Day 11: Mystery and Lighting Effects

This was a fun theme. Here are my entries for mystery and lighting effects.IMG_3403


mystery and lighting effects





Mystery – a time portal??


Playing with refections



Evening Reflection


Staying in Focus: Weekly Photo Challenge:Selfie/ Reflection in a Gazing Ball

Weekly Photo Challenge:

We recently had  a rare event in North Carolina – snow. Here is a ‘selfie’ I took of myself, reflected in a sunrise scene captured in my garden gazing globe. I feel like I am walking on the sands of another world.



Staying in Focus: A Matter of Reflection

As I was taking pictures of the gazing globe yesterday, I began thinking about the concept of reflection. It is a term that can apply both to throwing back an image, as in a mirror, or in meditation, as in self-reflection. Not all reflections are alike, however. There are circumstances that can affect the degree of perfection (dare I say) in the reflection.

This is clear, especially in photography. When conditions for a perfect reflection are in place, it is almost impossible to tell the reality from the reflection. It’s not easy to get the conditions perfect. Whereas a mirror is relatively stable, the surface of a lake is not. With the touch of the slightest breeze, the reflection changes.In these first two pictures the conditions are just about perfect.The reality and the reflection balance each other. We are more like the surface of the lake than the mirror.  The experiences and events in our lives change us much like the breeze changes the reflection in the water, causing  us to lose focus.IMG_5103

This is where the other meaning of reflection, that of meditation, comes in.When all is balanced in meditation,IMG_0004 we are calm and focused, not distracted or scattered.IMG_3962 That isn’t to say we should  give up on meditation because we are feeling distracted.IMG_9674 - Copy We will have days when our meditation sessions are less focused than others. It remains important to continue the meditation more than ever.Through meditation we  bring to the conscious mind problems or situations that need attending to, so that we  can adjust and   regain our focus. 

IMG_0003My favorite approach to self-reflection is to meditate on the shore of a lake and watch the change a sudden breeze will bring. The reflective image  on the water’s surface becomes blurry and scattered, but in time the breezes settle and balance returns. So, too, it is for us.We will meet many experiences as we grow into who we are, and these experiences change us,and like the breeze, send us off to learn and adjust. We change, we concentrate, we seek the balance. We grow calm and focused.It’s all just a matter of reflection.

Staying in Focus: From Fog to Reflections

I’ve learned that the essence of photography is light. Most likely it is the essence of everything, but this fact is most relevant in taking photos of reflection,especially nature scenes involving, light, water and wind[. To get a special combination of light and a calm wind, so that the surface of the water is like a mirror is the trick to getting a good reflection.  It takes patience but it does pay off.  However, a slight ripple in the water can bring about interesting results. When looking through the lens of the camera, look for interesting lines,  forms and shapes rather than a concrete object  Often the golden hours — the time just before sunset or at sunrise, when the light is soft on the water is a good time to get striking photos. Catch the wisps of fog as they dissipate  Sitting by a mirrored lake, especially in early morning, as a new day dawns, can be a great time for self-reflection as well. A time to just be with yourself and take stock of things. Clear away the fog, so to speak.

A few years back, my husband Bill and I visited Connemara, the family home of Carl Sandburg.  We were able to tour the home,  walk the wooded paths around the lake, and follow  a trail through the woods to a stony knoll where he wrote the poem, “The Fog”.  How I admire the way he used imagery to describe the fog so succinctly: Talk about inspiration!  After our walk we sat gazing at the lake, letting go of stress and relaxing into the lazy sunshine of  a summer afternoon .

Fog (by Carl Sandburg)

The fog comes
on little cat feet
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

A while later we experienced heavy fog as we crossed the mountains of Tennessee. Here is my humble attempt at capturing the image:

the fog, summoned by unseen hand, rises from the treetops
in wisps of ghostly gray
and melts into the waiting sky.

These two poems came out of that reflection/inspiration moment on our visit to Connemara.

Path along the lake at Connemara, home of Carl Sandburg


Beneath the leafy canopy
we stroll one summer’s day
We pause along the woodland path
and watch the shadows play
As sunlight filters through the trees
and gentle breezes kiss my face
We know we’ve found  a refuge here: a woodland home, a sacred   place.                                                                                                  

Reflections on the lake at Connemara

Still Waters

The placid waters of the lake
reflect the leaves of green
my thoughts lie calm, like waters still
my spirit is serene
I let fly loose the tension then
let go the stress and pain

and in my mind and in my soul
I am at peace again.

Here are some of my favorite reflection photos:

A watercolor effect, I like the contrast of the water and the tree branches. See what  a little ripple can do?

These two were taken at the same lake at different seasons.  The sky was crystal clear in the autumn one, and the lake reflects the beauty of that translucent blue.                           
Later in Autumn, different lake, still pretty.

Staying in Focus:Welcome Fall

Each season is a verse in the story of our lives
— pc 2012

And so, we reach the end of the summer season and welcome the advent of autumn. Time to enjoy cooler weather, rake leaves ( and jump in the piles).  Our last home was inundated with leaves in the fall –  by the millions (no exaggeration here) .  We would literally rake leaves until we put up the Christmas lights.  Some days they would be falling faster than we could rake them up. I really don’t mind raking leaves, but that property was a challenge! We did learn an important life lesson, though: When you buy a house, always look up, and imagine those leaves on the trees falling to the ground in the fall.  Then run away as fast as you can! (only kidding).   I drove past that house one fall, and the new owners were out there raking, knee-deep in leaves. I was almost tempted to stop and lend a hand, but  I was afraid they would bury me in a pile of leaves!

But that is one of the rights of childhood – jumping in the piles of leaves their parents have just created. Why, when we grow up, do we have to trade the fun stuff for the hard work? It’s not fair!

.Having  grown up in the northeast, I am always surprised at how long it takes the trees to start changing their colors here in the southeast.  This year they are predicting the leaves may turn earlier due to weather conditions this summer. We were out in the Blue Ridge Mountains a few years back.  It was early September, still summer warm, but I spied

this one leaf on a nearby tree, brilliant yellow,backlit by the sun, surrounded by leaves clinging to their summer dress.  I wrote this poem:

It’s September on the Blue Ridge
and yet summer lingers still
the mountains bask in warm sunlight
no sign of autumn chill

but here and there a weary leaf
proclaims its work is done
and trades the green of summer
for the color of the sun!

Several years ago, we were staying at a Pocono Resort in Pennsylvania in the fall. Our room was situated overlooking a lake, and one morning the fog was thick but rising from the lake quickly as the sun rose, to reveal crystal blue skies and the lake, quiet and reflective, surrounded by autumn color.  This poem came from that experience.

The last wisps of fog begin to clear…


and the crystal blue sky returns. The lake, still and reflective, surrounded by autumn beauty.


upon the lake, in early morn
the misty vapors rise
and when the morning sun arrives
the lake reflects the azure
sunlight sparkles on the water
when the gentle breezes blow
the trees bedecked in autumn dress
reflect the mellow glow

we stand along the shoreline
lost in deep reflection
an autumn morning on the lake
a moment of perfection!              

Don’t miss out on the fun aspects of this season – apple-picking, making apple cider, bobbing for apples, pumpkin patches, hay rides , carving jack-o-lanterns,  skeletons, Halloween,  haunted houses, candy, Thanksgiving, pumpkin pie, turkey, The World Series, football, chrysanthemums and ornamental cabbage, scarecrows, crisp nights, sunny days, low humidity(we hope).  I could go on and on.  I love this season!  Does it show?

Wishing you a delightful fall season in this chapter of the story of your life .  Take the time to enjoy the beauty of a crisp autumn morning, gaze into that brilliant blue sky  and if you are near a lake, take a minute to enjoy the reflection mirrored there -it just may lift your spirit and  soothe your soul. And don’t pass up the chance to jump in a pile of leaves – just for the fun of it!