Friday, November 20, 2015

There's Luck and Then There's God's Grace

As you will all see soon enough (my faithful 4 I am about to branch this blog out into not JUST photography, but a few other things as well. I have a project in "time travel" that I'm working on which I think I will incorporate into this blog and every now and then I have just a regular thought that I want to blog about but I don't really want to manage 52 blogs, so I figure just throw it all into one. Through My Lens can mean many for instance "the way I see things" be it with a camera or without. My conscious thought, if you will.

Tonight, we took my sweet Emma home to stay with her parents for a week to 10 days. We took her late because we had things to do and then we stopped off to feed her pizza (what was I thinking????) at Cici's, so it was later than usual coming back from Ft. Worth.

In my whole life, I've never hit a deer. I've heard about it my whole life. I have felt woefully bad for all the dead deer I see on the highways and I've seen some horrific pictures, courtesy of the internet, of deer accidents. I've lamented the plight of the deer and, at times, hated hunters (until I started dating one) because of the poor innocent deer who are out minding their own business and get blasted. (BTW Chicken Fried Backstrap is some of the best eating there is if you have a hunter who cleans his deer properly and processes it himself as if it were a loving act of kindness. )

So, for those of you who are not aware, on Sept 26, 2015, I bought my "dream car". It's a 2011 Camaro 2LT Convertible. Black on black. Gorgeous. Low mileage. Turns out I know the chick who owned it before me and she's a responsible driver and "grandma" like me so this car has been babied. But she's beautiful. I love her. A lot. The other night, at the promise of a hail storm, I stayed up til the storm was almost here and then left my home at 2 am to go park under the covered parking at the bank because I didn't want her to sustain any hail damage. I LOVE this car.

Tonight, as we are making our way home at a leisurely 85 miles an hour or so...give or take 5mph... I'm in the passenger seat Facebooking and my boyfriend begins to ask me a question. We never figured out what he was going to ask because out of the darkness jumped a huge deer. He saw it only milliseconds before it slammed into the side of the car. We didn't hit IT. IT hit US! And we pulled to the side and drove another 100 yards or so into the roadside park and drove to a spot under the lights. I got out, fully expecting to see half my car gone, blood everywhere. I steeled myself, readied my anger to start a cursefest because that fixes everything dontchyaknow?

And as we turned on cell phone flash lights and peered down the side of my precious baby.....we saw only the slightest disruption of dirt from about where the door opens down the side to the back. No blood. No dents. No mangled fiberglass or anything indicating we'd just hit a fairly large animal at that high rate of speed. Both of us were shaking. He, probably because he feared I'd kill him because he hit something with my car and me just because of the sheer chaos of it. Today had been a horrible day and this was just the topper.

We got back in and rode in silence for a while. He apologized. Said he was sorry he didn't see it sooner. Well had he not seen it as soon as he did, we'd have hit it with the front of the car and it likely would have plowed through the windshield and come through the car. I assured him I was not mad. I was grateful he swerved when he did and that no more damage was done.

As I said, I have been working on a project, kind of a blog from the time before blogging that a patient of mine used to do. It was a column in her local newspaper and she did it weekly for many years. Recently, after many years of wanting to scout them out and find them, I made my way over to the library in her small town, after calling and speaking to their kind library fella, and I began going through the archives that were bound. I've only got a couple of years and I was going to try to OCR them with OneNote but apparently that works for everyone but me, so I've been looking at the photos I took and typing them out one by one into both OneNote and EverNote.

At any rate, having been working on this project and knowing her mindset when she wrote, I saw this "incident" tonight in a different light. I see what could have been. I see how lucky we were. I see how God blessed us with just a wake up call rather than a death sentence. I am grateful for so many things. Grateful Emma was not with us, grateful the deer didn't come through the car and kill us both, grateful it didn't do ANY damage to my new car. Just GRATEFUL that God was watching over us both as we traveled the highway home.

As I mentioned, today had been a boohoo, poor me kinda day. For a multitude of reasons which I won't get into here or anywhere else. There are a number of things at work in my mind and in my life. And today was a day that I let the devil win and hurt my heart and make me sad and make me angry about my life and all the things that I'd done that hadn't been appreciated and then, in one instant, on the way home on the start of my "vacation", God said "wake up! Be appreciative of what you have." Not material goods. Nothing superficial like that. I have people who love me. I have people who call me friend. I have people who look forward to seeing me. I have the love of little children and giant men. And a few in between those extremes. I have a roof over my head. I have more food than I can eat in a year in my home. I am blessed. And even though I still have my moments of boohoo why is this happening to me, I know very well that God has blessed me abundantly and the more love I put out into the world doing good deeds and helping others, the more love He puts back upon me. I don't know how to describe it any better than that. I have done things recently that the old me, the skeptical me, would have never done. Not for recognition, like some do, which is why I won't post the details here or facebook or anywhere else, but because I feel like God called me to do it. I never understood before what that meant when someone would say "God called me to give this or do that." I never got what it meant. But now I do.

God asks that we have the faith of a mustard seed. Now the science part of me says no mountain is going to move because I tell it to, but I believe it means that if we believe in that which we cannot see, if we have FAITH in God, then He will provide for us and keep us safe. I've been living in Faith for a few years now and I have to say, it's a good feeling knowing God will take care of me. I don't worry any more. I am content from day to day knowing God has my back.

So...I feel bad for the deer. But I am grateful for this message. Thank you, God, for having my back.

This is me and my baby the day I bought it. I'll add a post deer hit pic tomorrow when there's light.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Unattainable Fortress

There's a place here in North Texas that every explorer longs to visit. Well, actually there are two. One of them, while probably the greater of the two, is occasionally attainable. You just have to be there on the right day at the right time with equipment ready and you just might get in. And then...there is the unattainable. The one about which they say "don't even bring it up." "You know it's not gonna happen." "It's impossible." "People still live there." One guy gets down right angry when it's brought up.
But every so often...about once a year...I go on a drive by just to check it out and shoot some more outside of the fence pics.
So a couple of days ago, after dropping Emma off at home, I decided to detour through the big city of Decatur and take a drive on up that dead end road. Of course, it was the same as always, although they had been tree trimming so there was a pile of brush in an undesirable spot. But here is my shot for this year. I loved this processing on it. Thought it made it look more haunting. And one day my friends, I'll get in. I may have to pay someone but I'll get in.

Until we meet again.....

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Finding Inspiration (Early November)

At this time of year, when the colors finish changing and all the leaves fall to the ground and turn that dismal brown that hurts the eyes and wounds the heart, it gets particularly hard for me to find inspiration. I have a grand dislike for cold weather. I am bored with barren trees, and it is a complete rarity in this area to have a snow day worthy of trying to get some shots. And I lose my inspiration.

Many people turn to indoor photography but my home is most definitely not amenable to that sort of thing. My home is old, falling down, built in a time when it was a dream come true for my mother but kind of a big ol' nightmare for me. So what to do?

Sometimes I dig through the hundreds of thousands (you think I'm kidding, don't you?) of images I have stored from the past say 15 years on external media, and try to "re-see" all of them with my new older eyes. And sometimes that yields some awesome results. And sometimes I come away with nothing.

Luckily, however, this week in North Texas, not every tree has lost it's leaves and I happened to think of a local "treasure" with a bad rep, but with some interesting geography.

Cougar Mound, as we've always called it, or "Cougar Mountain"  has always had a rather sordid history in the local gossip mill. Back in the 1980's when I was a high schooler, it was a make out point. At some point after that, it was rumored that the "huge" gay community of Bowie (no, as far as I know there's not a huge gay community here but feel free to correct me if you have concrete evidence) went up there to have privacy and that there was so much fear over the AIDS epidemic etc that some of the townspeople were going up there and nailing baggies filled with condoms to trees in hopes that they could provide safer sex for those who were determined to do "that".

All those rumors aside, Cougar Mound has it's charms. It has a road cut through it. A "Scenic Overlook" which overlooks nothing. On either side of said road, but mostly the side between the road and HWY 287, there are very many GIANT rocks. Rocks that are 20 or 30 feet tall. More like 20 or 2 or 3 tens stacked up but they're just very interesting. And at this time of year, very mossy.

I took only my 50mm prime because I was trying to challenge myself, so the pics won't be as fantabulously wonderful as they might have been otherwise. LOL. I am sooo kidding. 

Even still you cannot get a fix on how big these things are. This one I thought had some interesting textures. So many different colors on one rock. Amazed me.

I did find a "Dinosaur Tree". And I thought the colors around it were pretty...aside from the dead brush of course.

This was one of the more accessible trails. I still didn't take it. Had my cowboy boots but not my gun so I opted out of snake wrestling OR WORSE.

I found a lone ranger yellow leaf amongst a sea of green and a few browns.

I found a clothesline of changing colored leaves. Or least that's how it appears to me.

I found a view, of sorts, from the summit. 

And I found the moon amongst the clouds on the way back to my car.

Most of us photographers, amateur, pro and in between, tend to think we have to leave home and go on a trip away from what we see every day to find something to photograph. But that's not really true. There is something around every corner, down every street, beyond the next bend in the road that may be just what you are looking for.

We can't all be the Trey Ractliff's of the world, getting paid to travel the globe and take pics of amazing things that most of us will never see. What we can be is ourselves. We can shut our eyes for a few moments. Clear our minds. Open our eyes once more, grab our camera and step outside our front door.

If you still can't find anything and want to bang your head on a wall, join a photo challenge. There are always a million of those around. Numbers, Letters, Colors, Textures.

Keep looking...keep shooting and if all else fails, dig out the external HD and find something old to make new again.