Back to Life

Recognize this skyline? I’ll give you a minute to look at it closely…


Off to the left is the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower). You might recognize a few other building profiles. In the front is Lake Michigan. Got it yet?

Here’s another clue…


A city trapped in the reflection of the Cloud Gate, aka The Bean in Millenium Park. Now do you know it?

It’s Chicago.

Yeah, we just got back from a couple of weeks away from home in Chicago and various parts of Wisconsin. Chicago was a side trip, a short family vacation with just the three of us before we headed to Wisconsin for family visits and reunions. A time for taking a stroll down memory lane while making some new memories. Explaining to my son who everyone was and how they were related to us… over and over and over again. His head is swimming with first cousins once-removed, second cousins, great aunts and uncles. (To be honest, my head is swimming a bit too.)

So here I am this morning, back at home and trying to figure out where to start. Where and how I want to dive back to real life. We’ve got the dog to pick up from the kennel and library books to return. Shopping to do and mail to sort through. Oh yeah, and work, I have to be there today too.

I decided to start with laundry, and downloading my photos. You can’t go wrong with either of those. And saying hi here… I’m back! I missed you all! I’ll share more with you soon.

Photo-Heart Connection: January

Peace. Tranquility. Mystery.

That’s what I was drawn to this month.


And simplicity. The space and subtle texture in this image calls to me. I want to reside in that expanse of peaceful blue-green.

Sit a while, this says to me. Be still. Breathe deep. Watch the ripples, notice the beauty reflected. Let the busy-ness of life frame the edges but not touch the stillness of the center.

I can return to this place of peace and quiet, anytime I need to. It is always here for me.

Ah, what a beautiful message to receive as I end this crazy week! It was interesting to see the peace and simplicity I was so clearly drawn to in my images, as I sat down to find my Photo-Heart Connection this morning. This image reminds me that peace is always available to me. I’ve been trying to keep in touch with this place all week, but wasn’t quite where I wanted to be. I have room to grow, more to learn, on staying balanced and centered. But I have help, in my art, in images of peace like this one.

I think I will print this image out and keep it around to remind me of this message. Maybe even put some words on it, “Be still. Breathe deep.” I will give away a print of this image, with or without words, to one of the people who link in to the Photo-Heart Connection this month. It feels right, to share it. To spread the peace.


What is your Photo-Heart Connection this month? What do you find when you open your eyes and your heart to the subtle messages in your photographs? I look forward to visiting you, to find out. Reading your discoveries always bring me back to this beautiful place of stillness and peace as well.

Photo-Heart Connection: November

There is a sense of Emerging.

Moving from one place to another.


Coming from a place of certainty. Knowledge. Moving toward something new.

And at the point of Emerging, there is clarity. I see the detail of the moment. I see behind me, my journey to this point.

I cannot see the future, still. It is murky. But it doesn’t matter.

What matters is here. Now. This clarity, at the moment of Emerging.

This image wraps up my month. It has been an month of intense self-reflection. Of looking back to see where I am now. You may not believe it, but almost a year and half after moving back from Italy, I finally feel here. I am in this moment, in this place, settled. Emerging from my past into the new. This has been coming out in my home, in my art, and in my plans for the next year. My craziness in September and October was like holding my breath and powering through. November was a release of long held breath. Breathing deeply, sitting quietly and finding clarity. Emerging seems to be the perfect word.

What did November bring for you? What came out in your Photo-Heart Connection this month? I look forward to reading your experience this month. The linky is open through December 7.

And don’t forget about my invitation to write a guest post on your experience with the Photo-Heart Connection! If you want to participate, they are due December 15. I haven’t received any yet, so you have an excellent chance of being chosen. :) You can find all of the details in last month’s post here.

Beyond “Hobby”

What do you call an interest that goes beyond “hobby?” When it becomes something that seems essential to your expression? When it’s a part of who you are? I’m trying to find the right word to use for my love of photography. The word I want is definitely not “hobby.” To me, that implies a side interest, something you do to fill your time. OK, I do that, but it’s become more to me than that.

Yesterday I met up with friend who was interested in learning more about my prints and how I was doing them. As we sat and chatted about what we were both up to, she used the word “hobby” for what I was doing and then kind of looked at me askance, as if she knew that didn’t fit either. I chuckled and tried to come up with a word for it, and I couldn’t.

I don’t have a word for what it is I’m doing with photography, and why. It’s as if it’s become an essential form of expression. I could stop teaching, if I had to. I could stop blogging, if you made me. But I don’t think I can stop photographing. Even if I had no one to share them with, I would still create photographs. It’s how I see and experience the world. It’s how I learn about myself. It feeds me energy and brings me joy. No matter what I try to do differently, even this whole mobile photography/digital painting thing I’ve got going on, it comes back to the essential element of the photograph.

Maybe I’m really just learning what it means to be an artist. I remember last year, listening to an artist talk about his journey and how, in his younger days, he was desperate to paint. Even when he had no money for materials, he found ways to paint. He had to, he said. He couldn’t stop it. I remember thinking, “Wow, that’s intense. I don’t feel that way.” But now I wonder if I’m starting to. If I already do.

Maybe being an artist, deep down in our soul, means not just that we do create, but that we need to create. That we can’t help it, can’t stop ourselves. There is something about photography that’s put it’s hooks into my heart and soul, and I can’t get away from it. Regardless of what else I explore, it always comes back to this for me.

So can you help me out? What’s the word I’m looking for, for this thing I’m experiencing? Because it’s way beyond “hobby” and I would like to put a word to it, if one exists.

There are several things going on I don’t want you to miss:

  • Today is the last day to enter for the Spark & Inspire eBook giveaway. You can enter by leaving a comment on this blog post.
  • Today is also the last day to link in to Exploring with a Camera: Chiaroscuro. Have you seen the gorgeous work that has been shared this month? Wow! Be sure to visit the links to see what your fellow photographers are creating with dramatic light.
  • The November Photo-Heart Connection link up opens tomorrow! What does your heart have to say this month? It’s time to find out. See you tomorrow!

Photo-Heart Connection: October

Who am I?

I don’t recognize my reflection here. That’s me, but not the me I know.

There is something different. Different in the silhouette, different in the frame. I love it. I fear it.

Gah. Change. Why is it so fun and exciting, yet so hard at the same time?

I love this new direction in my photography. I love the painterly mood and emotion that I am evoking in my images. Within myself. It’s not about perfect focus or the place I am right now, but the feeling. The impressions of light and shadow and color and how they convey a sentiment beyond what is physically there.

Yet I am scared, too.

Scared because I thought I had myself all figured out as an artist and this is so radically different. I don’t know where this will lead. I’m not sure how it all fits together within my self. Within my heart and soul.

Exciting. Scary. The raw material for a period of growth. I don’t know who I am at the moment, but I’m moving ahead anyway. I will continue to reflect, and figure out how the pieces fit as I go along. Learn to recognize myself again.

This month I’ve been exploring some new directions with my photography, and it turns out the top images for my Photo-Heart Connection were all painterly in feel. Whether from my mobile camera or from my dSLR camera, these were the ones that called to my soul. I’ve always thought my painting and my photography would come together someday. I just never thought it would be like it’s happening right now. I’m reveling in the excitement but also stunned at the fear that it’s evoking in me. The questions. The rules and the “shoulds” it’s revealing, about my art and who I am as an artist.

I didn’t want to do the Photo-Heart Connection this month. I was really resistant. I think, deep down inside, I didn’t want to face my fears. But that’s what the Photo-Heart Connection does. It cracks you open and lays you out for the messages your heart has for you. It’s a powerful thing.

For that reason, I’d like to do a series of guest posts at the end of the year. I want to hear how the Photo-Heart Connection has impacted you this year. How did you approach this monthly practice? How has it fed your personal growth? Has it changed your photography? I would like to know, and I think others would too. We learn from each other, in this community of kindred spirits. Here are the submission guidelines:

  • To be eligible, you must have participated in the Photo-Heart Connection at least 3 times throughout the year.
  • Write an original (unpublished) piece about how the Photo-Heart Connection has impacted you this year. Length is up to you. Use as short or as long as you need to communicate your experience.
  • Send it to me by December 15 at kat [at] kateyestudio [dot] com.
  • Include a few of the images you selected from your Photo-Heart Connection practice this year, and a 2-3 line bio with links to your blog/site/social media.

I plan to select 5 to 6 posts from the submissions and will let you know by 20 December if you are selected. I hope you will consider participating. I’ve found the Photo-Heart Connection practice to be powerful and I know, from reading your posts each month, that many of you do too.

So what’s your Photo-Heart Connection for October? It’s time to share with us here. Link up remains open through November 7.

The Journey Continues

Camera. Italy. Me.

These things together may not have been the very start of my creative journey, but they certainly were the things that launched me high speed down the path. Somehow in the last few days I came across this photo in my archives and my heart leapt. There it is, laid out in a picture… cameras, Italia and me. Taken in the Alinari Museum of Photography in Florence in 2011, somehow this image speaks volumes to me about my time in Italy. My creative journey with the camera.

I’ve been back from Italy for over a year and my journey with the camera continues. The Corvallis Fall Festival this weekend was another step along the way. It was a successful weekend for me. Not just in sales (although that part went surprisingly well), but in learning, in getting to know my fellow members of the PhotoArts Guild, and in pushing through my fears of having my work “out there” in the public.

I learned a ton… preparing my photographs for sale, how to set up a booth, different ways of display… the list will continue on. While this was my first year participating in the PhotoArts Guild booth, for the four other photographers it was their second year. They had learned a lot and made substantial improvements to the booth to make it bright, open and accessible. Not bad for what could be begged, borrowed and bought used! We were also lucky to have beautiful weather the whole weekend, which always helps a festival like this.

I also learned that you cannot predict the public reaction to anything. There were certain photos that many people would spend a long time studying, but no one ever bought them. There were photos that generated a lot of interest in the form of conversation and questions, but no one ever bought them. In previous years, cards were the big money maker they told me, but this year fewer cards were sold and more prints were sold. Go figure.

So, how do you know what people want? You don’t. How do you predict and prepare? I’m not sure you can, other than to have a variety of options to offer. Sometimes people come to the festival with an agenda, something specific they are searching for. Sometimes people come to the festival as a way to get out and do something for the weekend, with no intent to buy. Sometimes people connect with the art you have to offer, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they have money to spend, sometimes they don’t. Responses to art are subjective. There are too many variables to predict an outcome.

After all of this, you are probably wondering: Will I do it again? Yes. It’s the next step on my journey. And now that I’ve taken the first step, gotten over the initial fears and investment, I’ll continue to move forward down this path to see where it leads. Not at a sprint, mind you, but at the pace that works for me. It was fun!