Life in Lima and more–from Intensity Without Mastery’s Michelle Cole

It is my great honor to share this post, a collaboration between myself and Rebecca Moon Ruark at Rust Belt Girl. She asked me some questions that really helped me break through the lack of inspiration that’s plagued me lately. This is part one of a two-part series.

Rust Belt Girl

For my next two posts here at Rust Belt Girl, I am honored to present Michelle Cole, a fellow Ohio native, who blogs at Intensity Without Mastery. I first stumbled upon Michelle’s photographs of the city where she lives: Lima, Ohio. I have posted before about abandonment photography, or “ruin porn,” as leaving me cold. Michelle’s photography, on the other hand, struck me with its depth of feeling, and I knew I had to learn more about the woman behind the lens. She has agreed to guest post here at my blog, and I’m so grateful.

As Michelle will tell, life in Lima—like in many Rust Belt places—has seen its share of hard times: leaving and loss. There are also sweet spots.

Between her photographs and candid backstory, Intensity Without Mastery moves me with its intense truthfulness:

My life was a mess of attrition and despair…

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Yesterday’s Fall Photo Walk

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I hated winter until I learned that I needed it. I spent four winters away from Ohio, in places where a 45-degree dawn was hailed as the start to a frigid day.  Each winter away from the Snowbelt would begin with a feeling of escape from a harsh fate and end with a sense of impending madness. I needed the deep rest that only a classic, frosty winter can offer.

While winter has not arrived yet, the temperatures have been cold enough to suggest that it’s getting time to bring out the blankets and sweaters, that there is no time like the present to dust off the books you’ve been meaning to read. The time has also changed, so there’s not enough light to get much done outside before or after work.

I had hoped for sunshine yesterday, but the skies were also gathering a blanket against the cold. The temperatures hovered in the low 20’s during my photo walk. The oaks, with their russet tones, are reigning now. Just a few sweetgum trees are blazing red. Last the willows and Bradford pear trees will change color before all of the trees slip into their winter’s rest.

(This post is also my entry in the Weekly’s Photo Challenge’s theme of Temporary.)

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Fall Photo Walk, November 8

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I don’t feel equal to the task of choosing the best of the photos I took today. While some of them were duds, I really do like the majority of them. In honor of my indecision, I will share a Flickr photo album I made of every picture I took today.

There’s something very candid and vulnerable about sharing a camera roll. It’s like the unretouched swimsuit shot of a photographer’s creative process. It offers the good, bad, and mediocre of one day in my photography hobby. This album does randomize the order of the shots to prevent boredom for the viewer.

The sunshine was glorious today. Last week I was trying to get excited about taking pictures on cloudy days, but there’s nothing like a clear sky to deepen the color of everything,

I’d be honored if you visited my photo album.

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Garden, November 5

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Some of the flowers in my garden persist despite a few frosty nights. The weather has been too inhospitable for much deadheading or trimming of these plants. The time has come to let this garden season go, but I will not pull the annuals until every last blossom is spent.

I will cherish this year’s garden for years to come. This was the year their bounty helped sustain me.

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Fall Photo Walk, November 4

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The weather was gloomy today: deeply overcast skies with the threat of rain. The temperatures hovered in the low 40’s, but I ventured to my favorite local park, determined to conquer the challenge of capturing leaf season during cloudy weather.

I fiddled with some of the settings on my camera, dialing up the ISO and adjusting the white balance. I learned that there is more drama in low light than I suspected.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Peek

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Leaves blaze in bokeh behind a dried wildflower. It’s like leaf season is a dying star, and its peak is a supernova before winter’s chill sets in.

Peek

Today’s Fall Photo Walk

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Earlier today, I wrote about how light becomes elusive just as fall peaks in color. I feel fortunate that I was lucky enough to have a bit of time to take pictures as the skies turned more favorable for picture taking. In all honesty, I had a hard time getting motivated for this stroll. My sciatica flared up almost the entire time. I’m glad I faced that pain and took this walk. The sight of these trees at close range was just the balm I needed.

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