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, January 31, 2012

Frank's "Fenomenal" Faces!!

It was a perfect day, so friend Mary Ann and I headed north to Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton Twp, NJ for a photography exhibit and talk.  The gallery was displaying 21 photos selected from more than 100 amateur pictures submitted and Frank Digiovanni was the photographer/artist chosen to jury the works.  He was to share what he saw and how he selected the works.  Many of the artists were in the audience - probably most of the audience - and were eagerly waiting for Frank to talk about their work and how he chose it.  He did that for some of them, and then got so excited about how he experiences photography!  For him, it is a stillness with nature - so Photoschmoozer quickly identified with that part of him!!  I challenged myself to capture some of the many faces he showed us throughout the talk.  I want to share with you, as I did Frank, that there is a term - MIKSANG- for what he so loves - the write up on the website
says that at its most basic level miksang is concerned with uncovering the truth of pure perception.  It's about being totally honest about what we see - straight shooting.  There's even a book that has been written called The Practice of Contemplative Photography by Andy Karr and Michael Wood. Check them out and lay aside all of your wishes to know the technical aspects of your camera.  You won't be disappointed.

Here are some of the faces in the crowd listening to Frank.  My friend, Mary Ann is in the middle at the bottom - and Frank's proud mama is top row on the right!!  I even saw Richard, bottom row, second from left.  He was in our photography class this summer at Grounds for Sculpture. 
Our world gets larger and smaller all at the same time.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Peace, Love and Cupcakes!!

At the PAWS reading program at the Gloucester County Library last night, yes, I met Sohpie and MC her trainer BUT I also met some totally fascinating children and their parents as well.  This 9 year old was very wise and cute and personable.  She brought a quick book with her - it was a children's picture book but she knew she could read it quickly.  I asked if this was the type of book she normally read and she said no, it was too easy.  I asked what her favorite might be and she said Biographies.  When I searched further and we talked more, I discovered that she preferred biographies of women.  "Who is your favorite?"  Without a moments hesitation, she said Mother Theresa.  I know that Mother Theresa is all about peace and love and hmmmmmmmmmmm I wonder how she felt about cupcakes?!?

PAWS for People: Precious!!

A few weeks ago at the Staples store in Glassboro, I needed help and found the friendliest face to get to what I was looking for.  We started talking - what a funny thing for Photoschmoozer to do!!  Quickly Mary Chris - or MC as fellow employees call her, and I became fast friends.  How "Unusual" for me - not!!  We talked about what I do MC said she had a perfect person/photo op for me.  I needed to meet Sophie!  OK I was game.  Who was Sophie?  Well, turns out she is a border collie/black lab - a pet therapy companion that MC has been in training with through PAWS for People.  In this particular program, MC and Sophie go to libraries and children get in line with their favorite books to read to Sophie.  Yesterday, I was in Staples again and MC said they were going to be at the Gloucester County library for reading that very night.  Why not said Photoschmoozer and right after dinner, I headed out the door.  What a treat I discovered!!

The mission of PAWS for People is "to lovingly provide elders, children and folks with disabilities individualized, therapeutic visits with a gentle affectionate pet.  Now look at this picture and lets talk about affection.  Some of the children are a tad hesitant because Sophie is big for their small size but many, like this little girl, have come for many sessions and are totally in love with Sophie.  (   or email )
Here is a brother and sister duo - found out today that they are students at Mullica Hill Friends school (I met their parents at lunchtime at the Bus Stop Music Cafe in Pitman- totally by accident!!)  They come to the library all of the time and I do believe that Sophie has come to recognize and welcome them!!  PAWS is an all volunteer non-profit organization and is always interested in talking with potential volunteers  (302) 351-5622.
Sometimes Sophie doesn't have to listen to a story but thrives on the attention.  Sometimes the attention can come from a 'child' of any age - see how quickly these two have come to appreciate one another.  It's definitely a win-win!!

By the end of the evening, Sophie is definitely ready for some of her own quiet time.  Tonight the program had 19 children come to read to the 4 dogs - Sophie has friends see.  So Sophie's program is called PAWS for Reading and is basically geared to children 3-11 to improve their reading and communication skills.
Sophie and Photoschmoozer has a private conversation last night and she has agreed to find a Saturday in the summer to come and meet her favorite friends - children - at the Uptown Pitman Farm Market.  See you there!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Talk to Everyone...You Never Know!!

Once upon a time oh a few years back, Photoschmoozer was at the Uptown Pitman Arts and Music Festival - sitting at the Bus Stop Music Cafe and listening to the music of Pine Wolf and the Pack.  They were fantastic, but what really attracted my attention was the sax player.  I just felt connected to his energy - aside from the fact that he blew a great horn (is that a good way to put it??)  Over the years, we have connected and reconnected at the Bus Stop for various music events.  Then a few months back, Larry Geiger shared that he had just been hired as the new Executive Director of Main Street Woodbury. Great for him and what a find for Woodbury.  If anyone could work to make them grow stronger, I had faith that Larry could make that happen.  Last month, as Uptown Pitman Farmer's Market began to gear up for the 2012 season, we thought about what could make us grow.  Larry came right to my mind - hey, Woodbury has a Farm Market and it is on Friday - so what if we created a consortium of Gloucester County Farm Markets and worked together to build the success for all of us.  What a win-win.  Today, Larry came to the Bus Stop and we all talked for hours - walking away with a plan to share joint advertising and even consider offering vendors a special 'twofer' if they signed up for both of our markets.  Once again - listen to Photoschmoozer - talk to everyone around because you never know what you have to learn or teach or share!!  You can be sure there will be more Larry stories as time goes on.  WOW!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Satisfying Curiosity - Checking it all out!

Exciting Happenings: Whole Foods Princeton

Meet the TEAM - and meet them again and again as you become a member of the Whole Foods Wellness Center in Princeton, NJ - only one of 5 in the United States.  What a gift to the people of the area (and those who live a 'bit' farther away).  This is the team who organizes, cooks, and shares so much knowledge.  Today we had cooking demonstrations, lectures and tours - food to taste and new friends!!

Funny thing - when I read the invitation announcement, I saw that at 10 there would be a bread baking!  Then I got there - and early - and the bread had already been baked though it was still warm!  I had to chuckle because it was a bread breaking ceremony for the new site - rather like a ribbon cutting, but since it was Whole Foods, well...isn't this a natural - crusty bread with lots of grains and seeds!! 
 Let the fun begin.

This is what greets you when you enter the club space - warm and welcoming - places to sit - books to read and buy - and lots of fresh flowers to add color and beauty!

Yes, as I said, it was the Grand Opening - if I plan this right, I can join and go, maybe once a week (after all - 54 miles and an hour's travel) but all for the one monthly fee, I can do cooking classes and lectures and get a 10% discount when I shop for the healthy foods.  Gosh don't I sound like an advertisement?!?!?

Amazing Ball of Energy ...Full of Information!!

Love, Peace and Healing: Wonderful Friend

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Beauty in a Block of Ice...Stop and Reflect

Just the other day, I got out of the car and stopped to look.  There, sitting in our yard was a block of ice that Bill had dumped from a big plastic bucket.  I saw the glimmer of the sun - looked at it closely and knew that Photoschmoozer had to go and get the camera.  I just sat with it and looked at the lines, the cracks, the was a perfect example of life and all of its components.  Then I just had to tip it over and crack it open to get at the heart of it all.  As I sat there on the sunny day, this is what I saw - and the longer I sat there, the sun shone and the ice melted and well...more to sit and reflect on.  I always say to Stop and Be Still and pay attention to what is in front of you in the HERE and NOW.  Life's lessons is we can be quiet enough to allow them!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Grandma, Purple Shoes and Buildings!!

It was the last day of the Christmas exhibit at the Brandywine River museum - trains and dolls and natural ornaments on the big trees - seems like we were there when Rebecca and Kathryn were very small and saw a lot of the same things.  Nice for a refresher and seeing the new  displays for the dolls and the doll houses.  It was a treat and the day was beautiful - so a ride was our pleasure.  Of course, Photoschmoozer is always looking about and down to see what kinds of shoes are to be seen.  This beautiful little girl had on the cutest shoes - and I asked to take her picture.  She was thrilled and so was her grandmother.  Then Grandma asked what I was planning to do with it and I told her about the Shoe video - the song that Tony wrote and the recording that is to happen this week with Minas - WATCH FOR ANNOUNCEMENTS ABOUT THIS!!  I told her I was planning to write at least one book about Shoes - and she was so excited to tell me about her book.  Meet Elaine...
One day she and her young grandson went into Philadelphia and as they were driving around, he looked about and said, "Grandma - the buildings are touching the sky!"  It gave her an idea for a book - and that she did!  She was so excited - has written it and has an illustrator - has self published it - and has had some successes with selling it.  She had luck with Borders and then they closed - she was thinking about contacting Barnes and Noble next and then I told her about their news - at least Chapter 11.  So she is exploring alternative marketing ideas.  We talked about products that might go along with it as well. For me, there were two things that were really exciting -
   1. Her enthusiasm for what she is doing
   2. Her excitement for me and her willingness to help me in any way she could!!  She suggested several books - one a children's book - absolutely!! 
Now here is the resource for Elaine's book - check it out on amazon and support her!
Among the Buildings That Touch the Sky- Philadelphia (Elaine Kelly, Kelcity Books)
AMONG THE BUILDINGS THAT TOUCH THE SKY is a book written for 4-8 year old children about some of Philadelphia's historical sites and attractions. It is written by Elaine A. Kelly and Jean R. Carl and has colorful illustrations by Cathleen L. Noone... available for purchase on

Lesson learned today - TALK TO PEOPLE - Put out Photoschmoozer's love and willingness to learn and share - and you can never tell what life will bring your way!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Capture the Moment: Express Yourself!!

First things first.  A gift to myself - remember you have to nurture youself as well as others to enjoy life to the fullest - is to get my hair cut and colored every six weeks or so.  Today, Dawn Gorman, my stylist at Alfred Stephens Salon in Pitman, said, "Let's do something light and bright!!"  SURE!  And she did.  When it was all done, I loved the color and felt like Goldilocks - no bears around!!  I knew that it would last just this one day because, well, to be honest, I just don't have the patience to blow dry it and get the same effect IF I could!!  So fun it was.  See - in the past I have often switched stylists because it got to be too much sameness - and now, can you believe, I have been going to Dawn for more than 10 years!!  Life in small town USA!!
Then we got silly and why not.  Express myself - some of the many faces of Photoschmoozer!!  This one is my fun and loving face!!

 A bit perplexed here - what are we doing?  When will you stop taking pictures??

Here I get the chance to be like niece Kat who always seems to enjoy sticking out her tongue when anyone has a camera to take her picture!!   How NOT flattering - but hey it was part of the fun!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year! Shoes on the dance floor!!

Happy New Year from Photoschmoozer!
It was New Year's Eve at Botto's in Swedesboro with Almost Fab - what a fun time!  Good food, good friends and great dancing feet!  For those of you who know me, you are aware that I love to take pictures of unique shoes.  This night, there were so many on the dance floor!  I had initially left my camera in the car, but by the time the evening moved forward, I couldn't ignore the opportunities!!

To try out the indoor photography, the flash and the shoe opportunities, I visited with friend, Cheryl first and we took time laughing and giggling and posing her feet!  Even got a cool dark red toenail in the picture!!  Notice the cute bow on the front - and wow were the heels high!!

If I could wear heels, these would be in my wardrobe (alas many of you know of the foot surgery that didn't quite 'work'!)  So I wear what is flat and comfortable and strike up great conversations with those who take the risks, have great balance and parade around in four inch heels.  These were definitely my favorites of the night - and they were sitting right next to Cheryl.  Fancy that.  Something about the pattern on the carpet complimented them too!!

Now these amazing shoes never left the dance floor the entire evening.  I sat and watched and wondered - first of all, how did she stay upright??  and how did she walk?  and how did she move the body and dance as she did?  It's a mystery to me but definitely something simple for this dancer!!

Sat with friends tonight - and these shoes belonged to Lillian - when we first walked in, it wasn't the shoes, but the sexy stockings that caught my attention - then the white shoes and the sparkly jewels!  When I wanted a picture, Lillian had already put on her soft dancing shoes, but as we talked, she was totally willing to put the shoes back on and pose them for me!!  Thanks to my new friend for the photo ops!!  Hope we create more of these.
Talking to the folks at the library today about the next show - think I will call it EXPRESS YOURSELF - and it will be all shoes!!  What fun - shoe photos - a music video for shoes - and some art cards too - express yourself - pick a card for who you would like to be!  Happy New Year!!