Tag Archives: Reflections

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.

Autumn Colors – Part One

The autumn colors this year have been spectacular!  The light has been amazing and the colors have been so fun to capture.

Here in the northeast, the autumn colors are a regular treat, though some autumns seem more remarkable than others.  There are very scientific, change of season type, reasons why the leaves change color and drop from the trees that you can brush up on here.   If it’s been a dry summer, the autumn colors are often rather dull.  If it rains or snows a lot early in the season, the show is cut short.  I think one of the reasons this year has been so spectacular is the amount of sunshine that we’ve had.  It lights up all those colors and makes them glow.

I’ve taken a few days during this time to get out, with camera in hand, and immerse myself in all that light and color.  For me the color and light are more like paints to be applied to canvas.  I like to play and add movement and texture to create images that show them in ways that our eyes don’t see.

The challenge, for me, is how to capture that beauty in ways that cause us to see it in a new way.  

The autumn colors in these images all include leaves in some way.  I’ve used camera movement, changes in perspective,  and shallow depth of field to emphasize the colors and light.

Part two, next week, will be images that feature water with the autumn colors.

What will you do this week to see your world in a new way?

(Be sure to click on an image and scroll through them, so that they will enlarge and you can see all those colors!)


It would be great if you would share this with anyone you know that might be interested!  Thank you!

Seneca Lake Colors

Seneca Lake is one of the largest of the 13 Finger Lakes in New York state.  (Look at a map of NY and you’ll see why the group of lakes is so named.)  I spent last week on the shores of Seneca Lake at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.  Most of my time, however, was spent inside a classroom learning how to paint digitally using Corel Painter.  (I’ll talk more about that wonderful class another time.)

It’s a good thing that I love working with Painter so much, because spending beautiful upstate NY July days indoors when I was 100 yards from a lake would not be my normal choice.  But in the evenings, I took the time to get closer to the water and enjoy the summer breezes, the activity of the boats and the fishermen (and women) and the colors and light of the lake and to just play with my camera.

What are you doing to soak up  these summer days?


Wispy clouds brush the sky with color over Seneca Lake  in the NY Finger Lakes.  Seneca Lake Colors 1 _©GSHaile

Wispy clouds brush the sky with color over Seneca Lake in the NY Finger Lakes. Seneca Lake Colors 1 _©GSHaile

Reflections of sailboats lit up by the setting sun.  Seneca Lake Colors 2 _©GSHaile

Reflections of sailboats lit up by the setting sun. Seneca Lake Colors 2 _©GSHaile

What a difference a few minutes makes.  Light changes rapidly at this time of day.  Seneca Lake Colors 3 _©GSHaile

What a difference a few minutes makes. Light changes rapidly at this time of day. Seneca Lake Colors 3 _©GSHaile

Loved the shapes and colors of these lily pads as well as the clouds reflected in the water.  Seneca Lake Colors 4 _©GSHaile

Loved the shapes and colors of these lily pads as well as the clouds reflected in the water. Seneca Lake Colors 4 _©GSHaile

Light dances from the lake onto this colorful picnic table.  Seneca Lake Colors 5_©GailSHaile

Light dances from the lake onto this colorful picnic table. Seneca Lake Colors 5_©GailSHaile

The Sound of Silence

I had the opportunity to spend a couple of days in the northern Adirondacks this week.  We were in the Elk Lake – Clear Pond Nature Preserve, 12,000 acre private forest preserve, staying at Elk Lake Lodge.   

It has been years since I have heard such utter silence.  We forget how much noise fills our lives.  As I sit in my office in our home at the end of a cul-de-sac in a small village, you would think it would be quiet.  Yes, it’s relatively quiet, but I can hear the hum of my computer, the click of the keys, a truck making a delivery on our dead end street, my husband moving things in the basement, an occasional plane way overhead, the dryer running downstairs, children playing in the street, and on and on.  Little bits of sound that fill our lives and we, for the most part, are not even aware of them anymore.

While kayaking on the 600 acre private Elk LakeI stopped and just sat in the water and listened.  What I heard was silence, complete silence. It was the middle of the afternoon and I was in the middle of the lake so wildlife sounds were not even apparent.  Utter silence.  I encountered the same thing when we hiked to Clear Pond  (image below) the following day.  It made me realize how seldom, if ever, we hear that.  And I realized, or just was reminded, how good it felt.  That’s been on my mind ever since and I’m now keenly aware of all the little sounds that fill our days.

How long has it been since you’ve heard the sound of silence?

“The trees, the flowers, the plants grow in silence. The stars, the sun, the moon move in silence. Silence gives us a new perspective. ”  Mother Teresa

Clear Pond, Northern Adirondacks, NY  ©Gail S. Haile

Clear Pond, Northern Adirondacks, NY ©Gail S. Haile: Click to Enlarge image

Travel Reflections

I’ve spent a lot of time traveling lately…traveling by “trains, planes, and automobiles” with a hefty dose of walking.  We spent 3 weeks in Switzerland, spending time with family and enjoying some of the culture and beauty of that little country.

One day involved a train ride up the mountains to Gonergrat,  where we were treated to a  perfect view of the Matterhorn and the surrounding Alps.  It was truly awe inspiring scenery but it seemed too vast and amazing to capture in pixels.  I just soaked it in to my soul and will remember that feeling.  Another day involved a car ride through the lush green hills of the Appenzell region.  Those hills were dotted with geranium covered Swiss chalets and hundreds of Swiss brown cows.  Every bend in the road presented another postcard view of the area.  Again, it seemed that any images I captured failed to fully convey the essence of that place.  And, to me, those scenes, while beautiful, are obviously so.  Of course we see them and are inspired by the beauty.  We expect and delight to be astounded by such beauty.

Traveling by airplane usually involves a lot of time waiting in airports and most airports do not offer much awe inspiring scenery while you wait.  We don’t expect to see anything interesting or beautiful during those waits.  To keep me occupied while waiting  at the gate in the Zurich airport, I wandered around with my little point and shoot camera and captured reflections that I saw.  I’ve been playing with reflections for a while now so it was fun to continue that. There’s usually a lot of windows, therefore light, in airports and the floors are usually highly polished (especially in Switzerland where even the parking garage floors shine), so reflections abound.  It was interesting to watch for the colors and the shapes that were right under our feet if you only pay attention.

What beauty have you seen lately that was not obvious?

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Reflections: Works in Progress

Today’s post begins a new category of blog posts, Works in Progress.  I’ll share bits of what I’m working on so you might see how it develops.

For some time now, I have been fascinated with reflections.  Colors can be stretched and morphed to beyond their true being.  Light and color shift shape and size depending on your point of view, becoming something new, creating something different.  Even without my camera in hand, I’m always watching and noticing reflections and being intrigued with the abstractions that are created.  With camera in hand, I’ve spent hours recording the ever changing colors reflected in a harbor’s waters at sunset or the city reflected in a highly polished floor.

I’ve been pondering why I am so drawn to these ephemeral visions.  They are transitory, fleeting beings.  When I photograph them, it occurs to me to wonder what I am actually photographing.  It doesn’t actually exist, it’s not a physical thing.  It only exists because I notice it and if I record it as an image, is it then a “thing” ?

I’m still working out what makes reflections so interesting to me but a few weeks ago, as we were driving home from dinner in a downpour that turned to snow by the time we arrived home, I was mesmerized by all the reflections on the dark, wet pavement. I took some time to write about them that night.

A few of my rambling thoughts:

Is my interest because reflections, in their ephemeral nature, reflect the nature of life?  Moments of our lives are like those reflections, fleeting, snatches of times, gone too quickly without our control. They can change quickly depending on our perspective. those small, fleeting moments can hold such beauty if we are open to seeing it.  How we view them, our attitude, filters the scene and our memory of it.

An interesting thing happened that rainy night as the rain turned to snow.  The roads no longer reflected the colors and shapes.  As the slush covered the road, the vivid  colors, the distinct shapes, were muted or gone altogether.  What is the “slush” in our lives that causes us to not see and hold these fleeting moments with all the beauty they hold?

All food for thought.  It’s a work in progress.

Just a few of the many reflected moments that I’ve captured so far:




Blue Reflections: Mandala Monday

The end of January can be a very blue time in many ways.  It’s cold, much too cold, and I get very weary of being indoors yet cannot make myself go outside much more than to rush from one heated place to another.  So everything looks blue and feels blue.    But as I said last week, blue is my favorite color.  I find it comforting and comfortable and actually cheering rather than “blue” .  (Well, there’s something I might like to follow up with regarding color theory. 🙂 ) January is often a time of reflection also, so blue reflections seemed to fit.  I shared this mandala with you last week with the promise of a peek in to the stages of it’s creation. Blue-Mandala-3_Gail-Haile


Reflections: Mandala Monday

Last week, I had the pleasure of being in sunny Phoenix for a few days for a professional photography convention.  I was busy with convention activities a good bit of the time but did get out and enjoy the warmth and the light.

I’ve been playing with reflections for a while now with my photographs and Phoenix turned out to be a great place to continue that. (more…)

Reflections of Play: Mandala Monday 10/7/2013

This past Friday I told a little about my retreat time on Block Island  and how I had to be reminded to play.  These mandalas are the result of some of that play.  A couple of evenings, I didn’t feel like photographing the sunset specifically though the light at that time drew me.  I often feel like sunsets are over photographed.  Yes, they are beautiful but I personally would rather just experience them and photograph something else.  What I did do was head to the harbor and not only enjoy the sunset but watch the light dance and play on the water as well as on all the boats and structures around the harbor.  When the sun is low to the horizon like that it bounces off everything and creates all these amazing colored patterns on the water, patterns that don’t really exist in a way.  They are there for a split second, IF someone is noticing, and then they are gone.   They fascinate me for not only their abstract beauty but for that elusiveness.   It was a bit like chasing butterflies or bubbles.  So 400 plus reflection images would say that I was truly playing, I guess. 🙂

These mandalas started with just one of those images.  I couldn’t resist discovering the types of patterns that an abstract design would create.