Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #22: Happiness is

This is my submission for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #22: Happiness Is. Very interesting subject! Please follow the link to read Ann-Christine’s post.

I don’t have many unhappy days after I retired. Everything makes me happy… a flower — withered or not, a tree, a piece of rock, mountains, dirt, food… etc. But, not to worry, I will make this post short. 😉

Happiness is… liking what I do — photographing, writing, cooking, meeting friends…

(Clearly, inspired by Brenda… thanks.)

Happiness is… knowing I am doing all right, because someone says so. (Thank you, my friend.)

Happiness is… having friends… even better if they enjoy listening to my stories 😉

Happiness is… spending time with my parents, even if that can only be done in a dream.

Happiness is… being able to let go. (Still working on this.)

Thank you for visiting my blog. (Happiness is knowing I am not blogging alone. 😉

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Coming Back, and a Letter to a Fan

Where did time go? What happened? Let me tell you…

(1) Blogging is like exercise. You blog every week for a while and think you deserve a short break and then a short break turns into a long one. One may wonder… if you enjoy blogging so much, why coming back from a short back is so difficult? I don’t know. All I know is I have experienced the same problem with exercising.

(2) I was ready to come back a couple of weeks (a month?) ago, then I saw an ad on my post. An ad with a not-so-pleasant picture, that was. I have never seen an ad on my blog (I don’t know why); I understand WP have to make money somewhere, and I am okay with adding ads in posts. But an ad with a not-so-pleasant picture? Worse yet, the same ad was displayed 3 times in a short post. How often do my readers have to suffer through this? I dislike the picture so much that I immediately shut down my phone, didn’t even know what the ad was for. At that moment, I was considering shutting down my blog (or pay the money to get rid of ads?)

(3) I was asked to write a short essay every week (in Chinese) to my Buddhist class. I found out that as long as I had one outlet for my creativity to go, I am quite satisfied and happy. It’s a short essay, but as all writers know – we love revising. It has kept me busy these days.

Thank you for all the nice comments I have received recently. Your comments brought a lot of smile to my face. It’s interesting that after writing in Chinese for a while, I am not use to writing in English anymore. I will work on that. Ha.

Now, a letter to a fan… I have to post it here because I don’t have other way to reach him/her.

Dear Fan,

Your letter was supposed to come 3 days ago according to the notification I’ve received, but it didn’t. It didn’t come a day later either. After reporting “missing mail”, I finally received it yesterday. Missing one corner (USPS attached a note apologizing), but it didn’t seem like anything was missing.

OMG! It’s interesting to me that you saw my book at Amazon first, and then found my blog. After reading what you said about my writing, I thought to myself, “Isn’t this every writer dying to hear?” Then I read what you think about my photos, I thought: “Wow! Every photographer (professional or not) would love to hear this!” When I finished reading the letter, I concluded that this is a letter that would be appreciated by any human being. Thank you! (And thank you for your cat photo and the lucky charm!)

Needless to say, I was stuffed with emotions. Like the above photo… huge amount of beautiful emotions. I was a little confused too, not knowing how to respond. One thing I knew was that I wish I could share my happiness with everyone; I have enough to share with everyone in the world!

I do have more to say… (surprise?)

From my experience, there are three groups of people: one who thinks they are better than anyone; one always finds good things in others; and those who know themselves well and know others too. I have a feeling that you, maybe, have given too much credit to others and not enough to yourself. When I read your letter, I felt you are just like me: compassion, loving, kind… etc. (Yes, I have all that; what I am working on is to have all these all the time 😉 Think about it… you made an effort, writing to a stranger to let her know how much you enjoy her work, if this is not “compassion, loving, kind”, what is it?

You said my words gave you hope, perspective and acceptance. But not everyone found hope in my writing! Do you know what that means? It means that you, yourself, have a hope “seed” in your heart, and my words, maybe, provided a little sunshine to help that seed grow. Now, “acceptance”… the most important lesson I have learned in my life is to accept (and love) myself. Trust me, we are better than we thought we are! If we aren’t now, we can be! 😉

I can talk whole day, can you tell? I don’t like long post…

You signed your letter as “A Fan”. Wikipedia says: Fan (person), a fanatical enthusiast or supporter, especially with regard to entertainment and sports.

I used to be a fan of being a fan. I was a fan to many. Thinking back, there was this element of “blind trust” when I was a fan to someone. In a couple of cases, when I got to know the person, I realized that a part of him/her was just like me. So, instead of being a fan, how about joining the team to make this world better, and I suggest to start by patting your back congratulating yourself for making someone love herself a little more. 😉

So, I thank you. I will never forget your letter. Happy Holidays to you, too.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Posted in random thoughts, Writing | 28 Comments

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #12: Path

Before I start, I want to let you know that I am taking a 2-week break, going north to see fall colors (we hope ;-)) I am not sure if we will have WIFI, so I may not be able to do anything online in these 14 days. Hope you all have 2 wonderful weeks.

This is my entry for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #12: Path.

Sometime, we walk alone; sometime, we don’t.

Sometime we lead; sometime we follow.

Sometime we see a well-marked path in front of us; sometime a red carpet welcomes us.

But, sometime, we have to create our own path to be where we want to be.

Many different paths… maybe that’s one of the reasons why life is interesting.

I want to thank Tina for another wonderful challenge. I have forgotten a lot of paths that I had taken in the past. Suddenly, they all come back to me and they seem all right.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Posted in photo, photo and thoughts, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged | 35 Comments

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #11: Small is Beautiful

For this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (#11), Amy chooses “Small Is Beautiful” for the theme. What a great theme! It makes me smile.

A purple leaf grows on a sweet potato.

Raindrops, shinning like diamonds, were caught by a spider web.

Small is beautiful indeed! (Thanks, Amy.)

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Posted in photo, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged | 17 Comments

Brenda’s Photo Study: Contemplative Photography I

This is my entry for Brenda’s A Photo Study: Contemplative Photography I, which was posted on June 23.

Brenda started this article with a quote from John F Simon, Jr (Drawing your own Path).

“The object is of secondary importance to how I see the object. …concentrated looking is the way to get past labels and our preconceived ideas of what interests us. Looking slowly and in detail, …gives way to interlocked abstract shapes, energetic textures, ranges of colors, spaces in between things, sharp edges, and soft shadows. This way of seeing objects turns any item into an interesting subject.”

For this photo study, the challenge/exercise is to take 10 photographs in 20 minutes, and before taking each photo, spend two minutes “being with…looking at…contemplating” the object – (your photo subject). (I hope I understand this challenge correctly.)

Now, going back to “Looking slowly and in detail”… my idea was to take photos with a large aperture to create a shallow DOF, so only a small part of the object would be clearly seen in detail at each photo ;-).

The Rock
Long time ago, one of my friends took me to a rock beach that had many of these rocks with “dimples”. I immediately collected 10, 20 of them, planning to take all home. My friend didn’t think I should take any. So I ended up putting all back except 3.

These rocks still fascinate me.

The Exercise
For this exercise, I probably would give myself a “D“ (because I don’t want an “F” ;-). Looking at the rock for 2 minutes was not a problem. I had done that many times in the past. But after looking at it for 2 minutes, I have to take a photo and then look again for another 2 minutes and then take another photo… this, somehow, didn’t work well for me. I think I probably only looked for 30 seconds.

Brenda has some interesting egg photos on her post. I hope you will stop by to read her post, if you haven’t done so.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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Brenda’s Photo Study: Variations

This is my entry for Brenda’s A Photo Study: Variation.

Brenda’s second article, “Variation”, in her contemplative Photography series was posted on June, 8. For this photo study, Brenda borrowed Ted Forbes’ photo assignment, asking us to create 10 images of one subject.

Here we go… 10 images of one subject.

My daughter brought this little guy home from Denmark as a gift for her dad, but I have more fun playing with it than he does.

I admit that this is probably an easy subject to work with. Looking at that face, I just couldn’t stop clicking? 😉

Thanks, Brenda, for another good article!

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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Brenda’s Photo Study: Seeing

This is my submission for Brenda’s A Photo Study: Seeing.

Brenda has posted several articles regarding Contemplative Photography. Her first article, “Seeing”, in the series was posted on June, 2. In it, she provided us a link to Cemal Ekin’s article, “Seeing is the Essence of Photography, And You Can Learn to Do It Better.” I’m very happy to find out that seeing can be improved 😉

Cemal Ekin, in his article, suggests a simple exercise for us to try. You can also find this exercise in Brenda’s article, so I am not going to repeat it here. Basically, I stayed in our garage for 15 minutes and took 34 photos. “Look for texture, lines, shapes, forms rather than “things” to photograph,” Cemal says.

I found out that “not looking for things” does take some time to get used to. Even though I was trying to only see lines, shape, texture… etc., my first 3 photos turned out to be “things” that had lines, texture, and shape. However, ““Try to focus on things that normally escape your attention…” is quite easy, since I don’t usually spend time in garage anyway. 😉

It’s a fun exercise, I have to say. Thank you, Brenda.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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