Sun Burst through an Old Oak Tree


Sun Burst Oak Tree © 2014 Bo Mackison

“Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right…

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes…

~ George Harrison, lyrics

Winter Speaks – A Slow Day, Take it Easy Day

Oak Leaves and Snow

Oak Leaves and Snow © 2013 Bo Mackison

The first full day of winter. It’s a winter speak day. Snow falls, softens the landscape, all mounds and drifting sculptures. Skeletal trunks poke from the showy hillocks. A few trees, the oaks, sport crinkly brown leaves, the accent color in all the white. Pastel blue skies peek from cloud cover. Even the streets and sidewalks have a glaze of glitter.

Winter speaks in hushed tones today, the snow muffles the sounds of bustling human activity. A slow down, take it easy day.

The Whisper of Life

Heritage Tree

Heritage Oak Tree © 2013 Bo Mackison

The following quote is about writing, but it seems, with a few adaptations, to also apply to the art of photography as I practice it.

Writing provides a way to make sense of the puzzling wild beautiful moments our lives keep delivering to us. Here whispers Life. Figure this out. Offering us psychic space, privacy, and slowness in a rushed and noisy world, . . . gives us a chance to tell our secrets, voice our own perceptions.  ~ from “Getting Lost” in Island of Bones by Joy Castro

Making photographs also provides me with a way of making sense of my wild beautiful life. It slows me down in the rushed and noisy world, gives me permission to be myself. Whispers secrets of life to me.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC.  She is looking around, seeing what there is to see.

The Mighty Oak

Owen Park

Oak Tree ©2012 Bo Mackison

In creating, the only hard thing is to begin: a grass blade’s no easier to make than an oak. ~ James Russell Lowell

I returned from a photography conference a week ago. The conference was all that I had expected, and more. The workshops were on presentation techniques and the creation of fine art pieces. There was a printing symposium and narratives from photographers who set their focus on long-term creative goals and who, after years of planning and work, realized completed art. There were gallery walks, visiting photography galleries in the Loop. And a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Photography – cutting edge works of photographic based art.

I came home with my head filled with new ideas, new techniques, and a view of a world I had barely known existed. During my first week back home, I thought about the workshops, re-copied some of my illegible notes, checked out websites and blogs from several recommended lists from various workshop leaders. I began to dream of big projects, new paths to follow, finished photography projects that were all shiny and new and so promising.

Then, the everyday world crept back in. There were house shoots to schedule for a bread and breakfast company I do contract work for. There was an art festival to get ready for – check inventory, make out orders for frame parts and glass, print some of my newer photographs for framing. There was Hurricane Sandy to keep an eye on, keeping a long distance watch on my people on the East Coast and inland.

And those dreams that were so vivid and exciting became less so in the responsibilities of the every day.

Except. I am not going to relegate the thrill of the new to a week of living it, and then a week of dreaming about it. If I want to keep the new ideas awake in my head, if I want to try some new creative techniques, if I want to start a long-term project with a completion date, then I need to schedule time on a consistent basis.

And what is this time for? It is time to consider, investigate, dream. To experiment, study, make mistakes, and do again. To live and work on my dream while doing the everyday thing, too.

I have dreams. The dreams are re-forming into goals with baby steps. The baby steps will turn into big steps, and occasional leaps. I have scheduled time into my daily calendar.

This is the time to say yes to big ideas, new ideas, and see where they lead…


Bo Mackison is a photographer and the owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. She is holding tightly onto new dreams and hopes and goals, while wondering how far she can go…

Memorial Day Tribute

Memorial Day Tribute at Courthouse

Memorial Day Tribute at Old Courthouse © 2012 Bo Mackison

 Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong. ~ James Bryce

Memorial Day 2012.

Sherpa and I had a fair amount of driving time scheduled for this holiday weekend. Wisconsin to Iowa to Missouri to Illinois, and then across Illinois from the farthest city on the western border of Illinois, through the heart of the state,  a swing to Milwaukee before finally heading home to Madison – where we collapsed in a heap of tired bones and weary minds.

We accomplished a huge number of things, including several family events that were celebratory. And as is now my habit while traveling and collecting large numbers of miles on the odometer, I kept my big camera in the back seat, snug in its camera bag, and photographed whatever caught my eye with my iPhone.

We took a detour off the interstate, mid-Illinois, after half a day of swerving through holiday traffic, and followed the scenic road along the Illinois River from Dixon (childhood home of Ronald Reagan) to Rockford. As we passed through Dixon, we noticed a display of flags on the old Courthouse lawn. Needing to stretch anyway, we got out and walked around the Courthouse Square.

There was a temporary tribute for Memorial Day entitled “Lest We Forget” and I took a few photos. Each cross or star represented a soldier killed in war from the Dixon area.

Dixon Illinois - Huge Oak on Courthouse Lawn

Dixon Illinois - Huge Oak on Courthouse Lawn © 2012 Bo Mackison

As we walked back to the car, I noticed a truly gigantic oak on the southern side of the Courthouse. I am not experienced enough to give a guess at the age of this tree, but I could not reach my arms around it and touch my fingers together.

I wondered how old this tree was, and how it looked at different periods of history.

Would it have been a young sapling during the Civil War? Probably, as the courthouse was built in the 1850s. Surely it was tall and provided a comforting shade during the hot summers throughout World War I, and has continued to do so these many years.

I saluted this giant oak as I left the square, witness to over a century and a half of history.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC.