Stages of a Marigold

We planted a container garden last week, partly to grow some delicious herbs and peppers, and partly to get us outside a bit more when we are at home. We are also learning a lot about how to grow and the care that gardens need. One of the things we learned is about companion planting, and that having flowers in your herb/veggie garden helps keep pests at bay. So we planted some marigolds in various containers, and I had a bit of fun with our macro lens this evening. Here are some shots of Marigold flowers in various stages. Prints are available if you click the images.



Questing for Beauty


High Key Light. The tiny heart-shaped hole, intricate veins, and beautiful color captured my eye on a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Print available.

“The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.”

My photography mentor, Shari Miller, shared this quote by Henry Miller yesterday.

In case you are wondering why I have a photography mentor, I have spent the last few months giving careful attention to the incredible and mysterious world of photography through The Arcanum: The Magical Academy of Artistic Mastery. The best way to describe the Arcanum is a fun cross between Hogwarts, a MMORPG, and an online course—all geared towards improving your own photography through peer and mentor feedback, access to tutorials and videos, and the discipline of committing to quests … I mean challenges. I have just completed Sphere 0 and after 10 levels, I have a few thoughts on the whole Arcanum experience.

Henry Miller’s quote would be a perfect motto for our cohort in the Arcanum. Shari has named us “The Cohort of Seers–seeing more of the beauty in the world, in others, and within ourselves.” And with her guidance, my peers and I are embracing a joyful experience of exploration and encouragement. We’ve been having a great time discussing intention, experimentation, color, texture, and having fun with photography. I have taken the opportunity and the space to push myself to try new things, think about my goals and the story I am trying to tell, and learn to find my voice and style. Our cohort is not afraid to experiment or discuss the philosophy behind and in our art. Shari has been a great leader in helping us to ask questions and think about emotion, mood–and borders.


Through the Looking Glass. While on the driftwood beach at Jekyll Island, Shari’s words about borders and experimenting with mood and texture guided me to compose this other-worldly image. Print available.

While my experiences have certainly helped me improve my technique, both in composition and in processing, the most important areas of growth have been in the discipline of photography and the reflection on the images. For me, taking the time and patience to commit to improving and reflecting on my art has been enormous. I am somewhat competitive, and I love games and puzzles, so the structure of “challenges” is perfect for me! In meeting each challenge, I allow myself the time and focus to give care, attention, and space for growing my artistic voice. In a world filled with busy-ness and need, it has been helpful to allow myself this time and place for focusing on something that brings me joy and allows me to exercise my creativity.


Grounded in Solitude. I’m not usually drawn to landscape shots, but mindful of my tendency towards busy-ness, I found peace in focusing on this quiet scene. Print Available.

The discipline of photography has provided the foundation, but much of my growth has also come through the reflective piece that Shari and my cohort provide. While we do talk about gear, and theory, and software, and technique, we also talk about emotion, mood, memory, story, beauty, inspiration, gratitude, perspective, and philosophy. My cohort is composed of people from around the world with different ideas, interests, and styles. Hearing their viewpoints and seeing their images and the stories behind their images, provides both inspiration and instruction.

As I begin Sphere 1, the next level in the Arcanum journey, I journey with a sense of gratitude for the space, people, and time to focus on seeing and creating beauty. This journey brings balance and light and reminds me of who I want to be.


Starry Nights. The swirls and patterns in the driftwood reminded me of van Gogh’s painting.  This was such a joy to process and I experimented with several new techniques, layers, and colors before finally settling on this version. Print available.



Fall Fun Fest, Chapter Four: Rediscovering Stone Mountain Park

When I first moved to Atlanta, I spent a lot of time at Stone Mountain Park: walking the dog, hiking, biking. As the years went on, I lost interest in the location. In the past couple of months, though, Michelle and I have been visiting the park to practice our photography, and we have discovered it from some different perspectives.

Stone Mountain Sunset

A Stone Mountain sunset on the west side from the road that leads up to the songbird habitat.

Songbird Trail

A fun trail through the wooded area of the songbird habitat.

One of the new discoveries I made this past weekend was the Songbird Habitat Trail. It is on a less-traveled road in the park, which means there are fewer people, dogs, bikes, and cars. The sanctuary itself has some very nice trails through a meadow, and is quite peaceful and serene. I didn’t do any birding, but had a good time shooting some landscapes.

And Michelle explored the world in miniature with a macro lens that we rented.

Michelle explored the world in miniature with a macro lens that we rented. This was some moss on the granite by the waterline.

The next morning, Michelle and I went to the Grist Mill. It is on the eastern side, so you need to be there in the morning to get the best light. Otherwise, the big hunk of granite known as Stone Mountain will cast a shadow over the whole area.

Michelle had some fun playing with a macro lens we rented to test for an upcoming trip. She loves to go into a different universe and see things in unique ways.

Songbird trail around sunset.

The songbird habitat is on the eastern side and is beautiful during the sunset golden hour.

There were some beautiful autumn trees with great color around the mill.

There were some colorful autumn trees around the mill.

Rusty screw

Michelle loves to play with texture, and this rusty screw in the wood filled the bill.


She also had fun exploring the fibrous universe of burlap that was lying around for a landscape project.

Autumn Grist Mill

Some autumn colors framing the grist mill.