There is a profound moment…just a second or so before the sun’s light peeks above the horizon…when it feels as if a stilled hush has silenced all of nature.  And then, a bird’s singsong welcoming a new day and the distant sound of the coffee maker, releases me once again from the imprisonment of a sleepless night.



Standing quietly by the fence,

you smile your wondrous smile.

I am speechless, and my senses are filled

by the sounds of your beautiful song,

beginningless and endless.

I bow deeply to you.

~Quach Thoai (describing the appearance of a dahlia: Thich Nhat Hanh, Fragrant Palm Leaves)


2017 Favorites

Tour de Fat

Michelle challenges us to find a little irreverence in our world within the theme of cheeky.  I must admit it is a bit difficult to silence anxiety–as  fires rage in southern California, the number of employed homeless increases, the possible financial impact due to an inequality of federal tax burdens, children in Yemen starving, and the list goes on and on and on–long enough to shift my focus towards something “impudent or irreverent, typically in an endearing or amusing way.”    Tour de Fat…a day filled with bikes, costumes, music, friends, and family.



looking delicious

the snow falling softly


~Issa (

Nikon D750   f/5.6    1/200s    300 mm    100 ISO

those snow days…blanketing the earth and gifting us with silence, before snow shovels and snow removal trucks, serene

Let’s spend a few minutes listening to…The Sound of Silence, Simon and Garfunkel.

No matter how much things change, they still remain the same.

Initial backlit photo submission


Review:  After I posted the above image, I realized that – despite my best efforts –  some of the tree branches (the left side of the triangle roof line) had what I refer to as halos; that is, a rim of of light along the edge of the black tree branches. Sign…  My brief research on these artifacts found that they are most prominent along high contrast edges such as when the land meets the sky.

Within Raj’s review of this image, he noted, “….image post-processing is a step more than what is required in my opinion. If you are creating an intentional over the processed image, then it’s fine. If not, check the bottom blackish area, they have blue spots all over them. That’s actually a wrong colour where it should have been pure black.”

First re-edited backlit photo submission


The above image was cropped a bit differently…mostly because I like how the view of the sky though the windows in the bottom center of the image.  I did a bit of shadow editing to the windows and removed the two light circles to the right of the windows as well as followed Raj’s recommendation that the bottom of the image should be “pure black.”

Second re-edited backlit submission

I like the variations of colors of the sky in the first image.  Yet, despite a number of  attempts within Color Efex Pro, those trees continued to have those pesky halos.  So I decided to combine the two layers together and with a layer mask…the image below was created.


I think the last image is my favorite as I find the pure black along the bottom creates a more dramatic photo than the first.  Love to hear what others think.

Also, I think the image as well as this process fits really well with this week’s WordPress photo challenge: Transformation

Thank you, again Raj.

P.S. It seems this migraine cycle may be ending….

Nikon D50   f/10   1/50 s   24 mm   100 ISO

Memory bridges our past with the present and awakens us to an awareness that life is created by minute moments that often go unnoticed as our minds are frequently elsewhere.  Photography offers us a means to awaken to these temporary moments and to create priceless keepsakes of our yesterdays.