5th Annual Photo Alphabet – Part III

I is for iPhonography and Imagination

All in Green

All in Green © 2012 Bo Mackison

In just a few short years, taking photographs with a cell phone has become its own niche. iPhonography with a multitude of apps for in camera processing and post processing, can do amazing things. Photographs I never dreamed of creating can be created in just seconds. My imagination goes a bit wild when I start playing with my iPhone’s capabilities. I am less hesitant to explore and more open to the weird and unusual.

For me personally, iPhones and other smart phone cameras do not take the place of my more traditional camera gear. But my cell phone camera sure has one advantage that most other cameras do not have. It is always with me.

And the best camera in the world is the one that is with you when you want to take a photograph.

J is for Joy and Journal Writing

Road Trip - Joy Kansas

Joy, Kansas © 2012 Bo Mackison

At first glance, you might wonder what this photograph of a grain elevator taken on the wide open plains of middle America has to do with Joy and Journal Writing. But it is a real life example of the Joy I find from my daily practice of photography and journal writing.

The photo is a snippet from my travel log I wrote as I traveled across the United States. This grain elevator is in the tiny town of Joy, Kansas.  That may be important or it may not be. But it is a part of my life, a part that I took time to document. I don’t write down everything nor do I take photos of most places. But I document enough about the daily bits of my day-to-day activities.

Here’s why this brings me such Joy. When I return to the notations in my journal, re-read a passage, look through the sketches I crudely drew in the margins, find a ticket stub or a pamphlet describing a sightseeing treat, I instantly re-create memories of that time in my life. They may seem trivial, but they are moments I have lived.

And I love being able to open a journal or a set of photographs and get transported back in time. So much is so easily forgotten. The things I often read about I would never remember without these memory jogs. They may be important only to me, but that is enough. More than enough.

K is for Knowledge and Keys.

Locked Gate

Gate without a Key © 2011 Bo Mackison

I once lived for a while in a place where there were locks, but no keys.

I spent many hours of ‘most every day holed up in a corner of a library, in a room of a thousands books, but it offered none of the knowledge I sought.

Then I went out into the world, far away from what was safe, comfortable, known.

And there I found myself – uncertain yet hopeful, silent yet filled with song. And the sun warmed me and I walked the earth and I gave thanks.

L is for Labyrinth.

Garden Maze

Garden Labyrinth © 2011 Bo Mackison

Have you ever walked a labyrinth? The kind where, once you begin, you follow along, around and back, and come to the center, where you can stand awhile or continue on and finally you come out at the end which is next to the beginning, and there is no way, when you follow the lines, that you can do it wrong or get lost or bump into some one else.

There is a pace and that pace has a peace. Not at all like real life, though to me it feels exactly like real life.

M is for Meditating, Mindfulness, and the Muse.


Meditating…© 2012 Bo Mackison

I love this photograph. I took it while I was walking along a park in New york City, a park resurrected from an abandoned railway corridor called the High Line. Usually the park is crowded with people – walking, enjoying the art installations or sampling the food from vendors. Maybe watching a dance troupe or dancing to a jazz trio. But early on this cool June morning, with threats of rain in the forecast, the park was nearly deserted.

It was the perfect place to sit for a while, absorb the beauty of the natural plants growing amidst the tracks and seating spaces. I wasn’t the only person in the park who was doing some slow work while the city bustled around us.

Meditation, even for twenty minutes or a half hour, has become a daily part of my morning. It sets my internal thermostat at an even temperature, and helps me prepare for the rest of the day. Doing meditation coupled with a mindfulness practice during the day not only slows me down so I can get my work done, it also makes room for my muse to visit with amazing frequency.

Less pressure, more ideas, more creative energy.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and the owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. Part IV of the 5th Annual Photo Alphabet continues with Nature thru Quest.

Starry Earth Garden

Olbrich in Autumn

A Starry Earth Garden ©2012 Bo Mackison

So plant your garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers. ~ Anon


Bo Mackison is a photographer and the owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. Bo appreciates these smallest of starry green wonders in the midst of November gray.

The Trees Speak of Connection

Olbrich Autumn Wonders - A World of Yellows

World in Yellow ©2012 Bo Mackison

Know that the tree is not just the form, it is not just a certain species the botanists’ talk about, it is an unknown god – so green in your courtyard, so close to you, beckoning you, calling you again and again. ~ Osho

My Connection to Nature

I often think that trees are the finest species on this earth. I love photographing flowers, grasses, natural landscapes. But there is something about the trees. In my part of the world, I am never far from some type of tree. There are usually a few trees in every yard, and large stands of trees in whatever direction I head from my home.

Grounded in the earth, they often stretch a hundred feet high, their tops surrounded only by sky when I peer at their crowns. I like being able to reach out my hand, rest my palm on the trunk of a tree, and feel a deep sense of connection to nature.

And I am happy that there are trees not only in my yard, and in my community, but I am also happy that there are trees even in downtown Chicago. I’ll be in Chicago next week. And I’ll be noticing the trees that grow there, even in the midst of a crowded metropolis.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and the owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. Yesterday she finished the printing of two sets of fine art photography and today she is putting the final touches on the two portfolios.

She is attending the Filter Festival in Chicago the week of October 15. Workshops, lecture series, gallery walks, portfolio reviews, and much more. Opportunity awaits.

Pink Queen Anne’s Lace – August’s Photo-Heart Connection

Pink Queen Anne's Lace

Pink Queen Anne’s Lace ©2012 Bo Mackison

In the right light,
at the right time,
everything is extraordinary.
~ Aaron Rice

When asked the question “What kind of photographs do you take?” I usually respond with the same answer.

“Mostly macro-botanicals,” I reply.

When I get a questioning look, I explain further. “Close-ups of flowers and plants.”

And macro-botanical photographs are what I mostly exhibit at Art Festivals. As patrons enter my show booth, they tell me they feel as if they are entering a huge flower garden. There are that many large macro-photographs of flowers hanging on the walls.

I spend lots of time photographing flowers, too. Each week I spend three or four days visiting and taking photographs in the botanical and horticultural gardens near my home. When I travel, I search for the locations of the nearest gardens and I try to schedule time for a visit. Yes, I photograph macro-botanicals!

So you would think when it is time for me to choose a Photo-Heart Connection photograph at the beginning of each month, I would naturally pick a macro-botanical. Not so. Today I realized that this is the first time in 2012 that I have picked a flower photo.

So. Why did I choose this photograph of Queen Anne’s Lace? I loved the colors. It is unusual to see Queen Anne’s Lace this color — they are usually white with perhaps a touch of pink. But this small stand of QAL was bright pink. And I loved how the rising sun shone on this roadside weed and turned it into a glowing, dew-drenched beauty. And I loved that I took this photo while I was on a long weekend with my husband in one of our favorite places in Wisconsin – Door County, a peninsula that juts out into the waters of Lake Michigan.

Three good reasons. Color. Light. Memories. Perfect for August’s photo-heart connection.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. During the first week of each month, she re-visits photographs she’s taken the previous month, searching for that month’s photo-heart-connection photo. Bo is always quite thrilled when that special photograph finds her.

Dahlia and the Gift of Wonder

Dahlia and Bud

Dahlia and Bud © 2012 Bo Mackison

Wonder is the heaviest element on the periodic table. Even a tiny fleck of it stops time. ~ Diane Ackerman

Have you ever been walking in a garden, or a woods, or a desert – anywhere, really, surrounded by the natural world – and suddenly stopped, unable to take another step until you took the time to absorb the many sensations of that exact place?

That sudden stop – it happens to me frequently. Even when I hurry myself along, reminding myself that I only have time for a twenty-minute walk, I am unable to push through, to ignore. I simply must stop.

To do what? Gaze with wonder at a flower, or the pattern and colors of bark on a tree, or the lapping of the waves of Lake Michigan, or the intricate web of a spider…

Wonder. Yes. For me, wonder is a definite time stopper.

What a gift that is – priceless – the ability to totally focus on one small part of the world, on one small part of nature. To see it, truly see it. The dahlia petals, each in place, each twisted into a slightly asymmetrical cone, each petal packed tighter as the rows get closer to the center.

And the pattern on each petal?  Not a single one the same. They are like a snowflake or a fingerprint – each one unique. So much to look at, to explore with my senses. I hold onto these memories for another time, when I am without a flower or a garden or perhaps without any time or place for a walk.

Wonder stops time for me. Does it stop time for you?


Bo Mackison is a photographer and the owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. Bo has learned one thing from ‘walking with wonder’ – if she wants to walk for exercise she either needs to wear blinders, walk with a friend, or walk inside where she can ignore the distractions!