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, 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!!