Tell me a Story: March 2017

This month I am going to do something slightly different.  As some of you know I am totally into the Lensbaby products and have really enjoyed playing with them.  In November 2015 a fellow photographer was selling her Lensbaby Composer Pro with the Sweet 35 optic.  I had been watching her posts and loving what she was getting with this sweet lens.  So when she said she was selling it, I jumped at the offer.  I loved the effects of the Sweet 35.

Sweet 35 Optic


I loved the effect of the soft focus, but this has taken a while for me to get used to, I felt like it was a little too soft.

The Soft Focus Optic


Then the Twist came out.  I could not afford the fixed Twist lens so I opted to purchase the twist optic.  It still gives a great effect.  What the twist does is twist the background of your image keeping the focal point in focus.  I have the composer pro so that means that my focal point can shift from the center.  In this case it shifted to the side.  I found that it did not do a great twist in my office so I took them outside to get the full effect.

The Twist Optic


I saw that a friend was selling her Composer Pro with a Sweet 50 optic and I decided to get that for Amy for Christmas.  After playing with the optic for a while, I was tempted to keep the sweet 50 but what did I give up. Ugh!!.  Since I do not have it here I could not take a photo of the lilies.

Then I really liked the effects of the double glass so I went searching for the optic and managed to find it on EBay.  Well that came with another Composer Lens.  So I figured, well you could not have too many housing units and for the price I was getting the optic I wanted. So that was a new addition to my Lensbaby family.

The Double Glass


Usable with the Double Glass optic is the macro lens +4 and +10

The Double Glass optic with the Macro +4 lens


The Double Glass and Macro +10 lens

For the sake of this blog and meeting my deadline, I was okay with these macro’s but I do need more practice.  This was the first time I have ever used them.


The most recent additions came about because I had spotted some work done with a pinhole zone plate and began the search for this optic. Ironically, after scouring through EBay, I found some refurished optics on Lensbaby itself, for a minimal price.  They had 3 different optics – the Pinhole Zoneplate, the Plastic, and the Single Glass optic, so I got them all.

The Pinhole Zoneplate Optic


The Plastic Optic


The Single Glass Optic


I do not have the Sweet 50 (although I loved using the one I gave to Amy).  I do not have the Edge 50 or 80.  One of the edges is on my bucket list when funds free up.  I have had a lot of fun trying out the new lens this past week to give you some idea of the effects you can get with the Lensbaby Composer or Composer Pro and the various optics and macro lens.

If you are thinking about one, know that they are fun, but remember that it takes practice. They are manual lens and that means you may not get it right more times than you do.  But when you get it right you will love it.  I would encourage anyone who is thinking about these lens to take the plunge – they are a lot of fun.

Thank you for joining me for this month’s Tell me a Story.    This is a circle blog.  Please take time to visit my fellow blogger LUPJi Photography | North Virginia Event Photographer and see what he have for you this month. Keep following the circle to see what the other photographers have shared this month. Don’t forget to leave a little love on their pages.

You can also find me on FacebookFlickr, InstagramGoogle+ and Viewbug.


30 Minutes in the Life: March 2017

This month I got to spend 2 days traveling to and from and 3 days in Columbus, Georgia on a staff conference.  We were up there two years ago and it was a great conference to attend and I was glad to go again.  The difference this year was that more of us went and so I drove my car up as well.

Like the last time I wanted to get to the Riverwalk.  Columbus has a 15 mile river walk that spans the Chattanooga River.  Last time we were there we went on this wild ride, to find it, crossing into the next state.  However, this time we went straight down the main road and it was there at the bottom of the road.

So off we went to the Riverwalk.  It was chilly outside and my collegues were not walking down the steps to the waters edge.  While they stood huddled at the top, I went down and sat down on the amphitheater steps, to take some photo’s.  Mind you, I was hesitant how I was actually going to get down those steps without doing major injury to myself.  Fortunately there was a fencing system I could hold onto to step down.  The steps were higher than my foot to knee, and it was not a natural step down.  I had these wonderful ideas before going up there that I would stagger staff on the steps and get a photo looking up. That sure was not happening.  However, it became apparent that the staff at the top of the hill were cold and wanted to go shopping.  So I quickly took my images and went back up.  Here is the first part of my river walk trip.

This was some sort of observation tower with a giant bird’s nest on the top of it. We also saw some folk abseiling down the side of the tower.


A close up on the giant birds nest at the Riverwalk.


A selfie to remind me that I was actually in Columbus Georgia.


Red Berries were in abundance on the trees.


Just to prove that I was actually there, here is a cell shot taken by my work colleague from the top of the hill. Lorie taking a photo of Sharleen taking a photo lol.


The Cormorant where hanging out on the rocks of the Chattanooga River, probably drying out their wings.


The riverwalk that follows the Chattanooga River in Columbus, Georgia, goes for 15 miles. This is just a small portion of it around the Old Mill.


A part of the Old Mill.


Walking along the river walk in Columbus towards the Old Mill. Everything is still so stark with very little signs that spring is just around the corner.


Despite the lack of signs that spring was just around the corner I managed to find a few trees that had buds on them.


Even the grasses looked dead.


Heading back to the upper road levels. I can only imagine how stunning this area will look in spring.


My colleagues who did not want to walk along the riverwalk.


I loved the light shining through these trees and the flare that it created.


Since I was one of the designated drivers, I needed to take everyone in my car to the shops. Driving over I realized that there was on perk to being a designated driver. I decided that I would drop them off at the shops and head back to the river.  I am really not one to meander through shops knowing I am not going to buy anything.  I would much rather be out taking photos.  So I arranged the pick up time and headed back down to the river.  By accident I took a wrong turning and this time arrived at the opposite side of the river and an area that I had photographed previously.  It was here that I had 3 interesting conversations.  The first with a young woman exercising on the walkway bench, then with a woman dancing in the walkway.  She had purple hair and big purple earings.  Lastly I spoke with a young homeless, drunk man, about an owl and an eagle that he saw in the trees the previous evening.  Running out of time I declined to walk under the bridge as I was not sure what my next encounter may be.  So it was turn around time to go and pick up the ladies from their shopping meander.


The Chattanooga River was restorative for me. I love the flow of the water.


Rocky waterways along the Chattanooga River, Columbus Georgia.


Looking up the river away from the Old Mill


The Chattanooga River runs through Columbus, and there is a 15 mile pathway that runs along the waters edge. I only did a short part of it due to time constraints but I love seeing all the rapids and churning water


Pedestrian viewing bridge over the Chattanooga River in Columbus Georgia.


I loved hearing the rushing water of the Chattanooga river, Columbus Georgia, as it churned over the rocky surface.

The outdor amphitheater taken from the opposite side of the river. I had climbed down to the amphitheater to take photos of the Old Mill shown in the earlier part of the post.


Columbus is pretty dead in winter but as spring comes I can only imagine what all the cherry blossom filled trees would look like.  There are hundreds of them about the city.  Thanks for joining me from my wintery walk along Columbus’s famous Riverwalk.

And thank you for joining me for this month’s 30 Minutes in Life.    This is a circle blog.  Please take time to visit my friend and fellow blogger Stacey Markel Photography | MD Photographer and see what she has for you this month.  Keep following the circle to see what the other photographers have shared this month. Don’t forget to leave a little love on their pages.

30 Minutes changed their name to Journey to an Artist.  If you want to know more about Journey to an Artist head over to their Facebook page, or to the blog page.  There is new and exciting happenings going on with the group Journey to an Artist that you are sure to want to check it out.

You can also find me on FacebookFlickr, Instagram, Viewbug and Google+


Artists Inspired: March 2017: Green

I am really enjoy posting on the different color themes that we are going through with the Artist Inspired blog group.  This month is green.  I have a love hate relationship with Green.   Green is the beauty of nature and I love nature, but sometimes the green is a yellow green and I am not crazy about that.  I love muted greens, soft peaceful greens.  The color green is often associated with nature, energy, freshness, growth, harmony and various other ideas.

Green is new life as opposed to the dying brown of a plant, often reflected in my house.  My father had a green thumb growing numerous orchids, and anthiriums.  Not so in my house.  I have one green plant in the kitchen and it’s life cycle depens greatly on how much I water it.  Fortunately it is a hardly plant that recovers fairly quickly.

Fortunately I love nature and I love to get out and walk in it.  So here are a few images taken on my walk about that reflect the color green.

Wakodahatchee Wetlands: January 2, 2017 5701

Wakodahatchee Wetlands: January 2, 2017

Green Cay Wetlands: January 7, 2017: 5860

Birds: January 26, 2017: 7125

Green Cay Wetlands: February17, 2017: 8213

Wakadohatchee Wetlands: February 2, 2017: 7528

Green Cay Wetlands: February17, 2017: 8270

Wakadohatchee Wetlands: February 2, 2017: 7562

Green Cay Wetlands: February17, 2017: 8177

Birds: January 26, 2017: 7132

Green Cay Wetlands: January 7, 2017: 5906


Just a reminder that this is a circle blog and I would encourage you to click to continue on reading what they other photographers in this group have for you.  Please stop by my friend and fellow photographer Lindsey Bramlett’s  page and read her blog.  Don’t forget to leave a little love on their pages.

You can also find me on FacebookFlickr, InstagramGoogle+ and Viewbug



The Artists Inspired Blog Circle is made up of an exceptionally talented group of photographers from all walks of life, from all over the world. They are wives, mothers, friends, daughters and visual storytellers who draw from their own experiences to create art that is inspiring, unique, beautiful and thought-provoking.

Share Six: March 2016: Restore

This is an exciting month for Share Six.  The group has now been running for a year and we have had the beautiful opportunity as a blog group to get to know each other so much better.  Sadly over the year we saw 2 bloggers leave the group for various reasons and we were sad to see them go, 2 new bloggers joined us.   This past month Kim left the group and we were really sorry to see her go.  As a result we made a decision to add 4 more new bloggers to the group.  We are excited about where this new blog group is going.

In addition we have had the opportunity to share on both Facebook and Instagram images submitted to both pages, as well as highlight various artists and guest feature the artist of choice that month.  You can read all about these happenings on the Share Six webpage.

I love this community and am excited to see how 2017 progresses.  Keep following and sharing with us. We love to see your art is in our feed.

This month Tori or Roots and Twigs Photography chose the theme RESTORE.  Mmm, I am all about restore.  Many occasions have called me to restore my body and soul and I typically choose nature, self time and my faith to do that.  So here are some images that will show how I restore harmony back into my life.

I always have to chuckle – it is funny to watch Richard and I restore our energy when we travel.  Richard rides his bike, goes off kayaking or paddle boarding, even flying a kite.  Me – I want to be left alone with my chair and my book or my tanning blanket, my book and my suntan oil.  He exhausts me just watching him restore.

I am a people person, but when I need to restore I need solitude.  I need to huddle on my office couch with music playing softly in the background, a book in my hands and Simba in my lap.  Alternatively, I need to get out and walk in the wetlands, or in the Japanese Gardens.  I need to connect with the peace and beauty of nature.  Of course, in an idle world speedwalkers are not on my nature meander .

I have learned over many years that restoration of my soul is essential.


Deliberate blur of the walkway - Lensbaby double glass.

When my day starts out blurry, and if I can, I will head to the wetlands or the Japanese Gardens to meander in the quiet of the day.  Restoration for me is being in nature, alone with the quiet.  The Japanese Garden is perfect for this if one allows oneself to find the balance in the settings.  The wetland is beautiful if one can ignore the speed walkers or walk in the heat of the day.


We stopped at a coffee shop one day, and they had a very eclectic decor. It was a feast for the eyes. I look forward to visiting it again in March 2017

My faith has been a strong part of my life from a teenager and I know that I have leaned on my faith during challenging times in my life. During the 17 surgeries that my son had my faith was my rock and my cornerstone, and it is to my faith that I go to restore my troubled mind, especially when I developed shingles as a result of one of the surgeries. My favorite verse in the Bible is “Be Still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10. Being still is an important part of my life. Over the years I have learned how to carve out those me times.


A.R.M Loxahatchee National Park: February 9, 2017: 7859

The beauty of a sunset restores my soul. I love watching the sunset on the closing of the day. And as it closes I hope and pray that I let the troubles of the day go and focus on the starting of a new day. Sunrises are always a joy to me however, they are much harder to find that inner peace. I am not a morning person and getting up to watch the sunrise is more about a desire to get photo’s than to find inner beauty and solitude.


Lensbaby Composer Pro with a Sweet 35 optic.

We travel a lot of short weekends away. Spending time on the beach and hearing the waves restores my soul. There is some kind of trance like reaction to the sound of the waves. I recall a friend doing a lesson on relaxing and restoring and she had an instrument that had tiny beads in that made a sound very similar to the waves action on a beach.


Who me, I'm innocent! Mr Cool Cat aka Simba, turned into a demonic monster at when Cameron and Kathryn came over with their dog. I have never seen a cat go balistic like that before. Clearly he has been traumatized by a dog at some point in his life.

Ahh this little man restores my soul. He is our street rescue cat. He came to live with us just on 2 years ago, and he is my shadow. It does not matter where I am, he is there. Unlike our other cat, Moonshine, Simba is a cuddler. The first day we brought him home, he leaned up against my chest and found his way into my heart. We often share my office couch together and throughout my bed bound surgery recovery period he was my constant companion. He can be a bit mean to the other cat though so don’t let that innocent looking face fool you. He seems to have developed a perimeter around me that indicates that this is his turf and Moonshine is not to enter in it. Despite that I do love this little man.


The books are finally moved into the bathroom

Books and I are favorite friends, until you have to move them all to do flooring. I love my books, we are old friends. I love the smell of a book. I love to hold a book in my hands. Reading is just another way of finding peace and restoring the balance in my day. I very rarely go to sleep before reading for an hour.


Thank you for joining me for this month’s Share Six.  This is a circle blog. Please take time to visit my friend Katherine of Cobert Photography and see what she has for you this month.  Keep following the circle to see what the other photographers have shared this month.  Don’t forget to leave a little love on their page as well.

You can also find me on FacebookFlickr, InstagramGoogle+ and Viewbug.

Now it is your turn. Don’t forget to like us on facebook at Share Six and come and share your images on the theme Restore throughout the month of March.  A new theme will come out on April 6.

Remember you can follow us on Instagram at @sharesix  and tag your images #sharesix_restore.

You can also find the Share Six webpage at

We look forward to seeing your images on the theme restore