Are You Engaged?

If there is one word I have come to detest within the past six months, that word would be ‘DROPLETS.’ But, wouldn’t you know it, Terri Webster has gone and chosen it as this week’s Sunday Stills Photo Challenge. At first I envisioned staging two people, both not wearing masks and one sneezing toward the other. That seemed a bit too ‘real’, so I took the lazy route and dug into my photo archives.

In case you don’t already know this about me, I love going to the beach and photographing big splashes at high tide. The natural shoreline of Coquina Rock in front of my favorite location, The House of Refuge, is perfect for those types of shots, as the structure provides perspective as the waves hit the rocks.

My last post featured a series of shots from this same location. I took those shots last week when we were experiencing King Tide. This photo, which is an all-time favorite is from around the same time last year. The droplets are just inches from my lens, and were an unexpected surprise. My camera was set to Automatic Focus and the lens was anticipating the tower as the center of the photo. This is the result of what I call a good oops, or happy accident. Nothing is in focus, but is has a dream like quality that I love; all created by sea spray, which could be mistaken for snow. Most people would never guess that this was taken in Florida.

Some years ago I started a photography club and we were often invited to shoot at local events. One of those was a CosPlay event at my favorite beach. The group acted out scenes from Star Wars as we positioned ourselves in various locations to maximize our advantage of the rocks and ocean. There were about twelve members of the group, so each photographer chose two people to work with, then we switched around so everyone had a chance to get lots of different photos.

When it was my turn to shoot the couple in the photo below, (who I thought had the most awesome costumes), the wind kicked up and a rain storm could be seen on the horizon. What luck! The droplets (splash) in the background of this photo along with the deteriorating sky made this shot. I processed the photo in PhotoShop Elements to increase the drama of the sky and pop the color of her cape.

What I missed, and some of you will notice, is the water droplets on my lens. Shooting at the beach does have its challenges, and you should always check your images for spots, which can be easily removed in post-processing.

I love taking action shots, and there is nothing better than capturing surfers doing what they love to do. My camera is set to burst mode for this type of photography. I track one surfer at a time and have my camera ready to zoom in as soon as they are upright on the board. Sometimes the ride is a bust and sometimes I get lucky. The droplets (fanned spray) in the photo were intentionally created by the surfer with a spin of the board, just before bailing out.

I spent a couple of hours scrolling through my photo files this week and enjoyed the trip down memory lane. My photographs reflect a joyous life, that has been well lived. These past months I have struggled to keep even the most basic cornerstones of that life in place as we face the question; what next?

What makes me smile this week is a reminder that contentment requires a high degree of engagement, curiosity, creativity and gratitude. How about you? Are you engaged with life, or just going through the motions right now?

Shared with Trent’s Weekly Smile.

38 Comments on “Are You Engaged?

  1. Hi Suzanne – those cosplay costumes are absolutely amazing! Your background definitely added an extra edge to it all too. Great photography is such a talent and one that covid can’t kill! Hang in there and life will eventually start to look more normal again I’m sure x

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  2. I like all three, but have to say that the couple in the cosplay costumes is my favorite – it could be used as a promo shot for them.

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  3. LOVE the Star Wars shot. It’s wonderful. I’m engaged, and that can be measured by all the gardening I’m doing in anticipation of next season and the sewing of giveaways for the ladies’ luncheons in South Carolina this winter. Fingers crossed we can pull those fun luncheons off by being outside.

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    • Judy, no doubt you are busy and engaged. My women’s club has been fairly successful (and creative) with their monthly luncheons, so I’m sure you gals will figure it out. I haven’t attended one, simply because I find a group beyond ten to be more than I feel comfortable with, but I do have a book club meeting tomorrow afternoon at the community pool. That should be interesting.

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  4. Love all of these shots! They made me smile. I’m engaged going to water aerobics several days a week and teaching the class on Thursdays. It’s not only my favorite way to exercise but just about the only social activity I have these days. I’m been engaged this September writing blog posts about Ovarian Cancer Awareness month. Other than that, just staying at home with my husband, reading books, watching old movies, and working on my photography.

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  5. Just wow, Suzanne!! The star wars image is incredible. How cool to belong to a photography club…when I move north, I hope to join one. The surfer shot is fab. I had to giggle about the Covid droplets as well as utter a small eww! 🤣 I like how your mind works! Thanks for sharing your talents with Sunday Stills!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Terri, it is fun to hang out with other photographers and learn from each other. Based on my experience, they tend to fall into two categories – Technical photographers and Artistic photographers. Most are very willing to offer their time and talents to help others grow, which is what I love about clubs. I’m sure you will find a great group when you get settled into your new location.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi, Suzanne – I love this reminder that something that is negative to us (like the word ‘droplets’) can quickly be turned around to become a positive. Awesome shots! I also completely agree that contentment requires engagement and gratitude.

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  7. Suzanne, Beautiful shots! I’m happy when I’m close to water and see its actions. I’m very much engaged with life. Seize the day is my daily intention.

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  8. Oh my God, what a great question, are you engaged with life or going through the motions?

    I love the ocean too and used to live three miles (for over thirty years) from it and walked it every week and watched the surfers and whales when they visited!

    And yes I couldn’t believe that stormy ocean view was in Florida and not Maine or Massachusetts.

    My engagement is through my eyes and heart to be sure. I never stop living and when the chips are down, I dig in further and pursue living even more doggedly. All year long I still run, hike, play golf and pickleball, exercise, swim, do yoga and meditate, and make sure I stay in contact with friends and relatives. I wake up each day grateful to breathe the fresh air of morning and view the rising sun and end my day in silence, gratitude and prayer, enjoying the darkening of the skies overhead and gradual appearance of sparkling diamonds.

    My relatives in Sonoma, California, can’t afford to go through the motions as they are again assaulted by threat of fires. They stay engaged and alert. It’s been THE YEAR FROM HELL.

    Thank you fir sharing these beautiful droplets – the kind we like to see! Ha ha

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  9. Great photos! The last one reminded me of our local Comic Con (which, unfortunately could only be held virtually this year) and the amazing cosplay that can be seen there.

    As weird as this year has been, engagement, curiosity, creativity, gratitude, and contentment can still be found if we keep our eyes and hearts open.

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  10. I love the line “My photographs reflect a joyous life, that has been well lived.” It’s such a simple statement that says so much!!

    Ever since I first picked up a camera 10 years ago, I’ve been actively searching for those special moments to capture … and surprise! when you search you find. End result – a joyous life well lived 🙂

    The ‘Star Wars’ photo is beautiful – partly because the setting is so unusual.

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  11. Joanne, looking back at old photos is like playing the ‘highlight reel’ of your life isn’t it? I had all but given up on creating our annual Shutterfly book until I flipped through photos from this past year. Even 2020 has highlights!

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  12. These photos are awesome! We need to get down to Stuart and visit The House of Refuge. I love your enthusiasm of catching the spray in your photos. I have a few of those myself. 😊

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  13. I hit send before answering your excellent question…although our lives have a much smaller circle drawn around them these days, there is still so much to be grateful for. I thrive on a mix of routines that keep me centered (daily walks, bike rides, yoga, tai chi) and creative pursuits and little adventures (a birding expedition, a new recipe, playing my guitar, taking a nature journaling class online). I don’t want life to pass me by, even though this isn’t what we had planned.

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    • Laurel, responding to the moment and not dwelling on what could have been is certainly the best way to deal with the hand we were dealt. The alternative is wasted time and opportunity. Sounds like you are making the most of it.

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  14. Even though droplets might not be your favorite word at the moment, you certainly did meet the challenge with your photos. I always find it amazing that you can come up with new photos for each challenge…nice job.

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  15. Pingback: The Weekly Smile Recap for 9/28 – 10/4/2020 | Trent's World (the Blog)

  16. “Contentment requires a high degree of engagement.” I love that Suzanne! What a perfect way to check in with ourselves on occasion. Am I engaged right now? Now on to the photos…I love them all! They are beautiful and interesting. Droplets is not a word I’m loving right now…but these photos…yes please! Wishing you a wonderfully engaging day!

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  17. Hi Suzanne, I wondered where you were going with the “droplets” and then I get it. The “good oops” is when I find photo gems after the fact. A fun part of photography. I am cautious about taking photos in the rain because I do not want to get my lens wet. I should experiment more. The action shots are amazing! I find I am often engaged in life. It seems more precious to me now than ever. My age? My husband’s age? 2020? Yes, gratitude. A beautiful post, Suzanne.

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  18. Wow! Suzanne, your photography skills and talent are just amazing. I do have to admit, that right now…today…I am engaged with life. If you had asked me a few weeks ago, my answer might have been different. How wonderful that you can look at your life with no regrets. A life well lived!

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    • Oh dear Laurie, I have had regrets, missteps, and downright poor decisions along the way, but the net result is one of joy and gratitude! I think we go through periods of high and low engagement, depending on circumstances. But, the choice is always there. Thanks for stopping by.

      Like

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