Friday, August 30, 2013

Little Things

August morning

August morning

August morning

Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything. ~Aaron Siskind

I went outside with my camera this morning and captured a few little things in my yard...the first photo is blown out by the sun in the corner, but I thought it perfectly captured the feeling of the bright sunshine. I'm also loving the way our hydrangeas are looking right now - they're slowly turning as fall approaches. It's amazing how many different colors our hydrangeas go through from spring through fall. I'm linking up with Kim's Friday Finds - click on the button below to visit and see more finds. Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Summery of August: Mostly Green, With a Chance of Color

August greens

August greens

August finds

August greens

August finds

Yes, the misspelling of "summary" was intentional...August is swarmy, and humid, and, well...summery. It's also filled with endless green in our yard...with tiny hints of color. It won't be long till the fall colors start slowly sneaking their way in. In fact, the little yellow leaf I found is a sweet hint of things to come. I can't wait! I'll be ready with my camera to capture the glorious colors.

Are there any hints of fall where you are? It won't be long!

It is one of those summer days that feel like a memory welling up in your throat. ~Jodi Picoult

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Nothing Happened

Occoquan, VA

A “beautiful day”
Nothing happened
And nothing was going to happen
The wind shook leaves
That did not fall
The moored boat did not sail
& the rain fell
On casual grass
Everything was full
Including the empty glass.
~Maureen N. McLane

I love these words by Maureen McLane...some of my most beautiful days are definitely those where nothing happens. The older I get, the more I understand it's truly the simple things that make me happy. I'm linking up today with Kathy's Song-ography and her prompt for this week is "The Summer Wind". I took this photo in Occoquan, VA on a beautiful day when nothing happened but me and my camera, walking through a quaint town, taking notice of little nothings. When looked at through a camera lens, boring nothings can become pretty somethings. I like how that works.

Thank you for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Voice of the Sea

Hilton Head Island, SC

The ocean truly does beckon me...I love that feeling when you're walking towards the ocean but you're not quite there yet. Suddenly, you see the sea grass and hear the sound of the waves. Your eyes search and there it is: the sight of the ocean off in the distance. There's an internal sigh, a soulful inhale and exhale, as you take it all in and continue walking forward in anticipation. It's truly a beautiful sight, and there's no other feeling like it.

I'm linking up today with Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday. I used her "Sybil" texture on my Hilton Head image, at Soft Light/20%. Thank you for stopping by!


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Bee Stings and Pearls

Painterly angel


That word-born place
Where I talk to God
Gets lost in translation
The perfect thought
Exits my brain
As a torn web
A run in the stocking
A cracked jar
Filled to the brim
With invisible honey

It takes time for
My words to spill, to
Spill and become a poem
Smooth thoughts mix
With rough ones, like
Velvet and scars
Bee stings and pearls
Silk and thorns
Petals and sorrow

And then there's that other:
The perfume of my fears
Dabbed on my wrists
Where my pulse lies
While my soul wanders
Angel-wise and feather soft
Wading through my fields
To find my heart
Nosing its glass, her
Palms flush and warm
Against its windows.

© Sherri Brannon

I'm linking up today with Poetry's a wonderful and supportive place to post your poetry each week. If you ever want to share your writings, I highly recommend it. This is a poem I've been working on for the last week; I'm not sure if it's done yet, but I like where it is so far. The image I'm sharing was first taken and processed with my iPhone. I then brought it into Photoshop Elements and further enhanced it with an old poem I found in an 1800s poetry book on I also put it into Radlab to tweek it a bit.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Inside us there is a word we cannot pronounce and that is who we are. ~Anthony Marra

Friday, August 16, 2013

Step Off The Path





Adults follow paths. Children explore. Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands; perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences.~Neil Gaiman

I'm feeling a little off my game this week...trying to find my footing again after getting our daughter moved into her new apartment. I find myself regrouping, re-determined to use my time wisely, and trying to re-focus on creative things. This is the perfect time for me to start new habits, create new patterns, try new things...sometimes it's hard to step off the beaten path when you've walked down the same path for so long. But I instinctively feel the sense that this is the time for me to step off that create new routines in my life. Exercise, meditation, art...these are all things I'm wanting to reach for. I hope I can follow through. I've also started cleaning out all of our closets and drawers, and tossing excess clutter...this is a good sign! I usually do this when I'm ready for a clean slate, a fresh start, a new beginning.

I still haven't used my "real camera" much, and we're at that point in August where it seems there's nothing to take photos of except for green trees. I feel very uninspired. But thankfully I have my iPhone and it keeps me on my toes creatively. Today I'm linking up to Kim Klassen's Friday Finds with some phone images I've taken this past week. I haven't been on any exciting outings but have gotten some good shots right here at home. Several of them feature my sweet Ruby, who has been a source of great comfort to me, as always. She's my loyal and devoted companion! *insert endless love here*

I want to take this time to thank all of you who left such kind and supportive comments on my recent post about my empty nest feelings...I can't tell you how much I appreciated seeing people's responses. It truly made me feel better and boosted my spirits in a huge way. Thank you again! And to think I almost didn't post anything about it because I was feeling so emotional...I'm really glad I did.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Poem is a Temple

glowing field

But first and foremost, I learned from Whitman that the poem is a temple—or a green field—a place to enter, and in which to feel. ~Mary Oliver, Blue Pastures

Oh yes, I so agree with Mary Oliver. Poetry writing is my feeling place. It's a safe place to seek comfort, to work out my struggles, to express my emotions.

I have two forms of creative expression I really love: photography and poetry. It's interesting to put these two things side by side and realize that one pushes me outward while the other pulls me inward. The photography is purely joy-based, and it forces me to interact with my physical world. It nudges me to notice the fine details of everyday things and gets me outside of my head. It's easy to share and not as vulnerable. The poetry typically comes from a place of internal struggle, and is a way for me to express my tangled emotions in a format that has a semblance of rhythm and beauty: order out of chaos. It tends to be heavier and conflict-based, and sharing it makes me feel fragile and exposed. It shows my flaws. Both photography and poetry serve a purpose that fulfills me.

I love the lightness of photography, but poetry is cleansing to me spiritually...they both satisfy me in a very profound way.

How about you? What form of expression makes your heart happy, or helps you release the heaviness of life? Whatever it is, use it...let it help you express whatever it is that inspires or ails you.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Both Sides Now

a walk on the beach

Today I'm linking up with Kathy's new weekly Song-ography prompt, which is such a genius idea...her song title today is "Both Sides Now", by Joni Mitchell. And boy, did her post resonate with me...she talks about motherhood and being on both sides of it now that her kids are mostly grown up. This subject matter coincided with my state of mind in a huge way because just yesterday we moved our only child into her first ever apartment.

When we gave her a final hug yesterday afternoon and walked out the door, I was stunned by my emotional response because I thought I had already dealt with this whole "empty nest" thing her freshman year. But this year is different...we moved all of the furniture out of her bedroom and took it to her apartment...her room is empty now. Her part-time job is near school, and she won't get home very often on weekends anymore because she'll be working. This is TRULY the empty nest experience, and I didn't see it coming. I thought I'd already checked it off my life list!!

As a lifetime worrier, I've become very proficient at working out every possible scenario in my head ahead of time to prepare myself for any given situation. I'm really stumped as to why my brain missed this...did it have a temporary glitch that made me miss this huge realization in advance?! All I know is, I'm caught completely off guard. Our house feels empty and my daughter's (lack of) presence can be felt everywhere.

Motherhood is both the most joyful thing I've ever experienced and also the most brutal. They don't tell you about the heartache you'll feel when it comes time to cut those final strings and let your child walk away - it's not in the rule book. (Oh wait, there is no rule book!) The picture above is a photo I took of my daughter a few weeks ago at the beach - it seems very symbolic as she walks away from the camera, looking to the vast horizon, the world at her feet.

To end this post on a hopeful note, I do take comfort in knowing this, too, shall pass...I know I'll adjust, and I know I'll be OK. It's what we Moms do. We love our children fiercely, unconditionally...and when the time comes we cut the cord and let them go with the hope that we've passed on the best of ourselves (and not too much of our worst). Today when I feel sad, I keep reminding myself of how happy my daughter is, who she's become...I feel very proud, and the love overflows. Along with a few tears!

Have you dealt with empty nest syndrome? If so, I'm sending you a tight, virtual Mom hug through the computer screen.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Ocean View: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude; to lose itself in mazes of inward contemplation. ~Kate Chopin

I've slowly started editing some of my Hilton Head photos...I have so many to share and will continue posting them in the coming weeks as I get to them. Here are some ocean shots I'd like to's funny how, at the beach, I find myself pointing and clicking with my camera over and over again, sometimes taking 30 or 40 shots of the same view in a matter of minutes. I think it's because I'm in such awe at the beauty of it all that I keep wanting to capture it before it goes away...but the stunning view never leaves. And at sunset by the ocean, the lighting shifts by the minute, so you really can take constant photos and get completely different results as the sky changes colors. It's always breathtaking...and I never grow tired of it. I was also so thrilled with the clouds in the sky this year - they were spectacular each and every day we were there! They add so much to a photo.

I hope maybe these images will invite you to take a breath for a moment...and that maybe your blood pressure will go down just a little bit. The ocean does that to you, you know...

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Poetic Crow

crow on beach

Crows get a bad rap, don't they? When I saw this one at the beach a few weeks back, it struck me as odd because I'm used to seeing white seagulls and other light-colored birds by the sea. Seeing a black bird against the serene, pastel backdrop of the ocean landscape made the crow stick out like a sore thumb - it was a bit jarring. Crows are always symbols of something dark and/or sinister in my poetry...they tend to represent negative emotions, fears, etc.

Editing this photo made me think of a poem I wrote awhile back about insomnia, which can definitely be a dark place - both literally and figuratively! I think everyone can relate, at some point, to a restless night of tossing and turning...of your brain being stuck in overdrive while the minutes tortuously tick by. It seems during those times that our worries suddenly morph into mountains. It's always such a relief when morning comes...our troubles shrink down and suddenly seem manageable again in daylight.

I thought I'd share my poem today with Poetry Pantry. If you enjoy writing poetry, or would like to start, this is a great place to share and I highly recommend it!


A crow stands watch beside my pillow
Talons sharp beside my face
He eyes my thoughts as if
They're spun in sugar
Glittering softly inside my head
And my heart, it fills with dread

He struts across my restless mind
Oily feathers on fanned display
He caws and croaks, and robs me blind
Of peace buried far, where the meanings are
Pecking at cracks in my fragile guard
And he croons his wicked song

Comfort in the dawn's soft light
I twist and cup the morning sun
Evil-eyed raven flies away
My reveries dangling from his beak
He hides, with glee, in shadowed trees
And scavenges his next prey.

© Sherri Brannon

There is a close link between insomnia and despair. The loss of hope comes with the loss of sleep. The difference between paradise and hell: you can always sleep in paradise, never in hell. ~E.M. Cioran

Friday, August 2, 2013

This is Unreal


Our imagination flies — we are its shadow on the earth. ~Vladimir Nabokov

I'm so excited that Bonnie's Photo Art Friday is back...the prompt will only be once a month now, but I'm very happy to participate again. This month's theme is "flower photo art". I played with this photo I took in Hilton Head several weeks back. I used Bonnie's "Scratched Lens" texture at Color/100%. I also put it through RadLab to enhance the colors. There's a freedom in taking something real and making it look very un-real...if you've never participated in a photo art challenge, I encourage you to try! Let go of the rules in your head and turn your image into something from a fantasy world - there's a joy in it that can't be denied.

Next month's prompt is "water" and you can submit your link at Pixel Dust Photo Art on September 6th. Click on the button below for more details.

Pixel Dust Photo Art

Thursday, August 1, 2013

iPhoneography: Tangled FX

Tangled FX app

Tangled FX app

Tangled FX app

Tangled FX app

I thought I'd share some recent photos I've taken with my iPhone using one of my favorite apps: Tangled FX ($1.99). I just can't get enough of the very interesting effect it has on my phone images. It especially does amazing things with trees, flowers, and leaves. The key for me, I've discovered, is using the Blender app along with it - I blend the original image with the tangled-effect image to create a more subtle result. If the image still looks too bright and garish, I may blend it one more time, or put it into an app with filters that tone down the saturation/color, such as Pictapgo. My favorite effect in the Tangled FX app is "Swirl", which I use almost exclusively (along with Blender to make it more subtle).

Are you as addicted to iphone apps as I am? Do you have a favorite? I'd love to know about it because maybe it's one I don't have yet...!