The morning of my birthday, my uncle called and greeted me with, “Happy Birthday, Old Lady!”
I laughed and responded, “Half of me feels old and wants to stay in bed for the rest of the day. The other half feels quite young and wants to go ride my bike!” I don’t think he expected such a response. One full of life and vibrancy.
By the end of my birthday weekend, I realized I don’t feel old at all. I’m simply tired. Exhausted. The last two years have been spent working far too much and way too hard far out of reach of anything touching my comfort zone. I haven’t focused on joy or spent time enjoying myself at all. My only pleasure has been occasional visits to Lake Michigan to sit, reflect, meditate and take pictures. No walks. No bike rides. No friend time or conversations. Very little writing and journaling.
My birthday present to myself this year was to only do things I enjoyed doing. By birth day, I mean the month of August.
The month began with planning a weekend trip to New York City. I really wanted to visit my former home. Take pictures, fly my drone, walk through the City, ride through Central Park take in a Broadway show or two. Eat at a few of my favorite restaurants. Oh, how I miss NYC food! 😋 Anyway the cost of such a weekend, even as budget conscious as I am now, would have been what I need for a drywall order to finish walling the second floor of my rehab.
Then I remembered InvestFest is happening the same week in Atlanta. So, I pivoted my plans to ATL. About the same cost. And the only food I’m interested in is Dinosaur beef ribs, which my stomach can’t really process. I was willing to talk myself into the expense. I needed to get out. I need to network. I need to continue learning about investing. A work trip with some good food and possible opportunities looked and sounded good.
I got as far as comparing flights. Trying to figure out arrival and departure times stumped me. InvestFest was less than three weeks out and there was no agenda posted anywhere. I reached out via social media asking for an agenda and speaker schedule. Anything I could plan around to justify spending money needed for my biggest investment, my first gut-rehab, on a trip.
As I type, InvestFest starts in three days and there is still no agenda. No schedule. Just a glob of names on a post.
Having worked at a very senior level with executives for whom I planned many townhalls, conferences, and events, nothing happens without an agenda. When you want people to show up, they need to know what, when and who they are showing up for. And speakers are not signing on without locking in the time they are expected to speak. They could’ve shared the speaking time of each daily headliner. I could’ve worked with that.
Needless to say, I didn’t book the flights. As cash strapped as I am, my time is still too valuable to be sitting in someone’s convention hall hoping to hear a speaker I want to see, then having to leave right before they start.
I’m okay waiting for the YouTube uploads.
So that’s how the month started, wanting to get away from my current daily life to enjoy moments that have no connection to me.
The way the month is going is much preferred. I love the coupons and rewards retailers and venues send email and app subscribers. I structure my shopping, eating and entertainment accordingly. A whole month sprinkled with happy moments and good food.
A few years ago, I decided the day of my birthday would be for me only. It started off as a no travel day. Wherever I was, there I would be content with whatever the day brought. Celebrations with people were for before and after.
This year, my sister unexpectedly joined me. She was fresh out of the hospital and trying to speak to her on the phone was beyond aggravating. I was headed out for food and asked if she wanted to join me. She did. She showed up. She talked and opened up more than ever before. She shared some truths she’s never spoken on before. I was happy for the opportunity to have a whole conversation with her.
Shortly after dropping my sister off, I headed to Milwaukee Harbor to enjoy twilight. I took some very unsatisfying blurry selfies in the shadowy darkness. Sensing a challenge going night of photography, I drove around to a boat launch park for a view of the Hoan Bridge that I was standing behind while at the Harbor.
On the drive around the river bend, fireworks started blasting over the water. I must say, this was the second time in memory my birthday ended with fireworks. It’s quite the special feeling in mid-August. 🥰
I tried to get my drone up for aerial shots of the lit bridge with fireworks overhead, but the battery was nearly dead. My phone was on its last bars too, but I managed something to remember the day for.
All told, my forty-eighth birthday was deeply pleasing, satisfying, and full of love. I saw my sister and had a meaningful, lucid conversation with her. I spoke with an old friend. I enjoyed a favorite pastime at a favorite location. I shared plans for a future I hadn’t been able to plan for until last week.
My welcome and intro to Harvest Lifer on #Substack.
I’ve been trying to transition platforms, formats, and models for a while. I like the idea of Patreon and may still post and share rewards from there, but I don’t seem able to post long-form videos from my phone. Waiting to get home to my desktop will be the end of all sharing for me.
So, Substack is up for a try. Looks like I can also connect my fledgling Poscasters podcast to my Substack account which is great. We’ll see how posting audio and video to the two platforms blends with written and photo posts.
I will be uploading my email subscribers to both new accounts as I’m feeling confident these two may go a distance. There will be free and paid subscriptions. No pressure. Paid subscribers will qualify for digital and hard copies of selected images and books.
If you have any suggestions, I am open to hearing them.
I look forward to sharing more, more deeply.
Cheers and blessings,
PS: Please bear with me as I navigate and learn new platforms and connections.
T’is the season for photo and art walks in Miwaukee! I host art and sunset walks through Air BnB Experiences and Milwaukee365.com. Search Milwaukee Experiences on the sites to book. Locals and travelers are welcome.
Renee and Alex booked a Photo Walk Experience to kick off to their anniversary trip in Milwaukee. They arrived with questions, curiosity, creativity, and great energy! They learned how to adapt for lighting changes, change the mood of their images in camera, we worked on framing, perspective, angles and observing different environments within proximity of our focus subject. We all agree their upcoming week of vacation photos will be spectacular! 🥰
My @airbnbexperiences Photo Walks are back on the calendar. Search Milwaukee Experiences on @airbnb to book.
This year’s Juneteenth print series features monuments in Montgomery, Alabama and Chicago, Illinois.
For Freedom Day 2023 I wanted to feature the ancestors we have lost to the violence and hatred baked into the American way of life as well as visionaries intent on carving a way through the oppression for themselves and future generations across the American landscape.
Bryan Stevenson‘s Legacy Museum: From Slavery to Mass Incarceration andNational Monument of the Peace and Justice were top of mind and spirit this year. As was Chicago’s settler founder and Bronzeville.
We live in a time, culture and society that actively hates reality. The truth of the country’s beginning, its history, and present state is being erased, banned, rewritten and ignored. For this reason, I wanted to focus on words – names, cities, declarations. I wanted to share what’s already been said, what’s already known and seen and acknowledged. This year’s Juneteenth Series is about honoring and remembering not only our collective past but also our shared present.
Follow the links for more information on the people and places featured in the series.
Jars of Earth I features monument tablets and a wall inscription at The Legacy Museum: From Slavery to Mass Incarceration in Montgomery, Alabama. It is available as an 11×14 low-texture giclée print mounted (or not) on single-weight white foam and as a 5×7 silk print.
We Will Remember features monument tablets and a wall inscription at The National Memorial for Peace & Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. This image is available as an 11×14 low texture giclée print mounted (or not) on single-weight white foam and as a 5×7 silk print.
They Are All Honored Here features monument tablets and a wall inscription at The National Memorial for Peace & Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. It is available as an 11×14 low texture giclée print mounted (or not) on single-weight white foam and as a 5×7 silk print.
Johnson Publishing Company (JPC) Anchors Chicago Skyline (2015) displays the home of the cultural iconic magazines Ebony and JET magazines nearly straddling the meeting point of Bronzeville and Magnificent Mile on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue. It is available as a silk print in 5×7 and 10×20. Please allow 2-3 weeks for printing and shipping.
Du Sable on Potawatomi Land is a composite image of a bust of Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue overlooking a mural by Andrea Carlson on the Chicago River Walk stating “Bodéwadmikik ėthë yéyék” meaning “You are on Potawatomi Land.” Du Sable on Potawatomi Land is available as an 11×14 low texture giclée print mounted (or not) on single-weight black foam and as a 5×7 silk print.
My 2022 Juneteenth series featured composite images representing money, power and the slave trade. The images used for the composites were taken between 2009 and 2020 in Dallas, Milwaukee, New York, Tucson, and Washington DC. A NASA satellite image of the world at night is incorporated in The Crossing.
Black Women Stand Alone is a composite of a lone Black Woman sitting in front of the White House as a police officer approaches her. Barricades with signs reading *Do Not Enter* are barring her entry to the primary symbol of power in the United States of America. It is available as a 5×7 silk print and 11×14 giclée print.
The Crossing: Blood in the Water represents a mother & daughter holding hands across the Atlantic and generations. There’s blood enveloping a ship-like structure behind them that stretches from the African continent to the USA. It is available as a 5×7 silk and 11×14 giclée print.
If you haven’t heard of Pete Souza, look him up. I’ve been following him on Instagram since 2017 (according to the app). he’s a former presidential photographer who served Regan and Obama. Following the Obama Administration, Souza based himself in Madison, WI.
On his IG account he shares political images that function as commentary on cultural and historic American moments. However the post that has impacted me the most was a series titled, “The life of a tree, 2020” posted on December 20, 2020.
Though I’ve long done serial photography – returning to favorite spots for varying perspectives – I only thought of myself as an amateur developing my skills. After Pete’s post where he describes happening upon a tree and later realizing the tree was in multiple images, and then deciding to be intentional about a series, I decided to be intentional with a series highlighting my time in Milwaukee, WI.
Since returning to Milwaukee in Spring 2021, I’ve made it my business to enjoy the scenery with the changing seasons. Wherever you are, nature is breathtaking.
My first subject was a tree on Bradford Beach on Lake Michigan. The second and third spots became a lakefront tree line in Veterans Park and a tree-encircled lagoon that reflects the downtown skyline. The forth and most beloved spot is the Harbor Lighthouse. The Spillover II sculpture by Jaume Plensa in Atwater Park in Shorewood, WI enraptured me a year after the other locations. Though it’s a late entry to my intentional Milwaukee/Lake Michigan series the spot has delivered some stunning and introspective images. You can be certain there will be some Spillover II prints available soon.
Happy New Year! In 2023… May all your troubles meet their solutions May you be refreshed by grace May your joy be bountiful May peace envelope and insulate you May God bless my creative offerings and allow my works to enrich you and I For new content, subscribe toHarvest-Life.org
This summer, Harvest Life partnered with Visit Milwaukee, the convention and visitors bureau for Milwaukee, WI. On their Milwaukee 365 social calendar, Harvest Photo’s Photo Walks are available for booking.
After several unsuccessful attempts in both Arizona and Wisconsin, Harvest Photo finally got approved for AirBnB Experiences this summer as well.
When Experiences first became available, I proposed a desert walk and shoot on Dove Mountain in Marana, Arizona. I was hosting in my home at the time and thought it would be a great add-on experience for guests. Airbnb declined my proposed Experience, stating it was too much of a personal service. They wanted something that anyone could participate in in a group setting.
This summer I had two requests for Milwaukee photo shoots by travelers via Airbnb. I explained to both requesters that I had submitted photo experiences prior and why they were declined. The second requestor sent me screenshots from around the country of other photographers doing exactly what I had been asking to do. I sent links to those Experiences to Airbnb and asked what wording they required for my experience to be accepted. I basically plagiarized descriptions from other Experiences, resubmitted my experience, and was approved within 24 hrs.
I share this because I was discouraged. I wasn’t interested in resubmitting my proposal when the first traveler asked me for Airbnb booking info.
I had become so comfortable with rejection, I anticipated it. That hurts to say, as I hadn’t really thought about it like that before.
The Milwaukee Photo Walks have been well-received and I know this format is something I can do wherever I am in the world. That sparks my joy.
All this being said, it was certainly past time to update my Harvest Photo brochure from real estate to more personal offerings.
If you find yourself in Milwaukee, WI while I’m still roaming the city, feel free to look me up for a shoot or walking tour.
If you should encounter me in another city, I’m sure my offerings will be the same or similar. Look me up there.
Should you need a photographer for a life, community, or company event somewhere I am not, remember me. Travel is part of my lifestyle. Branding session needed? I got you!
Please view, like, and share my Harvest Photo brochure below.
Thank you all for your support in the visible, invisible, spoken, and unspoken ways. Though I must say, I respond far more eagerly to what I can see and hear. Feedback is fuel.
Upon my return to Milwaukee, WI in spring 2021, I began photographing several spots repeatedly. My intention was to capture as many seasons as I could while in town. It’s been well over a year now and I’ve entered a second cycle for this project.
In edition to capturing spaces at different times of the year, I captured different times of day and various weather conditions. I think it’s a lovely collection of work, but of course I’ biases.
My goal is to offer several as prints in the near future.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of hosting Rio and Rei for my Sunset Photo Walk Along Lake Michigan. Father and son are on a road trip from Washington DC to New Mexico. I’m so pleased they added my #airbnbexperience to their stop in #Milwaukee
Young Rei is into photography and got some great practice time with techniques and suggestions I shared with him.