Posts Tagged ‘Photography’
Nature never hurries. Atom by atom, little by little she achieves her work. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have a reverence for nature. A respect that has grown as I intentionally connect with Mother Earth. Last September I visited the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, doing lots of yoga and daily meditation outdoors, listening to the hummings of the rocky river and taking in all the green. Nature restores, it’s true. It’s something we need to survive, not only enjoy as a pastime. And that is what I mean by reverence.
On one of my walks, camera in hand, a couple lone yellow flowers danced brightly. They might have looked like nothing special to most passers-by, or at the very least blended in delicately with the landscape. But they were calling out to be noticed and photographed.
For the photography buffs, I used my Canon EF f/1.8 50mm portrait lens. It takes amazing portrait shots and allows you to have a wide open aperture, giving you wonderful bokeh (that awesome blurry background) and soft lighting, especially when shooting outdoors in natural light. Then, a few little fun tweaks in Lightroom and we have a lovely blue and white version. I resisted the urge to crop this one. I love the ample space around the flowers. What do you think?
You just have to do it. You are not allowed to visit Chicago without having at least a cocktail or two at The Signature Room. Or go all out and make dinner reservations. For this shot, we had the PERFECT table for two, right next to the window. I had my little Gorillapod, and was able to capture just a few stunning images as twilight set in over the city. Watching the lights come alive as the sun sets is THE time to secure your seat. Don’t settle for any table that is not by a window – you may have to buy another party a drink so they’ll bequeath their spot to you upon departure. But it’s worth it, at least for a photographer-tourist such as myself.
I’ve decided that there must be an URBAN category of art on alignbetween.com. This will be the first art on canvas to kick it off. Because this would rock your urban loft, for real. I’ll update you as soon as it’s up!
This is Snoop. If you follow AlignBetween on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram, I can promise you will see him making an appearance. The thing about Snoop is, besides being a long-haired mini dauchsand with a Napoleon complex…he will absolutely make you laugh hard and out loud, on the daily. Being infinitely cute is his job.
He is a very young puppy here, and got himself stuck in a ceramic gardening pot, nose covered with soil.
His expression in this photo is priceless. I invite you to caption his thoughts. Please comment!
Back in May, John and I traveled to Europe for an incredible 10 days of sightseeing, riding trains, driving tiny cars, wining and dining our way through two countries, and…shooting photos of everything in sight. Originally we planned to head straight for Tuscany…but after much fussing with flight times and dates, it just made perfect sense to extend what was supposed to be just a layover at Charles de Gualle, into a whirlwind weekend stay in Paris. We selected a hotel directly across from the Louvre and just a brisk walk to Jardin des Tuileries, knowing that with such a quick stay, we were better off in a more “touristy” and central area.
We arrived early in the morning, and while we waited for the hotel staff to ready our room, we naturally headed straight to a sidewalk cafe for breakfast and coffee, followed by a photo-taking adventure of the First Arrondissement, the geographical “center” of Paris.
There were just a couple of things we had on our agenda for Saturday and Sunday…I love to play things by ear and a little more spontaneously, John will systematically map out all possibilities and lock them into his iPhone for on-the-spot reference and guidance. We travel quite well together, and this balance of styles usually creates a rewarding, sometimes pleasantly surprising experience. The point, for us, is to always remain open, but still have some sort of plan. What definitely emerged for us as priorities were food, wine, architecture and of course, photography.
I’ll share just a couple of highlights and thoughts, then we’ll get to the real point of this post…my Paris photo gallery (skip down to gallery if the anticipation is too much). We loved how every cafe’s storefront is lined with chairs and tables facing the sidewalk and street for people-watching – this is a city set up perfectly for one of my favorite pastimes. Throughout the weekend, I paused and appreciated so many colorful and ornate doors and door knobs…really…I mentioned to John I could create an entire art exhibit around just this theme.
The hotel room? Oh yes, very small. But this you must accept with the territory. Besides, who’s spending time in their hotel room? It’s Paris! After a long day of walking preceded by the coach-cramped transcontinental flight (no sleep in between), I did manage to squeeze in some yoga and downward dogs of the “oh my God I SO need some yoga” variety. There was just enough space in the entryway between the bathroom and bed. But as you can see here…I absolutely had to get down with some balancing pose attempts in the Tuileries. This Dancer may or may not have been after some champagne (grin)…we had lots to fit in.
On our self-designed sightseeing and architectural tour, we hit Montmarte to see Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, commonly known as Sacré-Cœur Basilica. There was a lot of weekend leisurely activity and just a general happy sensation in the cool spring air. An impromptu jazz band was playing in the adjacent park, while kids ran around just being kids. We happened upon some street performers singing and belting it out for whoever would stop to listen. On the large sloping grassy hill and steps leading up to the entrance of the cathedral, people of all kinds gathered in couples and groups to just enjoy the afternoon. Actually, looking back, it seemed there was a mix of tourists but there was also a very local feel about the place, like all the neighborhood folks had come outside to socialize and play with the rest of us.
I have to say I thought Notre Dame de Paris, widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture, was absolutely stunningly beautiful. On a sunny day, with dreamy blue skies and wispy clouds providing the perfect backdrop, the sheer grandiosity and magnitude of its architecture was shining bright. We unleashed our Canon and Nikon DSLR’s with an exuberant flurry, changing filters and lenses, and setting up for some HDR photos as well.
But don’t think this was all about daytime fun and no nightlife. For those of you that know us, you can nod your heads approvingly because although we only had one night to “party”, we found
out where the good music and young hipsters were. (Thanks to John’s research). It didn’t take long before we were mid-center dancefloor at Rex, shakin’ our you know whats. How were we feeling? Well, just look at this last and final shot from the iPhone taken exactly a half-second before it died. We found out later we were the victims of a surprise Parisian photo bomb. (Awesome!)
Finally, I wanted to share one fine dining destination that was spectacular. A little place called Le Coupe Chou, an experience of a restaurant that has been restored to a 17th century-esque interior, located off a discrete side street in the Latin Quarter, 5th Arrrondissement. I don’t have a photo…however this table , while not exactly where we sat, looks just like our spot by the entrance. The restaurant opened in 1962, and the building itself has a rich history dating back centuries. We highly advise you to check this one out!
I’m so excited to share my Paris photos with you. Some of the subjects will definitely make it into future art on canvas works. I’d also love to know: Do you think it’s worth it to spend just TWO DAYS of your trip canvasing a big international city, or would you rather spend that time in one destination? Did you ever have “the best trip ever” because you spontaneously dropped in on a unplanned destination? Watch the slideshow, think about it, then let me know what you think!
The universe is abundant, the possibilities are infinite, the path lies within you.
- Paul Williams, Das Energi
Oh, the joys of digital design, endless color palettes and infinite possibilities. I’m having so much fun with this AlignBetween art print on canvas, incorporating the elements of yoga, meditative mandala, and the wide-open center of a lotus flower.
So much fun that I’m feeling the desire to go crowd sourcing, and get your artistic, creative and stylish feedback .
This piece is titled Energize the Root. The original color palette was actually inspired by a recent West Elm catalog. Deep rich reds, almost maroon. Mellow and versatile tan or beige. The contrasting of white in the symmetrical mandala design…
…and then I found myself experimenting with all the variations you see below. What about you?
- What color combination and style are you drawn to?
- Where would you hang a piece such as this?
- Do you like the more subtle palettes or would you like something more bold and colorful?
- What images and impressions does this piece conjure up?
A little insight into this AlignBetween work of art: The silhouetted figure is my sweet yogi friend Carrie Ielfield of Brahma Living who teaches sunrise and sunset yoga classes in New Smyrna Beach, FL. This particular lotus flower was shot at Hakusan Shrine in Niigata City, Japan.
Life can be so…noisy. A few days ago I read that now we process 3 times as much information than the average person did in the 1950′s. My significant other even speculated it must be higher than that. Beginning with the hated alarm clock every morning, moving in to the radio on the commute to work, inundation with conference calls, computer screens, televisions and smart phones…it’s a heavy downpour of incoming bits, bytes, sounds, images, videos and attachments. And we LOVE it. How wonderful it is to be so connected. How many times have you sat back and wondered in sheer amazement how you would EVER get your job (or life) done without modern technology? We’re evolving to live under the pressure of noise, and furthermore we see it as life-sustaining as our own heartbeat.
But there’s a lot of power in quiet. In silence. It’s why every yoga class ends in savasana and we’re taught that this is the most important pose of all. It’s why we’re drawn to beach vacations, meditation, hiking in the mountains…benefiting from all the gifts we receive when we reduce the noise in our lives and quiet the mind.
To demonstrate this phenomena of balancing extremities, or the multi-tasking mindset vs. the stark simplicity of minimalism, I trace my photographic steps backward.
When I first took this photo, I casually wandered out to my front yard and snapped this shot of yellow flowers bouncing happily in the breeze. They were bright, full, and brimming with the sun’s energy. They looked like tiny little sunshines on flexible green legs. However as I loaded the photo into my computer I saw something very average, un-special and actually quite “noisy”. Frankly, it seemed so one-dimensional and forgettable.
As I cropped, desaturated, and rotated my way through the photo, the striking center of this one flower emerged. The detail in its heart, the outstretched petals absorbing the light. It reminded me of an exploding firework, and I thought, there’s alot of of power here, diving in to the center of this single flower bustling around amongst its brothers and sisters. How much better it seemed when I cut out all the noise and simply focused.
That’s the message in my Flower Power art print on canvas. Reminding us to pause. To give up the rush of boundless streaming inputs. To unhook ourselves from the matrix and discover the rejuvenating blend of life without the stimulation, of silence…and remembering to breathe.