Thursday, July 9, 2015

Heart's Desire

Sometimes I think we feel our lives are only significant if we stand out, make something of ourselves, do great things.

But it seems to me that our significance comes not from the things we do, but from the connections we forge – with people, with nature, with our environment – from knowing and being known.

For the Wide Open Course Day 4 {Desire}, Henry Lohmeyer asks,

What can you capture that will allow you to feel the connection with another, with yourself ?

To fulfill my heart's desire, I want to make pictures about moments that reflect my truest self – without judgment. Too often I rush to judge a picture as unworthy or ugly  . . . only to return later to find my judgment was much too harsh. Sometimes the best pictures are the ones I thought might be "throw-aways."

Whether carefully arranged still life images or snapshots taken on the fly, they are all the result of the connection between me, what I see, and what I want to express. Pretty or not, they all have a narrative that comes from my connection with the subject.

map my ride
The man poring over the Virginia state map caught my eye. I watched him quietly for several minutes. It's so seldom you see anyone use a map these days. We exchanged glances and my curiosity gave me courage. I asked, "Planning trip?" He looked up from his study and shared his story. "My wife and I just love to get the car and go. But it's nice to have a general idea of where we might end up!" We chatted about the back roads and byways of rural Virginia, swapping travel stories like two old friends. And when we parted, I was richer for the connection.

ready to roll
Remember summer days when as soon as the sun rose you were out the door to play all day? In my small hometown, a bicycle was freedom. In the neighborhoods of today it's nice to see that some things never change.

wish you well
Today is my wedding anniversary – 34 years. My husband and I always return to the place we were married, George Washington's birthplace on Pope's Creek in the heart of the Northern Neck of Virginia, every year on our anniversary. I stopped to explore the garden of this abandoned home and the wishing well was a gift as fitting as any for a cherished union.

ride the rails
This one's for my husband – just because he loves trains. He has the spirit of a little boy, always ready for travel and adventure.

frog on a lily pad
What a surprise!  From the side of a country road in Hanover county, I took pictures of this pond of water lilies with my telephoto lens. It was only when I returned home and moved the pictures from my camera to the computer, that I noticed the little frog! 

My summer day passed with considerable leisure. A day whiled away with my best friend, my husband, soaking in the simple pleasures of summer . . .

Moments first, photographs second.

It's true our lives can pass small and unnoticed by the masses, and we are no less dignified for having lived quietly. In fact . . . there is something noble about doing little with your life save offering love to a person who is offering it back.  – Donald Miller, author Scary Close


  1. Thank you Donna for sharing these moments of "real life" with us... I love the story with the man planning his trip above a paper map... I admire the way you connect so easily and simply and without any shyness with people you never met before... how you create a contact and lead people to speak, to be confident, to feel at ease with you... great lesson of life!
    And this kid's bicycle that you connect with the past... who would have thought of making this connection with the past?
    Beautiful picture of the well in George Washington's park... so great that you can visit this significant place for your heart every summer, have a wonderful anniversary your husband and you Donna!
    This train is a lovely gift for your husband... for a special day…
    And this little frog, whose head emerges between 2 waterlily pads, what a sweet surprise! What an unexpected gift on your screen!
    Thank you Donna for sharing your wanderings and thoughts with us!
    I’ll be away from the computer for a while but may find a minute or 2 to read your posts on my sister’s computer every evening.
    Enjoy your summertime photographic journey, Donna!

  2. Happy Anniversary, Donna! What a wonderful tradition you to have to celebrate the day! Love the photo of the man studying his map--I wonder where he went?

  3. Beautiful, both words and images.

  4. Happy Anniversary to you and yours Donna, and how cool to go to go back to your special place. I also really admire you for noticing the gentlemen studying the map and taking the time to ask him about it. That is really something I would like to be better at the ease of just asking. Guess that is another desire for me. You can show the day to life in a special way.

  5. Happy Anniversary, Donna! I love your photographs, and all that they say about you & the world you inhabit.

  6. Happy Anniversary Donna, and thank you for sharing your day with such wonderful photos :)

  7. I love it when I "find" something unexpected in my photos! A very happy anniversary to you - ! Love that end quote. So glad you are doing this course with Lohmeyer - such good stuff!

  8. Happy Anniversary! Make sure you tell your husband that I rode the 611 last weekend! It was awesome!

  9. Your husband needs to talk to my husband, to encourage him to be ready for travel and adventure. Glen travels a lot, but adventurous he is not. I hope you had a lovely anniversary, and joy and cheers to many more. Ours is this weekend and we are going away as well, just for the weekend, but fun none the less.


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