April 2010

Today’s Photos

Purple Tulip #1

With tilted head, querying “What do you see?
Where will you be taking me?”

purple tulip 2

“Nestled in; comfy and cozy, safe
and protected before I emerge.”

wild iris in Wakodahatchee wetlands

“Bright light; rhythmic petals, curve and dance,
reflecting many aspects of life.”

Today’s Photos’ Stories
I purchased the above tulips for my annual tulip photographing, acknowledging the APDA annual fundraiser walk for Parkinson’s Research (see Vol 6 – Issue 13). I was really excited with both the richness of color of the tulips and the variety of stages they were in… the potential for so many great photos. I did one photos “session” and then, although they were on a table in my living room for my enjoyment, I TOTALLY forgot about watering them! A week after I purchased them they had wilted and were beyond resurrection. Evidently I hadn’t been paying much attention to them. On my living room table, they had even been in visible range any time I walked through that central location and were there for sidewise glances whenever I watched TV.

Then, last week, when I was organizing photos to share after the Events and Adventures Saturday photo walk I led, I came across the wild iris photographs I had taken at Wakodahatchee Wetlands last year. I glanced at the dates – February and March 2009 – and was aghast. I had TOTALLY missed them this year! Though I have not been walking at Wakodahatchee as much this year as in the past, I certainly had to have passed the Iris location there at least two or three times, and probably more, during this 2010 bloom period.

Granted there may have been fewer this year as a result of the unusual cold spell we had here in Florida, they were still there. This was confirmed by one of the participants in Saturday’s workshop who lives near me and had seen them.

In both cases it will be a full year before I can resurrect the experiences, AND they will never be the same.

As an aside, for those who live in the tri-state, NJ/NY/PA, area and love irises, Presby Memorial Gardens in Montclair, NJ has a WONDERFUL collection. According to their website their irises will be in full bloom from May 15th to June 6th. It’s a not-to-be-missed “show” for Iris lovers. Several years ago I did my photo/drawing process on several of the photos I took. See Iris Photo/Drawings.

Self-Reflecting Queries
Given my “stories” above, the obvious queries for today include my invitation to look in to your life and see:

Are there places where you “know” you are not paying attention? – Listening to your children, spouse, friends, strangers? Being human qualifies you for a “yes” answer here!

Now looking at one or more of those situations, can you identify a pattern of when those inattentive times might occur? You may make a request, assuming an answer; ask for a name and already be posing the next question, without fully paying attention to an answer.

How many times have you been driving someplace and suddenly look out and noticed you’ve “suddenly” gotten to your destination,

or not? Placed your keys, mail, or important papers down someplace and then can’t find them. There are a myriad of other situations, I’m sure, that you can uncover.

For me, I am setting a goal to be more cognizant of some of the patterns I might pick up on for myself, set the intention to be more mindful and assume that the “training” will put be in a future place where I won’t miss the seeing the irises and watering the plants. Perhaps, I’ll end up putting some easy and fun, new structures in place.

I invite you to also start paying more attention, at least for the next few days, to your own inattentions.

As always, have fun with this and please post your comments below.

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OCD Book – Might you have OCD or do you know anyone who does? On May 11th the book Check Mates is being launched. See OCD Launch to register to be reminded of the day and the bonuses.

The book is a collection of fiction, poetry and artwork about obessive compulsive disorder by people with OCD. To learn more about OCD and the book, go to Check Mates. Even if you don’t think you know anyone for whom this fits, Vrinda’s (the author) story, and those of many others, is interesting to read about. And there is a 44-page preview of the book on Preview.
(Disclaimer Note: Should you make a purchase of this series, I do benefit as an affiliate.)

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Today’s Photos

monarch butterfly in chrysalis

Monarch Butterfly in Chrysalis
(on right side occupying 3/4 of the vertical space)

chrysalis on potted plant

Plant on which caterpillar had attached itself
(Look closely at upper left side of plant.)

monarch butterfly emerged from chrysalis

Monarch Butterfly Emerged from Chrysalis – next day
Photo Courtesy of Sheldon Rosin

Today’s Photos’ Story
This Saturday I am leading a Photography Walk and Workshop for a small group of members of the South Florida chapter of Events and Adventures. Last week I visited Tropic Plants of Tamarac, FL, the location where we will be photographing prior to going to another spot for the sharing-plus workshop.

Sheldon Rosin, the artist/owner, was a delight to experience. He shared a wealth of information and creativity. One of the absolute highlights, for me, of last week’s adventure was Sheldon’s pointing out the chrysalis that a Monarch caterpillar had created, attaching itself to one of the plants up in front of the nursery. My excitement with this experience had resulting photographs become today’s feature in Picture to Ponder.

The descriptions under each photo are self-explanatory. I included the middle one for “informational” purposes, rather than aesthetic. Then, since I wanted to see the resulting butterfly, I’m assuming you might have the same curiosity.

Thus, for the second time in Picture to Ponder, I am breaking tradition* and including a photograph other than mine or Sam’s**. Sheldon very graciously forwarded me photos he took after the butterfly emerged the next day and was drying its wings.

Also, in going to Google for more information on the whole process, I discovered a number of fascinating YouTube videos. To see a speeded up version of caterpillar to chrysalis, check Monarch Chrysalis. I also found a wonderful site, full of easy-to-read information. See The Monarch Butterfly.

*The first break in my “exclusivity” policy can be found on the Blog, where I’ve included 8-year old Toby Garver’s beautiful tulip photos. See Toby’s Tulips. You’re in for a treat and several queries. I will most likely revisit it in a future issue of Picture to Ponder.

**(For those new to Picture to Ponder, Sam was my beloved husband who passed away in November 2007. You can see wonderful Black & White Photography on B&W PHOTOS.)

Self-Reflecting Queries
As I researched on Google and saw photos of other pupa/chrysalis in a group, I recalled that I had seen them before in Butterfly World, Pompano Beach, FL. Being part of a crowd, the full beauty of the individual pupa had not had the same impact on me and I don’t recall having seen the butterfly within the chrysalis itself.

Now to you – Once again, I invite you to look in your life.

Are there places where you are allowing yourself to simply blend in, where you’re not letting your beauty shine through? Are there others in your life who could be, or are, important to you, whom you’re simply seeing as a merged part of a whole?

If “yes”, to either of these questions, I invite you to pause and look for the uniqueness, the “shine”, what excites you in yourself/them,

the beauty. Then I invite you to look and see where you can step out, if you made a discovery about yourself. Then take an action.

If someone in a group now stands out, I invite you to ackowledge that person, letting him or her know the contribution of and the beauty you’ve seen in him/her.

The butterfly life span, I learned from the Monarch Butterfly site is two to six weeks in the first three generations, up to eight months in the fourth generation because there is a lot of migration to do.

What generation are you in? What is your beauty that you can be sharing with world?


As always, have fun with this and please post your comments below.


tulip photograph by 8 year old Toby Garver

For today’s post I am delighted to present the photography of 8-year old Toby Garver, breaking from my tradition of featuring solely my photography, or my deceased husband Sam Finkelstein’s wonderful black and white photography,  in Picture to Ponder and on my blogs.

Close to two years ago Julie Gabrielli, Toby’s mother, and I met in a teleclass. A friendship developed and at one point about a year and a half ago she mentioned her son sitting in her lap discussing his interpretation of one of my Picture to Ponder photos. I had an immediate visualization of the scene and found that picturing the love between mother and child, and the freedom of communication between them, instantly warmed my heart.  I’ve had a “soft spot” for Toby (and Julie) ever since.

Then a year ago, when Julie was a participant in one of my Through and From the Lens Point and Shoot Photo courses, I started hearing more about Toby. In the course, Julie quickly took on one of my main recommendations, “Have your camera with you at all times.”  As we discussed her experiences during the four weeks of the class, she very often mentioned Toby’s going with her and wanting to use the camera. She usually did hand it over and allow to him to use it.  Again, the hand on my appreciation meter went way up and added warmth filled my being.

Responding to a recent one-question survey of Picture to Ponder subscribers, Julie wrote, “I love the practice of taking my camera out for a walk. I’m always delighted and surprised by the inspirations, ideas, and answers that come .”  Then, yesterday she sent me a “Spring” note with the top tulips photo attached.

She wrote, “Went on a walk w/ Toby, our dog, and the camera the other day. I just kept thinking of you, b/c he took the camera from me most of the time and took some great photos!” This gave me a clue that the photo attached was one of Toby’s. I thought the photo so striking and well-composed, especially for an eight-year old,  that I wrote to make sure it was.  “If so,” I asked for permission to publish it.

This morning I was delighted to receive another email from Julie stating:
“Toby is looking at his pictures w/ me and wanted to send a few more to you! I forgot to mention before. . . .As he was taking the pictures, he kept saying, ‘This is just like a painting!’

It’s really cool that we both like the same ones — and often had immediate reactions to the ones we liked the best. Somehow we just ‘knew.'”

It is my privilege to be allowed to share with you here my selection from the nine new ones sent in that email.

Titled “Funky Tulip” by Julie and Toby, the above certainly looks like a painting. I’m wondering if some of the painter-like quality in the photo resulted from Toby’s thoughts being projected onto them.

This next photo gives us the overall feel of a piece of the “landscape” that Toby saw.

I love the way Toby went right into the flower above and how he used the space. It has me wondering if he knows about, and used, the Macro setting on the camera.

Although compositionally, we might look right past the last photo, I’ve included it here because, for me, it exudes drama and mystery and a perfect photo/scene to open up creative dialogue. There appear to be so many stories that could be created from this one.

“Is the yellow tulip calling out to the red?  What might it be saying?  Has the red tulip purposefully turned its ‘back’ on the yellow, or is it simply in a different world?”

Parent and child could make up a combined story, or the parent, or teacher, might simply encourage the child to “spin” a story.

And, if you are an adult, with no child available, you could play with your own inner child, or look at the imaginary questions that come up for you, as mine did for me above. Then explore where in your life you might be experiencing analogous situations.

As I finish here with my initial intent to encourage using photography for opening up and expanding parent/child or general communication, I see I’ve come full circle.  Once again queries surfaced as access to a greater understanding of ourselves.

I invite you to share your experience of this post in the comment section below.  You can also check out Julie’s professional work on her Go for Change blog.  A professional architect, she is passionately committed to Greening our Environment and using many of these principles in effectively forwarding business growth and transformation.

Should you be intrigued and wish to experience expanding your own “seeing” and communication through the use of your camera, I will be opening another Through and From the Lens Course next month.  See COURSE for more information and to add yourself to the keep-me-informed list.

Lastly, you can see the black and white photography of Sam Finkelstein on b&w photography and you can weekly experience Photography and Self-Reflecting Queries in your inbox by subscribing to Picture to Ponder through the link on the right or the RSS feed.


One thing I’ve neglected to mention in the past two postings,  in relation to Parkinson’s Awareness Month, all profits from sales off products with Tulip images in my Nature Art Gift Shop will be donated to the April Walk-A-Thon fund – 100% for research. See TULIPS The top three folders contain tulip products.

Today’s Photos
Amaryllis in the American Orchid Society greenhouse in Delray
Beach, FL

group of amaryllis

closeup of Amaryllis

amaryllis closer up

Today’s Photos’ Story
As I was enjoying viewing and photographing Phalaenopsis orchids on a recent visit to the AOS gardens, I glanced ahead and over to my left and was immediately captivated by these flowers. They were larger than any of the surrounding orchids and it was the first time that I had seen Amaryllis there, either in the greenhouse or on the grounds.

I’ve been in conflict on which of the many photographs I took that day to share here. I finally decided to go with the sequence above. Many of you who answered the survey made note of having become more tuned in to looking at things and images from different perspectives, the recurring theme in many issues of Picture to Ponder.

Insofar as my own responses, I love the top photo for the dramatic (“Come look at me,” from the front flower) and the joyful (“Let’s play together in a circle”) feeling I get from the “landscape” view.

By the time I get down to the third flower, not surprisingly, I see a “face” two, almost squinting eyes, anyway. I get lost in the fourth photo, not sure I want to be there. It’s almost a relief to get back up to the first photo.

Self-Reflecting Queries
For today, I invite you to take time with each of the Amaryllis photographs, individually. Make note, perhaps in writing, of what comes up for you, as you VIEW each image.

I then invite you to compare your responses with my observations.
I suggest this as opportunity for you to be directly aware of probable differences of experience and the okay-ness of each.

Were there differences? Did you prefer the full view, intermediate or close-up? And, there might not be a preference at all since each response might have been unique for you.

For fun, you might share these photos and queries with someone else and compare responses, yours, theirs and mine. This is, of course, one more way of tuning into and ACCEPTING that all perceptions and perspectives have value.

As always, have fun with this and please post your comments below.

Note: As I was doing my final edit, the word “confront” popped into my mind. I wonder if that was the experience for me with the last photo.

What about you? Did you find it all confrontational? If so,
how do you respond when confronted? Obviously, I withdraw, since I went back to the “happy” photo.


pink tulip magnet
April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month – As mentioned above, this month I am donating all profits from my Tulip enhanced products (clocks, tiles, boxes, calendars, note cards and more) to the Walk-A-Thon fund – 100% to Research.


Programs I recommend:
For Artists and/or Entrepreneurs

My mentor and friend Julie Jordan Scott is offering another Product Bookcamp.

She describes it as “an intense day of product creation in a Virtual Camp setting followed by a week-long promotion intensive camp where we tweak and polish our product and begin to put ourpromotional plan into place.”

It’s very inexpensive and promises to be fun. Check it out on CAMP PRODUCT, her name for the program. Even if it’s not for you, you might know someone else who would appreciate learning about it.

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This past weekend I stepped out on my screened in patio and walked pass a table where two orchid plants had been resting for almost a year and a half, since the time the flowers and many of the leaves had died off.

They’ve been more or less ignored, occasionally receiving water from me, so imagine my surprise when glancing over I saw the back of what seemed to be an open flower. Sure enough it was – flower and two buds!

Feeling excited, special and important, now, with orchids of my own, I, of course, brought out the camera and have photographed them each day since. Unfortunately bud number three dropped off before opening.

Today’s Photos

phalaenopsis and 2 buds

Phalaenopsis orchid and two buds the morning I first noticed the open flower.

phalaenopsis in front of screened window

The second Phalaenopsis opened – The setting here and in the top photo is in front of the screen looking out into the backyard.

phalaenopsis - black background

Same flowers, as above, in front of a black background so that the focus is on the flowers only.

Self-Reflecting Queries
I am in awe and in deep gratitude for what this orchid and a Maranta (prayer plant – written about in several issues of Picture to Ponder) have given me…. Once again I recognize it as “unconditional love.” They have bloomed and given me pleasure even though I have more or less neglected them over time. See Unconditional Love which has added Maranta links.

Now to you –

Are there people or things in your life whom/or that you have been neglecting and are still always there for you? If so, I invite you to pause and in some way express your gratitude and appreciation.

What are you celebrating/can you celebrate?

One of the prompts this week for a four-minute free flow writing exercise in the writing group in which I participate, was:

“Celebrate what you want to see more of.” – Tom Peters

My friend Marifran Korb, having heard about and not yet seen the orchid, spontaneously responded with the following:

“To celebrate is to give focus and attention to something, even if only a minute. It doesn’t have to be a long time. What I focus upon responds in some way, even when it is only in me.

Still, we live in an interactive world. That orchid that Sheila captured on camera responded to Sheila’s love and moved the world around it in a gentler way.

Something shifts and opens up when we pay attention. We’re happier if only for that moment. It makes a difference and increases the circle of joy.” Marifran Korb – www.marifrankorb.com

What might you have been ignoring which might result in a shift should you pay attention to it?

I invite you to celebrate, play, have fun with whatever you notice.

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