BE STILL...and SEE Photography

Reflecting on who I am...what is important to me...and the gifts I offer the world, I have reorganized this PhotoSchmoozer blog into separate pages for your viewing. I am about so much...people - relationships - drums and rhythms and especially photography...and I realize that although separate, they are all so INTEGRATED into the Whole of who I am!! It's a very peaceful thought and I am thankful for the intuitive gift to see the connections and the relationships. Enjoy the journey through the blog...and WELCOME.
Contemplative photography is about being totally present and seeing exactly what is before you, without filters or judgment. It is about seeing with your heart.Doesn't everyone see what is before them? Not really. You may see a candle on a table. Do you also see the shadows it creates? Or the reflections that the light casts on it? Or it's underlying shape and form?

DRUMS, Rhythms and Relationships

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

In My Own Little World

It's been a long time. A few days after I wrote the last blog about adventuring in Kensington section of Philadelphia with 'the gang', I opted for surgery! Yes, it was by choice if you can consider that getting rid of pain is a choice. The right foot was looking funny and then skewed the spine and the rest of the body. My doctor said "I was an interesting woman" and proceeded to tell me all of the things going on with my toes that made this so. Lucky you...this is about photography and seeing - not my medical ills!! So I am now the lucky owner of straight toes (though I won't know that for days yet til we go back for a check up) and this big ugly black open toed boot that is my faithful companion for six weeks. I am confined...and not champing at the bit like I thought I might. I almost find it relaxing to sit upstairs in the recliner with my foot up on a bunch of pillows.

But wait!!! This is about the PhotoSchmoozer and seeing. What can I do if I can't go out and about?!? Well...simple my photography friends...stay in and within and see what is right in the world around me. There are windows to the outside and amazing little wonderful things right here in this room that have lots of meaning. My niece Rebecca found some cute little duckies at the local hobby shop, so there too are photo ops. Then there are all of my 'chatchkas', goddess statues...the choices are infinite. In the days to come, I will share some of those. For healing in my chair. As the New Year approaches, I can be filled with gratitude - a foot on the way to healing, a great new job and wonderful family and friends who nurture and care. Happy Days and always be still to just look around you. It is amazing.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Shopping the Avenue

It was a cold and blustery day. Now you can tell that from the way people are dressed?!? Hats and scarves; heavy jackets and gloves. Isn't the hat on the little guy cute? How come kids can more easily get away with that cute stuff anyhow? When we got there, very few people had ventured out. There were those guys who were selling their wares (I'll introduce them another day), some delivery people and a few guys walking the street. There were some hanging around a program for AA and NA, and others who were walking up the street having gotten free bread from the food bank or shelter. As we were there, and it warmed up a bit, the 'ladies' and the women with children seemed to come out to look at the round racks of clothing out on the sidewalk, head into the stores to buy Christmas decorations and just look at 'stuff'. What fascinated me were the variety, sizes and shapes of the people - ages too, and the colors they dressed in. There were coats and jackets, of every type of fabric - even the 'big' guy with his fur coat and red shoes (he'll come visit the blog another day!" We spent several hours. Some people we just photographed walking along the street; others I chatted up and asked for their pictures. "Of course, you are an interesting subject and you have a great smile!!" Who could say no after being complimented?!? Some stared but I discovered that when I smiled at them, they could share their smiles. Ever notice that? Just go out walking in a neighborhood other than the suburbs, and you will discover that there are a wealth of treasures there for you to take pictures of!! Have FUN and allow your 'little child' to come out and play! Remember to dance your way through life.

Monday, December 8, 2008

In the Beginning...

Today I want you to meet 'The Gang" before we went out to the neighborhood. You get a different picture of all of us as we respectfully sit and watch/appreciate the work we have brought to share. Now what is Hinda saying?? She is talking to us about VISION. She has just shown us pictures in her books that are easily recognizable as those with a vision. Funny thing...their pictures were mostly black and white - except for the amazing Annie Liebovitz with Bette Middler amidst the roses, and Whoppi Goldberg in her milk bath!!
Now she is challenging us to share our pictures and discover what our vision might be. Yes, there is a blur in this picture, because Hinda talks with her hands - a lot - and it is just a part of her!! Now there is 'rumor' that Panasonic Lumix, NY main office, might just take our pictures and write a story about our adventure in the neighborhood for their newsletter. Stay tuned!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The "PhotoSchmoozer" Gang

Meet the 'gang' and aren't we a group!! It's a wonderful thing to be The Photo Schmoozer, but it is really so much FUN to find a gang and go out in a neighborhood together to chat people up and explore!! This is what I did on Saturday, 12/6.08. But when I started out that morning, or even more, when I signed up for the Panasonic Lumix workshop, little did I know what would be happening!! Our 'fearless' leader, Hinda Schumann, workshop leader for this day, describes our shoot this way:

The class spent a couple of hours shooting in the lower Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. The EL (Subway Line) runs over Front Street- which is the main shopping district. Behind this main street are blocks of empty factories, though someone told Ellen and I that in the basement of one of the empty looking factory buildings was a tropical fish wholesaler. It could be true.. then again.. But we chose this location because the light changes with the shadowing from the overhead subway, there is city scape and residential streets, there is empty warehouses, and lots of people out shopping, and getting ready for food pantries to open, meals to be served, and lots of street life in general. We discussed that going to a suburban development would yield very different pictures, and probably people who would not be as open to being photographed. In other words this neighborhood had a something for everyone element to it.

What a diverse group of individuals we were. Looking at the picture, 'the guys' brought their big SLR's and lenses, wielding them and being noticed on the neighborhood foray. 'The girls', had smaller point and shoot cameras...but as Hinda said to us, "I have seen great photos coming from cell phones so it is the photographer and the 'eye' that captures the moment." I agree!!
Just a quick left to right:
Julius: a cardiologist up from Florida to visit his family
Martie: the Photo Schmoozer
Bert: a self described 'paper pusher' with the State of New Jersey
Ellen: a recent high school graduate and a waitress at a Sushi restaurant
Dan: a teacher and a priest

We started out showing samples of the work we brought, talked about 'our vision' and how our pictures captured this. Then we talked about what our goals were to be as we went out into the neighborhood. (Note: My first teaching jobs eons ago in Philadelphia were in these same neighborhoods. I used to walk my kindergarten class to 'the Avenue' to see the world and meet the shop keepers)
We all agreed that we wanted to 'capture' the essence of where we were and the people who lived nearby. We all had different ways of approaching the people and the environment. Needless to say, in my Photo Schmoozer style, I smiled, flattered and 'chatted people up'. Once again, I discovered, and NOT to my amazement, that they responded!@! I watched Hinda, and she engaged people too, but in a quieter way. As I chatted, one of my new 'buddies' was right there with me taking fantastic pictures. He said that he was a bit shy though about walking up and talking to people. So are so many people!! It takes comfort and practice. So welcome to the world of Kensington and its residents!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

He Knows He is Not Perfect!!

The 'woman' with the funny nasally voice called yesterday to let me know that my books were in at the library (actually it is a computerized voice!) so off I went to bring home yet more books to read. Hey, it's a great way to learn about the world when your foot is hurting and you can't walk too much!! When I got out of the car and was walking in, this guy was standing out front, drinking his soda and smoking his cigarette - listening to his music as well and talking on his cell phone!! Multi-talented!! I couldn't help but overhear some of his conversation as I walked past: "Hey I know I am difficult at times but I know who I am and I know I am not perfect and I am working on it. Stay with me." Hmmmm I thought. He's rather communicative and knows about himself. YES~~ When I came out, I had reflected about his comments and decided to share my thoughts about his words. I said, "I couldn't help but overhear what you were saying when I walked past. I like how you know yourself and work on who you are." At first he just looked at me, but then realized that I was saying something positive and we chatted. Or maybe I should say, I listened. He proceeded to tell me all about what he knows about himself, that he is not perfect, but that it is God's will that we recognize our imperfections and work on them. He had a very strong belief and I told him that his words made a lot of sense. What I would have missed if I only went in to get my books...see, I would rather learn from people and that is why I enjoy talking to them and learning about their stories and adventures.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Vanity and Views from the Chair

Vanity and grey hairs are my reasons to schedule a 'regular' every six week appointment for 'beautifying' myself! Aside from that, visits to the salon are fun. The 'girls' are no older than mid 20s and I get to learn so much about another generation, their lives and partying at clubs. It's a world so removed from mine, but living it vicariously is a 'hoot'!!
Once the color gets spread on the graying roots, there is time to sit, rest, reflect, nap or...half an hour or so. This day, I started looking around and my fingers started jittering. "Get out the camera" and see what is really involved in this business. Awesome!! It was a grand tour of all of the tools of the trade. The 'younguns' did not have my same sense of humor and questioned my crazy self about what I was doing, but hey, a girl's gotta have some fun and this is way better than reading about movie stars and other celebrities in People magazine!! So take a minute and cast your eyes on the familiar and the unfamiliar. My point? Until you have time and stop to REALLY look around at your surroundings, you never know what is fascinating in your world. Enjoy!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Yams: From Garden to Table!!

One of the most important lessons I have learned being The Photo Schmoozer is that everything is a story and worthy of photographing! Today was no exception. Months ago I went to K-Mart and brought home a 'six pack' (NO, no relation to "Joe Six Pack") of yam plants. Not knowing what to expect or if they would grow, Bill decided to find a space and plant them. Last week he decided it was time to dig a few and see what we had. Well, they were about 3 inches long with less than a 2" diameter. Well, they were good. Better luck next year?!
NOT SO. Today was gorgeous and Bill was out working in the garden. "Martie, come out with your camera." Oh my!! There is his hand was the biggest yam that we have ever seen!! And it was one of many. Synchronicities abound. Yesterday I found a recipe for butternut squash pie with gingersnap crust. Now, why not substitute yam for the squash and that I did! The only thing I can say is that it is totally delicious. Come on over for a piece if you want. There is plenty left. Want the recipe? Ask me and I will send it. Enjoying Fall and all of its spectacular beauty? Sure hope so. This year, I seem to be wanting to take the little details of all of the incredible colored leaves. That's for another time!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Gil & Curtis Sail the Seas!!

His hat is soooooooo the opposite of everything that Gil is! We went sailing on the AJ Meerwald out of Bi-Valve, NJ for a six hour cruise on the Delaware Bay the other day. The day was one that we would have to call 'perfect' - clear, sunny, the right temperatures and the excitement of the expectations of what we might see or do while out on the quiet of the Bay. For one thing, we knew we would be seeing lighthouses that could not be seen from land! Great expectations. For me, as The Photo Schmoozer who likes to 'catch people doing something right', there is always yet another expectation though. I wonder who I will meet and what stories they will have to share. Today was no exception!! Well, ok I admit that I can find stories everyday!! As we were waiting to get on the boat, I saw three people sitting on the bench on the dock. Later, I happened to be sitting next to the female of the group - she had forgotten her seasick medicine so we were just being still together. Soon, she was joined by Gil, her fiance, and Curtis, Gil's little brother from the Big Brothers program. It's Gil I want to affirm because he is so opposite of the hat he was wearing - see the saying on the collage?? "The beatings will continue until morale improves". No way was that him!! First, I have to say, I watched him with Curtis and you could see a caring connection between the two. Turns out they have a 5 year history together. When Gil comes aboard the AJ Meerwald as a volunteer, Curtis is right there with him, working by his side hoisting the sails, taking pictures, or snoozing on the deck!As we talked, I asked Gil what he did. He shared that he is Executive Director of a Community Health Care agency in South Jersey. I was wearing my DARE to AFFIRM shirt, so we talked about what that was and then Gil began to share his philosophies as the leader of his program. The first thing I have to share is THAT HE REALLY LISTENS!! People talk about an 'open door policy', but his truly is. He goes to staff meetings, meets with all of his managers weekly, and nips problems in the bud by encouraing everyone to be involved in solving them together. I asked if he had always been such an affirming individual? He didn't answer right away, but after reflection, we came together a bit later for another conversation. His experiences in Peace Corp and his degree in Cultural Anthropology plus the wisdom he has gained from life, are some of the other puzzle pieces that make Gil open to people, cultures, values and beliefs. He respects them and in turn, engenders so much respect from all of the employees at the 20+ clinics that serve the working poor. He is amazing; his staff recognize him as such, and his fiance', Betty, loves to spend her time validating him as well! I learned almost as much from her as from him!! Yes, we saw the lighthouses and I came home with some photographs of them, but the experience of meeting Gil, Curtis and Betty was a special event of the cruise.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Daddy!!

Yesterday was Bill's birthday. Happy Birthday Bill!! Now, he won't say how old he is but we will tell you that he is a 'card carrying' social security guy who qualifies for Medicare. You do the math.
We decided to celebrate in a quiet way. He chose to go to Riverwinds in West Deptford, NJ. We like it there to watch the airplanes land, see the tankers and tugs going up and down the river, and walk along the beach to discover what is new. For me, well, you must know that it is 'photo ops' galore. No matter how many times we have been there, it is always new!! Beautiful!
A woman and her two daughters came down to the river with 4 helium balloons - "Happy Birthday" was their message. I watched them walk down to the end of the path. Schmoozer that I am, I needed to go and see who was having the birthday and if there might be a party going on! I was prepared to share that it was Bill's birthday too.
When I got to the bench near them - my opener - who is having the birthday party?? Here's the story. The girls are now about 7 and 9. When they were 1 and 3, their dad died. They never got to know the very special man that he was so their mom has made sure to keep him alive in their memories. Every year on October 9, his birthday, they come to the river, bring balloons, write messages and release the balloons for his 'birthday party in heaven'. What an emotional story. I thanked her for sharing with me...and just sat and reflected on my blessings in life!! I just asked...and she just shared. We had a bond.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sit Down and Look Around!!!

The Photo Schmoozer stepped out on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, journeying to National Park - a state historic site and park on the Delaware River. It is within viewing distance of Philadelphia, the airport and shipbuilding on the river. There is also a beach for walking, watching waves and just contemplating and watching people. When we first got there, I sat on the sand and watched. Close by were some Canadian geese. Oh I know, they are everywhere around here. I watched them. Then I just sat still. Yep that is what I advise you to do all the time. All of a sudden, I looked down and there was SAND!! Now I grew up at the ocean in southern New Jersey, but the sand was very different from this. I wondered what would happen if I looked really closely. Here is the result! I am awed that something as grains of coarse sand and teeny pebbles can look so amazing and show so much detail. Just proves my point. Be still and LOOK and see what asks to be seen. Another time, I might share about the children, families and other experiences going on around me. Today, sand, just sand.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Friends and friends

For me, The Photo Schmoozer is about JOY and SPONTANEITY and PEOPLE & THEIR STORIES. It is going out and about with eager anticipation but without expectations of anything but discovering someone and 'chatting them up'. That I can do and that is so special. The scene this time is a small town on the Cohansey River called Greenwich. It was the sight of a tea burning during the Revolutionary War at the same time as the Boston Tea Party. On a drizzly weekend at the end of September, we went to see what was happening. Our friend Bill, the glass blowing guy was to be there doing his metal work. And what else?? Quien sabe?? The magnet that drew me into this particular story was the woman with the 'jaunty' dark green hat but more so, the purple t-shirt with the beautiful faerie!! (see top right picture and you will know what I mean) I stood for the longest time watching Francis Smith and Dana Gayner(in the green shirt) 'doing their thing'. They were adding so much joy and excitement to the lives of young children with their paints and brushes and creative ideas. The little blonde just glowed with her butterfly mask; the guy with his black bat mask and the little child with the designs that Francis so sensitively put on her arm so she would be able to see it.
There was a lull in customers so I decided to sit on a hay bale and 'chat'. Francis says she is a fibre artist, involved in choral music, and a photographer. As we talked - really listened to her, we also found out she is a world traveller. Her recommendation for the best location for 'chatting people up' and listening to their stories is Heathrow Airport in England. Where hasn't she been and where is she still going. "Want to join the trip to Morocco in January?" "Here is the name of the company I travel with. Come along." We talked about photography. She uses FILM and not sure she wants to try digital. Bill handed her his camera and, well, it was too much to figure out 'all of those buttons'. No matter. What is most important is that she is 'young and energetic' and never stops living!
I asked how she and Dana knew each other. They both said, "We are Friends and friends." Living in South Jersey with many Quaker meetings, I did know what they meant. They both belong to the same Meeting and have become friends through their art and other interests.
Francis got busy again, so I got to know Dana - yet another treat - an artist, an equestrian and a teacher. WE talked for awhile about the PROCESS of art, whether it is photography, painting, drawing or... She teaches art to children and like I learned years ago in undergraduate school. tries to instill in them our most important lesson: "That the PROCESS is more important than the PRODUCT". This is a lesson I am learning and sharing with my photography adventures. It is most important to me to go out, be still, see, and learn about myself and my world through the process. Hmmmmmm I haven't printed my pictures...yet...and don't have them hanging around the house...yet...I am happy to have been gifted with the energy of the visions. So enjoy the pictures of my new friends of all ages. Be SPONTANEOUS when you go out and about and engage in YOUR PROCESS. It is such an individual experience.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Willow Tree...No More

Posted by PicasaThe Photo Schmozer is about people and their stories. My latest posts have been about "The Willow Tree" in Betty Park in Pitman, NJ. Well, I would have to say in some ways, it is about me and my story. As long as I have lived in this town, I have appreciated the tree and its delicate 'being'. The other day, I discovered that our local beavers had also enjoyed this tree as they had many others on both sides of Alcyon Lake. I went away for just two days, and when I got back and rounded the curve toward home, I just STOPPED!! The Boro of Pitman, in their 'wise' decision making, had chosen to cut the tree down! This morning, before the tree company came back to clear it all away, I went to the Lake to bring closure to the story. The 'good' of this (I always try to find that) is that they had put wire around another small tree so the beavers would not go near that. Small blessings!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

DAMN Beavers!!

Normally when I think of beavers, I think of these eager little creatures who come out at night, find some little saplings to gnaw until they fall, and build a dam and homes for themselves at the surface and under the water. The other day, I had been working hard and decided to go out for a walk to see what I could see. I live only two blocks from a beautiful Alcyon Lake and Betty Park in Pitman,NJ, so I decided to take advantage of the Fall weather and walk down. I have lived in this town for almost 40 years and at the lake, there is a huge willow tree that has always been my favorite. To my shock...amazement...consternation...sadness...I discovered that someone/something else also has been favoring the tree and IT IS NOT GOOD. The beavers, busy on the other side of the lake, have now come over and begun chewing away at the giant willow. For all of the layers they have chewed through, it has not been an overnight thing. Once the outer layer is destroyed, where the tree gets all of its nourishment, the tree will begin the dying process. This is not a Fall thing with opportunity for regrowth in the Spring. It seems that it could be permanent. I called Bill, on his way home from work, to come and see this. I could take his picture next to it so you could see how really big the tree has become. The Photo Schmoozer develops relationships with people, places and things. My willow tree has been one of them. Sad.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The View From the Chair

The advice today from The Photo Schmoozer is to 'Never leave home without it'!! Of course, you know that the 'it' is the ever trusty camera - the small one that easily fits in the pocket! Today was time for the six month dental checkup and my 'buddy' and I went off for the adventure to visit with 'our buddy' the dentist! We have such a social chat talking about children (she is about to have her third), sister joys and challenges( we each have two) and life as we know it. As much as I can dread the dentist, the noise of the drills and the potential pain, I also know that it can be a fun time!! As I sat in the chair, letting my thoughts travel 'out and about', sometimes with my eyes open, and sometimes with my eyes closed, I received lots of images. This was the most fun one!! It is my dentist - or as much of her as you can see when there are lots of precautionary measures necessary for her protection. I sat and watched - a bit blurry without my glasses, but eventually I asked for them and then said, "Can I take your picture? It is the 'coolest' view from here?" Did she think I was a tad bit touched? To be sure, but since she is so good natured, there was a "SURE". When I left home, I had not idea that this would happen - no plan except for the camera in the pocket. Just let go and see what happens and enjoy the experiences and the results. You can be sure I did. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Generations of Caring Service

It is almost 40 years that I have lived in the little town of Pitman, NJ - my husband, Bill - well he has been here since he was 2!! In that time, we have become a part of where we are, made friends, and looked for people to take care of us. We have blossomed where we are planted, raised our son and lived our lives well. Maybe you would consider the brief move away in the 90s and the trip in the "Cocoon" in 2001(a story for another time!!) for more than 3 months 'leaving, town' , yet we always came back. But I digress and well, I will admit I am distractable, but always get back to point!! Yesterday my 'check engine' light came on in our little green Acura with over 170,000 miles. What to do?? No problem. Went right over to Coopers and talked about the potential problem. Sitting there and talking to the 'middle generation' guy - we have always called him Butch - I realized how the three generations of Coopers have been there for us. They are more than our auto mechanics. We know the family from Mom and Pop to their kids and grandkids. Going to get the car taken care of is like a family visit to catch up on all of the news. Pop's in his mid 80s now and his legs don't get him to the shop every day like it did until a few months ago. Butch wishes he could retire, but...and Jared, the 'youngun' is there now to carry on. Sometimes I go out and about to look for The PhotoSchmoozer stories. Sometimes I just have to live my life and they are there. I just know that I am grateful for it all.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Dreamer...The Doer...The Idea Man!!

Saturday night started out innocently enough. We went 'downtown Pitman" to the Bus Stop Cafe to hear our friend Jim Six, singer songwriter and our son's best friend, Greg Potter, accompanying him on the guitar. It was to be a 'quiet' evening of wonderful music. Then, well, the guy at the door collecting the $ for the cover charge was wearing a fez!! What's that all about!?!?
So have I told you that PhotoSchmoozer is also a flirt? Well, I am...and it is fun.!!It's a technique that wins people - smile first of all, and then flirt, flatter and make people feel wonderful and appreciated!! No worries mate. Easy enough because, for me, it is a real way of being.
I sat quietly and listened to many of our favorite songs, but eventually the 'magnet' drew me to Vic - the hat, the beard and the intense bright eyes that noticed everything (you can tell by now, that people's eyes/faces are fascinating for me?!!) I went outside and chatted for a few minutes and then simply said that he looked so cool with that hat and could I take his picture? did I want him to pose? Then he said to wait a minute and went to get the other hat - we talked about the Gorton's of Gloucester fisherman (how many of you grew up on their fish sticks?? and do you know that it is now a Japanese company owned by Nippon Suisan Kaisha,Ltd)? We talked about PhotoSchmoozer and how I just loved to talk to people and hear their stories. Vic said he had LOTS of stories to share with me. This is the first time I said I would come back to sit and listen because I was there to listen to Jim and Greg. Is this the start of a new trend??
This morning, Monday and the first day of Fall, I went to the cafe ( ) and YES, Vic had stories to share. First of all, I got a great cup of coffee - $1 gets you a cup that is unlimited in refills and a delicious breakfast sandwich - they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and have quite a healthy/organic menu). Vic is three generations from Glassboro ( a story for another time) and barely graduated from high school. He then went to a few colleges and majored in 'parties' so, no degree but he is a perfect example of a dreamer who is a doer and makes things happen. His career...a jack of all trades who has worked in a lumberyard, on a trash truck, as a card counter (other stories?) and in the casinos in Atlantic City. He opened his first used record and CD place in Pitman in 1994, bought the current building on Broadway that he is in now in 1995, and just kept moving on. But...can't make the stories too long or you won't read it you have to come back another day to hear the story of how Vic got started in the used record/CD business.
He wants to do and see everything in life but is one smart guy who knows that HE HAS TO STAY MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY HEALTHY so he can be there for himself, his wife and 2 boys and others. So next week he is off to NY state for a week of salmon fishing with the buddies. You can be sure that Vic will be a Photo Schmoozer story another day soon!! Thanks for visiting today.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bill Blows Beautiful Baubles

Woke up today to a truly typical "Fall" day - cool, crisp, sunny and just gorgeous. As I read the anti-aging books, I know that I have to have 'purpose' when I wake up. Today it is going for a long walk to the craft show that happens every year in downtown Pitman,NJ. OK...yet I wonder what will be new and different for me after living in this town for over 35 years and walking the show for just about as many. When I got 'uptown' as I call it and turned the corner, I was attracted to a bright orange flame. Oh WOW and what is going on?? I was drawn over like iron to a magnet. I just stood and watched. What did I see and what did I want to see? First of all the tie dyed shirt - brilliant!! Then the bandana on his head. Then the purple goggles. Colorful to say the least. I don't know how long I stayed and watched and was fascinated as the bead pendant grew with Bill Futer's patience and persistent manipulations of the glass and the flame. Awesome. He was working right in front of a new store in Pitman: Bead & Glass Botique (his friends who had invited him to demonstrate. Check them out at
I started out looking at the flame and than was passed a pair of goggles to use in front of the lens. I would 'see' better what he was doing. I tried both ways and saw different things, both spectacular. I didn't know which picture would show this off to best advantage, so for the moment, here is Bill. Soon I will gather the 'best' photos and make a collage of his work in progress.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ways to Get Out of the HOT Sun!!

Sunday at the Rt. 13 Flea Market in New Castle, Delaware was HOT!! As we walked around, sweating and drinking lots of liquids to keep ourselves hydrated, well trying to do that, I started noticing the ways that people were figuring out to keep themselves a bit cool. I saw the usual hats (that is in a previous blog entry) and then began noticing the amazingly colorful variety of umbrellas! The beautiful cream colored lacy one might have been 'mine' if the woman holding it had not just bought it. She was going to use it when she went to outdoor prayer meetings and retreats out in the sun. The pink umbrella was carried by an Obama supporter and we had quite a conversation about her voter registration efforts for DE. I enjoyed the older gent sitting under the 'shade' of the hatch back of his vehicle and the woman vendor with the flowered umbrella. She had just borrowed it from her neighbor. Themes are a great way to take pictures and I am always thinking of the stories that go with whatever I see! How about you?? To me, photography is about people and FUN and stories much more than 'getting the picture 'right'. There are always surprises of joy (well, disappointment too) when I get them home in the computer. Enjoy and just get out and about and notice!!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Rita's Donut...Martie's Photo Diet!!

Tonight was an experience. Buddies Bob and Chuck are teaching a photography class at Gloucester County College here in south Jersey. My friends Rita and her husband Al are in the class. Well, I did not sign up for this 3 credit class because it was to be tooooooooooooo technical, and if you have been reading my blog, you will know how I truly feel about the technicalities of photography. Anyhow, I decided to go and visit the class tonight, see friends and, well, maybe even learn something!! (I did...shutter speed and Picasa 3!) I am telling you all of this and you are wondering ...well then, why in the world does she have a picture of a partially eaten donut on this blog?!? Here's the story. Bob brought a HUGE box of all kinds of donuts - iced, filled, plain- some covered with powered sugar and...can't tell you more because I did not even approach the box! WHY you ask? If I am to be healthy and live to 100 like the people in the books I am reading, then sugar and wheat are NO NOs!! Instead I decided that the best approach for me would be the PHOTO DIET!! Here it is. When I want to eat, what I must do instead is pick up my camera (my diet buddy perhaps??) and take pictures. Tonight was the first lesson in this process. Rita took some bites and then I asked her to put her donut in front of me. I turned on the camera, set the Super Macro and had FUN! It was even more fun than eating the donut! Maybe, just maybe, I have started something new! Try it and see how it works for you.
Posted by Picasa

Touch Up and Trim Today

ANYTHING is a photo op and a story if you just open your eyes WIDE and pay attention to what is all around you!?! Now, don't get me wrong. I do appreciate all of the gifts and the beauty that Mother Nature offers us daily with flowers, trees, bugs, plants, sunlight and... Yet, as I sit and contemplate it all, LIFE in all of its entirety offers us the same beauty, images and experiences.
Today, I had a scheduled appointment to get a touch up and trim. Now, when this happens, there is half an hour of lag time while the color gets to the roots and makes them 'match' the rest of the hair. So, I started out reading Nature Photographer...ok, enough of that. Why not just look around where I was and focus on the HERE AND NOW. I did and I am sharing my views with you in this here and now!! It is truly amazing when you stop and look really closely at what is around. One of the hairdressers - maybe I should call her a 'salon artist' - questioned what I was doing. When I got excited telling her that I was going to creat a PhotoStory 'A DAY AT THE SALON'...well, sad to say, she was only concerned that one of the stations was dirty!!
I had tons of pictures by then, so I quietly put the camera away and just became 'more beautiful' on the outside to match my joy and beauty on the inside!! What's up with you??

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Butt Out!!

Butt Out?!? I couldn't resist sharing this 'find' that I discovered today when I got out of the car to meet a friend at Beans Coffee House in Woodstown, NJ. I wondered what it was and after close inspection, found that someone had taken his/her used chewing gum, a cigarette that had been smoked down to the butt, and used the chewed gum as an ashtray. Just seemed like an interesting thing to do. The piece that puzzled me is that it was sitting right on top of the trash can!! Why, oh why, did they not take this mess and throw it away?? No, I was not helpful either in the clean up since this was not my mess and my germs. Just wanted to show that if you are aware, there can be a story in everything!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sunny Days at the Flea Market

IT WAS HOT!!! What else can I say that describes the day in the sun at the Route 13 Flea Market in New Castle, DE. Oh, I can also say that it was FUN and that there were tons of vendors and shoppers alike. We were all strong souls getting our 15 minute does of Vitamin D. Some, however were wiser than others and wore hats to protect themselves from the scorching rays of the sun. Do you see the one woman who had her jacket on her head? The little boy who put the lace doiley on his head? Notice how many people are wearing straw hats?!? The fourth row down on the left was one of my favorites. When I 'schmoozed' with him, he shared that he had just bought it to wear that day! Smart man!! Some of these folks were vendors; some were shoppers - and a few were even 'added' though they were not there that day - we could call it artistic license because I needed 25 pictures for the collage and did not want any repeats!! I find that when I am out and about with my camera, I often get a thought about a theme - at the market, there were two - and both because of the sun - hats and umbrellas. You see for the other. Thanks for stopping by and seeing what can be creatively done with 'simple' pictures and wonderful people. Enjoy LIFE!! It is the only one you have.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fascinating to Watch...

Doesn't this look like a monster?!? Actually if this bug - friend Gary the Spudzinator thinks it is a 'pumpkin bug'- were near you, most likely you would not even notice it quietly going by. It is maybe half an inch in length and fits in very simply with the environment.
Remember I said that yesterday was a 'quiet', reflective day. I went out to sit on my favorite white wicker rocking chair on the front porch to watch the world go by, and I found Bill already sitting in 'his chair' watching something. Seems that he discovered 'Mr. Bug' and tapped on the porch floor to see what would happen. The bug stopped in his tracks and became totally still. Bill was trying to see how long it might stay this way. Well, it's often about going to get the camera for me and see how I can record a memory of the bug. I sat on the floor near him and he began to move. I got him to go onto my shoes, then on my pants, on a green leaf and then back on the floor. We played for quite awhile. It was just the kind of 'simple joy' that brightened my day. We 'danced' for about 20 minutes together! While I was engrossed in this activity, I totally forgot anything else that was going on in my head and heart and became totally focused. It was so simple and I learned so much about 'bug nature'. Try it sometime. It doesn't have to be a gorgeous flower or a sunset...just a simple bug. Fascinating!!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lost in the Clouds...

Have you ever had 'one of those days' when you feel like your thoughts are lost in the clouds? Today seems to be one of those. The sun is shining; the colors in the garden are still bright; the breezes are gentle...yet for me, it is a day that I don't even want to take out the camera and go out and be still with it. I just want to sit and think of everything...nothing...and just breathe. What I am learning to do is go with those feelings when they are present. I am learning that not everything, everyone or every day can be an 'Oh Wow' one. That is a giant lesson in acceptance for me. Do you have stories to share with me about these days for you? Email me at It would be a pleasure to hear from like minded souls. (PS This picture is from another one of those days months ago in Wildwood. The ocean and beach is often a wonderful place for stillness and contemplation.)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Beach Hut...and the Pending Storm

A good 'Flicrk friend" lives in England - she calls herself 'Sminky Pinky' - and when she goes out and about, she loves to take pictures of beach huts. Now, let me tell you, she has come across many beautiful huts arranged in communities right at the sea. They are lovely, full of color and individuality and she is always so ready to share. It has become one of her trademarks. When we went to the New Jersey shore last week, I hoped to find a beach hut to send on to England and I did. But as with everything, it had a story. Let me share. We walked down to the 'catamaran' beach in Stone Harbor - another story. There sat the hut in its beautiful white pristine glory. Of course, I took the picture for Sminky. Then we walked down to see the boats, watch the guys 'baitfishing' (yet another story) from the rock jetty, and the parasails way up in the sky. That too was amazing as a group of guys were practicing using these before they actually went out and waterskied with them.
As we came back up the beach, we noticed that the beach hut was no longer in place!!! See, Hurricane Hannah was scheduled to hit the coast on Saturday, and during a previous hurricane, one of these huts was found days later way down the beach - and NOT all in one piece either! This time, they were taking it - and the boats - from the beach, so that they could be survivors. It was fun to watch them lift the hut, remove it from the beach, put it on a big flatbed and take it away for security. Guess we could call this an 'ounce of prevention'!! So not only did I get the picture of the hut, but an unanticipated story to go with it. All it takes is getting out and about and keeping your eyes open to what is happening in your world. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Posing for the Camera!!

We were walking on a beach near the bridge between Sea Isle City and Avalon, NJ just the other day and, from a distance I saw this gorgeous dog. I watched him...and he watched me. Then I put my camera to my face and he continued to watch me. Direct eye contact!! This went on for about 10 minutes - many poses and 'communication'. His owner saw me a bit later - she was definitely distracted by the waves and said, "Oh he will never let you take his picture!" Hmmmmmmmm what had been going on for the past 10 minutes? When I told her about the 'dance' that Duke and I had been engaging in, she was truly surprised. She said he never let anyone, including her take his picture. When she took out her camera, he walked or turned away. Guess I was lucky enough to have a communication with this guy, and I am thankful to him for the memory, and to the sea for the perfect backdrop for the photo session!! It's not just people that we have to ask permission of when we are out with the camera. I silently watched and asked the dog...guess he responded to me.

Tecla and the Komen Capo for the Cure

In August, we went to the Chester County Fiddler's Picnic in PA and I met Tecla Gay. Right away we noticed her pink capo and how it matched her shirt. Though we found out that was just a coincidence (see a previous blog on this site), we had a wonderful visit together and shared stories.
Today, I received an email from Seth from and I would like to share that here with you.
"Hello. My name is Seth, and I stumbled upon your blog post about the pink capo. I wanted to drop you a brief note to say that I enjoyed your blog and to give you a little more info about the capo. The name of the capo is the KOMEN CAPO for the CURE and it is made by KYSER. The best part about it is that each unit sold helps raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation to help fight breast cancer. It is available for purchase through guitar good (web site above).
Check it out.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Thomas Blows Bubbles...LOTS of Them!!

On a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, under the 'Buttonwood tree' in Mantua, NJ, a group of family and friends came together to celebrate life through conversation, music and of course food. My 'faithful friends', the lenses that compliments my own vision, were with me today. I saw this very active little guy blowing a few bubbles. I pulled up a chair and just sat and watched him until I knew I could take some pictures. He loved to perform for the camera. "Did you get that?" "What about this one?" He didn't quite get that he moved so fast and out of my line of vision, that he was a challenge. It was time for me to leave him alone to his fun. A short while later, this is what I heard: "Are you the person who was taking my picture? Want to do it again?" "Sure, Thomas, no problem", I quietly said to him. This time he tried all kinds of bubble blowing 'tools' and got fully into the game, often even forgetting that I was there with him. This was a win-win situation. Thomas got the attention he wanted - a child in the midst of many adults - and a band playing - and I got some great pictures. Never did I anticipate what was going to happen at the picnic. In fact, it is so much more joyful to not anticipate what is going to happen in a day or an event. The spontaneous happenings are often so much FUN! My advice - open your eyes and go out into the world and just BE STILL to see what comes. Try it!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Look Into My Eyes!!!

First I met Joan - the sweetest and kindest person one would ever want to know. She had a gentle smile and a wamth that just enveloped me! I was lucky. We talked about life, connections and then I found out that she and "Big Al" were going to be celebrating 50 years of marriage in November. What an example of love and caring that continues through the years.
Then I looked over at "Big Al" and got 'lost' in his eyes. See, I am a 'sucker' for gorgeous eyes - especially the light and bright ones. His were a warm sea of blue with a smile that just lit them up. Of course, I asked if I could take a picture of his eyes. He looked at me like 'was I crazy', but said 'sure'. Bill got the camera and caught a picture of me looking into his eyes. Then it seemed just as right to take a picture of the 'newlyweds' and they graciously posed for me. What a fun time, just by stopping by and asking Joan who she was and how she was connected to Jim and Karen - the hosts for the picnic. It's that 'opening statement' that just opens up the world for me to learn so much about those in my life - temporary or long term. Try it - it's not so challenging - and then you too will learn someone else's story. And YES I believe that EVERYONE has stories to share - maybe they just don't know it until someone like US unleashes it and makes them feel valued and important.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Father and Son Connections...

It's a special story. In 1924, 'Pop' and 'Mom' got married. That day he wore a wedding band because it was special to signify the unity of the marriage. After that day, since he was a farmer, he never wore the band again. Now in November, 2008, Joan and 'Big Al' (Pop's son) will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. Last year Al's wedding band broke. He did not want to be without it for their special day. He was going to get a new one, but in conversation with his sister, she said, 'Why not take Pop's and see if anything can be done?' Al took the two rings to the jeweler and he said, 'Let me see if I can take the two of them and make you one band.' YES! Now, Al will renew his vows with Joan after 50 years with a wedding band that is his and inside it, the one that is his 'Pop's'. I met these folks at a picnic today. All I did was talk to Joan and then notice Al's eyes. They are the kind that you get lost in. But that is a story for tomorrow!! Stay tuned.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

We Never Walk Alone

These footprints I found on the Stone Harbor beach as Bill and I were walking along. I had never seen anything like them - and had to 'record it for posterity'. I still look at the picture and wonder in amazement how it happened. It almost seems like it could not have been naturally, but then isn't life and Mother Nature a source of wonder and amazement. It's a perfect example of just being out in the world and looking all around!! Wonders will never cease. Enjoy!!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Summer Interlude in the Garden

Mid morning, my intention was to weed the garden and plant some new seedlings that Bill had begun. Maybe there would be time for yet another batch of the flowers that bring us such joy and bring me a place for stillness and reflection. Weeding and planting were work, but they had to be done.
As I was walking toward the garden with tools and my little bench in hand, I had to stop and stand still in my tracks. My "friend" was there and I had to watch!!
All summer I had been watching the monarch butterflies (only 2 of them) as they flitted about and chased one another, gathered pollen, and just floated on gossamer wings and air that warmed them for flight.
All summer, my wish was to have one beautiful picture of one of these butterflies with one of our gorgeous flowers - or one that was less than perfect. That part didn't matter to me.
I quietly put down my work tools and came back in for the camera. I knew that today was the day I was to get my wish!! I walked back outside and she was still there (something so beautiful and delicate had to be a she to me!!) I flipped the switch, pushed the supermacro button and very slooooooooowly walked across the driveway. She did not move and I was able to receive 4 images before she said, "Enough" and flew away. I was blessed!!
This afternoon, I took out THE ZEN OF CREATIVITY: Cultivating Your Artistic Life by John Daido Loori and here is a quote that jumped out at me from Minor White:
"Spirit always stands still long enough
for the photographer It has chosen."

I got chills throughout my body, and knew that today was my turn!! The butterfly was a gentle spirit here to reassure me that everything is as it should be with the world. Thank you spirit!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ready for Take Off!!!

Imagine driving into the parking lot by the Cohansey River in Greenwich,NJ, ready to have a quiet lunch at the Bait Box restaurant (we had finally found it after several trips in their direction). What greeted us, besides the wonderful variety of boats, was "THIS"??? What?!?! Because we had followed the Bait Box directions on their web site and seemed to drive "forever', we decided that lunch first was in order. When we came out, I strolled over to look at this and was wondering what it was. At that point, a guy in a truck came close and teasingly told me there were "postcards for sale inside"!! Naive as I am, I asked, "Inside the space ship or in the shop?" He laughed and then proceeded to tell me the story about this outer space looking structure. Seems his work is restoring fiber glass boats, and since this is made of fiberglass, he has been comissioned to refinish this for someone to live in!! Seems a guy bought it from an amusement pier in "south jersey" (He was from Florida so did not know that Greenwich is also in South Jersey!!) It has been a part of a thrill ride. When the excitement was over, the people would get off and walk through this. Imagine living in a structure like this.

The guy who owns this one just located another in Denver and had sent my buddy out to look at it. Next stop, living in Denver for awhile to fix that one up, What a career and life of adventure he has chosen. My point is that if I had not bothered to engage him in conversation, I would still be wondering about the outerspace structure!! It doesn't pay to be hesitant or shy!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Amazing Zinnia Shares JOY!!

Saturday morning...restless sleep...feeling the emotional effects of the full moon and up just about at the crack of dawn. What could I do to get settled and be with the absolutely gorgeous day that was dawning. I know!! Get my camera/s and head out to the garden to enjoy the stillness - or what I thought was going to be the stillness. (The only challenge was the neighbors setting up their yard sale across the street and the people coming to see what was there). I stayed in the back yard and away from the bustle of the street, traffic and people activity. At first, I tried TOO HARD to find things to take pictures of. Then I remembered what my advice is to others and decided to live what I knew in my heart was the truth. What I began to see were the zinnias in all of their states of glory and decay. In my 60+ years, I don't think I have ever been so still to see the beautiful patterns and designs of this flower. The buds, especially had dark outlines around all of the sections. Amazing and all I had to do was BE STILL and wait. I ended up staying in the garden for 2 1/2 hours. I saw the portulacas come to life, the light shining on the balloon flowers, and the bugs and bees waking up. The most special part of all of this for me was that part way through the experience, I felt a total calm come over me. One more example of picking up my camera and just going out and BEING with it. What a blessing. I am filled with gratitude that my husband planted this garden and Mother Nature nurtured and supported his work.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Walk With Me...

Yesterday I went to meet my friend Theresa for lunch at the Painted Cottage Cafe in Collingswood, NJ. Yes, of course, my camera "friend" was with me on this adventure. In fact, I took the Canon and the Panasonic, for good measure just to be sure that I could bring home what I saw!! Indeed I did!! I never go out thinking "what am I going to photograph today?" That for me is NOT what this is all about. It is about me and my buddies out on an adventure. It is about quieting my mind and being still to receive. Yesterday, I parked and when I got out of the car, I just stood still on the sidewalk (Haddon Avenue) to take in my surroundings. I saw SIGNS everywhere. I couldn't walk without looking all around me - up, down, around. I have been training my eyes to look for all of the possibilities. Somehow, I also think about creating stories and making collages to present my visions. Yesterday was no different. I wanted to be able to invite my friends to "Walk with me" and that I did. Welcome to this little piece of the world and the signs that show us what this part of town is all about.
Please take a minute to notice the one contradiction in the collage - the picture in the lower right corner. Read its message...
No need to say anymore fellow photographers. Just go out and look around you...and then look around somemore. Keep your eyes and your heart wide open for receiving!! It's a feeling of peace and gratitude and a way to live in the "precious present".

Monday, August 11, 2008

What an Opening Line!!!

DO YOU ALWAYS USE A CAPO TO MATCH YOUR OUTFIT??This past Saturday, Bill and I went to the Chester County Fiddler's Picnic in Hibernia Park near Coatesville, PA. As is our usual way of doing things, we each wander in different directions, see what we can see, and then find one another again and share "what is". This time Bill shared that he had seen a woman with a PINK CAPO. It's the gadget used for tuning the guitar. He wondered if she changed them depending on the outfit she was wearing. For me, this was a great "one liner" - a conversation starter. Later I went over to where she was playing and whispered the question in her ear. I met TECLA GAY. She laughed. "No, it is pink for breast cancer." As a "girl thing", we then launched into breast cancer conversations - friends, family and the Sister Study. It was great!! I asked to take some pictures of her..."OK. I like that", she said. I saw her, pretty in pink and then took a picture of the capo close up. When I showed it to Tecla in the camera, she said, "It would be perfect on my new CD!!" I put the pictures on a CD and they are in the mail...I am lucky to have a new friend, satisfying music to listen to from Tecla Gay's CD WHERE I BELONG, and some great photos as an extra special gift. It always pays to talk...and then listen. There are so many fascinating stories to be heard!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Sunday Morning Storm!!

The Sunday morning storm. It all began with what sounded like a hot air balloon flying overhead. Listening more closely, we realized it was thunder but way in the distance. Within 20 minutes, the thunder came closer and a gentle rain came down. It smelled sweet like a spring/summer rain. Just a bit more and the thunder became louder and the rain became harder. The lightening was showing itself as well. I sat on the porch talking to my good friend Susan, and she asked "Do you have the camera?" Silly me - I did not. I said, "Call you back and went to get my "buddy". This is what I saw within the next half hour - pouring rain, giant hail stones (2 bottom left pictures) [well Bill says maybe not so giant!! poetic license], water streaming down the street and pouring out of the neighbor's gutter and then the cars spashing in the giant puddles. After the storm, the sun, but alas, no rainbow. It's an hour later and the thunder can still be heard in the distance and the sky lightens and darkens...not over yet?? Brrrr...It feels like Fall!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Always Look About and SEE!!

"When I go unprogrammed, 'eyes only' and open to experience, the world expands as if taking a deep breath. There is more to see - or perhaps I am able now to see it. It is a Zen-like openness, a meditative awareness. I can accept everything - or very nearly - because I am willing to. I can see what is just beyong my peripheral vision. Cathy Johnson, ON BECOMING LOST: A NATURALIST'S SEARCH FOR MEANING.
Yesterday, we were out on a simple quest to find a little folding stool for photo adventures (sometimes the knees need some help to get down to see at close to ground level). On the way home, we "happened" to look up and see spots of bright color in an unusally blue and beautiful sky. We came upon a group of sky divers and spent the afternoon watching and photographing.

Friday, July 18, 2008

WELCOME My Friends!!

For me, today is a new beginning. It is the birth of "The Photo Schmoozer" , my new persona, and I am excited to present this concept to you, my friends. In November, 2007 (only 8 short months ago) I signed up for a Creative Photography class at Gloucester County College here in southern NJ. I had been a vacation snapshot person and wanted to discover what else I could add to my world. The instructor was lively, the group was welcoming and I began to develop my own identity within the photography world. The camera I took to class I call Baby Fuji", fx31, a compact point & shoot pocket camera . It fits in my pocket and has always been there for me. This began an eye opening relationship and love affair with my world. I have always been joyous, exuberant and curious, but somehow with the camera, I saw differently and more. I looked at everything and everyone around me as a potential subject. WOW!

Now I was seeing through mulitple lenses:

1. The lens of my eye

2. The lenses of my glasses (been wearing them since I was 9!!)

3. The lens of my camera

4. The lens of my intuition

5. The lens of my experiences

and the filters of my experiences and perceptions of people and my world.

Within weeks, I quickly discovered that "technical stuff" like ISO, aperture, depth of field, etc. made me weary, my eyes blur, and my mind fuzzy. (Thus the first picture on this blog...what I did during a technical discussion - took off my glasses so I could have "clear vision" from my heart! ) I wanted to see and to see things differently! This was my gift to me. We saw a video in class with DeWitt Jones, a National Geographic photographer, and I got this message: BE OPEN TO ALL OF THE POSSIBILITIES, and when you think you have exhausted them, turn around and there are more!! The world is a wide open "studio".

Throughout my professional career as a teacher and workshop facilitator, I realized that I had a gift of guiding people to discover themselves and recognize the special individuals that they are. For me, it was easy. I simply "schmoozed" and empowered people to feel good about themselves. Others have shared that they are "scared to death"! What do I mean by schmoozing??? Here are some of my thoughts and I would guess that you have more to add. Together we will build the definition.
1. Actively and intentionally engaging people in relationship building
2. Asking good questions and then LISTENING
3. Making it easy to get in touch
4. Conversing casually/chatting idly
5. Using myself and the camera as a "friend maker"
I have taken to extending this schmoozing to my photography. How do I do this? That is the focus (no pun intended) of this new blog. I want to share some of my photo adventures and how I "dance" with people and tell people's stories. I want to ask you to share yourself and your skills as well. I find that most people, if approached respectfully, love to be flattered, have their pictures taken, and share their stories! It makes them feel worthwhile.
As the days go on, we will talk about building relationships, how to listen, how to approach people with body language and words, how to gather and share people's stories and... on and on. I believe that this forum will only be limited to the energy and creativity that I and YOU, my friends, put into this.

My main forum for picture posting is Flickr ( I use the name "daretoaffirm", also my consulting business ) and I have met many friends from around the world who share my same philosophies of "be still" and engage people. We are all story tellers. My wish is that we ALL facilitate each other's learning. No one is a teacher but we are all mentors and facilitators of learning. We are ALL experts in our own special ways.

Post your comments or send your picture and words in an email and I will make sure that this gets out to the world.

My wish...this is new, so let's be patient, open and understanding with each other as we go forward on this adventure together.