Tag Archive | Photography Reflections

5 Days of Simplicity

 Beauty or Gratitude? 

I was going to post something else today but I wanted to share my experience of this past weeks new daily seriesSimple Beauty.” I was also itching to share some of the other pics I took each day. 


Can you see what the sun’s rays in the top left picture form? ❤ I couldn’t believe it!

During this nature walk, I was particularly drawn to what I call theunder glowof leaves. That and the way light moved across and through the environment. 

Each time I took part of the day to find something beautiful, I did. In the top left leaf here, you can see another heart that was possibly made by a bug 😉 . 

My trip to the lake was immersed in the curiosity of the wind and water’s movements…(I think this is my favorite picture of Odin too 😉 ).

The remaining pictures from yesterday and today’s walk were also begging to have their debut. Light, color, shadow and composition… are truly fun to capture.


I was nervous at the creation of this new series, scared to commit to something fun, scared to commit to myself, and I think scared of not be able to find beauty in each day… But what is beauty really? An appreciation of something, gratitude towards something perhaps? All I know is that since I’ve made a commitment each day I find myself smiling more, laughing more, creating more, and overall taking notice of each passing minute in my life. These little moments each day have opened up a lot more than just my senses… and for that I am GRATEFUL ❤ !


Next week’s post will be about one the affects the daily prompts have had on me. If you want an idea of what it will be about check out a previous post from 2015, Artist Date Turned Project. See you soon!

Sleeping Bear Dunes 2012



I like to think of this past adventure as being a trip of many firsts… In 2012 I learned about Sleeping Bear Dunes from one of my friends at college. When I heard it was located in my home state, Michigan, I knew it was a spot I’d have to check out and planned the trip during my Summer break. I was originally going to volunteer at the national park all summer then some things didn’t turn out, but in the end I think I got what I was really looking for. Though my time there became a 5 day vacation instead, I am really glad I went. Its amazing what a few days by myself did for my mind, body and soul.


The first day I was there I set up my camp, locked it, and went out to paint.  My painting didn’t turn out well but I still had fun on my first acrylic Plein-Air project.

When I got back to my site I realized that I was alone and had no one else to keep me from wandering within my mind. I have always struggled with being alone, but this time I really felt it. I decided I’d turn in before dark to avoid my fears when my neighbor, a woman around my mother’s age, called out and invited me over. I was really happy to have someone to interact with that night.

We ended up talking by the campfire, all night, about life and random things that we were going through at the time. To test our courage, we went out to the lake in the middle of the night and listened to the waves and met a couple that were looking at the stars through the app on their phone, which we thought was so cool. The night ended with us exchanging names and numbers and wishing each other a good night’s sleep.  The following morning she took off for more adventures, but to this day we are still Facebook friends 😉. Thanks again Stephanie! I’m really grateful she spoke to me that night. Meeting her made me feel stronger about continuing my stay.

The following morning I went to explore the Peirce Stocking Scenic Drive…



I stopped at the first site by the bridge and wrote down a few of my thoughts about light and shadow. Then I went to see Glen Lake from the lookout point.


I think I found my love of silhouettes here…

I started to get hungry so I stopped off at the picnic area next.

This was my first experience with “the kissing tree” that I described in the previous post of my recent trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes.

I don’t know if the carvings were there before or after the joined growth, but I still have deep reflections about this tree. Out of all of the attractions at the scenic drive I think this lesser known spot is probably my favorite… I just hope no one else will continue to carve into it.


I walked around the picnic area and saw these daisies. When I took their picture from above I couldn’t capture their brilliance so I thought I’d try something new and shoot them from below… again this has since sparked my love of taking photography “From Below.” A simple act of play and wonder brings forth new perspectives ❤ !

Just around the corner of the picnic area was the dune lookout.

I unknowingly followed a trail a little ways away.

It led to this spot, another perfect view of Glen Lake and there was even a bench shaded by the trees.

I had passed the “Dune Climb” on my way to the Scenic drive, but was pleasantly surprised that the trail I followed led to the top of the dune. I stayed there for awhile to watch families as they reached the top and felt slightly ashamed for taking a much easier route, lol. But hey, that meant I didn’t have to struggle climbing it later! lol. 

Around this time, my camera began to turn off because the batteries were running low. I managed to take a few more pictures by tricking my camera (by swapping the double AAs).

Pressing on I came upon the Lake Michigan overlook. This was my favorite actual site! 


This spot was crowded with people, but I managed to take pictures around them. I really started to notice my loneliness creeping back at this point. Before the last site I stopped and wrote in my art journal.




I think I hit a breakthrough with myself here and continued later, though I may have gotten a bit lost in my thoughts lol:




I was starting to look at my struggles and find a way to work through them.



The last stop was the North Bar Lake lookout. After seeing it from above, I went there the following day and found something interesting:


When I was walking along the beach, I ran into this piece of driftwood! At first I thought someone had carved it and left it for people to find, but from any other direction it looked like a normal piece of driftwood. This strangely gave me the feeling that nature was guiding or watching over me while I was there.

The rest of my trip then became more about observing and studying the elements of nature.


I had a fire every night and became intrigued by the flow of fire.


Every time I approached the beach, I noticed different patterns…

I even saw my first few stone hearts here.

dscf8984.jpgAnd left my first nature message for someone to find… I should have know the waves would take it lol, but this was when I learned its okay to let my creations go. Plus I turned it around as the lake saying “thank you, I accept your love!” lol.



I visited lake Michigan many times, I went to: the Glen Haven historical village(top left), North bar lake(top right and middle), and by D.H. Day campground(where I was staying).


DSCF8869I made it a habit to get up for every Sunrise and be present for the sunsets.


Oh and I think I found my love of photographing shadows here too!


My trip came to a quick end on the fifth day when the weather started to look bad and I wasn’t prepared for stormy weather. I learned a lot about myself during those few days and of the importance of silent moments with nature. Though I had no idea what I was doing throughout the trip, deep down I think… maybe I did. Maybe this trip wasn’t about being a part of something like volunteering. Maybe a part of me knew that this “time” was about returning to myself.

I hope you enjoyed the post this week, it was a lot of fun to look back and write about this experience. It was a little scary to share my inner thoughts and parts of my journal but I’m glad I did! Have a wonderful week, and see you next Thursday!




What Leads Me to Silence?



I’ve been looking through old photos for the new series Monday Moments and started to question, “what makes a photo feel like a gateway into another world?”


Is it composition, color, pathways, light, shadow, reflection, abstraction, layers, or perspective? What makes a picture feel like a larger than life moment? Or are these spaces in time just as much of a surprise as life is itself?


What do you think?


Water Reflections

Every once in awhile, I notice a new angle or perspective of photography that I like to take. I’ve done Under GlowFrom BelowReflection of Shadows, to contemplate on the reason I am drawn to particular subjects.


So Why Water Reflections?

Water reflections have a mysterious quality to them. They can either reflect a symmetrical copy or make an abstracted version of its surroundings. There is also a chance to see a bit of the environment below its’ surface. When I look at water reflections I feel a sense of wholeness. 


Where does the Wholeness Come From?

Okay, this is going to get deep, so stay with me, lol. When I thought about what draws me to take these pictures all I could think of was the holy trinity. I, though, interpret the holy trinity as body, mind and spirit. The wholeness I feel when I take these pictures stem partly from breaking down what I see into the three categories.


I see the environment that is being reflected, above the water, as the body. What’s above is solid. The environment below the water is the mind, the water underneath moves and flows. And the reflection itself on the water as the spirit. I have always thought that spirit rested somewhere in between the two. Confusing, I know but that is what came up. By breaking off into three and coming back to one, this is what I feel drawn to the most. The wholeness of all life.



Ending Note

Out of all of my Photography Reflections, this one was by far the hardest to explain. Makes me wonder why I wanted to do it, lol. I am always searching for ways though to better understand myself so maybe that’s why…


Has anyone else thought of water reflections in this way before or have any insight?


Last Week’s Blood Moon

I had somewhat of a success capturing the blood moon.


While I was setting up, my mother set up lights to help me find my way back home. 😉


I said somewhat of a success because early in the night I took great shots of the moon as thin clouds passed by. At the time of the eclipse though, the clouds were too thick to take a good shot. And below was the only “good” one…


Through picture editing, these two pictures became my one great shot above of the blood moon. I was so proud of myself for blending the two, but then I thought “is this cheating?”. What do you think?

Steps of Faith


North Carolina, Asheville’s Arboretum

May you always walk the path your heart wishes to take.

From Below


A Spark of Curiosity

Since the “Reflections of Shadows” post, I’ve been looking closer at other forms/angles of photography that interest me. “From below” is a series of photos I like to take of flowers, leaves, and grass.


When I look closer as to why this angle is so captivating, I discover that it is because I want to know what the flowers/ plants look towards. I’ve spent so much time looking down at plants, that to look up from underneath I get a new perspective.



New Eyes

The bright blue sky and the occasional cloud passes by. I experience the strength of the stem that holds it’s bloom to what appears to be the heavens. Life teems of other creatures on this simple plant. Plants don’t just reach for the sun and grow, they also provide an abode for a larger community that has been forgotten to my eyes.


If I keep myself in a state of wonder for new discovery then I will continue to learn more about my surroundings and myself. Have you ever looked at life in this way? What have you learned from self discovery that may help others see a new perspective?


Give Love Project: Take 2


Last year on the 23rd we set up a project to give love by creating random art to uplift others, this year I would like for it go world wide!


Project Details

  • When: From now until July 23rd

  • What: For an entire month I challenge everyone to create love for others with an artistic piece. Just snap a pic and write in of your experience. You may send in as many photos as you wish.

  • Where: Create your piece anywhere as long as it doesn’t interfere with laws or is harmful for the environment.


What’s Next

The best pieces will be picked by Unfolding the Heart, and the top five rankings will then be picked by you the readers.


The Prize

1st place: A $20 gift card of choice/ photograph will be featured in the blog at the end of July.

2nd place: A $10 gift card of choice/ photograph will be posted in an upcoming post.

3rd-5th place:  Photo will be posted as supporters of giving love to others in the July post.


Send Pictures and e-mail/ address to:

email:  unfoldingtheheart.gmail.com

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/UnfoldingTheHeartDiscoveringTheSelf

Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/613556118730812/


Past examples:

Reflection of Shadows



I feel myself drawn to shadows more recently. The slow crawl of these detail-less objects that follow their owners everywhere has been tripping my child-like wonder. They have a mysterious quality to them, like silent observers of another form.



My inner child questions “who is this that follows me, does she have the same thoughts and dreams as me? Why does she change shape and direction when the sun is out, and why on rainy days do I feel lonely when she is gone?”
So, just what are shadows?


Shadows Defined

  • A dark figure or image cast on the ground or some surface by a body intercepting light(dictionary.com).

  • A dark area or shape produced by a body coming between rays of light and a surface (Top Google hit).


Light and Shadow

The strong contrast of shadows against the  brightly lit ground has also intrigued me. In a previous blog, Creative nature writings, I wrote:


“What is it that draws me to light and shadow? When I look at the ground on a sunny day life seems amplified. As the sun colors the ground with warmth, shadows are casted by the environment. shadows are like another form of existence. For without noticing a shadow, we would never seek out the owner of it. Looking up one would see the leaves of a tree, some shaded by others, but there are always a few that are made somewhat transparent by the sun. These leaves give off such a glow that it completely captivates you…”


I guess it is not just the shadow that I am captivated by, but the whole surroundings that create the shadow: the sun, the environment and the object in between. It seems I am always searching for the object in between…