Colorful

Look Up!

If you follow my personal Instagram account you’ll notice that I tend to take a lot of pictures of ceilings and the sky. I don’t know why my eyes are drawn to it, but I notice the patterns, shapes, and colors. Like this one below:

 
2018.10.09 - Architecture - Look Up.jpg
 

This was taken in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Behind me is the tallest building in the world (the Burj Khalifa), but I turned around and saw this building instead. :) This shows you my priorities! Anyways, I love the curves, the trees, the expansive sky, and all the lines. This is definitely what my eyes go towards!

I think one thing to glean from this though is to follow what you like to do and not what everyone else likes to do. Some people might have thought it strange that I was photographing the small building behind the Burj Khalifa, but it’s what my eyes were drawn to. I think it’s important to find your vision and calling and stick to it, even when it seems unconventional. Speaking of which, I have a blog post that I’m working on about this topic. Vision in whatever you create is so important, especially in light of how short our lives are. More to come on that soon!

-Ashley

Looking for the Special Moments

It can be really hard to have tourist-like eyes in your own city. Finding interesting things to photograph can be a challenge, especially if you see the same things every day. A trick for me to get out of that funk is to walk around a specific place with my camera in hand; looking for interesting scenes—whether it be textures, symmetry, interesting faces, interactions that are peculiar, or something beautiful. There is always something worthy to be photographed—you just have to have the eyes to see it! Take this for example:

 
2018.09.24 - Looking wih New Eyes.jpg
 

We were walking in a market and I just happened to see this rug hung up on the wall with these colorful poufs underneath. I loved all the colors and how it looked, so I took the shot and this is what I got. It’s beautiful! I think I’d normally miss this if I didn’t slow down and look.

I think this goes beyond photography and can be applied to our lives in general. Sometimes we can get so busy that we miss the beautiful or surprising things or people throughout our day. I, myself, am trying to slow down and “smell the roses”, as the old adage goes. I don’t want to miss those special moments because I was preoccupied with a task or schedule. Life is too short friends, so don’t miss out on the important things.

On that sobering note (sorry for the reminder of our short lives!), I hope that in the normalcy of the day you look and find something or someone new in your path. Enjoy your day!

-Ashley

Shameless Sunset Share | #ThrowbackThursday #tbt

April 2017 - Istanbul, Turkey

April 2017 - Istanbul, Turkey

I know that countless sunsets fill up the internet, but why not clog it up more with one I saw earlier this year! :)

Last April we had the chance to visit Turkey and we happened to be crossing this bridge right at sunset. It was seriously amazing and I took way too many photos! Seeing this again makes me remember the incredible feeling of viewing it firsthand, thanking God for being such a wonderful creator. It is seriously breathtaking! 

Hope that you are inspired by something in your day today that brings you encouragement and thankfulness. Have a good one!

-Ashley

New Aspects of Culture

One fun thing about living in another culture is being able to experience new aspects of that culture which are very foreign to you. Such as this man above, selling powder to make beautiful designs. I had never seen this before! The circular looking items to the right are stencils that help you create the design almost flawlessly. 

I learned that these particular designs are called, "Rangoli", and is used during many festivals here. The powder is made from rice (or other materials, like flour) and you can find many colors--all being very bright! 

I thought they were really beautiful. Many of the shops we passed actually had designs like these on the side of steps in front of their building. I don't understand all the cultural meanings or implications, but it was something very unique for us to discover while we were out shopping the other day!

I sometimes wonder about what I think is normal in the State's that other cultures would consider fascinating. Just like Rangoli designs, this is something they do on a yearly basis--so while it's probably special, it's still common enough to know about and to not think of it's uniqueness. I imagine if I thought hard enough, I would be able to come up with many holidays, customs, and events Americans perform that would be strange or unique to other places.

All this to say, you don't have to live in an "exotic" place to capture interesting photos. I encourage you to go out today and to think critically about your life situation. What is unique? What is special? What do I think is "normal" that other places would see as interesting? Capture those photos and see what comes of it! Send me a link in the comments section if you go out--I'd love to see your work.

-Ashley

Use of Color

Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  f/3.2, 1/200 sec, ISO-100

Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  f/3.2, 1/200 sec, ISO-100

One thing I love about other cultures is their use of color. You can find an array of colors on buildings, cars, fences, walls, boats, buses, and so on. It's a photographer's dream! 

The people around this scene above probably thought it strange that I was photographing these old, distressed boats, but I obviously didn't care. While on a photo walk I saw them and couldn't help myself. :)

I have a few more of these photos that I'll post soon that are of different perspectives. Have a great Friday! 

-Ashley

Ice Cream Anyone?

Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  f/2.8, 1/800 sec, ISO-320

Canon 5D Mark II; 50mm f/1.4  |  f/2.8, 1/800 sec, ISO-320

One thing that is true from culture to culture, is ice cream. :) We're all pretty smart! We know how wonderful it is to eat a yummy, cold, and sweet treat during the summer (or winter!). Even though it's a small/silly thing, it's another thing that is all similar among humanity. God created us to enjoy cold treats in the summer. I didn't try these above, but they looked pretty delicious! 

Hope that wherever you're at you can enjoy some sweet treats! :)

-Ashley

Setting Sun

Canon 5D Mark II, 24mm f/2.8  |  f/10, 1/80 sec, ISO-500  |  Near Austin, Texas, USA

Canon 5D Mark II, 24mm f/2.8  |  f/10, 1/80 sec, ISO-500  |  Near Austin, Texas, USA

When we were driving through Texas visiting our family and friends, we stopped in Austin, Texas and saw Joshua's Uncle and Aunt. They took us to this fun Mexican restaurant that was overlooking what you see above(!!). We got to watch the sun set as we caught up on life and ate a delicious dinner. It was pretty amazing. I felt so thankful in that moment to be with them and to see God's handiwork. 

Currently, we're in Houston spending time with Joshua's grandparents and will soon switch to my parents. I can't believe that it's already June 9th--time is whizzing by so quickly! It reminds me that the time we have in our lives is so limited. It's so important that we do the most excellent things with the time we're given. We don't know when our lives will end. I don't know about you, but I still have a lot to do with my life! :)  

Live today to its fullest!

-Ashley

Places of Worship

Remember the post from the other day about the Golden Temple and the men and women who walked miles to visit it? Well, if you don't remember what the Golden Temple looked like from other posts, can you see it below: 

Canon 5D Mark II, 85mm f/1.8  |  f/2.2, 1/100 sec, ISO-1600

Canon 5D Mark II, 85mm f/1.8  |  f/2.2, 1/100 sec, ISO-1600

It's pretty amazing in pictures and up, close and personal. You can see how much it glows from the reflection in the water. We didn't walk into the temple--it had a very large line and crowd. We decided to peruse the sidewalk that surrounded the temple and observed the people around us. It was interesting being a bystander!

Places of worship intrigue me. They can be ornate (like the Golden Temple) or as simple as a room in a home with no decorations at all. What people define as worship is also an interesting idea that I'd like to explore further one day, especially cross-culturally or between the East and West. I think I'd find many interesting answers!

Hope you're enjoying "The Week of Reflections"! More to come soon.

-Ashley