Sailing Away


“Sailing a boat calls for quick action, a blending of feeling with the wind and water as well as with the very heart and soul of the boat itself. Sailing teaches alertness and courage, and gives in return a joyousness and peace that but few sports afford.” ~ George Matthew Adams via Brainy Quotes

Living a contemplative life is not all about slowing down or doing nothing. Far from it. Some of the most contemplative people I know are “do-ers” and very curious people. They’re interested in everything.

Last night, I finished my beginner sailing lessons. I’ve never been a boater, but I do love the water. I live in a town where sailing lessons are available close by. And, I was curious to learn more.

My goal wasn’t to complete the beginner class, the intermediate class, the advanced class, and then buy the boat. That’s what several others in the class had planned.

My goal was to try something new, learn a little about sailing, and experience life from a different perspective – from the water.

It was a very contemplative experience.

I was open to learning something new. I accepted that there would be some hard work and a steep learning curve and it was humbling at times.

Now, I can say that I do know the very basics of sailing; at least some of the terminology. I experienced some beautiful evenings and sunsets out on the water. And, I have great respect for sailors.
I don’t plan to continue on to the intermediate and advanced classes – kayaking is more my style – but trying something new added some adventure, exercise, and beauty to my summer.

The quote above says it well, and this song, Sail Away, sung by David Gray, describes the metaphor of sailing as an adventure into the unknown.


Have you tried something new recently?


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Always Photograph your Food

Nectarine Pistachio Salad

Nectarine Pistachio Salad

While I’m not a food photographer, I do love to photograph my food, if for no other reason than to honour and appreciate what I’m eating, whether at home or in a restaurant.

Food is a huge part of family memories – from favourite recipes growing up, to daily meals, to special occasions and travel.

It should be part of our photographic repertoire.

The preparing and eating of food is a sensory experience and can bring us right into the moment.

By opening our senses, we see the visual delight, smell the aromas, hear the slicing and dicing, touch the skins, and taste what we’ve prepared (or has been prepared for us).

We can photograph food in grocery stores, outdoor markets, events, at restaurants, on our travels, or at home.



Turkish Delight

Turkish Delight

I was delighted to find these bins of Turkish Delight at a local orchard store. While I’m avoiding sugar these days, the colourful bins drew me in. I bought four different pieces, and they were delicious.

See the colours, shapes, and textures as well as the beauty of food on your plate when it’s all together. I especially love photographing my food in a restaurant before I eat.




Soup Aroma

Pay attention to the smells as you’re cooking. Soup is a great place to start, or smell the spices as you add them to whatever you’re making.

Niagara Icewine Festival

Niagara Icewine Festival


Listen to the sounds as you slice and dice and the sizzles and boils and pops as you cook.

Or, the sounds of glasses clinking, forks clicking, knives slicing, people talking at an event, restaurant, or coffee shop.

The image to your right was taken at the Niagara Icewine Festival outdoors last January.


Even your snacks are fair game. Doesn’t this image of caramel corn make you want to reach out and touch (and eat)?

Caramel Corn

Caramel Corn

Feel the textures as you prepare (or eat) your food – from the smoothness of the apple to the fuzziness of the peach to the jagged edges of the pineapple.

The variety of textures is amazing.

Also, feel the way the food lands in your mouth.

Besides the taste, you can feel the texture of a piece of meat or the refreshing lightness of a cool drink, or the softness of a piece of chocolate.



Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

And, finally when our food is ready, it’s time to photograph, and then taste and enjoy. After all, that’s what it’s there for.
Resources on Food and Photography

Marie Robledo – food portfolio. She is one of my favourites because of her emphasis on design.

Top Ten Food Photographers from Flavour

11 Great Camera Angles for Food Photography from Digital Photography School

Eat Your Way to Gorgeous (a class I’m taking now) from Sue Ann Gleason of Conscious Bites Nutrition

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Art Wolfe’s Abstractions

Recently, in my weekly newsletter, I shared a video of photographer Art Wolfe giving a talk at Google. This video struck a chord with many.



Art Wolfe is a world-renowned travel and wildlife photographer, as well as art educator. Even so, he tells us that he’s not very technical. As a matter of fact, he may only know 4% of what his camera can do.

His point is that his strengths lie more in the composition and seeing aspects of photography.

“The hardest thing for a photographer is to find a compelling image in that 360 degree world we live in. What I try to teach is how to find your subject as you’re walking down the street in any location on the planet and pull out something that 99% of the rest of the population would never see.”

The entire video covers a wide range of subjects and is well worth watching. However, I was particularly drawn to his abstract work. Art Wolfe has a background in painting and he goes on to say that his greatest influences in photography have been painters.

He was first influenced by the Impressionists of the late 1800′s, particularly Georges Seurat, who painted everyday life in Paris in the pointillist style.

Wolfe goes on to show many examples he’s found in nature that reflect this style. The example, above right, is one of my images of this style. By the way, all images in this post are mine. You can see Art Wolfe’s wonderful examples in the video.

Another example he cites is Monet, a very well known impressionist, who used imprecise brush strokes. Wolfe began experimenting with longer shutter speeds or taking advantage of wind blowing or snow falling to create impressionistic images – something near and dear to my heart.



Van Gogh is another example of an impressionist painter, although his paintings are completely unique and surrealistic. Wolfe describes how reflections that distort reality can often look like a Van Gogh painting, something I find as well.



Wolfe goes on to show how he finds Picasso’s cubist-style in overturned boats and Georgia O’Keefe’s flowers in icebergs in the Antarctic.

At first, he didn’t understand the chaotic abstracts of Jackson Pollock, until “he saw a Jackson Pollock in a mud-spattered vehicle in southern China.”

In his early years, Wolfe became known as a wildlife photographer. Today he says,

“I’m shooting rusting cans in a gutter, to the grand landscapes and everything in-between. As an artist, and having a background in painting, and illustration, and graphic design, I shoot without prejudice. And, it just opens up the world. I never run out of ideas.”

I love that saying – to shoot without prejudice. It opens up so many possibilities.


Wolfe goes on in the conversation to explore composition (something he teaches), the value of leading lines and different lenses, as well as showing some of his newest work.

One project, called Migrations, is about animal migrations, but is really about patterns.

In another, he photographs cultures from above, creating abstract views of people.

“The trick and the challenge is to constantly come up with perspectives, points of view, that haven’t quite been done before. That’s what gets me out of bed, that’s what motivates me.”


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