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

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.
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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.
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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!!
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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.
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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!!