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

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Timothy Turtle: Power Animal

One of the other wonderful surprises we encountered in the Butterfly exhibit at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia was this turtle.  See how beautifully 'she' is posing for us?  After I finished, she slid off of the rock and went into the water.  How lucky for me that she was up on the stone - still ane posing - before she let herself slide off into the water.  When I posted her on Facebook, a number of people talked about turtle being their totem / animal guide.  A few years back, I went on a vision quest.  I thought that nothing would happen - me of little faith.  I ended up goingi to our lake in Pitman and meeting turtle.  She took me down under the water to see the beavers.  They had just destroyed my favorite willow tree at Alcyon Lake and I wanted to ask them WHY this and why now?  they were snugly in their living spaces and had nothing to say!!  It was a wonderful experience - I looked up the significance of the turtle and realized that I had to keep practicing the patience.  A few months ago, that became a stronger lesson - it's never easy to understand WHY from someone else's perspective but lesson learned...for today.

Butterflies are free...sort of...

What in the world is going on?  Remember I shared that we were going to the Butterfly exhibit at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia?  Well, go we did.  It was like going to the tropics with the temps at 85 and the humidity at 80%!  Sweat dripped off of our bodies, dehydrated us and make my eyes burn, but we took off coats and extra layers and stayed with these magnificent beings for more than 3 hours!  It was a perfect place for my BE STILL philosophy to be in place - a perfect place.  When we first arrived, Chris told us about the place, a few guidelines and shared some common types of butterflies.  He said, "If a butterfly lands on  you, it means you are lucky!"  Can you imagine my glee when more than EIGHT landed on me?  Two - like the owl butterfly in this picture, stayed for a lengthy visit and Chris had to take them and send them on their way when we left for lunch.  For this adventure, I can use the word awesome and so look forward to return trips AND finding more butterfly environments in other places we travel!  We saw the chrysallis arriving, being sorted and hanging in a special incubator to grow and hatch - we saw some that had just hatched and others that were mating.  The only thing missing - there are no 'host' plants because it is a conrolled environment.  That my friends is for us to see in the natural outdoors - until the butterflies come again for the summer - this was close to perfection! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Butterfly Buddies!!

Last year I went on an adventure to visit my friend Beth in Iowa.  One day we decided to travel west in the state - on our way to Omaha to meet up with our friend Heather.  We were traveling on the straight ahead highway when I saw a sign for Bridges of Madison County.  We made a detour so that I could see one of the covered bridges.  While we were walking back to the car, I found this butterfly on the ground.  It's wings seemed to continue to flicker so I gently picked it up and we put it on my leg, resting on my jeans in the bright warm sunshine.  Maybe it would come back to life.  We saw some motion - maybe a few wiggles and a bit down the road, Beth stopped the car and she put it gently by the side of the road - hopefully it might come back to life and go off to find its friends.
Now we were butterfly buddies - connected by our memory - and connected to the fact of our attempt to rescue the butterfly.
A few weeks ago, I met a new friend - Devorah Ahavah - means love you know - and we talked about working together - her poetry and my photography.  One of the poems we chose to focus on is called Butterfly Buddies - how totally appropriate.  Here are just a few snippets of the poem
                "Hi, I'm Dana.  I'm a caterpillar.
                  I want a full life - but not one of fluff and filler"
 It's about Dana's journey as a caterpillar and what happens to her on that adventure.  She talks about her friend Dan, another butterfly and how he fixed his view on the world versus how she did it (not giving away the story though!!)
Dana talks about change - METAMORPHOSIS - what happened to her and what lessons she taught/shared with Dan.   The poem ends like this
       "Butterfly Buddies - we'll float on the breeze,
         bringing beauty to the world, if you please."
That's our intention - maybe Devorah Ahavah and I are Butterfly Buddies.  We know we totally value the beauty in the world and that we bring it to others.   This week Bill and I are going to the Butterfly Exhibit at the Academy of Natural Sciences Museum in Philadelphia.  I can only imagine our adventures and what we will see!!  Be sure that I will share...and then you can read then when our book is ready!!   

Reclaiming My Spirit of Joy!!

The SUN is shining - the days are longer - and it is time to reclaim my spirit of JOY!  It's been behind some clouds - sometimes goes there when I try too hard to be the person that someone else thinks I should be!  Not a grand feeling.  The other night I was looking for a book to read - just something different and 'discovered' on my office shelf TAKING OUR PLACES: The Buddhist Path to Truly Growing Up.  Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.  Felt like there were some messages within for me - growing up - maturity - what is it?   And get this - the book has been on my shelf since 2004.  Guess you don't look for the teacher until you are ready??  What has it said to me so far?? 
"The vow to never grow up is a commitment to a quest for truth and a courage in living."
"Maturity is waking up to what's real even if it doesn't meet our desires and expectations."  Now am I not struggling with Expectations?  Am I not struggling with people saying "Well, that's the way I am."  Essentially I feel like they are saying deal with it BUT in my mind's eye, there is a lack of reciprocity and respect.   Have to ponder this one some more to get the lessons squeezed out of it.
"Our tomorrows are life's endless possibilities and they arise in response to our passion to give ourselves fully to what we are doing wherever we are."
and the final one now...the strength of a mature person comes from FLEXIBILITY!!
So what am I saying?  Am I rambling?  I don't think so.  I think I am going back to the necessity of living in the present moment, being who I am and standing firm to my convictions.  If I can accept that of myself, then I can be further along the road to maturity. 
Thanks to Norman Fischer for taking the time to write this book!!
And always  GRATITUDE to LIFE for playing the music and engaging me in the dance!! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What does this say about Beth??

It's been years since "shoes" came into my life and now the concept - though it still includes people and their shoes - them as individuals - I am thinking that where people store their shoes and even more importantly HOW they store/organize them can also tell a lot about them.  I have been thinking about this for a few weeks but now realize that the thought came into my head more than a year ago when I was visiting Iowa.  My friend, Beth, was showing me around her house and when we got to her bedroom closet, I had to stop and take out the camera!!  What an opportunity.  What I didn't take was her husband's tie collection organized in his part of the closet!!   These pictures got put on a CD of the Iowa/Nebraska adventure and placed far in the back of my mind - until last week.  Then I had to think long and hard about this picture - this morning I went on a hunt and lo and behold - there they were.  Funny, I sent this picture to Beth and, as synchronicity would have it, she had been thinking of me and we needed to connect for all kinds of reasons!!  She also reminded me that somewhere in the recesses of her basement on an old Mac is a poem she began years agao about...tah dah...SHOES!  It's all coming together into some sort of wonderful plan!!

Their Stories...My Stories

After a beautiful day out and about for Valentine's Day with my buddy, we stopped in at Barnes and Noble on the way home.  Bill has been exploring HDR pictures - a special process to bring out the best color in a photo shoot situation.  I had seen several books in the Digital Photography section and he wanted to skim them for more ideas.  In the process, he walked over to me with a brand new book called STORYTELLERS: A Photographers Guide to Developing Themes and Creating Stories with Photos by Jerod Foster.  New...brand new...and as I looked through it and began reading, I knew it was one that had to come home with me.  So why this picture of leg warmers and boots?!?  I understand that often when I take pictures and definitely ones of people and their shoes, I am sharing their story.  This one I saw at the Whole Foods/Princeton Wellness Center cooking class the other day.  I watched this woman stand to get her food tastes - what I saw was her in a different way - how she was expressing herself and her individuality by her garb.  She was totally colorful!  I know I am going to enjoy the Storyteller book and you will see/hear more about it as time goes on!!  IF we hadn't stopped at B & N would I have ever heard about the book and/or discovered yet another way of seeing?!?  Synchronicities abound!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Anthony in Motion: Whole Foods Cooking class

Got a message from my friend, Lois Brown, the other day, asking me if I wanted to join her at a cooking class at Whole Foods Wellness Center, Princeton.  Sure - it's always a treat to spend the time with Lois and to listen and learn from Anthony Dissen.  Today's topic was Mexican and Anthony made tamales from screatch with blue corn flour.  What to wrap them in to steam them?  Banana leaves!  Lesson learned - can't always use what you want, but you can always find something to use!!  One of the greatest parts of the cooking class is the overhead screen that shows us everything the chef is doing - and today was no exception.

A fun part of the class is just watching Anthony in motion!  It's a challenge for Photoschmoozer to take pictures of this expressive guy because the camera isn't equipped to capture so much motion!!  I ended up with more than 50 pictures and this is a great representation of how I saw Anthony.  Isn't he adorable?  And knowledgeable?  And not afraid to try new things in a cooking class!!  It was worth the ride to Princeton - time with my friend, Lois, a class with Anthony and meeting a new friend - guess what her name is?? Marti!!    See - alwasy taking about synchronicities - and I am sure I will see her again - and we have stories to share!!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sharon loves her flip flops!!!!

 Just beginning to share a few of the pairs of flip flops that are in my collection.  These belong to a young thing - looks like she is borrowing Mommy's shoes huh?  And that she was because they were fun and they were what she thought she wanted to wear with her long dress.

Seems it is most fun to be out and about in the warm weather and then there seem to be a wealth of flip flops and sandals. Gosh they do go together with warm weather!!  These were a bit unique both with color and decorations.  Why was she wearing these?  Obvious and the response was, "Because pink is my favorite color!"

 Then one day I was at a conference in Asheville, North Carolina and saw these flip flops.  OMG - of course I had to ask for a photo op.  Seems this woman's daughter made them and she was so proud to wear them everwhere she went!  She had sure to climb up on the chair so I could get the best photo vantage - and made sure to tell me that these were so cool that she could wear them with just about every outfit she owned because of the multitude of colors.
Now, meet Sharon - the Library Director in Pitman, NJ. The other night we were at a Valentine's Social for the Uptown Pitman Chamber of Commerce and we began to talk about all kinds of projects.  Since Photoschmoozer has a photo show now at the library, I started talking about the next show - how about SHOES?!?  WOW was Sharon excited.  Seems she has more than 60 pairs of flip-flops and would love to share them with me.  She said that she has them organized all over her house by color - in baskets, closets and wherever.  We made a pinky swear for me to come for photo ops and Sharon was so excited that her flip flops collection would be famous!!  Gosh who can ever tell what will happen!!?!?!?  Stay tuned. See - it's all about synchronicities - start and conversation and just see where it all leads.


Soon - soon - soon - there will be a release of SHOES - a rap song written by my buddy Tony, aka Anthony Michael - and performed by a group named Awareness.  In the midst of the song is a list of 21 kinds of shoes and there will be a giant contes to see who can sing the ShoeTube rap!  Stay tuned for details - watch for SHOE DAY at the Uptown Pitman Farm Market - see a shoe fashion show - and who knows what else.  Photoschmoozer has hundreds of photos of shoes BUT is always looking for more.  What are you feel favorites?  Why are they special?  How do you feel when you wear them - and now important to me - WHERE DO YOU KEEP THEM AND HOW DO YOU ORGANIZE THEM??  Oh my so much 'work' to do and it is all so much FUN!!  Join us with Shoes and Schmooze.  I would love to interview you - have photo ops with you and as my friend Sharon said the other night - maybe my flip flop collection will be famous?!?!?  (and she is Pitman's Library director!!)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Super Sunday Adventures!!

Nope, not talking about Super Bowl Sunday but Super Sunday!  Our friend Pete Cogan has been telling us he plays on Sunday in northern Wilmington, DE at a place called the Bellefonte Cafe.  "Why don't you guys come on down?"  Today was the day.  Photoschmoozer and buddy Bill were looking for a different kind of adventure - good food, good music and a great atmosphere.  Here we found it all!!  I read about Donna on the Bellefonte cafe blog  When I saw their menu, I knew it was the place to be - fine natural and creative foods.  In their full sized bathroom - complete with cast iron tub - I read an article about Donna - how she had been a music promoter and just got tired of the fast life.  She needed to find something to slow down...and here she is.  Sunday brunch is from 12-3 - get there when they open because it fills up quickly.  The other reason - slow cooking of a sort - Donna takes her time to personally and carefully prepare the food.  It's worth the wait...

and while you are waiting - the other piece of the adventure - is the music you will experience with Betty and the Bullet - yep that's Betty behind the bass - and check out her shoes - a dream shot for Photoschmoozer who has been photographing shoes for lots of years!  The group is talented - the music has a lively rhythm - and the time just passes with enjoyment.  What more can I say except that we will be back.  I think there is more to the Bellefonte neighborhood than we could explore yesterday.

Here's Pete - waiting for the time to jump in on the right songs with his harmonica playing.  Watching him is a treat - he closes his eyes and feels the music and puts his heart and soul into his playing.

This was how we chose to spend out Super Sunday - still home to watch some of the Super Bowl and then Downton Abbey - that's is what has hooked us for the past four weeks!  It's a grown-up Brit soap opera - well done!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ducks in a row.....

Yesterday was an unsettling day.  I have been working on a project for awhile now and of course, in my usual 'patient' way, want things to be done now!!  What I can't understand is WHY others can't dance to the same beat and rhythm and pay attention to what I think is important.  My word for it all is frustrating to say the least.  That is why I am reading a new book called PATIENCE!!   I have to understand from others' perspectives and go forward with the balance I so seek!!   So at the end of the day, I did one of my best things - went out in nature and to the water.  As I was sitting on the steps by the beach at Red Bank National Battlefield, I was gazing at the rocks.  I had to laugh when I saw this picture - I used to work with a boss who always talked about 'getting our ducks in a row'.  Gosh - I gaze at this and have begun to put life in perspective - and my ducks in a row!!   The project will succeed and even surpass expectations!!  Go Girl!!

     With the next two pictures, I was playing with the camera - I put it on continuous shoot and it was fun to be able to see the waves and in the next shot - the water splashing on the rocks.  Guess that is ducks in a row too huh??  Out to nature now!!