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JOYFUL NOISE - A gift beyond measure [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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A gift beyond measure [Dec. 6th, 2013|12:32 pm]
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I used a point-and-shoot camera for the longest time, and still do. But when I got frustrated by its limitations, a cherished friend offered me a higher-end camera from his personal collection. In doing so, he opened for me the gates to a whole new world.  There’s no way I can adequately express my gratitude for Peter Laird’s generous gift, but I'd like to give it a try.

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By its very definition, “photography” is “to write or draw with light.” I'm one who's drawn to light, as a rule, and I tend to notice things other people don't. But my new camera invites me to look even closer. I'm learning to twist the lens just so, in a way that brings near the things I might otherwise have overlooked: sharp edges and rounded corners, bold patterns and rough textures, saturated and sun-bleached colors.

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I'm learning to release any preconceived notions about capturing a “perfect” shot, and to focus instead on the light...

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...not only in my creative endeavors, but in every aspect of my life.

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It comes more naturally to me in some areas than others, but I'm doing my level best to remember Leonard Cohen's admonition:

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

The side benefits are many, including but not limited to the lightness of being --the unmitigated joy--that comes of slinging a camera over my shoulder, and plunging headlong into unexplored territory.

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Old habits die hard, and I'm sorely tempted to point out (and to apologize for) any and all mistakes, most of which aren't due to camera malfunctions. Errors reveal themselves on the screen, even though I filtered out the obvious ones before posting.  But even in their unedited state, these pictures manage to tell a story. My story, in all its imperfect glory.

It's a messy thing, this bearing witness.


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Given enough time (and oodles of practice) my photography skills have improved. Technologies advanced at a more rapid pace, to the point where I eventually decided to add another type of camera to my collection. So here I am again, at the threshold of new discoveries. It’s scary and frustrating, to learn the new settings and whatnots. But I’m reminding myself anew that photography—writing and even life itself—is not about perfection. It’s about staying awake and keeping ourselves open. It's about putting one foot in front of the other, confident in the belief that light has the power to pierce any shadows. When viewed through this lens, it's impossible for me to overstate my appreciation for Peter's camera, accompanied as it was by so many important lessons. It's a gift more valuable than I could ever quantify.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: jeannineatkins
2013-12-06 09:35 pm (UTC)

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lovely sentiments, so gracefully articulated -- and pictured!
[User Picture]From: newport2newport
2013-12-07 12:35 am (UTC)

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It's another way in, isn't it? A candle in the window... :)
[User Picture]From: robinellen
2013-12-06 10:04 pm (UTC)

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Someday, someday...we really need to take a photo journey together, dear Melodye. :) I dream about taking pictures, even...of seeing that perfect scene and wanting to find a way to capture the way it makes me feel.
[User Picture]From: newport2newport
2013-12-07 12:36 am (UTC)

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Me, too! I have that same dream. And I'm imagining, in my mind's eye, how wonderful it will be when we DO take our cameras on a field trip. *happy sighs*
[User Picture]From: peterlaird
2013-12-07 12:10 am (UTC)

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Melodye, seeing the lovely images you capture with that camera is all the thanks I need.
[User Picture]From: newport2newport
2013-12-07 12:43 am (UTC)

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Awwww. But you know how we writers are, Peter. A picture might be worth a thousand words but we like to add a little something extra. Ergo, the internets are awash with pictorial thank-you notes. :)
[User Picture]From: olmue
2013-12-07 01:49 am (UTC)

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Beautiful!
[User Picture]From: newport2newport
2013-12-11 02:35 pm (UTC)

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Thank you. xoxo
[User Picture]From: boreal_owl
2013-12-07 02:39 am (UTC)

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The birds on the water photo is spectacularly serene.
[User Picture]From: newport2newport
2013-12-11 02:36 pm (UTC)

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I love that they're gliding along the surface of the ocean, blissfully so. The very next moment, they took flight. But in that brief moment…peace.
[User Picture]From: lilrongal
2013-12-07 05:14 am (UTC)

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Lovely photos. I do enjoy it when I have a reason to take out my DSLR and can take really cool photos, so I know exactly how you feel right now. Enjoy and keep sharing with us!
[User Picture]From: newport2newport
2013-12-11 02:40 pm (UTC)

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Mine isn't a DSLR, as I decided I didn't want to weigh myself down with so many lenses (and choices). But I do love that it allows me more options than a point-and-shoot. Learning how to use them--blending art and science, without losing the heart & soul of my images--that's the challenge. I'm happy for the opportunity to share them with a practiced photographer, such as yourself. xoxo
[User Picture]From: heatherp8
2013-12-07 12:56 pm (UTC)

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marvelous. thanks for sharing -- both the pix and your ever-wise observations. ;-)
[User Picture]From: newport2newport
2013-12-11 02:40 pm (UTC)

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Oooh, I do love your beautiful pelican!! xoxo
[User Picture]From: heatherp8
2013-12-12 12:12 pm (UTC)

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Actually it's a roseate spoonbill. We have them all over here and they are my favorite Florida bird. ;-)
[User Picture]From: asakiyume
2013-12-07 02:09 pm (UTC)

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Oh what lovely, lovely photos. Each one is suffused not only with light and color, but with your **vision**. These photos are very much the you I've come to appreciate from this blog. I'm very grateful to Peter's gift to you too, for giving you this tool to express yourself.

Truly beautiful.
[User Picture]From: newport2newport
2013-12-11 02:43 pm (UTC)

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Awww, thank you so much. I like that you're able to see "me" in these images. I'm not interested in adopting anyone else's style. Learning from others? Yes, absolutely, but not at the expense of losing my own "vision."

This is why I love your posts so much: You invite us into your world, show us what YOU see and explain why it is that you're drawn to the things you are...
[User Picture]From: amygreenfield
2013-12-07 07:49 pm (UTC)

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A post abounding in beautiful gifts - Peter's to you, and yours to us! I love seeing glimpses of the world through your eyes, Melodye dear. xo
[User Picture]From: newport2newport
2013-12-11 02:44 pm (UTC)

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Thanks so much, Amy. It's an extension of who I am, and a reflection of what I aspire to be. And for sure, it's helping me think in new ways about my writing. xoxo
[User Picture]From: papadan
2013-12-08 04:36 am (UTC)

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I always enjoy your photo's. I have a Cannon Power shot camera. I would like to get one of the fancy cameras but this one is doing a good job for my Ebay pictures. The photo I posted yesterday is the result of the sprinkler coming on at 1:00 A.M. in sub freezing weather. The back yard had a very easy look with all of the individual grass leaves covered in ice.
[User Picture]From: newport2newport
2013-12-11 02:46 pm (UTC)

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You take GREAT pictures, PapaDan! I'm heading over to your page right now, to see your sprinkler shot.

What's your eBay name, by the way?
[User Picture]From: papadan
2013-12-12 12:22 pm (UTC)

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My Ebay seller id is dturtle2000. Book mark it and check in every now and then. You will never know what I will have listed.