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The Illusive Red Bird






After years of being unsuccessful at getting a decent shot of a “redbird” (Northern Cardinal), I finally got one!! Every time I’d see one and run for my camera the bird would either be gone when I had camera in hand or he would fly away before I could focus my camera. I had so many blurry shots of these guys it’s not even funny!

No matter how bad I wanted it or how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get one. I’d kind of resigned for a while and thought “I’ll just shoot easier subjects that don’t fly away from me like flowers & landscapes since I seem to get better results with those”.

But my luck was about to change…a couple of days ago we were at our little beach trailer near Chincoteague, VA and I was feeling a little blue. I guess I’m still trying to find my way since I lost my day job. I decided that maybe I would feel better if I just went outside and sat on our little deck behind the trailer near the bird feeder with my camera. I had seen a red headed woodpecker in the woods and a flicker too so I thought maybe I’d get lucky and get a shot of one of those.

There were a couple of male cardinals around and a female too but I figured they’d be too scared of the human with the big black camera to come anywhere near me. But to my surprise I was wrong! Sometimes I think wildlife senses when we humans need a little cheering up and this was one of those instances. Both male cardinals showed up and the female too! I took shot after shot after shot hoping that I’d get at least one good shot & much to my surprise I did!

Life is funny like that. Sometimes when we push against the flow of life trying to “make” things happen they don’t budge but when we relax into the flow and just go with where life takes us things flow as they should and even surprise us sometimes too!

How have so many of us humans lost our connection with Mother Earth? Sometimes I find myself wondering what it would be like to be a member of one of those last remaining tribes in the Amazon forest, living completely and totally in harmony with nature. A world with no high speed Internet, no cell phones or TV or any of the conveniences that are so ingrained into our lives.

What if we all lived in this way…a way of living with nature as part of nature rather than “conquering & ruling over” nature? If we all lived like this would global warming & pollution be the issue that it is today?

I’m only 41 years old but in my 41 years I’ve witnessed abuses against nature that have broken my heart such as the deforestation of many old growth forests in the Pacific Northwest, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the horrendous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, and now the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Many of these tribal cultures including the Native Americans realized that they are a part of nature and that to support & care for nature is to support and care for one’s self. Perhaps these cultures shouldn’t have been “civilized” but rather learned from. But sadly many of these cultures have been squashed due to “civilization”.

How did we get here? I believe it’s a combination of things that have brought us to this point as a planet. We have created societies that are addicted to comfort (myself included typing away on my net book). We need electricity to power our computers, keep our food preserved until we want to eat it, cook our food, heat our water, heat our homes, cool our homes, give us light after dark, power our TV’s & electronic gadgets and even to keep people alive in hospitals. And lets not forget about fuel for our cars… how could we live without our vehicles to take us to the grocery store or anywhere else that we feel the need to go? Unless you are a part of an indigenous tribe living off the land in a forest, you are more than likely part of this power hungry equation.

However, another part of the equation that sometimes makes me feel helpless to do anything about is the attitudes of those who control and dole out the electricity & fuel. Those who control the price of electricity & fuel have a HUGE amount of control over the economy & even the environment. For example, the price of gas goes up, so does the price of just about everything else from food to shipping a package to air travel. I’m sure that most people if they could afford it would go with solar panels or wind power but the key is affordable which they are not to the average person barely scraping by in this economy. Sadly the oil companies even control the price of solar panels as they have bought out many of the patents on solar panels thus keeping solar panels out of reach and keeping us dependent on their  dirty oil and dirty electricity from coal & nuclear and natural gas (muchly derived from Fracking).   Unfortunately the actions of the people in power that control energy seem to show that they have a very shortsighted vision of what is important. They don’t seem to care about what is left of the earth (our home) for their children & grandchildren but rather are more concerned about what seems to be a  drug that is more addictive than crack or heroin to them…money.

But if we continue on this path, perhaps Mother Earth will change even the greedy. When she wipes out their castles with floods & earthquakes, tornadoes or hurricane’s, Mother Earth just may make us all equal again and money won’t mean a thing anymore.  And those tribes who have been living in harmony with her all along will have knowledge for the rest of us that will be indispensable.

A New Forest Friend

Every once in a while nature gives us a gift. Today was such a day. We are in the middle of a heat wave with temps in the 90’s and humidity. Since we do not have AC, my husband & I sought refuge in a favorite little spot of ours in the mountains where there is a cool rushing steam and an nice little rocky pool that is deep enough to get in and cool off in.  Besides being a peaceful beautiful spot, it also is seems to be a butterfly haven.

 Usually shooting butterflies if pretty challenging as they are constantly fluttering about but today an Eastern yellow tiger swallowtail landed near me and held perfectly still for me. It was like it was posing for me. I took picture after picture after picture and it didn’t seem to mind at all. Then it even flew closer to me and I got some more shots.

After I was statisfied with my shots, I decided, just for the goof…I’d try to coax it onto my hand since it was so calm and to my surprise I made a new friend!  It happily moved onto my hand and stayed on my hand for the longest time.  My husband took this shot of my new forest friend & I used in today’s blog post. He finally flew away but I’ll never forget the day I got to be friends with a butterfly and hold  beauty in the palm of my hand!

And Then There Were Two

Photography Prints

Art Prints 



This is the result of artistic collaboration! The painting turned out wonderful!  I have no regrets about giving Lyn Deutsch   permission to paint from my original photo.  Thank you Lyn! I learned as child that sharing is good. “Give and ye shall receive” is a good motto to live by. If I never  gave her permission to use my photo for a reference,  there would only be one piece of art inspired by a scene but now there are two!

I saw this beautiful scene on  a wonderful vacation visiting my Dad in Oregon & we shared this special  moment in time together. It brought us joy at the time so why not share the joy with not only the people who view my photo but also all the people who will view Lyn’s painting?

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the “I have to look out for number one” state of mind but when you look out for number two and three and more wonderful things can happen. I think it starts with letting go of fear, fear of “what if this or that happens?”  but sometimes when we really examine our fears we realize that even if the “this” or “that” happens it’s really not that bad and often “this” or “that” doesn’t even happen!

 I’ve found in my life over the years that even when things seem like they are not going the way I want them to be going , that things always turn out in the end. There is a lot of truth to the phrase “Let Go And Let God”. In other words, just live your life with the ups and downs and realize that it will all turn out ok in the end because it always does and remember to stop spending your time worrying and instead spend your time sharing, giving & helping others where you can!  God/ the Universe/ Your higher power will take care of the rest. 🙂

Photography Prints

I recently responded to a forum post in Fine Art America where artist Lyn Deutsch was inquiring if any of the photographers in Fine Art America would be interested in allowing her to use one of their photos for a painting reference. I immediately responded with a YES!  Not long after I d she asked if she could use the above photo.  I’m very honored & flattered that an artist would want to paint one of my images. 

The forum generated a very lively conversation amongst the members ranging from “Sure! Please do!” to “I wouldn’t be comfortable with someone using my work for reference since it is my work & vision and not theirs”.  I find myself on the end of the spectrum of seeing this a compliment from a fellow artist and as long as I am given a photo credit for this it is also a great way to get more exposure for my photography (pun intended Lol).

 I’ve always been envious of people who have the talent & ability to draw and paint what they see  but I am not one of those people who can draw or paint much more than a happy face or a stick figure! So I have found myself in the world of photography, capturing beauty in nature and candid cherished moments of friends & family.  So when an artist wants to paint one of my photos it’s almost like they are saying ” you have created a beautiful piece art & I want to create from your creation” which makes me feel good about my art.

She may be painting  the same scene but it will be a different interpretation. The paint and texture & colors she uses will create a whole new dimension to the same scene. It is kind of  like one piece of music that can have many different arrangements.  Or even a snippet from a song that has been re-mixed into another song.  Or it could be like a flower that goes to seed and creates more flowers. The original flower is a perfect picture of  beauty but why stop there? If you let it go to seed it could one day create a whole field of flowers! 🙂