August 2008

Sunsets in Green Cay – Late August

by Sheila Finkelstein on August 30, 2008

Sunset in Green Cay Wetlands

Reflected Sunset in Green Cay

After the experience of a “missing” sunset, as described below, in Radiating Possibilities in Picture to Ponder, I decided to commit to sunset walking at Green Cay every night this week, other than the one night when I had a business meeting. It was more a matter of acting out of setting an intention and following through than it was about the sunsets. And, of course, I got some interesting sunsets.

The added outcome of this was that I also started playing more with the video feature on my camera, recording birds at sunset and posting them on You Tube. When you visit there, you’ll see a Limpkin at sunset, moorhens – both young and adult, and a white egret and his reflection in moving water. Do check out this very short video clips at Inspirational Sheila’s videos on You Tube.


sunset framed by trees and rooftops

sunset in Boynton Beach framed by palm tree leaves

sunset rays

Today’s Picture to Ponder Photos
Views of an August Sunset in my Boynton Beach, Florida neighborhood – No description necessary

I invite you to allow your words and being fill the spaces the views may open up for you.

Today’s Self-Reflecting Queries
I am moved for this issue to start with the queries, then follow with the story that led into them.

Today I am inviting you to:

1 – look into your life at areas where you “know” the answers and may not be very open to anything more than what you “already know.”

2 – check also to see if there are areas where you are looking through small “windows,” then assuming the rest of the picture is more of the same.

3 – consider – When you find that you have made a mistake, do you spend most of the time, soon after, berating yourself for what you missed, and continue dwelling on the missing? Or, do you quickly lift yourself out of that state and find the pluses and, possibly, miracles in what is?

“How did these questions evolve from today’s photos?” you might be wondering.

Late in the afternoon the other day, our South Florida sky was clear and the clouds were magnificent, light and fluffy. I was certain there was going to be a spectacular sunset. I thought when the time came I’d go to Green Cay Wetlands, five minutes from my home. The broad expanse of sky and different sections of water have provided me, and you in Picture to Ponder, many wonderful sunset views and reflections.

I got involved in other things, forgetting my plans until about 45 minutes before the sun was due to set. At that point, I glanced out my kitchen window with its western exposure. The sky didn’t look very promising. Given I have very high trees and palms in front of a high wall, there is not a very broad view, but what I saw looked overcast with grey, dense clouds. I needed to eat and decided that it was not worth the time and gas to drive over to the Wetlands.

About 15 to 20 minutes before the sun was scheduled to set, as confirmed by information online, I decided to simply walk, with my camera, around my neighborhood. Once outside, and beyond the limits of my house, I saw I had been mistaken.

The sky was beautiful with varied clouds and colors. I proceeded to spend a few minutes debating with myself, “Should I pull the car out of the garage and go to Green Cay for ten minutes?” and more “should I’s”, “shouldn’t I’s.”

I finally decided to stay where I was, forget what I might have missed and “play” with what I had. In addition to the colors and shapes in the sky, I observed that I had far more trees and rooflines available to frame them than I would have had at Green Cay. I began to have fun doing exactly that with my camera.

Then at the very end of the available light, I was treated to the spectacular view of the expanding rays of the dark blues against the brilliance of the pinks and oranges of the clouds and sky. I was reminded of having been told that I would be having choices of several different paths on where I would be moving next in my life, all of them being good.

I wondered, “Would the perspective that we see in the sky in the third photo even have shown up at Green Cay?” It matters not. By being open, I had an amazing experience to cap the evening.

So, again, are there places in your life where you can widen the window out of which you are viewing your circumstances? Are you open to possibilities coming from “not knowing” in addition to those you think you “know?”

As always, have fun and play with these questions.


Sunset Finale

by Sheila Finkelstein on August 25, 2008

last of the sunset in Boynton Beach, FL neighborhood - 8/24/08
Last of the Sunset in my Boynton Beach, FL Neighborhood – 8/24/08

Photo today for you to simply enjoy, or query, until tomorrow’s issue of Picture to Ponder when I’ll feature more, plus the story and queries.

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Yellow Hibiscus Invites Play

by Sheila Finkelstein on August 24, 2008

yellow hibiscus firts with us
Yellow Hibiscus flirting, inviting us to stay out and play on a beautiful, sunshiney day in Florida.
close up of inside of yellow hibiscus
Or is she saying, “Come in and play, with lights and shadows, textures”?

I responded by taking my camera, photographing the hibiscus, and then going inside to work on my book. During breaktime, looking for a photo, this one winked at me again and asked to cheer you on the web.

Happy SUNday.


Photography and Sound – Examples from the Morikami

by Sheila Finkelstein on August 22, 2008

Close up photograph of a bamboo deer chaser at the Morikami Museum
a Deer Chaser (Shishi Odoshi) in the Morikami Gardens in Delray Beach, FL

This deer chaser is one of my all-time favorite photographs. I find it very peaceful and healing when I want to center myself. In Issue 94 of PICTURE TO PONDER in May 2005, I wrote, “I love, love, love this photo. It lights me up with a smile and totally energizes me. Part of it I think are the contrasts and the shadows on the bamboo and, of course, the water is healing.” Issue 94 gives more information and other photographs

Whenever I am in the Gardens and someone is stopped by the deer chaser, I love explaining it’s function while waiting for the “noise” that would chase a deer away from the garden in which it’s placed.

Yesterday when I stopped in for a quick visit to the Gardens at the Morikami Museum, I experienced an “aha” moment. As I walked through the Bamboo Garden I was stopped by unusual sounds and suddenly realized that it was the clacking of the hard wood as the trees hit each other in the somewhat high wind. I realized that I could capture this with the recording feature on my digital camera.

When I moved onto the Deer Chaser spot, it occurred to me that I could finally capture this sound also, to share with you, my visitors. It has taken me this long (a couple of years) to connect the technology of my camera and that of Video after a training session with Audio Acrobat. I did capture the bamboo sounds and those of the waterfalls there and will post those at a future time. In the meantime, in 8 seconds, you too can experience the deer chaser.

Note – Today’s post is inspired by my friend, pet portrait artist, Rececca Collins who has very much gotten into using video on as one of the tools she using on her blog for educating viewers on some of the ways she uses here creative genius, predominately now with her pet portraits.

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Purple Passion Flower Inspiration

by Sheila Finkelstein on August 21, 2008

purple passion flower in ceramic bowl
Passion Flower in Ceramic Dish

I have a series of apple photographs I intended to start posting, following the peeling away layers of an onion. Then I got diverted and that’s OK. It’s all about giving ourselves permission to be with what is.

One of the biggest juices in my life is making discoveries and then, when they’re visual, documenting them with my camera. I’m always enthralled with the expanded discovery process that happens as I “pose” my subjects, either by moving them or by moving me and the angle of my camera. And then there is the excitement when viewing the photos on my camera monitor.

I’m often reminded of the magic that I experienced many times when a ceramic piece of mine came out of the kiln. I’d never know how the glazes might react. In the photograph above, the shimmering magic is more from the lighting on the dish and in the water, than from a kiln “accident. To see a full view of this dish and several other views of the flower, check out Sheila’s PURPLE PASSION FLOWER.


close-up of a sunflower with alstromeria - watercolor effect

Full moon in clouds with insert

IMPORTANT: If these photos inspire writing or anything else that has you share it and the photo, please be certain to credit the source, including the URL of this issue,

Today’s Picture to Ponder Photos
Two very different photos, as explained in the Queries section.

The upper photo is a view focusing in on Sunflowers surrounded by Alstromeria in a floral arrangement in a ceramic vase.

sunflowers and alstromeria in a vase in the home of artist Sally Cooper

(Note the painting in the background is one of the many wonderful paintings of artist, Sally Cooper, who very graciously hosted a gathering of member artists from WITVA (Women In The Visual Arts).

When I came across the featured photo the other day in one of my folders, I felt uplifted, having the momentary feeling that I was looking at a water color rather than a photograph. It seemed to be a perfect one to feature today, as so many people throughout the United States, at least, are experiencing wet, dreary and threatening weather.

The lower photo is a photograph of a Full Moon Amidst Clouds on a recent clear night. The completed image is a result of using several processes in the Photoshop Elements Course I just completed. Click on Lesson 5-6 and scroll the bottom of the page to see the unaltered photos and other exercises in that class.

I include it here because I get the feeling of celebration from the photo, with the lilt of the center image.

Intro to Today’s Self-Reflecting Queries
As I wind down from all the work that has been involved in preparing for the changeover, moving Picture to Ponder from one publisher to another, there have been several layers of sadness for me. The first is that I’ve really appreciated the service I’ve had from EZezine for the almost four years that I have been working with them, so there is that feeling of loss.

Then there has been my concern for making certain that everyone who cares about Picture to Ponder is ensured of having the opportunity to continue. Once doing that, I’m left with the sadness of the loss of those subscribers who have not responded and will no longer be on the list. Of course, they may not have been opening the issues in the first place.

I shared my feelings with two masterminding buddies and close friends and asked what they thought of my featuring the moody moon/cloud photos for this “last” issue. They did not see the one I ultimately used here since it hadn’t yet been done. I wrote that I had a lively one (the flowers) which had been my original choice.

I was reminded that this is the “first” issue for many of you AND I could be viewing
the whole thing as a celebration of new beginnings. Thank you, Morgine and Marifran!

The Queries
Coming from what I experienced, I invite you to look at:

1. Are there places in your life, where you are focussing on what’s missing rather than on what’s available?

2. When you do see, acknowledge and honor what’s there, do you allow yourself to celebrate it? If so, how?

3. When you are in a quandry, or are feeling sad, do you simply shut down, withdraw, or are you able to seek out and ask for support?

4. Do you remain aware of what methods you can use to create shifts for yourself?

For me in addition to communicating with my friends and support team, I was able to turn my energy into a creative venture. While playing with the photos in Photoshop, fulfilling on other coursework, I wound up with a totally unexpected result, a way to use both images, celebrating an “aliveness” theme.

While working with the photos I had no hidden agenda or attachment to results and that, I say, is what made it work.

Where, if at all, can you find yourself in the latter example?

As always, have fun with these questions as you explore and play.

I’d love to hear from you. Remember this issue is also posted on our new PHOTOGRAPHY AND TRANSFORMATION BLOG. Simply fill in the box under REPLY to place your comments.

And, while you’re there be sure to check out the final photos of the Onion Layers through to Layer 13.


red onion before starting to peel layers on the 13th level
How the onion appeared before I started the last stages of discovering the core.

red onion core with several more segments
Several more sections of the inner core unfold

onion layer peels from last layers


peels of all the inner sections of this round
The shavings/skins of what unpeeled from layers 12 and 13 – Do we focus on what we took away or all the parts that remain?



Red Onion – Layer 12 Peeling

by Sheila Finkelstein on August 18, 2008

peeling away layer 12 of red onion
Seems like the inner flame

starting the peeling of layer 12

Delicate and Standing Firm

with some of the peels


Red Onion – Peeling Away Layer 11

by Sheila Finkelstein on August 18, 2008

red onion as layer 11 is peeled from the large section

If you have been following along you will have noted that in last week’s Picture to Ponder post here I had raced ahead to showing Layer 10, covering a summation of my process, and then on the blog went back to showing preceding Layer photos.

Here in Layer 11 photos, the third inner section appears. I think I am one being, generally neglecting the other parts. It’s usually my “head” (comprised of thoughts) that I think of as the largest part. Then there is the “heart” of me, which feels, often suppresses, my love for people and things. What is this third part now being revealed?

thick skins of layers peeled on level 11

Note how thick the “skins” of the layers are, even at this delicate level with, seemingly, little remaining to be exposed. How strong our protection is!