Rebecca Wilks

Rebecca Wilks; Photographer, Teacher, Yarnellian, Do-Gooder

Sunday, February 16, 2014


Shoshin is a concept in Zen Buddhism meaning "beginner's mind".  It refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would. 

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” – Zen Master Shunryo Suzuki

Sometimes we have a beginners mind because we truly are beginners.

Gatherings and seminars on photography are so inspirational.  My last was sponsored by the nonprofit Through Each Others' Eyes.  They create international photo exchanges and teach photography to at-risk kids.  Last week I attended a TEOE - sponsored travel photography seminar.  I learned some great stuff.

I was especially excited to learn about time-lapse photography from Dennis Scully.  I'd been talking myself out of studying the topic for several years, but now I'm inspired.  The day after the seminar I took off for a ski trip in Utah, and loaded the app "Lapse It" on my iPhone.  Here is one of my first attempts, created with the beginner's mind, out the window at Deer Valley Resort while drinking hot chocolate.

The trick, though, is to have a beginner's mind whenever we're doing creative work, and perhaps other times as well.  We try things and look at things differently, and sometimes come up with a new interpretation of a familiar form.

Here are a few of those.  I'm always percolating ideas for more. 

San Clemente (CA) Pier with fisheye distortion.

Impressionistic desert holiday lights

Detail, Mesquite Dunes, Death Valley National Park.
Thanks for stopping by.  I'll be on a desert road trip next week; stay tuned...

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Things to say to Annoy a Professional Photographer

All in good fun, here are some of my favorite irritating comments.  Photographers; feel free to chime in with yours.

I took that same picture.

I could have done that.

That's pretty.  What kind of camera do you have?

What's the big deal, anyone can take pictures.

Can you make it look like [insert name of photographer here] took it?

You can just photoshop it.

(At an event) come here, my wife and I need a picture for our Christmas card.

I can get that print at Costco for 89 cents.

I'll just copy it from your Facebook page

If you let me use that picture for free, I'll be sure and give you photo credit.

Take a picture of that! Take a picture of that!!

We'll now return to our regularly scheduled positive content.

Sunday, February 2, 2014


I’m not going to tell the story of the 3 ½ hour delay getting back in to the U.S. or the DOT inspector's declaration that we were the only bus passengers he’d ever seen who poured wine and margaritas waiting (outside the bus) for their inspection.  The real story is about changing lives.

This gentleman's kids were so pleased that he would be able to get around better.
Mainly, the trip was about providing wheelchairs to local folks who needed them.  We work with The Wheelchair Foundation.  I loved the chance to connect with folks.  One man had had a stroke and could only squeeze my hand and hug (I appreciated the hugs) as tears rolled down each of our faces.  Another, learning I was a doctor, wanted my thoughts on managing his diabetes so as to avoid losing the other leg.  There’s a chance to make a magical connection across cultures on this kind of trip which is indescribably inspiring.

Rotarians from two countries, students, and staff at Comunidad Down Siglo XXI
Our Rotary District is also working on a grant for a school for young people with Down Syndrome.  One of the vocational training projects that they do involves teaching the students to bake, working toward independence.  We, along with the local Hermosillo Pitic Rotary Club, are helping them to get better kitchen equipment to expand this program.  We were so grateful for the chance to visit the school and meet the students & staff.  

Students learning in the current, very small, kitchen
The Pitic Club members were fabulous hosts, from the lovely dinners to the tour of the City.  We especially enjoyed the students from the Bellas Artes after-school arts center in nearby Guaymas (another project supported by Rotary Clubs) who entertained us with dancing and mariachi music.

We saw lots of one-on-one teaching and positive reinforcement

I hope you can feel a bit of my inspiration, and maybe imagine a taste of the margarita….