Project Athena - Day 345 (Selfie-Care)

Every Experience Changes Us

Inspired by a recent post from Jasmine Iwaskiewicz, I took an inventory of what this back injury has brought and how I am changed.

I Am Changed After Experiencing:
10 days flat on my back
3 Journey processes
2 physical therapists
504 butt stretches
31 inversion treatments
2,641 tears
6 salt baths
8 pain pills
4 muscle relaxants
30 doses of THC/CBD tincture
16 therapeutic walks
24 hours of heat packs
26 hours of ice packs
1 electrical muscle stimulation treatment
11 chiropractor treatments
1 tube of Deep Blue
504 hamstring streches
84 at home physical therapy sessions
2 days of deep despair
3 major setbacks
45 days of gratitude for healing
504 quad stretches
1 Zeke bench press
1/2 Yogi bench press
3 Push Therapy sessions
152 "Rate you pain" answers
1 pedicure
Tender hugs and kisses from my boys
Financial gifts of love and support
Coffee with a friend
Sincere compassion and encouragement
A week long visit from my son
Genuine humility
Waves of shame, fear, unworthiness
Absolute dependency
Frustration beyond words
1452 grunts and moans
67 belly laughs
Calling on all angels and beings for help healing
Determination I didn't know was here
Self preservation strategies at their best and worst
Opening my entire being to ask for and receive help

At Home PT
Fujifilm X-E2 • Fuji XF18-135mm lens • 23.3mm • F/6.4 • 1.8s • ISO 400

Project Athena - Day 344 (Selfie-Care)


It's been ten steps forward and a few back each week as the healing process with my back continues. I almost didn't post today because I was feeling so depressed about the recent set-back. But alas, some part of me, whom I call Lara, insisted I do something to ease the pain and muscle tension. I chose a hot bath, which she lovingly prepared for me with with my favorite essential oils and some sea salt. Thank you honey.

The pain began to ease almost immediately. Then the inspiration for this weeks theme showed up. So, knowing it will be a week of self-care, here is the first shot. The pedicure was a Mother's Day gift to me from my Mom. I had never had one before last week. OMG!!! I loved it!

Candlelit Bath
Fujifilm X-E2 • Fuji XF18-135mm lens • 25.4mm • F/4 • 1/20s • ISO 3200

Project Athena - Day 343 (Bark)

Charred Bark

This tree trunk is a remnant of the High Park Wildfire (2012) that burned for nearly three weeks straight in the mountains West of Fort Collins. It was caused by a lightning strike and charred over 87,284 acres of mostly national forest land plus destroyed almost 300 homes. As I recall what it was like to wake up everyday to the smell of fire and heavy smoke hanging in the air, I am very thankful for all the rain we have had recently.

Charred Tree Trunk

Nikon D3200 • Nikon 55-200mm lens • 60mm • F/5.6 • 1/125s • ISO 160

Project Athena - Day 341 (Bark)

Walking Sticks

Over the years, Lara and I have collected many walking sticks on our wilderness adventures. We love to bring this precious cargo home with us with the intention of stripping down the bark, sanding the wood to a smooth surface, then coating them with a clear polyurethane to keep the distinct look of the aspen wood. (No trees are harmed in this process, I promise) We've made some really gorgeous walking sticks over the years and given them away as gifts. These days, we find that life moves at a very fast pace and sitting on the porch whittlin' somehow does not happen. I miss it.

These sticks will be nice and aged by the time they are turned into one of those  gorgeous walking sticks.

Walking Sticks

Fujifilm X-E2 • Fuji XF18-135mm lens • 29.3mm • F/5.6 • 1/70s • ISO 400

Project Athena - Day 339 (Bark)

Bark Included

Today has been awesome. I got to spend it with Nathan, my son, who is here visiting from Portland. We went to the Wild Animal Sanctuary and had a wonderful, relaxing stroll as we watched all the animals come out to enjoy the sunshine. This gorgeous tiger laying in the bark is a kind of a long stretch for the theme this week but time with Nate trumps the blog any day.

Tiger at Wild Animal Sanctuary

Fujifilm X-E2 • Fuji XF18-135mm lens • 135mm • F/7.1 • 1/90s • ISO 500

Project Athena - Day 337 (Bark)

I Might Be Barking up the Wrong Tree

I am down to my last three themes and while I know for sure what I want to shoot for the last two weeks, this week has me stumped, no pun intended. Tree bark is fascinating to me because of the variety of textures but I find myself throwing up my hands when it comes to the crazy weather these days. Plus, I am just not feeling this theme will keep my interest for an entire week. So, we'll see how it goes....I might change mid stream.

Weathered Tree Bark

Fujifilm X-E2 • Fuji XF18-135mm lens • 18mm • F/22 • 1/20s • ISO 400

Project Athena - Day 335 (Rocks)

Amethyst Rocks!

Amethyst is one of my favorite semi-precious stones. It's really the purple variety of Quartz. I have always found it to be a stone that soothes and calms my mind and my emotions. It also has a sobering quality to it, which may seem contradictory to its creative and passionate energy, but I find these opposing qualities work well together, especially when trying to be productive.

I have not yet purchased macro filters for my new camera lens so tonight's photo was taken using the new Fujifilm camera body, a lens adapter, and one of my older Nikon lenses with a x4 macro filter. Voila! Pretty pleased with the outcome.

Amethyst Close Up

Fujifilm X-E2 • Nikon 18-55mm lens • 55mm • F/8 • 1/8s • ISO 200 (Macro Filter)

Project Athena - Day 334 (Rocks)

Romancing the Stones

This Stonehenge looking structure is in north Fort Collins at a commercial landscape designer's walk through garden. It is truly one of my favorite places to shoot and a gorgeous gift in our community. I love walking  among the cut rocks that have been erected to display their raw beauty. Whoever owns this business, thank you for making it open to the public!!!

Rock Garden in Fort Collins, CO

Fujifilm X-E2 • Fuji XF18-135mm lens • 30mm • F/11 • 1/400s • ISO 400

Project Athena - Day 333 (Rocks)

Rockin' Spider Web

Today, I have gone from one extreme to the other in terms of physical pain and mental outlook. When I woke up this morning, I thought I was in for a really bad day. I grimaced as I rolled out of bed and my back locked up. But I managed to get up and get moving, stretched, soaked in some hot water and letting all the negative projections begin to fall away. I slowly started being very present to the moment and as I did, my body began to feel better. The pain began to subside.

A visit to the chiropractor today confirmed that there is positive shift taking place in my body and I am coming more into alignment and balance. By the end of the day, I was feeling truly pain free. This is the exact opposite of what I have been experiencing over the last 6 weeks. In fact, I was so excited about the lack of pain, that I went out to shoot this evening and totally forgot I had an appointment. Ooops.  Oh well. Feeling good happens! I needed to get out, despite the rainy weather, and feel excitement for life again. Whew, it's been awhile.

"Thank you body for healing and getting stronger! I am sorry for being so inpatient with you and all the criticism and doubt. I am done trying to figure out what went wrong with you. Instead, I am committed to strengthening your core, increasing your flexibility, and staying present to what you need in each moment. I love you"

Spider's Web in Rock Pile

Fujifilm X-E2 • Fuji XF18-135mm lens • 36mm • F/22 • 1/4s • ISO 400

Project Athena - Day 331 (Rocks)

Blast from the Past

I have been shooting rock pictures for a very long time. There is one place in particular where I have taken hundreds of photos over the years, but not since moving into digital. This huge rock field is in Medicine Bow National Forest, Wyoming. Honestly, I can't even begin to guess how massive this thing is because it goes for miles in one direction and is probably at least a mile wide in the other. I shot this picture in 2006 using my old Pentax ME. I just happen to have a digital file of it because when I had the film developed, I had the images put on a CD too. I can't wait to get up there this summer and shoot with my new equipment. One thing I noticed about this photo, aside from the film grain, is that my style has not really changed much.

Massive Boulder Field, Medicine Bow National Park, 2006

35mm Pentax ME

Project Athena - Day 329 (Metal)

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut

Lightening bolts and metal. Huh. I think I will shoot indoors today. I wanted to create a large "Pyramid O' Nuts" to photograph, with a reflection, but that turned out to be much harder than it sounds. After more than two dozen attempts to stack the nuts and position the light without the nuts falling over, I settled for a big "Pile O' Nuts and Bolts" and a different sort of texture photo. I am still gonna get that pyramid shot someday. All I need is a super strong magnetic tray that is perfectly flat.

Pile O' Nuts and Bolts

Fujifilm X-E2 • Fuji XF18-135mm lens • 135mm • F/9 • 1/7s • ISO 200

Project Athena - Day 328 (Metal)

Metal Umbrellas

I shot this image several weeks ago while on the CSU Campus. I was drawn to the shiny metal umbrellas, reflected in the metal framed windows. This is actually meant to be a "scouting shot" since the golden light was not quite there and I did not have my tripod. I am super excited to go back and take the this one again.

Court Yard at Lory Student Center, CSU Campus

Fujifilm X-E2 • Fuji XF18-135mm lens • 46.6mm • F/22 • 1/5s • ISO 200


Project Athena - Day 326 (Metal)


Copper is such an awesome element especially because it's atomic number is 29, my birthday! It's great for conducting heat or electricity and it's so soft and malleable. My favorite thing about copper though is when it corrodes or gets heated up, it turns amazing colors with on a sort of patina look.

I purchased this copper coil for the photo tonight thinking I could just return it to Home Depot when I am done. But now, I feel a creative project coming on. I have never worked with copper but what's the worst that can happen, eh?

Copper Coil

Fujifilm X-E2 • Fuji XF18-135mm lens • 116.10mm • F/9 • 1/12s • ISO 400