100 Days of Happy

28 Aug
Drink the Wild Air

Drink the Wild Air :: Vermont

Lately, I’ve seen an awful lot of gratitude and happiness #100happydays hashtags on the social medias.  I have to say, the 100 days of happy challenge is refreshing, for more than one reason.

First of all, being battered by constant negativity is bad for your mental and emotional health.  If your Facebook feed is filled with haters, it’s going to affect you.  That was a lesson I learned early in life.  When I surrounded myself with sarcasm and glass half full kind of people, it was harder to see the reasons to laugh.  When I moved towards people bubbling with optimism, suddenly anything seemed possible.  Not to say I don’t appreciate some solid sarcasm and dry humor…I do.  But I much prefer to hold onto happiness where I can.

This past week a good friend of mine lost her horse and all of us barn girls felt the pain of it.  It was an animal we had all worked with, loved and enjoyed watching them bloom together.  They had been in each other’s lives almost as long as we had all been friends.

With any loss, though, comes the negative side of life.  Pain.  Bitterness.  Blame.

None of us wanted that for our friend.  The grieving process is hard.  If we were in a logical frame of mind during our hard times, we would never chose to make it worse on ourselves…but so often, we do just that.  If you aren’t in the habit of happiness, it’s easy to fall into the trap of negativity.

We all encouraged our friend as best we could, and will continue to do so for the next few weeks. Point out the positives.  Smile.  Laugh.  Remember the good memories.  Be grateful for the time you had and the experiences that shape us.

Maybe the 100 happy days challenge isn’t your thing…you’re not a hashtagger by nature.  But the lesson is applicable to all of our lives.  Our perception of a situation almost always affects our reaction.  If you view something as overwhelming, its easy to feel helpless.  However, if you make an effort to make the best of something, it’s much easier to find your happy place.

You can face things out of your control without acting out of control.  In fact, one of the few things in life you can control is your reaction to life.  So ask yourself, would you prefer to wallow?  Or would you prefer to shine?

Train yourself to appreciate, to be grateful, to smile and to laugh.  It won’t always be easy.  Generally speaking, life is hard.  But you will get so much more out of it if you let go of the small stuff and embrace the blessings that comes your way, however big or small those blessings happen to be.

As my buddy Nick used to say, “Live Life :: Love Life”. :-)

So…this is really kinda sorta a photography blog.  Why did I choose that particular photo for this soap box speech?  Because it makes me happy. haha  I printed up for the winner of our quotes project, Marie and loved the way it turned out.  I felt pride that the effort I put into the image came through in the print.  I loved the feeling it gave me when I looked at it.  It was, in a nutshell, a smile-maker.  And I wanted to make you guys smile. :-)

Enjoy your holiday weekend, friends!  Next week we a revealing a super cool collaborative project, so stay tuned!

Solitude

21 Aug
Solitude

Solitude

There is nothing quite like the feeling you get standing at the top of a mountain, looking out at the vast world before you, knowing we are just a small part of something much larger than our day to day, 9 to 5 grind.

This shot was taken at the Lakes of the Clouds on My Washington,  blue hour. Sean was kind enough to model, even though…we’ll…he didn’t know it at the time. Lol

 

Best viewed on black background.

We Were Together, I Forget The Rest

19 Aug

GrowOldWithYou_SpecialElite (1)
Earlier this month I asked for your help – submissions of your best feel good or love quotes – to create a piece of Pinterest-friendly photo art.  Today, I present to you, the final project! :-)

So many thanks to everyone who sent in a quote.  Between all of the social medias, I had more than enough to choose from.  It was a bit of a unique and interesting project, in that I got a bit of insight into what you thought about when you saw the photo.  It was really cool to see everyone’s interpretation of the image, and how it made them feel.  I always feel like, in creating my images, I give a little bit of myself to the world.  Those of you who submitted quotes…well…you gave me a little piece of your world, and I am grateful for that. :-)

Now, the winner of the print is Marie over at Miles Don’t Matter.  One of the quotes she submitted was actually a paraphrased version of this Walt Whitman quote.  I loved both versions of the quote…her submissions, and the exact line from the poem, but went with the full quote because the phrasing felt less modern.

Another great big huge thank you goes out to my friends at Print Therapy.  The font needed to convey the mood and tone of the project, and Melissa at PT really helped me narrow the font options down.  This old typewriter font that she picked out felt perfect.  It went with the aged and worn feel of the trees, while adding to the feel of old time, committed love that the quote conveyed.  All in all, this was a super project to work on.  I loved it so much, in fact, I may try this again in a few months…so keep your eyeballs peeled for that bit of fun.

In the meantime (no rest for the weary, right?) the next project – a blog tour – is brewing.  Expect to see more about that in Sept!

Ok, friends…I’ve got some photos to edit.  Until the next blog post…

XO
Shannon

Endless Summer

14 Aug
SSP Endless Summer :: Massachusetts

SSP Endless Summer :: Massachusetts

Gosh, this year is flying by.  Can you believe it’s already August?  I’m smack in the middle of my busiest season, and I feel like there isn’t a single minute I don’t have something to do.  On the one hand, it’s tough to stay on top of everything, organized all of the time, and find a way to get everything done in just a short 24 hr day!  On the other hand, though, I feel blessed to have so much opportunity, to be able to pursue what makes me happy, and to see the places I’ve seen…most of it in the name of photography.

Bixby in the Blue

Bixby in the Blue :: CA

It occurred to me the other day, I have been and done so many things in my life (with many many more to go) with a camera in my hand…and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  With that in mind, David Pasillas and I have started up a blog tour project where my fellow bloggers (that’s you!) can contribute it you want.  All you have to do is be willing to give us your thoughts on what having a creative outlet has meant to your life.

If you’re interested in joining the fun, send me an email at seespotsphoto AT yahoo DOT com and I’ll send you the details. :-)

Also, speaking of projects, the quote project is just about finished.  I picked a quote, and I’m working on the final piece of art now (with the help of my favorite font experts over at Print Therapy)…as soon as that’s finished, I’ll announce the winner!

I Go On Again, Because You Asked Me To :: NH

I Go On Again, Because You Asked Me To :: NH

Also also, I’m planning a hike up Mt Washington this weekend…trying Tuck’s for the first time…wish Sean and I luck!  We’re overnighting so I’m really hoping for good weather and some sweet sunset on top of a mountain shots. :-)

AND NOW….another picture of summer in CT, because I can!

Beach House

Beach House

 

Free To A Good Home

6 Aug
Free Print!

Free Print!

So…I’m giving away a print…you know, to hang on your wall. Or to play frisbee with! Drink coaster extraordinaire! Gift wrap?? Whatever you want! If you win, its yours. One print. Love it and call it George.

You want in?? Leave your favorite quote below!

Today is the last day, tell your friends.  More details here.

Spiritual Symphony

5 Aug
Prelude

Prelude

The land of Song within thee lies, Watered by living springs…

The ducks and geese chattering to themselves as they settle in the water, the soft wind blowing through reeds along the shore and an ever changing masterpiece in the sky above me.  These are the summer nights I live for. :-)

For those of you haven’t done so yet, I’m looking for your quote contribution in exchange for a free gift!  TOMORROW IS THE LAST DAY! Go here, check it out, leave your quote, win stuff.  Boom.

 

The Edge of Forever

31 Jul
The Edge of Forever

The Edge of Forever

 

“We need, ourselves, to go to those edges, and peer over them, if not to see what lies beyond, then to see what lies within.”

I recently picked up a book called A Beautiful Anarchy by David duChemin…and I’ve been following along on his inspiring blog, same title.  One of his posts was about changing our perceptions, facing our fears and embracing each day with a sense of adventure.

In his words, “What would our art, our businesses, our relationships, look like if we embraced and nurtured a spirit of adventure in our daily lives? If we willingly went to new places, opened new doors, and explored new ideas? What would we discover there, about possibility, about others, and likely most of all about ourselves? How much more interesting would our lives be, free from the need to be surrounded by the familiar, the known, the certain, and the too-comforting illusion of safety? What kind of stories would we find ourselves living and telling? How would our audience for these stories, and for the art that emerges from them, grow, and how would our engagement with them change?”

Those are all very good questions.  Talk about an instant perception shift.

I’ve said for a long time that it’s very easy to get caught up in our own little box.  To get trapped in the day to day, to go to work, to bed, to eat the same foods, to let our souls wither on a bland diet of sameness.  We are biologically engineered to desensitize ourselves…its a survival mechanism that keeps our bodies alive.  But what does it do to our spirit?

The above photo was created as an homage to this idea of embracing the unknown.  Last weekend we took a road trip to Vermont, just to get a way for a day and to see some family.  I got up early on Sunday to catch the sunrise, which turned into an overcast morning and a sky full of texture.  It was nice to spend a little time in the peace and quiet, watching the world wake up.  As I sat on the edge of the dock, enjoying the moment, I started thinking about how important those little road trips and adventures are to my life.  As my cousin said, I’m a traveler.  But truly, what better way to develop an emotional connection with people and places than to experience them?  And how much better would the world be if we could all embrace things that were new and different, rather than demonizing and judging without true knowledge of…whatever it is…to draw on?

So, today, I encourage you to embrace adventure.  Try something new.  Eat something different.  Cook a new recipe.  Learn a new skill.  See the world.  Travel to a place that you’ve never been.  Take a leap of faith into the unknown and revel in the experience.

Life is a beautiful gift and it is meant to be messy, joyful and most importantly, full.  Don’t wait until tomorrow.  Today, you stand at the edge of your forever.  Now is the time to embrace your future. :-)

A little housekeeping…

This shot is a manual blend, Canon 7D, Induro tripod adventure series

Also, I’m looking for your help on an art project!  Pretty please with a cherry on top.  I’ll be giving out a free print to the person who’s quote gets chosen, and to one of the people who helped spread the word about it in the first place.  So please, check out the post, share it, and tell me what quote the image reminds you of. :-) 

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