Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Dallas Arboretum As Seen Through My 100 mm Macro Lens {Dallas Arboretum Photography}{Dallas Landscape Photographer}

I've taken a rest from blogging as of late.

Have you noticed?

Business has been great!  But, between being a wife and a mother to two beautiful, active, and busy children, there has been little time left to blog all my client sessions.  Keeping up with Facebook is a job in and of itself.  I've made a conscious decision to leave more time for my family this year, and blogging every single client session has simply not made the cut.

And, I am happier for it.

And, my family is as well.

Speaking of happiness...

In the craziness of running a business (and a family), I've found that it is absolutely essential to take time out to invest in Tammy.  After all, we can nurture our business, we can love on our husbands, and we can care for our children, but if we neglect ourselves...everything else suffers.


I spend time with my friends.

I watch my favorite television shows.

I take walks with some pretty terrific neighbors.

I host a Bible study in my home.

And...I pursue my love of photography JUST FOR ME!

Last week was one of those days where I invested in myself.   My parents were in town and we had decided to take a day to explore The Dallas Arboretum.  I packed my camera that morning with the sole purpose of shooting for personal enjoyment.  I had no intention to please a client, to make a sale, or to promote myself or my abilities.

I grabbed my camera FOR ME.

As a creative person, I have this inner drive to express myself and to illustrate the beauty I see around me.

So, I planned on stopping at whatever caught my eye and taking as long as I needed to take to capture it in a way that was pleasing to me.

Was I worried my parents would get bored of my frequent pit-stops?

A little.

But, I tucked that worry away and decided JUST TO PLAY!

As I downloaded the pictures later that day, I smiled from ear to ear.  I'm not a painter (or at least I don't think I am), but I felt like one as I viewed my screen and saw my imagery come to life.

And I was energized and renewed in my spirit.

I gave myself a little challenge that day.  I headed out to the Dallas Arboretum WITH ONLY ONE LENS!  A Canon 100 mm Macro lens.  No wide angle.  No zoom.  Just one fixed length lens.  And, though we were visiting in the middle of the annual pumpkin patch extravaganza, I vowed to focus mainly on the other elements of Fall at the Arboretum.

It turns out THERE IS MORE THAN PUMPKINS at the Arboretum this fall after all.

Take a look!

My dad (a photographer enthusiast) and I loved taking shots of these water droplets.  When I showed them to my daughter later that night, she was delighted. "Oooh!!! They are like little sparkling diamonds!" (said in her most dramatic and exhilarated little girl voice)

And they are!!!

Of course, there were plenty of traditional Fall scenes to capture.  You want pumpkins, scarecrows, and gourds?  

Here you are!!!

Did you notice something in those last two images?

What pumpkin did I choose to photograph?

The uniquely colored one.

The oddly textured one.

These are the things that capture my eye...

I love what a day with my camera teaches me about myself!!!

It thrills me to think what a day with your camera would teach you about yourself!

Here are a few other scenes from the Pumpkin patch...

If you look closely, you'll notice that I only took ONE PICTURE with a human in the frame.


Here's my revelation on that:  When life is hectic and you are trying to slow down, when your day to day centers around serving and being with others, and when even watching television without the interruption of little (and big) voices chiming in seems impossible...

Sometimes you just need peace and quiet.  

I think leaving people out of my images was a way for me to embrace solitude.  Though I was surrounded by thousands of people, I was quiet in my spirit and enjoying the peace that came with it.

But, just in case you think I've lost my passion for people photography.


I did squeeze in several lovely portraits of my parents that day.  But, you'll have to wait to see those.  In my not so humble opinion, my parents are pretty special!  And, they deserve a post all their own!

(Funny aside...)

As we headed out the door, it didn't surprise me one bit that my parents were conveniently color coordinated.  After all, it has become a tradition.  Each time they visit and we head out to the Arboretum, I create a few portraits for them.  They know me so well.  It tickles me that they were prepared!    

(One last aside...Can I just say how fun it has been to blog again!  I missed it!)

So, how did my photographic experiment pan out?  What did I learn in my adventure at the Arboretum?  Was a day away from the busyness of life worth the investment in time away from it all?


In addition to unwinding and de-stressing and spending a lovely day with my parents, I learned a lot through my little photography experiment.  Here are a just a few lessons I learned (or re-learned):

It is possible to unwind doing something you love.

It is possible to create beautiful imagery with just one lens.

If you are patient, you can create beautiful art - wherever you are - even with thousands of people sprinkled around you in a widely popular public garden at their busiest time of year.

You can compose a shot, see it through your lens, and decide it's not as good as you thought it was going to be.  It's okay to NOT click the shutter.  Let's be honest.  Sometimes what you envisioned in your mind isn't quite what you see through your lens.  There's no law that says you have to take every picture.  Be selective in how many times you click the shutter.  It's perfectly acceptable to walk away from a shot!  What do you think film photographers had to do years ago?  They didn't have the finances to support taking every single picture they saw with their creative minds.  Learn from them and learn how to be selective in the art you choose to create.  I would say I chose to NOT click the shutter at least 1/4 of the time during my time at the Arboretum.

I tend to see the world close up - macro style.  Time and time again, while composing a shot at the Arboretum I realized that I was overlooking the larger scene to zero in on all the tiny details.  Take a look for yourself.  Revisit this gallery I just posted.  How many large scale scenes do you see there?  How many wide-angle vistas?  Not many.  Part of this is due to the lens choice of the day.  But, mostly it is due to my personal style.  I'm a detail gal.  I'm zoomed-in and zeroed-in on everything going on around me.

That shows up in my photographic style.

No wonder my favorite lenses are my 70-200 and my 100 macro!

What about you?  Are you wanting to zero in on your personal style?  

I challenge you to do a similar photo excursion yourself.  Click away all day.  Be sure to click the shutter for only those scenes that speak to your heart - that move you.  At the end of the day as you sift through your images, you'll discover what it is you are drawn to.  If you pay close attention, you'll discover incredible things about your personality as well.  

For me, I've come to realize that this zoomed-in approach I have photographically spills over to other areas of my life as well.  It's who I am.  I notice the details.  I see beauty in unexpected places.  I WILL find the typo in every book - if it exists.  I notice people (and things) who may otherwise go unseen.  I see the story within a story.  I see paint splattered on the sidewalk as a work of art.

It all makes for a very intense personality (or, so I've been told).  But, it is who I am.  It is who I was created to be, and I embrace it wholeheartedly.

It's eye-opening - what photography will teach you about yourself.


How about you?

Aren't you just a little curious to find out what your photographic bents can teach you about yourself?

Ask yourself these questions:

When I step out with my camera and lens in hand, what do I focus on?  

What do I see?  

Am I drawn to people, pets, stories, or landscapes?  

What lights a fire in that creative heart of mine?  

I'd love to hear from you!  Leave a comment below.  Let's talk about it.

Happy Fall, Y'All!!!!


p.s.  I'm obliged to say Y'all.  I've been a Texan since 1997, after all!!!


  1. Love this post on so many levels -
    -the work, of course
    -you taking care of you
    -blessing other on the blog from the overflow of what you learned

    You are marvelous. And, fav pic of the day was the sun drenched bench. All that crazy light! Wonderful.

    1. The only thing that would make that bench shot sing even louder and more beautiful is YOU sitting in it!!!! Come to Dallas, friend, and we'll make it happen! As always, thanks for the sweet, encouraging words, Wendy!

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