March 2009

Parrot Tulip bud - velvety

opening tulip bud

Today’s Picture to Ponder Photos
Parrot Tulips in different stages of opening

The sensory experiences are so strong from these two images that I invite you to simply be with them, without further descriptive words from me.

The APDA and Walk Story
The TULIP, a pink-edged one, is the symbol used for Parkinson’s Disease. Thus in March/April, for the fourth year now, I have been purchasing tulip plants and photographing them.

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month and each year, the American Parkinson’s Disease fund-raising walks are held throughout the United States. All MONEYS raised goes to RESEARCH for a cure for Parkinson’s Disease.

Thus, though not always the “correct” one, I have featured two to four photos in Picture to Ponder and created special Tulips pages with more. Starting with 2006, TULIPS 2006 you can follow links to the issue that year. Links for Tulips 2007 and 2008 can be found at the bottom of that page.

I also used Picture to Ponder and the above-mentioned pages, to offer subscribers to make a Walk donation to Research through an Amazon page. Given that my husband Sam (see Remembering Sam) had Parkinson’s Disease, I remain active in support groups, so intended to offer you the same opportunity this year and I learned that the service offered before is no longer available

I therefore invite anyone interested in supporting research for Stamping out Parkinson’s Disease and the walk to go directly to the South Florida “Make a Donation” page. Simply type “WALK” in the “Person’s Name” space, and or in the “Special Instructions” box, before your final payment submission.

The South Florida Walk will take place in Lake Ida Park in Delray Beach on Saturday, April 18th. Registration starts at 9:30 AM, the walk at 11 AM.

I invite you also the check for scheduled walks in your area in the United States and certainly feel free to make a donation to your local chapter, should you be interested in getting involved and that be your preference. Scroll down the APDA national site page for locations and more information.

Today’s Photos Story
Back to today’s Picture to Ponder photographs. I was thrilled with how these photographs turned out and simply want to take some time to luxuriate in them. Then last night, so you could see more of this year’s tulip photos, and more, I uploaded them onto my Flickr pages. See TULIPS set

Almost immediately I received an email inviting me to add each of them to the Parrot Tulips Group on FlickR. I went to the group and was in awe of many of the photos. I had never before paid attention to the beauty of this particular variety of tulips, though I’ve photographed them in the past.

In writing to the administrator, thanking her, we also gained a new subscriber to our Picture to Ponder community and I’ve made a new friend.

Today’s Self-Reflecting Queries

Part of putting together today’s issue had me looking at my own issues around money, asking for it for my services and asking for it for someone else, or for a charity to which I’m committed in supporting. I would assume that there are many of you out there who have neither of these issues around “asking” or “inviting.”

And, as I write, I’m reminded that the same emotional issues are not even always about money. I’m recalling times that I did not invite someone to do attend a party I might be giving, go with me someplace, or into a myriad of other situations. I make the prejudgment that they would not be interested in my invitation, so I don’t put myself out, take a chance on a refusal. The bottom line result is that ultimately neither of us benefit as I stay stuck in my “fear of rejection.”

I invite you to look and see if you find yourself anywhere in the above scenario. If so, I invite you to take one small action forward in possibly a new direction. To do this, what might you have to give up?

Keep in mind, the action may be something as simple, or perhaps for you not so simple, as saying “Hi” to, or smiling at, a stranger.

I also invite all of you to take a few moments to acknowledge yourselves for strides you’ve taken in your life where none of the above fits for you, or where once some of it did and you’ve moved past those strangleholds.

For what accomplishments can you, or will you choose to, acknowledge yourself today?

As always, when you’re finished, I invite you to share your experience with today’s photos and writing on the blog. See the instructions below if you need help.

And do have fun with this today.

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yellow cattleya orchid

close up of yellow cattleya orchid

Orchids in jewelry and Japanese Woodblock pring

Today’s Picture to Ponder Photos
Peachy Yellow and Rose-colored Cattleya Orchid from American Orchid Society greenhouse – first two photographs

Th top orchid represents fun, for me, in the lyrical, curvaceous lines of the edges and the linear patterns of the orchids behind. The middle photo draws us in with the lushness of color and smooth, almost silky textures of the orchid. And for those who like to find faces and other images in orchid photos, there are some here also.

The bottom is a composite of three photographs showing amber and silver Jewelry Orchid Jewelry by Dr. Sumner Silverman, a clinical psychologist and artist, and a Japanese Woodblock Print by Carol Brown, playfully entitled “.Japig”

The Story
In recent weeks I’ve visited the AOS gardens and greenhouse a few times, two of them for workshop demonstrations as part of the March Exhibition – “Four Fine Arts in the Garden – A unique opportunity to view art techniques revolving around the beauty of orchids,” as described on the AOS site.

During both the jewelry-making demonstration and the Japanese Woodblock one, thought I knew not exactly what, I was photographing with the thought of sharing something with you in Picture to Ponder.

Today’s Cattleya Orchid has been stating that it wanted to be with you, so I decided to combine the real orchid and the interpretations of other orchids. Very often in Picture to Ponder I speak of reality and interpretation in a metaphysical way, so it is interesting for me to have a different type of analogy. Actually the photographs are always interpretations in and of themselves, despite thinking that they are “real.”

If you check both sites – Dr. Sumner’s and Carol Brown’s, you’ll read that their individual art forms bring them to meditative states.

Today’s Self-Reflecting Queries
I speak above of reality and interpretations. I could invite you, once again, to look in your life at what you call “real” and where you “interpret.” And, as I reflect, I’m reminded that I have been looking at various forms of self-expression.

One of my missions in life is in supporting people in being freely, fully and authentically self-expressed. In addition to that, it is with both the camera and writing that I find myself most revealed, often pieces and parts of me of which I am not fully aware.

I invite you this week to pay attention and notice where you are most self-expressed. The examples above of today’s artists show examples of two different forms in the arts and yours may be totally unrelated to the arts.

I also invite to look and see if there is anyway in which you think I can support you into further recognizing and tapping into you own strengths. I have been considering reviving teleclasses again, perhaps incorporating photography and writing with coaching.

I had intended to put together a survey asking you to identify any interests you might have for my working with you. Should you have any thoughts, prior to my creating the survey, I’d appreciate an email with your feedback. Simply put SURVEY in the subject and address it to me, Sheila [at] picturetoponder.com (Note the link will work. I simply typed it this to forestall spamming.)

As always, when you’re finished, I invite you to share your experience with today’s photos and writing on the blog. See the instructions below if you need help.

And do have fun with this today.

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Reflections #1 of baby alligator in water at Green Cay Nature Center

Baby alligator photo #2 in water reflected in aquarium in Green Cay Nature Center

Baby alligator on rock in Aquarium at Green Cay Nature Senter

Today’s Picture to Ponder Photos
Reflections of Baby Alligators in Water in an Aquarium in Green Cay Nature Center in Boynton Beach, FL and one out of the water.

I was, and am, captivated by the reflections I saw of the underwater alligators as I looked through the glass of this aquarium. Rather than the usual upside down image reflection to which I am accustomed in water, here the “reverse image is above, rather than below, the subject.

The added fascination for me is that in both the top and middle photos the alligator and reflection appear more as one unit rather than a separate segments. The colors and textures are about equal, very different from the reflection of the smaller alligator seen in the bottom photo.

Contributing to the aesthetic element are the structures within the aquarium created specifically for these alligators.

The Story
Green Cay Nature Center is devoted to education and preserving the environment. Thinking that some of you might have a concern for the alligators, before completing today’s issue of Picture to Ponder, I called and spoke to a Naturalist at the Center to get more information on the “babies”.

The alligators we see here have been brought in from an Alligator Farm. They are approximately one year old and will stay at Green Cay for another year or two until they get to large for that environment. They will then be sent back to the Alligator Farm where they will continue to be hand fed.

Usually my interest in Green Cay is walking on the boardwalk, luxuriating in visual discoveries, very often as found in the sunsets so many of you love when they are featured here.

I rarely go into the building unless it’s to take out-of-town visitors or attend a Palm Beach Poetry Festival’s “Bards of a Feather” quarterly poetry reading. So it was an added and exciting treat for me to make the discovery I share here in today’s photographs.

Today’s Self-Reflecting Queries

I stated above that ordinarily I don’t “bother” stopping into the Nature Center when I go to Green Cay. I assume I already “know” what’s there and I won’t find anything particularly new that will interest me. And, of course, as we’ve read above, when I went in and looked with “open eyes” I found something that got me quite excited. Perhaps, it will also result in new openings for you.

Today I invite you to look around you in your world at the places where you usually spend time at work or home. It could be en route to a customary location. It could even be the supermarket. Pause to find something you’ve never noticed before or something you can look at in a new way. Then spend a moment or two simply “being” with it.

What is it you are seeing “newly” AND what is the feeling of that experience for you? Describe it to yourself. Perhaps you’d like to share it with another.

Then I invite you to look at one or more situations in your life that you have been taking for granted. Is there anything you’ve learned from the above that you can now transfer to the situation(s)?

As always, when you’re finished, I invite you to share your experience on the blog. See the instructions below if you need help.

And do have fun with this today.

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center of a dying wild iris in Wakodahatchee Wetlands

Today’s Picture to Ponder Photos
Centers of “fading” Wild Irises in Wakodahatchee Wetlands

I love the folds and textures in the top photo and the total mystery of it. Feeling like I’m looking at fabric, there is no way I would think, “iris.” The lower photo is a little more obvious, as a flower center. In the full image the two petals on the side at the top of the flower look like they are waving at you in full greeting.

See WILD IRISES for views of the complete flowers.

The Story
Last year was the first year I had the delightful surprise of happening on wild purple irises as I walked along the boardwalk in Wakodahatchee Wetlands. Heretofore my experience had only been with garden irises in the Northeast.

Last week, I was thrilled that there was once again a showcase of iris blooms. This time I had the pleasure of sharing them with my cousins. Since the battery on his camera had died, I lent my camera to Michael, one of our younger generation of cousins. I loved a couple of his iris photos, but “of course, I couldn’t use them.” (My rules and today I did resize one for you. See Michael Klein’s Iris.)

I went back a few days later, walking with a friend a little earlier in the day, and took several photos, two of which I used in the header I created for the GARDEN OF THE SOUL promo mailing I did last week. In her book, as I mentioned, Lynn refers to the iris as the symbol for “receiving.”

After I looked at my photos on the computer, I made the decision that Michael’s were better. Usually, when I compare and I come out (in my opinion) on the “lower” end, I’ll put the differences in cameras down as one of the factors that might have me “not measuring up.” This time it was MY camera on which the picure was recorded!

A few days later I made the decision that perhaps it was the difference in lighting. So I went back yesterday at what I thought was approximately the same time. What I neglected to do was check the actual time on the photo record on the computer. I realized as I was writing Picture to Ponder today, I was still one half hour off. I spent a lot of time in my head “working out” the time and never thought of the much simpler solution – simply check the records.

Finally, what I was faced with yesterday was that nine days later the flowers were past their prime, many dying off, or in the final stages, as was the iris featured in the upper photo today.

I am sharing this whole “story”, not for you to compare, reassure me, or agree that Michael’s IS better (smiling). It’s simply that I want to remind both you and me of the processes and stories we put ourselves through as we go through life.

By the way, there is still one more justification for why Michael’s photo might be better than mine. He is about a foot taller (maybe less) than me. He physcially brings an entirely different point of view, one there is no way I can replicate.

To conclude, as my friend Marifran pointed out when reading this, things change from moment to moment, person to person, and are never exactly the same.

Today’s Self-Reflecting Queries
My story on the photographic experience discussed today went into much more detail than usual. Mainly I wanted to emphasize the humor, or the irony, of what we put ourselves through.

1 – I am inviting you today to look at your life. Is there a place where you have been doing a lot of comparing of yourself with another and, in your estimation, coming out on the “less-than” end of the picture? If so, I invite you to pause to reflect on your assets, your uniqueness, what you bring to the “picture.” I also invite you to write down YOUR attributes so that you remember what they are, especially at low times.

2 – One more quick story related to the Iris Walk and then a second self-reflecting query – Last week, when I went back for a Wakodahatchee walk with a friend, I paused to take some more iris photos. I sensed my friend’s restlessness and, after we moved on, she commented that sometimes she likes to walk without her camera so she can be fully with the walk.

Reminded about the exprience yesterday as I was walking in the same place, I realized that for me it’s the camera that at times is what aids me in being fully present with a situation, people, nature or myself. It often is my unconscious way of communicating with myself, my soul, as well as with what I am photographing.

I invite you to look at what methods you use for being fully connected with yourself. Are the people with whom you may be interacting at the time fully aware of what it is for you?

As always, when you’re finished, I invite you to share your experience on the blog. See the instructions below if you need help.

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© 2017 Sheila Finkelstein - All Rights Reserved - Photography and Writing are by Sheila Finkelstein unless otherwise noted. For information contact Sheila[at]SheilaFinkelstein.com