Thursday, December 29, 2011

SEEING BEAUTY - Photography as visual poetry, part 3

A Happy and Healthy New Year and may 2012 bring many positive changes!
Greetings, Susanne

Another excerpt and favorite poem from my book "Seeing Beauty - Photography as visual poetry"
(available at or contact me directly)


We have not come to take prisoners, 
But to surrender ever more deeply 
To freedom and joy. 
We have not come into this exquisite world 
To hold ourselves hostage from love. 
Run my dear, 
From anything 
That may not strengthen 
Your precious budding wings. 
Run like hell my dear, 
From anyone likely 
To put a sharp knife 
Into the sacred, tender vision 
Of your beautiful heart. 
We have a duty to befriend 
Those aspects of obedience 
That stand outside of our house 
And shout to our reason 
"O please, O please, 
Come out and play." 
For we have not come here to take prisoners 
Or to confine our wondrous spirits, 
But to experience ever and ever more deeply 
Our divine courage, freedom, and 


'The Gift' Poems by Hafiz - translations by Daniel Ladinsky

Friday, December 23, 2011

SEEING BEAUTY - Photography as visual poetry, part 2

More excerpts from my book "SEEING BEAUTY - Photography as visual poetry 
(available at or contact me directly).
This is by far my favorite Hafiz poem.
Merry Christmas and many blessings, 
Love and Light - Susanne


My Beloved said, 
"My name is not complete without yours." 

I thought: 
How could a human's worth ever be such? 

And God knowing all our thoughts - and all our 
thoughts are innocent steps on the path - 
then addressed my heart, 
God revealed 
a sublime truth to the world, 
when He sang, 

"I am made whole by your life.
Each soul, 
each soul completes 


'Love Poems From God' by Daniel Ladinsky

Sunday, December 18, 2011

SEEING BEAUTY - Photography as visual poetry, part 1

Over 2 years ago I published an online book (on Blurb, with the title 
"SEEING BEAUTY - Photography as visual poetry". I want to share some of it on this blog.
An excerpt from the introduction:
"I believe there is a beauty beyond our sense perceptions, a beauty both so profound and humbling, and I hope my photographs provide the viewer with an intimation, or reflection, of that beauty.
Mystical poetry is an important source of inspiration in my daily life. Poet saints such as Rumi and Hafiz speak about beauty and love in a way that transports me to a realm beyond words, lets me taste the divine - if only for a moment - and enables me to forget all worldly tribulations.
It only seems natural for me to combine my photographs with poetry, and very often it is as if the poem and image find each other in a magical way.
May this selection of photographs and poems lift your spirit and bring joy and healing into your life.

Art is the conversation between lovers.
Art offers an opening for the heart.
True art makes the divine silence in the soul
break into applause.


translation by Daniel Ladinsky

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A grateful heart

Being grateful and feeling appreciation - even for the smallest gestures and things in life - will help you to stay centered, find more joy and most importantly will open your heart. When you catch your mind dwelling on some negative thoughts - stop, take a deep breath and pay attention to what you are doing and appreciate the moment. It can be as simple as being grateful for water and soap while washing your hands!
Here are some thoughts on Gratitude from the "Soul Coaching Cards" by Denise Linn:

"Gratitude is the secret to a joy-filled life. True thankfulness can work like modern-day alchemy, yielding happiness and peace beyond imagination. And it's so simple: find what's good and wonderful in every moment. No matter what's happening around you, there's always something to be grateful for. Whatever you appreciate in life will grow, so discover what you're thankful for - even the people and situations you've found challenging -  and watch miracles unfold."

Be grateful and smile - Susanne

Friday, November 11, 2011

To all of us

11.11.11. - people all over the world (and beyond...) gather today in ceremonies, prayer and meditations to express their gratitude, joy, love and are setting intentions for peace, abundance.... whatever your hearts desire is.
Remember and reconnect with the magnificent being you are!!
Be grateful and believe in miracles - no matter how small they are.
Spread the joy and love - wherever you are.
Peace, Susanne

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Elements of design and geometry

As a follow up from my previous post - grasses, reeds and sedges are interesting subjects to look for to find abstract and geometric designs. Reeds growing in water are especially nice due to their reflections and mirror like images. The white spot in the last photo is the reflection of the moon. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Elements of design in nature

It is always a fun task to look for elements of design in nature like lines, curves, certain shapes or the seemingly random placement of pebbles or stones on a beach. The following photos were taken at a recent visit to the Porcupine Mountains in Michigan.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A road thru the Blue Hills - different interpretations

An ordinary gravel road thru the Blue Hills in Rusk County, WI can look very different and evoke various moods and feelings. Different interpretations for the same scene, sometimes also referred to as "working your subject" - going to the same place at different times of the day or maybe seasons. Moving around and shooting the same subject from various angles, horizontal and vertical, changing lenses etc.  
In post processing you can even go further in creating more diversity.
Here are just a few samples. The Nik filters are a great tool, especially the Color Efex Pro. I added the glamour filter to the sepia toned image which made it almost look like an infrared photo.
The last photo is a HDR (high dynamic range) image.  Again I used Nik's HDR software.
There are endless possibilities and choices to interpret a scene or subject. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

"Abstract Paintings" with my camera - Multiple Exposure

Part 2 of "abstract paintings" (see previous blog for part 1)
Multiple Exposures is another fun thing to do and does not require low light conditions or any filters to slow down the shutter speed as mentioned in the previous blog. With this technique you achieve more definition in the subjects. 
Multiple Exposures are several images layered on top of each other and merged together in one final image. Check your camera if it has multiple exposure capability. Otherwise this effect can also be achieved in softwares like Photoshop.
With my Nikon D300 I can shoot up to 10 images. It is a good idea  to keep the depth of field at f22 or f16 to maintain some sharpness. The best results are achieved by moving the camera in small increments.
The first example is a swirl of flowers. With each exposure I stayed focused on the center flower while moving the camera slightly in a circle plus zooming out.
In the second image (dancing lotus) I moved the camera to the right and left, up and down.
The last two examples are trees and with that kind of subject it looks best to pan your camera in the orientation of the subject (up and down).
This technique takes a little practice and experimentation. I do like the impressionistic look and feel of these images. Give it a try!
For more examples go to my website: (gallery: camera paintings)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"Abstract Paintings" with my camera

Yes, these images are photographs. When people view them at art fairs they always ask the same question - are these paintings? They look like paintings but they are done with the camera, no special effects in photoshop.  
So how are they done? By choosing a slow shutter speed and jiggling, jerking or spinning your camera while pressing the shutter release. This certainly defies all "rules" of photography - holding your camera steady to get sharp images - and might look foolish to some. The result is not to everybody's liking but I have a lot of fun with it and is one more tool to express your creativity.
This technique works very well on cloudy days or in low light where it is easy to get shutter speeds of 2 to 8 seconds. In brighter light you need a polarizer filter and/or a neutral density filter to get a shutter speed of 1/4 or 1/2 second. Move the camera up and down or side to side or make small circles. It takes a little practice. Good subjects are trees as in the images below. 
Another method to achieve this look are Multiple Exposures which I will cover next time.
Give this a try and become a painter.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The last light

To continue on the subject of capturing or creating magic - the last 15 to 20 minutes before it gets dark are truly magical. At sunset and shortly afterwards we see a warm glow of yellows, oranges, reds but in these last minutes of daylight everything takes on a cool hue of blues, purples, magentas. When it is almost too dark to see with the human eye the camera is still able to capture this last light and produces some stunning images. It always amazes me! 
All these images were taken at Lake Superior - the first two at Porcupine Mountains, Michigan (90-100 seconds exposures); the third one at Splitrock Lighthouse on the north shore and the last one on Madeline Island.
Next time don't pack up your camera gear after sunset but wait for that last light! (and remember to bring your tripod!)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Where Magic lives - swirling leaves

We are surrounded by beauty, miracles and magic but most of the time we can't see it or recognize it.
Artistic expressions allow us to capture moments of magic otherwise not visible to the human eye.
Here are some leaves moving around in the currents of the creek. By using a slow shutter speed (30 seconds to 2 minutes) the swirling movement becomes visible as streaks of color and adds a bit of mystery to the scene.
Create magic today!  Susanne

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Where Magic lives

A few years back I stumbled upon this little creek in my neighborhood in the Blue Hills (Rusk County, Wisconsin). I like to visit in the spring and especially in the fall when the leaves fall and add a golden decoration to the already magical scenery. If you are one of those folks who believe in 'little people' and fairies etc. - this is a place where they hang out for sure! I was not able to capture them with my camera (I think it requires a special model) - so you have to use you own imagination.
These images were taken at dusk and are long exposures (anywhere between 20 and 100 seconds).
I think I did a pretty good job in conveying the magic of this place. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fall in the Blue Hills, Perch Lake

Perch Lake is a small lake in the heart of the Blue Hills close to Audie Lake (Rusk County, Wisconsin). There is a beautiful campground and nature trail as well. And if you like skiing the cross country trail system is close by and Christie Mountain (downhill skiing) isn't too far either.
These images were taken from the boat landing. The sun came out for a few minutes and lit up all those gorgeous trees. With the aid of a polarizer the colors really popped.
The last 2 images were taken on a foggy evening 3 weeks prior - same place and yet such a different mood. I used a HDR software to process the fog images which allowed me to give those clouds a more dramatic look.