Category Archives: Seeing

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.

Beginners’ Photography Retreat

Springtime at New Skete ©Gail S. Haile

A couple of weekends ago, I got to spend some wonderful time with six other photographers, leading another Seeing with New Eyes Beginners’ Photography Retreat at New Skete Monastery.

Despite torrential rains, 65 mph winds, and a brief power outage we enjoyed this wonderful setting that is so rich in images.  Actually some of those conditions created some unique images.   No matter where you are or what the conditions there is always something to be seen, to be noticed.  Spring had just arrived on the mountain that holds New Skete Monastery and the earth was waking up from it’s hibernation.   New life, potential, and hope surrounded us.

We spent a lot of time going over the basics of how photography and our cameras work. When you know how they work, you can make decisions about what type of image you want to create rather than letting the camera decide for you.  Understanding the basics allows a photographer to create images with intention.

A video of some of the photographers’ images summarizes the weekend far better than I could with words:

And of course, this was New Skete Monastery so there were puppies and dogs!  They got their own video of images that the photographers created:


If you are interested in a future  photography retreat, sign up for my newsletter and you’ll be the first to know.





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.


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?

Adirondack Colors

Fall is currently putting on a spectacular show in upstate NY.  We’ve had warm sunny days and incredible colors.  The only thing that is not good about Fall is the long winter that comes after.   We went on a little adventure to savor these amazing days and took a drive on the Powley-Piseco Rd. in Fulton County, NY.   It’s in the southern portion of the Adirondack Park.

If you live in the area and have an opportunity, I highly (Haile, get it?) recommend exploring this bit of paradise.

Here’s a few of my favorites from our day.

Powley Piseco Rd-1-©GailSHaile Powley Piseco Rd-2-©GailSHaile Powley Piseco Rd-3-©GailSHaile Powley Piseco Rd-4-©GailSHaile Powley Piseco Rd-5-©GailSHaile Powley Piseco Rd-6-©GailSHaile

Friday Finds: Jay Maisel

Jay Maisel is a photographer that I learned about when studying the history of photography in college.  So his work is not really new to me, though I hadn’t really spent time enjoying it in a long time.  And I did enjoy his work.  He has a very keen eye for details that would go unnoticed by many.


©Jay Maisel

What this Friday Find is really about is a video that I recently viewed in which Maisel talks about “How to Be a Better Photographer.”   If you’re not a photographer, don’t worry, it applies to simply being a human as well.    It’s a short video, only 2:43 minutes, but it is rich with wisdom.

Some of his advice:

“Be open.

Be open to what is in front of you.”

“Walk slow, slower that you’re walking.” 

“I’m trying no to look for anything.  I’m trying to have it come to me. “

Spend a few minutes looking at his work and listening to his advice.  It will be time well spent.

Jay Maisel website:

Jay Maisel on How to Be a Better Photographer:


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.