100 Ambient Macrographs

I’ve decided to join Dorothee Lang in a social creativity project next month. I realize that it kicks off during National Poetry Month and I *should* be attempting a NaPoWriMo challenge, but I’m in the middle of an intense round of typesetting + book-launching : finishing Folded Word’s spring list. I just don’t have the head space for composing my own poems while working so intimately with other people’s collections.

camera mounted on super short tripod
The kit I’ll be mastering
So yes, I’ve chosen to focus on #The100DayProject instead. I’m calling my personal project #100AmbientMacrographs — “ambient” because I’ll only use available light, “macro” because I’ll be using a 55 mm macro lens, and “graph” because I’ll write one word in calligraphy to accompany the photo. At some point I might try to layer the word onto the photo to make some graphic art, but that will have to wait until the 100 days are over. Gotta keep it simple so I finish the challenge:-)

I’ve been fascinated with macro photography for years, but focusing and getting a tripod to work with my desired subjects never really came together for me. Now I have a Nikon DSLR that has a swivel screen, though, so I can see what I’m composing without looking through my bifocals through the viewfinder. That and my travel tripod that sits low on the ground have me armed and dangerous! I’ll start out at ISO 400 and f22 with stationary subjects, then see where the 100 days take me.

I’m really hoping this is as helpful as my self-portrait project back in 2012. If you want to join in, be sure to use #the100dayproject on Instagram. Pick something artistic you want to practice for 5 minutes a day every day and go for it!

An Evening of NH Landscape Readings with Three Authors

Very excited to be reading in New Hampshire with my mentor and friend, William O’Daly. The Griffin Free Public Library is a cozy, historic venue with a lovely group of patrons. Hope to see you there!

Come Fly with Me

On the way home from my grandmother’s 90th birthday celebration, I got the rare opportunity to sit in a window seat. The Dallas skies were a solid, smooth blanket of grey when we took off, so I thought I’d be spending most of my time reading chapbook submissions on my Nook. But then somewhere over Utah, the clouds parted and I couldn’t keep my finger off the shutter of my new camera. Fortunately, the guy sitting next to me was sleeping with his iPod on. I did get a few strange looks from the flight attendants. But when the muse strikes, she strikes. Ignoring her only leads to regret. Yes?


solitude is a state of mind

I almost didn’t post today. As an act of resignation. Giving up on the post-a-day challenge without even lasting the month. But then my son asked me to help him with a heraldry assignment for Social Studies. I ended up digging through my old England shots again and found a few that I need to revisit, including the one above. Now I’m glad I took the time because the original never did justice to the moment. A moment of transition. My daughter’s transition to a new time zone in a new country. My transition from planning to executing the dream vacation. The day’s transition to night. Rain to fog. Still air to driving wind.

We’d stood on both shores of the Atlantic that year—both shores nearly deserted, though the crowds were 500 feet away. We grabbed our moments of solitude when we found them and tucked them in our pockets, taking them out later on overcrowded trains and long queues. Remembered waves can drown out many an annoying sight or sound.

But how about you? If you have a favorite transition ritual or link to a poem/story about transition, please share:-)

Fish Frost

Fish Frost II
time to hibernate

Winter has come at last. Real winter. With ice. Not sure our goldfish, sleeping below his crystal ceiling, welcomes the cold like we do.

photographic note: first attempt at blurring a sub-layer and erasing part of a top layer to get rid of distracting detail (original image available in my water set on Flickr)

How We Get There

Spectrum Travel II
travel = off-kilter

A friend recently asked me for any travel tips I had on traveling with a child on the autism spectrum. Responding to that is tricky—the only constant about ASD is that nothing is constant. Every kiddo is different. But here’s what gets us from A to B and back again:

  1. Accept how much the child will be asked to bend. Bend in equal measure.
  2. Travel in a mode the child can manage. If waiting in line for more than 15 minutes is a problem, drive. If sitting still for more than 30 minutes is a problem, take the  train. With modern security protocols, there are very few accommodations to be had at airports. Fly only if the child is nearing the skill set required.
  3. Electronics, electronics, electronics. Charge ’em up. Plug ’em in. Better to deal with tantrums at the destination rather than in the air, on the road, or along the tracks.
  4. Fidget items, both favorites and new, help when electronics can’t be used. Save for moments that call for happy surprise and distraction.
  5. Pack snacks. Loads of ’em. Especially chewy ones for air travel.
  6. Communicate every little step of the way. Checklists or visual schedules facilitate understanding during stress. Use them during fun outings prior to the trip so they are associated with “happy.”
  7. Medic alert tags (necklace, bracelet, shoe tag, or whatever will stay on) serve three purposes: to reunite the family if the child wanders, to alert security that there may be a reason for disruptive behaviors, and to give parental peace of mind that there is a safety net in both scenarios.
  8. Plan some parental pampering the night before and the day after travel. Then take a deep breath and survive the ride.
  9. Plan, try, do. Then ignore any looks and comments.
  10. Remember: all of us learn by doing. Without doing and failing a little, we’ll never get enough practice to do and succeed. Just do it.

We have traveled cross-country, one way or another, each year since our son was diagnosed. Recent highlights are available on this blog.