Category: photography

The prompt is inspire but I’m not feeling it. Inspired, that is. What do you do when you need to conjure up inspiration?

In photography, I scroll through my favorite Instagram feeds or type in a specific look on Google image and hope for others to inspire me. Sometimes the spark comes right away and other times it’s just beyond my reach.

I like how inspiration starts like the flicker of a flame and works its way through me. Sometimes it’s like foamy bubbles on a frosted glass of root beer that tickle my nose. That tiny flicker, bubble or seed of an idea feels good.

It comes when I’m driving and can’t commit words to paper or, like so many others, when I’m in the shower. If the words are good, I tell myself, they’ll stick. Most often they don’t.

The trouble with inspiration is I want it to fuel me to move; to act, to do something, make something, be something. But what if there are times inspiration is only meant to make me recognize the Creator? What if the great works of art are meant to inspire worship? What if this expanse of shoreline where we breathe in God’s handiwork is meant to inspire gratitude and not another blog post or painting?

Maybe inspiration isn’t always meant to fuel doing but being.

 

Five-Minute Friday photography

I wanted to walk the streets of Seattle photographing everything. The homeless laying on the sidewalks, the way they dress here the Starbucks on every block, the totem pole in Pike Place, the rainbow colored crosswalk, the Space Needle. Instead, I shoot some things from inside a moving vehicle because these sights are ordinary to my family and I’m trying so hard not to be ‘that’ person (again).

Walking the streets of the small town of Snohomish I remind myself life is more than snapshots. I try to convince myself you can’t be in the moment from behind the lens.

But…these are my memories. Photographs of family are among my most cherished possessions. I think about how mama’s memory was stolen from her so these photographs will be important as age cast long shadows over my memories.

It seems I can’t have both and neither one do I want to let go. I want the snapshots I’ll later put in another photo book. Yet I don’t want to think about photos at all. I want to just be there, soaking in the moment.

There was a time the choice was made for us. Telephones were held down by cables and wires and didn’t leave the roof of our homes. Cameras required film and you couldn’t delete before printing. There was a financial cost to be paid if you were to snap freely as we do today, or to call out of your area code.

I wonder if the cost we pay today is with ourselves?

The acronym is FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out. I think I have it. In my efforts not to miss a moment am I missing investing in those around me?

So I leave the big camera in the car, the phone in my purse and I join those around me. I make eye contact with the waiter, use his name when saying thank you.

When we visit our daughter’s house I notice the way the granddaughter sits cuddled up to her daddy on the sofa. I try to remember the names of our daughter’s co-workers, the ones I’ve never met. I remind myself being present is about others and not me. We take turns as if we’re on a child’s see-saw; I’m present for you and you’re here for me. Up and down it goes with the occasional bumps and stalls because we’ve chosen to take this ride together.

There will be time for photos. But every picture needs a story and every good story paints a picture.

family photography

The prompt for photography class is outside the box. hmmm

Nothing came to mind. Only questions. How do I do that in a still life class? Does she mean shoot something not still life? Do I get literal and silly and take a photo of something outside of a box? Oh, how I can complicate the simplest of instructions.

I want more information. Tell me exactly what you mean, what you want. I want to get this right.

Right and wrong determines much of our life. To make it through school in we need to get more answers right than wrong. I lived in the good student box. Not the gifted, but good.

I’ve spent years living in the people pleasing box. That’s how you get things right isn’t it? Do what you’re told, be the good kid, good student, good daughter, good wife, good mom, good person.

Some boxes were already made. All I had to do was move in. Other boxes I’ve made for myself. Then there are boxes I’ve tried to tear to bits.

I’ve fashioned some myself with an eye cast toward others afraid my box won’t measure up or wanting it to be “as good as” theirs. I’ve made boxes inside of boxes.

I sit down with the paint brush willing myself to paint free form but I can’t seem to let go. I need a reference point, a pattern. I’ve drawn the lines of my box tight and learned early to color inside the lines.

In photography my comfort zone is light and simple. Photos with plenty of white space feel good to me. But I’ve been pressed to shoot dark and moody, to look at ordinary things in new ways and make them work. Some of the results have been visually pleasing but still not the ‘Ah’ that the brighter shots bring. That’s why it’s called comfort.

But we’re called to live bigger than that. To move outside our comfort zone, outside the boxes.

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. Matt. 5:14-16 Message

What do you think it will look like without your box? Can you see the God-colors?

Dare to wander outside the box with me?

faith grace photography

I merge onto the interstate, making my way past the slow moving vehicles traveling at a crawl to the far left lanes, the fast lane. I push past those traveling at 65 mph….oh, how they creep along!

Other areas of my life mimic this need for speed or lack of patience. I try to avoid the checkout lanes that look to be slow, bogged down with shoppers with full carts. And I hope I the person in front of me isn’t the last person on earth to actually write a check!

Is it sheer irony that I’d choose hobbies that demand me to go slow? Is it a subtle way for God to slow my pace and still my racing mind?

There is no hurry when I take needle in hand and stitch the little pieces of felt. Or when I put paint brush to paper. Or stage a still life photo.

It’s been more than a year since I joined a still life photography class. Note the title: BE STILL.

I’ve gone from that class on to another but the focus continues to be on still life. The kind of life that is measured and slow. I search for props and arrange them with uncertainty, tweaking them as I shoot. Time seems not to matter when inspiration comes. There is no rushing it. None.

It is not my natural state, this stillness. But it is good. It is like hearing your breaths. Even, measured, unhurried. It is pausing to take notice of what’s around me. To take notice of now.

Rushing on my drive to work may get me there a few minutes faster. It may give me some temporary satisfaction. But it’s gone like a vapor. There’s no beauty to be shared.

The moments of going slow are the balance needed in my life. My mind goes from hurried thoughts of shoulds to moments of still and slow and beauty.

Linking up with Five Minute Friday free writing group.

Five-Minute Friday photography

Mama didn’t raise me to be a cook. No, she scooted me out of the kitchen putting paper and a box of crayons in front of me to make her work easier. I wonder if she knew the seeds she was planting? That I would embrace the making of all kinds of art, the art she also enjoyed.

time with Christabel 803

home school

playing hands

 

time with Christabel 809

From coloring books and crayons to clay and chalks, pencils that weren’t #2 yellow and paints! I colored as mama tried her hand at knitting. There was always something she was making but what she was really making was a home. She was nurturing the joy of making, of creating. And she instilled that same desire in me.

My cupboards and shelves have been filled with baskets of ribbons and scraps of fabric. They’ve been lined with packets of needles and spools and skeins of thread. I’ve had my fingers covered with paints, hot glue and papier-mache.

apple watercolor

felt heart top down

My newfound art is still life photography. It doesn’t burn, shrink or make a mess. I haven’t had to rip out a seem or paint over a mistake. And the beauty captured brings a certain comfort, a reminder that beauty surrounds us in many forms.

I’m on a mission to craft spaces in my life for grace which is its own beauty.

If only mopping and dusting brought this much pleasure. It’s so much easer to dive into the things you enjoy.

 

family Five-Minute Friday photography

I’ve lived with the notion that create meant to be original. To draw something no one had ever drawn, that was made up completely in my mind. I thought create meant dreaming these wild and free images with words or paint but I’m not a wild and free dreamer. I’m not much of a dreamer at all.

Maybe it was from seeing the women in my life work with their hands. Maybe it was seeing mama taking the knitting classes or Granny with crochet hook in hand. Both women were good with the needle and thread.

Or was it from flipping the pages of magazines or standing in museums that I go the notion that to create meant big and unique. One thing I knew, I wasn’t creative. No, I could copy someone else, but I wasn’t creative.

Mama, in her quiet way, would praise my work. She was careful about praise but she hung my drawings on her wall and encouraged me to learn more, create more. I talked to her about my lack of originality, yet it didn’t seem to matter to her.

create
continuing our family art heritage with the granddaughter

create

create watercolor

My Facebook page needed some retooling. I needed to come up with a description for who I am. Writer? Photographer? Artist? All of those things are true, no matter how much I minimize their value and maximize my limitation.

After playing with this word and that, I settled on the descriptive word, create. Debby Hudson: Creative

Yikes!

I try to be a kind person. I open doors for people, smile, say please and thank you, but I’m not kind to myself. I fuss over missing the better shot with my camera or not using one shade of paint instead of the other. I especially berate myself for not being able to come up with my own ideas. I feel less than because I get inspiration from others. Arrogant? Maybe. Pitiful? Absolutely!

The bible tells us there’s nothing new under the sun. Nothing. God is the only one who has and can create something from nothing. He has created each of us in His image, an image that is kind and loving, even to ourselves.

Sometimes we have to do the hard things. Like being kind to ourselves. This is that place. Grace is that space.

Linking up with Kate Motaung and flash mob of bloggers for a weekly free-writing frenzy called Five-Minute Friday. Join us.

family Five-Minute Friday photography

She looked to be 8 years old. Her long brown hair fell in wet strings around and in her face. She had no time to push it aside. She carried a skim board that looked to be more than half her size.

She looked ahead at the rolling waves, judging the time to throw her board on the water’s surface followed by a quick belly land on the board.

in the water

in the water

in the water

The Saturday surf class filled the ocean with boards and bodies, most of them tweens and teens. She sifted her way through the crowds going for the next wave. She was undaunted by age or experience. She was my hero that day.

I was drawn to her adventure. I was inspired by the lure of excitement in her eyes and cheered her on silently. I celebrated from the shore when I saw her face break out into a huge smile as the salt water splashed over her. She caught the wave she was after. Her size didn’t hold her back. Nothing kept her from experiencing the joy she set out to find.

skim board hero

girl with skim board

big smile

girl hero

Catching the surfing class or the boys who skim across the edge of the water are my favorites to watch. Their energy glides across the surface infusing me with a shared moment of fun. Their youth reminds me of my own, when life seemed to be waiting for me.

Our part of the ocean doesn’t produce big waves. Some days the surface is as smooth as glass. These days, they practice their balance and it reminds me of the off kilter days I have. These days are an opportunity to practice my balance but I forget it’s about practice. I forget the patience needed to realize the goal.

I imagine standing on a surfboard with my arms flying out trying to steady myself as the water moves under the board. Surely it would be more fun than balancing on one foot with dumbbells in hand in our garage. At least the scenery is prettier.

Sometimes I have my camera focused on the surfers waiting for the next wave. I don’t have their patience so I move on to the action. Another lesson they are trying to teach me that I’ve not learned.

girls holding board
girls holding board

The little girl has moved from the ocean to the sand and is hitting a volleyball back and forth with a woman. I forget how tireless 8 year olds can be. But I don’t think I’ll ever forget how much they can teach us.

Patience. Enthusiasm. Perseverance. Joy in life’s little pleasures. Excitement for life. She is not working for a prize. There is no one to announce her name and no podium for her to stand on. The only award she will receive is the one she wears on her face: joy.

Yes, she is my hero, pushing on through the crowds of older kids, making her way in her youth and inexperience. She is meeting the waves face on and she is laughing all the way.

Jesus called over a little child. He put His hand on the top of the child’s head.
Jesus: This is the truth: unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. In that kingdom, the most humble who are most like this child are the greatest.  And whoever welcomes a child, welcomes her in My name, welcomes Me. Matthew 18:2-5 the VOICE

faith hope photography

Have you had time to study your light? What did you discover? Where’s your best light?

Journal it
Start a page in your journal….. and write a few light study notes.

Light is an ongoing study….don’t stop now.

These were the words that started a course in still life photography . Only they sounded like more. The words sounded personal as I thought about the light that had dimmed in my life.

books with yellow

I like rooms flooded with natural light. I notice the slivers that play on the floor or across the edge of the desk. I feel its warmth and am energized by its brightness.

Have you experienced seasonal affective disorder? Its cause is the lessening of natural light and increasing darkness typically starting in late fall, lasting to spring. Its symptoms include fatigue, depression, hopelessness and social withdrawal. The treatment for this is light.

Take notice. Notice places of light in our home. Pay attention to our surroundings.

Look around. Notice. Take it in. Study. Look with intention and attention to the ordinary, to the mundane, to the same.

What do you see? What do you notice in the sameness that surrounds you?

Is it a vase with silk flowers that has sat in the same place for so long you forgot the simple pleasure they bring? Maybe it’s the same smile your child wears when they walk through the door on a visit home from college? The same can be new when we see it in a new light.

Even a small ray of light will cut through the darkness. We just have to remember to look.

dark moody My Still Sunday

with twine

light and darkness

Notice. Take it in. Study. Look with intention and attention to the ordinary, to the mundane, to the same.

I study the light. How it shows the streaks on our windows, how it casts long shadows in the afternoon. And I saw a light that needed to be rekindled. A flame not as bright as it once was. A light neglected.

The prophet Isaiah said, “the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined.” Isaiah 9:2

Lent seems to be shrouded in darkness as we contemplate the darker stories of the New Testament. The temptations of Christ, his  followers denying and betraying him. His beating and ultimate crucifixion.

Is there any less darkness today? Violence in our schools and neighborhoods, financial uncertainty and political campaigns that have upstaged reality television.

Are you sitting in the darkness? Some days it takes effort, intention, attention to see through the dark that threatens and to find the flame that still flickers.

“The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. John 1:4-5

faith photography

I’m so glad to make a point of recording things I’ve learned each month, thanks to Emily Freeman‘s monthly link-ups. It’s nice to realize you did learn something.

PHOTOGRAPHY

This month I’ve been participating in two on-line courses. A continuation of a photography class taught by Kim Klassen focusing on still life shots. I’ve enjoyed it so much I signed up for a year ’round class called Be Still. This month a couple of big take-away’s for me are all about the set up.  I learned that stores like Home Depot and Lowes sell ceramic tiles that look like wood flooring. YES! I bought 3 at a cost of under $7.00 and have used them in many of my shots.

I also had someone cut a pallet up for me and I painted the shortened planks to use them too. Both give nice texture to the shots.

backlight blue

one year wiser Feb, light filter

These are the ceramic tiles and below the painted pallet boards.

3 starfish on blue, horizontal

daisy on linen with bottles in holder

After using an iPhone for about 4 years I just learned how to adjust the exposure on the phone’s camera. When in camera mode, tap on the subject you want to focus on. If you need to lighten the exposure, slide you finger up next to the yellow box you see on the screen. Voila! Oh, the little things 🙂

WORDS

smh – This isn’t exactly a word, but the letters smh seen in texts or Facebook posts. I had no idea what it meant, so I asked someone younger, who confided she had asked her teenager. Whew! Oh, it means shaking my head. Like you’re probably doing now.

Complementarianism / Egalitarianism 

The first is a theological term indicating men and women have different roles, in particular, that leadership roles are reserved for men with support roles for women. The second, egalitarianism, means shared roles; one of more equality.

I’ve read both of these words for some time in blogs and posts and if you read Sarah Bessey or Rachel Held Evans, you have too. I had an idea of their meaning but not a clarity until recently. I think I haven’t been familiar with these terms because I’ve been raised in a denomination that ordains women and recognizes the gift of leadership in women as well as men. That being said, I guess you know which describes my belief.

Extroverted Introvert 

This is ME! Is it you too? Check out this article from Anna Bash

JUST FOR FUN

Have you seen James Cordon’s Carpool Karaoke? It is hilarious and a dangerous thing to start watching if you only have 5 minutes to spare. I recommend watching the one with him and Adele. Her facial expressions is priceless and he’s a pretty good singer too! (It’s a bit long but the first 5 minutes is where all the fun is.)

BONUS

Two of my favorite reads this week:

How You Love Differently When You’re a Child of Divorce

A Surprising Way to Discover the Secret of Who You Are

photography

We mark our days by the turning of the calendar, the moving of the clock of the rising and setting of the sun. This time of year, day breaks gentle in the south, the sun inching its way up earlier and earlier until morning has broken.

SunriseSky10

What an odd turn of words to say morning has broken but it has broken the darkness, split it wide open, though not in a dramatic way, parting the night in one huge entrance. No, the day breaks incrementally, easing its way across the sky until all darkness is gone.

We have been shooting into the light this week in my photography class. It’s class on stillness, really. Creating still life vignettes, learning a bit about composition, what is pleasing to the eye. Learning more about light and its importance to all of life. This week we turn the usual photography wisdom on its head and let the light take center stage. Instead of it illuminating our subject it is behind casting its glorious beams all around creating a challenge for the photographer. A challenge to learn about this light.

backlight blue

backlight cups saucers

backlight vignette

I thought this was just a photography class. I wanted to learn from this professional whose work I’ve admired on Instagram for a while now. But as God so cleverly crafts our life, gentle like the morning dawn that splits the darkness, He is crafting this too. I am ever reminded that He is the light of the world. That his light casts out all darkness and the darkness will not overtake him.

Our world is very dark at times. As a novice photographer, shooting at night has been the most challenging. Darkness threatens to overwhelm with its heavy weight. But the Light, Jesus, has overcome the darkness. He is the morning sun that though may seem hidden by clouds at times, is always there. His light, illuminating our lives, lighting the darkened way, bidding us to follow.

I’m going to a park near our house today to hopefully photograph the horses. Hoping they will be playful in this chilled morning, when the light is coming from the east, watching its golden glow, being reminded God is here.

Linking up with Kate Motaung and host of bloggers for this wildly fun free-writing time called Five-Minute Friday. 

faith photography