I am definitely drawn to photograph some images over and over again.  Anyone who reads my blog regularly will recognize the beach where I walk regularly.  There is an endless supply of seagulls, surfers, sunsets, hang gliders, and more.  And I am drawn to photograph them again and again, trying new angles, different light, close ups and vistas.  But is the beach my muse?

Yesterday after a long and busy week keeping me mostly indoors and mostly away from my camera, I just felt the urge to go outside and take some photos.  I was exhausted, my brain full after finishing our first full week in the SDAWP Invitational Summer Institute AND still trying to keep up with and participate in the CLMOOC, and yet I could feel my camera calling.

My husband was in the kitchen performing his culinary magic, the cats lounging nearby (never wanting him beyond their line of sight), so I grabbed my camera and heading into the backyard.

I noticed the lavender first.  It’s not growing as well as I would like, but that didn’t stop me from learning in to get close to this beauty.


I love playing with macro, the way the lens focuses in on the near and blurs out the background. The afternoon sun allowed the vibrance of the greens and purples to come through.  As I looked down I noticed a succulent in a pot that I hadn’t paid any attention to before.  I got low–on my knees–and tucked in under the scented geraniums to get close enough.  I’m remembering that succulents use those small leaves to conserve water, a great adaptation for an environment like this one where water is scarce…and water restrictions are limiting our elective watering too.


I continued to wander, aiming my lens at whatever caught my eye.  I unlatched the gate and headed toward the front yard.  There are usually dandelions there–much to my husband’s chagrin…and my delight.  I noticed this yellow bloom.


and then later, played with the image with the sketch app.


And this later stage dandelion, with most of its seeds blown away caught my eye.  I found myself thinking about wishes and how we often make wishes on a dandelion puff just before we blow the seeds away.  Do those wishes take root or do they float away beyond our reach?


I like the idea that there are still a few wishes left hanging here…and posted this on a friend’s Facebook page to send her birthday wishes last night.  Later, I played with Waterlogue, a watercolor app just to see what effect it might have.

Preset Style = “It's Technical” Format = 6" (Medium) Format Margin = Small Format Border = Sm. Rounded Drawing = Technical Pen Drawing Weight = Medium Drawing Detail = High Paint = Natural Paint Lightness = Normal Paint Intensity = Normal Water = Tap Water Water Edges = Medium Water Bleed = Minimal Brush = Natural Detail Brush Focus = Everything Brush Spacing = Wide Paper = Graph Paper Texture = Medium Paper Shading = Light Options Faces = Enhance Faces

But as I continue to think about this idea of muse, I find myself rejecting the idea that the dandelion is the muse.  I do and have taken plenty of dandelion photos.  But I think that the muse, for me, is the camera itself.

With a camera in my hand, my senses are heightened.  I notice my surroundings–with my eyes and my ears…all my senses seem to fire.  And even when I don’t capture an amazing photo, I feel like I see more, hear more, am more present in the moment.

And, as I seek an interesting photo, I find myself looking beyond the beautiful.  Those golden sunset moments are pretty reliable…and I think I will never tire of them, but I am also seeking images that make me think, that help me see beyond the surface and find the beauty in what I might have dismissed as ugly, disposable, a nuisance…


which reminds me as an educator and a human being that we all need to look past the obvious, make a connection and get under the surface to see what we haven’t noticed before.  This dandelion plant caught my eye and drew me into the dry remnants of the puff, the lone seed hanging on, the bud getting ready to reveal the brilliant yellow flower that doesn’t even hint at becoming a puffy seed ball.  It would be easy to yank this week out and toss it into the green waste (and my husband might when he heads out to mow the lawn), but I’m glad I got to lean in, look closely and discover some of the wonders I might have otherwise missed.

I feel lucky to have my camera as my muse…and even without looking through my lens, it’s teaching me to pay attention, look closely, and connect to better understand myself and my world…and better yet, give me insights into the experiences of others as well.  I may not walk in the shoes of the people I encounter, but by listening carefully, looking closely, and opening my heart, I can do my part to be inclusive, accepting, and strive to understand beyond my own experiences.

How does your muse influence you?

10 thoughts on “Musings

  1. nadineaboulmagd

    I really enjoyed your post. The way you write is calming and very descriptive (in a very good way). Your photos are absolutely beautiful (I’ve had a look at your Instagram feed as well.) You’re talented and what you create is beautiful. I think it’s very inspiring, at least to me, that when you went out looking for your muse in the place you most enjoy taking photos you noticed it’s the camera with which you capture all these beautiful moments that lead you to think they are your muse in the first place. In a way I feel the same with my computer. I do graphic design and most of the time I keep looking for inspiration in magazines, websites and other layout designs but then again when I return to my canvas to design a layout or a visual I almost always never stick to what I had just seen. These beautiful images I look at help me see beauty in different ways and help me understand that anything you design has little pieces of you (and your favourite things) in it. When I return to design I usually have something totally different and I’ve actually noticed this about myself recently. Then I come up with different ideas intertwined together but are always my creation and not another visual representation of a design I had previously seen. So in a way, and following the same train of thought you did, I feel like my computer and design software are my muse. Yes these are the tools with which I design but they are also the tools that represent the beauty of a visual that I’ve created myself from myself.
    Micro lenses are one of my favourite things about photography, and exactly the focusing on the near object and blurring the background point you made. I tend to find these types of photos generally very beautiful, deep and emotion-inspiring.

    Thank you for creating beautiful photos and writing great posts.


    1. kd0602 Post author

      Thanks Nadine for affirming that my sense of the camera as my muse makes sense to you. I can see how your tools–the computer and software can also be your muses…your tools to interpret the world. Thanks so much for reading here…and for taking the time to comment.


  2. lynnjake

    Hm, good question. There were definitely a few years when my camera was my muse. I took so many pictures of birds and sunsets, feeling a sort of desperation when I knew we were having a fabulous sunset and I wasn’t out there to capture it. Today I’m not sure what my muse is. My garden? Maybe, a little bit. OR maybe I’m wandering around museless at the moment. Sad but true. I’ll have to keep thinking about this one. Thanks for such a beautiful post.

    1. kd0602 Post author

      Thanks Lynn. Not sure I believe you are muse-less at the moment, Maybe you are just waiting for the moment of discovery or realization. As always, thanks for reading and commenting!


  3. Nomad War Machine

    I went out into our garden today and weeded out as many of those pesky flowers as I could. To me, they represent the unthoughts (to use this daft, trendy language) that get in the way of my productivity.

  4. Julie Johnson

    This blog made me wonder…is it possible to have more than one muse? In my creative life, I consider myself a writer (of comics, blogs, novels) and I’ve written about my writing muse here.

    But now, reading this, I wonder…I do not consider myself a photographer at all. Or an ‘artist’ for that matter. And yet I take a remarkable # of nature photos, in which I search for that Je ne sais quoi. In fact, I started doing this (almost) daily, and posting it on Twitter daily, I guess as a reminder of daily nature, of that which you might just walk on by…photography makes us stop and look…and I quite enjoy looking for things in which to share with myself and others and say stop and look…

    So maybe the muse is the process of looking?

    Not sure! This is a new realm of thought for me. Thanks for inspiring me explore to it!

    Julie Johnson

  5. lulu

    The best part of having a camera with me all the time is that it makes me pay attention. You can never tell what’s waiting to be a wonderful subject.

  6. Pingback: Thrift Story Candy | litadoolan

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