Capturing Rhododendron Dreams

Capturing Rhododendron Dreams


It’s  Springtime in Western Pennsylvania


My ordinary, everyday world is alive with:

peaceful sights in the early morning dawn,

bird songs and melodic  conversations,

insect sounds that provide a soft white noise effect.


The  of the blooming flowers in the woods  in my yard, is delicate and memorable.

I just want to stand still with my eyes  closed  for a while  to take them all into my awareness.

I held my camera and  shot a lot of photos of the  twenty-foot- high

Rhododendron bush in full bloom




I wanted to capture the early morning light the fully open

lavender-pink blossoms – hundreds of them.

I am alive and so is all of Nature

There will never be another day just like this one.

I sense that I am  a fragile breeze that will never return.


I’ve always loved the magic of taking photographs.  My loss of sight has not decreased  the passion I have for those unexpected and succulent images.  My methods have changed though.

I sold my totally manual 35 mm cameras and all the attachments because I needed a camera I could set on automatic controls, allowing me to point and shoot.

For some people who observe me taking pictures while standing with my long white mobility cane, it  is  a puzzle. I just have to think of it as my little joke.

They cannot imagine the beauty I capture in my photographs because they don’t understand we do not have to physically see our world to completely enjoy it by taking photos.

I love photography as much now as I did when I was completely sighted. Maybe I like it even more now because I have a deeper appreciation of the craft.




I can see the shots on my large screen

computer monitor because I use a program that is an adaptation for the blind or visually impaired person.

I  use ZoomText.  Not only does it enlarge my photos to the point where I can see them in detail, it also reads texts to me as I write.

It has a “Speech” option on ZoomText.


How I love my ZoomText! It is pure magic for me. It enables me to fully participate as a photographer in the visual world, just like I always did before sight loss.

I am writing about these activities with photography, this morning, to say that it is another  way to capture images that will be transformed, at times, into a new poem.




There is no separation, for me, between fine art and poetry. My process is the same for creating both,  though the instruments and methods are different.  It is the tools and the  adaptations of tools that enable me to continue to do the things I have always loved to do – write poetry and make art.




When I begin to think about my subject and how I will create a poem from this image, I begin to remember my physical contact with it, too. It is only partly a visual image. My other senses are there as well. I use them all when I begin to create the photograph or the poem. It all begins with awareness of the moment – fully aware of it all.  It is a kind of awakening from a deep sleep – it happens slowly, in layers.

The question is:

How to take a great photo or write a great poem from an

image you cannot see?




Awareness of the physical aspects of your subject is important.

Every detail  has a living presence. A flower is a tangible thing. Pay attention to the smell of it. Each blossom or blade of grass or leaf has livingness; it breathes, moves, shifts, changes, lives, flourishes, wilts, decays and dies.

This morning I stopped and listened carefully to  the lone crow calling from the woods surrounding my home. I heard the rushing waters of the creek below the meadow. Mingled in with the water’s flow, I heard the softer sounds of the wild geese that are along the water’s edge, as they are every spring. Suddenly, I was aware of what seemed like a layer of sharp staccato jabs, piercing trills, from a bird. It felt like the sound punctuated the top layer of the morning’s landscape.

My body brushed against the dripping wet leaves as I moved through the water drenched trees along the path.  I felt the dampness because my tennis shoes were wet. The dew was heavy and seemed to flatten down the grass so that it looked like an ocean of gentle waves of deep  emerald-green.  My clothing clung to my torso as the water dropped steadily from the thick tree branches overhead.. I walked steadily, parting the branches along the pathway. This day felt good.

My physical contact with everything that surrounds me will appear in my photograph.  I’ll concentrate on capturing the livingness of this particular day.



I’ll return to the house and in the solitude of my office I’ll begin the additional work   that will take the images from the morning’s experiences. I will take them from the camera, blow them up through the computer photo program, and then begin to crop, select, and edit my photos.  For the poem that might come forth from this morning’s work with the camera and the photo editing, I will begin to record some words about my subject.  I will write a blog about today’s adventure in the early morning.

My blossoms have center stage, they are  stars, each of them. They bloom gloriously on a bush I plunged  into the soil years ago. It was once a small plant in a little plastic container at that time.  As the years have passed it has grown into the magnificent blooming waterfall-type of wall – bursting forth with magnificent  flowers that I saw  this morning.


Writing and photography remind me that life happens slowly, like the growth of this Rhododendron bush that reaches up as high as the second story of our old house

Our life  performances are acted out  on a stage in the smallest details over  the passing years.

Would you like to take a walk today and see what you find blooming in your world?



Copyright 2017. Lynda McKinney Lambert. All rights reserved.

Poems,  Essays  and Photography by Lunda McKinney Lambert. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

Lynda  McKinney Lambert

.Front Cover



Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage (Kota Press), 2002.


Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems, DLD Books, 2017 

Lynda is a Peer Adviser  and writes articles on sight loss and blindness for  Vision Aware Blog



Visit my Blog

Contact Me

Author’s Page

“Our truest life is when we are in our dreams – awake.” Henry David Thoreau









%d bloggers like this: