Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Be Our Guest ... Claudia Wrightson

Today it is with great pleasure that I announce our guest poster today, Claudia Wrightson. I couldn’t say ‘introduce’ to you because many of you already know Claudia. She, along with Terri and me, was one of the founders here at Focusing on Life. As with so many of you, I first met Claudia in Tracey Clark’s ‘Picture’ classes, following which she and I, then ultimately, Terri, collaborated in a Flickr prompt group. From that collaboration came FOL. Sadly, Claudia had to leave the team late in 2012. But we’re delighted to have her back on our pages today. I know you’ll love her post and give her a warm FOL ‘welcome home’.
~ Dotti


Have you ever had a moment in your life that seemed to be showing up over and over?

Some call it Déjà vu...

Long before I was diagnosed with dyslexia, I was in 3rd grade with Mrs. Gold; I knew I was one of the worst readers in my class. Even though I was in the blue group, I knew red and yellow were much smarter than the blue. (Isn't it amazing how smart kids are early on?) I hated "reading circle!" Each one of us took our turn reading a page. I tried sitting in what I thought was the middle of the circle so that when the first reader began, I could quickly count ahead to determine which was my page. I would frantically practice it enough to hopefully not embarrass myself; to no avail.

Too soon it was my turn. Slowly I began to read. The word nowhere showed up on the page numerous times. The first time I came upon it I read, "The boy was NOW here to be found." There were a few giggles, but no correction from my teacher. Then the second time I read NOW HERE more began to giggle. I quickly looked at the sentence and was certain I was reading it correctly... I continued on. By the time the word showed up a third time, even my teacher began to laugh. I looked to her as tears began to well up in my eyes and she said, "Claudia the word is noWHERE... not Now HERE."

To this very day... every single time I see that word, it stops me in my tracks and reminds me of the embarrassment. I am no longer embarrassed and actually can smile when this special word pops up for me. 

It's funny how the Universe tries to help us along the way. Like many, my life was full of family and work and other things keeping me completely busy. Yet it wasn't until I realized that my word, NOW here, though spelled "special" for me, was my reminder to stop ... pay attention and see and look and live in the moment. NOW.

Focusing on my photography has helped me to start that process deliberately. Intentionally living has helped me to realize that I was missing the details that I so love. I had a necklace made with the words NOW Here engraved as a reminder.

I have enjoyed my relationship with "my friends on FOL" and I'm grateful for this opportunity to visit you with a guest post. This community has helped me to be present and appreciate detailed moments and remember to be NOW HERE.

Monday, April 14, 2014

To Die For

  by Carol

I love to take landscapes of unique places

I have said many times that I love photography because it prolongs the enjoyment of the beautiful moments of my life. But I also love photography because it lets me experience places in this world that I will never see. Yesterday I found myself an hour early for a meeting, so I stopped in at the local library and poked around the arts and photography sections. In preparation for an up-coming destination workshop my teacher had suggested purchasing a Galen Rowell filter. ( a graduated reverse neutral density filter, in case you're interested)  So I decided to find out who Galen Rowell was.

What a perfect hour ensued - an hour to warm the heart of any self-respecting landscape photographer! Galen was a very prolific "adventure photographer." He was a handsome, yet shy and appreciative hiker who traveled to the ends of the earth in pursuit of beauty. His stunning images drew in the likes of Tom Brokaw and the Dalai Lama as fans and eventually friends. He experienced the world as most of us will never get to see it. But he showed it to us - in books and galleries and magazines like National Geographic. Through mountaineering and exploration treks, he photographed the scenery, but he also photographed himself and his friends in frighteningly precarious positions that demonstrate how dedicated he was to having the full experience of a place and to making the perfect image of it.

Galen shot exotic cultures, unique landscapes and endangered animals, always with "visionary light and color." He climbed the peaks at Yosemite and the Himalayas. He boarded ice breaker ships to document the ice flow at sunrise, and stayed in monasteries in Tibet. He slept in the deserts to capture awakening prairie dogs, and dove deep into the sea.

Sadly and ironically, after all of these experiences, he and his wife Barbara Cushman Rowell, a naturalist in her own right,  lost their dynamic lives when an hour flight in a small plane  hopping them home to California crashed into the sea in 2002. They were only 64 years old, but what a legacy they left us! I am hoping that writing about him here will encourage you to look at his portfolio - it's really not to be missed.

"Rowell was someone who both traveled light, and traveled with the light. His faith in the revelatory powers of light as it appears on film coincided with a deep conviction in the power of images to reflect the aspirations of the human spirit." (Andy Grundberg from Galen Rowell, Light Traveler)  (He went) "to the last great, wild places in the world to be absorbed by their grace and grandeur." (He created) photographs "as timeless, as stunning and as powerful as nature itself." ( Tom Brokaw)

Originally I had 3 of Rowell's images posted here, with attribution, and a link to more.  After reading the copyright policies on his work, I have decided not to post them. But please, celebrate Earth Day by taking a look yourself .......

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Focus on Phoneography

Thanks to all of you who are posting your beautiful images in the FOL IG gallery! You are showing us what a beautiful world we live in.

Row 1 - @lyahle @sunnybarb @vintageyellowrose 
Row 2 - @barbaracarrollaz @keepingupblog @mschrysalis 
 Row 3 - @gabrielabout @diegueto @sarah_inpursuit

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