Strategic pause?

 

Reflection (n) – a) the fixing of the mind on some subject; serious thought; contemplation; b) the result of such thought; idea or conclusion, esp. if expressed in words.

“Usually, when the distractions of daily life deplete our energy, the first thing we eliminate is the thing we need the most: quiet, reflective time. Time to dream, time to contemplate what’s working and what’s not, so that we can make changes for the better.” ~Sarah Breathnach (Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy)

This quote accurately describes the doldrums I’ve been experiencing lately. During most of January and February I allowed myself to become distracted and overwhelmed by demands of work and home. To make matters worse, I frittered away too much of what little free time I had on unproductive and unsatisfying pursuits (the solitaire game on my IPad is one great example!) and became frustrated that I wasn’t accomplishing what I needed and wanted to do. As a result, I’m badly behind on my creative pursuits for 2011, Ali Edwards’ One Little Word project and Kat Sloma’s Finding Your Eye class. But it’s the start of a new month, spring is on the way, every day is a new beginning, and each of these is a fresh opportunity to focus attention on things that matter—so here’s to strategic pauses and new starts!

All that said, I’ve made some modest accomplishments these last couple of months. I’m loving the combination of shooting raw and then processing the images in Lightroom. It took awhile to figure out the process, especially of creating a .jpeg inside of Lightroom and then transferring that image into Photoshop for scrapping or other endeavors. I joined my meetup group for photowalks at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo and the Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland—both of those are definitely “keeper” locations for future photo adventures. I also went to one of my favorite local spots, Eureka Springs Park, and DH and I went to Bok Tower in Lake Wales. Then a couple of weeks ago I attended DSP’s laptop crop in Tavares, FL, where I was able to meet “in real life” some of the other scrappers who post at DSP.

Kat’s Finding Your Eye class is beautifully designed and presented. I love the combination of three lessons each week focusing, respectively, on digital techniques, photo journaling (blogging), and eye (artistic) development. In the spirit of new starts mentioned previously, I intend to start at the beginning of the material and take as long as I need to integrate these lessons into my photographic and creative life. I am so looking forward to using my DSLR for more than a glorified point-and-shoot. I am slowly becoming more familiar and comfortable with the camera’s controls, but I really need to work on being more observant so I will notice the photo opportunities around me and then take sufficient time to explore the subject from different angles and perspectives in order to capture the best images possible.

February’s One Little Word assignment was to take at least nine photographs that somehow symbolize our selected word. My word is “grace.” Since so much of what is in nature is intrinsically graceful and since nature is my favorite photographic subject, it should be fairly simple to complete that assignment. I do want to find a church sign, preferably either weathered and rustic or, at the other extreme, very modern, with the word “grace” on it. A phone book search didn’t yield very many possibilities so I’m becoming something of a hazard on the roadways as I slow down every time I see a church to determine whether it meets my criteria. Maybe a Flickr! search would be a faster and safer option!

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