Friday, March 30, 2012

Follow the Leader


The last couple of Photo Art Friday prompts have reminded me immediately of poems I've written. From there, I've found myself creating my photo art based on the words in my poem. For those who like poetry, I've posted it below. I took this image for Bonnie's "path" prompt at our community lake. There's a beautiful path that leads down to the water, and I was happy to be there with my camera this past week. I added an old manuscript image at Exclusion/100%, and used Bonnie's "Smokin" texture at Soft Light/100%. I also added a heart bokeh layer at Pin Light/100% and finished it off in Radlab. Have a wonderful weekend!


I tiptoe through the woods as
If everything is sleeping
Afraid of breaking a twig
Of strewing fallen leaves
Perhaps I should stomp
Amongst these holy trees
With my dreaming feet
To awaken the life that abounds
To hear the wings and the cries
Startling everything to fly
But I continue walking softly
Head down, without a sound
Amidst trees grown so thick
I hum their murmurous wisdom

Despite the narrowing hours
I don't think I'll turn back
Things are moving in these woods
Through both my heart
And the fine-veined leaves
I'll walk deeper down the path
Leaving traces of me
Snagged on the branches
Truths and imaginings
Failings and self-questionings
Placed by feel with my fingers
Rough from the handling of them
Hung there raw and sweet-scented
Against the bark, insuring
My soul can trail me in the dark.

© Sherri Brannon 2011

Photo Art Friday

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bursting Blooms

white dogwood

pink azalea

pink magnolia

pink dogwood

cotton candy tree

purple flowers

My blog is bursting with flowers...I'm very happy about that. I have so many colorful, gorgeous blooms to pick from that it's hard to pick which ones to post. What a fantastic change from a couple months back, when I had slim pickings and no color at all!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Not So Mellow Yellow

Yellow isn't a color I'm normally drawn to in my home or in my wardrobe. But in nature? That's a completely different thing!

red and yellow blooms

yellow path

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring Pinks

Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

This week's Texture Tuesday prompt is "pink", and the timing couldn't be more perfect! In the past week I have captured so many gorgeous pink blooms in our community - it's so strange to have all this color so early in the year, but I won't complain. It's a color explosion! For Kim's Texture Tuesday (first photo), I used her "plaster squared" texture at Linear Burn/100% for a very subtle effect. I've also posted a few more pink photos because I had so many - has spring sprung where you are?


spring against winter

pink blooms

jet streak blooms


Monday, March 26, 2012

Gentle Evening

Dogwood at dusk

As our weekend came to a close last night, the rain had finally stopped and I peeked outside to see an incredible sky. I grabbed my camera and ran for the front door! For the next ten minutes, I was walking up and down our street taking shots of the sky and trees - with a happy smile on my face. It was so beautiful...oh, how I love spring. This was my favorite shot...the wild dogwood tree in our front yard. I was hoping my camera would capture the mood of the moment. Dusk was ever present, and the white dogwood flowers had a glow about them. Spring means renewal for me, not only for the earth but for my spirit.

Winter sorrows flicker and fall
Swept up like dead moths
Pale and exhausted, their
Faded wings disintegrating
On a gentle evening, so
Serene and colored, the
Sky beginning to dream
In happy hues, the dusk
Nestling into the living ground
As the world spins madly on.

© Sherri Brannon 2012

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

Scavenger Hunt Sunday: (click on the button at the bottom of this post to see more participants, or to join up and participate yourself!)

1. Whimsy. I was at the mall earlier this week and saw the Easter Bunny area all set up for the kids. I was walking behind it from the rear and saw this enormous tea cup...the whimsy of it was larger than life! I took this with my iphone, so the quality is not ideal.

2. Create. My sole (soul?) creative outlet lately is photography and photo editing, so I thought that would be my perfect representation for this word. This is a charcoal sketch I did of a woman's face...I took a photo of it so I could upload it into PSE. I then added layers, text, and a public domain 'city seascape' to add interest to the background.
Not all those who wander

3. Dust. I was so clueless about what to do with this prompt, until I took a photo of our tiny, blooming dogwood tree yesterday. We just planted it last year, so I'm thrilled to see it looking so healthy. There was a dusting of pollen across its petals...phew! Prompt problem solved.
dogwood bloom

4. Seed or Sprout. This was a tiny patch of sprouting greenery sprawling itself over a log in the park last week. The flowers are tiny - not even the size of a pea. I zoomed in real close with my camera.

5. Swing or Drop. This is the only photo from my archives this week. I had taken this photo last fall. Our daughter is all grown up now, so our swing set in the back yard hadn't been touched in years, except for maybe a bird to perch on. She was a good sport and braved the spider webs to pose for this one!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Photo Art Friday - Fear

Abstract Art

This week's theme for Photo Art Friday was to attempt something autobiographical, and I was stumped...but as I looked at this photo I took last week of an iron fence at Quantico National Cemetery, it reminded me how our fears can fence us in. I've had this struggle creatively my whole life, and have often given up trying new mediums because the idea of making "bad art" while learning was unacceptable to the perfectionist in me. I snuffed out my creativity so many times because I was afraid I wouldn't be good enough. What a shame this was, especially when my creative self was such a vital part of me and desperately wanted expression. My spirit suffered - it needed nourishment I wasn't giving it. Sometimes we starve the things that feed our soul.

Without a doubt, photography has given me more creative courage than I've ever had before. I'm not sure exactly why this is, but I won't question it! Instead, I embrace it and am overjoyed that I want to keep trying more and more. It just feels so right. For my photo art, I placed a young woman (public domain image) behind the bars of the fence, and also added some hearts to symbolize all I could express by breaking through that 'fence of fear'. I used Bonnie's "Feelings" texture at Hue/51%, and also her "Dappled Dawn" texture at Saturation/100%. A few runs through Radlab were also added for the final effect. To see more Photo Art Friday submissions, click on the button at the bottom of this post.

P.S. Creative fear has been such a theme in my life that I had written a poem about it last year, before I discovered photography. I've posted it below for anyone who would like to read it. The words of my poem guided me on how I wanted this week's photo art to look.


I gaze from afar
Outside the gates
As my muse waits
In the stillness
Of a hidden garden
Lying on a quiet bench
In her yearning dress
With love in her eyes
Hungry for me to find her
Sad that I've misplaced her
And my heart aches
So sweet, so full
Wanting to sing her
Its tender song

And still she smiles
At the knowledge
Of her presence
In my dreams
Which swell in the night
Like the sea
Washing over us in waves
Our fingers interlaced
And better yet, she's aware
That her essence
Is always there
Inside the bare bones
Of my poems
I am not alone
And her heart glows
Through my loneliness
Like the moon

And still she waits
While fear trails me
Like an evil spy
As I circle the garden's
Wrought iron fence
Wanting to slip
Through the gates
Stopping to peek
Through the bars
At her face
And our hearts beat fast
So wild, so deep
As my muse and I
Lock eyes amidst the
Quiet, gentle
Night-entangled trees.

© Sherri Brannon 2011

Photo Art Friday

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring has Sprung

Dogwood bloom

Quantico cemetery

Green leaves

Spring bud

Baby green leaf

Sky Blooms

I am basking in the beauty of spring this week - everything is budding, sprouting, and blooming! This is truly my favorite season of the year. I went out with my camera and captured some images that make me smile. The second photo above was taken at Quantico cemetery over the weekend, but all the others were taken yesterday right in my neighborhood. Color has finally returned!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Harley Boots

Harley boots

I'm loving practicing with black and white photos, and for this week's Texture Tuesday we are to use one of Kim's textures over a b&w image. I was trying to figure out what to take a picture of yesterday and saw my husband's well-worn Harley boots sitting in our laundry room. Perfect! I used Kim's "grunged up" texture at Multiply/34%.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Quantico National Cemetery

Quantico National Cemetery

Quantico National Cemetery

It was a beautiful day on Saturday so my husband and I went for a drive...I had never been to the Quantico National Cemetery before and wanted to visit. I did not expect the emotional impact it had on me...driving through the quiet, vast cemetery and seeing the thousands of graves of our fallen soldiers was powerful. Every grave represents a precious brother, father, son, or husband...or a sister, mother, daughter, or wife. It was so moving to see the family members visiting; I was deeply touched, yet felt intrusive and as if I was witnessing something too private for observing eyes. The hundreds and hundreds of graves you can see on the far hill in this photo say it all...this is the view as far as the eye can see as you drive through the cemetery, all 725 acres. I swallowed hard as we passed the newer grave stones, with fresh plots and 2011 dates on them. And the biggest surprise to me? So many female names on those grave many.

I'll admit that my eyes welled over when we drove by an old 70's Cadillac pulled off to the side of one of the sections and saw a stooped, elderly man with a walker slowly making his way through the World War II graves to visit a fallen hero. As we passed his car, I saw his license plate and it had a Purple Heart on it. Moments like that stop you in your tracks...any petty problems in your life seem minuscule when you realize what these soldiers have gone through, and when you think about the things they've faced that you can't begin to imagine, all in the name of protecting our freedoms here at home. When we circled back around a few minutes later and passed the elderly man again, he was standing at a grave carefully tying together a bouquet of flowers he had laying across the top of his walker. He looked frail, but I also saw such strength and honor in his presence at this sacred place, paying his respects to a fellow soldier. I was in awe. There are no words to express the gratitude I feel for our military...they truly are my heroes. And my biggest hero of all: My Dad, a retired Army Colonel who did two tours in Vietnam during the war, and thankfully made it home safely both times. For that I am forever grateful.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

I missed Scavenger Hunt Sunday last weekend because we were traveling - it's good to be back on the hunt! :)

1. Vintage. I took this photo at a park in North Carolina last weekend. The trees looked so pretty with their white blooms. I added a couple of textures to give it more of a vintage feel.
vintage spring trees

2. Word or Quote. I could devote an entire blog to clouds and trees - why do I have such a fascination with them? I find them so beautiful and never get tired of taking pictures of them. I took this one on Wednesday afternoon, and the quote seemed to be a perfect fit.
blue skies and clouds

3. Nature's Own. On our way back from North Carolina, we pulled off at a "scenic outlook" while taking back roads home through the mountains. The view was gorgeous - it was hazy, but still a lovely sight.
scenic view

4. People. I've been practicing converting photos to black and white this week (thanks to Kim Klassen, whose Beyond Layers class I'm taking). This is the only photo from my archives this week - a picture of my daughter from last fall. I've been looking for photos with a good combination of light and shadow to convert. Black and white photos are making me look at my images in a whole new way - sometimes photos really are more striking without color.
black and white

5. Photographer's Choice. While we were pulled over at the scenic outlook mentioned above, my daughter spotted this cute ladybug and I quickly snapped a few pictures...he's cute, isn't he? He flew away very quickly!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Photo Art Friday

abstract PSE effects

It's time for Photo Art Friday...I've been scrambling to catch up all week and still feel like I'm not quite there yet. Last night I hadn't even thought of what to do with this week's PAF yet. So this image feels a bit rushed, but I still enjoyed the process of playing to come up with these results. Normally I let it sit for a day or two and then have another look at it, but there was no time for that this week. I started out with a photo I took last night when some storm clouds came through our neighborhood, and added in several public domain images. I also used Bonnie's "Backlight" texture at Vivid Light/68% and "Helena Inspired" at Saturation/100%. I used Radlab a couple of times during the process to tweak its color and/or warmth.

Photo Art Friday

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Berry Pretty

Berry Pretty

I took this photo last weekend in North Carolina - we visited a local park and I noticed this beautiful bush right away. The berries were bright orange and such a contrast against the greenish/reddish leaves. So pretty!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spring's Blooms

spring blooms

We took a trip this past weekend and had a very quick family reunion...relatives from Virginia (us), Massachusetts, and Texas all gathered together at my sister's house in North Carolina. It's been too many years since we were all together at once - there were 12 of us and we had so much fun! We had a picture perfect weekend with temps in the 70s and vivid, blue skies. I have been so busy since returning from our trip and have fallen way behind on visiting blogs this week...I hope to be back on a normal schedule by Thursday. I know I've missed lots of good stuff!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Photo Art Friday - I Spy

Another World

For this week's Photo Art Friday, we're supposed to hide something in our photo art submission...I added two "sets" of things. One is very obvious, and the other is a little more subtle. I was amazed, as always, that I was able to take a picture of a log and some leaves and turn it into something as wild looking as this! I used Bonnie's "statement frames" texture at Difference/100% and also a couple of public domain images. I'll be spending time with family through Monday, so won't be posting on my blog again till Tuesday...have a lovely weekend!

Original photo:

Photo Art Friday