No Sleep Till Brooklyn

I have been busy scanning my rolls of film from our trip to New York.  When I started to scan my roll from our trip to Brooklyn, I was reminded once again how much I love Ilford HP2.  It is definitely my favorite black and white film.  It is so flexible, you can shoot two or three stops under or over and it will still deliver beautiful results.  I put this roll in at 2 in the afternoon and the last shot was taken around 8:45pm after the sun had set.

Hasselblad 500CM | 80mm Carl Zeiss Planar | Ilford HP2

Hasselblad 500CM | 80mm Carl Zeiss Planar | Ilford HP2

Hasselblad 500CM | 80mm Carl Zeiss Planar | Ilford HP2

Hasselblad 500CM | 80mm Carl Zeiss Planar | Ilford HP2

While I have visited New York several times in my life, I have never crossed the bridge to Brooklyn. Luckily for us, we have a wonderful friend there who wanted to meet with us and show us around.  I fell in love instantly! What a beautiful city.  The views of New York’s skyline can’t be beaten!

Hasselblad 500CM | 80mm Carl Zeiss Planar | Ilford HP2

Hasselblad 500CM | 80mm Carl Zeiss Planar | Ilford HP2

Hasselblad 500CM | 80mm Carl Zeiss Planar | Ilford HP2

Hasselblad 500CM | 80mm Carl Zeiss Planar | Ilford HP2

I am not a fan of the tripod (something my husband would love to rectify this year) so this last shot of the New York skyline was handheld.  And while my Hasselblad is much easier to hold steady than my Mamiya 645, I was still impressed with the results. I thought for sure the last shot would have been rubbish but I was pleasantly surprised.

Hasselblad 500CM | 80mm Carl Zeiss Planar | Ilford HP2


I had so much fun exploring Brooklyn, and for me, exploring is always a little better with a camera in hand.

For more from some of my photographer friends and what they have been up to this month, hop on over to Alison and Vanessa’s blogs.


We decided to change our normal 5 on 5 blogroll this month. While we usually look back and find our five favorite images, we decided to find red in the month of October.    I went through my Iceland film images and found little pops of red.

Mamiya 645 | Iceland

Mamiya 645 | Iceland

Mamiya 645 | Iceland

Mamiya 645 | Iceland

Mamiya 645 | Iceland

Mamiya 645 | Iceland

Mamiya 645 | Iceland

It was an interesting practice to back and look for one color.  I wonder what would come up if I looked for others colors within my images I have taken throughout the past year.

Have a look at Vanessa’s blog for more pops of red.


brave love

Like many around the world, my soul has been mourning the horrible shooting in Orlando. I am weeping for the families and friends that are grieving the unimaginable loss of their loved ones. I am saddened for my LGBTQ friends who seem to be in a neverending fight to simply be themselves. I am frustrated that in this day and age there are people who still don’t know or recognize the difference between a kind and loving typical Muslim and demented soul who distorts a giving and peaceful religion into a hateful one. And while I have seen a great outpouring of love from so many, I still hear whisperings and sometimes shoutings of hate and hostility and even a call for more violence.

And as we were all still mourning the loss of 49 precious souls, there was yet another tragedy in Orlando when an alligator drowned a helpless toddler. I can’t imagine how the parents must have felt. They must still wake in the middle of the night with dispare, while replaying the tragedy in their mind. And while we once again saw an outpouring of love, we also saw people judging and blaming the parents for their sweet boy’s death.


Yashica LM | Kodak Portra 400

Why do people react with judgment and hate when tragedy strikes? Is it fear? Do they truly believe that if you live a “perfect” life that horrible things will not happen to you? Do they believe that they deserve the comfortable and worry free life they have? And even if they do believe these things, how is it that they can not have compassion for people when life is cruel, harsh and unfair?

It seems as though we are so busy trying to avoid the pain and injustice of life that when we see it happening to others we know a response is needed.  I think this where a soul choice needs to be made.

When faced with this choice, there is a group of  people who will blame, shame, and scorn. They will point out why others deserved their horrible fate. They remind the victims that they should have made other choices and that if they had, life would be kinder and easier. They turn their backs on the pain and remind themselves, falsely, that they are safe from all harm because they are doing everything rightly. They don’t step outside of themselves and want to learn and understand more about the world; they instead want to make their world smaller hoping that that will make it safer.

Or, there is a group that puts themselves fully in the shoes of the pained and try to understand and hold the injustice with them. They mourn when death happens because most have felt the sting of death, and know it isn’t something you easily let go. They don’t judge a tragic accident because they remember the many failures of their own life. They hold and help carry the burden of the broken hearted, knowing that brokenhearted is an emotion we will all feel once or twenty times in our lives. They bravely go into a hurting world knowing understanding and compassion won’t necessarily bring safety, but that it will bring wholeness.


Yashica LM | Kodak Portra 400

I want to believe that most of us want to help carry the pain and injustice so that others do not need to hold the full burden of life alone. We want to reach outside ourselves. However, to live being fully in the world, holding the injustice, and hoping in hopeless situations takes bravery, and a great letting go of the belief of how things should be. It is brave to love what you do not know or understand. It is brave to put aside our own fears and hold the pain of those who lived through fear and tragedy. It is brave to let go of the idea that life will be gracious and kind if you live it just right.


Yashica LM | Kodak Portra 400

Richard Rohr wrote, “There are two things that draw us outside of ourselves: pain on other people’s face and the unbelievable beauty that is other human beings at their best.” We notice the world when it causes pain and when it shows us brave, bold love. What are we going to do with that knowledge? Are we going to point fingers, yell and ask the world to do it our way, and believe the injustices of this world are really some type of righteous justice? Or, are we going to let go of all of our fear and go boldly into the world, knowing it can be hard and unreliable, but help each other with compassion and graciousness regardless?


Yashica LM | Kodak Portra 400

I pray I can let go of all fear, let go of all misunderstanding, let go of all self-righteousness and bravely, without question, love this broken, unjust world. As I see it, it is our only hope.

I am writing on the topic of letting go with some brave women. To read more on the topic, start with Cissy’s blog and then click on through the blog roll. 

10 on 10: January

What is a 10 on 10?  For me, it is ten photographs taken on one day and posted on the tenth.  It really is that simple.   This year I am doing this project with a great group of photographers.  We will posting on the tenth of each month and link our blogs together to create a blog roll.  My goals with this project are to get better at telling stories, start to shot more with my digital camera, and capture more of my real life for the year.

Here in Southern California, we don’t get much rain.  And if it does rain, it only lasts an hour or two at a time.  This week we had a lot of rain and it lasted for days.  Because it doesn’t happen often, I loved the day filled with slowness and melancholy.  And naps… lots and lots of naps.










For more 10 on 10’s, please continue onto Jennifer’s blog and then click on through the blog roll.


I grew up in a large Italian family. That equals loud and boisterous and a little crazy.  I loved it.  You didn’t have a crazy uncle or a crazy aunt because we are all crazy. Everyone was a little burdensome, but with good pasta and good wine, it was easy to carry. We gathered and celebrated every holiday. We knew Uncle Hank was a jerk, but we ignored that piece of him because he was family.

This is community.


As I started to raise my own children, they didn’t have the same family life I did while growing up. They were too old for their cousins on one side of the family and too young on the other side. There was a broken part of my heart and I didn’t know what to do.

Around the same time, I joined a life group. At our church, a life group is simply a group you do life with. We raised children together. We had traditions we celebrated together. We had beautiful holy moments that only a few know of. We became the crazy family all our hearts were missing.

Then, our kids grew up. They began to have opinions. They didn’t always like all the kids in the group. I didn’t always like all the people in the group. And this truth broke my heart.

This is when it hit me- our life group had become our family. Family doesn’t always like each other. That is not the deal. Family has an unwritten rule that you love each other even when you do not like them. Please hear- I am not talking about abuse, whether that the emotional, physical, or spiritual. I am talking normal, everyday burdensome people. The average crazy. They are all around us.  They say the wrong thing. They have a weird political agenda. They make you want to drink all the wine and most of the whiskey.

This is community.


Then my husband leaves me. My life gets messy. I get messy.  Too messy for many.   I was almost all alone. All I had was the one thing my soul holds to be true- Emmanuel. I was suddenly without community, but I wasn’t all alone.   For me, during the messiest of times, my community was just us two- me and my God.

With His help, I decided to be brave and live my life only caring what He and I thought.   I took back my husband.  We began to rebuild our family.  Living life not caring what others thought of me brought great freedom, but it also had some repercussions.  I lost some friends. I lost some family. However, I gained something I did not know existed.  After the dust settled, I looked around and saw that in my brave act, I surrounded myself with people that believed the impossible was possible. We no longer believed things were hopeless.  We no longer believed people were hopeless.   Suddenly, my community wasn’t just family or just friends… it was the people that loved me and my family with a graceful passion and that was unchanging. We loved each other because it was the only thing our hearts would allow. We were to become the community of second, third, and all the chances.

This is community.



Because we have fought for it and because we were brave, we now have a community that sees the truth. Because our truth is rooted in love, we are willing to look beyond the brokenness and the uncomfortable and seek understanding.   We want to cheer each other on and we want people that are willing to cheer us on. We know there is a powerful love that connects us, and we don’t want to let it go.


This is my community.



Do you have one? It isn’t always family. It isn’t always because of a belief system. It isn’t always people that love what you love. It is simply, and most complicatedly, people that are willing to look beyond all of your bullshit, and in turn, you look beyond theirs. And right there, between the bullshit and the divine, you find you love each other for just what you are.
Be brave. Get one. It will be the worst and the best, the scariest and bravest, the messiest and most fun, the most painful and the most loving thing you will ever do.


I am doing this project with some inspiring women.  Please start with Sarah’s blog and then click on through.  We hope you are encouraged.

5 on 5: October

Because of a gnarly photography funk, I missed September’s 5 on 5.  The ladies who I am doing this project with are so graceful and kind that they didn’t kick me out.  In fact, they were encouraging and understanding. Because you know what?  Most photographers I know go through a funk now and again.   In honor of my funk, I am going to post some photography quotes that inspire me to pick up my camera again.


To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.    ~Elliott Erwitt


What makes photography a strange invention is that its primary raw materials are light and time.  ~John Berger


Black and white are the colors of photography. To me, they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected.  ~Robert Frank


What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce. ~Karl Lagerfeld

Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I am going to take tomorrow. ~Imogen Cunningham

And, yes, Imogen is right.  My favorite is the one I will take tomorrow.  And you know what?  I am excited  to pick up my camera tomorrow.  My funk has slowly left me.  I know he will be back, but for now… I can’t wait for the next shot.

I am doing this project with some great photographers.  Start with the lovely Vanessa and then click on through to see their favorites from October.

belonging to myself

For most of my life, I did not feel like I belonged. When I was small, I was the first of my friends to have their parents divorce. In junior high I was mercilessly picked on and harassed. It caused a great depression and because I did not have the tools to handle the pain, I attempted suicide at the age of 15. I spent 70 days living in an upscale mental institution. Where I, once again, did not belong. I was the only teen in the ward who did not do drugs and was a virgin. It was there that I learned some coping skills and, more importantly, I learned to appropriately hold and appreciate sadness.

I have had a thing for sadness ever since. For so long I believed that happiness was a major life goal. However, happiness could never be counted on, nor did it ever fulfill me.  For me, sadness is a feeling I have a deep fondness for and I have learned to value the strength in it. Do not get me wrong- I enjoy finding happy moments in each day and anyone that knows me knows I love to laugh. But sadness is where I feel the most at home.

Being prone to sadness does not bring friends knocking on your door. When I was young, I would conjure up a counterfeit joy and happiness in hopes to keep people from walking away from me. Ten years ago when the deplorable year happened, I couldn’t be anything but sad. Happiness was impossible.  Everything made me sad- music, sunsets, sunrises, food, people, and even laughter made me sad.  I lost many friends that year. Slowly, my heart began to heal and I began to entertain joy and happiness again. But now, the expression of joy and happiness are solely for me. In the past, I would roar with laughter because I wanted others to think I was funny. Now, I save all my laughter for what I find funny. When I was hopeful in the past,  it was so others would need me.  Now, it is because it is impossible for me to be anything but hopeful after living a miracle. Slowly, I began to realize- I have felt left out for so long because I wasn’t brave enough to allow others to know the real me. I was so worried about making friends, any friend would do. I had to learn that I was worthy of caring, compassionate friends who knew who I really was, and only then would I feel like I belonged.

Living life as wholly myself has given me so much freedom. I no longer feel like an outsider to my own life. I belong wherever I go, simply because I know who I am and I love who I have become and am becoming.  This has provided me a constant campaign in myself that has allowed me a great confidence to love others well and be loved by others well in return.   I have also surrounded myself with people that know me- really know me- and they still find me to be fantastic. They love me for who I am, whether that be incredibly sad or contagiously joyful.  Being seen and loved in this way has helped me know that I always belong right where I am, simply being me.


I am doing this project with a very talented group of women.  Start with Susan’s blog and then roll on through to the rest.