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Linda JeffersIn a world of so many great photographers and writers, I am venturing into some unknown territories, leaving comfort zones, finally very willing to practice the art of seeing. By maintaining the practice of posting daily photos, I hope to continue learning about the possibilities that I trust are out there for the taking.

Come join me on my journey!

Ray’s going home today.

When the emergency room doctor first told us Ray was scheduled for surgery in a few hours with a doctor we’d never heard of, we got nervous. I made some calls, talked to other hospital staff, asked Sandi to check out doctor names etc. The surgery had to happen fast and there was not enough time. We trusted this doctor we’d been given, and let go of trying to arrange who was going to do surgery on Ray.

We have been very happy with this new doctor in town who did Ray’s surgery. I’d strongly recommend him. Dr. Nhat C. Nguyen-Minh just came in an released Ray to go home in a couple of hours.

Ray asked the good doctor for his card. I saw on the card the titles: General Surgery and under that, Advanced Laproscopic Surgery. Being that I had my computer I looked up what Laproscopic Surgery was all about. It the lap band surgery for people who are overweight. Hmmmm.

p.s. 11/01/09 Janet sent me this site that explains Ray’s surgery.

Ray's surgeon.

Ray's surgeon.

I asked the doctor if I could take his photo with Ray. Because I didn’t want to keep the doctor waiting, I took the photo and overlooked that most glaring ugly flare of light. I still don’t know enough about photoshop to clean up the overexposure in the photo caused by the hospital lighting above Ray’s bed. I guess I better learn pretty soon.

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A surprise hospital stay.

Thursday I drove into LA alone. Ray’s still not recovered enough from his hip surgery Oct 13th to make the drive to attend theThursday night meeting. I had a physical at 1pm in Tarzana and then met Katya to take some photos of her in Woodland Hills. So, even though I didn’t post yesterday, I did shoot. After the shoot, Katya and I went to Rose’s nails where I got a manicure and Katya got a pedicure.

Next we ate dinner with so many of the ladies at El Rancho, before attending the JTBP BB meeting. Normally I wouldn’t drive in to LA alone as I have trouble staying awake for the long drive home at 9:30pm. This time to insure I’d get home in one piece, I bought a caffeinated coffee, rather than a decaf, to drink at the meeting. Normally I don’t drink caffeinated coffee after noon or I have trouble going to sleep at night.

Driving home from the meeting it’s always hit and miss whether the drive is a 2 hour drive or a three hour drive depending on whether the freeway lanes will be shut down to one lane while the seemingly endless freeway repair continues.

Last night’s drive turned out to be the longer drive. I was thrilled when I finally got home and quite surprised to find Ray still awake so late. After zoning out for an hour on the computer, waiting for the caffeine buzz to leave, Ray walked out from the bedroom, moaning and in lot’s of pain, asking if I could drive him to the ER at Eisenhower Hospital.

Ray was really in pain. He hadn’t wanted to bother me earlier when we spoke on the phone and, once home, hadn’t even mentioned the discomfort he tried to get rid of by various means, hoping the pain, off center right, under his ribs would go away.

Within minutes we were in the ER having Ray admitted and perspiring from the pain he was feeling. After a CAT scan, the doctor confirmed that the results proved Ray had gall stones and his gall bladder removal surgery was scheduled during the next 8 hours. Luckily, Ray had his surgery at around 11:30am, much earlier than we originally thought.

As I write, I’m in the surgery waiting room, seated next to Sandi and Jerry who came to visit Ray AND their friend Ziggy (who is also having a surgery). The doctor just came out and told me Ray is fine but that his gall bladder had really needed to come out as it was very diseased. Now I’m waiting the 20 or so minutes before a nurse will come out and let me go back and see Ray in the recovery room. I was relieved to hear from the doctor that Ray is awake and still not anesthetized. The anesthesia part always worries me more than the surgery.

Surprise of surprise…..the nurse who tended to Ray in the surgery pre-op room was Christy, my hiking buddy. I screamed. She screamed. Christy is cool and looked adorable in her Halloween get up.

Here is a photo of Christy tending to Ray.

Christy posing in her Halloween costume while tending to Ray moments before he was wheeled off to surgery.

Christy posing in her Halloween costume while tending to Ray moments before he was wheeled off to surgery.

Halloween costume.

I’ve started and stopped writing this blog 3 different times. Ray is now sound asleep in his hospital room and I have made my own little cave in the sleep car they brought in for me to use tonight. It’s time for me to get some sleep too, but, Connie is bringing me a Grill A Burger w/out bun AND an order of sweet potato fries (the sweet potato fries probably being the reason I asked Connie to go to Grill A Burger.

All is calm again. We are hoping Ray will be going home tomorrow sometime. To be determined……

I emailed all my ladies the news of Ray’s surgery this morning. Thank you for your calls and emails. I also posted on FB while in ER and can’t wait to show Ray all the comments so many of you left him. Thank you for your love and well wishes.

Please, what is this thing I’ve photographed?

At 4:35pm, 25 minutes before the sun went down behind the San Jacinto mountains, I walked outside and started looking for something to photograph that wasn’t being blown by the strong winds we are having. I can usually find something interesting in the trunks of the palm trees.

Here is what I found this afternoon. I haven’t a clue what this creature is. I’d say its length is almost an inch long. I couldn’t tell if it was alive or not. What it looked like was just an empty translucent shell of something that had previously been living. I didn’t dare touch it, just in case it was still alive and liked to bite. But how could it be alive, I could see right through the flimsy, see through skin/casing.

Now this thing looks like it could have been alive in these photos. How could this thing not blown away in the high winds if it hadn’t been hanging on with those knarly and quite hairy front legs?

If you know what this is, please let me know.

Right side view of......what?????

Right side view of......what?????

Look at the horns at the top of its head!

Look at the horns at the top of its head!

Obsession or Hobby…another point of view.

It’s all in how you see it. What I focus on. What I can’t see.

After I posted yesterday’s entry, I received this email from my good friend Tailwinds. I asked her if I could post her email because reading what she wrote rang true. My perspective is often not the entire truth. Seeing the entire picture, the good and bad, is my goal. Tailwinds helped me bring into focus a more complete picture.

“Hi Linda:

I just read the post you wrote about your conversation with your sister Leila. I am not contradicting her, but offering another point of view:

You are passionate about what you do: hiking, photography, golf etc. When you wrote years ago that you threw yourself fairly single-mindedly into whatever you were doing, I could really relate to that. I am learning balance as I get older, but I still pursue my activities with passion. And if I’m not passionate about it, I don’t waste time on it anymore.

You wring all the good there is to get out of an activity, then you move on. That’s the way I do things too. I’ve said for a long time I don’t have a rear view mirror. Don’t need one.

From my point of view, your life is amazingly full. I think it’s great that you are ‘obsessed’ with photography because you love it, it brings you pleasure, you are keeping your mind sharp and getting out of your comfort zone and you are doing something for YOU. More than anyone I know, your life is dedicated to helping others but it is axiomatic that you have to fill yourself in order to keep giving to others.

I am drawn to you because of the energy and passion that you bring to your pursuits. I don’t have any interest in doing photography myself but I watch your blog every day because I love seeing your art develop. It inspires me and some of your photos take my breath away. I am excited for you as you share your journeys, be it on the trail or in the classroom. To most people a walk is just a walk; to others, it’s an adventure of the spirit.

Just another point of view…

Love and tailwinds”

Today’s photos of the same subject, are all about what I see and focus on, is what I get.

Unintentional misfocus on the front portion of flower.

Unintentional misfocus on the front portion of flower.

Center focused.

Center focused.

More of all parts of flower in focus.

More of all parts of flower in focus.

I always have the same choices in what I choose to see/focus on in my life as I do when I chose what will be in focus when I shoot a photograph. What I focus on dictates my reality.
I’d like the entire picture of my life in focus and I can’t do this without others.

So thank you Leila and thank you Tailwinds.

Hobby or Obsession?

I was talking with my sister Leila the other day. I’d been telling her that the people in the September Jackson, WY workshop probably had more time than I did for their hobbies…….in their less busy days. My sister followed up with that they probably have jobs and families; that they probably have busy lives too.

Then my sister said, without skipping a beat, and WITH a tone without doubt, “Linda, your hobbies are not hobbies, they are obsessions. Take walking (as a hobby). I walk about 5 times a week. I walk between one to two hours on these walks. Then, the rest of the day I don’t think about walking until the next time I go for a walk. When you go for a walk Linda, you are gone for 5 months!”

Bam. I got it. I always know I spend more time on things than other people do, but I have the belief that I need to spend more time on “whatever” to accomplish and produce what others do, because I don’t learn as fast as others. I’d never considered the fact that I was obsessive and powerless over it.

Well, I’ll think about that tomorrow ‘cause right now I’m posting 2 of the 30 photos I took this morning that I’ve just spent an hour tweaking to death.

Tiny buds on a tiny cactus.

Tiny buds on a tiny cactus.

Sprinkler drops on a fallen leaf.

Sprinkler drops on a fallen leaf.

When it appeared there was nothing to shoot…..

I found these subjects today when I went out for a half hour+ around 4:30pm. I’m still shooting with my Canon 40D fitted with a 50mm 1.4 and 25 extension tube and feeling more comfortable with the lens. All in all I took about40 shots.

This camera setup I’ve been using the last few days is hard on my back because I have to get about 4 inches away from my subjects and these subjects aren’t always at an easy shooting level. Also, yesterday morning I went down on my right knee to get a shot and am having some pain in the knee today. Just stating the facts, not necessarily complaining:-) I am feeling good about getting out daily. Feeling good about myself is good! Ray likes it when I feel good about myself too, because then I’m in a better mood all around.

This tiny guy was precariously close to a spider web in the palm tree.

A very, very tiny fly.

A very, very tiny fly.

Our next door neighbors are snow birds and haven’t arrived yet. While standing on their porch I looked out at their view of Mt. San Jacinto.

The next door neighbor's knob and yellow hose.

The next door neighbor's knob and yellow hose.

The neighbor’s roses are starting to bloom. I’m surprised too as these roses are located on the north side of their house.
I used some white vignetting to balance out the white house wall background on the top of the rose.

One of only a few first rose buds.

One of only a few first rose buds.

Day 2 of shooting for a half hour.

This morning I read my photography mentor’s Photography Blog and found (to my delight) a paragraph in the blog directed to me….(Actually, you might want to visit her blog site I linked and check out the entire blog and photo post because her excitement is contagious).
But this is the paragraph Carol wrote:
“And this is for Linda, who was frustrated with her f/1.4 lens/25mm extension tube combo yesterday. Often the key is to work WITH the unique characteristics of your lens/extension tube combo, not try to force it. The beauty of your lens is shallow DOF. Move in close on just one little focal point and let everything else go absolutely wacko around it! Not every photo you take will be a winner. So what? The beauty of digital is that we can play with this stuff, JUST TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS.”

My attitude was completely adjusted in the right direction after reading this and had fun shooting today.

I shot in my kitchen. There is a beautiful vase that sits on a window sill. The light on it was subtle. The green and yellow outdoor colors were somewhat showing through the glass. One of the horse’s manes etched on the vase caught my attention. I like the curve in the mane. I shot a number of shots until I got the look of the curve I liked.

Venitian Glass Horse's mane.

Venitian Glass Horse's mane.

I’d gone out earlier in the morning in my pjs to try the orange flowers again. Again, I didn’t get anything I liked. I moved the camera and found this leaf. When I shot for the curve of the leaf, I didn’t know curves would be the theme for the day.

Another curve.

Another curve.

I took the action to shoot today but….

At 4:30pm I went outside to shoot for a half an hour. That I did what I said I’d do felt good. Coming in and looking at my captures didn’t feel good. I even went out and shot a few more shots with the same bad results.

I used my Canon 40D with a 50mm 1.4 lens fitted with a Canon Extension Tube EF 25. I shot 48 shots…..most out of focus, all uninteresting and all will be quickly deleted once I study them and figure out why the focused parts of the shots are not where I wanted them to be.

The depth of field using this extension tube is so shallow. Shooting the flower shots I did was a setup for failure I see. Very few of the parts that made up the flower buds were on the same plane. I shot with an aperture of 10 for this shot below and still only limited planes of the flower are in focus.

Not much luck with my first 1/2 hour a day shooting discipline.

Not much luck with my first 1/2 hour a day shooting discipline.

Back to looking at my photos to see what more I can learn.

Just read this at the bottom of the linked page above:
Depth of Field (DOF)
“Also, as you get closer to the focus object the Depth of Field (DOF) gets very narrow . This requires some very precise work to get your entire subject in focus with the extension tube mounted on the shorter focal length lenses. But increasing the f stop will increase the DOF just as always.”
I was right on top of the flower. The flower was almost touching my lens hood!

After shooting with the same camera setup at my desk tonight, with only overhead lighting, I learned how hard it is to handhold this camera setup, how extremely limited the range of focus is (I can’t believe how much of the scene is out of focus in the elephant head shot below. The difference in focal length was so minimal on the slight curve of the holder. I also learned it’s easier to move the camera in and out closer and farther away than focusing on the lens.

Circular pencil holder tube.

Circular pencil holder tube.

I’m going back online and read more about this lens and extension tube setup.

A promise to myself, outloud.

Yesterday I decided to ask if I could get in to and take some more online photography courses that my favorite teacher, Carol Leigh, will be offering next year. I know me and I need to have goals. I also need to be accountable to someone or something.

Recently having returned from a great photography workshop learning experience in Jackson, Wy., I’d promised myself I would shoot on a regular basis. I’ve said this before, but his time I really meant it. Guess what. I haven’t picked up and used my big camera once and its been 20 days since that promise. Life just ALWAYS seems to get in the way. And……..the reasons always seem so real.

So when I read Carol Leigh’s blog post this morning I was jolted back into the realty that today is the day (well, tomorrow is the day as I’m driving in to LA:-)). I want to do what I say I’m going to do. I want to honor my wishes as much as I honor others’ wishes. Here is my commitment, one half hour a day, every day, I’m going to shoot with my Canon 40D. I can shoot for longer, but I will shoot for a minimum of one half hour a day with mindfulness.

Here is a link to Carol’s October 22, 2009 blog entry I just read. Hope you make time to read her blog post too.

Family:-)

Lane posted some photos on Face Book yesterday and I stole this one. He and Nicole are touring Vietnam following a 6 month stay in Thailand were they both taught English.

They will be coming home before Thanksgiving. Nicole is really missing her family and won’t be joining Lane when he comes to visit us for a few days before we all fly up to Portland for a family Thanksgiving at sister Leila’s. I can’t wait.

My baby boy, Lane.

My baby boy, Lane.

Ray left home for the first time when we attended the Rancho Mirage, Just the Black Print BB Meeting tonight. He got through the hour and a half meeting without having to stand and move about. He is walking freer and with more assurance each day.

While I drive in to LA for the Sherman Oaks, JTBP BM meeting tomorrow with Connie, Sandi has volunteered to bring Ray lunch and dinner. Sandi we appreciate you.

Josh Jeffers

Josh Jeffers

My stepson, Josh, is all grown up. He’s getting married to Amanda October 24th! He is soooooo excited. I believe Josh will be getting out of the Navy this March. They’ll live in Florida.