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Sunday, May 5, 2013

don't tread on me

Linking up with April Photo Heart Connection...looking back at the photos I took or worked with last month to see what message my heart has there. I have been drawn repeatedly to this humble, unassuming image...it just speaks to me. Why?

original image
only one edit:
Lightroom 'Punch' Preset

  • This was a quickly composed shot on our hike at Flatirons Vista a couple weeks ago. I went there in search of lone trees in wide, sweeping vistas across rolling foothills and expansive skies. And I did shoot several...but in the end those images didn't really excite me or tell me anything new. This little prickly pear cactus I encountered on the trail seemed to shout out to me, wanting to be seen...and heard. I'm glad I listened.
  • I am currently reading Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit, and in it she writes about being true to your artist's DNA. How do you see the world? Up close, or at arm's length, or at a great distance? She refers to it as 'focal length.' I think I am in the range of macro-to-arm's length. Always have been. I remember years ago in art school my professor commenting as I painted large 6 ft canvases...up close, with a tiny brush. He was always advocating and encouraging wide, sweeping gestures as we painted or drew. I tried, but I just couldn't stick with it and always reverted to my detail work. Looking back, I can see that DNA in all of my art over the years - no matter the medium - painting, drawing, quilting, embroidery, jewelry, scrapbooking, mixed media, photography - I have always been passionately attentive to Detail. BTW, this was shot with my Canon 28-135mm lens...shooting almost macro with a zoom lens: it seems I am still trying to paint with a small brush!
  • I've also been studying subject, subject matter, vision, voice...in other words: what is it that interests me, what do I want to say about it, and how do I want to say it? Much thanks here to David duChemin and Angela Faris Belt...and of course, Kat Sloma. I have been realizing that my go-to subject has always been Life...human, that is - mainly relationships, real-life stories, and their inspiration/effect on my own understanding of life. My subject matter? People, of course. Folks I know, or knew, or heard tell of. Mainly family, including ancestors...also friends and acquaintances. Lately I have struggled to find subject matter to photograph. My daughters are grown, so gone are the days of kid photo shoots. And I feel uncomfortable photographing strangers. I often revert to treasured heirlooms and old family photos to tell a story...

Well what the heck does this have to do
with a little cactus
on a trail in the foothills
west of Denver?
Stick with me...I'm getting there.

  • I tend to make analogies in life, in order to make sense of things. Naturally, almost compulsively. I can't help it. I humbly acknowledge the Creator's genius in all of this: I can easily see aspects of the human condition portrayed in non-human objects and settings. Like this tiny little cactus. Just quietly, unobtrusively existing at the edge of a well-worn trail, in the shadow of giant Ponderosa pine. Surviving. No doubt blooming on schedule every June...in a small, timid way, this little one. And saying, in no uncertain terms, "Don't tread on me!" Some people are like this, and I have learned to not be put off by them. Once you get to know them, you discover their own unique beauty...and vulnerability. But you gotta respect their boundaries or you might get hurt.

Thank you again, Kat, for this opportunity
to think aloud,
to share,
and thus to learn.



  1. Cindy, you found a lot of meaning in one tiny cactus. Great choice for a Photo-Heart Connection.

  2. So much to learn from one small prickly cactus. Thank you.

  3. enjoyed seeing and reading your perspective on picture

  4. Great thought process it"s all about finding what makes up happy isn't it ? From sweeping vistas to the humble cactus it is all meaningful and real...

  5. Wonderful image and words for your Photo-Heart Connection this month! I do agree, we have a "DNA" that we can't deny. No matter how much we appreciate the point of view of others different than us, we can't be like them. We have to be ourselves. Thank you for sharing these lovely thoughts with us.

  6. Wonderful thought process behind this photo Cindy. I am with you in the macro, detail world. Twyla's book is on my bookshelf and on my bucket list of books for the summer. Along with about 10 other books. If only I could stay awake long enough at night to read more than a couple of pages.

  7. I so enjoyed reading this, and I love the macro world as well. The texture on this tiny piece of life is amazing, and I applaud the "Don't tread on me."

  8. Enjoyed you thoughts and your lovely image!

  9. I like what you think about that little cactus and I realy love the light in that pretty photo.