Creating vs Finding your Voice

sunburst, lens flare, creativity, passion, inspiration

This is an image I made on a hike along the Mountains to Sea trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville NC. Using the LensBaby Velvet 56 on my Fuji X-T1 mirrorless camera I was able to capture this rainbow lens flare shooting the backlit weed. The resulting image seemed a fitting companion to my post theme, so please read on…

The struggle to find my style or find my voice is a common theme among apprentice photographers in The Arcanum, an online learning program that my wife and I have really been enjoying for the past year.

It was even the featured topic of The Arcanum’s weekly YouTube series, MGAPXL, hosted by Arcanum Master photographer, Ollie Dale. In the February 25th broadcast, Ollie interviewed fine art photographer, Karen Hutton and self-described vision actualizer and business coach, Makenna Johnston. I encourage you to watch the archived broadcast on YouTube if you haven’s seen it yet!

The topic has also been a common theme of blog posts and discussions I have come across among writers, painters and other creatives. A parallel theme among entrepreneurs and those seeking to engage in more meaningful work is, finding my passion.

Both are themes I have pondered for many hours through my life. But it just dawned on me that we may be approaching the idea with the wrong mindset!

Saying we need to find something sets an energetic pattern of looking for something that we have lost, or we never had. What if we shifted our mindset to one of creating rather than finding?

WOW, when I say the words, creating my voice, it has a totally different feel to it. It feels more like I’m in control, and have the power, authority and freedom to create the voice, the style, the passion that appeals to me the most, or makes me the happiest, most free, most peaceful, most _____ (you fill in the blanks).

I haven’t lost anything that I need to find, and I no longer feel a sense of loss or desperation — like the man we encountered racing breathlessly up the mountain trail on Sunday asking everyone if they had found a cell phone!

If you are an artist, an entrepreneur, a writer or a business executive seeking to enliven your creative potential, I invite you to step into a new mindset, a new paradigm and give yourself the power to be in control of creating your own unique and authentic voice. It may take your breath away — in a good way!!

Creative Collaboration


When I show this image to fellow photographers, the first question they ask is, “Did you place the red leaf on the rock?” Well, it’s obvious, right? The answer is “Yes, I did.”

Is that wrong? I don’t think so. You might argue the artistic merit of how or where I placed the leaf; but I don’t think anyone would argue my prerogative as a creative artist to add the red leaf to the scene.

As human beings, we collaborate with the world around us every day, or should I say in every moment! It’s not just our actions that create something the senses can experience. Even our thoughts and feelings have a noticeable energetic presence that influence the world around us. If you have even a tiny bit of empathy, you have surely noticed the power of your or someone else’s attitudes, beliefs and emotions to change the dynamics of a situation.

Being able to express oneself in an empowered and creative way is incredibly important in living a healthy, happy and productive life both at home and at work. This is one of the reasons many businesses have begun to place greater importance on creative activities for employees, both within their workplace roles, and through activities that may not at first blush appear to be at all related to their “job”.

Just check out this Fast Company article from August 2015 for evidence.

For me, this all points the way to a source of limitless inspiration and possibility. A deeply felt and conscious connection with the world and a sense of the wondrous power of creation with which we are wired to collaborate is the key to a creative and happy life — and practicing the creative process through whatever is your chosen passion is worth it’s weight in gold!


Living in Your Creative Power

Living in Your Creative Power

There’s something about the photo on this post that expresses the softness and receptivity that I feel when I’m engaged in doing something I love.

Having just celebrated Valentine’s Day, I’ve been reflecting on how important it is to be in love with what we are doing and creating. Much of the human experience seems to me about learning how to stay aligned with our own inner guidance system pointing the way to what brings us happiness, health and prosperity. After all, we are inherently creative beings, so we have the power to create the life we wish to live.

Of course, there are times in life when we seem to get out of that zone of creating what we really want. Perhaps getting back in alignment with what brings us Love is part of what makes life interesting!

I find that my own personal journey of self-discovery and creative expression are a constant source of inspiration. Staying in tune with what we love may be a key to living in our true creative power. What do you think?



Happy Birthday Mom

Mom & Me – 2008

My Mom, Liz Allen had a contagious love of Nature that I most certainly inherited from her. She also was an artist and wrote poetry when she felt inspired. Friends and family appreciated her drawings and paintings as well as her poems. But she never had a blog or website to share her work to a larger audience.

I’m dedicating this post in honor of what would have been her 93rd birthday today, with a pair of images and a poem she wrote.

One image is a watercolor she made of an Iris, the other a photo of an Iris I made in 2014. Mom’s watercolor has been on my office wall since she passed away in 2012, but the similarities only dawned on me this week.


Iris, flora, flower, nature, purple, Chris Allen













The poem is one she wrote around 2010. My Dad had passed in 2005 after a 7-year decline with Alzheimers, and Mom often felt his loss. But in this poem, she expressed a connection with her inner spirit that often helped her transcend that sense of loss.

I can feel it

It comes from within

Deep, down within

And it swells


Billows around me

I am embraced

By joy

Thanks Mom for all that you gifted me, and Happy Birthday where ever your Soul may be in It’s eternal journey.

Seize the Magic

hoarfrost, Blue Ridge Parkway, BRP, winter, scenic, landscape, frost, mountains, frozen, cold

One Saturday this past November I was attending a seminar in downtown Asheville while my wife Bonnie stayed home to process some of her latest photos. On the way downtown from our home north of town in the early morning, I noticed that the nearby mountains were shrouded in fog. I called Bonnie to give her a heads up so she could take advantage of the photo opportunity.

Fortunately the seminar ended by 2pm and I was able to reach Bonnie on her cell. She was freezing cold in 20 degree temperatures on the mountain, but ecstatic at what turned out to be dramatic scenes of hoarfrost on the otherwise barren trees. So, I rushed home to put on some warm clothing and grab my camera, and by 4pm I was on the Blue Ridge Parkway passing Bonnie on her way home to get warm.

I stayed on the mountain ridges for a couple more hours taking photos of the incredible landscape scenes, and was so glad that I had made the effort to get up there before the light had totally faded. The photo above is one of my favorites from the afternoon, and as you may notice has become the cover banner for my blog. Watch for these banners to change with the seasons, by the way.

Don’t miss the opportunity when Life gives you hints of something magical!