A New Workshop and a New Life

Hello and welome to My View for Monday, January 9, 2012.

Happy New Year and Happy Full Moon!!! I hope your new year has started off wonderfully well.

Today, I am announcing an exciting new workshop for 2012. Cathy Aronson, master printer and photography guide in Grand Teton National Park, will be joining me in teaching a shoot and print workshop in the Grand Teton National Park in September of this year. Please see the details of this workshop here. I am very much looking forward to teaching with Cathy in September.

In addition, with mixed emotions, I am announcing my retirement from running and teaching photography workshops at the end of 2012. The four workshops that I have listed for this year are the last ones that I will run and teach. The only exception may be the Callaway Gardens workshop as macro and abstract photography are my favorite ways to shoot and Callaway Gardens is an easy drive from my home.

This decision comes after much thought this year as to what I want to do with the rest of my life. I have worked either part-time (during my school and college years) or full-time since I was 14 years old. I am now a part of the Medicare population. There are a number of things that I want to do with the time I have remaining on this earth while I am still healthy and able to enjoy these activities. I want to renovate my house and re-create my garden. I want to volunteer at my local humane society. The list goes on and on.

Many of my family members are aging and I want to spend more time with them. I also have close friends that I’ve not been able to spend much time with in the last many years. I want to see more of them. I want to develop new relationships, as well as renew old ones that were once a very important part of who I am. I want to spend more time with my younger family members before they are “grown and gone”. I want to travel more, see new places and, perhaps, drive across northern Canada once more.

The loss of several friends and family members in the last couple of years pointed out to me just how fleeting is the time in our lives. Most recently is the loss of my niece’s mother-in-law who died in an automobile accident this past Saturday. She did not survive a simple trip to a local mall.

One thing that I have learned in the second third of my life is to appreciate the people I love. They are so precious. Love is so precious. Tell those people that you love how much you love them at each opportunity you get. Let them know how much you appreciate them. Let them know how important they are to you. Make the time in your life to share yourself with them, to do the things you want to do together, to enjoy your time together. Don’t wait “until… ” . None of us knows when a simple trip to the mall could end it all. My goal for the last third of my life is to spend more time doing exactly these things.

I will continue my enjoyment of photography and, perhaps, concentrate on my fine art once again. I will, perhaps, post more often to My View. I would love to see you on one of this year’s workshops. If you know of someone who might like to join me on one of the workshops, please share this with them. If you are starting to teach workshops yourself and I can help you in any way, please let me know. I would love to ‘pay it back’ as a thank you to all of those who helped me in my photography career over the years.

Thank you so much for those of you who joined me on workshops in the past. I so very much appreciate your support of my photography instruction career. I have enjoyed every minute of our time together. I hope to continue to share our love of photography together and, perhaps, have time to go shooting together.

Have a wonderful 2012 and I hope to see you on one of my workshops.

Today’s image is one from my home state, Florida. It represents a new day for me.

The Morning Sun

The Morning Sun

Delray Beach, Florida, January, 2011
Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 16-35mm L lens, ISO 3200,  f/5.6, 1/750 sec, hand held

Wishing you all many beautiful morning suns!!

Posted in Beach scenes, Florida, Grand Teton National Park, Landscape | 16 Comments

A Very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Hello and welome to My View for Saturday, December 24, 2011.

At a time of the year when the giving of gifts is customary, the most important gifts to me are not the packages we open, but our relationships with our family and friends. These relationships — our closeness, our shared joys, our shared sorrows, our struggles through tough times, our celebrations of happy times, our being there as witnesses to each others lives — are the most important gifts in our lives.

So, on this Christmas Eve, I want to celebrate my relationship with all of you. I am extremely grateful to those of you who attended my photography workshops this year and to those of you who have decided to join me on a workshop in 2012. You make it so that I can do the things I love — teach and photograph.

I am grateful to all of you who are my friends who have shared with me the joys and sorrows and the happy times this year, and for your encouragement — just for being there for me. And, I am grateful to those old friends who know me best and have always been there for me. I am grateful that a decades-old friend whom I had not seen for many years found a way to be a part of my life again. Old friends are the best friends.

I am extremely grateful for all those in my family and those who are family by choice rather than birth. You are most special and important to me.

I am grateful for the lives of those who left this physical world this past year. The light you left behind inspires us all.

So, with a heart full of gratitude, fond memories and the chance to make more wonderful memories, I wish you, your family and your friends a most wonderful celebration at this time of the year. No matter what winter holiday you celebrate, celebrate with those you love!


Merry Christmas

Georgia, December, 2011
Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 28-70mm L lens, ISO 1250,  f/22, 1.0 sec, hand held

Thank you for visiting My View.

Posted in Abstract, Christmas | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

A Beautiful Light

Hello and welome to My View for Saturday, August 27 2011.

Last night, the world lost one of it’s brightest Lights. My friend and amazing photographer, teacher of photography and one of the most gracious and generous people I’ve had the privilege of knowing, lost her battle with cancer. Nancy Rotenberg passed away peacefully at her home, surrounded by her family and close friends.

When Nancy was diagnosed about a year and a half ago, the prognosis was good. But, as can be with this insidious disease, after a period of remission, it returned earlier this year.

Nancy was a beautiful Light in this world, both professionally and personally. She shared her knowledge so generously and inspired all of us who knew her. She was always willing to talk about whatever one wanted to discuss and shared herself in all areas of life. She truly danced her way through this physical life!!!

Nancy, you truly stood out in God’s garden of flowers. We will all miss your physical presence but your light and inspiration are here and will shine on for us all. As Nancy would say — “Dance — at least once every day!” Namaste, Nancy.

For Nancy

For Nancy

May, 2010, Holland, Michigan

Canon 5D Mark II, Lensbaby Composer with f/4.0 aperture ring, ISO 100,  1/500 sec, Bogen Neotec tripod

Thank you for visiting My View.

Posted in Flowers, Holland, Inspiration, Lensbaby, Lensbaby Composer, Michigan, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Direct Perception

Hello and welome to My View for Friday August 19, 2011.

I hope that you are all enjoying your summer and finding ways to stay cool. The US has certainly seen its share of hot days this summer.

Back in January of this year, I attended a workshop in Delray Beach based on the Miksang philosophy of photography. My friends, Usha Vedula and April Siegfried, introduced me to this concept back in 2010 — or maybe even 2009 — and I was so busy at the time that I did not have time to explore it. This year, I’ve made more time in my life to venture out and explore ideas about photography to which I’ve not been exposed. I believe that this is necessary to keep my creativity sharp and continue to learn.

The idea behind Miksang photography is “direct perception”. In class, our shooting exercises consisted of going out with our cameras, hand held, and looking at our surroundings and allowing something to “stop” us. That is, allow ourselves to be open to whatever is in our area and the moment something catches our eye and draws our attention to it, photograph it. The instructors encouraged us not to get too caught up in “perfecting” an image, but just to capture what we saw that “stopped us”. Some exercises encouraged us to look for color, others texture, etc. This is a concept so different from my traditional training as a photographer where I would go out with an idea in mind and “work a subject” until I got something I liked.

Although I am certainly not abandoning my traditional photographic education, the idea of “direct perception” is something that I am incorporating into my photography. It is a very freeing concept and has me looking at advanced point and shoot cameras with capabilities of shooting much the way that my large DLSR and all the gear allows me to do. “Point and shoots” have come a very long way!! With a smaller camera in hand, I will be much more likely to capture images that catch my eye when I’m out walking Lilly in the early morning, out with friends, at the farmer’s markets, or just walking down the street.

April Siegfied started a discussion of this idea on her blog back in May if you are interested in reading what some other photographers have to say.

This image is one I took one morning by the pool at the hotel where the workshop was being held. The reflection of the hotel in the water caught my eye. My “traditional training” kicked in when I reached for my wide-angle lens to capture this image.

As always, I very much appreciate your comments and critiques. They make me a better photographer, aid in my growth as a person and offer me new experiences.

Delray Beach

Delray Beach Colors

January, 2011, Delray Beach, Florida

Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 16-35 f/2.8L lens, ISO 400, f/8.0  1/500 sec, handheld

Thank you for visiting My View.

Posted in city scape, Florida, Street Scenes | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

Facelift and Lensbaby Focus Technique

Hello and welome to My View for Saturday April 30, 2011.

As I have been remiss in regular postings to this blog this year, I wanted to get one more in for the month of April.

First, some news.   My main website, which has not been updated since 2006, got a major facelift this week.   My friend, web mistress, and former co-worker in the corporate world — seems like a lifetime ago — , Kel Kyle, created this new look.   Kel has been taking care of my site for several years.  She, along with another good friend and writer, Joann Ellis,  worked together to create this new look.    If you are in need of a website, I can highly recommend Kel.   Thank you so much, Kel and Jo, for all the work you put into this!!!!

Next, I would like to share a technique for focusing the Lensbaby that I learned from a participant on the Callaway Gardens and Warm Springs workshop earlier in April.   Mitch, one of the participants, turned in Lensbaby images for critique sessions that had an amazing amount of sharpness in them, even when the Lensbaby was bent off center.  I commented on this as I was critiquing Mitch’s images.  As my eyes age, I find it more and more difficult to focus the Lensbaby if it is bent to one side.   Later, Mitch was kind enough to show me how he did this — a very simple technique that makes one say “DUH!  Why did I not think of that!!”    Now, I call it “Mitch’s Technique”!!

What Mitch does is to compose his image with the Lensbaby,  focus it as well as he can and then — using Live View on his camera  – magnify the area where he wants focus and continue to refine the focus.   A simple and elegant technique!!  Thanks Mitch.  Of course, this technique can be used with the Lensbaby as well as any other lens.  Just make sure your other lens is set to manual focus.

This is a shot I took using Mitch’s technique after I returned home from the Callaway workshop.   Fortunately, the azaleas in my yard were still in bloom.

As always, I very much appreciate your comments and critiques. They make me a better photographer, aid in my growth as a person and offer me new experiences.


Azaleas in the Yard

April, 2011, Roswell, Georgia

Canon 5D Mark II, Lensbaby Composer with f/2.8 aperture ring, ISO 100,  1/180 sec, Bogen Neotec tripod

Thank you for visiting My View.

Posted in Abstract, Flowers, Georgia, Lensbaby, Lensbaby Composer | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Happy Easter, Happy Spring

Hello and welome to My View for Sunday, April 24, 2011.

Happy Easter to all of you who celebrate Easter.    And a Happy Spring to Everyone.

Although the official start of spring is more than a month passed, Easter is time of renewal for Christians around the world.   And, indeed, as winter has hung on for a very long time this year, this Easter Sunday seems to mark the end of winter and start of the renewal of the earth.   It is a beautiful — and warm — day here in Georgia today and I’ve actually started planting spring flowers.

Earlier this month, I completed my first workshop of 2011 in beautiful Callaway Gardens and the quaint town of Warm Springs, Georgia.  I am forever grateful for the wonderful group of talented photographers who joined me there for this workshop.   I want to thank Lori Diemer who stepped in at the last minute, due to a family emergency for the photographer with whom I was to teach this workshop, to assist me.   We all had an amazing time and I am grateful and humbled by the comments they left for me about this workshop.  I will definitely conduct this workshop again next year!

I am also announcing a new workshop for the fall of 2011 in Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, Maine, from October 2-7, at the height of the fall colors in Maine at an incredible location.    I will be teaching this workshop with fellow photographer and teacher, Jim Pettit, a native of Maine living now in the Atlanta area.   If you are interested in joining Jim and me for this workshop, please see the workshop description and contact me.

As I am preparing to leave for New Mexico next week to conduct the New Mexico and the Spirit of Georgia O’Keefe workshop,  I leave you with this image of the Ida Cason Callaway Memorial Chapel in Callaway Gardens.   The quiet and the peace that surrounds this chapel in the early morning hours lend itself to contemplation and renewal.

As always, I very much appreciate your comments and critiques. They make me a better photographer, aid in my growth as a person and offer me new experiences.


Ida Cason Callaway Chapel

Ida Cason Callaway Memorial Chapel

April 11, 2011, Callaway Gardens, Georgia

Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 70-200 f/2.8 lens at 185mm, ISO 200, f/6.7, 1/60 sec, Bogen Neotec tripod

Thank you for visiting My View.

Posted in Callaway Gardens, Flowers, Georgia, Landscape, reflections | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

A Country Christmas 2010

Hello and welome to My View for Wednesday, January 26, 2011.

Welcome to the My View. I hope all of you had a great start to the new year and are managing to stay warm during this very cold winter.

As I’ve been huddling in my fleece, trying to stay warm and, finally, putting away the last of the Christmas decorations, I keep thinking about one of my favorite parts of Christmas. You see, even though I’ve lived in a big city for most of my life, now that “most of my life” is in my grownup years, I’m very much a small town girl at heart. I love being in small towns, listening to the stories of people who’ve lived there all of their lives. I love driving down to north Florida each Christmas, driving down the backroads, not I-75, so that I can see the Christmas lights in the small towns that I pass through.

There is something so special about Christmas in small towns. I don’t know if this feeling comes from spending so much time at my grandparents farm when I was younger, or just that I feel people are friendlier in small towns. Folks in small towns depend on each other and seem to not be too busy to care for each other. There is just a feeling there that doesn’t seem to exist, or not as much, in a large, very busy city. Small town folks wave at each other when they pass each other on the highway — have you noticed that?

In a small town in north Florida, a few years ago, the people of the church that my brother attends, built a new church. The people built it — they built from a log cabin kit. Now, this is a very friendly small town church and everyone treats you like family after just a couple of visits. I remember the first Christmas Eve service that I attended in that church. I was moved to tears when we all lit our candles at the end of the service and sang “Silent Night”. The warmth of the candles reflecting off the warm wood of the logs and in the windows of this small church was other worldly, reflecting the warmth of the small town people who built the church with their hands.

This year, I managed to grab a couple of shots of the church before we went in for Christmas Eve service. And, this year, as everyone gathered in a huge circle out on the lawn for the lighting of the candles, “Silent Night” drifted over the sandy roads, oak trees laden with moss, deep springs and bogs, down the rivers and out to the bay from the voices of people who have lived all their lives in this community and embrace those places, and the people who live or visit there, with open arms.

As always, I very much appreciate your comments and critiques. They make me a better photographer, aid in my growth as a person and offer me new experiences.

Christmas Eve in the Country

Silent Night

Christmas Eve in the Country, north Florida
Christmas Eve, 2010

Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 16-35 f/2.8 lens at 70mm, ISO 800, f/8.0, 1.5 seconds, Bogen Neotec tripod

Thank you for visiting My View.

Please take a moment to visit the listings for the workshops that I’ve planned, so far, for 2011. I would love to see you on one!!

Posted in Christmas, Florida, night photography | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments


Hello and welome to My View for Friday, January 7, 2011.

Welcome to the first My View post of 2011. I hope all of you had a great first week of the new year.

As I noted in last week’s post, one of my reasons for backing out of my responsibilities to The Mindful Eye is so that I can spend more time with my family and friends. Although I enjoyed all the travel of the last four years, I have missed a lot of my life with others. One of the things I’ve missed is our annual family reunion on my father’s side. The family reunion is held in late September on my great-grandfather’s farm in south Georgia, just north of the Florida state line. It is a reunion that has been held since my great-grandfather lived there, with the exception of a very few years. Family members come from all over the US and, a few times, England to be there.

This past week, I found myself going back to images I’d taken in the past at the reunion. The last time I was able to be there was in 2007, as I’ve traveled at that time of the year to teach since then. At that reunion, my young cousin, Landen, was the youngest member in attendance. I thought that this image of him, less than a year old at the time, with his Mom might be a good way to celebrate our new year — so young yet and so full of promise.

As always, I very much appreciate your comments and critiques. They make me a better photographer, aid in my growth as a person and offer me new experiences.



South Georgia
September, 2007

Canon 5D, Canon 28-70 f/2.8 lens at 70mm, ISO 400, f/4.0, 1/350 second, hand held.

Thank you for visiting My View.

Posted in Georgia, People, Portraits | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

Happy Holidays and My New Adventure

Hello and welome to My View for Wednesday, December 29, 2010.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday with your loved ones, friends and family and are thoroughly looking forward to the new year.

As many of you may be doing, I am making some changes in my life for 2011. You may have heard by now that I am backing out of my responsibilities of administering all of the workshops for The Mindful Eye and with assisting Craig Tanner with his workshops. You can see the announcement that Craig posted to The Mindful Eye Community.

Working with and teaching with Craig for the past four years has been a wonderful opportunity, great fun and an awesome learning experience — one for which I am forever grateful to Craig. I’ve learned so much assisting Craig and about running a workshop program. However, the amount of time required for these responsibilities was taking more and more time away from that which I love — being a photographer, developing my own workshops as a photography teacher, and having more time to spend with my family and friends. In September of this year, it became very clear to me that I was burning out with all the duties of administering the Inspirational Weekends and the workshops, running the workshop program for The Mindful Eye, as well as traveling and assisting Craig with teaching his workshops (nine in 2010) and Inspirational Weekends (six in 2010). At that time, Craig and I began discussing transitioning me out of these duties so that I could return to being the photographer I want to be and to developing the workshops I want to teach.

I cannot thank Craig enough for the opportunities he’s given me these past years, first working with him at Radiant Vista and, then, with The Mindful eye. Assisting him and teaching with him has been an experience that I will always treasure. His support of my photography and photography career since meeting him almost 10 years ago has been invaluable to me.

I am very much looking forward to this new adventure. For 2011, I have two workshops planned, one in and around Callaway Gardens in Georgia and one in New Mexico. Craig has graciously allowed me to list these workshops on The Mindful Eye under the Other 2011 Workshops heading. I am and will continue to be an ardent supporter of Craig Tanner and The Mindful Eye. You will see me there, participating in the Community and doing whatever I can to support the site.

For the future, I am looking forward to conducting a few selective location workshops each year, teaching locally and offering customized instruction to individuals and very small groups . I am also looking forward to spending more quality time with family and friends. My house is very much looking forward to some tender loving care from me and to being a real “home” once again!! :)

Over the next couple of months, my site will get a much needed and long overdue facelift to update it with more recent images and to include more information about my workshop program. I will let you know when this update is complete. In the meantime, please refer to my Workshop section for more details on the two workshops I have planned for 2011 and for any others I may announce.

I would dearly love to hear from you with any advice you may have for me as I work toward creating workshops in the future that you would enjoy. You can either post to this entry on my blog, or reach me via the contact form on this site.

Thank you for all the support you’ve given me in the past years and as I begin this next adventure in my life.

Wishing you and your families a warm and wonderful holiday season and a bright and and wonderful 2011.

Today’s image is taken at the home of my former mother-in-law when I was visiting her this past September. I awoke early one morning to see the warm light of the sunrise on Lake Logan Martin in Alabama streaming through my bedroom window. Each morning when I awake, I think of starting again — enjoying the things I did well the day before, gently directing myself to review those things I want to do differently and to make those changes for the new day. The upcoming new year allows us all to do that. I encourage you all to focus on the wonderful person that is you, loving yourself for those things you do very well and gently encouraging yourself to make changes that you want to make in your life.

As always, your comments and critiques are most welcome. They make me a better photographer, aid my growth as a person and offer me new experiences.

Logan Martin Sunrise

Lake Logan Martin Sunrise

Pell City, Alabama
September, 2010

Canon 5D Mark II, 16-35mm 2.8 lens at 32mm, ISO 5000, f/3.5, 1/180 second shutter speed, hand held.

Thank you for visiting My View.

Posted in Georgia, Inspiration | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Water Gardens #01

Hello and welome to My View for Sunday August 22, 2010.

I hope you all are having a wonderful summer.

Over on The Mindful Eye, we’ve posted our 2011 Workshop Schedule. I invite you all to view the workshops and join us in 2011.

A couple of weeks ago, I visited Perry’s Water Garden in Franklin, NC with the Focal Point Meetup Group that meets in my area. Several of us drove up from Atlanta early on Saturday morning, August 7. As we drove up into the higher elevations, the oppressing heat of summer in the city began to dissipate. We even found ourselves turning off the air conditioners in our cars and opening the windows to the 65-degree temperatures that greeted us when we arrived. As we got out of our cars, all we wanted to do for a few minutes was to stand and enjoy the cooler temperatures.

Soon, the beauty of the water gardens called to us and we grabbed our gear and spread out over the acres of water lillies, lotus blossoms, water irises, cattails and many other water or near water plants. We shot for several hours before the heat of the day began to creep in on us. Then, many of us retreated to picnic tables under tall shade trees and brought out the lunches and cool drinks we had packed before leaving home. After lunch, we shot for a little while longer before packing up and heading back to the city. It was a great way to spend a summer Saturday.

This image is a triptych of the same lotus blossom at different distances from the blossom. It was made with the Lensbaby Composer and the Lensbaby Fisheye optic.

As always, your comments and critiques are most welcome. They make me a better photographer, aid my growth as a person and offer me new experiences.

Lotus Triptych

Lotus Triptych

Perry’s Water Garden
Franklin, NC
August, 2010

Canon 5D Mark II, Lensbaby Composer with Fisheye Optic, ISO 200, 1/500 second shutter speed, hand held.

Thank you for visiting My View.

Posted in Flowers, Lensbaby, Lensbaby Composer | Tagged , , , , , , , | 11 Comments