Happy New Year – And The Winner Is…

Special thanks to all who participated in our 2015 Photoremedy Image of the Year Poll. As always, we had a lot of fun with it and we recorded the second highest number of votes in the five year history of the contest. As the contest rolled on, two images jumped out to an early lead and frequently jockeyed for the lead.

In the end, the Fall City fall foliage image pulled away from Houmas House plantation and recorded the win. In a Facebook comment, one of my Arizona friends may have best explained why Fall City eventually recorded over 35-percent of the vote. Matt said, “These are both outstanding! The bottom one (Fall City) is prettier to me but the top one (Houmas) is more mysterious.”

Fall City, WA - 2015 Image of the Year

Fall City, WA – 2015 Image of the Year

I’d like to give the incredibly humble photographer all of the credit for this image, but the truth of the matter is I happened to be in Fall City on the perfect fall day. I guess this proves, once again, how important timing and the recognition of beauty are in stimulating the process of taking (and making) great images.

Here’s to making 2016 the best year of our lives. May all of us recognize what is beautiful in our lives and may we make the most of what our good and gracious Lord provides. Cheers!

Photoremedy is primarily based on the role that photography has played in helping me combat ongoing chronic pain issues that stem from my degenerative cervical and lumbar spine challenges and severe psoriatic arthritis. It is designed to encourage others fighting chronic pain (and other illnesses) to consider pursuing the benefits associated with moving their minds from the pain in their lives to the beauty that surrounds them. It’s important to note that many of the photos I take and develop frequently blur the lines between traditional art and contemporary photography, much as art therapy often blurs the lines between traditional and alternative forms of medicine.

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Farewell Seattle?

Lake Union - Seattle, Washington

Lake Union – Seattle, Washington

Over the past couple of years, Mary and I fell in love with the Seattle area. Our youngest son, Will, was there to complete his studies at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE). We were fortunate enough to visit him several times, and always took advantage of the opportunity while in the Seattle area to squeeze in ample amounts of photoremedy.

Will has now graduated and is back in Arizona and scheduled to open the doors to his new career in January.GarageDoors1jFeatured below are some of the Seattle area–photography and digital art–I’ve played around with this year.

Lake Union Area

Volunteer Park

Seattle Flowers (most are from the spectacular Volunteer Park Conservatory)

St. James Cathedral

Seattle Dining (photos from one of our favorites – Pasta Freska)

Fall City, Washington

Rural Washington

We don’t have any Seattle or Washington trips planned for the near future. I have a feeling, however, that it won’t be long before the seductive landscape, cerulean waters, unique dining, and magical fall forests call us back. And–yes–I’ll bring my camera!

Seattle Neighborhood

Seattle Neighborhood

Quail Ridge

The last RV park featured in our summer Verde Valley (area) series is, ironically, the first place Mary and I stayed with an RV. Quail Ridge–located near Dewey, AZ–promotes itself as ‘A beautiful, friendly and clean park – always 10-20 degrees cooler than Phoenix.’

It is good to note we concluded Quail Ridge believes in truth in marketing. Not only was it beautiful and clean, the park operators recognized we were ‘newbies’ and spent considerable time helping us to set everything up correctly. From Quail Ridge, we could visit all of the other destinations and attractions featured in this series. It is more closely located to Prescott than the others; we made a rainy day trip there to visit the highly regarded Thumb Butte Distillery.

Visiting area farms and farmers markets is another awesome Verde Valley day trip option for those staying at Quail Ridge and other nearby RV parks. Mary and I were particularly fond of the sweet corn.

Verde Valley, Arizona

Verde Valley, Arizona

One of our most pleasant surprises was Montezuma’s Well – featuring the well, historic ruins, springs, and beautiful walking trails. The well is often overshadowed by Montezuma’s Castle, but it is an equally breathtaking destination attraction.

We have lived in Arizona since 1993, yet we somehow managed to miss visiting many of the attractions and colorful locations featured in this series. I guess that proves there’s just as many reasons to going exploring (and pursuing photoremedy) near where you live as there are when on a vacation that takes you miles away from home.

 

Verde Valley Thousand Trails

As highlighted in our most recent post, Mary and I have spent a portion of the summer at three RV resorts that are located in cooler country about an hour north of our Anthem, AZ home. All of the attractions and scenery in this series can be easily accessed from any of the the three campgrounds, which are roughly located 20-30 miles from each other.

In this post, we focus on Verde Valley Thousand Trails.

From Thousand Trails, we targeted sightseeing and photoremedy in three primary areas.

Cottonwood, AZ

Sedona, AZ

Jerome, AZ

When our Arizona summer series continues, we’ll feature photoremedy from Camp Verde, Pine & Strawberry, and the farmer’s markets of the Verde Valley.

Photoremedy is primarily based on the role that photography has played in helping Greg W. Gilstrap attempt to combat ongoing chronic pain issues that stem from his degenerative cervical and lumbar spine challenges. It is designed to encourage others fighting chronic pain (and other illnesses) to consider pursuing the benefits associated with what is popularly known as art therapy. It’s important to note that many of the photos Greg takes and develops frequently blur the lines between traditional art and contemporary photography, much as art therapy often blurs the lines between traditional and alternative forms of medicine.

Louisiana Thingamabobs and Baton Rouge

Our long and winding Louisiana photoremedy tour–featuring photos collected during a short January trip to Cajun and Creole Country–winds down today with a quick look at the Baton Rouge area and with a hodgepodge collection of items that I affectionately call “thingamabobs.”thingamabob 3j

Baton Rouge, located on the Mississippi River in central Louisiana, is a college town full of bright colors, rich history, cool trees, and deep religious roots. I was able to capture a bit of this during our all-too-short trip through the city.

Corsair II Jet at the Louisiana Memorial Plaza

Corsair II Jet at the Louisiana Memorial Plaza

LSU Christ the King Church

LSU Christ the King Church

Our final collection for the Louisiana series features many of the colorful and interesting items–I affectionately call thingamabobs–captured when I zoomed in and took a closer look at items most people generally walk by without noticing. I’m not sure I’m using thingamabobs correctly, but it was how Mary and I referred to these items as we traveled along. We primarily used the word when I coaxed Mary into looking at photos on my Canon viewfinder. At this point, I’d say something like, “Hey, check out this thingamabob!” In this case, the focus of my thingamabob search was door-related items that, in a small–but significant–way, represented the color and culture of their communities.

thingamabob 5jI love “looking for thingamabobs-style photoremedy” because it always serves as a reminder of my belief that God does not overlook the little details that make each person, creation, and place special. How many potential thingamabobs can you find in the photo below?

Oak Alley Plantation - Vacherie, Louisiana

Oak Alley Plantation – Vacherie, Louisiana

We hope you enjoyed a few tales of our photoremedy Louisiana pursuits – Mary and I were thrilled to experience the bright colors, fiery spices, historic places, unique people, and unbridled fun so often featured in the Pelican State.

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Houmas House Plantation

Located along one of the many scenic Mississippi River curves south of Baton Rouge lies what is often referred to as the Crown Jewel of Louisiana’s River Road. The Houmas House Plantation and Gardens is a destination for both tourists and locals.

Houmas House Plantation and Gardens

Houmas House Plantation and Gardens

The one time sugar plantation, originally owned by the indigenous Houmas Indians when they were given a land grant to occupy the fertile plain between the river and Lake Maurepas to the north, now features a myriad of attributes that keep visitors coming (and coming back). On its grounds are an historic inn, beautiful gardens and statues, spectacular oaks trees, several themed restaurants, wedding amenities, guided tours, and motion picture history.

There are even rumors of a couple of ghostly spirits that have reportedly been witnessed by mature, sober adults.

Houmas House proved to be one of our top Louisiana photoremedy destinations. We didn’t encounter any ghosts, but we saw enough to understand why someone would want to return to this magnificent destination.Houmas House Dress 1j fap

Photoremedy is primarily based on the role that photography has played in helping Greg W. Gilstrap attempt to combat ongoing chronic pain issues that stem from his degenerative cervical and lumbar spine challenges. It is designed to encourage others fighting chronic pain (and other illnesses) to consider pursuing the benefits associated with what is popularly known as art therapy. It’s important to note that many of the photos Greg takes and develops frequently blur the lines between traditional art and contemporary photography, much as art therapy often blurs the lines between traditional and alternative forms of medicine.