Color

Believe it or not, I don’t actually like the colors red and pink. Yet I find myself at this time of year drawn to photograph them. It’s as if their bit of color is the last to hold on in the ever-increasing monochrome landscape of winter. My eye and vision are drawn to the stubborn brilliance of holding on.

Lensbaby Twist 60 with macro filters and OMNI triangular prism
Lensbaby Twist 60 with macro filters
Lensbaby Velvet 85 with OMNI rainbow film

I am part of a group of photographers, Share Six, who blog 6 images on the 6th of each month with unique monthly themes. Next up is the talented and creative and master of color Jan of Wired to the Moon Please click HERE for her interpretation of this month’s theme. Then, follow around the circle for even more beauty and creativity. ❤

Join us for this month’s theme by posting your “Color” images on our Facebook page at Share Six and to our Instagram gallery by tagging #sharesix and #sharesix_color. A new theme will be posted on January 6th.

logo-for-website-black-border

I’m honored to be a Lensbaby Ambassador. Please ask any questions you might have and use my code wwillson for 10% off their website! (But not at the moment – they are having a 20% off their entire site sale!)

If you’d like to know more about how I create these images, check out Lensbaby’s Shoot Extraordinary Conference December 7th-9th. Register for FREE to learn from an incredible line-up of Lensbaby Ambassadors online!

Advertisement

A miracle

Note: Some of these stories and images have a sensitive nature.

On Christmas Eve, 2008 my 5-month-old niece, who had been essentially hospitalized at Johns Hopkins Hospital since birth, received a non-matching blood type heart transplant. After recovering from the surgery as well as the multiple complications associated with deteriorating heart function, she has thrived.

Yet every year she returns for a heart catheterization to obtain the status of her heart’s acceptance by her body. While thankfully, for years, this check-up has been relatively unremarkable, this year was different: they detected “rejection.” After a massive dose of steroids and a few days of inpatient stay, the news was looking positive. Until it took a drastic turn for the worse. In mid-March Ally found herself in the CICU (Cardiac Intensive Care Unit) of the Children’s Health Care of Atlanta hospital in heart failure. When we received this news, I had a strong feeling in my soul: Liz, you have to go. After going through the appropriate approval channels for a non-immediate family member to stay on the ICU, I booked my flight and hit the skies. As much as I attempted to gather information about what to expect prior to my arrival, nothing could have adequately prepared me for the life-transforming experience of life with Ally on the CICU.

My sister-in-law grabbed me from the airport and we enjoyed an afternoon getting acquainted to the hospital as well as taking a walk through the courtyard (which would become a breath of hope to me) and through the surrounding area while also sharing the ups and downs of life. After a quick bite, she gratefully headed home (she hadn’t seen her 2 other girls in a week, leaving rather unexpectedly) to spend time with her family, sleep in an actual bed, and be refreshed by the “normal” of every day.

The overarching theme of my experience was “compassion.” The masked faces of every encounter shared an unspoken burden. We were all there because of some illness, surgery, trauma that had taken us to this place to receive help and healing. We were caring for those we loved as they suffered. We encountered uncertainty and unknowns grasping for hope.

And I received grace upon grace. The gentleman who checked me out at dinner gave me his “employee discount” which happened to be the exact amount left on my dining card. A woman at Starbucks gave me hot water and an extra cup for no charge. As we made our rounds in the courtyard with the IV pole in tow, a young woman shared with us, “You all must have great energy, my son saw you and stood up for the first time!” The woman in the gift shop shared blessings as I explained my reason for the trip (and why I was purchasing little gifts, including toy poop – HA!, to take home for my kids.)

When she was feeling well enough, Ally and took walks with the nurses: sometimes simply to other cardiac units to check out the best snack carts ;), sometimes to the courtyard green and blooming – moments of freedom, of moving toward health. And thankfully I was able to experience her decreased reliance on monitors and their associated wires. She sat up and expressed her creativity through painting (and then painted her aunt’s nails) 🙂 Little graces.

And during the routine hours when visitors were not permitted on the unit, I grabbed a bite from the cafeteria and ate and photographed and prayed in the courtyard. Breathing in sunlight and beauty, accepting the refreshment it offered.

On the day I was to depart I stood in on “rounds” with the team of medical professionals. As they reviewed her extensive medical history, at each step, I thought: Ally is a miracle. None of this makes logical sense. She should not be alive. But she is. She is here. She lives with the heartbeat of another given graciously in a time of despair. She is prayed for and cared for by countless people in innumerable ways. She receives medication and wisdom that ensure her heart continues to function inside a body that it did not at first belong.

I returned back to my daily life changed. With a deeper gratitude and broader perspective on the balance of and precious nature of life. Thanking God for the gift of each heartbeat.

Since then, each time we have a family gatherings, I receive a text from Ally, “Aunt Liz, will you bring your camera?” We have our own little photo shoot. We don’t seek a particular background, we simply step outside the door and capture light and life with gratitude.

Despite walking out of the hospital in March, her fight for life continues every day. She adapts her activity and sets alarms for medication while also doing typical teenage things (like sending her family cute pics of her hamster :). And yesterday I received her most recent heart testing update that months later, her heart is showing signs of healing. (For those with medical understanding, her ejection fraction has increased and her heart function has been upgraded on both sides of her heart).

Thanking God for His care, His mercy, His love, His ever-presence. And for His powerful work in the miraculous life of Ally. Here’s to light and hope and health ahead.

Nature

The autumn colors have been exceptionally rich this year. Despite living in close proximity to the mountain, my schedule had prevented me from getting there. With a few nudges, I carved out the time. Absolutely refreshing. Soul-filling. Nature, particularly the forest, has a way of having that effect on me.

I began by pulling over as I ascended and shot with what was on my camera.

I found myself desiring a greater view of the scene so I changed to a 35 mm focal length…

Lensbaby Burnside 35

And something a bit different…

Just a little further up the road and I stopped yet again… (and changed lenses, yet again 🙂

One more scene called me to pull over… (and I returned to the lens with which I began)

I am part of a group of photographers, Share Six, who blog 6 images on the 6th of each month with unique monthly themes. Next up is the talented and creative Sharleen of Sharleen Stuart Photography Please click HERE for her interpretation of this month’s theme. Then, follow around the circle for even more beauty and creativity. ❤

Join us for this month’s theme by posting your “Nature” images on our Facebook page at Share Six and to our Instagram gallery by tagging #sharesix and #sharesix_nature. A new theme will be posted on December 6th.

logo-for-website-black-border

I’m honored to be a Lensbaby Ambassador. Please ask any questions you might have and use my code wwillson for 10% off their website!

Intentional

Fact: I am not always inspired to photograph.

Also fact: I am capable of creating despite my lack of inspiration.

Like any craft, the art of photography requires discipline, commitment, focus, determination. It requires taking purposeful steps in pursuing beauty.

It’s “easy” to sit on my sofa with a cup of coffee and look out my windows at the beautiful blooms. Being intentional is choosing a lens, picking up my camera, walking out the door, exploring a new technique or angle, and seeking vision.

Over the past few weeks I have done just that. A single dahlia tuber led to all of this.

Intentional Camera Movement
Lensbaby Velvet 85
Lensbaby Sol45 Reverse Freelensed

I am part of a group of photographers, Share Six, who blog 6 images on the 6th of each month with unique monthly themes. Next up is the talented and creative Jan of Wired to the Moon Please click HERE for her interpretation of this month’s theme. Then, follow around the circle for even more beauty and creativity. ❤

Join us for this month’s theme by posting your “Intentional” images on our Facebook page at Share Six and to our Instagram gallery by tagging #sharesix and #sharesix_intentional. A new theme will be posted on October 6th.

logo-for-website-black-border

I’m honored to be a Lensbaby Ambassador. Please ask any questions you might have and use my code wwillson for 10% off their website!

Travel

I’m sure with this title one would anticipate gorgeous scenery and epic views (of which we certainly experienced in Colorado) but we also spent a significant amount of time in the Denver, CO airport. I grabbed my Lensbaby Edge35 and documented how we spent our time. Waiting…

Screens. For hours.

Journaling

The bathrooms had the prettiest light and a view of the runway!
Lydia interviewed everyone on their favorite parts of the trip.
Soda. And more screens.
A little reflection with the Lensbaby OMNI Reflection wand.

Not pictured: Me watching my kids go up and down the escalators for entertainment. Walking up and down the concourse no less than 50 times. Napping on the sofas. Endless snacks. Lydia losing her earbud and us literally tearing apart the sofas to find it. People movers and people watching.

Oh, and because you might be curious what we actually experienced in Colorado…

I am part of a group of photographers, Share Six, who blog 6 images on the 6th of each month with unique monthly themes. Next up is the talented and creative Sharleen of Sharleen Stuart Photography . Please click HERE for her interpretation of this month’s theme. Then, follow around the circle for even more beauty and creativity. ❤

Join us for this month’s theme by posting your “Travel” images on our Facebook page at Share Six and to our Instagram gallery by tagging #sharesix and #sharesix_travel. A new theme will be posted on September 6th.

logo-for-website-black-border

I’m honored to be a Lensbaby Ambassador. Please ask any questions you might have and use my code wwillson for 10% off their website!

All about today

Last week I received an email from a local farmer: Cherry picking is ready! I brushed over it considering all that was on my plate. But I happened to have an unexpected morning off work, somehow miraculously roused my teenager, rallied the kids and set off over the mountain.

All Cherry Picking photos taken with the Lensbaby Soft Focus II Optic

It just so happened blueberries had also come into season. We had never picked them before and had a blast! (Mathias in particular enjoyed launching unripe blueberries across the field – ha!)

All blueberry picking photos taken with the Lensbaby Edge 50

This. This is what my soul needed that day. Sometimes we find it. Day by day.

I am part of a group of photographers, Share Six, who blog 6 images on the 6th of each month with unique monthly themes. Next up is the talented and creative Lynne Grant Photography . Please click HERE for her interpretation of this month’s theme. Then, follow around the circle for even more beauty and creativity. ❤

Join us for this month’s theme by posting your “All About Today” images on our Facebook page at Share Six and to our Instagram gallery by tagging #sharesix and #sharesix_allabouttoday. A new theme will be posted on August 6th.

logo-for-website-black-border

I’m honored to be a Lensbaby Ambassador. Please ask any questions you might have and use my code wwillson for 10% off their website! Add that to their 15% site-wide sale going on now!

Joy

“the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying” –dictionary.com

Joy is an outpouring of the meaningfulness of my art.

There is a Japanese concept fo finding purpose in life called “Ikigai” which exists at a crossover of what you are good at, what you love, what the world needs and what you can get paid for (I’m thankful it’s not what you DO get paid for because at the moment that’s not very much! HA!). –savvytokyo.com

Through experiencing photography as my Ikigai, there is joy, within and coming forth from me.

These recent images illustrate the emotion of JOY for my soul. I hope you feel it too.

Lens: Lensbaby Twist 60 Optic
Lens: Lensbaby Edge 35 freelensed
Lens: Lensbaby Burnside 35 reverse freelensed
Lens: Lensbaby Velvet 56
Lens: Helios 44-2

I am part of a group of photographers, Share Six, who blog 6 images on the 6th of each month with unique monthly themes. Next up is the talented and creative Wired to the Moon . Please click HERE for her interpretation of this month’s theme. Then, follow around the circle for even more beauty and creativity. ❤

Join us for this month’s theme by posting your “Joy” images on our Facebook page at Share Six and to our Instagram gallery by tagging #sharesix and #sharesix_joy. A new theme will be posted on May 6th.

logo-for-website-black-border

I’m honored to be a Lensbaby Ambassador. Please ask any questions you might have and use my code wwillson for 15% off their website!

Revive

It’s that time of year.

The light lingers a bit longer each day. The sun’s warmth thaws the earth. Signs of life break through their encasements and unravel with their faces held high in beauty.

In order to perceive these subtle yet dramatic changes one must lower to the ground, lay in the dirt. It’s through this process of humbling, observing, and capturing I find myself joining in the processes: choosing to revive.

All of these images captured with the Lensbaby Composer Pro with Twist 60 optic and Macro filters. I’m honored to be a Lensbaby Ambassador. Please ask any questions you might have and use my code wwillson for 15% off their website!

I am part of a group of photographers, Share Six, who blog 6 images on the 6th of each month with unique monthly themes. Next up is the talented and creative Sharleen Stuart Photography . Please click HERE for her interpretation of this month’s theme. Then, follow around the circle for even more beauty and creativity. ❤

Join us for this month’s theme by posting your “Revive” images on our Facebook page at Share Six and to our Instagram gallery by tagging #sharesix and #sharesix_revive. A new theme will be posted on April 6th.

logo-for-website-black-border

Abstract

Nothing like starting off the year with a creative challenge. Thankful for this group of artists who keep me working, broadening my vision, exploring what me and my camera can do.

I recently purchased the Helios 44-2, a vintage Russian lens known for its bokeh and flare. As with anything “new” it takes time and practice to discover its potential, so I bundled up and took a brief walk in a local park. With the theme of “abstract” I added Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) to “paint” the winter scenes with my lens.

I am part of a group of photographers, Share Six, who blog 6 images on the 6th of each month with unique monthly themes. Next up is the talented and creative Sharleen Stuart Photography . Please click HERE for her interpretation of this month’s theme. Then, follow around the circle for even more beauty and creativity. ❤

Join us for this month’s theme by posting your “Abstract” images on our Facebook page at Share Six and to our Instagram gallery by tagging #sharesix and #sharesix_abstract_22. A new theme will be posted on February 6th.

logo-for-website-black-border

Autumnal

A need to breathe. A morning at one of my favorite places.

I am part of a group of photographers, Share Six, who blog 6 images on the 6th of each month with unique monthly themes. Next up is the extremely talented and creative Jan of Wired to the Moon. Please click HERE for her interpretation of this month’s theme. Then, follow around the circle for even more beauty and creativity. ❤

Join us for this month’s theme by posting your “Autumnal” images on our Facebook page at Share Six and to our Instagram gallery by tagging #sharesix and #sharesix_autumnal. A new theme will be posted on January 6th.

logo-for-website-black-border