Rain | {The Serenity Project}

I love a rainy day.

Recently we had a very rainy weekend (unrelated to Hurricane Florence!) and Monday morning found me wandering around my yard with my camera and macro lens.

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My go-to lens these past few years for macro has been my Velvet 56, but lately I find myself reaching for my Sigma 105mm macro and I’m enjoying the results!

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(I’m pretty sure my neighbors think I’m nuts, as they observe me camera in hand taking images of random leaves and blades of grass.)

I also came upon a spider web covered in rain. It looked like jewels.

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I don’t know where the occupant of the web was, but she didn’t bother me.

The Serenity Project is a collaborative photography project. Photographers post monthly and wish to capture a sense of peace and calm with their imagery. Please continue the circle to my friend,  Wendy May  to see what brought her some serenity this month.

 

Bath Ritual |{The Serenity Project}

When we were living in Arizona, I made it my habit to take a bath every Sunday evening.

 

I’d grab a magazine or a book, a glass of wine, a glass of water, some candles,  bubble bath or a bath bomb and soak, read and relax.

Once we moved to Texas, I stopped this ritual for whatever reason. I’m honestly not sure why. I still bought bath bombs and bubble bath, but for the most part they went unused.

But, now, in the wake of our upcoming move, I’m bringing the bath back. I am using the Lush bath bombs, I’m burning the candles, I’m enjoying the relaxation and peacefulness. Plus, I have to use up all the bath bombs before the movers come!

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I wish for my house to be as spa-like as possible, wherever we are. I want it to smell good, to be uncluttered and serene. This is part of that ideal.

I’ll have to take July off from The Serenity Project, sadly. We are in crunch time now, in the thick of getting ready to uproot ourselves yet again. I’ll see you on the other side, my friends.

 

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The Serenity Project is a collaborative monthly group photography project. Women photographers participating in this project wish to bring a sense of calm and peace to their imagery. Please continue the circle to my friend,  Lori McLellan, Calgary area Photographer, to see how she found some serenity this month.

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Exploring Nature | {The Serenity Project}

My little family and I love getting out in nature, walking, exploring and photographing.

May 05, 2018-ECC_1560-EditEileenCritchley1(Can you see my little explorer in this image?)

We recently visited the Cibola Nature Center, which is about half an hour from our house. I don’t know why we had not visited there before!

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Although South Texas is very  hot and humid this time of year, the weather was pretty good that day. We were blessed with some sun after a week of rain. And, amazingly, we had the place to ourselves!

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My daughter absolutely loved the cypress trees and exploring the creek. She spotted lots of tadpoles and tiny fish, raccoon and deer tracks, butterflies and roly polys (these are her favorites!).

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It was a beautiful day with family, doing what we love to do. We followed our walk with another of our favorite activities: lunch together.

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I love discovering parks and trails wherever we live. I’m so glad we took the time to visit!  Walks through nature are the best way for us to  ground ourselves and reconnect with nature and each other.

 

The Serenity Project is a collaborative photography project featuring images that bring a sense of peace and calm. Please continue the circle to Wendy May to find what brought her some serenity this month.

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Nature on Film | {The Serenity Project}

I recently shot a roll of Provia 100F. This is a stock that doesn’t have much latitude when it comes to exposure (i.e. it needs to be exposed very carefully). I had never shot this stock before and I was a bit nervous! It’s more expensive to process and it’s easy to make exposure mistakes. Typically I overexpose film slightly because  most  film tends to be very forgiving when it comes to overexposure. In other words, film loves light.

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I was pleasantly surprised when I got the scans back, especially the images of nature. These were taken around San Antonio, mostly at the Botanical Garden. All of these were taken with my Velvet 56, which I had also never used on my film camera (this was, apparently, a bit of an experimental roll!)

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I love shooting film because it forces me to slow down. I have to be very mindful and careful.

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I also like the unknown aspect of it, the little surprises. You don’t  know what your images will be until you get the scans back, which can take a while, especially if you don’t shoot film often! Depending on my mood, a roll of film can sit in my camera for weeks or months.April 11, 2018-98194EMcri040512-R1-004

For me, this  is another advantage to shooting film-when you get the scans back, you have a chance to revisit those moments, some of which might have happened weeks or months ago. It’s a like a little gift to myself.

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I don’t shoot a lot of film, and I’m not always happy with my images when I do. But when it works, it works. And it makes me very happy. There is something quiet and gentle about it.

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The tones are calming, the process is mindful. It’s a chance to take your time, to practice patience. How often do we get those opportunities in this hectic life?

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The Serenity Project is a collaborative photography project. Photographers who participate hope to bring a sense of calmness and peace to their monthly images. Please continue the circle with Wendy May Photography to see what brought her some serenity this month.

 

Mustang Island | {The Serenity Project}

Even though I have long considered myself more of a mountain person, there is something about the beach that brings a sense of calm to us all. My family and I aren’t lay-out-and-get-a- tan type people; we are more the SPF 50-and-wide-brimmed-hat types. But you can’t beat a nice morning walking on the beach.March 16, 2018-ECC_1052EileenCritchley1

Over Spring Break, we visited Mustang Island State Park in South Texas for a morning on the beach. It was so beautiful there- overcast but warm, no crowds, and plenty of beach treasures to be found. My daughter had a great time running along the beach and doing cartwheels.March 16, 2018-ECC_1009-EditEileenCritchley1March 16, 2018-ECC_1036EileenCritchley1

We even found several intact sand dollars, which is something I don’t think I have ever found on the beach (and I grew up in Florida!).

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We enjoyed watching all the birds too.

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It was such a beautiful morning, and a perfect way to wrap up our Spring Break. I’m so glad we took a little trip down there!

 

The Serenity Project is a collaborative photography project. The women who post to this project aim to bring a sense of calm serenity to their images. Please continue the circle to Wendy May, Scottish photographer to see where she found a sense of peace this month.

Succulents | {The Serenity Project}

Maybe it’s from all the time I have spent in the Southwest, but I love succulents. I love their symmetry and the tones in the plants. I love that they are hearty plants for the most part (i.e. difficult to kill). They are survivors, and they are beautiful. I love to photograh them too, digitally (as above) or on film (below). They always make for beautiful, patient subjects.

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(film: Porta 400)

It’s been really rainy here in South Texas this winter. Many days are dreary and gray and I haven’t gotten out much on photo walks. But spring is coming for all of us, and hopefully with it the opportunity to get outside a bit more!

The Serenity Project is a monthly collaborative photography project. Participating photographers wish to bring a sense of peace, calm and serenity to their images. Please continue to my friend Iris Nelson Photography – Metro Phoenix Photographer to see what brought her some serenity this month. I always enjoy her posts!

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Tiny Worlds | {The Serenity Project}

Wherever we live, our family has always joined the Botanical Gardens. I love having a membership because we can visit whenever we want, and spend as little or as much time as we want there each visit.

We visited last weekend and had the place to ourselves! What a treat on a weekend! Yes, it was a little chilly, but not too awful. It was a little breezy and overcast, but still a beautiful day for a walk.  It was such a lovely morning, with the people I love most in the world.

I brought my macro lens with me this time. Usually at the gardens, I try to take many photos of my daughter, but this time I really wanted to focus on macro. Turns out when my attention is directed somewhere else, she ASKS me to take photos of her! So I took  a couple. But most of my photos that day were macro images. It’s so fascinating what we see when we take a closer look at the world! This isn’t a season of blooming flowers or beautiful leaves; everything is pretty brown. But still, tiny treasures could be found everywhere. This is one thing I love about photography in general and macro specifically–it forces us to take a closer look at the world, and to see possibilities around us.

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And one of my daughter, finding some serenity!

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The Serenity Project is a collaborative photography project. The participating photographers aim to capture a sense of peace and calm with their imagery. Please head over to Wendy May – Scottish Photographer to see what brought her some serenity this month.

November in South Carolina | {The Serenity Project}

We spend a week in South Carolina with my in-laws every November.

My mother- and father-in-law live in a quiet rural town outside of Columbia. One of my favorite things to do while there is to take photowalks, either with my husband in their neighborhood or just by myself in their backyard. The light there is so beautiful, and very different from what I am used to in the sunny Southwest.

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Life is just a little slower there. It’s great to have some time to take a walk, read a bit, spend some time outdoors in the cool air, make s’mores and drink mulled wine by the fire after dinner.

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I enjoy taking time to slow down and take in nature through my lens.

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I know my daughter will look back on these trips from her childhood with fondness and warm memories. I’m so thankful we have the opportunity to spend some time with family at this time of year.

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(all images taken with Velvet 56)

 

The Serenity Project is an ongoing, monthly collaborative photography project. The participating photographers wish to capture a sense of peace and calm in their imagery. Please head over to the talented Wendy May – Scottish Photographer to see what brought her a little serenity this month.

Flowers and Light | {The Serenity Project}

When the light filters through flower petals, they almost seem to glow.  I love seeing flowers and plants lean toward the sun, as if they love the way the warmth and light feels on their face, as we all do. This is a summery image, taken on a sunny autumn day at a Botanical Garden. These flowers are quite tall, and really beautiful; a lovely gift on a gorgeous day.

 

Photographers participating in The Serenity Project try to convey a sense of peace and calm in their images each month. Please continue the circle to see what brought my talented friend, Iris Nelson – Metro Phoenix Photographer, some serenity this month.

A Single Rose | {The Serenity Project}

We are often out and about in the middle of the day, which isn’t the best time to take photos. But, every now and again, I’ll come across something like this- a perfect rose spotlighted and surrounded with greenery.

I’ll snap the photo and then run to catch up with my family. I won’t think much about it, until it’s up on my computer for editing.

And then, sometimes, I’ll see it for the simple gift that it is, a little bit of hidden beauty on our walk. Maybe the light wasn’t perfect, but it works for this image, in this moment.

Five minutes later the light would have been different, a week from now the rose might be gone.

Something simple and fleeting captured, when it would have been easy to just walk by.

 

The photographers in The Serenity Project circle wish to convey a sense of peace and calmness in their images. Please take a look at my good friend Iris Nelson – Metro Phoenix Photographer  to see what has brought her some serenity this month.

The Japanese Tea Garden | {The Serenity Project}

Recently we visited the Japanese Tea Garden. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much; I thought we would walk around for maybe half an hour, take a few photos, and then head to lunch.

We were pleasantly surprised with this beautiful park!  The garden has a long history and first opened in 1919. Since then, it’s been through several renovations, the most recent in 2008. Now it’s a beautiful, serene oasis in the middle of a bustling city. September 16, 2017-ECC_7993EileenCritchley1September 16, 2017-ECC_7981EileenCritchley1September 16, 2017-ECC_7988EileenCritchley1September 16, 2017-ECC_7991EileenCritchley1September 16, 2017-ECC_7983EileenCritchley1September 16, 2017-ECC_7980EileenCritchley1

We all enjoyed our walk through the garden, looking for flowers, waterfalls, butterflies, and koi. What a beautiful way to start the weekend! We will definitely go back.

(All images taken with Lensbaby Velvet 56.)

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The Serenity Project is a collaborative photography project. The participating photographers aim to bring a sense of peace and calm with their images. Please click over to  the talented Wendy May, multi-genre photographer, Aberdeenshire to see what brought her some serenity this month.

 

Wildflowers | {The Serenity Project}

We were fortunate to get a little bit of rain last week. It was desperately needed and much enjoyed! It rained for almost an entire day and of course days like that make me want to do nothing but curl up with a book all day. Unfortunately, there are errands to run and it wasn’t to be a lazy day after all.

The rain brought a little beauty into our lives in the form of wildflowers in my yard. A few days after the rain storm, I noticed many of these flowers popping up across the city in the medians on the road and in yards. Texas is known for its wildflowers, and I am happy to have them in the summer! I know they won’t last long (lawn mowers don’t discriminate), but I love having their simple beauty in my yard for a little while.

 

This one has a teeny tiny spider web on it.

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They are mostly white, but I found a few yellow ones too.

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I’m looking forward to enjoying the wildflowers of spring, and (as it turns out) throughout the year!

The Serenity Project is a group photography project which aims to bring a sense of peace and calm in imagery. Please visit Jessica Nelson, central Maryland Wildlife Photographer to see what serenity she has found this month. I have know for sure it’s something beautiful!