Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #210 Picking Favorites

This week Sarah (Travel with me) asks me to share three of what I consider to be among my best shots. This exercise really tests my ability to be self-critical. Pick out three (just three!) that stand out as particular favorites. I need to choose three from different genres: macro, wildlife, street, landscape, architecture, or portraiture.

Genre: Still Life

My inspiration for this photograph started in my photography class. I needed to create a photo with the theme of kitchen. Items from my mother-in-law were recently sent to us. I placed these tarnished serving pieces on a piece of glass and watched for shadows. Pleased with the result. I entered this photo in an online contest and was selected as the week’s photo.

Kitchen Utensils

Genre: Landscape

I met with a group of local photographers in downtown Sacramento. At first, a scavenger hunt was the goal, but after looking around Old Sac, I went to the Tower Bridge. After watching the dry lightning strikes I listened and began to anticipate the next bolt of lightning. Got it!

Lightning Striking

Genre: Telling a Story/Street

This carousel or Merry-Go-Round was taken at a local shopping mall. I wanted to capture movement. In doing so, I created the story of the boy and his horse actually escaping from the ride.

Merry-Go-Round Escape

Genre: Nature

The feature banner image of the Peeking Flamingo was taken at the Sacramento Zoo. When I showed this image to my college professor she like it so much that she asked if she could use it as a class example. Made me feel good.

Selecting just three is a tough call. I ended up picking some images that I have hanging in my home. I hope that you enjoyed this post. Let me know which one is your favorite.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #198 Light & Shadow

This week, Patti asks me to explore the interplay of light and shadow–at different times of the day, in different seasons, under natural light, in artificial light. She encouraged me to choose whatever conditions I like. I will look at processing some images in black & white.

My film days started at age nine. I had all my photos printed in black & white. In my twenties I started using Kodachrome. My catalog is filled with silhouettes, shadow designs, and backlit images.

Photographers are often left out of family photos. When I realized this I started taking shadow selfies just to show that I was there.

Fall in the Sierras. The grass is all dried up!
The long shadows indicate that I am shooting a field of sunflowers in the afternoon. The sunflowers are saying goodnight.
On the beach in Maui!

Eventually, I started having friends join me.

Long shadows help those who are height challenged.
A happy greeting!
What’s going on? Looks like I have an unexpected guest.

You can see this in the design subject created by shadows.

Am I going up or down?
Afternoon swim practice
Light dancing through the fountain
A story told in the silhouette I captured in the park
Bridgeport Landscape in Monochrome
Bodie Hotel in Monochrome
What kind of creature can be found in the woods?
Does the creature appear more ominous here in black & white?
Has the creature followed me to the vineyard?

These photo challenges allow me to take another look at the images I have captured over the years. I hope you enjoyed the journey in Light and Shadows.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #137 Soft

My next Lens-Artists Photo Challenge is Soft. Anne-Christine asks what does the word Soft mean to you? Is it something that you touch? Is it the undefined notion that is the opposite of hard? Is it the contrast to sharp from a photographer’s point of view? This is not so simple a concept.

My first thought was that of a baby. We want everything about this new being to be soft. Soft blankets, soft toys, soft skin, soft colors, and soft sounds Nothing hard, or harsh. We want the world around us to be soft and welcoming.

The soft touch of father and son.

Only a week later, my Charlie joined the world. We follow his first developing steps on a webcam.

Charlie arrives home at 7 weeks.
His fluffy soft fur needs tending to. Every evening we bond over grooming

Nature softens the world around me.

Light falling softly on this lotus flower
The dandelion flower pod beakens us to spread its seeds with one soft blow.

My most favorite photographic technique is shooting with a large aperture setting. This narrow depth of field clarifies the subject. This blurred background is called the bokeh. I pay particular attention to this when deciding to purchase a lens for my Fuji x system.

My featured photograph is that of clouds. Soft, fluffy and white. What do you see? When you hear the work “Soft” what comes to mind?

Looking Back, Looking Ahead!

Days of Atonement, clarity, introspection, meditation, taking in the moment are ways I see the High Holidays. The time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur serves as a time to take stock of the past year, and think about the future.

Usually I start with creating the ritual meal. Shopping items include chicken, matza meal, noodles, apples, gefilte fish, Manischwitz Concord Grape Wine, and a round challah (getting harder, and harder to find).  The meal takes a lot of preparation and while I chop and peel I remember the past year. The lose of my parents is with me daily. I do take some comfort in knowing they are together. But this time the holiday felt different.

In the process of moving I get to look at a lot of accumulated stuff. 47 years of marriage, 31years in the same house, and only in the past month have we become “empty nesters”.  I inherited much from my parents. I found some home movies from early 1960s that I transferred onto a DVD. Technology has come a long way from a Super 8mm film camera. Back to the time of silent movies with exaggerated movements.

October begins a new chapter for the Frankel’s with the move to Fair Oaks (6 miles away).  Not so much distance, but a reset nevertheless. Still don’t know exactly how we plan to arrange our “stuff”. Luckily we have a 3 car garage, and that is where our boxes will go. Then we have another chance to decide about stuff before it finds a place in our new home. I feel excited, and I hope that enthusiasm continues.

Selling a house is not fun.  My house has never been so clean. My Libby is into the routine, and as long as I have her food ready, she jumps into the car in a moments notice.  Trying not to take feedback personally. I just hope that process does not drag on. Listed for not quite a month, and it is starting to feel old. Yesterday was the first day I didn’t go overboard and pick up every little thing.  Thinking maybe that a watched pot does not boil, a spotless house does not sell? My mother would say, “You just need one buyer, and for every house there is one buyer.” Patience. My friend Anne came over and blessed my house to release any negative spirits that may be preventing its sale.  An open house is scheduled for Sunday.  We are doing all we can!

In the coming year I plan to research my family roots. I started my family genealogy while studying for my Libraian credential in 1983. That was before Internet, computer software, and the end of the Cold War. Now there are so many ways wto proceed. New documents are coming on line all the time. I joined the Jewish Genealogy Society of Sacramento and participated in 2 classes. I am not sure where this will lead. Perhaps a book documenting my family history. Maybe just continued research into the Shoah and its  meaning in my life. Maybe a way to establish connections with other researchers and librarians. I hesitate to involve myself in another group, but maybe I do this for just that reason – to overcome.

I’m not usually comfortable joining a group, but being part of my 2nd Gen group encourages me to try and feel a part of something bigger than myself. I learn, find support and appreciate my CVHEN (Central Valley Holocaust Educators Network) 2nd Gen friends. After so many years, I finally have people I can count on. Photography helped to crack through my isolation. Despite the difficulties I encountered I could use my camera to refocus my thoughts. Getting out with friends, doing something, and creating is the key. I hope I don’t let my friends down. I plan to be mindful and appreciate my friends.

Thinking back over the past year I tried, but may not have succeeded in taking a step back around my family. The role of care taker may have placed me a position of power, and I may have sent the message that I know what is best. There is a delicate balance between taking care, and allowing space. I plan to be more mindful of this. The balance between decision making, and indecision. Some decisions I made were hard, yet I made up my mind for what I hope will be best for my family.

As is said at this time, “May you be inscribed in the Book of Life.”