From Where I Stand

view-from-mountain-cabin-1

View from Mountain Cabin

Creativity disappeared like an autumn leaf blown across the valley by a night wind.  There are probably various reasons, but I never could seem to point to one particularly significant one. So, I have not posted many images to this blog recently.

north-carolina-rustic-cabin

Rustic North Carolina Cabin

It was confusing.  For years, I have been driven to photograph beauty.  My mind always taking snapshots in my head, even when the camera was not in my hands.  And then I noticed I no longer wanted to reach for the camera.  No longer did I evaluate possible images in my head.  And so, the camera was put away except for occasional images of family and friends at significant celebrations.

through-the-windows

Through the Windows

Where you stand makes all the difference in what you see.   So, guess you could say I am standing in a different place than I have for the last decade.  As a result it has changed what I see.  Perhaps that is one reason a break was needed.

These images don’t fit my profile of trying to capture the perfect shot of a close up subject.  But for the first time in months I wanted to pick up the camera.  I wanted to capture the wild, not so perfectly structured rustic cabin in the mountains of western North Carolina.  It was intriguing to see the outdoor beauty framed by cabin windows.  Taking several steps back fits where I see life now.  It doesn’t always go according to plan, but there is still beauty to be seen.  Maybe when life doesn’t go the way we expected is when we most need beauty.  Thanks for taking a second look.

cabin-window

Cabin Window

Including Less

I am on a journey to include less in my life so that it doesn’t hinder me from what is most important.

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Anna Ruby Falls near Helen, Georgia.

Reality is that neither you or I know the exact date or time that we exit this earthly life.  Two more days, a few months, six more years, or maybe several decades, only hindsight will reveal the length of our life journey.  Just saying only God knows the exact number of my days.  He formed me in my mother’s womb, He alone knows how much longer this part of the journey is.  (Psalm 139).

Rushing-Water

Rushing Waters

What’s most important in my life . . . well, somewhere along the way I thought it was having stuff, i.e. possessions.  I am thankful for what I have, but just not interested in collecting and maintaining it as I once did.  As the years progress, I see that possessions are not the things that share love with you. They are poor substitutes for relationships.  I have been very fortunate to have a loving family and loyal friends through the years.

At this point in life, I want to have more time with people and less with the possessions.

These photos were taken at Anna Ruby Falls, near Helen, Georgia. Anna Ruby Falls.  Recently, my husband and I joined my sister, brother and their spouses for a few days together.  As the youngest in my birth family, I know that we now face less future time together than what we have previously enjoyed.  So, at least twice a year we meet somewhere to enjoy being together, since we all live hundreds of miles apart.  Weekly phone calls and texts help, but are not the same as “face time.”

Along-the-Path-1

Along the Path

 

Leaf

Leaf

Texture, texture . . . didn’t have my macro lens with me, but still looked for opportunities in the midst of huge boulders and overflowing waters.

What or who is most important in your life?  Pursue it, now!

Thanks for taking “A Second Look”.  More images available at http://www.stephaniehalstead.com.

October Words

Like the savory aroma of homemade soup on the stove, certain words make me hungry for the fall season.  I call them my October words.  Here are a few of them:  colored leaves, apple cider, sweaters, plaid, pumpkins, fall festivals, blessings, juicy apples, acorns, pine cones, hay bales, crisp weather, pumpkin pie with whip cream, fuzzy slippers, freshly baked cookies, and flickering candles.

Crisp-Fall

” Crisp Fall”

Recently, I saw this quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald,  “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”

“Autumn, the year’s last lovliest smile.”  Unsure who penned those words, but I like them.

“Autumn Smile”

Warm colors of red, orange, and gold seem cozy now that summer’s heat is a memory.  Anne, the main character in Lucy Montgomery’s book, Anne of Green Gables, said of October, ” I am so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”  I agree with Anne.  October is a wonderful month.

“Basket of Apples”

What are your “October words?”  If you would like to see more seasonal images, check out my website at http://www.stephaniehalstead.com.  Thank you for taking “A Second Look”.

Watch the Leaves Turn

It’s that time of year in my part of the world.  Summer vacations are finished except for the good memories that linger and maybe a bit of sunburned skin.   Big yellow school buses are on the roads again.  School has started.

Leaves Turn

Growing up, I looked forward to the beginning of a another school year.  Never used pencils.  Pristine, unmarked notebooks . . . I really enjoyed getting new school supplies!
It was a time for embarking on an adventure, a bit nervous and excited all at the same time.  The months ahead promised new experiences and new things to learn.

The world now is much busier than the one I grew up in as a child.  So many more options, so many more distractions.  Although I no longer have homework assignments, my “to do” list keeps me busy.  That is okay to a certain point.  As a busy adult, I miss the wonder of running through colored leaves as a child.  At this stage of life, I need to remember that even if everything doesn’t get done . . . I still need to take TIME to be STILL and watch the leaves TURN.

How busy are you?

Thanks for taking “A Second Look”.  More autumn images are available at http://www.stephaniehalstead.com.

Landscapes – The Setting is the Star

“Landscapes generally focus on wide, vast depictions of nature and all of its elements, from formations to weather. In this genre of photography, you won’t find much of a human presence: nature itself is the subject. A focus on nature isn’t mandatory, however — you can capture a sweeping panorama of an entire city, town, or industrial area.”

The challenge for day fifteen of the Photo101 course: “Snap a picture of a landscape.  Focus on the gestalt — the entire setting as a whole rather than a specific subject or focal point within the scene. The setting itself is the star.”

Sugar-White-Beach-of-FL-Panhandle

Northwest Florida

The sugar fine white beaches of Northwest Florida are the best!  Sea oats catch the golden sunlight.  The sand was undisturbed yet, showing no sign of  human footprints.

This area is also called the Emerald Coast.  You can see why!  Snapped this image while standing at the top of the Destin Bridge.  I could see all the way to the bottom.  The patterns in the sand beneath the water were a form of art themselves.

From-the-top-of-Destin-Bridge

Florida’s Emerald Coast

One of the reasons I share my photography is to showcase the beauty God has created.  His art is everywhere.  My hope is that the images God has shown me will help you to slow down and take “A Second Look” in the midst of your busy lives.  Thanks for stopping by and letting me share with you.  More images are available at http://www.stephaniehalstead.com.

Postcards from the Beach

Have you ever wished you could freeze those special moments in time?  Wouldn’t it be great to play them over and over with the same clarity as when each one happened?  Those moments are fleeting.  Often, it is these small moments, this motion, that we love to document in photographs.

If you have looked at much of this blog, by now you know I like photographing the beach, especially the Gulf of Mexico.  Here are a few moments of motion I captured.  Consider these as postcards of the beach from me to you.

Surfing

Surf, Gulf of Mexico

Here is one of a young man in the edge of the surf.  Yes, the water really was this color of green.

Waters-Edge

Water’s Edge, Ripples in the Gulf of Mexico

Ripples in the water’s edge are so fun to walk through on a hot day.  It is a momentary work of art.

Taking-Flight

Taking Flight

I followed the bird with my camera, keeping it in focus and forgetting about the background.  This is called panning.  Notice the bird’s back foot.  It took only a few seconds for this bird to start flying.

Today’s assignment (day thirteen) for the Photo101 course was “Moment and Motion.”  Hope you enjoyed these postcards from the beach.  More beach photography is available at http://www.stephaniehalstead.com.  Thanks for taking “A Second Look.”

I am Always Looking for a Picture

As a photographer, I am always looking for pictures in the world around me.  It has become a habit, which keeps my mind very busy!  My luggage is never light as it should be on a trip.  I cannot stand the idea of missing a wonderful image because I left part of my gear at home.

Here it was a sweeping scene with a strong horizontal line and beautiful colors.  This sunset was captured leaving Bowen’s Island, near Charleston, South Carolina.

Sunset, Bowen Island, near Charleston, South Carolina

Sunset, Bowen Island, near Charleston, South Carolina

Two days before, it was the intimate details of a butterfly on a green curling leaf at Boone Hall Plantation, also near Charleston, South Carolina.  The curled leaf tip near the top of the image pulls my eye back to the butterfly at the bottom.

Butterfly Encounter at Boone Hall Plantation, near Charleston, South Carolina

Butterfly Encounter at Boone Hall Plantation, near Charleston, South Carolina

The challenge for Day Eight in the course Photo101 was to photograph the natural world and leading lines.  This was a pleasure for me!  There is always something new to see, a new image to capture.  I love being a photographer!

See numerous images of the natural world at http://www.stephaniehalstead.com.  Thanks for taking “A Second Look.”