How blogging has changed my life. Sort of.

Okay, the title is a bit over the top.

I am not sure where I thought having a blog would take me, but I do know that when I achieved 500 hits this week, it felt like I’d won the lottery.

But, I am just one among a million bloggers (slight underestimate there).

Yet, looking back at “how blogging has changed my life”, it’s more about the community that I have found. There are some AMAZING photos online. I currently follow about three dozen blogs and most of them are photo based. I am inspired and intimidated all at the same time.

The stories on some of these blogs are ones of adventure or people’s day-to-day lives but many have no words, just stories told visually. I used to find it frustrating not to know the story behind the photo, but I have come to appreciate the variety of blogging styles and how important it is to have your own.

I follow three written word blogs. The first was created by a friend who is a writer and it affords her another venue to share her writing. It is an interesting written word blog (saraheinonen.wordpress.com) and is linked to her website that is not only wonderful due to her writing, but it is also very visually appealing (saraheinonen.com).

For pure entertainment value, I have discovered a couple of truly funny writers, one blog is filled with sarcasm  (maximumwage.wordpress.com) and the other is filled with simply engaging stories (jerry-mahoney.com).

Almost all of what I have stumbled upon came through the WordPress link, Freshly Pressed (wordpress.com/#!/fresh). It is a way to highlight some of the brilliant content currently on the web. And I’m confident it is simply the tip of the tip of the iceberg.

So, blogging has kinda, sort of changed my life. Like my photography, it has taught me to look at the possibilities and the realities of what is out there. My world is definitely bigger.

The moment

I was trying to remember which photo it was that got me hooked on photography. I enjoyed taking pictures before I got this camera, but I was trying to pinpoint when I became really excited – what was the moment.

One day, shortly after I received my macro filters, I started taking shots of a potted plant on my front porch. There had been rain on and off all day so there were lots of petals with raindrops.

When I came in to look on the computer, I was excited. The raindrops were so detailed and they appeared to just pop off the petals. I ventured back out – with a huge umbrella as the rain was “on” again.

Looking at the shot, I realized that the umbrella was reflected in the raindrop. I headed back out during the next break in the rain. And that moment occurred.

It’s not the most amazing photograph ever taken – not by a long shot. Rather, it was the possibility that this photograph represented.

Another photo that day still resonates with me as well. There was just something about the solitude of the raindrop. The whole day, a day back in May, was filled with moments and possibilities.

Just a stone’s throw away…

When you have lived in one place for twenty years, you sometimes can forget that you have aspects to your neighourhood that are truly interesting or unusual. On the weekend, we had friends over for brunch and a walk in a local marsh. They were impressed by this gorgeous area that is nestled between our home and the lake. I looked around and realized, it’s like having children – a fresh set of eyes to remind me how lucky I am.

 Looking out from the marsh to the Lake

 

My sweetie’s shot to the west

 

Unexpected discovery

After a trip downtown, we decided to take a hike in High Park. Without a doubt, High Park is a jewel in the park system of Toronto. It is beautiful 12 months of the year and can attract large crowds daily. As yesterday was a warm November day, we knew that parking might be a challenge. Ever the optimist, I bypassed the first available parking and we somehow ended up out of the park without finding anything else. We thought we would just head home, but came to a street that we hoped might bring us back into the park.

To our surprise and delight, we came upon a street that led to paths that skirted the western edge of the park without taking you into the more heavily travelled areas. It was as if you were somewhere completely different – definitely not the middle of one of Canada’s largest urban areas. In our travels, we came across people hiking and running and even a diehard cyclist. It was definitely unexpected to find this wonderful, relatively untouched place to take photos and enjoy the amazing weather.

The first unexpected path

Looking across the pond

 

“The best things in life are unexpected – because there are no expectations” – Eli Khamarov

Reflecting a different point of view

A few weeks back, I got stuck in traffic in front of the Art Gallery of Ontario. The AGO is on a very busy street in Toronto and I picked the middle of the day, on a Saturday to visit the area. It turned out, though, that it gave me an inspiration. At one point, after about 5 minutes of not moving, I looked up at the glass facade and saw the busy streetscape reflected back. A police car drove by, lights flashing, and I thought, what an amazing photo that would make. 

Today, I went back down to that street to test out my idea and see how this busy Saturday would reflect a different point of view. I took about 100 shots and enjoyed playing with the traffic flow especially. Interestingly, though, it was the shots of the facing residences that proved to be my favourites when all was said and done.

Enjoy!

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Remembering to slow down

As this crazy, busy week comes to an end, I realized I had not taken a single picture for fun. There were events at work to document, but there is nothing to document life. It seems that empty nest or not, there is always too much to do. I don’t want photography to become a chore, but given how much enjoyment comes from it, I should look at like exercise – something to be carved out in your day that brings short and long term benefits.

I have begun to follow lots and lots of other people’s blogs and although that also takes up time, it is completely inspiring (photo blogs) and entertaining (written word blogs). The blogs that combine the two are probably the most interesting to me because I really enjoy photos, but equally I enjoy the stories behind them.

I made a packet of 20 cards for a friend and realized that there are now more than 20 photos that I love enough to use for cards. That’s a big deal because in the spring, there were only about 4-5. It really was a great summer for photography, which could have been because I was not working, I love photographing flowers, and I am learning more about the importance of composition!

So, this weekend, the goal is pictures. And more pictures. Oh and maybe some sleep…..

Enjoy!

Adventurer’s soul

I do not possess an adventurer’s soul. Sometimes I wish I did. I grew up afraid. My mother swears I had no fear which perhaps was true when I was very young. Or I hid it well.  I was a very overprotective mom when my children were younger (some may say I still am, but I think this past year has proven those people wrong. Mostly.).

 If I did have an adventurer’s soul, though, I would go to India and try to make a difference in the lives of women, especially in Northern India. That might not be the most adventurous thing in the world to some people, but it certainly would take me WAY out of my comfort zone.

I would, though, do that with less hesitation than kite boarding on Lake Ontario in November. Or perhaps kite boarding anywhere, anytime.

Today, as I drove into Toronto, a saw a kite boarder, but I had passed all the available parking lots and had set a time to meet someone. Perhaps I sensed that this guy was a determined soul and would be there on my trip back a few hours later. He was. I parked and rushed out to get some shots in what turned out to be his last few minutes on the Lake. I wished I had stopped earlier as it was a lot of fun to shoot.

Enjoy!

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Disproportionately happy

It seems ridiculous to say, but I’m going to say it anyway. I am incredibly pleased. The reason this is ridiculous to say is that something happened that is small, yet made me want to jump up and down and I kind of, sort of, did.

I spoke in an earlier blog about entering photo contests. I had entered a small local one, and I shot for the moon on a couple others. I was unsuccessful on the “shooting for the moon” ones. Well, actually, in some sense I was unsuccessful in all of them. That is, if you measure success purely by “winning”, or having your photos deemed “the best” or at least top 10, I was not successful.

I guess I’m just a simple gal, cause I feel, well, disproportionately happy. A local newspaper had a photo contest and they received over 2000 entries. A few weeks ago, the top photos were published in the paper and, although disappointed I had not “been successful”, I also knew that there are many, many (many!) good professional and amateur photographers who entered these contests. I also knew (and know) that taking photos, looking at other people’s photos and, yes, entering contests are all enjoyable ways to spend my time.

Yesterday, though, I received an email on my phone which, to be honest, I didn’t pay much attention to because it was talking about the photo contest, which I already knew the results about so I quickly moved on. Later in the day, I had a calmer moment and was rereading all those quickly passed over emails of the day and more closely read the photo contest one. And, to my pure delight, I read that two of my photos had made it into the Top 100 of the contest. That’s when the jumping up and down began in earnest.

My excitement was mildly tempered by the fact that the two photos they chose were rather similar – they could almost be considered two shots of the same subject – but really, who was I to argue with what could only be considered the outstanding good taste of the judges (whose judgement, possibly, I might have, a little bit, questioned a few short weeks earlier when the first place winner was announced….)?

So, yes,  I did not “win”, but I felt like I’d hit the jackpot.

Enjoy!