July 2009

I was going through thousands of my photos taken over the past few years, choosing a wide range to present to a client for selection to be used as part of an upcoming DVD, when the first photo above caught my attention. I found myself pausing for a moment or so.

I was attracted to the colors, textures and design and even more by the “mystery.” “What is it?” I wondered.

Before I took the time to patiently puzzle it through, I moved on to other photos in the folder for the answer. When I saw the rooster, shown in the lower photo, I realized that the top image was that of feathers of the bird photographed between the railing slats on the boardwalk at Wakodahatchee Wetlands.

A few years ago, after a bout of challenging weather, this rooster had wandered from his normal farm environment into the Wetlands.

A close-up view of the visible portion of a rooster through a railing and the rooster himself, full body.

I found many photos of the rooster selected the second one to feature here because I like the erect head and proud posture. Then once it was set up, I noticed the HEART shape in the whole! That certainly was a delightful and pleasing surprise! I hope you find it so also.

Once again we see, as in the last issue, that altering positions, “points of view”, in this case moving from “behind bars”, we get a different feeling or communication.

In this case, I moved from the unknown to the known and was excited with my discovery. Then, interestingly, once I knew what the fluffy colors were I started thinking “feather duster” and this put a different “spin” on that whole soft and appealing imagery that first attracted me. The new association put some “negativity” into what had been a joyful experience.

Reinforcing this reversal of my initial excitement was the concern that the rooster might seem not “fitting” to be a subject at this time for Picture to Ponder. It might not be appealing to you.

And, then I saw the heart, got a “warm, fuzzy feeling” and I thought, “Who would reject a heart?”

I’ve actually gone into a little more length on the “story” here because I wanted to point out what we all do to ourselves.

Now, I invite you to look at situations in your life where you may have extensive and changing stories that may be pulling you in different directions.

Are there any where you can simply choose the most powerful and empowering one? Or, might there be a situation where the most fruitful action would be to simply let all the stories and interpretations go and move on? Remember you are the one who gets to choose.

Perhaps you’ll find an Energy Shift might be called for. If so, see the information below on my friend Adela Rubio’s programs.

As always, put fun into this. Where will you find faces and smiles today?

ATTENTION for those of you who might be interested in ENERGY SHIFTING

My friend Adela Rubio has introduced a Program that has already sold out twice. The course is limited to 11 participants in each series. The next one is starting in September.

Adela asks:
“Are you ready to Master Your Highly Sensitive Nature?

Do you consider yourself to be ‘highly sensitive?’
Does it feel like a burden or a blessing?

What if your hypersensitivity were actually your super power, a gift that provides access to deep connection and intuitive knowledge, a tool that could empower you and your clients?

The Energy Shifts program is designed to:

*increase body connection and awareness
*expand your bandwidth of intuitive sensing
*shift your perspective from problem to potential
*increase your available energy and energy mastery
*activate your connective, expanded nature

If you’re interested in experiencing any of the above, check out ENERGY SHIFT for September before it, too, gets sold out and while Adela is still offering a rate with a $30 savings.

I don’t know if the following fits for you, and I thought I would pass it on in the event that you are one who has been wanting to set up your own blog, but have gotten frustrated with the technical stuff. My friend Traci Knoppe has put together a very easy to understand and use 4-week ecourse, with simple step-by-step procedures. You can learn more at BEGINNER TO BLOGGER.


You may be wondering, “Why onion photos again?” I had intended to go back to birds, or other nature photos, for this issue, and then these photographs kept popping out whenever I opened my photo files. A few weeks ago, for the last session of the June Through and From the Lens course, I purchased a new red onion. While at the supermarket the red garlic caught my eye, along with the white garlic which I needed for cooking; so I bought all three.

After photographing them separately and together from many angles and holding them in my hands, I became so attached to the “personalities” and “feel” of the three above that I bought new ones with which to work during the teleclass.

I’m following my instincts in continuing sharing them here, recognizing that there is something “calling” to me with these particular vegetables and hope they will thus resonate in some way with you. One thing I know for sure, is I’m delighted with how long they last in the original state, with no change or deterioration, from the time I purchase them.

For those who missed it, earlier this month I wrote on Onion #4, which you can see on the BLOG – Looking at the Old Newly


I am not what it is in the top photo of the garlic bulb in my hand that “grabs” me each time I look at it. The image is seemingly making a strong statement.

As you can see I grouped the three together, on my white kitchen counter, and then on the underside of a black styrofoam tray to get the contrast. I was only going to include one of these two photos here since they are so similar. Then when I looked again, I saw the feel was different, beyond the lighting contrasts.

In the third photograph the onion seems to be looking at the red garlic very protectively, as the latter nestles up to it. And, I’m wondering, in addition to the focus being slightly closer, if the fact that the white garlic’s position is altered, ever so slightly, is what makes the difference. Perhaps it’s that the latter is extra bright here and the other “needs” protection (in the imaginary sense).

I’ve included the fourth photo of the red garlic alone, slightly altered in color by Photoshop Elements, because now it looks like a piece of art. In addition to the colors, I love the rhythm and swirl in the whole shape.

By altering positions, “points of view”, in the onion and garlic bulbs above, we get a different feeling or communication.

Relating this now to you and going to one of my favorite Self-Reflecting Queries, I invite you to look into your own life. Are there places where you are facing challenges, places where a slight alteration of perspective might give you a whole new take on the matter? If a particular challenge surfaces for you, I invite you to “hold” it in your hand, if not literally, then figuratively. See if and how you can become friends with it. What opens up for you now?

Furthering my own Self-Reflections – For me, right now, I am looking at what it is in the red onion and, now, the added garlic that has me so intrigued and moved.

I’m realizing there is a passion in here for the “stories” I see in them. Last night, I wrote in Facebook, that I am open to finding a collaborator (a children’s writer, educator or idea person) who would enjoy co-creating with me products that would make an empowering difference in how children (and adults) see their worlds. This is a new opening and stepping out for me.

Lastly, if you have gotten this far in viewing and reading, and you have any strong emotional reaction one way or another to my featuring onions and garlic, I invite you to look at what’s coming up for you in terms of your own life in relation to your response.

As always, put fun into it. Where will you find faces and smiles today?

ATTENTION – WRITERS, or WANNA-BE WRITERS – If you are interested in doing more exploration in writing for yourself, my friend and mentor Julie Jordan Scott is Introducing the Summer Writing Intensive Creativity Camp (at Home or wherever you happen to be) See SUMMER WRITING CAMP for details.

MORE OF MY WRITING – If you appreciate my writing, you might find interesting what I’ve been posting on my WRITING FOR HEALING blog.

I don’t know if the following fits for you, and I thought I would pass it on in the event that you are one who has been wanting to set up your own blog, but have gotten frustrated with the technical stuff. My friend Traci Knoppe has put together a very easy to understand and use 4-week ecourse, with simple step-by-step procedures. You can learn more at BEGINNER TO BLOGGER.

Start-Up Business Owners
If you are a start-up business, or know of one, I also have a website, listing and describing other helpful businesses I know, use and recommend. See SOURCES FOR BUSINESS SUPPORT.


Last week, in the Through and From the Lens course, one of the participants commented that I was fortunate to live in an area where there is so much beauty and, therefore, I can take great photographs.

I agree that I am blessed to live where I do with access to so much restorative beauty. On the other hand, my contention is that we can find beauty anywhere, in anything. It’s simply a matter of opening our eyes and, sometimes, our minds and hearts. The day after the call, in my supermarket parking lot, I suddenly was caught by reflections in my car headlamps and hood. I started taking photos and ended up blogging on it with photos other than those above. See “Beauty is Every Where, in All Places.”

An affirmation of this belief came in an email last year. I was moved and honored, to receive the following from subscriber Ewa Nartowska who lives in Poland:

“Actually as I said your photos inspired me to take these photographs focusing on details and avoiding ugly buildings, fences etc. I live in a beautiful medieval city but the district my flat is situated is not so beautiful, so I decided to cut out the beauty of urban ugliness. Instead of envying you that you live in that beautiful place in Florida 🙂 I decided to transform the reality I see into something beautiful.” {I bolded the last part.}

You can see some of Ewa’s exquisite photography on FlickR and in her Picasa Albums.

As indicated above, today’s Picture to Ponder featured photographs are reflections from different views in the headlamps of my silver-colored car. Some of the pinks are coming from an artist’s neck pouch which I was wearing.

I’m really not all that sure what else was being reflected. It’s simply sufficient for me to enjoy the shapes and patterns.

If you are enjoying the reflections photographs from last week and this, I have posted a few pages of more Philadelphia reflections, and different shadows and reflections series on my FlickR account.

Ironically, I so take my car and what’s around me for granted, that unless I’m consciously looking I don’t see things. Thus, when I studied today’s middle photo, I wasn’t even sure from what part of the car the orange section was. Imagine my embarrassment when I went to my garage to check and saw the orange was the color of the lenses of the outer sections of the headlights on the front of my car!

I blushingly admit this here because I venture to say there are many things in your visual world to which you, too, are oblivious. I therefore invite you to look around you and find at least two things that are in front of you most of the time that you could not describe if someone asked you to, because you rarely, if ever, pay attention to it/them.

What did you discover? Is there anything about what popped out for you that informs you about anything else in your life?

Lastly, are there people or situations in your life whom or which are receiving the same inattention from you, where if you “looked” you might find something that could make an empowering difference?

If you wish, I invite you to photograph what you saw, draw it, write about the experience, or simply let it go.

As always, have fun with this.

I don’t know if the following fits for you, and I thought I would pass it on in the event that you are one who has been wanting to set up your own blog, but have gotten frustrated with the technical stuff. My friend Traci Knoppe has put together a very easy to understand and use 4-week ecourse, with simple step-by-step procedures. You can learn more at BEGINNER TO BLOGGER.

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Beauty is Everywhere, in All Places – Reflections in a Car

by Sheila Finkelstein on July 10, 2009

Those of you who follow my work know that it is my mission and passion in life to inspire everyone to see the beauty in the ordinary and experience it as extraordinary.

Reflections in hood of silver Toyota Rav4

Reflections in Car Head Lamp

Reflections in car

On a recent call during one of my Through and From the Lens telecourse sessions, one of the participants, in querying my photography and how I see, stated, “It does help that you live where you do, surrounded by so much beauty.” My response was that for me it’s simply paying attention to whatever catches my eye, not questioning it. Rather I take the camera and start photographing whatever has me pause and then explore it, with the camera, from numerous angles.

For this session she had photographed her hand and taken only one photograph. She stated that it was the shadows that had interested her. My recommendation was that once she saw what it was that appealed to her, it was an opportunity to position her hands and fingers in different ways, experimenting with the shadows and/or the lines and shapes created by her changing positions.

This conversation on my having “exclusivity” on beauty in several of the nature centers near me in Boynton Beach, Florida stayed with me. Then in a parking lot yesterday afternoon, I was drawn to the reflections in the head and rear lamps in my car. Assuming that most of us have access to a parked car, I started photographing reflections in the head lamps, tail lamps, hood and side of my car. Then, should one claim mine are more interesting than others, I went around and photographed sections of a couple of other cars.

The three photographs above are part of the series. You can see more in my FlickR REFLECTIONS SET photostream. Scroll to the end in that set.

I now invite you to go out, or stay in, and take a walk with your camera. Look for something ordinary that you might usually ignore and start photographing. Why not make it reflections for this trip. How many places can you find them? In a mirror, glasses, water in the glass, in a bowl, in a sink, a puddle, a camera lens, and, of course, in car surfaces and head lamps? What else?

The one thing you will not find is the exact coloration and pattern that came from a fabric pouch I had on around my neck that caused the color in some of the photos. Of course, you may add color and patterns to your attire in the event you wind up as part of the reflection. Have fun.


This past weekend I was in my birth city of Philadelphia, home for my first twenty years. Given I stayed in a hotel in Center City, I certainly experienced it differently, especially in terms of easy accessibility to so many locations. It was a family weekend since I was there to celebrate the wedding of one of my great nieces. At the same time, it was Independence Day celebration, in the “City of Brotherly Love” where the Declaration of Independence from England was signed.

Among the highlights of the weekend for me was using my camera to capture so much of what I saw in terms of reflections in buildings and the variety of colors, lines and textures in their structures. I took a few hundred photographs which, of course, makes it quite challenging, deciding on which to share with you here in Picture to Ponder.

I finally selected today’s three photos for no particular reason other than I like the composition, the lines and contrasts, especially in the top and bottom photographs. I particularly like the distorted lines in the middle photograph.

In the upper two photographs we see reflections of City Hall. The bottom photograph is taken through a large window in a building on Broad Street, south of Market Street, now known as “The Avenue of the Arts.” In this picture I really like what seem to be reflections within reflections, as well as the repetition of shapes and colors.

There is so much going on in the above photographs that it’s hard to know where to start in terms of queries.

Despite all that is happening in each of the scenes, based on my intuitive sense of design, they each hold together compositionally. Acknowledging this leads me to invite you to look at your multi-faceted life, especially where you have a lot of diverse activity.

I suspect that there is some “glue” holding it all together, some common bond to all of the elements. Can you identify that/those thread(s)? If so, I invite you to mentally “bookmark” whatever they are to assist you in getting grounded in tthe future whenever you may feel particularly scattered.

And, since today’s photographs are following the theme of reflections, I invite you to also look in to your life. Is there a particular area upon which you would like to reflect today? If so, I invite you to treat yourself to that in meditation, writing, whatever form works for you.


In July I became enthralled with the beauty of a red onion and the process I went through in photographing and peeling away the layers over a period of approximately two weeks.

Last week I became attracted to another red onion that had been sitting in my refrigerator for so long it had started “growing”. I decided to take a few pictures of it while holding it in my hand, views both inside and outside of the house, and then put it aside on a counter. The green continued to grow and earlier this week I decided to photograph the onion again. Given it was night, I set up the black background board to block the scene behind it in my home and placed it on the under side of one of my Cafe Press pillows which I had placed on the table.

Yesterday I was moved to start cutting, then peel away a few of the layers. I got quite excited with what I was discovering and the result is well over 150 photos. I started including here one of the “peeled” ones from a few “shoots” and decided aesthetically it did not fit with the other two. Those who wish can see that one, and several others, on Red Onion 4 or wait until I decide into what direction I am going to take the next round.

If you have not seen “THE RED ONION STORY: Peeling the Layers of an Onion as Analogous to Peeling Away the Layers of Ourselves,” you can request the PDF  on ONION STORY 1.

As I indicated above, the top two are of a red onion on a pillow. They are lit by a chandelier above and taken without the flash.

I like stateliness and the mysterious shadows in the top photo. The middle has a rhythmic flow of colors and shapes. Given the greens were a large focus in the center photo, as well as the source of the shadows in the top one, I’m also showing the cut pieces that I spontaneously placed in glass candle holder that was closeby. I love the colors here on top, as well as those showing through the translucent glass.

When I first started what now has become an exciting project, I was not very inspired. I simply started taking a couple of photographs because the onion had been around for so long. I wanted to acknowledge it in some way and be complete with it.

Then when I got into action, my creative juices took hold. I got excited as the different components and patterns were revealed once I cut the onion in half. The skin had interesting shapes and the interior of the peeled layers had lines embedded, probably roots, in great patterns. You can see a few examples on RED ONION 4.

So, how does this all fit into queries? Following my description of where I was before my I started taking these photos, I invite you to look into your life. Are there one or more projects or activities on which you have been stalling? If so, I invite you to take one small action, perhaps even photograph something relevant to it. Then take one more action. Do not be attached to an outcome. Simply be open to noticing where a spark of enthusiasm emerges. Where will you allow that to now take you?

And, for a second set of different queries – Today’s onion was quite “old” – a few months, at least. In the process of spending time with it, dissecting, being willing to play, many things opened up. Again I invite you to look into your life.

Are there people, projects, object or relationships in your life that seem “old and tired?” If so, I invite you to spend time, look at them, see what you can open up, if anything. Do you have new choices now for being with it or them in new ways? Or is it time to release whatever you were looking at and move on? Either choice is perfect.

As always, have fun with these queries. Be sure to “play” with the first.

Another OPPORTUNITY for a creative and empowering activity
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