Friday, August 31, 2012

Thorns in Rows


Today is Five Fact Friday over at the Reflections of You blog. I thought I'd participate - please go on over and check out this lovely blog (and add your Five Facts)! I've been feeling very introspective these last couple of weeks - there is lots going on in my life and I tend to go further inward during these times. My brain is mush and focusing has been a struggle. I know I'll snap out of it - it's just one of those things I must sit with till it passes. All is well, by the way - just real life unfolding and the constant reality of dealing with change that we all go through.

1. The older I get, the more I understand that we have no control over life. This is a hard lesson...the only thing we can control is how we react. As someone who wants to be in control, accepting this is one of my biggest challenges!

2. I am the poster child for introversion...I have a rich, inner world and I spend a lot of time in

3. I must write poetry. I've tried to stop but the words keep coming, usually at the worst possible time. The more stressed I am, the more poetry I write. The poem below is one I wrote about our life's journey and trying to understand it all - the good, the bad, and the ugly.

4. I find taking self-portraits very difficult. I'm trying to get more comfortable with it, which is why I'm posting this Instagram photo. I find I can post a photo of myself if it's artistically distorted enough that you can barely recognize I'm working on it!

5. I love my friends and family so much. Life deals us all some hard blows, and there's no escaping that. I wish I could protect everyone from these blows, but it's impossible. I feel grateful for each day I get to spend with the beautiful people in my life. Can you tell I'm in a very contemplative mood this week? :)


A rippled seam of birds
Skims silently across the sky
Fleecy clouds are tinted rose
And the sun begins its slide
Into the horizon
My thoughts, like the birds,
Turn silk-winged with
Instinct and flutter

Oh, the fickleness of ego
The disguising of self
To avoid exposure
The constancy of my soul
The pure intentions waiting there
The dread of a coffin lid
The eagerness of my spirit
The empathy in my heart, its
Thorns stacked neatly in rows

Tears stain my learning face
And the words begin to leap
Free falling off my tongue
Let down the nets into the water
Before they drown, unknown
Rescue my truths expelled
While my body quietly quakes
With a spiritual vertigo
While the mile off moon
Smiles knowingly, and glows

And the moths seek
Like gypsies, as dusk
Gilds the twilight, exhaling
With a soft and holy calm
Its breaths of revelation
Unguessed by my eyes, my
Ears worn and dulled to its
Softer and purer tones.

©Sherri Brannon

Thanks so much for stopping by! I'm wishing you a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Circle Shapes

Circle Shapes

Circle Shapes

Circle Shapes

Circle Shapes

Circle Shapes

Circle Shapes

Draw a circle, not a heart, around the one you love because a heart can break but a circle goes on forever. ~Danny Kaye

I'm taking Kim Klassen's Beyond Layers class this year, and our exercise for this week was to take our camera and go in search of a specific shape (circle, square, triangle, etc.). I chose "circle", and went for a walk yesterday in my are a few of my favorites. I love doing these shape treasure hunts, because they force you to slow down and really look. You must focus your attention, which helps you to notice things you might not otherwise, especially in nature. I zoomed in close to capture all these circular things, and love how organic everything looks. I love circles - they are fluid, pleasing to my eye, and there are no hard edges!


We are soft circles
Eternal like the sun
With no sharp points
Or endings

Our souls are round
Inside linear bodies
That march forward
On straight roads
Liked pointed arrows

Enduring spirit circles
Spinning with grace
Trapped inside keen
And jagged minds.

©Sherri Brannon

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

August Sky

August sky

Always try to keep a patch of sky above your life. ~Marcel Proust, "Swann’s Way"

Fleeting, beautiful, bittersweet, fading...these are the words I think of when looking at this photo I took on Sunday. My daughter has moved back to campus after being home for the summer - seeing her happiness at being back with her besties is wonderful. Dealing with my own feelings of missing her are always tough for the first couple weeks, and I feel a bit melancholy. The dreamy clouds and last flowers of August are bittersweet...summer is almost over. Acorns are suddenly everywhere on the ground, and random leaves of brilliant yellow and red are laying, fallen, in the grass...a hint of things to come. Both life and nature move forward, evolving...ever changing.

This is the best photo I could come up for Texture Tuesday - I haven't picked up a camera much these last couple of weeks. I hope to get back on track during September - the fall colors will start soon and I really look forward to it. Thank you for stopping by!

P.S. Oh wow, right after I posted this, I realized that I misinterpreted this week's Texture Tuesday...I was thinking "free and easy" was the week for posting anything, even a photo without texture. So that's what I I see that next week's "anything goes" is the no texture option. My apologies - I have nothing else to replace it right now so I hope this is OK. As you can see, I'm too distracted and preoccupied this week! Gah.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

I managed to capture all the prompts for Scavenger Hunt Sunday with my iphone, so I'm happy that I can participate despite my busy schedule. The prompts this week are forest, morning light, touch, newspaper, and coffee (or tea). This will definitely be my last blog post until on or after August 26th. Have a wonderful week!

1. Forest. This was taken in daylight, but after using several apps, I got this beautiful dark effect. The sun light is exaggerated dramatically thanks to one of my new favorite apps called "Rays". Apps used: Snapseed, Blender, Rays, Pixlromatic
iphone forest sunlight

2. Morning Light. (Please don't look too hard at my dirty window. I swear it doesn't look that bad in real Apps used: Snapseed
iphone morning light

3. Touch. This photo reminded me of when my daughter was three and I'd say, "Look, but don't touch!" when we were in a store looking at toys. Now she's 21 and there's no need to say it, but she still loves to look at the princess dolls at the Disney store! Apps used: Snapseed, Picfx
iphone disney store

4. Newspaper. Apps used: Snapseed, Photostudio (Pencil Paint 2 filter)
iphone newspaper

5. Coffee. Apps used: Snapseed, Picfx
iphone morning coffee

Thank you for visiting! Please click on the button below to see more Scavenger Hunt Sunday photos, or to see next week's prompts.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Photo Art Friday - Container

baltimore inner harbor

For this week's Photo Art Friday, we were to center our image around the word "container". I chose this image I took at the Baltimore Aquarium of some of the boats in the hold people, right, so don't they count as a container? :)

I used Bonnie's "Age It" texture at Difference/92%. I then played around again with Gradient Map (black to white) blends, first at Darker Color/100% and then at Normal/75%. I wanted it a little darker, so I duplicated it and used the Multiply blend at 100%. I finished it up in RadLab to warm it and sharpen it.

The next ten days will be very busy for me as my daughter gets ready to move back to school...I will try to post if I can, but if I'm not here you'll know why. Things should be back to normal for me by August 27th. Thank you for stopping by - please click on the button below to visit more creative photo art!

Photo Art Friday

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dreamy Summer Days

August at the lake

lake view

August day

August at the lake

Let me enjoy this late-summer day of my heart while the leaves are still green and I won't look so close as to see that first tint of pale yellow slowly creep in. I will cease endless running and then look to the sky, ask the sun to embrace me, and then hope she won't tell of tomorrows less long than today. Let me spend just this time in the slow-cooling glow of warm afternoon light, and I'd think I will still have the strength for just one more last fling of my heart. ~John Bohrn, Late August

I got a few minutes this week to go to the lake and take some's that time in the summer where one can sense that the edge of the new season is getting closer and closer. This morning I was outside and, for the first time, had that intangible sense I always get on a mid- to late-August day...the air is suddenly different, the light is's as if autumn is sending an invisible signal that she'll be visiting soon. I used Radlab filters (Maple, Prettyizer, and Lux/Soft) and like the dreamy look, as if the memory of them is fading away...just like summer will soon be fading into fall.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Looking Down

beach flowers

Total physical and mental inertia are highly agreeable, much more so than we allow ourselves to imagine. A beach not only permits such inertia but enforces it, thus neatly eliminating all problems of guilt. It is now the only place in our overly active world that does. -John Kenneth Galbraith

For this week's Texture Tuesday, Kim has asked us to use one of her textures with an image featuring "looking down" (or in my case, "on the ground" This month has become so busy that I've had very little time to pick up my camera. My daughter heads back to college in two weeks and things are hectic while we organize, pack, and prepare! So, I hope no one minds that I picked a beach photo from my archives for this week's prompt. It takes me back to that wonderful week when I thoroughly enjoyed some total mental inertia. On one of our daily walks by the ocean, I saw these sweet beach flowers sprawled along the beach line and I couldn't resist getting down to their level. How I envy these flowers! They spend their days with a breathtaking view, the salty air, and the soothing sounds of the ocean...


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

I really missed participating in Scavenger Hunt Sunday last week - real life caught up with me. I'm happy to be back - this week's prompts are Hanging by a Thread, Collage, Always Look on the Bright Side, Home, and Mobile (phone). I have a real jumble of photos this week.

1. Hanging by a Thread. This butterfly looks like it's hanging by a thread...right? I know, it's a stretch - it's all I could come up with for this prompt. I was very stumped!

2. Collage. I'm still a newbie when creating collages with templates - I was happy to figure out how to put the photos inside each frame, but then was completely clueless about how to change the color of the frame. I kept trying and had no luck. So, white it

3. Always Look on the Bright Side. Some pretty flowers I captured in someone's yard...I gave it a sun-kissed look thanks to Radlab.

4. Home. We're in the midst of painting our family room, so our couch and other furniture are stuffed in our kitchen temporarily. I liked the light in the room on a late afternoon when I took this photo (the vintage tin dollhouse normally sits on top of a tall hutch in our family room).

5. Mobile (phone). We went out to eat at a local Mexican restaurant last night...I took this with my iphone (and added the light effects with the Rays app).
iphone el charro

Thank you for visiting - have a wonderful Sunday! Click on the button below to see more photos.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Witness

three figures

The touch of an infinite mystery passes over the trivial and the familiar, making it break out into ineffable music… The trees, the stars, and the blue hills ache with a meaning which can never be uttered in words. ~Rabindranath Tagore


The poignancy of life
Is a physical thing
As my lungs inflate
Filled to bursting at the ache
Of gold-tinged memories
Crumbling with a touch
Fleeting and fragile
Like a butterfly at sunset
Disappearing into twilight

My heart trips and stumbles
On the cracks of my past
Falling hard on the sidewalk
Its bittersweet chamber
Skinned raw with regrets
My anxieties lie draped
Atop my fickle faith
Like a barbed wire necklace
That pricks with its
Foolish agonies

But my soul stands
As a witness
To the joys and the strife, to
The angel and the devil
Behind my eyes
And we all three stare
With an intake of breath
At life's pincushion sky
Stuck sharply, sweetly
With brilliant stars

My lonely billows out, and
My soul falls to her knees
From the love.

©Sherri Brannon

For this week's Photo Art Friday, we were to center an image around "gift(s)". I'm grateful for the gift of Photoshop Elements, and what it's given to me as a means of expressing myself. For the first time in my life, I have found a medium that continues to enthrall me over a year later, and that lets me combine my creative loves: photography, art, and poetry. For this week's prompt, I created an image to go with a poem I wrote called "The Witness". The beauty and the poignancy of life overwhelms me at times...have you ever had one of those moments when you're so grateful you feel overcome by emotion? That is what this poem is about. Life is not always easy, but it is so precious.

For my image, I started with a daylight photo I took of the mountains in Virginia, and used layers/texture to turn it to night and add a star-filled sky (Multiply/100%) and moon (Normal/100%). I then added the three figures (Darker Color/100%) and the heart bokeh (Lighten/45%). I found the starry night, moon, heart bokeh, and "three figures" layers all at Flickr Creative Commons. I hand wrote my poem on a piece of paper, scanned it, inverted it in PSE (so it was white text on black), and added it as a layer on the mountains (Lighten/12%). I like that my words are imbedded into those mountains...a little piece of me taking part in the story that this image creates. Note: I used a reverse mask on each layer if needed to remove it from areas where I didn't want it to show.

Original mountain image:

Photo Art Friday

Thursday, August 9, 2012

My Heart is Bokehful


I have struggled so much with finding good photos lately...the month of August, for me, is very much like the month of February. All the color (except for green!) is gone from my yard, and a lot of the green has turned to brown because of the heat. It's too hot to go out in search of thank goodness for my iphone! I try to at least get some photos here and there throughout the week...and then I have fun experimenting with all my apps! I took a screenshot of my latest Instagrams to use for this week's This or That Thursday.

Camera apps have become my new obsession...I'm always on the lookout for new ones. A few of my latest favorites were used in the photos above.

For the "One Day at a Time" photo, I used Blender and layered two photos together. The words are actually a sticker (black text on white paper) that I took a photo of.

For the journal photo, I added the hearts with Bokehful. This app lets you add a variety of bokeh (circles, hearts, stars, etc.) to your phone images, and the best part is that you can choose: 1) the color of the bokeh, and 2) where you want the bokeh to appear simply by touching the screen!

For the "take time for the view" photo, my very drab photo of a seagull on a street lamp (taken in the grocery store parking lot!) became pretty thanks to the "100 Cameras" app. I also added the little bit of bokeh at the bottom with a "Picfx" filter (under their Light section). I added the text using "Phonto".

For my sweet Ruby (corgi) photo, I used a new app I found called "SigNote". It allows you to put your own writing on your photos - very cool! For a great youtube tutorial about this app, click HERE.

Regardless of the various apps I use, I always process my photos first from my camera roll and then post them to Instagram as my last step when they're ready to be shared. It's funny, I used to download music to my itunes, but now I download camera apps to my iphone! Times, they are a-changing. :)

Thanks for visiting - please click on the button below to visit This or That Thursday!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Choiceless as a Beach


The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach – waiting for a gift from the sea. ~Ann Morrow Lindbergh

This week's Texture Tuesday is "anything goes" - no texture required if you so choose. I must confess I've lost my focus with photography this past week...a friend I love dearly received some devastating news and I've been preoccupied. It's really thrown me off my photography game. So, I hope it's OK that I went back to some of my Hilton Head vacation photos that I've never shared...this is a photo of some driftwood that I took at the beach one day. I love the mood of this photo - I wish I was back at the beach today! I would love to walk beside that beautiful water. Thanks for stopping by - please click on the link below to see some more lovely photos.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Five Fact Friday


Kim and Xanthe are hosting "Five Fact Friday" over at their Reflection of You blog today. I thought I'd join in - here are my five things:

1. Not only am I an introvert, but I'm also an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person). There are many of us out there...are you one of them? Psychology Today actually published an in-depth article about HSPs for the first time last year. Being an HSP is a blessing when it comes to creativity...but it can be challenging in day-to-day life.

2. Depending on the activity, I'm either right-handed or left-handed. I write with my right hand, but tend to do most other things with my left...except when batting in baseball, or golfing, or throwing a frisbee (back to the right hand). When I paint, I switch my paintbrush back and forth from my left hand to my right, sometimes without even realizing it - very strange!

3. I love clouds. I take more photos of clouds than any other thing. My family shakes their heads each time because they just don't understand my obsession with the beauty of clouds. lol

4. I am an Army brat...I lived in many places growing up, including England, Turkey, Panama, and Germany. I went to three separate high schools between 9th and 12th grade.

5. The older I get, the more I listen to my inner voice. My painting above symbolizes that inner intuition...that wise presence who is always there if I just listen.

Thanks for stopping by - by the way, I'd love to hear 5 fun facts about you. :)

Invite Them In


This being human is a guest house. Every morning is a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor…welcome and entertain them all. Treat each guest honorably. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond. ~Rumi

Rumi has my heart...what an understanding of the human experience he had. My poetry is the outlet for all of my "guests", especially the more difficult ones...but still, I respect what they have to say and I allow them all to speak. They each have lessons to offer. For this week's Photo Art Friday, we were to center our image around a door. I had fun creating this one! I started with a photo I took in Warrenton, VA of a field. I added the door and the silhouette by using separate layers. I also attempted to add a shadow behind the door by using a soft, black brush at 30% (also created on a separate layer). I used Bonnie's "Golden Bokeh" texture at Pin Light/100%. Please click on the button below for more great photo art images!


I am grateful
For my shadow self,
Who notices burnished
Light on morning trees.

She hears pungent colors,
Sees swirling sounds, and
Leaks asymmetrical thoughts
Through my pen.

She lives raw inside my heart,
An organic neverland, and
Helps keeps me sane
In a flat, generic world…
I love her.

©Sherri Brannon

Photo Art Friday

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Corgi Crasher

Carry laughter with you wherever you go. ~Hugh Sidey

I'm taking advantage of these last few weeks with my daughter before she heads back to school and am using her as my model when I can...we were doing a photo op out back a few days ago when we were interrupted by a corgi When my daughter started cracking up, I kept taking photos. You can see the results as our photo op went from serious to silliness! The best laid plans... :)

It started off well - nice, polished photo with a beautiful smile:

Oops, there is a distraction...

What's going on? Ah, a corgi has entered the picture...

What is that silly dog up to now?


Oh, Ruby...!! Her life motto: No stick shall remain unturned uneaten.