Thursday, February 12, 2009

Evil Eyes and an Astronaut

This Evil Eye bracelet caught my eye yesterday. Evil eye talismans protect you from misfortune that might be bestowed upon you by an envious onlooker’s gaze. I hope it worked for the gal wearing this bracelet.
This evening I noticed an astronaut floating on the dark space of my blackboard. He looked so peaceful up there, but kind of lonely too.

Monday, February 9, 2009

a cup of coffee

Today it was warm enough to sit out on the deck after work. Steve lit a candle and I made some coffee. It was a nice end to a good day.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

friday nite and saturday day

Friday’s POD is taken at John Medwedeff’s art opening. I was showing my friend, Betsy Bishop how my small tripod worked by setting it on the floor and taking a quick photograph, not expecting the photograph to be anything special, but, man, I love this picture! I love the composition, foreground, background, lighting, colors and sizes of the objects.

Saturday’s photograph is of my dog, JaJa Vega running through a puddle. Lazy Judy is strolling along in the background. I am intrigued by capturing action with photography. It is difficult to do with my camera, maybe I’ll experiment with a different camera later on.

More personally: I have been letting go of prejudices and ego by meditating regularly. What I get from meditation is an ability to observe my thoughts: I hold mine in one hand while I am open for other possibilities in the other hand. Previously, I would have held on to my idea as The Truth, with both hands, tightly. The beauty of mediating is that I have opened myself up to other thoughts and options. You could say that I am becoming less opinionated. Not a bad thing. Physically, I can tell a difference because I used to get tight and rigid when I thought that I was right. Now I am making an effort to relax, breathe, and allow the ideas to come. I hope that my photography will change as a result of this new letting go and opening up.

Also, a special Thank You goes out to my husband, Steve, for making a banner for Proboscis. He took this picture today at the SIU rec center pool with his underwater camera. He did the layout and everything else involved with a banner. Thanks Steve! I love you! kate.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

green gemstone necklace

I am in awe of people who can hold a camera still. Yes, I know that there are things called tripods, but it is hard to carry one around when you are not a professional photographer.

So here is a blurry photograph of a lovely necklace. What caught my eye was the geometry, the shades of green, the brightness of the middle gemstone, the way the green and brassy colors were worn against the young lady’s beautiful warm brown-toned skin.

I am enjoying all the wonderful feedback about the blog. You inspire me! I am humbled to have changed the way you look at your world. I look forward to seeing your photographs and reading your stories.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sunny Window

The pix o’ day is effective! I have been working too much and have become self-absorbed and pitiful as a result. When Steve and I sat in the sunny window-seat at the Longbranch today, I felt some relief from my funk. Rachel Frank, our waiter, has a fabulous t-shirt collection, smile, and personality. Here is Rachel with her beautiful smile, bright red drop earrings, and whimsical t-shirt. I did not realize it at the time, but the shadow of the window sign is on her left shoulder.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Pedestrian Day

One temptation of Blogging about the Picture of the Day happened to me today. I was uninspired, dull, and flat. Nothing jumped out at me visually. I was aware of other senses today, but I cannot communicate the smell of chlorine as you walk from the student health center to the rec center through my photographs. So the temptation is to look through my old photographs and post one of those. I resisted.

I feel like I’ll let you down, waste your time, etc. because I did not have a picture-moment today. It was just an average day and the photos I took reflect that. However, to put a Pollyanna spin on it: Average is good. Always striving for two standard deviations above average sets you up for exhaustion, perfectionism, disappointment, and frustration.

Today's picture is of my dog, Taki's foot. I photographed it as he was lying on my Greek wool rug. I was intrigued by the similarity of his fur and the wool.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A week of blogs in one post!

It is difficult to blog when the internet is down. But I did enjoy taking photographs during our ice/snowstorm. The top photo is from a bust of Abe Lincoln at Morris Library. Look deep into his eye! Next is of a thriving indoor plant reaching towards the light, unaware of life on the other side of the pane. This bright, sunny corner of the Longbranch Coffee house with its warm colors(yellow and brown) on the interior juxtaposed with cool colors (blue and white) from the outside caught my keen eye. Followed by two pictures of my dogs, Judy and JaJa, who are extremely happy about the snow. (To keep Picture of the Day honest I must give a disclaimer: Steve probably took this picture of Judy.) After many days of snow and ice, produce at the coop looked especially green and beautiful. And the last picture is of a twisted measuring tape. I found the twist, colors, texture and light interesting.

I keep seeing things every day that are beautiful: a child on the playground, a couple holding hands, the geometry of a row of bookshelves. How about you? Have you started taking pictures at the moment of your inspiration? Are you becoming aware of your world and what you find interesting? Please share.

Monday, January 26, 2009


For today's picture, I captured one of my favorite things: a flip-turn. I stuck my camera in a plastic bag and tried to capture an SIU swimmer slap the wall with his feet on one of his many flip-turns. Although it is not the best picture, the gesture is there. These swimmers are so practiced at this that it is simply a joy observe.

Plus or Minus 154 years

Yesterday I was at Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge. I found this gravestone interesting. I wonder if Elizabeth could imagine how the world would change in the 154 years since she died. I wonder how the world will be in 154 years. It would probably blow my mind.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I love graffiti. There is not much of it around Carbondale, but keep your eyes open and you can find it. This piece of artwork is on a metal door of a utility building close to Morris Library. I like the Mohawk and the cigarette along with the bored expression on the punk’s face. Could this be homage to Sid Vicious?

Is there any graffiti that you would like to share?

Friday, January 23, 2009

For Special Guests

Special Guests are wonderful.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


For a moment today I realized how to let go. This insight came in the form of a Beatles’ song while I was thinking about my frustrating morning, “Let it be. Let it be. Let it be. Yeah! Let it be.”

I love the idea of equanimity, and up until noon, it was mostly just that: a concept. I can’t express what I felt, but it was liberating.

Today’s picture is of one of my favorite people: Steve. He is in his morning routine. What a lovely setup he has, a sunny window, a green plant, a computer (with my blog on it!), and beautiful artwork. It is a nice, inspirational scene. Hope you enjoy it too.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Zen of Picture of the Day

I take a picture everyday to remind me to be aware of not only my environment, but also of time. A photograph captures a moment and that is what I try to do with meditation: to be fully present in the moment without ego, fear, and expectations. This is hard because I worry about the past, plan for the future, etc. When my mind is running around everyplace like a spastic child, it is difficult to be here calmly. With practice both picture-of-the-day and meditation will come easier. After that, the writing.

Thanks for all the encouragement and feedback! I encourage you to try meditating for a few minutes or taking a picture every day for one week! Let me know how you like it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Patriotism (mine)

With today’s Picture of the Day, I want to express my deep gratitude to the people of my country who helped Barack Obama become the 44th President of the United States. I was one of millions of people who went door-to-door because I strongly believed that Barack Obama could lead the United States with optimism, foresight, intelligence, and humility.

What is patriotism? Pride? What does flying the flag signify? I’m still not sure. Is it to support our military and the people who have given their lives in battles? That is how a recent flag raising ceremony that I attended was conducted. It did leave me with a feeling that there is so much more to our country. No disrespect for the military or those who serve. I asked my husband who was in the military if that was the purpose of the flag.

And I believe that I got my answer today as I walked down a stairwell viewing the flags of the United States, POW-MIA, and Illinois. I projected my meaning onto the flags and I was proud: proud that enough people cared and believed in democracy to elect Barack Obama as our new president. To me the flag represents the ideals that Barack spoke about in his brilliant speech. These ideals are: “hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true.” That is what the flag represents to me, especially on this wonderful day.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Split Penny

Yesterday’s picture is that of a penny lying along the edge of HW 13. I was riding my bicycle, looking down at the road when I saw that shiny copper penny. What was interesting is how it was split in half. I’ve never seen anything like it! And the second half was about 10 inches away. What do you think happened?

Today’s picture is of a clump of Broom Sedge. If you’ve spent any time driving around the Midwest in the fall or winter, you’ve seen it thousands of times. It is what gives a field that rusty-orange color. It is beautiful en masse and also as an individual.

Tomorrow Barack Obama will become our new president. It is a change that I have been looking forward to for several months. I wish him all the best. Much love, peace, and wisdom to you Mr. Obama!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Yellow Post

There are interesting things to photograph on campus. This yellow post wrapped in candy-stripe red and white ribbon captured my eye. It was in the middle of a sidewalk, I assume, to block automobile traffic.

I composed the picture so that the post is prominently in the middle. I was inspired by a recent Pat Metheny Group CD cover (The Way Up). Of interest are the contrast of background light and forefront shadows, the vertical green posts and white Sycamores, the vanishing perspective of the sidewalk.

I imagine that there are other things too, but I won't tell you so you will use your imagination to its fullest.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Shiny Brooch

Sad to say that not much struck me today, although if I had had more time to roam around I’m sure that I would have found something. I might have to start walking during my lunch hour, instead of eating.

The picture today is of a brooch. I only had one chance to take the picture, and I did not really capture what was beautiful about this piece. What I saw was a sparkling tan, a deeper cooper and a brilliant blue. I loved how the woman had placed it on her dark brown muted coat. But in the photograph it just looks flat.

Does anybody have any suggestions for photographing jewelry? Or shiny objects?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Life at Woodlawn Cemetery

I woke up from a bad dream that left a yucky feeling with me for most of the day. And it was very cold. It is hard to be in the moment on some days and today was one of those days. I'm looking forward to the day when I can see the beauty in every single thing.

I had lunch with Steve. His office is across the street from Woodlawn Cemetery. Civil War solders from the North and South are buried there.

Today’s Picture of the Day is of one of the tombstones. The image is of a hand, definitely in 19th century attire, pointing to the "Holy Bible." The image is lovely, but I found what was living on the surface of the tombstone even more beautiful. Besides the obvious irony of something living on a tombstone, these lichens are meaningful because lichens cannot live with air pollution. Lichens are used to monitor air quality. Check out the US Forest Service’s web site.

I don’t know how healthy these lichens are, but I was happy to see them because this cemetery is between the two busiest streets in Carbondale. Of course, a real expert might look at them and exclaim, “My, my, my, what sickly lichens have we here!” If you know of a lichen expert, I’d be interested in her observations.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I took today’s Picture at Don Taco just down the street from the Student Health Center. It is a picture of bubbles rushing around chaotically in a drink dispenser. The bubbles were moving really fast as the machine pumped the drink round and round. I shot it as a Macro picture. I imagine that this might be a neat shot to combine with another image someday.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Interesting Bike Rack

Another late-night attempt at blogging before the mid-night deadline. I hope that you are enjoying my posts. It is a tremendous amount of fun.

Today, as I was going to the Rec Center, my eye caught this bike rack and its shadow. I found it fascinating. And I can't quite say why. I thought, I'll just take this picture on the way out. But something inside of me said, When you see the Picture of the Day, you must take the Picture of the Day. (Unlike When you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha.) So I set everything down and paid attention to the voice. Good thing because I left the building using a different exit, so I would have missed the picture. Plus the whole image could have changed in one hour: shadows would have moved, the sunshine could have gone away, a bike could have been parked there, etc. Just like meditation (still working on this theme) it is all about being present for the current moment.

What attracted me to this image is the geometry of the curved metal, the shades of gray, the strong contrast between light and shadows. How do you feel about this picture? After looking at it for a while, it also reminds me of a large twisty straw or a potato masher.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Unfortunate Crayfish

The thing that I love about Picture of the Day is that it helps me get out of my head and into the present moment. For example, I took the dogs for a walk on one of my favorite fields close to home. There is a stream that runs along the edge of the field. I wasn’t really on the lookout for the pix o’ day, but when I saw the remains of a crayfish on a pile of deer droppings, I knew that there was a story and picture. I can only imagine what happened. I would love to know your thoughts on the fate of this craw-daddy. Here’s mine:

I think that this crabby crayfish was cold, hungry, and grumpy on a warm January day. You can tell that he is the King Craw-Daddy of the stream because of the size of those claws! He crawled towards the pile of deer dung to see what delicacies he could find: bugs! Worms! Millipedes! Maggots? He fought off weaker crayfish the entire way to the steaming heap. When he arrived at the pile he was overwhelmed by his good fortune and he forgot himself in his gluttony.

While feasting on his marvelous meal, a fecund Coopers hawk flew over the field looking for small rodents. She spotted a minute movement in the tall grass along the stream and locked in on the mindless crayfish. Oh how she loved the salty taste of those crunchy crustaceans! She swooped down and decapitated the greedy crayfish, chewing the eyes, mouth and face with her sharp beak. She was ready to devour the rest of the crab when three very fat dogs came running along carelessly followed by a distracted, frizzy-headed biped with a camera . . .

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Karl Lanier

It is almost midnight and I am trying to get my picture in under the midnight deadline. I read something written by Philip Moffitt today in Dancing with Life, that I believe could change my life. He recommends the practice of renouncing your attachment to being right.

The picture of the day is of a weaving by local artist Karl Lanier. He is an amazing weaver. His work is so colorful and intricate. Please enjoy this woven piece lit by candlelight.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Luckily I went out to the mailbox with Steve close to midnight last night. The sky was amazing: The moon was full and the clouds were rapidly moving in front of it. I quickly got Steve’s tripod and placed it underneath our beautiful White Oak trees. I hope that you can see the image well enough to feel the breeze on your face as the moon peeks through the misty clouds.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Picture of the Day
Tropicana Moon Night Train
Can't choose either one

Thursday, January 8, 2009

red and yellow

Today there was more going on in my brain than in front of the camera. Tom Azzarello, a wonderful photographer, spent time explaining apertures, f-stops, 35mm (36mm really) film, tungsten light, white light, ISO’s and more. (He teaches a photography class at John A Logan on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the early afternoon.)

I truly want to understand photography, the physics of it, in order to understand how to take a picture. One of my frustrations with photography is that I see an image, and I cannot reproduce that image (as I perceive it) on film. For example, the orange roots from Tuesday’s picture appeared almost neon-orange to me when I saw them: they were shocking. I am not sure if I conveyed that in the photograph, but that is what I am striving for.

I hope to show what I find fascinating and beautiful through my photography. Our Universe is truly an incredible place. I want to be aware of its magnificence. As I was saying to Tom today, “It is mind-blowing what the camera, or the eye for that matter, can do!” To which Tom said, “Tell me about it! I find everything mind-blowing! Even Kleenex!”

So, today’s picture is of some red and yellow pipes at the SIU Rec Center. Love the brightness of these colors!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bold Plaid Shirt

The first time I did Picture-of-the-Day two years ago, I wanted to get over my fear of using a camera in public and to be able to walk up to strangers and ask if I could take their picture. There are only so many pictures of your dogs that you can take!

Today’s picture is of Justin Rosenfield, a waiter at Longbranch Coffeehouse in Carbondale. Steve and I had finished lunch and Justin walked through the Branch wearing this colorful shirt and slim legged jeans. The shirt with its large plaid in rich colors was very alluring and it was hard to keep your eyes off of him! That was the clue I needed to realize that Justin was to be my picture for today. Thanks Justin for being a good sport and agreeing to be part of my blog.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Today I was busy from the moment I got out of bed until just now—11:OOpm. Early today, as I was driving to an appointment, I was actively searching for things that caught my eye. Nothing popped out at me. But I liked the awareness that I had as I was driving: instead of my mind drifting off into some pointless thought, I was in the moment. I’ve been cultivating this sort of mindfulness through meditation ever since I went to a meditation retreat in early November. It is interesting to think of the lens of a camera as a tool for meditation.

Driving home from my appointment on the newly widened Pleasant Hill Road, I was struck by the orange color on the roots of some trees that were cleared to widen the road several months earlier. Is this the normal color of tree roots, or might it be the result of a fungus? Who knows, but in the dreary month of January in southern Illinois, the color was an welcome embellishment to the gray landscape.

Monday, January 5, 2009


I had an interesting conversation with my friend David today. David is a photographer and I hope to see some of his work soon. David told me today that he believes that photographs should represent reality. This was after he explained that he does not manipulate his work on the computer; that he is a purist.

A little background on David: David grew up in Carbondale, but he has been all over the world in the military. I don’t know in what capacity he served, but I picture him as a covert agent because of some of the incredible places he has been. David has a background in social work and currently works with many of the street-people in Carbondale.

David photographs some of these people. He says that he like to show them just the way they are. I believe the reality David wants to show is reflected in the faces of these people. We Americans, often, don’t want to see that much reality. It make us feel uncomfortable.

As David was talking seriously about Reality, I couldn’t help but think about yesterday’s picture. I wanted it to be whatever your mind could imagine it to be. If I had taken a “realistic” picture of my Subaru’s warning light, you would have had a completely different reaction to it. I told David about yesterday’s picture and now David thinks that I am crazy--crazy in a good way.

Today’s picture happens to be a reality picture. The reality here makes me smile because of the shear capriciousness of the young lady who chose to put pirates on her black polished fingernails.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

My Very Own Blog!

Here it goes:

Today is January 4th and it is the fourth day of my New Year's Resolution. I've revived Picture-of-the-Day and I'll be posting my photographs here. I am using my Cannon Digital Elph Power Shot SD10 unless otherwise noted. All thanks to my husband, Steve, for helping my on this venture.

I hope that you enjoy my work. I can't decide if I want the pictures to document my daily life, so that when I look back on them we can laugh and say, "Oh we were so funny back then! We actually ordered movies online that were delivered in the US Mail! Remember those red Netflex envelopes!" Or if I just want to capture what I find particularly interesting and beautiful--using Picture-of-the-Day as a tool to help me find the beauty in my everyday world. It really could be many, many things. So I will not set objectives, limits, goals. It will simply be a daily picture from my life. It will develop as the year goes on.

So, today's picture is of the door ajar sign in our Subaru. I took it late at night upon coming home. I used a long shutter and moved the camera slightly. To me it looks like a car skidding sideways. The open doors add some excitement too: Is it a car chase? Are there people escaping from the car?