Tag Archives: gratitude

A Million Thanks

22 Nov

My heart is full of gratitude today. I’m wrapping up the print sale shipping/delivery, and *we* raised over $730 for Liam. ❤️ I’m so proud of my tribe today. I’m so thankful for all of your help, and I know Liam’s family is too. Cancer is such a difficult thing to face, but truly, the support, the hugs and prayers helps. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart, and have a happy & healthy Thanksgiving. 😘

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Give Thanks

25 Nov
Silk Ribbons :: Ricketts Glen, PA

Silk Ribbons :: Ricketts Glen, PA

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. -JFK

There is so much in our lives, both good and bad, that fill up our days that it can seem overwhelming.  I’ve found though, that a moment of gratitude can do wonders to give you perspective about what is important versus what is just “noise”.  It can drastically improve your mood and remind us to have some humility.

 

That being said, I want to take a moment to recognize the sources of joy in my life, and then encourage you to do the same. 🙂

 

Today, and every day, I am grateful for all of the blessings in my life.  I have my health, security, stability and opportunities to improve my life if I’m brave enough to reach for them.  I live in a place that recognizes my basic human rights.

The Hearts Overflows

The Hearts Overflows

I am surrounded by people who love and support me.  I was lucky enough to be born into a family that values things like compassion, kindness, and laughter.  I get to share my life with an incredible man who supports my dreams and enjoys making memories with me.  I literally have the best friends a girl could ask for.

Dreamsong

Dreamsong

I’ve seen enough beauty in this world to make anyone’s heart overflow with joy.  The power of nature, the rain, the wind, the lightning, the cold, the feel of the setting sun on my skin on a summer day, the colors of a dramatic sky, the smell of new grass and lilies, the sound of the ocean, watching children play and people love…

In Wildness

In Wildness

Adventure fills my soul, leads me to exciting places, introduces me to new people and enriches my life in a way that words can only barely describe.  I’m grateful to have wanderlust in my blood, to have had a family that nurtured it, and to now have the resources to follow its call.

Hope Rises

Hope Rises

The world is such a wonderful, frightening, beautiful place filled with an exquisite tapestry of human existence.  Every day I draw breath I am grateful that I get to be a part of it, grateful for the experiences that shaped me and the memories that sustain me.

We Are One

We Are One :: California

Thank you to each and every one of you for being part of my life.  Your support, your kindness, your smiles (or emoticons as the case may be), your love fills my life with so much joy.  You’ve all had a hand in shaping my life and I’m grateful for your influence.  It’s always appreciated when you take a moment to send me a note or comments.  I love the discussions and friendships that can be built from a photo.  And most importantly, you are a huge source inspiration.  Your perception and appreciation of my work is a humbling thing.  It’s incredible to think that my images can brighten someone’s day and my experiences (mistakes) help teach someone on the other side of the world.

 

Now, I challenge all of you to think about the blessings in your own life.  We all have our struggles, but perhaps focusing on the positives will help the negatives seem that much more bearable. 🙂

 

For those of you in the USA, Happy Thanksgiving week!  For my international friends, happy regular week! haha  Hope it’s a good one!

 

xoxo

Shannon

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!

The Photographer’s Life

17 Jun
Photographer's Life

Photographer’s Life

When I see a beautiful image, it always gives me this magical feeling.  I get a sense of longing, of wanting to be there, of imaging how having that memory for myself must be.  It makes me covet the moment I see captured within the frame.

What I don’t think of, however, is the difficulties I will have to overcome to get to that moment.  For example, this image was from my recent trip to San Francisco.  The model on the right of the frame – another photographer whom I do not know – grounded the image for me. Otherwise, it would have just been a pretty sunset with no subject for the viewer to focus on.

Now…the realities of making this shot.

On location, this hill from which we were shooting was anything but remote.  It was crawling with other photographers all trying to get a shot of the sunset in front of me, and the city and bridge behind me.

Furthermore, I live in Connecticut.  Cali is about an 8 hour flight for me (with layover).  Friday, I went into work early so that I could leave work early.  I drove an hour and a half to the airport in Rhode Island (best deal and timing of flights).  I got on a plane around 5pm.  I got into Cali around 11pm (which to me, with the time difference, was 2am).  My friend David picked me up at the airport, we stopped to get water and snacks, and then he dropped me at the hotel.  I finally went to bed around 12:30am Cali time (3:30am Shannon time).

We got up for sunrise just 3.5 hours later.  The whole weekend, in fact, I expect I got about 11.5 hours of sleep in Cali, and another 4 hours on the plane ride home…which, after landing I had to drive straight back to work for the day.

This particular sunset, was at the top of Slacker Hill, which – I believe – is a bit of a misnomer.  We got to the base of the trail and it said 0.4 miles.  How hard can 0.4 miles be, right???

Did I mention 0.2 of those miles were almost straight up? On only a few hours of sleep?  And low blood sugar, since we hadn’t found time for dinner yet? Oh, and by the way, San Fran has a micro climate and a serious wind issue when you get that high up so I had 5 layers on to stay moderately comfortable.  It was 90 degrees and I picked up a sunburn earlier that day, and had to wear two coats at the top of the hill. haha

Truly, in the grand scheme of things, these things are hardly worth mentioning as obstacles compared to full day 10 mile hikes I’ve taken, weather I’ve endured, pain I’ve put myself through, etc to get a shot….but the point is, there is often a huge disparity between the calm beauty of a scene, and the reality of the environment in which it was created.

So, now that I’ve seen this sunset, I think of this shot in two ways.  The image itself resonates with me.  If we consider this solely as a piece of art, then for the sake of art, I enjoy the scene…the beauty of the sunset, the colors, the fog lending it a mystical air, the lone figure in the foreground taking it all in, giving you a sense of what it was like to see it firsthand…

On the flip side, I also remember being exhausted, sweaty, chilly, sunburned, my recently repaired knee aching, and the muscles in my legs burning.

More than that, I remember feeling determined.  I remember feeling a sense of awe that I…little old me…was strong enough to follow her heart, to see the world, to take in what mother nature had to offer, to be brave enough to ask another photographer, Michael, to tag along with them that night (because sometimes, I’m awfully shy).  I remember feeling lucky.

Most importantly, I remember feeling grateful.  The hardships and discomforts of a photographer’s life are immensely outweighed by the sense of rightness, the joy of creating something beautiful and the value of the memories collected in the course of pursuing the right light and location.

In my house, I have a print hanging on my wall that says “Do more of what makes you happy.”  It represents a choice I made a few years back to bring more value and meaning to my own life.  Today, I wish the same for you.

Whatever happiness is for you, I hope you fill your life with it and hold tight to the joy it brings you.  In the end, all we have are our experiences.  Fill your life with as many good memories as possible, never underestimate how important they are, and appreciate how lucky you are to have the opportunities for small joys in your life. I hope you find your version of a photographer’s life. 🙂

This and That, Hodge and Podge

10 Apr
Vigilance :: Beavertail Lighthouse :: RI

Vigilance :: Beavertail Lighthouse :: RI

 

So I learned a few things this past week….

First, many many thanks to all of the people who were kind enough to give feedback on which images to cull from the Places gallery.  I have taken out several based on your suggestions, though I do have a few more to cut out still.  Let’s call it a work in progress…therefore, your input is still appreciated if you care to give it. haha

Second, thanks to your input, I found out that way more of you like the above photo than I thought. That actually came as a bit of a surprise.  It’s one of my personal favorites (and that isn’t just because I had to brave a raging ocean to my right and the whipping winds of an oncoming storm while I balanced myself and my tripod precariously on slippery rocks…which…by the way, don’t do that.  It was stupid!) but all this time, I never got feedback either way on the image.  Y’all made me smile an awful lot to know it’s an appreciate image!

Thirdly…third-ish? Ummm…next….I wanted to remind everyone that this weekend is the final weekend to take and submit an image for the 10 minute challenge.  Now look…I’m just as much of a slacker as the next person (meaning, I haven’t done mine yet either) but by the time Sunday rolls around, I expect to see my email brimming with your super awesome images, mmmkay?  Brimming!

Brimming…such an odd word, but so satisfying to type.  Brimming, I say!

Ummm…what else?  Oh yes, a little business time. Because I have my business socks on. (FOTC fans out there?  No?) I was super humbled today when I started my day off with 900 followers (more now)…I am grateful that each an every one of you takes time out of your day to take a galnce, every now and then, at some of my photos.  It is so difficult to make it in the world of art, both in the financial sense and in the “hey, the market is overly saturated with a ton of talented people” sense.  So, I am flattered that you all chose to follow my work, my vision and my terrible sense of humor. 🙂

Of you 900, if any of you are Facebookers, can you do my a little itsy bitsy favor, and make sure to like my Facebook page as well?  All of that stuff helps to spread the word.  To you it’s just a like and some (extremely awesome, stunningly, achingly beautiful) noise in your feed.  To me, it’s marketing.  Every comment you leave puts the photo you enjoyed into the feed of your friends, who might…just maybe…enjoy the image as well.  Or own a high end gallery in New York and want to hang my work there.  You know…either or. haha  So, if you’re in a generous mood, go here and follow my stuff. 🙂

Okay…so in summary… Thanks for being so supportive, thank you for the feedback on The Great Gallery Clean-Up of 2014, and don’t forget to submit your 10 minute challenge photos to seespotsphoto at yahoo dot com!

xo
Shannon

2013 – A Year of Big Things!

30 Dec
The Redwood Trail

The Redwood Trail

The end of any year is a time of reflection, and renewed determination for the coming 365. It’s a time to appreciate how far we’ve come and set goals for where we would like to go. This can be anything from getting in shape (which is in my sights, 2014!) to places we want to see or big purchases we want to make…to (more importantly for this blog) our career goals for the coming year. In this case, where do I want to take my photography?

Let’s start with 2013, shall we?

Baby Sea Lion

Baby Sea Lion

What a great year, photographically speaking! On a whim, I decided to hop a flight to California and take a photo road-trip with my friend David, a west coast photographer. Turns out, that state is an image gold mine! Beyond the joy of spending time with some close friends, I got the opportunity to see and photograph an adorable baby sea lion no more than 15 feet from me, to experience the breath-taking beauty of a desert sunrise in Joshua Tree, and to explore the redwoods, waterfalls and beaches of Big Sur. Those are memories I will cherish forever.

Moray, Peru

Moray, Peru

As amazing as that trip was, it was peanuts compared to my trip to Peru to visit the iconic Machu Picchu. That country is absolutely gorgeous, and the people I met were absolutely fantastic. I did contract food poisoning while I was there, which hindered me a bit… but even being under the weather, I appreciated what a rich culture and beautiful landscape of Peru. I was able to capture some incredible images and absolutely 100% want to go back. Anyone out there with a winning lottery ticket, keep me in mind, mmmkay? 😉

Arethusa Falls, NH

Arethusa Falls, NH

Beyond those two big trips, I took another hike up Mt Washington in New Hampshire, some blue hour shots at a lighthouse in Maine, experienced a number of beautiful cell phone snaps down the east coast to Viriginia, and about a million east coast waterfalls in between. Haha Which, I’d like to point out, just a year ago I struggled with as subject matter. Amazing how far we can come in a short amount of time if we put our minds to education and practice.

Beyond that, I’ve had the pleasure of being part of engagement shoots, weddings and portrait shoots. I’ve seen growth on my blog and with my photo skills, hung my art in local galleries and shows, photographed some great concerts and was honored to work with other local businesses to raise money for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan.

Hearts & Thieves - Rick - www.heartsandthieves.com

Hearts & Thieves – Rick – http://www.heartsandthieves.com

Photographically, it’s been a great year. In fact, on most levels, it’s been a good year. A year of big change (much of which I got through with the help of family, friends and my wonderful boyfriend), some loss (my amazing Grandmother lost her battle with cancer, as did my horse, whom I adored) and surgery (I had my hand, knee and teeth done in less than a year)…but there has been so much positive energy in my life, I can’t possibly call it a bad year. Although the sorrowful times were difficult, I never lost sight of the fact that there were many blessings in my life to be grateful for.

So what’s the plan for next year? I’d like to…

… get something published. Which means, I have to start submitting. Haha If anybody has an “in” with a magazine (online or print), I’d love to be considered as a contributor!
… grow my followers, which is a word of mouth situation. If you like me work, please spread the word. In return, you’ll have my eternal gratitude! 😀
…make more photo friends! So…um…email me, ok? Let’s plan some photo walks and marketing brainstorms and such!
…give away more free stuff!

On a personal level, my wish for all of us is health, love, happiness, and wonderful life experiences! Don’t be afraid to try new things, go new places, take a few risks, appreciate the good things in your life, remember…it can always be worse… and don’t be afraid to put in some hard work. In the end, it will all be worth it. 🙂

XOXO
Thanks for your continued support and friendship!
Shannon

An Attitude of Gratitude

27 Nov
Vortex

Vortex

Having a positive outlook on life can be hard, but intensely rewarding.  It’s easy to say a glass is half empty.  It’s much harder to say, “Thank goodness I still have half a glass to drink.  I’m thirsty, and that will help.”  Like anything else in life, seeing the silver linings in life is a skill, and when done faithfully, can become a habit.

Imagine a life where you exchange your expectations for gratitude.  The disappointments in life become much more manageable.  And there are fewer of them.  It’s easier to feel like you have enough, to appreciate the gifts you’re given and to see the blessings in life.

That is what I love most about tomorrow, Thanksgiving.  It’s yearly encouragement to be thankful for the things we have already accomplished, to see how far we have come, to appreciate our families and friends, and to see that often, we are lucky to have so much in our lives.  Most of us have a roof, even if we don’t own it.  Most of us have food, warmth and a computer with which to read this awesome blog…  We have life.  Even when it’s hard, it’s precious.

Tomorrow is a day to appreciate the positives.  Spend a few moments between tofurkey and pie reflecting on the good things in your life.  In the end, we can’t keep the gifts, the wealth, the stuff we surround ourselves with…but we can remember the path we took in life, the moments of joy and accomplishment, and be proud of how our experiences shaped us, and the choices we made because of them.  We can practice an attitude of gratitude.

The photo above was taken on a hike with my friend David (an awesome photog from Cali, check out his work!) while he was visiting in CT.  The leave whirlpool reminds me a little of the way water drains from a tub.  Felt appropriate as we make our transition from beautiful, beautiful Autumn….to very cold Winter. haha

 

❤ < 3 ❤

For those of you interested in helping me raise funds for the victims of Typoon Haiyan in the Philippines, when the time comes for holiday shopping, go here.  50% of profits through December 15 go to Care.org and the Filipinos in need.

For those of you interested in winning a holiday gift, go here, “like” the page and leave a comment on the contest poster letting me know which image you want.  Winner announced on Friday, so you only have a few days.