliette, GA held their annual Fried Green Tomato festival...yes, like the movie. (This is the town where the movie was filmed, especially the scenes in the Whistle Stop Cafe). Mama and I, along with my daughter and her roommate, had a wonderful day walking around this old southern town and, when this photo was taken, we were sitting in the cafe waiting on our fried green tomatoes (which are the BEST EVER!) I looked up from my menu and saw her sitting there in a place so like the ones she remembers,with a faraway look on her face. It's as if the window wasn't just looking out onto the railroad tracks but a window looking back into time about 65 years. I titled this one 'Into the Past'.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My 'Vanilla Sky'

Long before there was a Tom Cruise movie by the same name, there was a painting by Monet called "Vanilla Sky". Monet is possibly my favorite artist, maybe because I can sympathize with him, his artistic outlet being such a visual one and struggling with deteriorating eyesight. What a cruel twist of fate, much like Beethoven going deaf. Monet, Renoir, and others are some of the first to use the Impressionistic style of painting, using broken colors and rapid brush strokes, resulting in a "blurry" effect that is way too familiar to me. Maybe that's why I can relate to his work so well.
Although my sky is much more 'vanilla' here than in Monet's painting, I titled it so because of the creamy color that I achieved with cross-processing. Monet's sky was over the Seine River, this photo is of the St. Lawrence River, taken from the parapet of Boldt Castle in the Thousand Islands region of upstate New York.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"The Calf Whisperer"

I took this one behind our barn while my very good (and youngest) friend, Esther, was visiting me. Esther is one of my favorite subjects to photograph, so natural and easy in front of the camera and is as pretty on the inside as she is on the outside. I think even this calf could sense it!

Social butterfly

This photo was the result of my first attempt at close-up photography. Rather than buying an expensive macro lens, I used an extension tube to increase the distance between the lens and the camera, which allows focusing at close range. This was taken with a Canon SLR film camera. I don't remember the film speed or shutter speed but I used a wide aperature to create a shallow depth of field, resulting in the blurred background. This butterfly was feasting on my lantana bush and very nicely posed for this shot.
(from the Flora, Fauna gallery)