It's Just a Picture.... or is it More?

Once in a while, a few times a year, I come upon a scene and know I have a fine print, even before I capture the image. It's an exciting feeling. I get entranced by a passing moment in nature. I lose myself in a frantic to freeze a moment I can process, interpret, print and share. 

Not until a print is processed and produced do I fully understand my feelings at the time of capture. Sometimes I create affects in a image to enhance my interpretation. It's more than snap and share, for me. I love it - the capture, interpretation and presentation. Big and Beautiful, with a lasting good feeling, is my quest.

The gift for me is the moment, offered by nature, for personal interpretation.  My images are not created with talent to originate and emote. Rather - I am very grateful for the messages I feel from the gifts I receive from the natural world. 

Blue and White, Positano has held my attention since I saw the scene upon approaching the beach on the Mediterranean sea, in Positano, Italy, last March. (maximum print size - 43" x 50")

Blue and White, Positano PhaseOne IQ 180 80mm 1/40 sec f18 ISO 35

The blue and White floating companions are a perfect foreground to the blue and white of the infinite sky and seemingly endless sea. The white vessel, love - the guide.  The sea - life's journey. The sky - culmination. The blue boat - humanity (me), leans to love for courage, in anticipation of the, sometime, stormy seas.

Walking - by Thoreau

Methinks, sauntering, about nature, is my new speed.... and that is good.

Thoreau talks of sauntering in nature as a spiritual crusade, seeing the "Holy Land". "We should go forth on the shortest walk, perchance, in the spirit of undying adventure , never to return - prepared to send back our embalmed heart only as relics of our desolate kingdoms. If you are ready to leave father and mother, and brother and sister, and wife and child and friends, and never see them again - if you have paid your debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man - then you are ready for a walk.... a noble art...."

"Some of my townsmen, it is true, can remember and have described to me some walks which they took ten years ago, in which they were so blessed as to lose themselves for half an hour in the woods; but I know very well that they have confined themselves to the highway ever since."

Thoreau had a high, desirable, spiritual expectation of his frequent sauntering in nature, with little expectation of what was ahead, while seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting and feeling the sensual present. I love it. 

Field Road, PhaseOne IQ 180 120mm 1/13 sec f12 ISO35

"My vicinity affords many good walks" - Thoreau speaks of the "Old Marlborough Road", a discontinued road that most communities have two or three such pathways. Our Field Road is my Old Marlborough road, leading, perchance, southwest - sunsetting light seeking, across the field, by Johnny Brook, to Green Mountain foothills. 

Late in the light, a short while ago, I found myself walking on a new path in the woods, a short distance off my Old Marlborough Road. I was sauntering on a new bike path, watching the sun penetrating the woods, wishing to capture a moment, with the light just right on a memorable site.

Golden, PhaseOne IQ 180 80mm 1/25 sec f11 ISO 35

I lost myself in the woods - literally - it was soon after the sign for a new path alternative - The Grim Reaper. I blamed getting lost, on the fallen leaves and the newness of the path. I thought about Thoreau speaking of the safety of the America Woods, then I thought about the reports of Bobcats and Bears in The Green Mountains. I walked North East - opposite of the venture out in the woods. A while later, I saw a house. I moved to it, found friendliness and walked the roads two plus miles back to home base. Needless to say, I am not one with the wild - not just yet. I can say I got lost in the woods though. Thoreau would be proud of me, being kind, as he was. 

"So we saunter toward the Holy Land, till one day the sun shall shine more brightly than ever he has done, shall perchance shine into our minds and hearts, and light up our whole lives with a great awakening light, as warm and serene and golden as on a bankside in autumn."

I wish to go to Walden Pond in Concord, MASS and hope I will wish to go again and again - to walk in the steps of Thoreau, and learn more, as have many before.

Secrets Scar - True Stories Heal

While contemplating this writing, about the Giving principle activity of transferring - stories, values, and other valuables,  I reread chapter 8 of my book ADVOCATE PLANNING, To Do What You Love To Do - The value of histories and life stories.  The read is worthwhile wisdom to ware, ..... if I must say so myself - better than I remembered. I invite you to go to Book on this site, download the book, and read chapter 8 - it doesn't take long to read. It confirmed to me logic, motivation, and ways to transfer - give value - to people we love.

Scars, Hasselblad Stellar 21.77mm 1/2000 sec f3.5 ISO 400

"It's our little secret", said dad, on his death bed, to his secretary/mistress , with unintended ears present - worth a laugh or two... later... with siblings. The condoned close relationship with Shirley, over a fifty year period, was no secret. We just acted as though it was.

The "little secret", was emblematic of many of my parents realities needing to be secret. Mom and dad were secret souls, treating us a bit as 'subjects'. Yet, evidence of great influencing attributes, is all ten of their children, productively doing their passions. Method in their madness?

"Who was that mask man [woman]?" I asked mom, after dad's death, why she tolerated his relationship with Shirley. She said dad would have gone crazy without Shirley. An act of love? Or, a reprieve from madness?

I spent years in 'therapy', culminating with ten page letters to each of my parents. I stood up to them - to power. I pulled the curtain down. I was looking for truth - not about Shirley - about love - love of self and love of others. I confronted each, separately - faced resistance, learned about power and self-esteem. It was an extremely growing experience for me - maybe why I came up with SCG - the Love Priorities, and dedicated so much time in writing the book and doing this blog. I am grateful. I can't speak for my parents, but, I felt closer to both of my parents, understanding better their story, having confronted them. I value love more having worked at it.

I had to fight to get a glimpse of my dad's love. At my dad's death bed, I asked, with interest, not demand -  Do you love me? - He never before, expressed, in so many words,  his love for me. He sobbed, repeating five times - I love you. I believe it was a cleansing moment.... for both of us.

Docks in a Row, Hasselblad Stellar 11.18mm 1/25 sec f4 ISO 80

My experience with my parent's and my own story, as well as learning from client situations, has convinced me that 'the true story' is as valuable as money transferred to our loved ones - especially where there is the expression of love. Even where love is absent, dealing with the true story, provides the logic of the story, giving a base to build love relationships.

I am telling my story. I am expressing my love. I am getting my docks in a row, to love more, before my next season. I love it.

The Weight of Hate

Why so much hate? I don't understand. Hate hurts - not something someone would voluntarily choose. Is it an uncontrollable human condition? Is it societally agravated by Hollywood, political opinion newscasts, religious zelots, social media, or even video gun games?

Why is there so much divisiveness? Many seem to not want to even listen to 'the other side', more less study alternatives to their own positions and learn from thought diversity. 

Splash, Hasselblad Stellar 16.2mm 1/2000 sec f4 ISO 80

I am concerned. The weight of hate is affecting too much, even long-time friendships are axed with an opposing political position.

Instead of celebrating differences, some people hurt so much they lash out at innocent bystanders, knowing the consequence is their own demise. Is this their cowardly escape from powerful influences that contribute to their weight of hate that they feel is futile to face?

Are societal stresses so great that hate is becoming vogue? So many questions!

I can think of but one remedy for hatred - LOVE - While hate hurts, love heals, and delights the psyche. Love invites diversity of thought. Love listens. Love lasts. God is Love. Love is Light.

A couple years ago, the devastated parishioners of the Charleston Church expressed the power of love. I am hearing the same from the survivors in Southerland Springs. Do we have to be pushed to the brink, to see the power of love? 

Do we need guards at the gates of all our churches!

Serenity, Canon EOS IDS 90mm 1/640 sec f11 ISO 100 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please Don't Judge Me

Love me - Judge my ideas, my photographs - that's how I learn, better understand. As for me, "grant that I don't seek, so much, to be understood, as to understand".

We, as humans, have a tendency to leap to a conclusion - we hear a few facts, abstract, and leap to a conclusion. Now it seems the tendency goes beyond a leap to a conclusion about a fact, but a person - almost to the point that if a person thinks differently than me there is something wrong with them - I hate them - Why doesn't everybody think like me? - Like what I like?

Sun Rain Birch Canon EOS IDS Mark III 90mm 1/10 sec f18 ISO 100

Daily, I affirm my mantra - Love in the Moment. Part of my mantra is an affirmation of contributing my uniqueness, and accepting the uniqueness in myself, as well as that of others, without judgement, with respect, patience, and a sense of humor. That is easier said than done. When I am 'in the zone' with it, though, it sure feels good. I love myself for who I am, what I feel and think. And, I love others, unconditionally, for who they are, with all that they differ from me. How sad it would be if all were me.

A Worthy Cause

Patty said, once, "I'm not walking - how embarrassing." Then she said "I don't have Alzheimer's, I just don't pay any attention." We did walk, in both Minnesota and Vermont.

It is easy for Patty to do for others, and hard for her to have others do for her. We walked for others ... for us. I deal with this daily with Patty. Sometimes, I wish she were more self caring. Maybe she knows best - that "it is in giving that we receive", as in the simple prayer. Yah, but a little self aware and care might be good, too! Is she using a defense  mechanism? I hear denial is common. I can understand.

It's too complicated for me. The Alzheimer's Association has been a big help in giving me counsel and comfort - direction. They are dedicated people; dedicated to not only the research to finding a cure - the first person to survive the disease - but helping deal, for all involved.....and, this is big. HELP WANTED - more patience and seeing more humor....and reaching our fundraising goal.

Alzheimer's walk, Vermont

Alzheimer's walk, Vermont

Our team, The Whichwayers, fundraising goal is $10,000. Between Minnesota and Vermont we have raised $9,145 - close, but no cigar. Wonderful help from wonderful people. I asked family and some friends for money, in conjunction with celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary, and received this great support. I feel good about the way we celebrated our fiftiehth- thank you very much for those who celebrated with us, in-kind and/or a contribution.

Now, I ask again, to a wider audience, so we can reach and go beyond The Whichwayers goal!

Will you help us and the Alzheimer's Association reach our goals -a cure, counsel, comfort? You can donate on-line by going to http://act.alz.org/goto/Whichwayers or send the Alzheimer's Association a check in the mail: Alzheimer's Association National Office, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17, Chicago, IL 60601 in the name of The Whchwayers, Minnesota or Vermont.

Alzheimer's - Looking for a Cure

This is my Purple Purpose image - I am reaching out for others, for myself, to come together and contribute, or add a bit to your already generous contribution.  Patty is in this image, as family and others support. Human kindness will prevail, and progress, with this mean disease, will be made. Thanks for your consideration........and, I promise, I won't ask again.....at least this year.

 

 

 

 

Horizon Revisited

I'm thinking clearer today....In my blog of July 25th I defined the Horizon as the area where the sky appears to caress the earth - not so my small minded photographer. The sky caresses the earth, and some times pounds the earth.... note Harvey! 

While thinking deeper about the horizon, I feel a desire to go beyond the skyline - the sky, air and all that comes with it, like water, is vital to our being. Water and Air can also be powerful and dangerous forces. We can't live without either, and how little control we have over nature, doing it's thing.

Respect, Protect, and Connect - we are all in this together. We have God-given strength to deal, and how sweet it is to see people, non-dualistically, come together and help each other.

The earth is a spec in the sky, non-recognizable a relatively short distance into the Cosmos. This blows my mind and reminds me of the lyrics of the song I Believe - "every time I touch a leave or see the sky, I know why, I believe"elvis presley i believe the gospel masters

Lakeside Hasselblad Stellar 10.4mm 1/2000 sec f2 ISO 80

Lakeside Hasselblad Stellar 10.4mm 1/2000 sec f2 ISO 80

50 Years of Bliss! 8/25/1967 - 8/25/2017

50 years of bliss - I got a hefty laugh with that comment - I knew I would. We've had our share of struggles in our marriage, and much growth and love. I am grateful for the time.

50th with Family at Inn at Shelburne Farms

My life is dedicated to the "the love priorities" - SCG - a principle-based, love of self and love of others, priorities process. As you know, I wrote a book about it as a retirement gift to clients, friends and family. Patty inspired me with much of what I learned over the years about love and advocacy. I make the process seem so complicated. Patty makes love seem so simple.

If the action of putting another person’s interest in front of your own is a sign of love, Patty clearly loves me much. If only I could be so pure.

 

Horizon

Horizon - the area where the sky appears to caress the earth.  

3000 Sun Rays Canon Power Shot G-10 8.9mm 1/400 sec f6.3 ISO 100

I was not aware that skies were dominant in my photos (www.MySCGpriorities.com) until one of my biggest photo fans, my brother Richard, said he is seeing more skies in my images. By God, I am looking to the skies more - over 60% of my favorite images, over the last few years, include sky as an important element. Richard delighted me by inviting me to submit 24 representations of skies of the day, for his next book of poems. I love it! And....thank you Richard, for causing me more self-awareness.

Natural beauty has always been the draw for me; gifts, if you will. I go to a place that I think will catch my eye, and freeze, for a life-time, a passing moment that delights me. I don't create beauty, I capture it.. 

Amalfi Coast Phase One IQ 180 80mm 1/500 sec f11 ISO 35

My photography continually reminds me that "All Is Gift" (012345) - All that I receive and All that I am able to contribute.

I look to the horizon more now than ever, the next moment - a mystery - literally and figuratively. Thank God I see so much beauty!

 

We Protect What (Who) We Love

Sorry for using the presumptuous, all-inclusive, pronoun we, in the title of this blog, but that's how I feel - "protecting" what (who) we love is a universal truth and a natural phenomenon - as natural as a mother bear protecting her cub. 

PROTECTING is one of the nine activities that I define as the LOVE PRIORITIES in ADVOCATE PLANNING; To Do What You Love To Do (a free down-load, under BOOK on this website www.MySCGpriorities.com). I feel passionately that a simple process of focussing on our love priorities will be most productive for us, result in doing, what we love to do. "Protecting" is all I am addressing in this blog, because that is where my mind is now; having just past a kidney stone and appreciating the value of drinking a lot of water - I love water. I want to protect clean water (a topic for another blog).

THE LOVE PRIORITIES

THE LOVE PRIORITIES

For those of us with limited assets, income and time, we think about the two market crashes in the last decade, cringe, and plan to protect some assets, so we don't run out of money to live happily now, and maybe even, leave some money to love ones in our estate. How do you do that? Well maybe you want to read the book and/or talk to your financial planner or personal advocate, about your unique situation. As a personal advocate and having been a professional financial planner, I offer what I do for me, for whatever it is worth for you, in your dealing with this protection issue:

I won't deal with all my details here, knowing that a lot of my actions are unique to my situation. What I think is critical for everyone, is knowing which of your assets are "stable assets" - those that will not reduce proportionally, with a market crash, and secondly, how many years of your investment distribution needs, the stable assets represent. If you are young and will be living on your earnings for sometime, you could, theoretically, have no, or very little, stable assets.

I have seven years of distribution needs in what I determine are stable assets. What I include in stable assets are contract receivables, predictable rents, cash and cash equivalents (very short term bonds). I do not include intermediate and long term bonds because I believe bonds are in dangerous territory and may vary proportionally with an equity markets decline. Also, the value of bonds will decrease with increases in interest rates, and rates are unnaturally low presently. Since bonds are tenuous and cash yields nothing to speaks of, I believe in having some, maybe half, of the stable assets in broadly based large cap index funds with a trigger to get out. The trigger I use to get out is the S&P against the 10 and 12 month moving average of the S&P. In other words, when the S&P is lower than the moving averages, I am in cash and when the S&P is greater than the 10 and 12 month moving averages of the S&P I am in the S&P index with some of my stable assets. Does this make sense? Not that history necessarily repeats itself, but, this approach protected the downside, nicely, during the crashes of the last decade. 

Protecting is one of the three activities of Giving, in the Advocate Model. Insurance costs are frequently identified with "protecting". And, who wants to spend money for insurance....until we think about our loved ones and the possible ramifications of loss. Giving is one of the three principle-based Love Priorities in the Advocate Planning Model. "It is in the giving that we receive" (Francis Assisi). Giving - Love, feels good - the opposite - hate, feels bad. I'd rather drink an ice cold water now than Rat poison. Think about it!

 

 

 

It's Not All About the Size

Bigger is Better was the tag line I was going to use for my Logo when I started to get more serious about making large landscape images for commercial and residential walls. After a comment from my professional photographer son, Michael, I ended up with Nature Inspired imaging - a fundamental truth for me, bigger picture (pun intended) view, and certainly more professional than Bigger is Better.

The fact is, I have focused, with equipment and technique to facilitate large prints. Being able to print big is key for me and remains the objective.

However, I don't want to miss an opportunity for a cool image. I carry a compact camera that has enough mega-pixels to print 20 inches, long edge (substantially more than my iPhone).

I now have a number of compact camera taken images that have risen to my favorites.

Golden Gate Hasselblad Stellar 10.4mm 1/320 sec f3.5 ISO80

I love Golden Gate! I have learned that it is not always about capturing an image with a zillion mega-pixels, so I can print the size of your couch; it's about the impact on me, my feeling, with seeing the results.....and not all images (I take) are best printed big anyway.

Nature presents so many wonderful moments - it is no wonder that there is a proliferation of great digital images. My differentiation, and passion, is to print a fine piece of art that I, and other viewers feel good about and want to have around for others to feel good about too!

Turn to the Light

Congratulations Bridget for completing the Integrated Health Studies Masters from the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). The resulting Coaching and Wellness Management certifications enhance other education you obtained from Duke University and the Coaches Training Institute (CTI). 

Bridget Masters Integrated Health Studies CIIS

My belief though, is that your greatest understanding of wellness issues has come from your personal passion for understanding cause and affect of human conditions -  you've lived darkness, felt deeply, researched and learned much. You have a great deal to offer the world - trust yourself and serve with passion. Turn to the Light; It is bright, blinding sometimes. but with love of self and love of others, will present your doors and/or windows, to pass through, to serve and have happiness.

I may be corny, and crazy, to have tattooed my back with a Keltic butterfly in remembrance of the concept.....but, I do believe that Happiness is like a butterfly, the more you chase it the more it alludes you, but Love and it comes and rests gently on your shoulder!

I am proud of you and want to yell it out and share it with my world. I am thinking of you today, as I affirm my mantra, which you sprung the seed for (now on my 69th version) with a Christmas present from you, more than a quarter century ago - A framed  calligraphy  with the words- "Love the moment and the energy will spread beyond all boundaries".  Little did I know at the time, that those few words would expand to 100 and have such a positive impact on my life. Thank you.

You have your own Mantra. I would love to provide a seed or two for you, as you have done for me......after all, those types of things are suppose to go from parents to children, not children to parents. The part of my mantra that comes to mind to share here is ....Contribute your uniqueness. Accept the uniqueness in yourself, as well as that of others, without judgement, with respect, patience and a sense of humor. I love you.

I know this blog is personal and maybe should be presented that way, but this is The Love Priorities Blog - My view of SCG ....and what a good example to share!

Twilight

I was conflicted....now I'm not. The question was - Do I come above ground and talk freely about  Patty's Alzheimer's or do I ignore it, like she does. It has taken me years to accept that Patty has Alzheimer's, and now she is in the middle stage of the terrible illness. I battle with Patty (battle is probably too strong of a word) every night about taking Donepezil, her prescribed medication for Alzheimer's. She says "why do I take this, I don't forget, I just don't pay attention sometimes. By the way, where do you keep the pills? (I tell her which cabinet they are in every time she asks) I can take them myself" She also says "often I don't swallow the pill, I take it out and throw it away after you are not looking'".

Now there are dozens of daily reminders that Patty has Alzheimer's - almost to the point that she can't be left alone......and that is just fine with her, because she doesn't want to be alone. 

Alzheimer's is hard to accept. If I had it I would want to forget about it too - a catch 22, I guess. I however feel a need to alert people, maybe stamp on her forehead - fragile, easily confused, handle with care. I don't expect to get any help from Patty with managing her plight. I am coming above ground, not to her delight, and speaking of Alzheimer's to her, others and the world, with sensitivity and when helpful.

This is real. This is life. Talking helps. Understanding, empathy, counseling helps - Thank you Pam, Jane, Alzheimer's Association. I am learning about Alzheimer's, and with help, will cope just fine. In fact, many moments are more special, to me, knowing that it is twilight and each moment is worth loving.

Twilight

 

 

Prep Passion

In preparation for my key-note, career day address to 250 or so current St John's Prep students, just off the shores of Lake Sagatagan, in the midst of the wonderful 2500 acre arboretum established by Bro Paul Schwietz, I found myself pondering the positive impact the Prep School had on me while attending SJP from 1960 to 1964. Young, naive and vulnerable was I.....and, how fortunate was I to have been so positively impacted by faculty, peers and, maybe unknown at the time, the beautiful natural setting of St. John's. 

During my visit to Minnesota, my sister Bernadette gave me a rock with the word DREAM on it. She said bury this in the land in Richmond, Vermont, where you are building your multi-generational home and photo studio. She said "you dream and then you do your dreams" I said thanks and yah, I guess I do. The prep experience helped me know passion and do dreams.

It wasn't until 2008, about the time I sold my Life-Wealth planning practice, marking the end of doing my passion of financial planning for clients, was I able to 'put it together' and start articulating the importance of focusing on process and the Love Priorities, in doing passions. It is obvious that we would all like to do what we love to do. The hard question is HOW.

SCG - The Love Priorities

SCG - The Love Priorities

I felt so passionate about what I call the LOVE PRIORITIES and the PROCESS to do them that I wrote a 350 page book as a reference guide. Further, I made the book ADVOCATE PLANNING; To Do What You Love To Do, a free download on this site www.MySCGpriorities.com. I feel everyone should benefit from what came to me after much practice with myself and clients and much reflection on the big question: HOW do we do what we love to do?

I now long to mentor someone who will carry the torch  of professing the Love Priorities. Maybe a Prep? My treat - "It is in the giving that I receive"..........However, I do sell my favorite photos!

 

 

Positano

I Love it - Traveling to Positano, Italy, with the McGinty"s - Sun, Sea food, wine and time with love ones, in such a beautiful place, along the Almalfi Mediterranean Coast. It doesn't get any better!

Positano PhaseOne IQ 180 80mm 1/6 sec f11 ISO 35

Viewing other's travel images, (even mine!) can be boring. However, capturing a bit of natural beauty is exhilarating, humbling and an honor to share. I have a few images at www.mesipe.com from Positano that I think captures an inspiring view of this miraculous, wondrous place we live. "All is Gift". I hope you see that as well.

Pre-Book Article Published

Light and Landscape Magazine published 8 water images of mine with 1000 words by Trevien Stanger, environmental writer, as a preview to our up-coming coffee table book - OUR BASIN OF RELATIONS; Celebrating a culture of clean water in the Lake Champlain basin. Check it out at http://www.lightandlandscape.co/mag

Lake Champlain Watershed

Lake Champlain Watershed

Water is wonderful - I love it - It is now my subject of choice - for photographing and protecting - so precious a resource. Click image above and check out Lake Champlain Project / Book fifty, to see what images I am considering for the book. Give me your comments. I will be limiting my images to about fifty - I will need to exclude some images. Please help me edit by telling me what you like and what you don't like.. 

Trevien's curating of 10 to 15 articles and water stories will be of great value for understanding why we so love and need water. Let me know if you have an interest in having a copy of the book and/or wish to donate to our clean water efforts. 

Presumptuous - Yes - But let me say... Thanks for being Blue Mindful.

Blue Mindful

I have been searching for material regarding the value of clean water. I am doing this because I feel that understanding the value of this precious natural resource, and feeling grateful for the availability to clean water, is paramount to action for protecting it. We protect what we love. We love what we need and what feels special to us. 

I found the perfect book to support and build on my premise - Blue Mind by Wallace J. Nichols. "The surprising science that shows how being near, in, on, or under water can make [us] happier, healthier, more connected and better at what [we] do" 

Blue Mindful, two image composite with Topaz Liquid pencil filter.

Dr Nichols' claim is lofty. He does a great job supporting it with all kinds of statistics and anecdotes. I especially appreciate his holistic approach, with an emphasis on "emotional science" (often thought of as a contradiction in terms). 

Water is everywhere - we are water, mostly. Without water there is nothing. Nichols mentions comments made from space, by the Apollo 17 astronauts, referring to OUR earth as the tiny blue planet - far away it looks like a blue marble. Nichols started giving blue marbles to people, showing his gratitude for people mindful of the value of clean water. He encourages people that are mindful of clean water to pass on a blue marble to others that also are mindful of the value of clean water. There are now millions of blue marbles in circulation reminding people of protecting what they love - our precious, life sustaining, God given natural resource - CLEAN WATER - PASS IT ON!

Diversity of Thought

I thought a lot about John, last month and this weekend. I loved John Rosch, my brother-in-law, Pearl Harbor survivor and great example to me -  I never heard him complain about anything or judge anyone. At his funeral service, nearly twenty years ago and again, just recently, that reality stroke me - how great it is to know someone - how they think, who they are, no matter how different they think than me, without hearing complaints or judgements. 

Accepting diversity of thought, and pressing for your favorite cause(s) is a formula for making a difference. I admire those who do that, including the many people who marched yesterday for protecting and advancing woman's rights, while still understanding our common privilege, rights and responsibilities of a strong democracy. I loved that my sister Joannie was a strong Pro-Life advocate, and often a sign carrying protester.  

River meets Lake meets Land PhaseOne IQ 180 35mm 1.3 sec f16 ISO 35

Democracy is messy. When different elements collide, who knows the results? Like nature, you, individually are not in control - the collective concern of those connected will make a difference. (albeit, there is always the uncontrollable devine element to marvel in.)

In my planning practice, I always wanted my way! I guess that is why I ended up with my own boutique practice, rather than being part of a large firm. However, somewhere along the way (Kenzie Phelps was a positive influence),  I learn a lot about the power of consensus building. I was often amazed, when open to it, that a group of divergent thoughts would come together and make a conclusion that was better than mine....or any other single thought. 

Maybe the only diversity practice policy we need in the USA is the acceptance of diversity of thought - doesn't that include race, religion, gender....et al? And wouldn't that lay a nice base for working through issues together? Now, if we could only expect Congress to come to some consensus on so many things that need to be done - That sounds a little like a complaint or judgement.......I am too human....

 

 

 

The Greatest Love of All

Whitney Houston's The Greatest love of all is one of my favorite songs.....I love the message - "learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all". Take a listen https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-iry-fullyhosted_011&hsimp=yhs-fullyhosted_011&hspart=iry&p=the+song+the+greatest+love#id=1&vid=a142ac48c9cf2a791fd46129f2c956fd&action=click

I call this Self-realization - one of the three Love Priorities (Connecting and Giving are the other two), which is the basis of this blog . 

Self-realizing is the biggest Love of the three Love Priorities - Devine driven, I believe, and harder to grasp, as a principles-based priority, than Connecting and Giving. The words Connecting and Giving are almost synonymous with Love. But, what does Self-realizing mean? You think about Maslow's latter and self-actualization or psychology mambo-jumbo. Maybe there is a better word to use. Let me know if you have one. I know some are turned-off by the term self-realizing, and i would like not to contribute to that.

What is clear to me, though, are the benefits of Self-realizing - Learning, Serving and Mentoring - the three activities of Self-realizing means loving what you do to contribute and make a difference in your world, to the best of your ability - a purpose you love and feel passionate about; your uniqueness ...and the realization of your unique good - your personal feeling of success. Your extent of success with self-realizing is not measured by the money you have, the number of children you have raised, or any other material "thing" that the "public" uses to judge others or, for that matter, we use to judge ourselves - it is a feeling of well-being, that we are doing our unique good, to the best of our ability, in the present, regardless if we are 23 or 103. 

For this 70 year old and my passion of photography, I can report that I feel 2016 was a year of much well-being - Other areas too - I feel good about myself, but let's just stick to photography in this short blog.

Maine Roadway Hasselblad Stellar 10.4mm 1/250 sec f5.6 ISO 125 captured moving 60 mph.

I am learning much about photography. I have started to offer (serve) my best. And, I don't know if I will ever mentor, or teach anyone much about photography. I however, consider this blog my mentoring, using photography as a metaphor, while talking about the Love Priorities, which, I am unknowenly, driven to do. 

For the artist...... maybe for everything we love to do, maintaining a spirit of continual learning, growing, and offering our best, regardless how shity others think our results, is a major component in personal well-being. Keep up the shity work and, if you love it enough to learn, grow and serve, you will find more admirers! And, if you love it enough, maybe it doesn't make any difference what others think anyway.

 

Etna Foothills Canon 1DS Mark III 24mmT/S 1/60 sec f11 ISO 100

2014 and 2015 were years I learned more about black and white and split-toning . I like the results of split-toning, but didn't do much with it in 2016. I moved to what felt right in 2016.  I have always loved a painterly look in my images and, in 2016, I was introduced by Light and Landscape magazine members group mentors David and Shannon, to the Topaz plug-in that gave me the ability to add more of that painterly look I love. I am now spending more time processing  my images, to get the look I love, than I do in capturing them......and I love it!

 

 

Water Wonderland

All natural living existence depend on water - clean water - unpolluted by harmful waste or land product run-off. Having grown up in Minnesota pristine and moved to much of the same, in the beautiful Champlain Valley of Vermont, I took clean water for granted. I wasn't personally affected by "dirty" water, until recently, when I started to look around, photograph, and ask a few questions. 

Lake Cloud Canon EOS 1DS Mark III 420mm ISO 100

Lake Champlain has become more and more polluted by excessive phosphorous runoff from water flowing across land, from the Adirondack and Green mountains, through the brooks, streams, rivers, valleys and streets to our drinking water, and our fishing, swimming and boating in Lake Champlanin. 

I have always loved to photograph water. Capturing beautiful images in the Lake Champlain Basin (a very large and wonderful watershed) has now become a passion - a passion to capture the beauty of water in it's natural environment. I  photographed Champlain beauty during the floods of 2011, the droughts of 2012 and 2016, and the dramatic clouds of 2013 and 2014. I started shooting tributaries of The Lake in 2015 and I love it - a variable water wonderland..

I am now  challenged to capture the "toxic sublime" of algae. This I do not like. I wouldn't do it,  if it wasn't for the benefits of drawing attention to the problem, for me and others, so we will get educated about EPA (Environmental Personal Accountability). It is important for me "to do my part"; take "personal responsibility" by attracting viewers and readers to OUR BASIN OF RELATIONS: Celebrating a Culture of Clean Water in the Champlain Basin, a forthcoming coffee table book, www.champlainbasinrelations.wordpress.com, which will include informative and interesting writings by many people in the know, and fifty or so of my favorite Lake Champlain Basin images. I desire to impassion your action to clean water, without needing the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) pushed down regulations. We, the users - home owners, farmers, builders, boaters, fishers, pet lovers, and others, can do this, by doing what we need to do as we learn more about what that means.

 

Burlington Bay Bloom PhaseOne IQ 180 35mm 1/4sec f18 ISO 35

Clean water means the world to me - water touches me on all levels - mind, body and soul! Water brought me out of dehydration, twice. My PT, while in-hospital rehabilitation for my Stroke, suggested drinking a glass of water an hour - wow - can't do it, but that says a lot about how important water is to our health. A cold glass of water on a hot summer day beats a cold beer, under the same conditions, anytime......well, maybe not. But, I would hate not to have that cold, clean glass of water available when I want it.

My love and passion for being around water, in nature, and capturing a moment of beauty, to have and hold in site, touches me deeply. I can't explain it, but it "completes" me! Every time I think about the native american reverence of nature I feel the rightness of that. My reverence for water and nature are growing and it is good. I am now going for a walk and listen to Thoreau.