Sunday, December 28, 2008

Wrapping up the Christmas Season

The Christmas season wraps up for me with an all out family gathering frenzy. After 7 hour drive on Christmas morning, we arrive at my sister's home, where we all gather for food, drink, catching up, present exchange, and many excited children running around. (and I do mean running!).
My camera comes with me, but rarely do I feel inspired to use it. The memories that come with this day must be remembered securely in my head.

But my camera did come out prior to this Christmas finale.......

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, there is an essential part of the Yuletide season I try not to miss - The Christmas markets in Europe.

The experience is an outdoor, sensory overload that includes many tastes, sounds, smells and sights that I now associate with the Christmas season.

Here you can find many hand crafted items displayed and sold throughout the street markets. A central theme to all festivities is the huge decorated Christmas tree.
This year I toured the markets with the latest toy for my camera. A lensbaby lens (which I ordered while attending the Photo Expo held in NYC every Fall).

My new lens is a shift and tilt lens for a more 'impressionistic' image. I mainly focused on various details I would find at the many vendor stands in the market.

These views featured individual sights that may have gotten overlooked by the plethora of holiday objects competing for attention.

By singling out small details from my journeys through the markets of Germany and Belgium, I can still sense the festive chaos in these colorful shapes and forms. For me it's a step back into the whirlwind of seasonal energy associated with a trip to the Kindermarket.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Miracle on 34th, nope, MY Street

Yes, I do believe in miracles. I had one happen to me this week and nothing is going to get me down because of it. (Not even getting my wallet stolen in Brussels 2 days ago).

Losing a pet can be a very scary experience. I can assure you! When my Siamese cat decided to sneak out of the house this week without anyone knowing, I was pretty quick to notice him missing early in the day. A massive search ensued, with the help of some dear friends, which lasted into the night. Slight panic set in when a winter storm that was forecast had started to materialize.

Okay, we are taking about a pampered indoor, declawed cat, that spends his days curled up on an electric heating pad!

With only a 2 hour break from 4am - 6am, the search continued with the rising sun and a layer of snow from the night before. We got word that neighbors down the street witnessed their 2 labs chasing a cat the evening before. oh no.

As I walked down the road putting flyer's in mailboxes - I decided to walk along some thick bush along the main road. After many unsuccessful attempts following an assortment of animal tracks throughout the morning (most likely hungry fox tracts!), I saw some small tracks that led to the the thicket of brush. With a weary call to my cat and a shake of a bell from his favorite toy - I heard a faint meow. I continued to call to him and he continued to answer me. As I searched further I noticed a hole under the brush and the meows from coming from this dark hole. I knew it was him - was he injured?

With further encouragement - my 9lb Simon appeared! And quite dry to my surprise - my prayers were answered.

Yes, I do believe in miracles........................

Monday, December 15, 2008

Unexpected Moments

Much of my photography revolves around careful planning, methodical preparation, detailed set-up and of course the unexpected moments.

Many of these moments often lead to the immediate fate of the delete button.
But, some can add interest to the photography session.

I often work with animals - and like they say with animals and children, you can expect the unexpected.

That can be part of the challenge - and it can lead to some very interesting and spontaneous moments.

Our lives (at times) appear to be controlable.
We carefully plan and systematically arrange details to acheive our desired well prepared results.

But why not welcome the unplanned and sometimes encourage it......

It may be that added spice that's missing from the carefully thought out recipe.

Embrace the unexpected!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Travel - A view of Hong Kong

Hong Kong is recognized as a place where East meets West. It's eclectic mix involves the traditional culture of China with the influence of British colonization.

An example of the spectacular diversity are the steep hills of Hong Kong island.
As well as the skyscrapers that make for a fascinating landscape

Aberdeen Fishing Village is a step back in time.

Here, you experience life on the water - a glimpse of the sights, sounds and colors from Old China.

Strolling along the "walk of fame" or Avenue of the Stars honoring celebrities and Hong Kong's film stars is not complete without a picture of legendary martial artist and movie star - Bruce Lee.

Tsimsha Tsui waterfront is a lively place and wonderful people watching along the Victoria Harbor.

Halfway around the world - exotic, yet familiar - it's hard to describe my one and only visit to Hong Kong in words, so I let the images speak for themselves. But I so long to return.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Eyes are the Windows to the Soul

Can you look into ones eyes and know their thoughts? We think we can, but are the eyes truly the mirrors of the soul?

The eyes connect us to one another - they can make a powerful statement about who we are or how we want to be perceived.

Through our eyes we project life, vulnerability, or even caution.

In photography, the eyes can be one of the most important parts of a portrait. They can not blink as we are closing the shutter, or looking else where (unless it's part of the composition).
The photographer looks for that perfect catch light in the eye - that brings things to life.
When we take away all the other features in the portrait and direct the viewer to the eyes. Well, we can almost see into the soul - almost touch it..... almost.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Travel - Brighton Beach, England

A forty minute train ride from Gatwick Airport - and you have arrived at the seaside town of Brighton located on the south coast of England. Here you can find a range of shopping, cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs. And of course there's the beach, made up of small stones and cold water! This town is filled with wonderful photo opportunities.

My discovery on this visit was the old West Pier.

Built in 1866 and closed since 1975, this structure has been ravaged by the elements as well as several fires.

All that is left is a metal skeleton which has survived as a magical and enduring part of this seaside oasis.

The beautiful discoveries that can be had by exploring, looking and seeing........


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