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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

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  • 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.
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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

This fall has proven to be hectic despite the fact that I don’t have to do the back-to-school thing anymore.  Finding time to slow down and relax is a challenge especially when I want to spend time taking pictures.  One of my favourite photography genres is macro photography.  My Nikon 105mm f/2.8 macro lens used to spend at least 50 percent of the time on my camera, but with the addition of our puppy, George, to the family, I have been shifting my attention away from a purely meditative and therapeutic form of photography.

I have been treating myself to a weekly arrangement of flowers from Bloomfields Flowers, a Pinterest worthy flower shop in our neighbourhood.  Just passing through their door slows my breathing and calms whatever anxiety I may have been feeling.  I haven’t been photographing my blooms with regularity, but I did spend some time with this particular bouquet a couple of weeks ago.  Not only do I find shooting macro, relaxing, I am enjoying the post processing of my images more and more.  It’s like painting without the paint.

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, the lovely Nadeen Flynn.  Thanks so much for looking.

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  • Jennifer Carr - These are absolute perfection, Sue. I’m so glad you pulled out the macro lens again <3ReplyCancel

    • admin - Me too!! I’m not just saying this to be a suck-up, but your session was really a kick in the pants to pull it out again. One of my favourite things to do is to walk through my neighbourhood and search for things to photograph with my macro lens. I hadn’t done that in long time and I needed too. Thanks for the spark.ReplyCancel

  • Wendy - These images are really beautiful. Likewise put the same lens away for over a year, but took it out again recently and loving using it.

    So good you are enjoying not only shooting macro, but post processing also. Therapy 🙂ReplyCancel

    • admin - Thank you Wendy! I would love to see some of your macros.ReplyCancel

  • Nadeen Flynn - Stunning. And, I love that you converted to BW. So calming.ReplyCancel

    • admin - Thank you, Nadeen. A little something different from me.ReplyCancel

  • Jane Lewis - Beautiful Susan!ReplyCancel

  • Mabel - Oh my! Your choice of b/w for these are stunning.ReplyCancel

I am a lazy creature.  I love to put my feet up first thing in the morning with a cup or three of coffee and ease into my day.  This is especially true up at the lake, where I have the luxury of not having anything on the agenda.  My laid-back approach proves to be a bit of a problem considering my love of landscape and nature photography.  The most beautiful light of the day conflicts with my slothing.  I most often rush out the door with my camera, still in my jammies and capture the sun rising over the lake.

While the hubby and I were at the lake for the Labour Day long weekend, we awoke to the most incredible fog on Saturday morning.  So many times I have captured the fog in the same manner I capture most of my images, grab and shoot.  Well on Saturday, I hemmed and hawed, and finally decided to change my ways and get out and shoot a scene I haven’t yet shot.  So down the road I headed toward the farm with my Nikon D750 and my Sigma 24-70. They say timing is everything and my hesitation caused me to miss the fog by minutes.  Not only that, I ended up having a change of plans and wanted to photograph the incredible spider webs that had captured the morning dew.  So after a not-so-serene run back to the cottage to retrieve my Nikon 105mm macro lens, I ventured into the farm field and got lost in the beautiful work of the orbed weaver.  Slowing down and shooting with my macro lens is like meditation for me.  I become aware of my breathing, concentrating on slowing my breath to steady my camera.  Shooting like this is the epitome of serenity.

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Not to let an opportunity pass me up twice in two days, I didn’t hesitate Sunday morning when the fog made another appearance.  Even more prepared than on Saturday, I donned my Hunter wellingtons and headed back to the farm to capture this scene that I had been remiss to shoot in the fifteen summers we have be going to Lake Pemichangan.  Other than a small group of people out for an early morning walk, I had the road and the farm to myself.  Such a beautiful, peaceful morning, the golden rod was still in its glory. I shot for about forty-five minutes until the fog had lifted.  When I returned to the cottage, my coffee was waiting but now I have a collection of some of my favourite images of the summer which if I had been true to form would have missed out on.  Lesson learned.

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Foggy mornings are such a pleasure. So tranquil.

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The Serenity Blog Circle is a collaborative photography project in which the images portray the photographer’s view of what she sees as serene.  Please follow the link to the very talented Carri Peterson of Sunlit Moments Photography to see her take on the theme.  Thanks so much for looking.

 

  • Wendy - OM goodness Susan! These images are so beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • carri peterson - The photo of the tree and the chair… just waiting for someone to sit down. That is beautiful.

    Your area of the world looks a lot like Kentucky!ReplyCancel

    • admin - Thank you! I loved seeing the similarities. I’m sorry I am just replying to your comment now, Carri.ReplyCancel

  • Cheryl - Susan, I love your work here. So beautiful and fitting the serenity theme. Congrats on getting out there to capture it all!ReplyCancel

  • Kathy - Sue, you sound so much like me. I cherish my quiet, alone time with my cup(s) of coffee in the morning. It’s so hard to get going, knowing that something photographically wonderful could be waiting for you if you would just get moving! Exceptional images!ReplyCancel

  • Nina Mingioni - really beautiful, Sue! i too love shooting in the fog and find macro to be equivalent to meditation.ReplyCancel

    • admin - Thank you, Nina! It really is meditative.ReplyCancel

  • Mabel - Oh, love the fog images, especially the lone chair looking out.ReplyCancel

I was so honoured when I was asked by my friend and fellow photographer, Nadeen Flynn, to participate in a monthly photography project and blog circle called “The Serenity Project”.  I know the work of many of these talented women and am proud to call them friends.  I have drooled enviously looking at their tranquil images, wishing that I could share some of my work in a project like this.  Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this beautiful project, ladies.  I encourage everyone to follow the links to check out the work of these incredible photographers.

Serenity is a common theme in my work.  I love peace and calm and I hope that the viewer of my photographs are given pause and take the time to appreciate the beauty that in their own lives.   This was shot on film, not my usual medium, but something I am interested in learning more about.  If truth be told, I am not finding the process of shooting film to be as relaxing as shooting digital.  It’s not intuitive for me yet.  The end result made me forget my frustrations and learning through trial and error.  This was a long deep sigh…

Please check out the serene work of my talented friend,  Kathy Roberts.  The Serenity Project is a collaborative photography project focusing on the calm, serene beauty in the world.

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  • Wendy McCallum - How beautiful this scene is. Can imagine being there…. bliss!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer Carr - I’m so thrilled you’ve joined us ❤️ And not a hint of frustration came through in your image, it’s lovely!ReplyCancel

    • admin - I’m so excited to be participating with you all! I was saying to Nadeen that I’ve had a crush on this project and wished I was a part of it. Thank you so much for including me and for your constant encouragement and kindness.ReplyCancel

  • Nadeen - So thrilled you’ve joined us! I look forward to your shares and love the peace evident in your work.ReplyCancel

    • admin - I am so thrilled for the invitation to join you all, Nadeen. I’ve been crushing on this project for such a long time and secretly wishing I was a part of it.ReplyCancel

  • Leanne - Beautiful image Sue! Your work is so well suited to a project with this title! 🙂ReplyCancel

    • admin - Thank you so much, Leanne. Your work is so calm and beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • Iris - This is gorgeous, Sue. I love the peace that this image portrays. Thank you for sharing.ReplyCancel

    • admin - Thanks for your kind comment, Iris!!ReplyCancel

  • NinaZM - i was thrilled to have you join our project, Sue! gorgeous work, as always!ReplyCancel

    • admin - Thank you so much, Nina. I was really flattered to be asked.ReplyCancel

  • Kathy - I am so, so glad you have joined us Sue! I love the image you’ve shared this month, it reminds me of my parents place on the lake. When I’m there, I’m always up at sunrise and look at a scene much like this one each time.ReplyCancel

    • admin - Thank you so much, Kathy!! I’m so happy that you all have include me in this project. How wonderful that you get to have a view like this at your parents place!ReplyCancel