September 11, 2015 – the perfect day to reflect on the beauty that is – and some special kids

Probably my most memorable experience related to the date of September 11th is getting to go to NY in 2011, to Ground Zero, with a bunch of 10-year-old kids, each one born on that tragic day in 2001. Little did I know when I was watching the fiasco  on television news, something like we’ve never seen before, that so many amazing souls were being delivered to planet earth. A blessing, each one of them.

This particular group had been part of a book we published called Faces of Hope: Babies Born on 911. And, as is the tradition to reflect on the positive here at HCI , (and personally as well), working on this book proved to be cathartic for many on staff. We were proud to pass that experience along to our readers. Who knew ten years later I’d be sailing on the Circle Line with this group of “models.”

Naturally, the media wanted to follow up on these kids and see how they were doing. That included media from Europe as well as the US. These kids got photographed (again), written about, and broadcast over the airwaves all around the world. I got to be there to help coordinate their efforts. In between the spells of rain, the air that day felt palpable and my eyes stayed moist. The monument wasn’t finished yet but the cavern where it was being built exuded an odd power.

Here it is a few years later and I can’t help but feel like I gained something tremendously valuable by working with Christine Pisera Naman, the author of Faces of Hope and the mother of Trevor, one of the children born on 9/11. Lemons into lemonade is too pedestrian a term for what this project means but, I’ll settle for that expression now. Lemons are in almost every dish I prepare and turning around an unfortunate experience into a blessing is a lifelong practice, or at least ambition, of mine.

I dedicate this album of photos – which I think might be my best yet – to the souls who departed that day and to the ones that came in. And, to the rest of us in the wings, finding ours.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Late spring and the slippery, sneaky sunrise…

All these photos, all these inspirational quotes, all these moments inspired by my terrace view. Never for a moment do I forget how lucky I am. But more than lucky I realize how much I am spoiled. I realize this each spring when the sun decides to hide from me. How my apartment is blocked and situated just so and If I only had that east facing corner unit I could see the full glory of the sunrise EVERY day of the year. How will I deliver real time photos to you when this happens? What a wonderful problem to have.

Every routine, no matter how divine, can become stagnant and mechanical if we don’t have these interruptions. What the absence of the sunrise causes me to do is look elsewhere for beauty and that pursuit of awe that seems to sustain me. Clouds to the south and west become more interesting. Their tips infused by the rising sun’s light in the distance. The shimmer of the ocean in great expanse in front of me and the pinks and oranges in smudges across the sky. I am pulled out of automatic pilot mode and thrust into the moment. Into the presence of now. Cliche as it sounds, it’s these testing moments that cause growth.

I’m told that my beloved sun will be back for daily snaps very soon. Until then, I’ll enjoy the shows of Mother Nature in any and all of her surprising and wonderful permutations. And, in the meantime, I hope you enjoy this edition’s slide show. I made it just for you!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Remembering mom, Mother’s Day, and the sunrise and sunset of it all…

Mother’s Day is bittersweet for me. Three years gone, it’s sill hard to believe that my mother is no longer with me. This year her day falls on May 10th. My eldest sister will have to share her birthday with all the moms of the world and I’ll be remembering mine from Paris. How she would have loved to vicariously visit the city of love with me. I would bring back photos on my iphone, sit close to her in her small kitchen, and take her on the trip I’m about to have. And, she’d meet my fiance, John. How unfair it is for her to miss these landmark events in my life. As my number one cheerleader, she embraced every adventure of mine that she wasn’t able to have herself. Sharing them with her was almost part of the experience for me.

But loved ones come and go, and as I age, they seem to go more frequently. Many are in picture frames than glance back at me from dressers and desks and all are in my heart. Mom and Dad. Grandma Esther and Grandpa Benny. When I meditate I feel their presence as part of the particles in the atmosphere that surround me. I sometimes revel in the idea that everything that ever was still is– taking varying forms at different junctures and remaining as an integral part of the cosmos. My cosmos, when I have these visualizations, feels warm and full, comforting and hopeful.

And, the book, my book. My mother’s refrigerator wouldn’t have been large enough to pin up all the clippings its garnered. They’d have to find space around the one Miami Herald clipping that she shared with me where we were photographed together for another book story. She looked happy and proud in her denim ensemble holding tight to her body her blue leather shoulder bag. She loved books, she would have loved my book, and all because of how she loved me.

I miss you mom. I would have taken you to a fancy brunch this Sunday maybe not in Paris but some place you’d like.  I would have put a special copy of my book in a basket with daisies and chocolates and written a message to you that would last a lifetime. So instead, here I write: Thank you, mom, for encouraging my creativity, supporting all my endeavors, and loving me unconditionally. I love you to the moon and back, Kim.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

April fools and the disappearing sun

Did you know that that sun actually moves on the horizon? Disappearing so that I can no longer photograph it rising these spring mornings? April Fools! We all know from grammar school science that the Earth is doing the moving and that exquisite star just shows up in a variety of places throughout the year. But, what about us loyal photographers who begin their day shooting the first hint of light as it pops up on the horizon? The spoiled ones who stumble outside onto an elevated terrace in their bathrobes and bare feet, coffee waiting on the dresser inside? Where can I lodge my complaint?

A prisoner of my tony terrace, my alternative is to get my butt over to the beach and make like a real nature photographer. So what that I have to prepare myself for a long drive to work and feed and water all the domestic critters living with me. I’ve been doing this for nearly eight years and now that I have a book and a community on Facebook and Instagram it seems SO IMPORTANT!! What will these people who see my photos daily do without me? And, what did I do those prior years?

I’m sure that the social networking friends will survive and in fact, punt for me with their wonderful photos that pop up on my pages daily. As I’ve remarked before, this is my favorite part of this photography book journey that a community has sprouted this way. I’m pretty sure that I’m screwed until June so I’ll be searching my brain for some creative ways to use this time and space. I am meditating.

More meditation. That’s it.

Picturing a sun coming over the horizon.

Enjoy the spring, the spring holidays, and your own sliver of happiness, wherever you find it.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Spring has sprung and the sun showed off all week!

Nature is definitely toying with me. Soon the morning sun will disappear into the horizon obstructed by the building I live in and everything in front of it. I don’t remember what I did last year but I’m sure I’ll find a resourceful way to stay current in my sunrise postings. Or find a way to quell the shimmy shakes when they start to jar me for the lack of morning camera events.

Perhaps to prepare me for the troubling event of nature aka the inconvenient revolution of the Earth, I was treated to some magnificent sunrises this week. (Giving a whole new meaning to the universe revolving around oneself, no?) Whereas I awoke to predominantly gray skies, by the time I paged through morning emails and sipped the last of my Italian roast, a very pink-red sun plopped out over the sea and wooed me no end. Without killing either of my cats, I was fast enough to just catch the shots that some Facebook posters thought I’d doctored with color enhancements. Not that I’m above doing that, mind you, these shots needed almost no help. Maybe just a left-side crop to minimize the terrace balcony. I’ve included the shots in the slide show below so you can see for yourself.

The week of pink-red sunrises also leads up to the opening of a new season, spring is springing precisely today, and what we call a new moon (no moon) is begging for wishes to be made and dreams to be dreamt. I have plenty, all right, and hope who’s ever reading this does, too. Many of them are happening in real time, and my little bookie book keeps motoring along both with publicity and public events. First for Women, the mega-grocery store tabloid gave it a sweet review and a story of mine was published in Nothing But Good News magazine.(make sure you go to page 30) To round things out, I’ve been asked by a bunch of PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHERS to make a presentation on Tuesday, 3/24 at their photo salon in West Palm Beach. I was thinking of stopping at Sports Authority to pick up a catcher’s mask, but maybe they’ll go easy on me. What I’d almost prefer is to have a Q&A session with ME asking the questions. However it goes, I’m looking forward to it. (Maybe I should bring my guitar?)

As the sunrise perspective slips away I do have my sunset accessibility back and am thankful for that. Nature is so good at keeping things in balance and after work bike rides and terrace sunset shooting continues. And, my humble Facebook community of 8K + grows daily and the picture posts and the comments tickle my heart.

Wishing you a wonderful entry into the season of abundance, love, and hopefully much joy. Your roving (raving?) sun reporter saying, over and out.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Friday the 13th is really a great day. Don’t let them fool you.

Whenever anyone gets all superstitious about Friday the 13th I just wave my invisible Pollyanna wand and declare: “the number 13 means ‘love’ in Hebrew, so I deem it to be a very auspicious day.” You can borrow that one, no problem, mixed metaphors and all. Being a superstitious person myself, I can cower, throw salt over my shoulder and fold up my umbrella before entering a building with the best of them, but a whole day of bad luck? That’s a curse I’ll gladly bow out of. It’s been a week, yes it has.

Daylight savings time was the highlight (sorry), in its very mixed blessing sort of way. As much as I don’t like tampering with nature, natural light, and most importantly, my sleep patterns, I do dig the after work walks and the return of sunsets that I am around to see and snap from the terrace. Like an old missed friend waiting for me in the distance, except most days this week my friend was hiding in thick grey clouds. That didn’t discourage me from bringing my homemade soup (which lasted all week) onto the terrace along with my camera and my scoundrel cats. It’s a wonder that I almost never see neighbors spending this time on their balconies. Except for Wednesday morning when I turned around from the sunrise and saw three people on the terrace to the west of me and up one level. Thankfully, I was not in my pj’s, aka a huge green T-shirt that says “Cobra” on the front of it, which is how I’m dressed many a morning out there.

Oh, I forgot to mention, I’m engaged. Engaged, as in, engaged to be married. Can you believe it? Someone (wonderful) actually wants to put up with my strange jump-out-of-bed habit of snapping sunrises and my sometimes disturbing dinner ritual of capturing a setting sun. Yup. it’s happening, and I’m still a little dazed by the whole thing. Dazed and truly happy, if not a little blessed. The glistening rock on my finger reminds me that it is really happening. The best news of all: there IS love later in life and in my case, worth the wait. Someone said we should just get married at Sunset Cove… a park in Boca Raton. That would be just too perfect, right? Well, we have plenty of time to entertain that sort of thing. So far, we’re in Las Vegas for a drive-through wedding, a public park for the world’s largest pot-luck wedding, or at the courthouse with no fanfare at all. (I highly doubt that’s going to happen!)

May your days be bright, your skies clear, and whatever the sunrise and sunset means to you in your life, may it be good, and sweet and filled with love (and joy). And, remember to share what YOU snap on my Facebook page.

Until next time. Over and out!

p.s. new revelation: viewing the sunrise or sunset – the AWE is the intake of the breath, GRATITUDE is the exhale. think about that. I may have more to say about that soon.

Ciao

This slideshow requires JavaScript.