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Entries in color (12)



Dawn broke with a peach sky out the window of our rented vacation home. It was hard to convince myself to get out of bed at that hour but I did it anyway. Grabbed my camera and quietly stole from the house, leaving behind 15 sleeping family members. The pink was gone from the sky by the time I got to the field where the Steamboat Balloon Rodeo launched, but there were already hundreds of early risers there to witness the bloom of these inflated rainbows and their wondrous bouyancy.

Sometimes being alone in a crowd with my Nikon as a companion is the most comfortable place I can imagine. I don't have to talk. All I have to do is walk, look, listen, and click.



I remembered, in this little gift of a morning to myself, that the camera in my hands heightens my senses. This practice has taken a back seat to my other duties lately and to the busyness that snuffs out spontaneity and personal creation. Here, as a quiet observer in the midst of a carnival morning, I had the luxury of introversion and silence. Click.


Balloons are not precision aircraft. They are a primitive, if beautiful, means of defying the laws that bind us to earth. They were breathtaking in their sheer unlikeliness, up there in the mountain morning. In the silence between the click click click I toyed with the idea of bouyancy. Maybe it's simpler than it seems to float. Maybe there's room for this sensation in my life: quiet, expansive, and weightless. And maybe the simplest way will be the most beautiful.


Bright Spots

I have a confession to make: I stopped consuming news. 

I say this as a former journalism student, a person who had a short-lived journalism career, and someone who has fervently believed for my entire adult life that it is actually my (and all of our) responsibility to know what's going on in our community.  That's the way this whole democracy thing is supposed to work, after all.

But something happened, somewhere between the debt ceiling crisis, the 47th Republican Presidential debate, and the tear-gassing of Occupy Wall Street and I just couldn't take it anymore.  I got this very clear sense that all my efforts to inform myself were making me angry, despairing, and - perhaps worst - dumber.

So I stopped.  Cold turkey, basically.

I am not so willfully ignorant as to be unaware that millions of people are still out of work, the presidential contest is already mind-numbingly cynical a year ahead of the election, and sports gods exploit children while entitled kids riot in the streets in an inconceivable protest.  The amount of bad news out there is chilling.

But here's the thing:  there's a bright spot, and I'm pretty sure it's growing.

I feel like I'm talking to a lot of people lately who are daring to dream out loud, living from their hearts.  A lot of people lately are telling me stories of transformation in their lives, saying that their dreams are coming true.  The more I step onto this new practice of mine, the more I know I am not alone. 

A friend told me this weekend that she's found a way to do potentially groundbreaking scientific research on mothers and newborns outside of the rigid confines of the academic establishment.  That seemed impossible a couple years ago but she's doing it now.  Another friend yesterday told me she's on the verge of scaling up a program she created to take art supplies and art therapy to underprivileged kids around the world.  A series of inspired synchronicities combine with hard work to look like a small miracle.

I hear these things and think Sorry NPR.  I don't need you anymore.  I want to smother the politics and the business-as-usual with a wet blanket.  I want to give all my oxygen to the small sparks of inspired work I see around me.

I'm back to my favorite MLK quote:

Darkness can not drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate can not drive out hate; only love can do that.

It gives me a little glimmer of hope, this vision of a small but growing critical mass, lighting the way.


Enchanted Forest, Or Why There's No Point In Hiking With Me

354.365 16mm f6.3 1/125 ISO 200I have, apparently, become impossible to hike with. 

This weekend was one of peaks for fall color - which, in Colorado's high country means everything is yellow yellow yellow.  That's because aspens are basically the only deciduous trees in the mountains and they turn gold in autumn.

Aspen trees are as charming as they come, to my mind.  Standing armies of stark white trunks, quivering heart-shaped leaves, a delicate rustling sound.  Also, they share a root system, so while they may look like individual trees, they are really one big interconnected community.  This appeals to me on a metaphorical level.

I was preoccupied with finding the perfect aspen grove and capturing that fleeting, magical fall feeling.

But this weekend reaffirmed my suspicion that a photowalk is best undertaken solo.  It doesn't adhere to the logical forward progression of the trail.  It is winding and slow and moves in fits and starts, guided by generally imperceptible shifts in light and shadow and halted by tiny details.

355.365 24mm f2.8 1/320 ISO 200I noticed this weekend that it is probably only minimally enjoyable for, say, a squirmy 35-pound-toddler or the lucky patient strong parent who must carry him.

My hope is that fresh mountain air and quivering golden aspen leaves are their own reward.



349.365 50mm f2 1/100 ISO 200I kind of promised myself that I wasn't going to post anymore glaringly obvious content here, like NEWSFLASH!  It's Fall!  And now I'm breaking that promise.  It's just that I like the way these leaves are turning red but the veins are still the green of summer.  And carrying this camera around at all times has, if nothing else, tuned me into the details in a way I'm not sure I've been before.

And I like this:

Photography produces pleasure by simplicity. I see something special and show it to the camera.

~ Sam Abell


(Ahem) Totally Under Control

323.365 55mm f5.6 1/40 ISO 200I got an e-mail from a family member Wednesday saying "You okay?  Anything I can help with?" and I had no idea what he was referring to.  My response: "Uuuuummmm, yeah?  I don't think so.  But thanks for the offer."

Later I realized that he probably assumed I was trapped under a fallen tree in Prospect Park or had been accosted by a feral reality TV contestant.  I guess either could have been a reasonable assumption.  But I was really just daunted by trying to reintegrate into my life in Denver. 

(And yes, I usually bring reusable bags to load my army of groceries, but with reintegration apparently comes disorganization.)

324.365 32mm (+12mm mac tube) f5 1/60 ISO 200Apparently when I'm getting my bearings macro helps.  This hibiscus, which our neighbor gave us as a wedding present five years ago, was in full bloom when I returned.  That only lasts for about a week in the blazing sun of our front yard, so you know, the iron was hot and all.

325.365 18mm f5 1/400 ISO 200This one was one of my patented cram-it-all-in moves, in the three and a half spare moments between work, commute, and family night at Ezra's school.

The good thing about all of this madness is that I haven't even had time to complain to you all about how I'm not in Black Rock City right now.

It's so very good to be back in Denver.  But family, I may take a rain check on that offer of help.