N. Renee Brown

Part-time Author, Full-time Book Junkie

Photo Catch-up

So, yeah, Photo Sunday is back (and let’s be honest, I’m hoping it will jumpstart my presence here on my blog). BUT I’ve been doing Photo Sunday and not posting it for the last few weeks. Yeah, yeah, I know…how dare I neglect you.

BUT I’m here now! So quit yer bellyachin’!

Anyway, this photo comes from the snowstorm we had recently. It was a strange snow, very heavy and wet and ominous. I heard stories of people that had 7 and 8 hour commutes, that had to sleep in cars because all the hotels were booked, that had to abandon their cars after they ran out of gas…it was horrible, and I can see why. Day called me (I was home sick) and begged me to come up and get her. It was all I could do to get the 3 blocks to the Metro Station, and when I arrived I looked more like a snowman than a person. Thankfully, I brought my camera. The pictures were pretty amazing, but I like this one in particular because of the halo caused by the snow crystals.

Lighting the Way:
A lightpole in a snowstorm. It didn't stay on long.

In the eye of the…(Photo Tidbit)

Sometimes life surprises you…you look up and see something so out of this world, so ethereal and impossible and stunning that you have to blink to make life come back into focus.
Sometimes life surprises you…you feel the heartbreak of loss for some place not someone. It shocks you so badly you feel yourself begin to cry for the sounds and the smells and wish so hard for it you feel you might be able to transport yourself if you just tried hard enough…

The doorway to another world? Another life? The fickle shifting of the wind hinting at something…at what? Tell me!

A spaceship of sky? A crystal flower of mystical import? A twisted riddle that needs an answer…what is it? What?

Photo Tidbit: Surreal Sublime

This week has been good, relaxing and fun and good…and to celebrate that we’re going to look a pretty pictures today!

#1 Sherbet Skylines:

Where is this sky?  Some far away planet…or alternate dimension?  And if it is right here on Earth what did people long ago think of displays like this?  Was it a time of celebration or dread?  Who would they turn to?  What would they say?

Me, all I can think of is Rainbow Sherbet…and the time I had my tonsils out (which was something of a mixed blessing for me seeing as I was/am food obsessed…see, they told me I could have all the ice cream I wanted but I felt so bad all I wanted to do was sleep.  And then when I felt good enough for the ice cream, I couldn’t have it…nope, only sherbet.  Cruel, no?)

Anyone’s Altar, Everyone’s Altar:

Who made this?  And why?  Will they come back for it or has it served its purpose?  Who was it meant for?  Did we disturb the aura of this place by stumbling upon it?  Did we break the spell?  Did we enhance the experience?

When I first saw this I thought it was just someone’s trash…but the more I looked at it, the more I saw the patterns and intentional nature of the placement.  I’m not sure if this is “found art” in the the most find-y  sense of the word or if this served a religious purpose…but either way it was cool.

Happy Feet

I’ve been listening to a lot of music lately….it’s a long story which starts with me WANTING to pay my registration for my car but unable to do so and ends with me plowing through my podcasts. So, I’m left with music and an actual print book…not all bad, except I tend to get “happy feet” when I’m on the metro (this is only embarrassing when I see someone staring). This has got me thinking about my love of the dance…so today’s photo tidbit is dedicated to the amazing people out there who dance!

Are people dancing on this street right now? What caused this bit of art to be placed right where it is? God or demons? Ghosts or love? Are there spirits standing on these shoes right now waiting for the right person to come to them…waiting for the love of the dance to descend…waiting for some unclear undefined thing that will set them free or chain them forever? Tell me I want to know.
This lovely picture is brought to us by iwona_kellie’s love of creative commons…and for that I thank her!

Who takes pole dancing lessons? A wife/mother/daughter? What do they think when they do it? What happens to them, to their relationships, to their views on life after they finish the class? How many women have done the same thing? Is it a secret society…a shameful life…or a glorious rebellion?
I just love this picture and I thank Arturo de Albornoz for listing it in the creative commons section of flickr, go check out his photostream!

Shooting Stars and Eyelashes…(Photo Nibble)

Is it a matter of opinion or perspective? Are they wishes or plans? You know we don’t always see everything in the exact same way and perhaps that’s good…perhaps by having a new set of (fresh) eyes we can see things we missed before and if a few of us turn our minds to it we can see a whole host of opportunities.

Sometimes I get stuck in my writing, I start to doubt my plot/character/setting/talent…and I get stuck in a spiral where I don’t write or I avoid it just so I don’t have to deal with what I see. Then there are the times that my writing elicits a compliment from nowhere and I rush home so I can spend time with my laptop. The thin line between loving it and hating it can easily be influenced by our perspective…and our mindset.

So, you tell me…is it wishful thinking or is there something worth exploring?

Did the person who owned the snow sled think it might snow on this tropical island? Or were they just holding onto a life they left behind? Was it a souvenir from their first encounter with snow? Or is it a sinister omen for times to come? (The evil snow sled…I like it!)

What is this? A picture of the moon? A pan of liquid silver? Or just water? Could it be an alien landscape or a dangerous poison? Where did it come from? Who takes care of it? What is it used for?

Well, find your version of peace and share it with me…


The road is for walking! (Photo nibble)

There is a whole world out there, a world that many never see and until recently I was one of them. See I got trapped in a small town, doing small things, on a small scale…it can happen to anyone…and my idea of a vacation (which I took rarely) was to go down to the lake for a few days. It was a lake I’d been going to my whole life, one that had little in the way of variety, but it was what I thought of as a vacation.

Not anymore! Now I’d rather fly off to somewhere exotic and different than almost anything else, that includes writing! I know, I know, I’m bad, but I think of it as expanding my setting horizons and it always gives me a ton of new ideas! Ok, so this week we are thinking about traveling, keep that in mind while you come up with stories for these nibbles…

Wow, what a perspective! What happened? Are you falling or flying? How did you get in this situation…are you a spy? A bird? A plane? What? Or is this as simple as someone confronting their worst fear? You tell me…

Are we coming or going? Where does the road behind lead? What does the road ahead hold? Who else has traveled this way recently? And why? Did they leave something behind for us? Is someone or something following us? Will we leave something behind for them/it?

Ok, so get to it…post your stories in the comments and if we get enough of a response I’ll start picking the best and put them up as a podcast. How does that sound? You might even convince me to mail you a book or two (lord knows I’ve got enough around here!)

Find your peace, and share it with me…

The Return of Photo Sunday!

It’s all Hawaii all the time, two weeks of wonderful photos.

We spent some time at the Byodo-In Temple.  What a peaceful place! We had rented a car and driven through the Valley of the Temples.  Coming out from among the other cemeteries we saw this.

We stopped and rang the bell, filling the valley with its full tones, before moving toward the temple.  FYI, it temple contains no nails.  As the rest of my family meandered ahead, my sister and I explored a little out of the way gazebo before we joined the rest of the group again.  It was a mystical place the encouraged one to linger over every detail.  We saw an “autograph tree” were people had etched their names into the leaves…supposedly the leaves can last for years before falling off.  We also saw bamboo as big around as those triple wick candles (huge!).  And the cutest frog water fountain.  We spent an hour there, at least, and I wanted more.  I could have laid out a blanket and dozed the day away there.    

The ponds surrounding the temple were filled with koi of all different sizes.  Day and I stopped inside the gift shop and bought some fishfood.  The woman told us to feed the koi on the other side of the temple as they never got fed and the ones on her side of the temple were chubby.  On our way over we snapped some photos of the chubby koi and some plumeria that had floated down from the tree above.

On Monday we took a trip to the Big Island to check out the volcanoes.  We stopped at Rainbow Falls, the Jagger Museum, the Thurston Lava Tube, the lava fields, Big Island Candies, and a veritable poke buffet at a Sack and Save of all places!!!

At Rainbow Falls I saw a blooming banana tree.  The colors were so intense I couldn’t not take a picture of it and I’m glad I did.

Later we stopped along Banyan Tree Drive, it was a street lined by Banyan Trees that had been planted by famous people like:  Trader Vic, Richard Nixon (back before he was President), and Amelia Earhart.  I looked up and saw an amazing bird nest thing…not really sure what it is but it’s cool.


Would you believe “Photo Wednesday”?

I wish I could claim illness for not keeping up…but it’s more likely that I’ve just been busy doing other things.  Hawaii part 2 is coming up next week.  For those of you interested, Day and I won a trip to Hawaii and gave it to my parents.  They didn’t want to go without us, so they offered to pay our way…and you just don’t say no to a “free” trip to Hawaii.  So now my parents and I are going to Hawaii, and well, being the kind sister that I am I invited my siblings as well.  My sister and her hubby are the only ones available to go, but actually that works out as I believe having an island full of my family might be a bit too much.

Since I’m the only one who has been there before it is up to me to plan the trip and get ducks and put them in rows.  We have Pearl Harbor planned, the Polynesian Cultural Center, a day on the North Shore, the Bishop Museum, the Iolani Palace, and volcanoes.  I’m hoping to make everyone happy at least one day (My day?  The North Shore of course!).  I’m also responsible for the hotel and car rental…and get this the limo and lei greeting for mom and dad.  That last bit was my idea.  This is Mom’s dream vacation, I want it to be everything she’s ever wanted it to be.

Ok, enough gushing about Hawaii.  I’ve been struggling with Photo Sunday lately. (as if you didn’t notice)  It’s this hard line between art and memory I keep treading…I look at other photographers and wish I could figure out if I am a point and shooter with a high powered camera or just an undeveloped eye trying to make her way in the world of Halloween costumes and Sunday best.  It continues to be my bane that I cannot bring what I see to life…that I forget the basics of taking photos…that I am lazy and just want art to be easy.  Ok, enough.  Here goes nothing:

Photo Sunday #29:

Picking peaches at Homestead Farm was a real highlight this year.  I went out more than once, not only for the faboo fruit but also for a chance to take some pictures.  Below is a nectarine just itching to be plucked!  Of course I did the minute after this photo was snapped and it later graced my lunch bag. 

Blackberries have such great color at all stages of their growth cycle.  I was lucky enough to find this clump of ripening (and a few ripe!) berries waiting for their closeup.  Yes, I picked the ripe ones once I was done.  They ended up in a pie.

Photo Sunday #30:

My morning glories are blooming as well as my moonflower.  I really didn’t think this picture was going to work.  I had put my camera on the ground to fold back the top of the flower in order to get a face on shot and when I went to pick it up I decided to snap a picture.  I actually kinda like it…

I find abandonded/unused playground equipment kind creepy.  The only thing this old b-ball hoop needed was a frayed net to really make the whole feel complete.  I tried this exact same photo without the flash, but it made the colors too warm.  Overexposing, aka using the flash on, this photo really made the creepy vibe come to the fore.  I was pleased, but again lamented the lack of fraying.

Photo Sunday #31:

I wanted to revisit some dog photos, especially with Kitty so frail lately.  This is outside a friends house.  She rarely wags her tail anymore, I don’t know if it hurts or if she is just old and grumpy…but here she is wagging away.  My heart is going to break when she goes…just shatter into a million grains of sand.  I love that dog.

In my sniffling over the old dog, I decided to try to get a shot of the young idiot.  She wouldn’t stay still long enough for me to really get anything out of her until she thought she heard Day at the door when we were outside.  She froze and I had just enough time to turn the camera on her.  Day says that little girl does not love her, but I’ve got photographic proof right here.  That dog was ready to bolt for her owner and leave me in the middle of a sniff filled forest, if that isn’t love I don’t know what is.


Photo Sunday #32:

Tropical Storm Hannah blew through the area as Day and I were recovering from this heinous cold we’ve both got.  It gave us a GREAT excuse to stay in bed and take Nyquil and not lament the loss of a day.  When we finally felt well enough to go out, we were rewarded with a great shot of the last of the storm front passing through.  It was moving pretty quickly, but I got at least one shot off before I lost it over the buildings completely.

Ok, that should catch you up…so no whining.  Just kidding, whine all you want it proves that people actually keep up with this.  See ya later this week.

Photo Sometime

I am unapologetic about falling off the photo wagon…ok, I lie.

I’m terribly guilty about falling off the photo wagon…so here are some shots from the 4th that I had meant to alert you to.

Down at the Mall for the 4th of July. Funnily enough the display lasted for only 15-20 minutes…not nearly as long as the crazy Falls Church people that try to set your hair on fire and concuss you into the ground. I think I want to go back to Falls Church next year.

Sparkle...what a pretty sky.

We forgot the tripod and rain gear!  Oye!  I wish my brain would work more often than it does.  Although, I shouldn’t complain too much about the rain…I was thankful for it coming down all evening (off and on)…I was able to stand the heat that way. And it made the crowd down at the Mall not so crazy packed, but only heavily attended.

Next year, if not Falls Church…then the WWII monument over in Rosslyn, VA…much better selection of monuments to highlight with the fireworks.

Photo Sunday #23

How is it that I get offered an opportunity to take pictures and I either a) don’t think about it or b) don’t want to be bothered with it?

UGH! I know I love looking at these pix later in the week when I am trying to choose things to post…I know I love having gotten that shot that I didn’t think I got or capturing that special something I didn’t know was going on around me…but still I get lazy and just snap when I have the camera at hand.

You know, honestly, I’ve got a certain level of embarrassment about taking pictures. I’m afraid people are going to be looking at me thinking, “What is she DOING?” And while, yeah being a 6foot 2inch female with a lot of extra weigh on my frame gains a lot of attention, I guess I’ve never gotten comfy with it…so adding a camera onto the front of the giant is just something that makes me prickly with self-consciousness.

Why do I care? None of these people know me and it should not matter how they judge my outsides, I know what my insides are like (red and squlechy)…STILL I find myself waging the internal battle between pulling out the camera and just walking past that incredible shot along with everyone else.

Day used to yell at me for not taking my camera with me. I told her I didn’t want to have to carry the heavy thing around, but I think it was more that I didn’t want to be labeled the fat American tourist (although, isn’t that what we all are in our heart of hearts? Fat off this land and looking around with wide, wondering eyes?).

It’s sad that I am letting these shots teeter by just because I do not want to offend the sensibilities of people I don’t know nor care about! I think that is why I am a writer, hiding behind my words I can offend for completely different reasons, but at least these are reasons I’ve chosen to take as my own and am happy with them unlike so many other things.

Anyway, here is a rather reflective Photo Sunday.


#1 Clouds over my house on Saturday. During the Re-Launch Party for Unleaded, Fuel for Writers (coming to a computer near you on July 1st!) we had a storm blow up…it was like being at home only not as threatening. I’ve missed the spring/summer clouds like this, the big, vanilla ice cream towers that practically proclaim rain is on the way.

Church steeple detail.

#2 Church of my failures. I’ve been trying to capture this church for a while now…I’ve taken some pictures in the morning and at night when I’ve driven past but it always turns out with this flat grey sort of coloring. There is no life in this church when I put it into pictures, but there is a strange sort of appeal to it when I pass it in real life. I’ve tried to put into practice what little I’ve learned about photography and looked into the details for this particular shot. It is still downtrodden though. Oh well, back to the drawing board.