Having grown up in Kansas, I am definitely used to flat and barren landscapes. Whenever I visit areas of the country with tall trees and forests, I feel like Dorothy waking up in the technicolor Land of Oz. And, no place says “Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more” like Washington state. Everything is so lush and green it’s like my real life Emerald City.
I took this photo at the Olympic National Park in Washington last week. As always, I was completely overcome with how beautiful it is there. And, this particular moment marks my favorite of the trip as I looked up and just stood in awe of my ethereal surroundings. Even in the dark forest, the green of the leaves and moss stands out against the vibrant blue of the sky peeking through the trees.
There’s no place like home? I don’t know… Dorothy never visited the Olympic Peninsula.
With the opening of Dallas Blooms at the Dallas Arboretum this week, I knew that I had the perfect venue to find myself lost in the details. Although I don’t consider flowers to be as captivating as say, cuddly panda bears, they can be an interesting challenge for a beginner photographer like myself.
In one respect, it is rather simple to take a pretty photo of a pretty flower. But, it is significantly more problematic to take a great photo of a flower. You have to deal with obstacles such as too much sunlight or shade, wind, and even those pesky insects getting in the way. And, especially with a large aperture setting, I find it difficult to get the focus right.
Even though I took plenty of pretty photos today, I was mostly concerned with finding that one that really drew me in to the details. From a distance, this iris is already a beautiful flower with its vibrant purple color and unique shape. But, it transforms from merely pretty to fascinating when I study the details. I love the curve of the petals and their almost zebra-like pattern. But, I think my favorite thing about this photo is that despite the flaws in the photography and the flower itself, I get lost in the details… in a good way.
Despite this week’s seemingly innocuous challenge, I once again find myself struggling to determine what the topic means to me. And, in usual form, I have chosen to ignore the voice in my head yelling, “just take a stupid photo and be done with it!” What fun is that when I can instead sit here at 2:52 a.m. and overanalyze my reaction to the word? It’s not like I need to sleep or anything.
After a bit of pondering on the subject I have decided that “forward” is making me feel so panicky because I have undoubtedly forgotten how to move forward. Honestly, all I have done since I finished school is vacillate between standing still and turning in circles. At this point, I’m not sure which is worse… the overwhelming numbness that comes from stillness or the disconcerting vertigo from circling.
It’s like I just keep waiting for Simon to swoop in and tell me what to do. Simon says, “touch your nose”. Simon says, “touch your toes”. Simon says, “eat a salad every day”. “Simon says, “give up practicing law and __” (fill in blank with fulfilling career that is a perfect fit for me). “Buy a new Kate Spade bag”. Simon didn’t say… darn it.
Ultimately, I know that I can’t wait around for the elusive Simon to appear and start ordering me around. And, as much as I wish that I could magically wake up tomorrow with all the answers, I must find the courage to take that first step forward on my own. I guess that I should take the advice of Richard from Texas (according to Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir “Eat, Pray, Love”): “See, now that’s your problem. You’re wishin‘ too much, baby. You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughtta be.” Easier said than done, Richard from Texas. Easier said than done.
For me, getting things done is all about planning and organization. So, I think it is time to start a list…
It’s only a number, right? My mind keeps telling me that my 30th birthday doesn’t hold any remarkable meaning. I don’t feel any different today than I did yesterday just because it has officially been 10,958 days since my birth. But, despite what my mind knows, my heart is faintly whispering that there is something to this milestone whether I want to admit it or not. Maybe I won’t automatically feel altered, but that doesn’t mean things won’t or shouldn’t change.
I came across a C.S. Lewis quote on the subject that really struck a chord with me: “Thirty was so strange for me. I’ve really had to come to terms with the fact that I am now a walking and talking adult.” Oddly, I don’t find the statement intriguing because I can relate, but because I can’t. At all. I’m pretty sure that I have effectively been an adult since I was at least 12 years old. And, I may love fiction, but I’ve never had a C.S. Lewis kind of imagination to keep me young.
So, what does that mean for my next decade? If my 30s are supposed to be about accepting adulthood… been there, done that. And, clearly, re-living my 20s how they maybe should have been isn’t the answer. I’ve already been an Ann Taylor girl for too long; I don’t see myself reverting to Forever 21.
As it turns out, I can’t answer my own question… I honestly don’t know what to expect from the next ten years. But, I can say that the prospect of turning 30 is not nearly as depressing as I expected. Maybe it is possible for day 10,958 to be about the potential for a shiny new decade rather than the mourning of my so-called youth? On the other hand, that statement sounds way too optimistic to have come from me, so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…
Once again, I am posting a photo for my weekly challenge at the eleventh hour. I almost gave up on this topic, thinking it would be too difficult to portray a sincere representation of love with just a quick iPhone photo. But, at the last minute, I decided that the subject doesn’t necessitate a flowery post on the ideal of love. Rather, just what love means to me.
Looking back on my (almost) thirty years, there are only a handful of things that I can honestly say I love to do. And, without a doubt, reading is my very, very, favorite. I don’t remember when I started reading “for fun” (as my friends always used to say). It just seems like an integral part of who I am and who I always have been.
I would like to say that there’s nothing better than a comfy chair and a good book, but let’s face it… I’ve never needed the comfy chair or even a good book. I am usually satisfied with just a moderately interesting plot and acceptable grammar. And, I have buried my head in books anywhere and everywhere… in cars, planes, and buses; on bicycles and treadmills, beaches and mountains; at school, work, and church. Even the first sight of the Rockies from desolate Western Kansas was barely enough to drag my head out of my book throughout my youth.
If it’s true that the real meaning of love is sacrifice, then surely my love affair with reading has continued to deepen over the years. I have sacrificed comfort, conversation, and so much sleep for that indescribable need to turn the next page.
I’ve wanted to attempt the above effect for awhile, so I decided that the illumination challenge was the perfect opportunity. Since I only had a mini strand of lights to work with, the photos did not turn out particularly interesting. But, I did learn something new… so that is something, I guess.
Camera settings: Av Priority, F4.5, Manual focus – as unfocused as possible, 2 second delay and tripod used.
With this post I am back after a rather lengthy hiatus. There’s been a lot going on in my life, but I’m ready to get back into the habit of my weekly posts. So, here is a look at my 2012 in pictures… some photos I have posted before, some I have not. I wish I could provide a recurring theme for the pictures and post, but really I just picked one photo for every month. This is definitely the first time in my life that I actually took photos every month in the year!
January – Sam Houston National Monument, Montgomery, TX
February – Daisies I bought the day I started my blog