Masthead header

We had a beautiful couple of days at the lake over the Easter long weekend.  Sunny and warm after so. much. rain.  (In case you didn’t know this about Canadians we LOVE to talk about the weather).  Anyway, as you may know, I love to wander around with my camera and see what I’ll find.  It’s a great way to log steps on my FitBit without working out and to slow down and be observant.  For as beautiful as the morning was it’s still only April in Western Quebec, so other than the fact that the snow for all intents and purposes is gone and the ice on the lake is dangerously thin, we are not in the throes of spring with it’s full-on display of colourful blossoms.  Everything is very brown and after a long winter of monochromatic tones my camera really wants to capture some colour in the great outdoors.  Well brown is a colour and so is green, so mission accomplished!  Truth be told, I couldn’t have been happier.  The forest floor is starting to show a little life.  The moss is luscious and thick and the evergreens look happy to not be burdened with ice and snow.

These were all freelensed, a technique where you detach the lens from the camera body and hold it in front of the sensor.  I have an old lens that I modified, but I need to modify it a bit more to really get the effect that I am after.  As you can see by the progression of these photographs, I was getting more precise focus as I practiced.  The soft focus in the first two doesn’t bother me at all as I was really focused on the light and the colour.  The mood of these images really did match how I was feeling as I was out exploring.  There is a sense of optimism; we need to be patient and wait for the breaks in the rain, we need to slow down and look for the beauty that is there and enjoy it for what it is.

The Serenity Blog Circle is a collaborative photography project in which we want to share images that convey peace and calm.  Please click over to see what my talented friend Nadeen Flynn of Nadeen Flynn Photography is sharing this month.   I love how she views the world around her.  Thank you for looking.
susanwatsonbahen_serentiy_april-7853susanwatsonbahen_serentiy_april-7856susanwatsonbahen_serentiy_april-7865susanwatsonbahen_serentiy_april-7884susanwatsonbahen_serentiy_april-7898

Well it’s bound to happen.  We had a lovely, relatively easy winter by Ottawa standards, with lots of mild days (peppered with some extreme cold and a few snow storms), but for someone who has gone from a winter person to a fair weather fan, I really had little to complain about the last few months.  Enter March.  What is going on?  It’s been colder the last few days than it’s felt all winter.  And why not throw in a last season storm to add insult to injury.

This is a post about serenity so I will change my tone.  I spent a day in Montreal early this month visiting a dear photography friend.  The temperature dropped to sub-freezing from the previous day’s mild rain so Anda suggested that we go the the Botanical Garden where they had a butterfly exhibit.  Talk about the perfect antidote to the cold.  Despite the excitement of all the little children, this was truly a serene and beautiful exhibit.  I couldn’t tell you how many different varieties there were or how many butterflies there were in total, but it was the most magical experience.  It felt like being in a Disney movie with blue butterflies chasing each other through the crowds of patrons, stopping to rest on a child’s head or trying to camouflage themselves on the flowers on foliage (well those playful blue ones were the most inconspicuous).

The Serenity Blog Circle is a collaborative photography project in which we want to share images that convey peace and calm.  Please click over to see what my talented friend Nadeen Flynn of Nadeen Flynn Photography is sharing this month.  I love her take on serenity.

 

susanwatsonbahen_serentiy_march-3022008susanwatsonbahen_serentiy_march-3022005susanwatsonbahen_serentiy_march-3021999susanwatsonbahen_serentiy_march-3021984susanwatsonbahen_serentiy_march-3021963

I used to be a winter person,  but something happens when you get older and you realize that winter is hard.  It’s long, dark and cold.   You get cranky that the city hasn’t cleared the sidewalks and you pine for the days when you can leave the house in your flip-flops.  This winter has been different, though.  It’s still cold and dark, but I have been enjoying myself like I haven’t in a long time.   My pup needs to get out for his walks and we’ve been hanging out at the dog park.  Playing fetch and running through the snow (George, not me).  We stay out forever!  It’s like being a kid.  It’s just so beautiful!

This past weekend, up at the lake,  my hubby and I were out in the woods with the dog on a mission to dig out his stuck ATV.  After he and the dog took off into the distance, I went home for my camera (and spare batteries…it was COLD!) then headed back to the peace and quiet of the forest.  The snow clinging to the remaining leaves on the trees.  The warmth of the leaves juxtaposed against the cool white snow.  It really was something.

The Serenity Blog Circle is a collaborative photography project in which we want to share images that convey peace and calm.  Please click over to see what Carri Peterson of Sunlit Moments Photography is finding serene this month.

SusanWatsonBahen_Serentiy_February-6820SusanWatsonBahen_Serentiy_February-6813SusanWatsonBahen_Serentiy_February-6791

  • The {Serenity} Project – In the Kitchen » Kathleen Roberts Photography - […] This month is no exception in finding serenity all around us in this world.  My talented friend Sue Bahen is next in line.  Follow the circle around to see what she has to share this […]ReplyCancel

  • Iris - It does look cool with the snow and the leaves. I am glad that you are enjoying this winter a little. I feel the same way about summers in Arizona.ReplyCancel

    • admin - I have to admit, I think your summers are more unbearable than our winters. We can always bundle up. You can only take off so many clothes before you get into trouble.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer Carr - These are beautiful! I love how much you have been enjoying this winter. It’s so great to see you making time for yourself to just “be.” <3ReplyCancel

  • admin - Thank you, Jenny! I really have been. John asked if I was going to take George with me and I said, “No way!!” I was thinking of you though. You would have loved it.ReplyCancel

  • Kathy - Lovely, lovely, lovely! Walking in the quietness of snow is special to me too. I LOVE how you can see mini-snowflakes on the leaves <3ReplyCancel

Well, here we find ourselves in December, a month with 31 days that feels more like 15.   As a terminal procrastinator, I struggle with all of the preparations and hecticness that is the Christmas Season.  Kind of a contradictory statement in a blog post about serenity.  These images were all the result of literally slowing down. Physically stopping the car to enjoy the beauty around me.  The first photograph was made while I was out delivering gift baskets for my husband, John, to his clients.  Many of them live in rural Ottawa and my route that day kept me on the road for four and a half hours, time I was resenting spending behind the wheel knowing what needed to be done at home (a puppy to walk, groceries to buy, gifts to wrap, decorations to put out…).  As I was leaving one of my stops,  I knew I had to pull over and capture the lines of the long country road.  I live on a busy street in the city and this is about as opposite a place to live than my home.  The clouds had lifted a bit and the blue sky was peaking through.  The long straight lines of the road, receding into the distance in a hypnotic, calming manner.

The other three images were taken going to (image two) and leaving the cottage this past weekend (images three and four).  To be perfectly honest, it really is difficult to not feel serene at the lake, but we (and by we, I mean the guy behind the wheel) are usually in a hurry either coming or going that I am whizzing past the gorgeous scenery that I am mentally photographing in my mind or trying to capture through a dirty truck window.  On both days, Friday and Sunday, the sky was glowing behind a haze.  I had the door practically open before we had come to a complete stop and I was able to take in the last light of the day against the fresh snow.  The last two were taken about 100 meters from each other (I think, I’m terrible at estimating distances).  What a different location makes.  The snow blew off the hood of the truck and onto the windshield and with the light shining through the trees and onto the snow, it painted the most beautiful winter abstract that begged to captured.

The last image is a final reminder to me of the peaceful calm that I feel at the lake.  As I head into the week leading to Christmas,  with all of the rushing around and last minute preparations, I know full well that I will stress myself out, I have that final picture as a reminder of the bigger picture, that we shouldn’t sweat the small stuff.  The things that matter cannot be bought and wrapped up to open on Christmas morning.  Despite the pressure that we put on ourselves this time of year, and quite frankly throughout the year, we have to take the time to slow down, whether it’s for a couple of minutes or a couple of hours.

The Serenity Blog Circle is a collaborative photography project in which we want to share images that convey peace and calm.  Please follow the link to my very talented friend, Kathy Roberts.  Thanks so much for looking and all of the best to you and your families for a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.  xo

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

SusanWatsonBahen_Serentiy_December-2833

SusanWatsonBahen_Serentiy_December-43SusanWatsonBahen_Serentiy_December-6078

 

  • Wendy - Om goodness Susan…. these images are absolutely stunning! The atmosphere around them is amazing!!!ReplyCancel

  • Kathy - I can so relate to the mentally taking pictures when someone is whizzing by the gorgeous scenery. This is why I like to drive! That abstract image is amazing!! Uncanny what a little blowing snow can do! Merry Christmas to you…ReplyCancel

    • admin - Just a little (lot) of snow on the windshield. Love that this isn’t a double exposure or an overlay in Photoshop. Merry Christmas to you too, Kathy. <3ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer Carr - Beautiful! I love the depth in the images. It makes me want to bundle up and take a walk down your snow covered path. My favorite is the snowy windshield, though. It’s abstraction (word?!) is incredible!ReplyCancel

    • admin - We’d love to have you join us up here to walk through the woods! And yes, I do believe that abstraction is a word.ReplyCancel

  • Nadeen - I cannot choose a favorite. Love them all!ReplyCancel

  • Jillian Baudry - Stunning images and beautiful sentiments Susan, thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Nancy Armstrong - Sue these are absolutely stunning.ReplyCancel

    • admin - Thank you so much, Nancy!! Merry Christmas to you and Jeff! xoReplyCancel

  • Nina Mingioni - I love your winter imagery, Sue! I love the snow (unless I have to drive in it) and the magic it adds to the surroundings. I am in love with the second image – gorgeous light and composition!ReplyCancel

    • admin - Thanks so much, Nina!! I hate driving in the snow too, but even worse is the ice. Winter truly is beautiful and I remind myself how lucky I am to live in a place with four incredible seasons.ReplyCancel

Oh my goodness!  Where has the time gone.  It feels as if November is flying by.  I know for a lot of people, November is a gloomy month.  The days are growing shorter, cooler and are often fraught with rain.  I’m not going to lie and say that my heart doesn’t do cartwheels when it’s hot and sunny, or even warm and partly cloudy for that matter, but I have come to love shooting in the rain.  There is such a sense of calm that overcomes me and gives me such pleasure.

Last month I talked about how meditative it is to shoot macro, well this is month is in the same vein.  These images were shot on two separate days, and both following less than relaxing walks with my rambunctious  eight month old puppy.  I wish I could kill two birds with one stone and stop to take pictures on my walks with George, but that is his time and he needs my attention during his formative adolescence (imagine me bashing my head against a wall…).  He is really good for his age, but still a handful.  On both of these occasions, I was really enjoying the peacefulness of being out with my dog in the rain, but I never stop looking at the world like a photographer.  Even without my camera in my hand, I was constantly surveying my surroundings for interesting compositions and colours.  I love to capture nature in our urban neighbourhood.  After drying off the dog and grabbing my camera and a plastic bag to protect my gear, I headed back out, into my happy place of slowing down.  The beauty of shooting on an overcast day is that the light is soft and diffused.  No harsh highlights or shadows to deal with (which I still find interesting to photograph), but instead the light creates soft shadows that add shape and dimension.

I returned home happy and relaxed, despite the weather, so thankful to be able to take some time out of my day to pursue my passion.

The Serenity Blog Circle is a collaborative photography project in which we want to share images that convey peace and calm.  Please follow the link to my very talented friend, Nina Mingioni.  Thanks so much for looking.
SusanWatsonBahen_Serentiy_November-5349SusanWatsonBahen_Serentiy_November-5294SusanWatsonBahen_Serentiy_November-5277SusanWatsonBahen_Serentiy_November-5274

For as beautiful as autumn is, there is a sadness that marks the change of seasons. Bidding a farewell to the blooms of summer and nervously anticipating what November has in store for us.

 

  • Wendy - Beautiful images Susan. Love your work – the colours, the details… everything about it!ReplyCancel

    • admin - Thank you so much, Wendy! I really appreciate your comments.ReplyCancel

  • Lori - Beautiful macro, as always – I can picture you on the ground, butt up taking the first image!ReplyCancel

    • admin - Thanks my friend. I was pretty low on that first image, but it was too wet to be down on my stomach.ReplyCancel

  • Kathy - You find such beauty in everyday Sue. These images reflect that so well! (the first thing I visualized was George dragging you around on your walk though) 😀ReplyCancel

  • Anda - Your words are photos pair so well together, Sue. Having been to your neighbourhood, I can understand why you love your urban macro sessions – there’s so much material right at your doorstep. Beautiful images. I love the soft light you’ve captured even though they were taken on rainy days.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer Carr - These are lovely, Sue!ReplyCancel

  • Nadeen - Knocking my socks off here – in a very good way! The detail, the color, the perspectives!!! Lovely and peaceful. Thank you for sharing.ReplyCancel

    • admin - Aw, thank you, Nadeen! That me so much to me.ReplyCancel