Alignment

013236. Sometimes things line up. When you’re paying attention, you can see the rhythm, the moment, in a way that you may have missed if you weren’t really looking. I love this bridesmaid in a hotel room, adorned and ready to usher her girl into the next phase of her life. Watched over by anonymous history. A circle of women that is as eternal as life itself.

Wide Angle

000835. I shoot close in – usually with an 85mm or 105mm lens, or with a 70 – 200mm zoom to give privacy to the subject, but still get an intimate capture. So when that is the status quo, there’s just nothing like mixing in a switch to the 35mm. Wide angle capture. Suddenly I can see the whole scene. I can get a sense of perspective and scale. I can see what I’ve been missing, focusing in so closely on the itty bitty parts that I miss the full story. I was walking up a mountain on skis yesterday, looking out over the jagged and enveloping Cascade range, feeling my heart beat and sweat pool, and as often happens when I’m in nature, I felt rightly placed in the world. The right size. My problems, my goals, my stuff, they came back into scale as just one tiny part of this massive, gorgeous universe.

The River

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34. There is beauty in everything, when we open our eyes to it. I was up in the Cascades, sitting along the bank of the river with a rustic lunch while my partner fished. The soft rain was falling, as it nearly always does, but underneath the cover of pine it doesn’t fall to the ground. I could have sat there all day. Breathing in the earth, watching the droplets break the surface of the river, the river then reconstituting itself. Water cycle in action. What’s there to say that hasn’t been said before about a pine forest, a river, and a lazy afternoon?

Transitions

4-233. There are transitions in life. That’s the reality of this thing that we are all living. Dottie now looks like a grown child in comparison to her new baby brother. Whereas for three years, all of the attention had been on her, now it is divided by two. And actually, it may be divided 80/20, let’s be real. For a short time. So when I arrived with my camera, and wanted all of the shots – her alone, baby alone, family together, and her with her brother, well….let’s just say that after I photographed her brother alone, effectively ignoring her, and turned to bring her back into the frame, she wasn’t having it. She let me know me that her toy was very, very important. And she had important things to do. A photo with her brother was nowhere near the top of the list.

This happens in all of my newborn sessions with a second child, and it just gets my inner psychologist going. Just like all of us, she was trying to exert some control over this transition that she has no control over. She is so smart and so driven that she’s trying re-establish her role. To carve out a space for herself that has meaning, and is recognized by others that way. That she’s independent in a way that distinguishes her from the pack. Her brother can’t yet be independent, but she has earned this. She has put. in. her. time.

And yes, obviously Dottie only froze me out for like a minute. Then we gave her a power position on a step stool and asked her to do a very important thing – hold her little brother (and soon to be – favorite playmate)’s, hand. And she gave us this.

Thanks Dottie, for your spirit, your fun, and your fierce independence. And for going along with the plan. Even when your toy was infinitely more engaging.

Unscripted

sophiablog32. “Come on, we’re European. Just do what you do and it will be beautiful.”, said Sophia after I asked her if she wanted any posed photos during their newborn session. My kind of lady – letting the art create itself in the reflection of their lives.

Searching for the Light

0004-231. “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

As divisions and starless nights feel so profound now…I’m taking today to look back to our leaders who inspired, and find slivers of light. Thank you, Dr. King.

The Wishing Tree

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30. I was listening to an interview with researcher Daniel Goleman on my walk today. He was sharing the story of a New York City bus driver who shocked him into awareness as he boarded the bus. The driver truly looked him in the eye and asked “how are you today?”. The connection was unforeseen. Then Daniel noticed the driver was talking with everyone around him “oh, there’s a great new show at the MET you should check out!” “You’re out shopping for a suit? So and so store is having a sale!” and earnestly acknowledging each rider as they disembarked and walked into the rest of their day. Daniel later discovered that this driver was also a pastor. I’m listening to this last line, and make a left onto Galer Street, here in Seattle, and just about walk straight into The Wishing Tree. Now, I’ve run and walked these same roads more times than I can count, but for some reason I’ve never made this particular left at this particular intersection. I stopped to read a few of the wishes, laminated for protection, and strung with care. With the exception of a few kids, who wished for a “better Pokemon connection” and “a purple unicorn and my own room (written in Spanish)”, each and every card I read wished for love, for better connection with the humans in their lives, for peace and love for their children or for balance within themselves. Every single one. It was actually astonishing. No one asked for a different job, more money, or even for world peace. Each wish I touched asked for love, connection and internal balance.

This is what it’s all about. This is what the bus driver/pastor was bringing to peoples lives that was so astonishingly simple, refreshing, and filling: authentic care and connection.

Here is my practice in this realm these days: when I’m feeling imbalanced – I for a walk. I greet as many people as I can with a smile and eye contact. If I see someone struggling with a package as they try to open their door, I help them. Balance and connection – it’s  apparently what we all want. Who knew?

P.S. Freaking Seattle. Love you guys. You hippies. And yes, I wrote my wish, too.