Friday, April 19, 2019


honorable mention: conceptual photography, amateur division

Fine Art Photography Awards (FAPA) recently announced the winners of their 5th annual photography competition. They hold competitions in 20 different categories, both for professionals and amateurs.

I entered 5 images from my "Stroke of Emotions" series into the conceptual category in the amateur division. I was thrilled to discover that I received an honorable mention! Did I say thrilled? That doesn't adequately describe my feelings. There were 4100 entries from 87 countries around the world for these awards.

Here is a link to my page on the FAPA site listing my entry as a nominee:

Here is a link to the conceptual category in the amateur division:

And here is a link to the full winners' gallery:

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

the frustration of labels

Cover Me by Sara Harley
Cover Me
Photography means different things to different people. Like many other groups of people, photographers seem to need to label themselves and others.
When someone asks me what kind of photographs I like to take, I often find myself unable to define what I do. My photography has evolved in the past ten years and many people don't consider what I do to fall under the label of photography at all.
I still make images that are relatively untouched by post processing. But more and more I find myself enthralled by creating images using a combination of photographs.
I was compiling a selection of images of windows that I have taken over the past several years.Then I was inspired to create this image using three different photographs....a moth taken in 2012, lacy curtains from 2018, and a rainy window taken in March 2019.
Some people refer to this as photo manipulation, or photographic art. Whatever label it falls under,I enjoy the creative process.
Did you spot the moth right away? I find myself more and more attracted to images that take some time to appreciate. In this case, perhaps you looked at the image, then the title, and then took a closer look at the image and found the moth.
Or maybe you saw something completely different. That, to me, is the beauty of photography. We all see things in our own way.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

the promise of spring

Winter's Last Standy by Sara Harley
Winter's Last Stand
Winters in Nova Scotia are a roller coaster of temperatures. The worst thing about this winter has been the freeze/thaw cycle but all in all it hasn't been that bad. We haven't been whacked with a big snow fall....until the night before I took this photograph...shadows of dried hydrangea flower heads.

We received about 12 inches of snow, but it was light and fluffy and lovely. And it was especially nice because I didn't have to shovel it this time! I decided it was worthy of our snow plow guy to come and move it.

Late in the afternoon the outdoors beckoned and it was just above freezing so I put on my woolies and took the dogs out into the back yard. I pulled out a bench and sat in the rays of the setting sun. We live in a busy area of town, but it was quiet and the only traffic noise was in the distance.

I watched as the occasional breeze sent bursts of snow scattering from the limbs of the trees in the park behind us.

I listened to a woodpecker hard at work somewhere in the woods.

I felt the tiniest bit of warmth in the sun, the promise that spring will arrive.

And I could smell the faintest whiff of roast chicken coming from the house.

It was time to go back inside with the promise of spring in my heart. 

Update: That feeling has been tested lately. We received 2 days of snowfall in April and it seems like spring is a long way away. 

Friday, March 1, 2019

the colour orange

Oranges by Sara Harley
Inspiration comes to me in many ways. When I'm out walking with a camera, I can be inspired by very simple things. Over the years, I have found myself becoming more interested in details than in the "big picture". 

But I don't always have to be out with my camera to get inspired.

A few weeks ago, a blogger friend (Helen Eaton from Word Weaver Art) posted a painting of oranges she created. They looked quite tasty, but the painting struck a totally different chord with me.
Oranges Still Life 2 by Helen Eaton
Oranges Still Life 2 by Helen Eaton -
The colour orange always reminds me of my mom. She passed away from breast cancer when I was just 21 but still....over 35 years later....the colour orange makes me think of her. Our home was filled with orange pottery vases, a focal wall in the kitchen filled with orange poppy covered wallpaper, orange shag carpet in our tv room, an orange coat she used to wear, she even painted our outside stairs orange :)

Today we had sunshine that was casting shadows through one of our windows so I decided to create my own image of oranges. I pulled out a small tablecloth that my mom used to use when setting up a table for bridge. I've moved it from home to home over the years but have never once used it but it seemed the appropriate time. I put everything on a chair and used a piece of blue bristol board for the backdrop.

Unfortunately, I didn't love the base of the bowl in the original photograph. I didn't pay attention to the angle and only two stones were showing which made the whole thing feel wonky to me. If you compare the photo below to the one at the beginning of the post, you can tell me whether you agree or not.
original photograph that I look at both, I kind of like the original photograph. Food for thought (lol).

There is a reason I've been cropping the photos to squares, but I won't go into that now.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Window View

Window View by Sara Harley
Window View

brick by brick
I have built
these walls
offering a glimpse
for those willing
to see

I created this image & verse last year, part of the series I called "Differentiation". (more on this series below)

Our photo club is having a group exhibit this  April. I think I will be showing this image as my contribution. As part of the submission, I am required to write a 100 word (maximum) "story" about the image.

As I ponder just what exactly to write about, I gave some thought to why I find windows so intriguing.  

Several years ago I took a creative photography course. This involved assignments and we had to take in two printed images for evaluation during every session. After a few sessions, another participant turned to me and said "you have a thing for windows". Well, yes I do. I spent many years recycling old wooden windows, adding stained glass, and selling them. Now I just take photographs of windows that I find interesting.

But there is something more about this image that I need to find the words to describe.  I have to send in my "story" by March 9th.

Does the image say anything to you?

To create the final image, I removed objects from the two side windows and took away reflections of hydro wires. I also added a subtle texture layer which you can see in the windows if you look closely. Here is the original photograph:
original photograph

About Differentiation:

Differentiation is the series I created in 2018 and continues the theme of emotional healing by creating photographic art paired with verse. There are over 30 images in this series, varying from dark and brooding to light and inspirational.