Monday, July 29, 2013


Sometimes the ordinary can give you extraordinary. As I was taking something to the trash can at the curb, I glanced at a field across the street and saw this perfect combination of a light dew on a field of grass and the sun peeking over the trees. Extra ordinary.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


This week children visited "The Kingdom of the Son" during Vacation Bible School (VBS) at our church. It's always so much fun and the children are adorable. Talk about photo opportunities!

This is hand painted on the glass doors entering the sanctuary. The "sun" on the left side is the large window at the front of the church that just happened to show through the paint.  I was crouching to get the window in just the right spot.
But it wasn't the children or their lessons or even the fun they had that struck a cord with me this week although that was all heart-warming and full of laughter. It was the army of people who helped make this a great week for the children and their parents that impressed me the most. Our little church was transformed into jungle of animals by a talented decorating crew.
This fellow is hand drawn and painted before being applied to a jungle motif. Isn't he cute? 

I'm sharing some of the decorations with you as a visual, but there were also people making dinner every night, the snack team, teachers, assistants, actors who memorized their lines and a terrific praise band who added so much to the festivities. One team couldn't do it alone. We worked with prayer and one another to come together in fellowship. What a great find...that we don't have to do it alone.  Wonderful things happen when we depend upon one another!

Saturday, July 20, 2013


For me, the answer to that question is, "whatever you think it is."  Another birthday is coming up next month when I will turn 63. How did that happen???

When I was a little girl, I don't remember thinking 30-something was old. My grandmother, with her white hair, soft wrinkled skin that I loved to stroke, her stockings rolled and tied just below her knees, the snap-up-the-front flowered "house dress" as she called it, and her refusal to wear a bra (guess she was ahead of her time in that department)  made me think Grandmother was old.

A few days ago, I'm driving my grandson to camp. At six years old he tells me he wants to become a boy scout. It's never been discussed before so I ask why. "Because I want to help little old ladies like you across the street," he answers while I smother a laugh.

What is old? Old is experience. Old is saying, "No I don't want to serve on that committee." Old is accepting that a size 6 is way out of my league and that's OK. Old means comfortable is better.  Old means family and close friendships come before anything. Old is giving up the type A stuff of life at least some of the time.  Old is understanding that God loves me anyway...and other people accept me for me...why didn't I know this earlier?   Old is liking big band sounds and 50's music, Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. It's thinking Singing in the Rain and The Sound of Music are two of the great movie musicals of all time. Old is before special effects and the words "geek" or "techie."  It's a coke float at the Woolworth's counter.

It's all those things and more. And to a little 6-year-old with green eyes, I'm old and that's a good thing.  

Sunday, July 7, 2013


Reading through some e-class notes, I was reminded of a challenge to post "10 Truths" about myself.  So I'm going to jump in.

1.  No matter what type of day I'm experiencing or what plans I have, it can change in an instant because family is always first.

2. I love my church family too. There I find support and encouragement to be me.

3. I love God. Should that be #1? Don't know and I realize this can create all types of discussion, but I'm trying to put my truths out there so here it is.

4. Texture, color in that order (most of the time.)

5. I seem to search out graphic designs and/or texture when a camera is in my hand. Hence the selected photo.

6. I need lots of alone time to read, study, think, create, be.

7.  During the summer,  my screened porch is my evening oasis where I read, study, think, create, be.

8. There is a love/hate relationship in my life with email and Facebook. They can consume a lot of time.  

9. Amazon is my friend.

10. I love rain.

That covered a lot of territory. Now your turn!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


This past week, Charlottesville, VA, once again hosted Look3 Festival of the Photograph.  We live about 11 miles from C-ville as it is referred to so we took advantage of a beautiful late spring day to walk the downtown mall. The mall is an old brick-covered street that does not allow traffic. Instead people can stroll under the trees, eat outside at their favorite restaurant and/or some frozen yogurt and just enjoy people-watching.

The festival includes free photography exhibits open to the public as well as many paid events. Although I've never purchased a ticket to see it all, I have felt enriched by experience of attending some events.

Take a walk with me.

Each annual festival (it does skip a year now and then) features one photographer's work displayed in the trees. This year's topic was Birds of Paradise. 

I go weak in the knees for a bookstore. This one on the mall is small and locally owned.  I want to live there. 

I call this the "Freedom Wall," a spot where people can express themselves in chalk. It is a permanent installment. 

 This was a shot taken from inside a gallery featuring the process of creating a photography book.  I didn't photograph any work in the galleries figuring that was a major no-no, but thought this one said something about the subject matter.  
Who can resist this "lady in pink?"  The mall has many street vendors selling scarves, hats and jewelry which just adds to the color and atmosphere.  I  wonder if she bought something pink?

Thanks for strolling through town with me. If you are interested in more festival highlights, check it out via Google--LOOK3.

Monday, June 17, 2013


Artists communicate differently and I am so grateful for that. They write, draw, paint, cook, create plays or music, or they photograph their perception of people, places, things and attitudes around them.  If our senses are open to their artistic communication, we "feel" things differently. We allow ourselves to be transported.  Julia Cameron, author of "The Artist's Way," says it so very well, "Known or unknown, famous or anonymous, all art is an attempt to map the territory of the heart."

I visited exhibits this weekend during Look3, the Festival of Photograph in Charlottesville, Va. Walking into those galleries I felt I was saying, "I want to hear what you have to say.  What is your story?"  And looking intently at the photographs, I listened and heard and was inspired.

More information to come about the Festival, but today I hope you can find inspiration in the wonders of the world around you.

a grateful heart,

Monday, June 10, 2013


As the song goes, "Summertime, summertime, sum, sum, summertime!"  Our grandson officially is a rising first grader. He's excited about some sports camps this summer, but guess what? Most of the time he will be staying with Omi and Opi (that's us) while Mommy & Daddy go to work.  So on this first morning of the official summer vacation we opened up what was a treasure when I was growing up, a brand new #64 Crayola box with a built-in sharpener!

He was delighted and broke them in properly by creating a sign for his new "cafe" where we eat lunch everyday. It's a room I typically call the kitchen.

I'm looking forward to the smells of a childhood summer such as rows and rows of books in an old library that has a squeak in its wooden floors; coconut sunblock at the pool; peanut butter sandwiches; waxy crayons, paints in primary colors, popcorn during a matinee at the movie theater, play dough and the best smell--a sweaty hug after playing in the summer heat.

To be a grandparent to appreciate the joys of youth again.    

Saturday, June 8, 2013


As daffodils, rhododendron and flowering trees gave up their blooms, we've welcomed summer in Virginia with the sights and sounds of cicadas and rain.

For those who haven't experienced cicadas, they truly deserve the term "unique." These large (over an inch) winged bugs only live a few weeks. The males create a chirping sound to attract the females and when thousands of them are in your trees, they offer quite the background noise---think very loud crickets. The females lay eggs via slits they create in tree branches (doesn't hurt unless it's a young tree), the babies hatch in a few weeks, burrow into the ground to feed on tree roots (again, normally doesn't hurt the tree). The cicadas return 13-17 years later!!!  (Timing depends on the type of cicada according to my Internet sources) The bug crawls out of the ground when it gets warm enough, attaches to your flowers popping out of the ground, then when it dries, the large bug now with wings comes out and flies EYERYWHERE. No harm. You can eat a cicada. Why you would want to do that I do not know.

And rain, we've had LOTS of rain. I couldn't take my precious camera into the yard when we received inches of rain in an hour. Our backyard is anything but flat so the result was a small but rushing stream about 3 feet wide that moved leaves and fallen branches out of its way. No damage, just yard work.

The remnants of Tropical Storm Andrea showed the east coast who is boss yesterday--more rain--but today Mother Nature is rewarding us with a lovely June day. Walking through the water drenched mulch yesterday, I noticed pieces of dead cicadas. Strange. Beautiful. Unique. The sound of cicadas is lessening. Soon I will wake in the morning to birds chirping without the background bug love song as the earth just keeps going round and round.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Vacations stay with us. The memories of sunny beaches, a cruise, or a relaxing meal away from our busy everyday lives can make us smile and relax a bit when the days get a little tense.  In this case, my memory is of a walk to the Sullivan Street Bakery (not located on Sullivan Street).  I highly recommend the bakery if you are in New York City.

The photograph reminds me of the neighborhood near our hotel. We passed this street almost daily to and from the bakery. I expect no one is surprised to know that space is at a premium in the city. Row after row of what might be called townhouses in the suburbs are a 3rd floor walk up for others. While strolling, my husband and I often talked of the requirements of city living. Think....very expensive parking so why own a car?  What about buying groceries, carrying them home on the subway or through your neighborhood, then you still have to get them up those three flights of stairs. Apartments are generally small, kitchens --tiny which I guess prevents buying too much at one time. We saw people buying goods at a Home Depot and trying to stuff them into a tiny car.  Now just imagine getting  through traffic, stopping on a narrow street lined with parked cars on each side, unloading your treasures, getting it up the stairs, parking the car, going back to your apartment,  then where to put your newly acquired stuff?  Gee, I hope it isn't raining while you are doing this.

Personally, no thank you big city. Chicago, NYC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, New Orleans or D.C....I love you all and I am so very, very glad I don't live in any of those places. You have interesting things to see and do. And don't get me started about the food. I LOVE to try new foods and the big city is an ideal place to do that. But I'm happy where I am and I'm glad we can visit those bustling cities from time to time.

Life in the big city may be intense, but I sense people seek the calm of nature. Central Park is a wonderful example. During our walks there, it appeared there were more locals than tourists enjoying the beautiful spring flowers. And walking to "our" neighborhood bakery, we could admire tiny attempts to bring life to the concrete jungle. In paved gardens smaller than our king-sized bed, these city dwellers planted pots of flowers and in this case, a tree struggling under the shade of tall buildings and old trees that lined the street. The blooms brought color, life and light to the city and reminded us to slow down a bit and enjoy springtime in New York.

Do you have a favorite vacation memory to share?

PHOTO NOTE: I used the Channel Mixer adjustment layer in photoshop to desaturate the color in the photograph. Then I "painted" the flowers with black at 16% opacity to bring back some color. Finally I added a Kim K. texture (Aurora I believe) in soft light mode and about 45% opacity. I again created a mask on the texture layer to "erase" some of the texture from the flowers. Really easier than it sounds.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Guess where I've been! My husband and I spent a lovely week in the Big Apple where we walked and ate, ate and walked.  Of course there was Times Square, plays, the Ferry, Little Italy, China Town, the Empire State Building and the 9/11 Memorial. We've visited NYC in the past for the day or a short weekend, but never for an entire week.

I loved it. And I was struck by two things. One--people were soooo friendly.  Strangers on subways offered directions to us or others when they saw us staring at a map. They stopped us on the street and said, "Make sure you check out the park up the block where West Side Story was filmed." We weren't looking for the park, but it was a nice gesture.  We talked to young women who were born and raised in the neighborhood and were starting their careers.  People offered menu tips at more than one restaurant. The noise, confusion, the dirt, the sheer volume of traffic and people had not taken away the inherent friendliness and need to connect.  We are all different. We are all the same.

Second, I was constantly aware of the contradictions of New York.  Cities smell.  There always is trash of some kind, the diesel truck idling on the curb making deliveries, the oil from engines and trains, the stale stench of old beer from the bar with its doors open to the street. And then there is the corner bakery with recipes older than grandma offering delicacies from Greece, Italy, Germany or those tempting American cupcakes laden with icing.

More contradictions? Think noise of people and traffic contrasted against the quiet of a walk in Central Park; the blinking lights of Times Square clattering for your attention and the darkness of a theater as actors pull you into their story.  There are dozens of tulips blowing in the spring breeze of Rockefeller Center and there is a city of subway trains under your feet.

NYC is exciting and full of so much to see and do. I'm so very glad we went, I'm so very glad we are home.  Do you have any vacation stories to share?

Photo Note: This is the first collage of this type that I've tried.  It was from a template. Once you get the hang of keeping the layers straight, it isn't difficult. You should try it.  I also noted (again) that I'm graphically oriented, especially in the city. Can't help myself.... those shapes seem interesting to me.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


This is my "snow" photo from our latest round of a few inches. It also qualifies as a personal version of an inside out photo for a Beyond Beyond challenge.

One of the many wonderful things about living in Virginia is that we get snow and it melts, then we get snow and it melts.  Sunday evening the yard was white, today most of it is gone.  I'm ready for the warmer temperatures to show up. I'm tired of pulling dead leaves that have blown into the rosemary and picking up fallen limbs. I'm ready for some green! There is promise out there. Walking around the yard today I can see the pink tint in the tight blooms of the little redbud tree and our lilac is showing shades of green.

Tomorrow hubbie and I are headed to a large nursery to browse and gather inspiration. I'll buy annuals  for the pots on the front porch (cheaper now because they are smaller--besides I can't wait any longer.)  And I know I'll find some other annuals and perennials that would look perfect in just the right spot. Then we begin the daily task of putting them outside to soak up the sun and bringing them back into the garage to doze in safety from freezing temperatures at night.  Even that task has a hopeful quality to it of things to come.

Walking through a nursery in March nurtures my soul. The smell of moist earth mixed with the glorious riot of colors brings out a creative frenzy in me. I have to restrain myself from seeing more potential than the yard can hold. 

It's fun to welcome spring with dirt under my fingernails.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


In the room where I journal and read there are three book shelves. One contains more photography or business books, another are just books I want to read or reference and on the top shelf that is so high I need a step ladder to reach it, I put the books that made me think. No novels---those favorites have their own shelf, but here you can find small precious books such as, A Gift from the Sea, A Year by the Sea, The Invitation and The Four Agreements

I'm reading The Four Agreements by Don Miquel Ruiz--again.  The premise is that we are taught or agree to certain behaviors from the time we are small.  Many agreements are based on culture--how to speak, act and talk. We don't have a lot of choices, our parents and teachers dictate what is right and what is wrong. Unfortunately, as we grow and learn to get along with others, we still manage to find ourselves surrounded by our insecurities and self-judgement, even self-disdain. The Four Agreements is an offering of four simple statements that for me, need to practiced everyday for the rest of my life!

 Reading this little book I've felt haunted to "create something" using the author's words. My original is 12"x12" that may end up on the wall as a daily reminder.

Each agreement reminds me that change is always possible.

1. Be impeccable with your word. I am reminded this means to everyone, all the time. That includes communication with someone I don't agree with, it means gossip, or the way I talk to myself when no one else is listening. Ouch! 

2. Don't take anything personally. Big One! Mr. Ruiz claims that we all have our own agendas and to base our lives on someone else's opinions or actions opens us to needless suffering.

3. Don't make assumptions. Alleluia! Isn't that the way misunderstandings flourish? I've been guilty of that one.

4. Do your best. The reader is reminded that our best changes with our moods, the situation, our health, etc. Guilt isn't part of the equation! If we do our best in the moment, that is all we can expect from ourselves.

What do think of the Agreements? Agree? Disagree? Do you think using them in your day to day life will make a difference?  I look forward to hearing from you!

with peace and gratitude, Angela

PHOTO NOTES: For this project the texture was the initial focus with the photo of a lily as an afterthought.  Kim's texture already includes the subdued text, I added the darker text creating 5 different text layers so I could play with font, size, leading and placement. Finally, I added the photo of the lily. It is above the texture (in Photoshop layers) however I reduced the opacity so the texture shows thru. Then I added a layer mask to the photo layer and using a black brush with about 70% opacity, I "masked" the edges of the photo and around the flower so you can't see hard, straight edges. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

INTENTION - no snow photos

The title may be misleading. Actually, I love snow photos. I just didn't take one today despite the yard full of the white stuff.  In Virginia near the Blue Ridge Mountains, snow isn't unusual, but it is an event.
I promised myself last night to focus my work today on my 2013 word, "intention." So I "intentionally" avoided the snow photos (It's still white out there but raining now.)  This afternoon I got out my Wacom tablet, my updated PhotoShop CS6 and my experience.
Here's the result.
My intention was to create a slide for PowerPoint that can be used at our contemporary service when someone is baptized. This week also was about experimentation because I normally work in Manual Mode but tried Aperture Priority (a challenge from one of Kim's classes.)  
Looking at the end result, I am pleased, but even more satisfying was the journey--working alone in a darkened, quiet sanctuary with a tripod and my camera was a spiritual experience. And having the time, the creative energy and the tools to make something a little different and new is satisfying. Thank you for a snow day that reminded me to slow down and just take the time to listen.   
What's your creative voice telling you?
Photo Notes:
To get the reflection of the window in the water I took two photos. The focus point on the first one is at the front of the bowl. For the second photo, the focus point was the reflection. In PhotoShop, I pulled one over the other, created a mask and use the tool brush at 20% opacity to brush away the out of focus window.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


We love our friends. They listen. They are aware of our bumps and love us anyway. We share life experiences--times in our lives that only come back when we tell stories or look at photographs. Friends may work together, they have lunch and shop, they laugh or cry over a cup of tea or a glass of wine, they like to go on trips together. Friendships are precious and worth the time to nurture. 

And yes, I'm selling one of my friends.

She is beautiful, a great listener and she ALWAYS tells me when I make mistakes.  I still love her, but I've really moved on. We don't go out for walks anymore.   Now others remind me when I'm technically malfunctioning. I'm not young, but I'm trying to keep up, but my friend still clings to the old way of doing things. I thought I would too. I thought an artist "would only use film." Then one day several years ago I met a new techie friend. No more days in the dark room looking at negatives my friend and I produced together.  No more watching the "magic" of a photograph peering out of the chemicals. (I sort of miss those days.) Now lucky me--my darkroom is me hunched over a computer!

My friend needs those days. And I found someone who will care for her and use her. Good-bye to this lovely twin-lens reflex medium format beauty. Five lenses. Manual all the way. Thank you for making memories with me.

PHOTO NOTE: The following was an exercise in playing with Aperture Priority (I usually stay on Manual but I enjoyed this exercise.) I also played with depth of field by changing the aperture or f-stop. And as you can see, I had a little fun with textures on the first two. The last one is a black and white. Because my background and subject was black and white, it almost fools the eye except for that spot of color on the camera.

Friday, February 1, 2013


Forty years ago you invited the boss over for dinner with his wife and all the other managers in your company and their wives. Women wore dresses, hose and heels.  The hair probably had hairspray in it.  It wasn't unusual to use the china, crystal and silver you received as wedding and anniversary presents.  And forget about putting that stuff in a dishwasher if you had one.

Who lives like that now? Royalty--or maybe Donald Trump.  Somebody with servants. Not me. I love mis-matched pottery and potlucks and I'm happy to add that only friends and family cross the threshold now.

We moved four years ago to be closer to family and got rid of A LOT of stuff. Clearly not enough. This week, the process of clearing out started again.

These lovely Gorham lead crystal glasses were gathering dust in a cabinet.

The crystal somehow goes with the lacy tablecloth that requires ironing.

I let the glasses go. They are included in an estate sale this weekend with other items that begged to be dusted but were not used. 

It's a little sad because these glasses speak of another time when dinner was an event.  (I keep thinking of Downton Abbey. Can you imagine getting dressed for dinner EVERY night? Where are the comfy yoga pants when you need them?)

Anyway---I said good-bye.  I feel a slight sense of loss and at the same time feel "lighter." Besides, it wasn't a total good-bye. This lonely glass was left behind because of a slight chip. So I enjoyed a glass of wine and toasted "another time, another life."

NOTE: I'm enjoying Kim's 52-week class Beyond Beyond. The assignment in week 1 was to take a series of photos of the same topic from a different perspective.  Life then and life now also is a different perspective. It all changes.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


I enjoy looking at the world through graphic glasses. It isn't unusual for my camera to turn away from a beautiful scene (after I've clicked the shutter a few times) and point toward something with texture or graphic elements. As much as I can't stand for too much in my house to match, I do appreciate the texture, graphic images or repeating patterns outside the house. (Someone find me an analyst!)
Here's a perfect example..a lovely old window surrounded by vines. I was attracted to the rectangles, the architectural details and the weathering of the building.  The dormant vines was all I needed to click away.  
Do you notice that you repeatedly return to one type of subject in photography? Is that telling you something or perhaps it is something you are trying to communicate to others who see your work?? Me--I like many different things, but scattered through all my photographs I always will speak "graphically."
For Texture Tuesday, I used Old West texture by Kim to give a warmer look. Playing with textures if fun--you should try it!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


I thought it might be fun to link up with Texture Tuesday with Kim Klassen.  Her inspiration for this week is "Cuppa."  If you like to play with layers and textures in your photographs, check it out.  For this particular photograph I kept the texture fairly mild and erased a bit of it from the flowers. The color is so brilliant (especially in January), I didn't to cover that up in any way.

There wasn't time to take photos today so this is from the archives. It's a favorite photo backdrop, my neighbor Monica's incredible amaryllis and my teapot and cup. Actually, the cup is from Germany and was my mother's. I used to drink out of cups like those as a child. Very Downton Abbey, don't you think?

Saturday, January 12, 2013


Bloggers are so inspiring. I've seen several words for the year with goals for each month supported by beautiful and inspirational digital artwork. My word for 2013 is "INTENTION" but right now I have no intention of creating artwork for it. Maybe later. (Perhaps my word should be procrastination.) Or maybe it is a good thing that I'm clear about my intentions.

There also were some wonderful blogger photo bucket lists.  Great idea. Usually when I write something down, it gets done--seems like a good reason to write myself notes that cover one-third of my desk on brightly colored post-its. Unfortunately that sounds and looks like clutter....I digress.

I've got some decent excuses for my recent lack of activity.  Injuries meant no carrying heavy equipment or sitting at the computer so I've barely pressed my shutter button. But I'm MUCH better. I have a new camera and tripod (and an empty wallet), so no more excuses.  

My INTENTION is to be spontaneous with my list so here goes
My meditation prayer spiral in the backyard.

2013 Photo Wish List

* Sunrise over the small lake across the street. Catch the Canada geese flying over in the morning.

* Blue Ridge Mountains in different weather (I can see them as we enter our neighborhood and love the change in their daily moods according to the light)

* My grandson - that's a tough one

* Neighbor pets - we don't have a dog or cat anymore, so it would be fun to play with them

* Create a digital 4 seasons artie-fartsie look for the bedroom

* Carry the camera and use it daily.

* Get in front of the camera (do I have to?)

There--done.  It is something I do all year with plenty of room to build on it.

It will be interesting in 2014 to see if I really did accomplish what I wrote down. 

Do you have a photo wish list for the year?

Peace, Angela

Wednesday, January 2, 2013



I love the beginning of a new year and I like the idea of setting goals or resolutions.

My intention is to change my approach to taking care of myself. I enjoy moving and stretching so I'm listening  to my body when it wants to move. I love vegetables so why not eat more of them? And I want to meet me as a 6-year-old.  I remember going to birthday parties and deciding on my own if I wanted ice cream OR cake. I knew if I ate both, I would feel awful--too much sweet stuff. It wasn't an agonizing decision, just a choice and one I was comfortable making.  I love that!

Finally, for the rest of my life, I want to nurture my creativity by playing and having a little fun! Here we come 2013!

My day began with a bowl of steel cut oats, a nice way to begin the rest of my life!