Celebrating Spring

Finally, spring has arrived in Vancouver – and it’s such a moments occasion that Environment Canada has issued a good weather alert for my neck of the woods:-) I find that quite amusing, but I’m looking forward to shooting cherry blossoms on the weekend. Photo walk, anyone?

In celebration, I thought I’d post some of my favourite flower photos. I love capturing depth of colour, form and the sheer beauty of nature. And I think I’m pretty awesome at it. For some people, that may be an #EyeOpener.

I imagine some of these images would look wonderful on a greeting card or wedding invitation. What do you think?

First, one of my all-time favourites, taken a few years ago at the Portland Rose Garden. It was raining, and I love how the water had fallen on this particular bloom.

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Next, a shot I’ve actually got framed here at home – a white poppy dancing in a gentle breeze. My friend’s garden in California has given me inspiration for many years.

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Then, one of my most treasured shots from Van Dusen Botanical Garden here in Vancouver. I adore yellow roses. They were my wedding flower.

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Another shot from Van Dusen – because I love the contrast and the delicacy of the flower.

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Again, from my friend’s garden – I love this blossom for its gorgeous colour and velvety texture. I can feel its softness just looking at it!

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Finally, a heartfelt Thank You. I’ve been so pleased with the reaction to my attempts to blog again and put myself out there for the first time in a very long time. I love how people have reacted to my photos, and to my #EyeOpener idea. It’s made me very happy to think that I have chosen a good path, and that I have a unique opportunity to showcase my talents and abilities as a disabled person.

 

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Sometimes, I Surprise Myself

For me, photography means more than getting that perfect shot – although I work as hard as anyone else at consciously perfecting that impeccable plate of food, or conveying the excitement of an event. I can do that. I HAVE done that. And I love the opportunity to do that.

This is one of my favourites. I love sushi. And no matter how many times I see this shot, I am instantly craving this meal again.

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But, as much as I want my strengths an abilities to open other people’s eyes, sometimes there are photos that pop up on my computer screen that surprise the heck out of me. And some take my breath away.

I get a thrill I can’t really describe when I discover an image, a moment in time, that I hadn’t set up, or spent time thinking about. They just HAPPENED – and they give me a glimpse of the world that I didn’t expect to see.  And those glimpses mean the world to me, because I never would have noticed.

That’s my #EyeOpener. I invite you to discover yours. It’s an awesome experience.

Here are a few serendipitous moments I am amazed and blessed to have.

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In my only-ever trip to Paris, I stumbled upon this pair and took this in mid-discussion. I took it so quickly, I wasn’t at all sure I had a clear shot. I was ecstatic to see that it indeed had turned out!

And in the pic below, I found these two soldiers observing a Remembrance Day ceremony in Vancouver. I didn’t have to see their faces to feel their dignity and respect.

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Then, of course, there was the bee…all I saw was a flash of yellow, so I held my breath and prayed. And then, I hit the shutter. I’m grateful I did.

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First, the Bad News…

Bear with me, people. I need to tell you about some unfortunate stuff before I get to everything that was bright and good about a bad Thanksgiving Day. But I think you’ll find it as worthwhile as I did.

It was One of Those Days…

My early flight out of Vancouver’s YVR Airport was delayed about an hour. That meant, of course, that my connecting flight from LAX was going to be tight. Very tight. And that’s when things started to spiral out of control.

We landed with less than 30 minutes before my flight was to take off. As usual, I was escorted off the plane by an attendant, who wheeled me to the exit, where I needed to take a handicapped van to yet another terminal. My chances of making that connecting flight were dwindling – especially when the handicapped van pulled away just as we got to the curb.

Once I got to the next terminal, the van driver walked me in to find an attendant. A young man was summoned to try to get me to my gate. He shuffled up, got me into my chair and proceed  to the gate, slowly. Very slowly. Then we came to another security checkpoint. And my hell truly bagan.

This wheelchair attendent in LAX didn’t know how to escort a blind person through security, was rude, and worse, actually used me and the wheelchair to push a cart of plastic bins out of his way. I was appalled.  Then, he chose not to stay by me when I was retrieving my belongings – instead, he yelled at me to hurry up and get back into the wheelchair because he “wanted to go home”. I guess he had a turkey dinner waiting for him. Subsequently, in my haste and confusion, my purse was stolen right off the line. My iPhone, iPod Touch, Surefire flashlight, wallet, cards, keys, sunglasses and my specially made reading glasses, all gone in a matter of seconds. Thankfully, they did NOT get my passport.

But I didn’t realize that till about 10 minutes later, after we made it to the departure gate, found I had indeed missed the connecting flight, and was given a new boarding pass for the next available flight three hours later. We returned back to the security area, where the TSA folks did have an image of the purse being stolen, but despite the best efforts of the LAX police, neither the thief nor the purse was found. I was devastated, crying, and helpless. Meanwhile, the attendant slumped down on a bench near my chair and proceeded to flag down other attendants passing by and ask them to relieve him because he wanted to go home

OK, so much for the bad. I have a far happier story to tell in Part Two:-)

 

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Photo Friday – Sharing the Spotlight

This week, I was honoured and thrilled to be featured in an article in The Daily Dot called Seeing through Pictures, which focused on how my newly-found passion for photography has affected how I literally see my world.

It’s an understatement to say that I’ve been blown away by the response to the article. I can’t thank people enough for all the Facebook posts, tweets and retweets and notes of encouragement and affection. It thrilled my family. It made me proud, and more determined than ever to take my passion and run with it. Thank you.

But the piece wasn’t just about me. So I want to make doubly sure the spotlight shines on the others mentioned in the article – because they are and will continue to be my inspiration.

First, check out the amazing Tara Miller, who’s already been featured in an earlier post. Her work is phenomenal. Then go to Flickr and discover the brilliance and diversity of the Blind Photographers group. I guarantee you will gain a new understanding and appreciation of the many ways visually impaired people see what is often taken for granted. I doubt you’ll look at us and your world in the same way.

And last, but not least, thank you to The Daly Dot and to contributor Lorraine Murphy, for giving its readers a new perspective and for giving us a voice. It doesn’t happen often enough.

Photo Friday: Nature – As I’ve Never Seen It

One of the most amazing things about my photography is the fact that my camera has allowed me to actually see the world around me in a whole new way. I am good at framing shots, and I can visualize whatI want the shot to be, but it really is an Aim, Pray, Shoot situation for me. And that makes for some wonderful, surprisingly awesome photos.

As I explained in my first Photo Friday post, I don’t see details past a few inches or so, but when I view my photos on my computer screen, I am transported to another level of beauty. I can’t tell you how incredible it is to see what so many people take for granted.

For example, this week I was roaming around my friend’s beautiful garden in California – something I do every time I’m here because the landscape is ever-changing. I was taking random shots of some of the rock garden, when I thought I detected movement. So I took a chance – and pressed the shutter. This little guy emerged from out of what I thought was simply the rock face.

Earlier in the summer, when the flowers were in full bloom, I hears a bee buzzing around me, and saw a tiny gold speck hover over some lovely purple flowers. So, I went for it. And I was astonished at what I captured, right down to the tiny veins in the wings.

My photo walks in this garden produced a photo of a white poppy dancing in the breeze that I loved so much that I created greeting cards and gave them to my gardener friend who makes all these beautiful shots possible.

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Her name is Barbara. And she’s legally blind.

Nothing is impossible, people. The creation of beauty, the nurturing of living things, and how we interpret our world for others to enjoy is as special and diverse as everyone on the planet. And you don’t need to see it all to make a difference.