Black and White Challenge

Last week I was tagged for the Black and White Challenge by Kial James (@kialjames on Instagram). Post five b&w photos in five days. I am reluctant to give myself more quests, but this one was short enough and novel enough that I took the inspiration and ran (shot?) with it.

Confession- I don’t photograph with b&w in mind. Color tends to catch my eye. Over the five days, I found myself looking at the world anew, with an eye for lines and contrast.

Day one: Foggy pines.

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I could have posted older photos, but I don’t have a big library of b&w images. And I had fun looking for subjects that leaned toward b&w storytelling.

Day 2: our black cat, Lucy, who was feral until last month. She had a dramatic abdominal injury. While recuperating inside, she realized that warm and cozy is awesome. She’s become the biggest cuddle-cat.

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Day three: Cousin time! Boys at the Exploratorium in San Francisco.  I did watch for lines while wandering the museum (which is awesome in its new location).

Lenkaland black and white

Day Four: Mermaid. Finding a b&w image from our mermaid shoot was a challenge. Again, I was drawn to colors in the water, and the tail! Except another story is told when the image becomes b&w. The rings in the water and her mussed hair suggest that she’s not going to stay for long.

Lenkaland black and white

Day 5: Isla. I visited with my friend. We had a mission to create holiday cards. Her daughter had a mission to play. Play. Play. In my twenty-third attempt to distract her, I took photos with my phone, then showed them to her. She was pretty impressed with the novelty for about six seconds :)Lenkaland black and whiteThe collection inspired me to lean into b&w more often. I would get an image all pretty. I thought it was the same tone and processing as the ones before it. Then I would post to discover different color casts (the blue casts and sepia and drama). B&w has the same range of expression that is found in color photos. So I want to play more with the intention of creating memorable b&w images. Not just throw a b&w here and there because it’s fun to mix up my habits. I want to really pay attention to my storytelling and imagery in b&w. And maybe I’ll find a more consistent processing style. Or maybe I’ll keep playing :)

You might also like:

Sarah and Tim Forever

October weddings. Everything goes colorful in autumn. And I am a little bit biased since my wedding was in fall. We gathered at the lake this year for Sarah and Tim. They brought families together for laughter and fun. Thank you for sharing your special day with Giovanni and me!

May your golden wishbone earrings help make all your wishes come true. Now and ever after :)

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Click here to view the gallery and purchase prints

Wishing everyone an inspiring day :)

New Suspension Bridge

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The Forest Trails Alliance has an awesome new adventure for anyone near Nevada City. This suspension bridge recently opened on the Deer Creek Tribute Trail. It spans the Deer Creek with amazing views. Maps can be found at the Outside Inn if you would like more information about finding the bridge. We enjoyed an easy hike and fun discoveries!

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wpid11639-SuspensionBridgeOct122014-288.jpg wpid11637-SuspensionBridgeOct122014-285.jpgWishing you a lovely day with a happy adventure or two :)

*Please note that all photographs are copyrighted to Lenkaland. I am happy for you to share them with proper credit. However, please do not crop or alter these images. If you are interested in using for commercial purposes, please contact me. Thank you!
 

The CMT Alphabet: G for Goals

Goals CMT Alphabet

Back in the day (a few years ago), my goals were vague and dreamy. I will feel better. I will be stronger. I will succeed.

Then I realized a few things. First, how can I possibly measure those goals? Second, how can I set myself up for success instead of disappointment?

I have two influencers on my life. Me and CMT. I can make awesome plans. Beautiful ideas. And it will all go down in flames if CMT doesn’t agree with me.

So my goal the past few years has become learning about CMT. And learning about myself with CMT. That can be a huge challenge, especially since my CMT has decided that daily swings are great fun (not). But that goal has helped me be realistic. And advocate for myself with physical therapy and doctors.

My thoughts on goals fly from the wildly beautiful (awareness, cure, fixing me) to incredibly short term. Clean my desk. Return emails. Laugh with my kids.

I have brought my goals to more realistic, smaller plans. I let go of things like “I will finish the river trail” or “I will keep up with my family at the street fair.” Instead, I rework them to “I will enjoy the views at the river. And stop when I need to stop. And remember the walk back to the car. Don’t push too far.” Or “I will ask for breaks and enjoy the day.” My lofty goals can invite frustration.

I had to let go of Quantity (walk this far, lift this much) to Quality (how I feel).

Right now my goals are to stay active. Be strong enough for adventures. Exercise gently. And try, try, try, to listen to little signals of too much. This one is tricky for me because I get into the defiance cycle.

Goals can invite defeat for me. I wake up and make plans. Then I’m tired. So very tired. Going to bed is an admission the CMT won. Whew, that’s a dangerous path. I have become conscious of goals. Holding them gently. Realizing that the biggest goal of all has to be TAKING CARE OF ME. Which sounds so much easier that it is in real life.

CMT demands a lot of attention. A lot of patience. Forgiveness. CMT challenges me mentally, emotionally, physically. And my biggest goal is to recognize the brilliance of this journey. Time is precious. I hope to use my time wisely :)

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The CMT Alphabet is inspired by Donna at Beating Limitations. I am blogging as often as possible to help with CMT Awareness month. CMT is a neuropathy that affects strength, coordination, balance, and more. My posts reflect my journey. Everyone with CMT has different experiences. You can visit the CMTA and the Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation for more information. Thank you!
 

Isla’s First Birthday

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How lucky am I to be a part of this sweet girl’s journey?

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Isla

Isla’s nickname is Rainbow Isla. For good reason.

May you always know the magic and joy and wonder of light :)

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Isla, you sure know how to host a lovely party! :) With a little (a lot!) of help from your wonderful mom and dad of course :). Enjoy being one!

Lenka is a photographer in Northern California that loves sharing stories in photographs. To see more images, or learn about booking her for your child’s celebration, please visit http://lenkaland.smugmug.com. Thank you!
 

CMT Alphabet: F for Fatigue

CMT Alphabet: Fatigue

Fatigue is heavy. Sinking-out-of-the-square heavy. Fatigue isn’t touched by a nap or a great night’s sleep (though they help). Fatigue isn’t tired. Tired is Fatigue’s kid sister. Fatigue is big. Fatigue follows everywhere. It makes small things seem mighty. Like getting dinner prepped. Or going to the park. Or grocery shopping.

When I was first diagnosed with CMT, fatigue wasn’t associated with CMT. Over the years, I see it gradually joining the lists of associated symptoms. And it makes sense. If my muscles are working overtime due to muscle atrophy and flickery nerve signals, of course they get exhausted. If the primary muscle responsible for lifting my foot or opening a jar is compromised (weak) and a secondary muscle that isn’t even supposed to do that job is compensating, of course it tires out.  And if a muscle or joint is injured on top of everything (low level inflammation or arthritis), and trying to heal while I’m trying to overacheive (aka open a jar), of course I’m going to burn out.

Of course.

And yet, yet fatigue is a struggle. For years, my neurologist tried to help me with occasional medication for fatigue and insurance denied us (for years!) since Fatigue is not part of their official CMT Profile. Who decides that anyway?

Fatigue and pain are my biggest challenges with CMT. I can take the weakness. I can take shorter walks. I can ask for help opening jars. But the crushing fatigue? That wears me down.

I wasn’t always controlled by fatigue. I used to keep up with activities just fine. I might enjoy an afternoon lazing about, but who doesn’t? Not until my thirties, when all of my symptoms flared up, did fatigue really start to overwhelm me. Now I didn’t need an afternoon to restore my energy. Now I needed a day. Or two. And I started planning downtime after every trip, every adventure. Because I needed recovery.

And now? Now I actually miss fun during adventures, because I worry how I will feel the next day. I obsess about pacing myself. I got wore down during our family vacation and had a full melt-down because I was trying to keep up (with our mellow pace) with plans for ping pong and swimming. I am constantly, consciously aware of how an activity will affect me for days (and possibly weeks) to come.

It’s exhausting in itself.

And I have a dangerous cycle. I try to avoid it, but it’s so hard!

DefianceCycle

I find a space where I have balance (mostly). I get confident. I stretch my limits. And defiance feels awesome. I can do everything. Just watch and learn :)

And then I wake up heavy. Bones made of stone. Thoughts muffled and ideas dull. But I can push. Whoa, I am good at pushing through that fatigue.

Which is when I get flared up. Aggravated symptoms like numbness and tingling and pain. Grr! And if I keep pushing (which I often do) I fall or bump into something. I’ve gotten crazy-sick with allergies (one attack landed me in ER for seven hours), asthma, and chronic bronchitis. My system tells me to back-up. Slow down.

And that leads to grief. Scary sadness for all that I lose. Ideas, work, adventures. A grieving that returns and returns. For the losses affect me and my family. My friends. My writing. Crafting. Everything.

I work though it. Perhaps with anger. Perhaps with depression. Perhaps with binging on a great television series :). But I weave the lose ends into my life. I find new solutions. New creative pursuits, new work-arounds. I get a parking placard or warm boots or a different car (I had to do that when the clutch was too painful). I adapt and find a new acceptance.

I’m okay.

For a little while.

I try to think of fatigue as a early-warning-sign. I don’t want to mask it, necessarily, because it signals me that my poor muscles and nerves are working overtime. And yet I feel like I can’t quite get ahead of it. It’s always here. Always reminding me. Always placing a heavy paw on my shoulders, pressing truth down until I surrender. It’s heavy.

And it would be nice to get away from it.

Fatigue is a gigantic part of my CMT journey.

I would love love love one day to change F to Freedom. Freedom to be :)

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The CMT Alphabet is inspired by Donna at Beating Limitations. I am blogging as often as possible to help with CMT Awareness month. My posts reflect my journey and everyone with CMT has different experiences. You can visit the CMTA and the Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation for more information. Thank you!
 

 

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