photographer. artist. author. singer. songwriter. musician. teacher. student. humanitarian. visionary.

Posts tagged “nature photography

Ghostly

Title: “Ghostly”

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This is for you, Sean.
I’m so sorry you couldn’t find the comfort you so desperately needed in this world.
I’m sorry that the system failed you. (It failed me too, in many ways.)
I’m sorry that the only solution they offered was to shove fistfulls of pills into you.
I’m sorry they convinced you to undergo Electric Shock Therapy.
I’m sorry that you were hurting so badly inside. More than anyone knew.
I’m sorry that you spent your entire life doubting that anyone cared for you.

I can’t accept the fact that you’re really gone.
I found your book on Amazon: Stories of How I End. Which is like your entire blog, pressed into a book. I’ll buy a copy soon, and I’ll do what I can to promote your work.

I will make that promise to you. And I will keep it, friend. I miss you.

I’m sorry. x

#suicideisnevertheanswer

 


Monochromejunkie

There’s a reason I chose the username Monochromejunkie: It’s because I’m obsessed with black and white photography. To me, nothing is more beautiful than a bold black and white image with heavy, dark blacks and stark whites. These days, people are so used to simply slapping a filter on something or doing a quick and easy B&W conversion.

it takes a well-trained eye to look out upon a landscape or street scene and be able to convert that over to a B&W in your mind and truly “see” a black and white. Because reds, greens, and blues all convert into various shades of black, white, and grey, you need to know what would truly make a good black and white, because not every scene does.

This past year, I’ve been in a photographic funk and sorely uninspired. 2018 was one of the hardest years of my life. So many troubles with some of my children and their private struggles, along with the death of close friends and loved ones. It really kicked me in the teeth and that alone can kill your passion for your art.

After coming back to my blog and writing again, I rediscovered my friend Gav’s black and white photography. He’s an excellent street photographer, but what he’s really good at, more so than anyone else I’ve ever known, is staying in black and white mode. Nevertheless, year after year, he continues shooting in black and white and never seems to grow bored with it.

Seeing his beautiful black and whites have woken up my first love: black and white photography. I’ve wanted to shoot in B&W mode (only) for a year straight- for a long time, but never had the courage to take that plunge. I know though, that if I don’t do that, then I’ll never commit. And if I don’t commit to truly knowing the ins and outs of black and white and really learning it, then I never will grow as a photographer and artist to the degree that I want to.

I’ve decided to finally take the plunge! I’m putting my camera in monochrome mode and leaving it there for an entire year. It actually began yesterday, so until March 8th of 2020, I’ll be shooting in nothing but black and white. This way, rather than focusing on various colours, I can keep my focus on lighting and exposure. So Gav, if you’re reading this, thank you! You’ve been a major inspiration and have woken up my love of black and white again. It’s not for everybody. But for people like us, it’s what drives us.

I took these yesterday, at Sellersburg park (Indiana) while taking Chance and Diamond on our mile walk. Just as we were getting ready to leave, it started snowing. That was a nice touch. 🙂 (These are basically SOOTC/straight out of the camera.)

A new bud gets its first taste of the snow. Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35-2.8
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Cats and Dogs

5:30 a.m.

The most beautiful rain is falling outside right now. I awoke an hour or so ago to the rain falling on my tin roof in a most beautiful enveloping wall of sound. The rain is my favourite thing ever because I feel like God is corralling me off. It satisfies the intense hermit in me that wants to shut my door and windows and seal off the world. The rain says it’s ok to slow it all down to a crawl and not have to be bothered with the things outside my door. The rain sings a most beautiful song. 🙂

I suppose as I grow older (am I really going to be 50 this fall?!), I’m giving in more to my hidden persona; the Jane Goodall-like hippie that wants nothing more than to spend the entire day in the forest, taking macros of little things in their little worlds- up close. I can’t believe I’ve been in school for an entire decade now! I’m so ready to be finished with it all so I can finally- finally- focus on my art, photography, and music. I’m looking forward to closing the books once and for all (along with my many, MANY research papers) and buy an Epson professional printer and set up a small area of our new home (to be, soon); a proper print shop.

It’s going to take a lot of dedication and time, but I’m so looking forward to it. I’ll be afforded the luxury- after school- of not having to work. Even for several years, or never at all, if I want. I can stay home and go out and about and take all the pics I want- go where I like, and do virtually anything I want. When I’m ready, I can put on that periwinkle suit and Addiction Counselor hat (if I so choose) and make my mark on the world as a counselor. But first, I’ll explore my art. It’s an exciting thing to be able to wake up early in the morning and head out with my camera and collection of vintage film lenses in my Nat. Geo. bag. People who aren’t photographers probably don’t get it.

It’s such a rush to be able to go out into the world and see what only I can see. I can shape my perspective in a unique way and be a storyteller without words. To lay in the plush green mossy ground on the forest floor in the warm, afternoon sunshine and spend hours focusing my lens on tiny little things on leaves. I’m a visitor in their world. It’s an incredible thing to be able to make the tiniest corner of a leaf come into focus, making the rest of the leaf the size of a house, by comparison. Ants become giants and mushrooms- stadiums. It’s exhilarating!

But the real rush is taking the loot home and going through all of the images: Sizing up what stays or what gets tossed out. Whittling the pile down until only a few remaining “money shots” remain and those are the ones which will be edited and post processed. A full day’s shoot- and many hours- for 3 or 4 shots in the end. It’s the experience of it all, from loading up the bag to editing the chosen few to submitting or uploading the shots. And it’s all free! You really can’t beat that. It’s therapy. Photo-therapy at its finest.

Although my latest course Addiction Counseling and Families essentially began yesterday, my Discussion Board posts aren’t due until Thursday. Ever the procrastinator, I think I’ll spend the day lounging in my insanely plush (new) pillow top queen bed (that I um…bought Josh for Christmas. That’s right…it’s all for him! 🙂 ) and edit a new batch of pics from our Thanksgiving trip in the Smokey Mountains. Yes, my life ha been so busy and crazy that I’m only now getting around to editing my Thanksgiving shots from 2018!

Despite having 6 vintage (imported) Bulgarian and Romanian film lenses, only the Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.8 (my favourite lens ever) was used- throughout the entire trip. It never left my camera. These are two of many I’ll be editing over the next few days:

Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.8 film lens (Canon Rebel t3i) – An interesting tree I found on the way up to Clingmans Dome, in Smoky Mountain National Park, in southeastern Tennessee and North Carolina, U.S.
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This one is Josh’s. (His capture, my edit.) The Appalachian Trail sign at the base of Clingmans Dome in the Smokies. Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon film lens 35/2.8- Canon Rebel t3i
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Life Sneaks in Again

I feel like I’ve finally turned a corner. Tomorrow makes a whole month that my little brother has been gone. I’m so comforted by the fact that he’s in Heaven with my Dad, my Pastor (Rev. Hicks), and my grandparents. The first few weeks were absolutely brutal, but I’m feeling life again. I’m allowing myself to laugh again. Death is part of life, after all.

Soon, it’ll be a new season. Josh and I will be moving into a new house, leaving this place behind. I’m so ready for a new start; a new beginning. My kids are all grown and have flown the coop. I’m still studying, and as I mentioned not long ago, I have a year or so left and I’ll have my Master’s in Psychology and Addiction Counseling. This degree has not been easy! I’ve had to do continual research and writing 7-10 long page research papers weekly. It’s hard to stay motivated sometimes, but I push on. I’ve been in college for ten straight years! It’s so hard to believe. After I graduate, I’ll take a couple of years off. Maybe do a bit of traveling. Maybe write that memoir, finally.

For now, I’ll continue playing my adventure games during my 2 week break from school. Josh and I recently bought our HTC VIVE/virtual reality headset. My laptop is an HP Omen- it’s already VR-ready. I just finished the game Lone Echo- made for Oculus (Rift) but I “revived” it so I could play it on my Vive. It was an awesome game. 🙂 “Red Matter” is next on my list. (Currently playing “Before the Storm” again, after replaying “Life is Strange” again.) Nothing new to report. Perhaps I’ll go on a photoshoot in the next few days and throw some new pics up. “Photo Therapy”. ❤

Carl Zeiss Jena Flekton 35/2.8  Clingman’s Dome- Smokey Mountain State Park- Tennessee- Thanksgiving 2018
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Fire in the Hole

Fire in the pie hole, that is. Initially, I stopped blogging for a while because I have a crazy sibling who stalks my every move here at my blog, and after discovering her footprints all over the place here (such as, seeing her key word searches that she used- which were disturbing, to say the least) – I just really grew disgusted at the notion that she poured over my every word, and it really just creeped me out, altogether. I began feeling like my posts were going directly to her, rather than feeling liberated and being able to express myself freely. (She has a long history as a stalker, and I’m betting she’s changed very little in the past 5 years.)

Alas, I can’t live my life based on other people.- especially her. So I’ll pick up where I left off and simply do what I’ve always done: document my life in words and pictures so that my children and others will have a digital “life album” that they can access, both now and in the future. Apart from that, blogging is really healthy, and sometimes, getting those feelings out through writing is the only way to move past them. So, I’m going to try and blog every day again, and the purpose is not to entertain others; if I wanted to do that I’d just be a You Tuber instead. I don’t really care if I’m blogging about peas, just as long as I keep writing. I’ll only be able to free up emotional space if I’ve made room for new things. So, if you’re here and reading this, be warned- you may eventually be reading about peas.

Since switching to a plant-based diet, Josh and I have considered our options where “meat” is concerned. We’ve been researching meat alternatives, and came across a protein-rich, wheat-based, gluten-heavy protein called tempeh. Basically, tempeh is fermented soy beans that have been fried into small “cakes”. It’s packed with gluten, because gluten is the part of wheat that’s thick and sticky and keeps the bread together. Tempeh is a concentration of the sticky parts, so if you’re eating Tofurkey– which is a vegan meat substitute- you’re eating a gluten-bomb.

I thought I’d be o.k. eating it, because I’ve never had signs of being gluten-sensitive before and have eaten wheat all of my life. But almost immediately after making spaghetti with Tofurkey, my tongue began to burn on its underside. At first, it felt like I’d been burned, and then it progressed into a full-scale attack in which the top of the bottom (of my tongue) felt and looked like it was split open. It clearly had swollen and split apart and appeared to be growing in both size and intensity. Before long, my right ear felt pressurized and my right eye began to burn as well. Within 12 hours, I couldn’t talk and it hurt so badly it took my breath away. When I woke up this morning, I was in excruciating pain and could barely chew my food.

It’s been almost 24 hours now and the pain hasn’t let up at all. I’m guessing I’m gluten-sensitive! Josh got some Orajel for me and it’s helped relieve some of the pain. So, I’ll be adding that to the list as well:

meat
eggs
dairy
gluten

Thank God for Almond milk ice cream! Adopting a (mostly) vegan diet doesn’t mean food has to be boring. I’ve been making my own cashew milk too. It’s amazing! Josh discovered that almond milk has the nutrition of only 28 almonds, so we found a great cashew milk recipe that’s simple as well as wholesome and delicious. None of the pulp is thrown out, so nothing goes to waste. It’s actually tastier than cow’s milk. Lately, cow’s milk had begun to taste like water, so it’s nice to have a creamy milk that is rich in flavour and nutrients.

I’m taking the day off and resting in bed. I can’t believe January is almost gone! One month left of the cold and then the spring will be here again. ❤

Lewis and Clark’s cabin- overlooking the Ohio River
-Click on print to purchase-

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Blur

That pretty much sizes up my mood right now. I think I’ve reached my serial killer threshold.

My alternator finally died (for good) and so I had little choice but to sell my lenses. Not my camera! Just the lenses. The good side is that I’ve fixed my car. The bad side is that I’m stuck with one 28 MM film lens which doesn’t even attach to my camera. Yeah. Hard times!

Nevertheless, I force myself to see this as a positive situation; with much everything else. Having to hold my lens up to my camera, I discovered that I can bend the light in Hitchcockian fashion, if I do it juuuuust right. I get a good amount of blur (which I love) and heavier in-camera contrast. Not a bad thing. The downside is that it really sucks having to hold your lens up to your camera manually.

Alas, it served its purpose, which was to distract me from having to write my 6 page term paper today. About…you guessed it! Serial killers. I can’t believe I’m actually looking forward to beginning my psychology classes again next month. A person can handle studying only so many paraphiliacs before the brain begins to involuntarily shut down.

Which is what’s happening in my case.

On to my paper…

Shot in monochrome- today’s batch of pics: YUS 28 MM film/Canon Rebel XSI- back deck
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For a Special Friend ♥ ╬ ♥

You know who you are! 🙂

I hope you like your little butterfly. (Or, mad rabbit, according to Mandy Tator Tots.) Made today from things collected on the back deck.  I know it’s nothing compared to the masterpieces you create without even trying- forever making art with your fingers absentmindedly- but all things considered, I hope you like it just the same. xo
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A Very Special Thank You to a Very Special (Extended) Family

I’m far too excited to sleep. I’ve only got 2 weeks left in the semester! I’ve been up for hours researching Master’s programs and trying to decide if I want to move away when I begin working on my PhD. That’ll be a few years from now but I’ve actually been thinking of moving much sooner. My kids are all grown and everybody’s on their own, pretty much, but I can’t leave my mother, so I’m sticking around this ole town. At least for a year or two more. (But it’s in the cards.)

The major hurdles are over this semester and I’ve only got my term paper on OCD to tighten up and two finals remaining. That’s reason to celebrate. 🙂 The mood around the house is jovial and I’m feeling packed full of love!

For anyone who may be reading this who has chosen to follow my blog and has offered your support over the weeks, months, and years, both emotionally and artistically, I want to take this time to thank you. I started out writing this blog so that my kids could have a piece of me when I’m gone. And, so perfect strangers might read my story (BIO) and see my pics and be inspired. I’ve had a lot of hard knocks in this world, but they’ve only served me. I like to tell people that the more cuts you have in your stone, the greater your shine, and that’s so true.

What’s started out as a lone walk through bloggie land (more than three years ago) has turned into me claiming several hundred of you as family, and you certainly are. You’ve supported me, held me together (stapled, tied and glued!), encouraged me when I was downtrodden, and made me laugh when I thought it impossible. I love all of you. ♥ Oh! And thanks a whole heap extra for encouraging me to hang in there when I wanted to quit school (a million times)!

Thank you guys- friends and strangers alike. Here are some flowers for you. 🙂 MUCH LOVE. xo And Oloriel, if you’re reading this, the 2nd pic is especially for you. I thought of you when I was editing it- it totally reminds me of you. :0)

Taken two days ago- Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.4 vintage film lens
(I’m totally in love with this rocking lens.)

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One more thing. SAMI, if you’re reading this, I want you to know that I MISS YOU VERY MUCH. I hope things are well, and I hope you’re still toughing out that journalism major! I also hope “other situations” are better too. I miss our many chats. Lots of love to you. X


Early Morning Rain

It’s 7:39 a.m. and I’ve been up all night again. I usually am these days. I noticed that I prefer working through the night- in dark, quiet solitude, rather than during the day. I’m making tea and getting ready to start on my literature review: I’ve completed my Methods and Results Drafts. The literature review is usually the part of the scientific paper that introduces the hypothesis; which is why it’s also called the Introduction (section). All in all, it’ll be 10 pages or so, and so I’ve been working for weeks on drafts. I’ve never been more tempted to quit! There’s roughly 5 weeks to go still before the semester ends. I messed up by going out and getting a batch of fresh shots. I forgot how fun it was!

This is a collage I made from fresh leaves found in my back yard two days ago.

Helios 44-2 film lens/Canon Rebel XSI/natural sunlight

Available for purchase here

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Time to get cracking!


Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest

Clermont, Kentucky /Helios 44-2 film lens/natural lighting

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