Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Work In Progress

 I came across this quote earlier in the week:

"If you figured it all out today, what would be the point of tomorrow? Enjoy the process of being a work in progress."

Those words aptly apply to what I've been up to this week......and it's helped to remind  myself quite a few times to "enjoy the process". I've recently switched from a PC to a Mac, and have needed to learn to become comfortable with the updated versions of both Photoshop and Lightroom as well.  One thing that really helped is the website  which is loaded with software training tutorials. Needless to say I've spent quite a bit of time parked in front of the computer, stopping and starting the video lessons in order to take notes. 

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead......

Warmly, Margaret 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Courage / Inspiration

The other day I came across a post somewhere that stated simply: Creativity Takes Courage.

I've had some time to think about this and what those three words have meant in my world. They bring to mind, in fact, exactly how I felt the day before I left for my first photography workshop a few years ago. How I had worried to a friend that I shouldn't be doing this. Even though I had signed up, made air, rental car and hotel reservations, I seriously considered calling it off.

I would be traveling by myself to a small town I'd never been to before, meeting up with people I didn't know and was unfamiliar with the terrain I'd be navigating in my rental. I recognized that I wanted to learn, but was fairly intimidated by the fact that the extent of my photographic skills at the time were that I could find a scene through the viewfinder and push the shutter......but little else. There were buttons and wheels and menus on my camera and I didn't know what many of them were used for. What I knew about my computer, photo editing programs, light and composition was just as sparse. Marc nearly had to push me out the door on the morning I left...... and did some talking, if I remember correctly, to encourage me to get me on that plane. (On the plus side I had my cell phone just in case I decided to turn around and come home.)

I was well aware that I was stepping out of my comfort zone and it had been years since I'd been brave enough to do that. During the entire trip there and all of the first evening in this little town, I asked myself 'why'. The answer was, of course, that I REALLY DID want to do this. I wanted to know more, and fortunately, even though I was nervous, my gut kept reminding me of this. As true as it was that I was near tears before I left, it is also true that I had been near tears weeks earlier as I viewed a slide show the photographer I was meeting up with had on his website. His images were beautiful and moving and I wanted to learn to make some of my own. I REALLY DID want to do this!! Thank goodness that the part of me that jumped in with both feet won out over the part of me that tried to hold myself back.

I returned a different person, confident that I possessed the courage to listen to my gut, try something out and follow a passion. To listen to my 'real self' and move forward. This workshop was just the first step of many, and since then I've been tuned in to others that have taken steps of their own: Brave friends, family members and acquaintances who recognize that they possess certain interests or talents and have had the courage to trust the process of exploring them. They have gone back to school, opened businesses, created web sites, taken time off, started bands, become yoga instructors, written and recorded songs, moved, changed jobs, changed careers and.......they all inspire me.

Wishing you a wonderful week with some great inspiration along the way!

Warmly, Margaret

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I went to a dinner the other night and found that little ribbon wrapped boxes were nestled right above each place setting. I could only assume they were chocolates and because I'm such a fan, was kind of excited to think it looked like the perfect amount to enjoy, one at a time, during the next few days. I was tempted to take a look, intending to save them all for later....... and then noticed a sticker keeping the box closed:


Turns out this was a box of four 'Garden Bon Bons': Beautifully crafted clumps of seeds, organic compost and clay presented as truffles.....each one shaped and dusted with natural pesticides such as coffee, pepper and cinnamon. An enclosed card said that when they are placed on top of soil and watered, each one will sprout Italian Large Leaf Basil, Chives, Italian Parsley or Winter Thyme. Tomorrow they'll go into a couple of pots on a sunny part of our patio.

What a genius idea......So creative and unexpected! I really didn't need the chocolates.....but I'm sure glad I brought my glasses that night, which prevented me from popping one of those delectable looking balls of seed, compost and clay right into my mouth!

Wishing you a wonderfully warm and sunny week,


PS: The Rocky Mountain School of Photography appreciated my last few blog posts and created a link to them from their own blog, Paper Airplanes. So thankful for the kind words about me, too!  You can take a look at it here. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


One of the things I love about making photographs is that two or ten or twenty of us can come upon the exact same scene and yet choose something completely different on which to focus.  This is just one of the ideas that was reinforced last week during the photography workshop I attended. One of the most important ideas I brought home with me.

Depending on the day, our group of  fifteen participants (plus two instructors) shot at one or two different locations. We were encouraged to take our time and walk around a bit in order to check out the surroundings. To slow down and think before composing our shots. To become aware of relationships within the frame and the play of existing light. To change our perspective by placing ourselves in a variety of positions in relation to what we wanted to shoot. It's amazing how differently you will view a subject simply by taking a step to the right or to the left. By moving either in front of or behind it. By changing your lens, tilting your camera one way or the other, or moving yourself up or down. 

Most importantly, we were encouraged to ask ourselves: Why do I want to take this photograph? What about this particular scene am I attracted to? How can I arrange each element in order to communicate this?

Upon arrival, a few of the shoot locations appeared chaotic and busy and full. I'm thinking that they may have been chosen specifically for these reasons! On those days, the challenge for me at least, was to find simplicity amidst all of this. To sift through the many competing stories I saw in order to  find the one (or two or three) that meant something to me. To figure out which story it was I wanted to tell......and why. 

It wasn't easy. I can quickly become overwhelmed by too much stuff. By too many options. Additionally, some locations were naturally more attractive to me than others. I had to learn to pick and choose and pare down. To remove what might detract and cause confusion in order to highlight what worked.

This business of taking's a lot like real life.

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead.

Warmly, Margaret

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Hello from Missoula, Montana. This is Day 5 of a six day photography workshop at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography and I am practically buzzing with all I've learned. What a great experience this week has been so far.

I have been pushed in ways I had not yet imagined...which is, I guess the beauty of putting ones self 'out there'.  The pay off of paying attention to an urge. A dream. An intuition. Of listening to what makes you happy. Of taking a risk.

The truth is that doing what makes you happy, I have found many times over, isn't necessarily easy. The fact that there are angst inducing decisions involved....that there are times I am forced to stretch and grow and see things differently....tempts me to allow my life to remain, every day, 'as is'.  The past few days I have been busy and tired and missing my home. I've gone to sleep late,  jumped out of bed early the next morning and needed an extra cup of coffee in order to make it thorough the following afternoon. I have entered a room full of strangers and made an effort to get to know them all. I've carried heavy equipment for blocks, been caught out in rain, wind, sleet and snow for hours and managed not to fall into a rushing creek.

Has it been worth it? A definitive 'Yes'! Every single moment! I have learned to see subtleties that one week ago I may not have noticed, improved my technical skills, scrawled pages of notes and asked a lot of myself creatively. I've explored options on my camera's menu I have not used before and discovered further all the places this camera of mine can take me. I have had wonderful conversations with wonderful people. Been challenged to see and compose and shoot in new and different ways. I have defined what I'm capable of...... and realized I'm capable of even more than that. I've settled comfortably into what previously seemed...... uncomfortable.

I have fallen into bed happy each night. Challenged and fulfilled and encouraged and wanting more and more and more of this. And feeling, most importantly, that the pursuit of continually learning and improving my photographic skills is the absolute right path for me to be on.

Wishing you a wonderful week of your own kinds of discoveries!

Warmly, Margaret
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