Friday, April 22, 2011

The Healing Power of Photographs

 Last week, our family had to say good-bye to our beloved dog, Harley.  Harley was a part of our family for 15 years, which equates to almost ½ of our daughters’ lives.  Being our second family dog of four, Harley had the distinct honor to have known all the dogs in our lives.  He benefited from learning his good behavior from our first dog, Nigel, and was a wonderful teacher to Jeeves.  When Winston entered the scene, he just rolled his eyes and tolerated having a puppy around the house!
The vet believes cancer was the villain that took Harley’s life.  Without exploratory surgery, he could not be sure, and there was no way Harley could undergo the stresses of that kind of procedure. Confirming the diagnosis would not have changed the inevitable; And so, the decision had to be made to say good-bye.  

I feel fortunate to have spent his last hour on earth by his side.  He seemed happy to have us there, even though I decided to bring the camera.  He never was very cooperative at posing for me.  Conveniently, the vet had a jar of treats which we offered him in abundance before the final good-bye.  He perked up for us as we fed him (believing he was in heaven long before his journey began) and I was able to make some very nice portraits of him to keep forever as a memory.  Upon returning home, I felt the need to look at the many photos we made of Harley through his life.  The photos were comforting and looking at them helped me to begin the healing process.  Sure, I will continue to tear up every time I see the dog food ads featuring a yellow lab puppy; and I know it will take some time to remember to divide table scraps into halves instead of thirds.  Since last week, I have caught myself calling for him after the other two returned inside the house.  Old habits die hard...
 As much as I hated the plentiful white hair on my dark clothing and the barking serenade at 5 AM from the base of the stairs, and tripping over him in the middle of the night, ironically, I find myself wanting these things back again.  Photos are a very powerful aid to help with the grieving process after a painful good-bye.  As I continue to look through photos of his life blended into ours, my heart is healing...Harley was a brave, trusting and loving soul. He brought our family tremendous joy while living his long and happy life.

In this age of cell phones with cameras, I am lucky to have so many more casual photo (and video!) memories of Harley than I would have had relying on my SLR and point and shoot cameras alone.  So don’t be afraid to capture those everyday moments of those you love, the images will become cherished treasures in the future.
June 23 1996-April 16, 2011

Friday, April 15, 2011

April Fool ~ Part 2

Just because April Fool's Day was two weeks ago, doesn't mean I can't keep trying to fool your eyes... So, today I decided to feature a few more images that might make you question what you are actually seeing. The chosen images are different from the last blog entry's images in that today's images are definitely recognizable subjects. However, they were captured in a way that makes them a little surreal.
Nothing has been done to create these images in a software program. They are just as I saw them through the viewfinder.  When I am out photographing, I just love discovering these unique kinds of compositions.
Can you tell what you are seeing? Here's a hint: For each image, think 'reflection.'
(Click on the image for better viewing)
So, next time you are out and about, pay close attention to reflections around you.  They really make interesting photographs that make the viewer look and linger just a little bit longer.

P.S. In response to numerous emails asking about the subject identification of the abstract images I posted last time, I am including a list of "answers" as to what the subjects are:
Row 1 L > R:
Fresh Salmon Macro (Alaska)
Grass reflected on the river  (Namibia) 
Kelp stems on the beach (Oregon)

Row 2 L > R:
Glass Paperweight Macro
Reflections of buildings on water (Venice, Italy)
Architectural details on the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto)

Row 3 L > R:
Succulent plant leaves  (Namibia)
Wall detail in Pompeii (Italy)
Dead tree against red sand dune (Namibia)

Row 4 L > R:
Handcrafted Fishing Fly Macro (Alaska)
Zebras (Namibia)
Desert Plant (Death Valley, CA)

Row 5 L > R:
Shadow on corrugated metal against a wooden wall (Rhyolite, CA)
Details of rusted metal on a car door (Death Valley, CA)
Neon lights (Reno, NV)
Stairs and post (Cataloochee, TN)

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fool!

April 1st is celebrated all around the world as April Fool's Day or All Fool's Day. It is a day set aside for practical jokes and general foolishness. This week, in honor of April Fool's Day, I thought it would be fun to post a few my images that fool your vision and your mind.
The featured photos are of common subjects stripped down to show only their basic design elements in a visual pleasing way. (Also known as 'Abstraction') Each image was made "in camera" (No Photoshop tricks applied) and composed in a way to make you stop, look, think, and wonder. 

I invite you to challenge yourself to see if you can identify the subjects in each photo.  If not, I hope you can go beyond identification and just enjoy the design of each one.  Have I succeeded in fooling you?
(Click on the collection of images to enlarge)