On Solid Ground

Be sure and put your feet in the right place…

…and then stand firm.

Abraham Lincoln

That’s a great quote for me today. I’m beginning to realize that sometimes “self-learning” doesn’t really teach me anything. Well, it does but it doesn’t.

It’s like that joke about men never wanting to ask for directions. I’ll spend hours on the computer—testing out tools— and never take a second to open up any form of instructional material. Obviously that joke applies to women as well. Ha!

What I’m really learning is that sometimes you learn a lot more when you look to others for guidance. That being said, I’m hoping to spend the next (school free) month looking at other blogs—and tutorials and such.

The man in this photograph is the same paddle boarder that was seen in Walking on Water —but on a different day. He was back on solid ground, and looking a little tired. That paddling must be exhausting! I gave the image a silhouette appearance because of the way he’s looking down. He seems humble.

That’s about all for now. Peace & love to you all. Life is good and God is great!

the Boardwalk

Footprints left behind,

In the ocean of my mind,

Memories captured.

—Janet
Haiku #6

I’ve shared this image before, in Pier Madness, but it was severely manipulated and I don’t like that version anymore. The girl taking the iPhone pic is an old schoolmate, and our friendship was the inspiration behind the Haiku.

It’s still raining, and they say it should continue for a couple more days. I’m actually loving it (my comfort weather), but we’re keeping an eye on the news. Some of our friends live in areas that were damaged by fires recently, so you just never know what’s coming.

My Mind’s Eye

From where I was standing,

I saw beauty everywhere.

The gulls appeared to know me,

As if they recognized my stare.

My mind’s eye scanned the horizon,

Rousing dull shades into vibrant hues,

Melancholy grays,

Into sapphire blues.

Moving quickly,

I traversed the mud and the trash.

I saw snowflakes and crystals,

As I watched the waves crash.

The storm the eve before,

Left puddles, wind, and freezing air…

But on the coast that morning,

Not a surfer,

Nor I,

Had a single care.

—Janet

Inspired by the Word of the Day Challenge: Dream

Playing the Game

Well, I never made it outside yesterday (Boooo). Honestly… it is freaking COLD here! Not as cold as so many places, but in California these recent “extremes” are quite shocking to some of us natives.

Anyway, even though I made a silent vow to stay away from my archived photographs, this morning I remembered some images I took at the park some time ago, and this one seemed perfect for today’s thoughts. Par for the course, I played around in Photoshop to make it appear a little “dreamy.” I couldn’t help but wonder if this young boy was dreaming a little himself at that moment; feeling hopeful about his future in baseball.

I don’t know if I mentioned it before… but this past summer I played coed slow-pitch softball. I’ve now joined a winter league, and this weekend is our first practice game. A friend of mine—who has never played before—has also signed up, and this past Sunday the two of us went to the batting cages.

After showing her how to hold the bat, how to stand, and how to swing, I gave my friend the cage and watched her go at it. I found myself a bit baffled by her performance (and I hope she never reads this!). She seemed distracted—always watching the entrance to see who might be walking in—and when she swung it seemed “halfhearted” to me. It’s almost like she had already decided that she sucked at it, so she didn’t even want to try.

The good news is that eventually her bat started connecting with the ball that was being delivered to her, and we were both happy that she made some progress.

The reason I bring this up is because yesterday I spent the day brainstorming—thinking about my ideas, my dreams, and my goals for this year. I took time to write the important ones down… and then pondered how to break them down into little steps.

I felt really good after that. It’s like putting them on paper (well, on screen actually) made them appear more real to me, more achievable. When I was heading to bed I sort of imagined myself taking even more steps—getting out there and being intentional about my next moves.

That’s when the vision of my friend came to my mind… I imagined how she stood there; swinging that bat with what appeared to be “zero hope” that she would ever actually HIT the ball.

Something inside of me clicked, and I realized that sometimes the way I think and talk about my dreams is like how she swung that bat—with no real hope of actually making contact.

If I’m going to turn those dreams into reality, I need to get my butt out to that plate, stand there like I mean it, keep my eye on the ball… and swing that bat like there’s no tomorrow!  

Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.

Babe Ruth

Life is good, and God is great!
—Janet

Timeless

Inspired by the Word of the Day Challenge: Infinity

After going through the photographs of my recent zoo trip, I’m a little disappointed with my “shooting” skills. Lights seem to be the hardest thing for me to capture on camera; even harder than moving birds.

True to form, however, I wasn’t going to let a few bad images spoil the bunch. I’ve wanted to do something to transform some of the not so bad shots into something better—and tonight I discovered the “radial blur” tool. What a fun discovery THAT was!

I don’t know… but I think it looks like light trails came in to visit us, straight from the 60’s. It also makes my tummy hurt a little when I stare at it; like I’m moving through infinity.

Anyway, there is still hope. Tomorrow night I’m going out to see more lights, I’ll have my camera in hand, and I’m going to give it one more shot.

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dream Chasers

A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work. Colin Powell

In visiting some images from my past, I stumbled on this photograph I took of some of my friends taking surf lessons. I thought it was a good representation of my thoughts lately; about hard work and determination.

One of our math assignments last week was to read an article by Carol S. Dweck—the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University—about fixed mindsets vs. growth mindsets. What’s interesting is that in doing so, I learned a little something about myself.

A person with a fixed mindset believes that intelligence levels, talents, and abilities are fixed, that we inherently have what we have (basically what we are fortunate enough to be born with), and that’s it. A person with a growth mindset, on the other hand, believes that intelligence levels, talents, and abilities can be cultivated through effort and education; they are potentials that can be realized through learning and practice.

I’ve always had a tendency to bounce around when it comes to my passions, interests, and pursuits—I can’t always stick to one thing—and I’m now realizing why that is; I have a bit of a fixed mindset.

Whenever I hit a wall—when something becomes too difficult, or too challenging for me—I simply change my direction. I automatically assume that I must have been on the wrong track to begin with, and that I don’t inherently have what it takes to continue on the path that I’m on. I guess you could say that I believed I had reached a plateau; a point where I could never go higher in that particular realm. That was a fixed mindset.

A person with a growth mindset would have believed that they did in fact have the potential to go higher, beyond those plateaus that are actually momentary and temporary obstacles. A person with a growth mindset would believe that they could do it, but that the process would require something of them: 

Effort and hard work.

I’m not saying I’m not a hard worker. What I’m saying is that when I DO work hard I tend to want to work at something that comes easy to me. Something I already understand or know how to do well. That’s not growth; that’s repetition. In looking back at my old business, I recognize this. I did what I did for a living (and for so long) because it came easy to me. I could do it with little effort or thought!

So, now that I’m aware of this I’m going to work on changing my beliefs. No more fearing or running from things that are difficult or challenging. I also thought this was good information to share because I’m sure there are other people who may be stuck in a fixed mindset; believing that they aren’t cut out for something.

It really IS possible, it just takes determination, hard work and practice.

Don’t sell yourself short!

If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere. Frank A. Clark

Street Portrait

When you look at a person, any person, remember that everyone has a story. Everyone has gone through something that has changed them.

I’ve been watching the show Abstract on Netflix, and just finished the segment on the photographer Platon. All I can say is “WOW.” His work is so incredible. It really reignited my passion for photography.

Since I was already in do-over mode, I went back to a street photograph that I posted in 2016. It was the first time, and one of the rare times, that I attempted “candid street photography.” Since the photograph was so unplanned and raw, I wanted to go back to it and focus on the man’s face, add some paint strokes to soften it, and make the portrait seem more up-close & personal.

It doesn’t exactly shout Happy Saturday, but “Happy Saturday” nonetheless!

Peace & Love—
Janet

If

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

By Rudyard Kipling


The instructor of my writing class read this poem aloud, and I just love it. I had never heard it before, so it was extra special to discover it at this point of my life… while I am furthering my education. 🙂

I pulled up some old images from my archives, to experiment with some new techniques on some old photographs. This one of my grandson came up and it was a perfect fit for the poem!

Have a blessed weekend everyone!

Life is good, and God is GREAT!

Pier Madness

Some people wait so long for their ship to come in, their pier collapses. -John Goddard-

I am checking another item off of the 55 things list; took a photo underneath a pier. In all honesty, it may very well be the first time that I even stood under a pier! That I can remember, anyway. We did lots of family outings at this beach when I was a kid, so it’s pretty hard to say.

What’s funny is that I took quite a few shots, but the lighting is terrible under there! This was the best I could find, but the only thing that was a little “off” about it was that it captured my friend taking her photo, too! I thought about cropping it, but it just didn’t seem right. Plus her being there is what makes it so special! A special memory indeed! So… this image is very personal to me. 🙂

Good times and crazy friends make the best memories.

There were too many straight lines for my taste, so I did a little distortion and made the colors more vibrant. I actually like this one very much.

Anyway, I’m going to slow down on the edits now. Do you know that I was looking at my numbers and in January I did 98 posts! That’s an average of 3.16 a day! No wonder I was feeling like I was in high gear!

Off to my recovery class now.

Peace and Love!!

Photography Fun

You don’t take a photograph. You make it. Ansel Adams

I’ve been going through some of the images I shot Saturday, trying to see how to make them look artsy, or more unique. I’m still teaching myself how to use Photoshop and Lightroom, so it’s always fun to see what you can do in the programs.

I shot this city image when we were around the halfway point—when we stopped to take photos of the view and some slightly close up shots of the sign. The gentleman in the photo was in our group and stepped into my shot just as I clicked the button.

I took more, but I actually thought his invasion made the image even cooler! I like the fact that he looks a bit like a giant. I added some motion blur to him so that it looks like he is moving a little faster than he really was.

The hazy sky in L.A. tends to distort any photos I take of skylines or distant landscapes. I’m sure it’s just me, but I just love underdogs, so I always try to bring my worst images to life—regardless of how bad they look.

It’s funny that I was so excited to take photographs of the Hollywood sign. Once I got home and started going through them, they really aren’t that exciting! It’s just a mountain and a sign! So… I added some dramatic color and a rainbow- just for the heck of it. Just above the “L” you can see some tiny people. That’s about where I was when I took the images of the backside.

Anyway, I think I’ve already had my fill of the hiking images.

Life is good, and God is GREAT!

Photography is a love affair with life. Burk Uzzle

Backstage Pass

Everybody’s a dreamer and everybody’s a star, And everybody’s in movies, it doesn’t matter who you are. The Kinks, Celluloid Heroes

I’m sharing the end of yesterday’s day trip first, since it’s something I’m pretty darn proud of. I actually made it to the TOP of the mountain, so not only did I view the Hollywood sign (in person) for the very first time, but I hiked up to see if from the backside.

This is quite an accomplishment for me because… well… I am NOT a hiker! Ha! And I was the very last one in the group to make it up, but I kept going even though my legs kept saying “NO!”

Today I am definitely feeling the pain, but it was well worth it. My dear friend who lives near Portland is responsible for getting me off of my duff, and out into the places where those fit people” go.

And it was exhilarating! I do believe I will be doing more things like this. I’ve been a bit of a hermit since I broke both of my ankles two years ago (not to mention the excessive drinking I was doing, as well), so it’s about time that I use my legs more and get healthy again. It felt SO great to get out!

Anyway… just wanted to share this image from behind the sign. The gentleman sitting up top was our guide (a man from Australia, no less), and you can see Lake Hollywood in the image, as well.

Needless to say I’ve now checked off hiked to the Hollywood sign on my list of 55 things to do, that I’ve never done before.

Blessings!!

The greatest oak
was once a little nut
that held its ground.

Sweet Serenade

Life is just one grand sweet song, so start the music. Ronald Reagan

Yesterday was an absolutely wonderful day! I took this photograph from the Santa Monica Pier. Sometimes something (or someone) just captures your attention, and this was one of those moments. I saw this musician from the boardwalk and took a long distance shot.

Vivid Dreams

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. Henry David Thoreau

I suppose this image and quote could be misleading. I’m not a golfer, nor do I dream of ever being one! These were photos that I took over the past few days. Both were shot from a distance; the golfer at the edge of the lake, and the background is actually the top of a palm tree that was blowing in the wind yesterday.

And midway through writing this post I decided to add one more element to the golfer…

A personalized golf ball!

Lovin’ the Leaf

Anyone can love a rose, but it takes a lot to love a leaf. It’s ordinary to love the beautiful, but it’s beautiful to love the ordinary

The featured image is my grandson and his leaf. So cute!

Anyway, I’ve had time to think about my rambling thoughts from last night, about my confinement, and I realized how wrong my thinking was. Staying away from the things that aren’t good for me is not confinement at all. It’s like—as they say in the program—knowing that the hot stove will burn you, but wanting to put your hand on it anyway.

Feeling confined is almost like asking; How long do I have to wait before I touch that stove again?!?

That’s silly! I’m glad I was able to look at things from a different perspective today. And as far as that burnout thing, I got my mojo back this morning and it’s all systems go.

Peace & Love!