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Life Thru the Lens 1/52... here's to a new year of doing change

We had a a few inches of snow right before the New Year. Which, I find ironic because my first post, at my new space here, was filled with snow scenes. Do you remember that post? It was all about my word for the year... Action. I etched words about moving from one dream to another, and letting the wisps of fear trickle through my core and out the door of my soul. The funny thing about fear, it "always travels where hope dreams." 

I am a dreamer by spirit so I envisioned action as a measure to crack the fear of failure and make my dreams come true. However, action in 2015 was fulfilled in my life as simply moving through the chaos of another day; a day where I had no control over my life. Action, as in, it's all about His dreams, and not mine. Action, as in, how to wrap my mind around the fact that I have no real understanding of the scope of His plans, and be willing to step forward in trust. 

That kind of action was H.A.R.D. The kind of action where my dreams did not seem valid, or worthwhile, because reality says I had no say in my life, and what happened. The kind of action that released my control, and my dreams to His control, and His dreams for me. That kind of action is real, that kind of action is life changing. 

I have absolutely no idea what my life will look like in one month, one year, one decade. And, that scared me. It made me feel lost, and out of control. It made me feel worthless in His eyes and numb. Until, New Year's Eve, when Blue Eyes looked quizzically at The Thinker and said, "So it's official! You are homeless. You are carless. And, you are jobless." Without missing a beat, with frenzied enthusiasm in his voice, he said, "So, 2016 should be great! Because I have no where else to go but up."

Two words have be bouncing around in my soul for the last month and I had no understanding of their meaning until he said those words. Doing and Change. Do is a verb, and by association I often placed doing in the verb context as well. However, doing is a noun that means.... action; performance; execution. And, change is a verb that means... 1. to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is, or from what it would be if left alone. 2. to transform, or convert

During 2015, I slowly lost the ability to dream. It was painful to continue to dream when all of my dreams had been stripped away. So, I decided to become laissez-faire about it and just let the tides of life take me where they may. But, because I am a dreamer by nature that left me floundering for any sense of balance. Dreams were a way to control my present, and my future. In that control there was no measure for the undercurrent of change. It was my dream, the way I envisioned it, or there was chaos.

Over the last month or so, I somehow traveled the abyss of anger, hopelessness, and sadness to fin that I have come to an acceptance that releasing my dreams for the unknown is an unearthly idea that I can never fully comprehend, and Im okay with that. In The Thinker's proclamation, I realized that dreaming is the essence of being open to the uncontrolled change in my life that would not happen if I do not have the courage to step forward in unfaltering faith. 

Because, dreaming is natural, but to hold on to your dreams so tightly that there is no margin for change is the recipe for catastrophic failure.

What that looks like, doing and change?  I have no idea. But, in doing change I am open to the possibilities while still allowing my soul to dream in a fluid and flexible manner.

And so, the 2016 adventure begins....

PROJECTS FOR 2016 ...two 52 in 52 photography series.

Still life photography has quickly over taken my photographic world, and I want to learn as much as I possibly can in the short time frame of a year. To do that, I feel the need to have a focus to keep me centered instead of hopping down any rabbit hole that comes my way. Therefore, one series will be a still life collection about a passion of mine, coffee. 

I love roads and the unknown of the crest of the hill, or the bend in the journey. To me, that represents my life right now. I have no idea what the crest of the hill will reveal, or where the bend will take me, but I want to be willing to dream and to move forward through change. So, the second project will be a series of road photos. 

I'll be sharing some of my images here, but you will find more images on my Instagram site over at Lisa.Kerner.  Come back and visit me on Wednesday for my first viewing, and to get my hashtags so that you can follow along on Instagram. 

P.S. I'll be sharing more about my book challenge on Friday, where I'll be back with my Friday Randomness. 

I'll be visiting these lovely communities this week... join along... Trough My Lens MondayImage-in-ing, Our World Tuesday, and Friday Photo Journal.

 

WHAT DOES YOUR LIFE THRU THE LENS LOOK LIKE?

1. Share your life through the lens past, or present.

2. Grab my button and link back to this page, so others can find our community.

3.  Visit at least one person and create a community with them through encouraging comments.

The RULES:

~All forms of photography accepted… keep it family friendly please.

~Anyone with any photography skill can participate… we are all learning and growing.

~Any camera you take pictures with is acceptable… the best camera is the one in your hand.





Life Thru the Lens 52/52... the end of a era, our story

Whooh! Wow, I am a little bit happy that 2015 is nearly over. Sadly, I have felt this way for the past three years. I used to mourn as Christmas whisked us into a new year, but now I love the release of setting the previous year behind me. I am entering this new year with excitement and trepidation, since we have no idea of what might come. What job will we have? When will we find a new job? Where will we eventually settle down?

We entered 2015 with much of the same trepidation as we waited to see if we would be medically discharged out of the military... this coming after just barely escaping the downsizing that had happened in 2014. We were settling in after another deployment to tack on our career, and by March found out we would not be discharged. Life was grand. We were making plans, and dreaming once again. Until July, when we were given the choice of 20+ months apart. It was our breaking point. After spending over half of our 22 years separated, we were done, fed up, and tired. Tired of saying good-bye. Fed up of spending holidays, and milestones, apart. And, done with counting down the days util we would be reunited again. So, we said no thank you to the big man, and we retired three short months later. 

Those three months were a whirlwind of chaos as we put our house up for sale and packed our lives in boxes to be stored until we enter a new life. Then the retirement, moving, storing our lives away, and applying for new lives. The Thinker and I feel like we somehow lost the last half of the year.

But, there were things that brought  great joy throughout 2015. I believe in silver linings; I call them blessings. And, the blessing are always there for you to see, if you choose. 

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

'Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise   

~ Laura Story  

~ The Thinker's medical condition, that almost kicked us out of the military, ended up not being as serious as the Dr thought.

~ My farmer's market, and the people there that became family to me.

~ Visiting St. Louis and the botanical gardens for Mother's Day.

~ My 40th birthday, which wasn't nearly as traumatic as I thought it woudl be.

~ Dreamer's 16th birthday, and watching him shoot his new bow... he really is a natural archer.

~ Blue Eyes turned 18. We have watched as she has matured, and morphed, into a fabulous young adult.

~ Our retirement ceremony which was full of love.

~ Seeing the colors of fall in two areas of the US, which I thought I would miss because of our move. 

~ A new found passion in still life photography.

~ Revisiting my landscape photography passion.

~ My on-line community with you all at Life Thru the Lens.

I'm not creating the link this week in a hope that you all will visit some of my favorite on-line communities. I'll be visiting these lovely communities this week... join along... Trough My Lens MondayImage-in-ingSong-ographyOur World TuesdaySweet Shot Tuesday,  Wednesday Around the WorldLittle Things Thursday, and Friday Photo Journal.

Be sure to come back next week for Life Thur the Lens 2016... I'll be sharing a few fun things like a new reading challenge, and my 365 year in review for 2015. 

Life Thru the Lens 51/52... a winter hike

"I'm happy when I'm hiking, pack upon my back. 
I'm happy when I'm hiking, off the beaten track. 
Out in the open country, that's the place for me....."

~ I'm Happy When I'm Hiking

Last weekend The Thinker and I went on our first winter hike of the season; no snowshoes needed, just good thick socks and hiking boots. Or, so we thought. It was a gorge hike, so we did not think about the trail climbing up out of the ravine, and we did not think about the snow not melting on the north side of the trail. Needless to say, we had to turn back just a mile into our hike becasue of the icy accents with drop-offs to our immediate left.  Yes, that's right, I wasn't quite ready to die that day. 

Before we hit the higher elevations, we found this along the way. 

The hard part about hiking with my camera is... one, we never trek to far down the trail because I am always stopping to take a photo and two, I find that I do not enjoy myself as much becasue I am always stopping to take a photo.

 In Europe, I had the same experience. When we returned from one particular destination and I could not remember an incident that happened with my family, I decided something had to change. I became extremely intentional about taking a few shots, and then putting my camera away. I know I missed some key shots. However, I also cherish the memories I made by leaving my camera at home, or in it's bag. 

I have decided that I want to go back to this trail at least three times. Once, becasue I already know where I want to spend more time with a tripod, and a remote trigger. Then, I need to hike the entire thing sans camera so that I can build brain memories of the hike and not just photographic memories. And then, the third time to take photos of things further along the trail. 

Brain memories are equally as important as photographic memories, and maybe even more important. A photograph will not trigger a brain memory if one has not been made. 

My tips to you...

~ If you have already experienced something once, leave the camera behind the second time. The shots will all pretty much be the same ones you took the first time. Once my kids began middle school I began taking my camera with me for one soccer game for each child, each season.  I have found that one really good shot of the season satisfied my need to document. You really do not need multiple shots of the same types of events year after year. 

~ If you haven't experienced an event before, then take your camera but be intentional about tucking it away. Tell yourself, I'll take five photos and then put it away. When I was traveling I would take five photos of a beautiful area, then I would tuck it away and enjoy the ambience of the place, and then take my camera back out further into the day. Honestly, I hated all the mid-day sun shots of places anyway, so that became my memory building time. The golden hours were my shooting time. 

I'll be visiting these lovely communities this week... join along... Trough My Lens MondayImage-in-ing, Song-ographyOur World TuesdaySweet Shot Tuesday,  Wednesday Around the WorldLittle Things Thursday, andFriday Photo Journal

Life Thru the Lens

1. Share your life through the lens past, or present.

2. Grab my button and link back to this page, so others can find our community.

3.  Visit at least one person and create a community with them through encouraging comments.

The RULES:

~All forms of photography accepted… keep it family friendly please.

~Anyone with any photography skill can participate… we are all learning and growing.

~Any camera you take pictures with is acceptable… the best camera is the one in your hand.

Life Thru the Lens 49/52.... It's Christmas cookie time

Because of our big transition in life, we have moved in with my mother-in-law for a bit. Which, we are super grateful for. However, the light in her house is not especially grand for still life photography. I know I am not the only person who struggles with this issue, so I thought I'd give you a few tips on what I learned through my first photo session since moving. 

I started this shoot in a tiny little corner of the kitchen by the back door, with a light background. It wasn't enough room; I spilled my entire jar of milk trying to hold my diffuser over the shot so that the cake plate would not have so many highlights reflected on it. And, the light was not what I was looking for, especially with the light background. I changed the set up to a dark and moody shot, but still was not pleased with the end result. 

1/60 at f3.2 ISO 400 with a 50mm

Things I like about the shot...

~Front to back composition. 

~The colors and the props.

~The disheveled look.

Things I do not like...

~The lighting, there is no interest in the lighting.

~It's missing something, prop wise.

So, I moved the entire shot to the dinning room table. The problem with the dinning room table is that the light comes in at an angle from the hall window, which is not accessible because the stairs run under it. The light also tends to be harsh, and casts dramatic shadows. If I could defuse the light from the window it would not be an issue, but since I cannot reach it I have to work with what I have. I set up a dark and moody backdrop with part of the light from the window cut off from my subject to emphasis the harsh shadows. 

1/100 at f3.5 (exposure compensation one stop underexposed) ISO 280 with a 50mm

Things I like about the shot...

~ The lighting. I really like how the shadows created interest in the props. 

~ I added more props, including a small cutting board propped up on my background. Which brought depth to the shot and takes your eye all the way through the shot. 

~ I also added a stack of plates and took the mixing bowl out. I think this is a better use of my props, and allows for the focus to be more centered on the cookie cutters, and the cookies on the plate stand. 

Things I do not like...

~ I love the lightening, but I do know that it is a little harsh, and could cause some clipping if it were to be printed. 

So, I rearranged my tripod, and camera, for a top down shot. 

1/200 at F4.0 (exposure compensation one stop underexposed) ISO 1100 with a 50mm

What I love about the shot... everything!  Photography is all about working with what you have... equipment, light, props, workspace, knowledge. Use what you have, (plus) build on what you know, (equals) growth in your abilities. 

 I'll be visiting these lovely communities this week... join along... Trough My Lens Monday, Image-in-ing,  Our World TuesdaySweet Shot Tuesday,  Wednesday Around the World, Little Things Thursday, and Friday Photo Journal

Life Thru the Lens

1. Share your life through the lens past, or present.

2. Grab my button and link back to this page, so others can find our community.

3.  Visit at least one person and create a community with them through encouraging comments.

The RULES:

~All forms of photography accepted… keep it family friendly please.

~Anyone with any photography skill can participate… we are all learning and growing.

~Any camera you take pictures with is acceptable… the best camera is the one in your hand.


Life Thru the Lens 48/52... a wintery ride

It started to snow last week.  I thrive in winter, when there is snow. If there is no snow I tend to melt away and struggle into the darkness of winter. Snow is the sweet balm to my winter chapped soul. 

A little news... did you see that my email subscription is working? If you are still not receiving it try signing up for it again. 

 I'll be visiting these lovely communities this week... join along... Trough My Lens Monday, Our World TuesdayTexture Twist,  Wednesday Around the WorldFriday Photo Journal, Sweet Shot Tuesday

 

LIFE THRU THE LENS

1. Share your life through the lens past, or present.

2. Grab my button and link back to this page, so others can find our community.

3.  Visit at least one person and create a community with them through encouraging comments.

The RULES:

~All forms of photography accepted… keep it family friendly please.

~Anyone with any photography skill can participate… we are all learning and growing.

~Any camera you take pictures with is acceptable… the best camera is the one in your hand.



Life Thru the Lens 47/52... look how far you have come baby

Last week I chatted about why I am no longer allowing my photography to categorized as cheap, and this week I want to see just how far I have come with my work. I took this photo of my Blue Eyes five years ago...

And, I took this photo a month ago...

While the top photo certainly is not a terrible photo, at the time I did not know anything about...

  • back button focusing
  • specific focus points
  • shooting in RAW
  • shooting in manual
  • metering
  • white balance
  • lenses, or f-stops, or depth of field
  • editing

I was, however, beginning to pay attention to...

  • light
  • composition
  • obtaining a tack sharp focus, although it being automatic
  • shooting during the golden hour
  • capturing the spirit of the person being photographed

I could look back at that photo and cringe, but I don't. I don't because that was the beginning of where I am today. We all are on a journey, and as Kim Klassen said, "We all will always have people ahead of us in our journey, and behind us."

So, my challenge to you... do not look at someone else's work and think I could never do that!  I have watched as members of our Life Thru the Lens community have grown in leaps and bounds in their skills. You know what? It's not because of what I do here. It is because of what you do behind the lens, your desire to learn more, and to grow in your passion of photography. 

My next challenge to you.... do not make this about anything other than "what you can't not do!" I have spent years comparing my images to others, or struggling to make my work look like someone else's. It wasn't until I decided that I would do this: no matter if I ever make money at it, no matter if I ever become someone in this industry, no matter if people love my art or not, that I truly began to grow in my art. When we take all the pressure off to be something we allow room for passion to grow. With passion comes the desire to learn more and the try more. And, through our desire to learn more, and to try more, we grow in our abilities. Why? Because there is absolutely nothing holding us back. We give ourselves the freedom to simply immerse our souls into something that brings us joy and blessing. That is okay, we do not always need to have an absolute reason for doing things in our lives. 

And, my final challenge to you... join in on this community and join in on other communities. Being involved in communities where you are inspired, and encouraged, and challenged is another way to grow your abilities in any art. Life Thru the Lens is not a measure to get my name out there. It is a community that inspires me to be more, to learn more, and every week you all inspire me with the art your produce. I do this because I love being involved with you all.

 I'll be visiting these lovely communities this week... join along... Trough My Lens Monday, Our World TuesdayTexture Twist,  Wednesday Around the World, and Sweet Shot Tuesday

LIFE THRU THE LENS

1. Share your life through the lens past, or present.

2. Grab my button and link back to this page, so others can find our community.

3.  Visit at least one person and create a community with them through encouraging comments.

The RULES:

~All forms of photography accepted… keep it family friendly please.

~Anyone with any photography skill can participate… we are all learning and growing.

~Any camera you take pictures with is acceptable… the best camera is the one in your hand.



Life Thru the Lens 46/52... why I am not cheap

I see posts like these often, "looking for a cheap photographer." 

As a photographer, it is especially frustrating to see these words. 

Why do we as an industry continually undermine the work/art that we diligently strive to perfect by underselling ourselves?

I'll admit it I used to undersell myself as well; I have undersold myself. 

But, I also think it comes down to the fact that we as photographers lack in educating the public as to why photography should cost more. And so, this is my post about why I am no longer able to be a "cheap" photographer. 

I posted this photo of The Thinker and I recently. We took it about two years ago, but I decided to re-edit it because I am focusing on sharpening my editorial skills. I have a dream of working for a little photography boutique, or to own one, and I want my editing skills to be on par with the industry itself. 

To do this, to edit photos in a fine-art method takes time and skill. I may not have walked the hallowed college halls to gain my editing skills, but I have put in long, arduous hours scouring the internet for videos and information on how to obtain certain looks with Lightroom and Photoshop. Then I practiced, and practiced, and practiced. It's the hours of training that bring this...

to this....

Or, this...

To this....

I understand wanting a bargain. Shoot, I'll hunt down a bargain, and rarely purchase anything at full price. However, there are certain items I will splurge on because I understand the art that goes into the item.

I read a quote one day that sums it up...

"Professional photography is not a need, it is luxury." And, a luxury is something you should save to splurge on. 

I understand that everyone desires a professional portrait of their kids, or their families, hanging on the wall. And, I believe every one should have a professional portrait hanging on their wall, but not to the extent of undervaluing the time, skill, education, and tools it takes for a photographer to capture, and create, a portrait.

It's important to remember as a consumer that photographers spend years perfecting their art. They begin with the fundamentals of capturing a perfect SOOC and move on to editing techniques. But, for fine art photographers it is not all about the SOOC, it is also about the end product with their editing techniques. So, a fine art photographer learns their camera like the back of their hand so that they can obtain the image they need in order to produce the look they want. Hence my first shot that was a bit underexposed and my second shot with the highlights blown. Those were not "saved" photos, they were images I took with an end product in mind. It is not the image you are paying for, it is the creative knowledge to create that image you are purchasing. And that, that, is why I am no longer cheap. 

Life Thru the Lens

1. Share your life through the lens past, or present.

2. Grab my button and link back to this page, so others can find our community.

3.  Visit at least one person and create a community with them through encouraging comments.

The RULES:

~All forms of photography accepted… keep it family friendly please.

~Anyone with any photography skill can participate… we are all learning and growing.

~Any camera you take pictures with is acceptable… the best camera is the one in your hand.

Life Thru the Lens 45/52.... Thanksgiving

There seems to be a phenomenon in our world of allowing each holiday to inch forward throughout the year. To be honest, it bothers me. It bothers me that Thanksgiving seems to be trudged upon more and more by Christmas each year; to the point of hardly acknowledging that a season of thankfulness even exists. And, I understand. It is Christmas after all, my favorite holiday of the season. But, I am finding myself pulled closer toward Thanksgiving with each passing season of my life. There is a real need in our society to find the multitudes of blessings among the masses of turmoil. 

However, I do not think one needs Christmas to find that very real, and tangible, grace called thankfulness. And, honestly, that is not what Christmas is about anyway. It's not about our blessing, but His gift. 

So, I find myself grasping hold of this challenge of mine in #findingfall, in searching for the multitudes in this season of thankfulness. 

~ Finding color when I thought I would miss it this year

~ Part two of our senior photo session... fall

~ Walking into a small local coffee shop and suddenly feeling right at home

~ Leaning into this season of discombobulation and releasing my need for control

~ Sunny Days...

~ Listening to the wisp of the bow, as The Thinker practices his archery, and I practice my macro

~ Watching as the turkeys strut their stuff across the yard

~ Baby deer and their mommas heading into the winter season

~ Listening to the squirrels as they forage and prepare for the snow season ahead

~ The first threat of snow... music to me ears

~ Finding my muse again and letting her take over my creative spirit

A few little tips.... 

  • all of these photos were spot on sooc... try to obtain that in your photography, then the editing process will be so much more fun. 
  • to obtain the dreamy bokeh in these shots I used my dedicated macro lens on an f-stop of about 8-11. I find that to be the best focal plane to be able to capture enough of the subject without sacrificing the bokeh. 
  • on the 2nd and 4th photos, I changed my perspective to find the least amount of clutter in my background. 

I'll be visiting these lovely communities this week... join along... Trough My Lens Monday, Our World TuesdayTexture Twist,  Wednesday Around the World, Mona's Picturesque and Sweet Shot Tuesday

Life Thru the Lens

1. Share your life through the lens past, or present.

2. Grab my button and link back to this page, so others can find our community.

3.  Visit at least one person and create a community with them through encouraging comments.

The RULES:

~All forms of photography accepted… keep it family friendly please.

~Anyone with any photography skill can participate… we are all learning and growing.

~Any camera you take pictures with is acceptable… the best camera is the one in your hand.

Life Thru the Lens 44/52... finding fall

Fall is my favorite season of the year. From the cool crisp days, to the whisper of the leaves as they tumble to the ground, fall brings solitude to my soul.

Fall is the season that brings a tangible meaning to the word hope in my life; it is no coincidence that the Creator who splashes the earth with color would chose to begin our new journey in this season. 

#findingfall on Lisa.Kerner... click through to see more on Instagram.

#findingfall on Lisa.Kerner... click through to see more on Instagram.

And so, during the chaotic stress of transition I began to seek out fall, to find hope. When my mind wonders to the unknown of our future... where we will we live next? when will we find a new job? what will our new life look like?... that is when I choose to be purposeful in the hunt for the evidence of faith. 

A waterfall cascading among the turning leaves. 

Mustard yellow marking the bark of the change of the season. 

A river gushing with the rush of color.

The echo of the rustle of the pines in the wind.

The smell of new rain trickling down the needles of the giants standing guard over the river. 

Hope comes in many forms, if you have the faith to see it. 

Life Thru the Lens

1. Share your life through the lens past, or present.

2. Grab my button and link back to this page, so others can find our community.

3.  Visit at least one person and create a community with them through encouraging comments.

The RULES:

~All forms of photography accepted… keep it family friendly please.

~Anyone with any photography skill can participate… we are all learning and growing.

~Any camera you take pictures with is acceptable… the best camera is the one in your hand.

 

I'll be visiting these lovely communities this week... join along... Our World TuesdayTexture Twist,  Wednesday Aroudn the World, Check Out That View and Sweet Shot Tuesday

Life Thru the Lens 42 & 43/52

Life Thru the Lens will be back in two weeks on November 2nd. 

“The road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say” 
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring

Be sure to play catch up with each other as I take the next two two weeks off to get settled in to our new adventure.