Mother’s Day

Mother . . . we all had one.  Mothers vary in shape, size, age, and race.  Some are shy.  Some are exuberant.  She was the one who gave us physical birth or adopted us. Perhaps the woman who acted in the role of a mother figure in your life is the one you really view as your mom.  Whoever she is/was, she is one of the most significant persons in our life.

Mother's-Gerber

Happy Mother’s Day

I never fully appreciated my mother until I became a mother myself.  Mother has been in heaven almost two years . . . I still miss her.  She shaped me.  She loved me.  She sacrificed for me.  She believed in me.  She was my champion.   I will always be grateful for the privilege of being her daughter.

 

North Carolina Treasures

Brilliant red.  Vibrant yellow.  Warm orange.  Occasional purple or magenta.  Having seen the beautiful colors of North Carolina leaves in person, the photos I view online only make me hungry to repeat the experience.  No trip to North Carolina this autumn is on the calendar and that makes me sad.

Last November, I tried a trick I learned as a child to preserve colored leaves.  After sandwiching the leaves between two pieces of wax paper, the edges of the wax paper were then sealed with a warm iron.  Recently, I released some of the North Carolina treasures from their protective pouch to photograph them in my home studio.  Most of the colors of autumn had been preserved.  A few had faded.

North-Carolina, Autumn Leaves, Colorful Leaves, North Carolina Stone

North Carolina Treasures

One of the advantages of using a macro lens is the ability to focus on textures.  I am enjoying the results.

North Carolina, Autumn Leaves, North Carolina Stone, Colorful Fall Leaves

Leaf Stone

I photograph many things, but my favorite subject is beauty in nature with no man-made props evident. However one tries to mimic God’s creation, He remains the master artist.  His images of color, texture and shape are unsurpassed! The more I see His work, the more I am in awe of Him.

Hope you enjoy these homegrown North Carolina treasures. Thanks for taking “A Second Look.”  More autumn images available at http://www.stephaniehalstead.com.

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.

Taste and See

I just returned home from the natural candy store.  Yes, I am referring to the local produce market.

Surrounded by the vast array of colors, shapes, and textures my creative spirit goes into overdrive. Unfortunately, on more than one occasion, this has resulted in more fresh fruits and vegetables than we can store and eat before it spoils!   I did better this morning.  Bought just the right amount, although I confess I wanted one of everything in sight!  Some of my friends just look at me and shake their heads when I tell them how the beauty at the produce store excites me.

Taste-and-See

Taste and See

“Use glass, mirrors, and other reflective surfaces for a fun way to experiment when taking pictures.”  For day seventeen in the Photo101 course sponsored by WordPress, I chose to use a mirror underneath this pear.  This image also illustrates my love of macro photography.

The green background is a piece of burlap fabric.  A shallow depth of field directs the eye to the star of this image, a beautiful pear.  A few drops of water slowly roll down to the mirror.

Growing up there were certain foods I didn’t like, sometimes because of the look or smell.  It did not matter how often my family told me it was delicious.  Not until I actually tasted the food, was I was convinced it was good.  Psalm 34:8 reminds me that I personally can taste and see God’s goodness when I take initiative to investigate Him and open my heart to Him.

Thanks for taking “A Second Look”  Look for more images of fruits and vegetables at http://www.stephaniehalstead.com.  Cherries, blueberries, apples, pumpkins, gourds and strawberries are on display there now.  

“Do One Thing a Day That Scares You”

Sunflower-Pot

Sunflower Pot

I read or heard that advice somewhere last week.  Don’t remember where or even who said it.  Possibly it was Eleanor Roosevelt.

Sometimes, it is doing things I am scared of doing.   More often, it is stepping outside the box of what I am comfortable doing.  It means being proactive and taking risks, some big, some small.

It is stretching and invigorating, at the same time. Some things I try do not turn out well.  Some do.  The results are often a surprise.

Day Eleven in Photo101 class was to shoot an image with a pop of color.  Instructors challenged us to choose one bold color against a neutral background, instead of several colors competing for attention in a scene.

I do so enjoy colors, lots of them, and usually together!  Neutral backgrounds are not what I gravitate toward. The exception would be when I use a black velvet background to make the colors and details of a flower “pop”.

Decided to try something different for this sunflower.  The flower pot I bought at a yard sale.  Love all the texture in it.  Paler background, more texture, and fewer colors, not my usual flower photo.  Glad I tried something new!

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

What is Your Bliss?

Rudbeckia

Rudbeckia

“What’s your bliss?”  That’s the question on this fourth day of the WordPress photo course, Photo101.

How does one define bliss?  The dictionary says it is complete happiness, great joy, paradise or heaven.

My bliss is . . .

I thought of chocolate, of being with all my family, or visiting with a dear friend I haven’t seen in years.  A glass of cold sweet ice tea on a  hot, humid summer day even crossed my mind.  All of these bring me happiness, but, sometimes the chocolate is melted.  Family members are tired or cranky or sick. My friend cancelled her plans to see me due to a family emergency.  The caffeine in the sweet ice tea kept me awake later at night than I planned.  Life happens.

There is a place I go that always makes me completely happy.  As soon as I enter, I feel my body relax.  My worries disappear.  Like a kid in a candy store, I want one, two, or three of everything I see!  The beauty here feeds my soul.  In this enchanted place I am surrounded with so many colors and ideas my heart can barely contain it all.  How will I ever narrow down my choices?  Each time I experience awe, because I am enveloped by the colorful, detailed and exotic canvas of God’s artistry.

What is this place?  It is a local, family owned, plant nursery that has thrived in my area for decades.  Whatever plants I purchase here I know will survive in my climate, not one 300 miles north of me.

This love of plants is part of my DNA.  It was passed down to me from my dad who loved to grow food to eat and my mother who never met a flower she didn’t like or want to grow.  My brother and sister also inherited the same plant loving genes.  Every conversation we share always includes at least a snippet about what each of us is growing in our yard.

My bliss?  A visit to the local plant nursery.  My website, http://www.stephaniehalstead.com will confirm how much I love flowers.  Thanks for taking “A Second Look.”

Wisteria on Porch Steps

This Spring, I am drawn to the color purple.  It’s regal, beautiful and vibrant qualities speak to my soul’s craving for beauty.  Here are two images of Wisteria blooms gathered last spring while helping care for my mom.  These images bring back a flood of memories.  Some are bittersweet.

Wistera-on-my-Porch-Step

 Perhaps our souls appreciate beauty most when we hurt. It is such a contrast to what we are experiencing.  God is so good to give us glimpses of beauty during hard times.  Thanks for taking “A Second Look”.

Wisteria