A Friday Floral

Cupcakes and Flowers by Debra

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Happiness is a state of mind, or so people say.  Sometimes it’s difficult to be in that frame of mind, life sometimes interferes.  When I was sick, the one thing that brightened my day was taking photographs.  I would often go to the beach and disappear in my art.  Just being able to engulf yourself in what truly brings you peace and happiness is sometimes a Godsend.

I am not a terribly religious person, not to say I don’t believe in God, but I am not one for going to mass each week.  I don’t know when that happened, I think it was sometime after my mother passed away. I became disenchanted with a formal church, but I still pray in my own way.

Lately, I think still life photography, flowers and inanimate objects, oddly bring me peace.  They are quiet, interesting and give me the ability to create what I want to convey to others.  Today’s topic was a combination of a few scrumptious cupcakes, from my favorite bakery, The Bake Works in Linwood, NJ and some of the beautiful flowers I received for Administrative Professionals Day from my boss, who treats us all exceptionally well.  So, there it is, the strange things that bring me peace.  It’s not really the objects that bring me true peace, but photographing them.  I encourage you to find the one thing that brings you peace, and relish in it as often as possible.

Thanks for stopping by … Debra


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What fills your days? Do you take time for yourself? This world provides so much opportunity for us to be busy and have full schedules. Sometimes I think it’s a common thought that if you aren’t busy you aren’t doing enough. I’m a firm believer in taking time for myself … I don’t always do it, but it is my goal. It’s in those times we allow ourselves ‘free time’ that we can recharge ourselves. Everything needs a ‘recharge’ … our phones are a good example … we recharge them daily … plug them into their power source so they can be re-energized for the next day. If we don’t, they quit working. We are much the same. If we don’t ‘recharge’ one day we will quit working as well.

The main way I ‘recharge’ is in my walk with Jesus. He is my power source. I spend time reading His Word, talking to Him and listening to worship music daily and that is how I make it through every day. Sometimes I spend time just sitting. What would be your way of recharging?

Today I just encourage you to find that place in your day where you can recharge.

Camera Settings: 50mm, 1/2000, f/2.5, ISO 800

Be blessed today …

Carolyn

 

Friday Flowers

Nature always wears the colors of the spirit. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

by Debra

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Tulips, hyacinth, and bright colors! Can you feel the happiness in my photo today.  The weather warmed up a bit here in NJ this week and people seemed to be happier and lighter.  As I approached my driveway yesterday, I was greeted by these beautiful colors in my front yard. It only seemed fair to share them with all of my friends.

I cut a few tulips and a piece of the purple hyacinth, which if you are not familiar with, is extremely fragrant.  I played around with a few different vases, but this mason jar seemed to have the feel I was looking for.  The jars were used for my daughter’s engagement party, hence the heart and bow.  Once I arranged the flowers, I couldn’t help but think, how simple and beautiful! It all just seemed to work almost as if the flowers knew what was in their future before I did.

As the warm weather approaches, the air if filled with fragrant scents, the grass is a vibrant green and the clouds and sky appear to be smiling down on us.  What is it about spring and summer that brings out the best moods in people? Warm weather and sunshine is such a simple recipe, and so welcomed after a long, bare winter.  As I’m writing this, I am listening to Thomas Rhett singing “Die a Happy Man”, the wedding song for my daughter and son-in-law last year.  Such a happy time and song, which makes me feel even happier.  Happiness can be infectious, I hope you were able to grab a piece from my photo today, if not, go pick some tulips of your own and see how they brighten your day.

For more of my work, please stop by my Instagram page, until next time … Debra


by Carolyn

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A bucket of white roses … how simple is that. A photograph with just one item can really grab my attention. It gives me the feeling of peace and quiet … a couple of things I long for in my life. Although nights like last night are ones to treasure … we had a sleepover with the grandchildren. We have 9 and they were all involved in the sleepover. They range in age from 13 to to 15 months. Each one is so special! It was definitely not a night of peace and quiet!

So, back to peace and quiet …. in this busy world today, those two things can be hard to find. Sometimes they come in large chunks of time, but for me they are in moments. I have found that I just need to take my life in in the way it comes. I can’t stress about things not being how I might think it ought to be or how I see someone else’s life playing out.

My peace and quiet is found early in the morning … like right now. It’s 5:38 a.m. I can hear heavy breathing behind me from some of those adorable grandchildren … this is my time to quieten my own soul. Time to stop and think … to read … to ponder … to plan my day. Do you get time for that in your busy schedule? I hope you’ll plan some if you don’t have it already.

Peace to you on this lovely Friday ….

If you’d like to join in on some of my quiet moments you can follow me on Instagram.

Carolyn

Camera Settings: 50mm, 1/180, f/4.5, ISO 250

Friday Florals

“One who has hope lives differently.”― Pope Benedict XVI

By Debra

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Spring is a season of renewal and hope.  You can feel the energy when you smell the air and breath in the sweet aromas of flowers, grass and even the spring rain.  Life is very much like the seasons, as human beings we go through many situations during our lifetime, some fun and happy and others are difficult and sometimes sad.

Someone very close to me is going through a very difficult time right now and it brings back memories of when I went through a similar situation in my life.  I wish that I could make all of the pain and unpleasantness he is experiencing go away.  Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do to make it easier and less painful for him.  It breaks my heart to know how sick and unhappy he is.

After speaking with him today, I felt such a heaviness in my heart and I needed something fresh and bright to express how good life is.  I purchased these tulips several days ago, I always feel as though it takes a few days for tulips to be just perfect to photograph.  It is one flower, that becomes more beautiful with time.  I wanted to share what hope and renewal feel and look like to me.  With certain life situations, it’s sometimes difficult to find the light but always easy to see the darkness. Hope is what gets us through the darkest of times, without hope there is truly nothing.  I think it’s human nature to see the bad and not see the good, finding the good in a bad situation is never easy, but it’s that goodness and hope that gets us through the darkest times in our lives.

I pray that he finds the light and the hope in his heart gets him through.  Life is precious and sometimes it takes life threatening situations to make us realize how precious each and every day is.

Thank you for listening … Until next time … Debra


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Flowers have become a very favorite subject of mine. I suppose that’s one reason I like spring … there are flowers everywhere. These roses grow on long vines with small almond shaped leaves were growing at the back of a parking lot in town. I drive through this lot several times a week and have been waiting for the opportunity to stop and clip a few off. It wasn’t just a rose bush, it was a huge rose wall! Probably 10-12 feet in the air and maybe 50 feet in length. So today, I remembered to stop and clip.

Our life is like a thorny rose, not perfect but always beautiful.
Kirston D. Warfield

Camera Settings: 50mm, 1/180, f/2.5, ISO 100

Short and sweet for me today! Thanks for stopping in. To see more of my still life work you can click here.

Carolyn

Friday Still Life

“Sometimes the smallest things take the most room in your heart.” – Winnie the Pooh

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Transition is something we experience throughout life, in many areas of who we are and what we do.  As I get older, I become more sentimental about so many things.  It’s so difficult to think how fast time has gone by.  This year I turned 55 and it doesn’t seem that long ago that I was 18 and 21 and 26 and 29.  All memorable ages for me, 18 is a year when you believe you are an adult, yet you really have so much to learn; 21 is another age of freedom.  I lost a very close friend when I turned 21, she died in a car accident and it made me think about how immortal I really wasn’t.  At 26 I got married and three years later at 29 I became a mom. All very memorable events in my lifetime, and yet it they all seem like yesterday.  My daughter turned 26 this past week and now she is beginning to feel the immortality starting to kick in. Not that 26 is old, because it’s quite young, but it probably seems old to her.  Once you reach a certain age, time seems to just move quicker than it once did.

I’ve had so many transitions in many aspects of my life and with my art I am experiencing another transition.  I was chatting with Carolyn on Wednesday afternoon and we were discussing how our photography has taken such a turn in the past year.  I think art is an extension of who we are and with each stage of life, things change and it’s reflected in what we do, who we are, who our friends are and with me, how I view life which in turn is reflected in my photography.  For a while I thought I could make money taking photographs of people, but in reality, it’s the quiet and thought process which makes me really appreciate and excel in photography.  I prefer to be alone with my thoughts, being creative and thinking about how I want to compose what I see in my mind.  It’s that satisfaction of seeing my work laid out in front of me and in it’s final process – in print that truly brings me joy.

Transitions are part of life, but how you handle those transitions and move forward is what truly defines whether you will find your inner peace or not.

Thanks for stopping by, Carolyn and I hope you sign up for our weekly newsletter to follow along as we both transition through our journey.  To follow me on Instagram please click here.  Until next time … Debra


With Spring comes flowers! Transition is a good word! Our lives change from season to season. Sometimes those changes are difficult to handle and other times we move into the next season with ease. I can think of times in life where I’ve experienced both!

The divisions of the year are the same. Typically when we get towards the end of one season I begin to look forward to the next. Some I’m more anxious to get out of … winter would be one of those. I’m a warm weather girl … cold days and nights don’t agree with me unless I’m snuggled up under a blanket sitting in front of a cozy fire in our wood stove.

Spring is an especially wonderful season to arrive. The stark landscape begins to take on color. There is gorgeous green in every direction. The barren trees begin to bloom. Little tiny flowers begin to pop up across the landscape and before we know it, there are flowers everywhere!

What a beautiful part of creation God has given us to enjoy. Spring brings new life to everything around us and new life to each of us as we step out of the dreariness of winter into this glorious colorful season!

… silver white winters that melt into spring, these are a few of my favorite things …

Camera Settings: 50mm, 1/1000, f/3/5, ISO 400

Happy Spring to you!

Carolyn

Window Light

Light makes photography.
Embrace Light. Admire it. Love it.
But above all, know light. Know if for all you are worth,
and you will know the key to photography.
George Eastman
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Photography (Merriam Webster) in it’s basic form means the art or process of producing images by the action of radiant energy and especially light on a sensitive surface (as film or an optical sensor).  As I became more proficient in my art I began to learn how light plays one of the most important roles in producing beautiful images.

The term “golden hour” is often heard when you first begin your journey in photography.  The golden hour is a specific time of day, a period of time shortly after sunrise or before sunset during which daylight is redder and softer than when the Sun is higher in the sky.  This type of light makes for magical photographs.  The colors are warmer, richer and more pleasing to the eye.

Today’s photograph was taken at 5:00 pm in the afternoon, giving my photograph an overall golden or warmer tone than if I had taken it during the noon hour.  That time of day, when the sun is high in the sky, would produce a much cooler or bluer image.  Of course, it’s a personal preference but once you begin to really study light and it’s affect on your image, you will learn that light plays one of the most important roles in photography.  Many of the technical aspects of photography can be learned but knowing how to truly see the light takes practice, along with knowing what you as the artist wants to convey to the viewer.

Camera settings: 1/5000 sec.; f/1.4; ISO 400; 500mm.

Thanks for stopping by.  Until next time … Debra

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Window light is beautiful and ever changing. Light is a necessity in photography. That doesn’t mean all photographs need to be ‘light’, just that light of some sort is a requirement. Some photographs are very dark, yet there is light otherwise you wouldn’t see what is being photographed.

Window lighting can be especially pretty. Lately, backlit photos has caught my attention. Today I’ve chosen to use side lighting. Besides still life, I am a portrait photographer. In photographing people, I have known that having a light source behind my client makes for an interesting photo. This is a new discovery for me in Still Life. I now know that the same principal holds true in both arenas.

In all of life we have opportunities for challenges and growth. I’m always looking for ways to grow artistically with my photography … and in other areas of my life. 🙂 One of the ways I do that is by always having a watchful eye. These flowers, bunched where they are, are a good example of being ‘watchful’. I just stuck them in a vase in my kitchen window one day after photographing them in my studio. I was walking by and saw the beautiful light coming in and knew I needed to grab my camera. They didn’t need the perfect set up or props … all they needed was light.

Camera Settings: 75mm, 1/180, f/2.8, ISO 250

Carolyn

We always appreciate you stopping by. We hope you follow us on Instagram @1414coast2coast. If you’d like to tag your pictures #coast2coastpix, you’ll have an opportunity to be featured.

Friday Happenings

 

“If you don’t take risks, you will have a wasted soul.”

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Memories from the Past by Debra

As I took today’s photograph I wondered what I would write about for this type of flower. Who likes dried, dead flowers anyway? Well, I honestly never liked them until recently, and Carolyn will probably remember me asking her years ago, “Why are you photographing dead flowers?”  However, I think as I took a few shots of these dried roses, I thought about more than dead, dried flowers.  I guess everything lives and everything dies, it’s not about dying, but about how you live and the beauty you share with others, that ‘s what is truly important.

Two times today, once on my way to work and then on my way home, I heard Alan Jackson’s song “Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning?” and it got me thinking.  That day is etched in my memory forever.  I worked on Wall Street and took the PATH train for 6 years into the World Trade Center.  It makes you wonder, why? It’s nearly 16 years ago already and so much has happened in my own life since then, as I’m sure all of the families who lost loved ones.

I wonder why I am still here, I wasn’t in the buildings on 9/11 so I personally was never in danger from the tragedy.  Since then, I’ve been remarried, moved to a completely different town, lost my job, battled cancer and with the Grace of God, I am still here, living and healthy.  Life has a way of working out what is supposed to happen for you.  After so much devastation in the world and in my own life, you think and live differently.  You don’t take any day you are given for granted, at all!

You are most likely wondering what those dried roses have to do with anything?  It’s just a photograph, right?  Well, it is a photograph, but it’s how you see the things you photograph not so much the object but how you view the object. No two people will view anything exactly the same, but I choose to look at these flowers as something beautiful and not just dried, dead flowers.  See the beauty in everything you are given and live each and every day to the fullest.  It’s a gift!

Thank you for stopping by and I’ll see you next time … Debra


Tulips Are For Shooting by Carolyn

Hello … so nice to see you here on this Friday morning. It’s kind of a funny thing … to me anyway … but tulips haven’t always been a favorite of mine. They have grown on me though over the past few years and are in fact a flower that I look forward to shooting.

The life and variety you get out of them is really just incredible. Click here to see more of my tulips.

If you’ve clicked on the link, you have seen that I love them when they’re fresh and new, just popping out of their green leaf covering all the way to when they’ve dried and shriveled up.

To me, the best way to enjoy tulips to their fullest is to take pictures of them because they simply just don’t last long enough!

Tulips make me happy.
Rebecca Wells

Camera Settings: 50mm, 1/1000, f/2.0, ISO 250

Thanks for stopping … if you’d like to receive our weekly newsletter, click here to get to our sign up page. 🙂

Carolyn

Friday Florals & Still Life

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Like Carolyn, I too make special stops to purchase flowers, sometimes at the grocery store, and sometimes at one of my two favorite flower shops.  The tulips featured in my photograph today were purchased from the same florist who did all of the flowers for my daughter’s wedding.  Marcy, the shop owner, is always fun to speak with and she always has something interesting to talk about, usually wedding related.

Flowers always make me feel happy.  When I’ve had a difficult week or feel a bit down about something, stopping to purchase a bunch of flowers always cheers me up.  It also cheers up my home, especially during the winter months when there isn’t much color outside.

Lately, the days are getting longer and the daylight is a welcome change from the long winter days.  This past weekend, I had Sunday all to myself, so it was a day filled with photography.  I had stopped to purchase the tulips on Saturday and by Sunday when I was ready to photograph them, they had opened nicely.  I wanted to keep the photograph basically white, with a pop of color.  The antique chair added just the pop of color I needed. The farmhouse sign added the touch of country I was looking for too.  I’m intrigued by the turn in home decor lately, it seems like signs are the “in” decoration, and why not, they are fun, simple and bring a touch of vintage to any room and any type of decor.  I really feel as though Pinterest has had so much to do with the trends we see today.  If you are looking for some inspiration, Pinterest is the place to go for just that.

If you are in need of something cheerful, make sure to buy yourself a bunch of flowers and maybe a fun sign to change things up a bit.

Thanks for reading today’s story and if you would like to view more or my work, please visit my website Debra Nancy Photography.  Have a great week and I’ll see you back here next week … Debra


Whenever I go to the grocery store, a stop in the flower section is a necessity! It use to be that I thought cut flowers were a waste of money. My mind has definitely changed on that! It’s a little splurge I make just for me. 🙂 We each need that. I consider it ‘soul care’. What is ‘soul care’ … very simply, it’s something you do for you. It might look like:

  • a casual cup of coffee or tea at a local coffee shop while you gaze through your Instagram or your favorite book
  • a quiet walk around the park, on the beach or through a mountain path
  • sitting on your porch quietly looking at the scenery
  • laying in bed an extra ten minutes in the morning before you get up and rush around

or …

  • buying yourself a pretty bouquet of flowers

Really, the list could go on and on … you’ll have to make up your own with what would truly be a soul break for you.

Flowers are really pretty and they are one thing that makes me feel good. Another thing that makes me feel good is taking a good picture of those flowers. 🙂 It is a lasting memory of that $7.99 bouquet I just bought!

To take this picture, I set up a table in my studio. The top was a little rustic for this shot, so I put a blank canvas on top as my base and a white foam core board behind the flowers for a pretty and simple background. A few things to look for when you take your picture …

  • the direction of the handle
  • flowers spread evenly on both sides of the vase
  • the lighting

Once I had these things right. I changed my camera settings, made sure I was focused on the flowers that were closest to me, kept a steady hand and shot.

Today’s camera settings were: 1/5000, f/1.8, ISO 500. I used a Kim Klassen preset to add texture and slightly change the color.

If you’d like to receive more tips on photography or see more of my work, you can click here. Thanks for stopping in and for reading. Oh … don’t forget to plan some ‘soul care’ breaks for yourself!

Carolyn

Spring is Coming!

No matter how cold the winter, spring is sure to follow.
~proverb

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Signs of Spring by Debra

Spring is 33 days away as I write this, and daylight savings time begins March 12th. Definitely a plus in my book!  There is something about the arrival of spring that makes people happy, well it makes me happy, so I assume others are happy too.  People in general seem to have a spark in their eyes, they seem to just smile more.  Winter seems to be the longest season, even though it’s the same amount of time as every other season.

We have noticed an influx of spring flowers in our area too, oh let’s not get crazy, this is still NJ and the potted plants won’t arrive until March.  That’s when most of the greenhouse owners return from Florida and re-open their establishments for business again. Which is an exciting time for me and many others.  I love seeing all of the pansies and daffodils come to life, planting season is not far behind.  The grass will begin to get green again, the trees will begin to bud and yes, Spring will be here.

So today I share with you one of my favorite flowers, ever!  TULIPS.  Tulips without a doubt signify Spring, they come in so many beautiful colors and even styles.  They are just fun to photograph.  They are a bit unruly, but that is the fun in photographing them.  And what says Spring more than pink?!  Pink is one of my favorite colors and these tulips were a very pretty shade of pale and dark pinks, not to mention the pop of colorful green to compliment the pink.  Yes, this says Spring for sure!  So please enjoy my interpretation of tulips and their representation of Spring.  I think the saying even sums up Spring!  The countdown to Spring has begun and I’ll be sharing more photographs to bring some sunshine your way.

If you are interested in more of my still life photographs please click on the link in the title above.   Until next time … Debra


Seasons, Flowers & Still Life

Each season has its plusses, but I too along with Debra, long for spring.  I suppose it’s that way with every season. They are all enjoyable in one way or another but as we get towards the end of a season, we’re ready for the next. Here in California, during this winter, we’ve been blessed with our share of rain. What a wonderful sight the hills are right now. I live right in the middle of what are golden rolling hills 90% of the time. This year they are a deep yet bright green and I’m hoping they’ll stay that way. We don’t have many flowers out here, but Trader Joes had a great supply!

In my photograph today, I am also featuring tulips, some baby’s breath and this great little tray I borrowed from my daughter for this little photo shoot. I placed each of the items on a wooden crate the ladies at my church gave me several years ago, to give it a little more texture and much-needed height! The window light has been just stunning this time of year and is currently my favorite spot for taking photographs. Today I chose to use my flash to give some light on the front of display. In the end, I had to bounce the flash off the ceiling in order to not completely blow out the light coming in from the window. In my editing, I used a preset from Kim Klassen, who has been very inspirational to me in my still life work.

Camera settings: 50mm, 1/125, f/4.5, ISO 100.

I’d love it if you checked out more of my work by clicking here.

Carolyn


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There’s Still Life on Friday

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This weeks Wednesday Stories was a color story.  Carolyn and I were discussing stories and we thought it might be fun to share something with a design them instead of the journalistic approach we have been taking.  Well, as journalistic as a dog bath can be.

The blue bowls which were featured in Wednesday’s stories were so much fun to photograph I needed to share them for one more blog post.  The bowls were given to me by my sister 27 years ago, as an anniversary gift.

During the winter months there is limited light, so I photographed the bowls this past Sunday.  I got up early, got all of my chores done and was ready to photograph with the first hint of light.  Unfortunately, the sky was extremely gray, not emitting much light at all, but I found that the defused light actually worked to my advantage.  I got my composition all set up and began shooting.  I had recently watched a video on food photography which discussed using a 100mm macro lens for this type of photography. The video suggested using this lens because of the magnification a macro lens offers, so of course I had to try it.  I had almost sold my 100mm macro lens about one year ago, but decided to keep it and I’m so happy that I did.

I found that it worked extremely well, I loved how the magnification of the lens was able to show the detail in the bowls and also how tack sharp the bowls were.  I also decided to use the chop sticks, not only as an accent for the theme, but as a leading line to bring your eye from the corner of the photograph and lead it into the photograph.   The chop sticks lead your eye to the line of the wall and table, creating a triangle between the chop sticks, wall and bowls, which forces your eye to move around the photograph.  I used the blue linen napkin to highlight the pop of blue in the bowls, also giving a contrast to all of the light colors in the composition.

Although the photograph is of bowls, you can apply this theory to any design or any type of still life in your own home.

Thanks for sharing in the blue theme this week and to see more of my work please visit me here.  Until next time … Debra

 


February is here! It’s incredible how quickly the weeks and months pass. It feels as though it was just yesterday that we were celebrating Christmas and the New Year. And now spring is in the air … or at least starting to show up on some of our local trees. We had a 75 degree day this week and others that were close to that. It’s just that kind of weather that causes the buds to peak through.

Personally, I’m excited about spring. I love all of the pretty flowers and pretty colors that you find everywhere. My photo today is a little glimpse of spring, with the buds on the little branch, the pretty pink ribbon that makes me think of flowers, my February calendar page and the little rustic bucket.

When I take still life, I usually just have one or two little items in mind that I plan on using and as I lay the pieces out on my white foam core board, other ideas come to mind and the photo unfolds.  Creativity has always been a part of who I am and this process is intriguing to me. In recent months I’ve found myself scanning the shelves at local stores, the trees and plant life around me and items in my home to use as props for this still life journey I am on.

In addition to my search for props, I also search for light. My home faces to the south and that tends to be the side of the house year round that has the best light. When I open the shades in my little studio/craft room the light just pours in and has come to be my favorite location.

Camera Settings: 50mm, 1/4000, f/1.8, ISO 640

Carolyn