Category Archives: Open to Delight

Open to Delight – Spring

Browsing the images on my phone a few days ago, I realized I had quite a few Delight images that I had not shared.  Here’s the current installment of Open to Delight with just a few of the moments that have given me delight recently.

How have you been taking note of these moments in your life?

(If you’d like to see the images larger, just click on the first one and you can scroll through all of the images.)

April Snow

 

We woke up to a couple inches of snow the other day.  The cherry tree that had just surprised me with blossoms earlier that week was covered in snow.  It looked like a pastry chef had delicately and artfully placed frosting on all the blossoms.  It melted quickly once the sun came out but the way the light danced around the snow and the blossoms begged to be photographed. The last image doesn’t show the cherry blossoms but the forest, with bits of new green just showing under the light frosting of snow. It was a lovely morning!

Open to Delight: A Walk in the Woods

We got out for our first hike of the year the other day.  It was just a short bit of a hike since the water in the stream was too high to cross that day.  It looks like a hike that would be fun to do several times throughout the season as there are huge groups of mountain laurel as well as rhododendrons, and who knows what else?!  And if you can cross the stream and go further there is a waterfall to enjoy.  Hiking in Virginia in late March was such a delight.  We are used to  Mud season in NY’s Adirondacks that makes hiking a challenge in the spring time.

Here are just a few glimpses of a lovely time in the woods.

A Glimpse of Spring

I was going through my image files today, getting prepared for an exhibition that I am applying for (more about that another time).  My files are full of images that I haven’t done anything with yet, just waiting for their time to be noticed.  Sometimes, when I create images they don’t really speak to me at that moment in time.  I have learned to be patient and revisit them at another time.  Not always, but often, the images will speak to me months or years after I’ve created them.

As I was reviewing image folders, I found several different groups that had a similar point of view.  They were all taken at ground level and very close up, sort of like an ant’s view.  So I began to put them into one collection and see where that leads.

Perhaps because we are on the cusp of spring, these four images particularly appealed to me today, so I thought I would share them with you.  Meanwhile, I will continue to think about the idea of shooting with the perspective of an ant.

Open to Delight…again

Sometime in the past several months, I realized that I had, in all the craziness of home searching, stopped taking photos of those little moments of delight that appeared in my days.  I hadn’t really stopped noticing them, but I hadn’t been recording them.  And I think, the act of recording them makes it a bit more intentional to keep my eyes and heart open to what delight there is in the world.

I’ve written and shared about delight before many times (you can read them here) but as a reminder, I believe that our lives are full of moments of surprise and joy that add up to delight.  Sometimes they are big things but often they are the small things and often we totally miss them if we are not paying attention.  It has been my practice for some time to be more aware of those moments. Taking photos of them helps to be more intentional about it.

I restarted taking my delight photos in August, right in the midst of major moving activities.  I use my phone camera to take the photos, in an effort to keep it simple.

It’s more about noticing the delight than creating a work of art.  The work of art is in the moment itself. 

What’s more, when they are on my phone, I don’t really look at them until it’s time to write a post like this.  Then I get an additional dose of delight when I look back through the photos on my phone and re-delight at all those moments.

Hope you will find delight in some of these images and perhaps go on your own mission to be aware of the delight in your days.

Gratitude for Super Powers

I’ve been taking a wonderful online photography course called Meditations on Gratitude. It’s been a good way to go a bit deeper with my photography and to stretch my thinking a bit. And mostly it’s been fun and uplifting to really focus on gratitude!

One of the lessons was about being grateful for our bodies. Even if there are parts that don’t always work so well, there are still parts that do work well. We were given the task of photographing something about our bodies for which we are grateful. There were a few examples of artists who work with self-portraiture, as well.

Oh no, self portraits!! I so resist being the subject of images so this was a challenge for me. It percolated under the surface for a week or so before I posted my response to the task. As I was thinking I realized that my favorite part about my body is my eyes, my sight. I think “seeing” is one of my super powers. I’ve always noticed things that other people don’t.

We were out for lunch and the sunlight was coming in a window onto our table and it was interesting the way it framed my glasses, so I took a photo on my phone. I kept thinking I couldn’t use that image, it felt like cheating. 🙂 But as I scanned through the images on my phone there were so many images of interesting light. Images I had taken just because I thought the light was interesting. I decided to play with all those. I put them together and this image is the result, sort of what it looks like to be seeing through my eyes all the time, constantly watching light.

sight

I am so so grateful for my eyes and my vision.

I like to think that we each have super powers, those things that make us unique. Those things that we are generally better at doing that others. You might call them our gifts. What are your super powers? What about your body, your being makes you grateful?

Right under my nose

I spent 3 wonderful days last week in Rockport, MA on a little retreat.  Rockport is a small, very old and historic port north of Boston.  Anywhere near the ocean is heaven for me and three days with only myself and my own thoughts was an added treat.  I made lots of images, spent masses of time on a rocky, shallow beach that begs to be explored for hours at low tide, played with images of the bobbing dinghys in the harbor, played with my Lensbaby, but the most satisfying images were made in the last hour I was there.

The tiny cottage where I stayed had a spiral staircase and a string of driftwood pieces hanging along side it.  Just before I was to leave, I noticed some interesting light and all the lines that were being created in that spot.  Packing stopped and I spent more than 30 minutes making images of the lines and light.  Of a week filled with things I love, for some reason this slice of time was extremely gratifying.

Perhaps because I had spent a few days exhaling and relaxing, I was more able to notice and appreciate this little scene of quiet wonder.  But, noticing these small things is what fills our days with delight and gratitude.  It was a reminder to me (because we all need frequent reminding) to stop often and appreciate what is right under my nose.

Lines-1-©GailSHaile Lines-2-©GailSHaile Lines-3-©GailSHaile

This says it all.

“To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.”                                                                                                                 Henri Cartier-Bresson

I’m busy taking a wonderful online class with Laura ValentiThis quote from famous French photographer, Cartier-Bresson, was used in one of the lessons.  Despite my predilection for quote collecting, I had never read this one before.  When I first read it, I was stunned as it sums up precisely what photography is for me.

That “great physical and intellectual joy” is so so true for me when I am creating with my camera.  This image, from an afternoon of creating with water and color and movement, is a result of that joy.

“Fleeting reality” is also what I work to capture, those moments that are here for a split second and then gone.  But then, isn’t that all of life?

I hope you find some joy in those fleeting moments this week.

 

Fall Water Abstract-03_©Gail Haile

Fall Water Abstract-03_©Gail Haile Prints available.

Open to Delight – Catching up

Life has been very full the past few months. Delight has shown up  many times and in many places.  Noticing delight and the things that spark it has become a habit for me even if I don’t always capture it with the camera.  That’s really the purpose of taking the photos in the beginning.  Somehow, we feel that if we photograph something it is more tangible.  But after a while, you just notice and capture the moment of delight in your mind.  Noticing, being tuned in to the delight is the important part.

Still, as I was clearing off my phone camera the other day, I found all these images that I’d captured simply because they represented a moment of delight.

A colorful dinner and evening shared with good friends:

Delight-01-©GailSHaile

 

Finding a restaurant, while traveling, that offered gluten free pizza!Delight-02-©GailSHaile

 

Enjoying this gluten free,  truly delicious pizza with fontina cheese, wild mushrooms, and caramelized onions!  Total delight!Delight-03-©GailSHaile

 

Our daughter arrived with her family for the holidays (a major delight!) and brought me this box of my very, very special, very favorite chocolates

Delight-04-©GailSHaile Delight-05-©GailSHaile

 

When I was at New Skete Monastery for my beginners’ photography retreat in October,  I purchased this delightful cheesecake from the nuns and tucked it in the freezer to enjoy for Christmas dinner.  Incredibly wonderful!

Delight-06-©GailSHaile

 

I’d totally forgotten about this image of the Alps that I captured as we were leaving Switzerland after our last visit to family there.  Often when flying to or from,  some or all of the mountains are covered in clouds, but on this day you could see the whole range quite clearly. 

Delight-07-©GailSHaile

 

What a delight to see perfectly uninterrupted blue sky!  That is a rarity in my part of the world but enjoyed it while visiting Atlanta for a PPA conferenceDelight-08-©GailSHaile

 

We have a beautiful Pin Oak tree in our front yard that has stood witness to most of our family’s life together.  A few years ago, we had the tree trimmed and saved a larger branch to have something created from it.  Just before Christmas we were delighted to finally get the 3 items that my wood artist friend, Carl Stoner, created with that wood.  This lamp and the 2 vases, gifts for our adult children, will be constant reminders of that tree no matter where we are.  

Delight-09-©GailSHaile

 

And of course, the shenanigans of our squirrels have continued to delight.  The squirrels shimmy up the wind chimes, pause at the top, climb up onto the bracket, sit for a few seconds, and then take a flying leap over to the suet feeder, a distance of 4 or 5 feet.  If I shew them away, they come back again and again, most persistent are they. Our older grandson took extreme delight in this and spend a great deal of time sitting on the countertop and laughing hysterically when they jumped, then wanting them to do it again.

Delight-12-©GailSHaileDelight-11-©GailSHaile

These images are in no particular order and don’t come close to documenting the many moments of delight over that past few months.  They simply serve as a reminder that delight is right in front of us much of the time if we are open to it.