Sites of Cape May. NJ

The weather was beautiful and the sites in Cape May, NJ have such character…made for a wonderful weekend getaway to photograph.
St. Peter’s By The Sea, an Episcopal Church, was built in 1876 and it is on the National Register of Historical Places. Services are held seasonally.

India: Street Scenes

In the streets of India, stories abound. I attempted to provide a glimpse of the sheer variety, beauty, struggles, determination and ingenuity that is so present. Dentist and barbers can be found side by side on street corners. Monkeys, camels, elephants and sacred cows are a common site amidst the trucks and motorcycles. Markets are teaming with goods and local produce. The streets are so dynamic and call one to explore and become immersed in its rhythms.

India Street Scenes from Frances Schwabenland on Vimeo.

India: Land of the Sacred

The chanting of the mantra, “Hare Krishna” swelling in the temple, goldenrod flowers placed at the feet of dieties, saffron robbed little boys all present a feast for the senses. Spirituality is integral to the identity of India. Several weeks ago, the New York Times covered the Hindu religious festival known as the Kumbh Mela where a, “staggering outpouring of humanity” bathed in the holy waters of the Ganges. Hinduism and Buddhism originated here. After Indonesia, India has the next highest population of Muslims. In this land, Christianity, Jainism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism also lend their voices and beliefs to this diverse spiritual center. At the very moving memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, the inscription of “He Ram” meaning “Oh God” which is said to be his last words (but with some controversy) are placed at the end of a black marble slab which marks the spot where Gandhi was cremated following his assassination in 1948.
Sala is the name given to the formal prayer of Islam. During five periods of the day which are determined by the movement of the sun, devout muslims observe the ritual of bowing down to Allah in formal prayer.
For those practicing Hinduism, flowers serve as an important offering made to the gods. They symbolize the good that has blossomed within. Flowers are placed at the feet of the statue of the deity and this vigraha (image of the deity devoid of ill effects) is showered with flowers.
Many different paths with the same purpose to connect and honor.

Portraits from India

“Namaste” is used by those in India to both greet and say goodbye. The meaning is: The God/Goddess Spirit in me recognizes and honors the God/Goddess Spirit in you. While saying this, one bows to the other. I found this to be such a beautiful way to really be totally with the other person and the Indian people that I met were masters at this! I was a total stranger and yet when I approached someone requesting the take their portrait, I was never turned away but welcomed in.

When I travel, I find myself constantly drawn to photograph the people. The camera becomes the connection between hearts and eyes when language fails. Through the lens, I saw incredible beauty and character and we always shared a smile. “Namaste” became much more than a word.I hope you enjoy the video below.

Don’t Miss the Magic Right in Front of You!

A good friend, Dan Creighton, is an excellent photojournalist and wedding photographer. Dan consistently encourages many not to miss all the opportunities to photograph what lies right in front of us. So often we become desensitized to our surroundings and loose that artistic vision which drew us to photography in the first place.

During the past week, I had to have hand surgery and have been house bound. I have wanted to go out and photograph on these beautiful days but I was able to take Dan’s advice and spent some time photographing,with the help of a tripod, the flower arrangements right in front of me. There are always opportunities!!!

Maine in July

Last week, I was very fortunate to travel to Maine with a friend who is an excellent writer. Coming from different perspectives, our conversations were very engaging throughout long hours in a car and pelting rain 5 out of the 7 days! Our goal was to explore this vast state by sea, land and air. We took cruises showing us whales and puffins. Pete Salmansohn and Stephen Kress are with the National Audubon Society, working very hard to support seabird conservation and research. Members live on Eastern Egg Rock, a very isolated island off the coast of Maine, with no “comforts of home”. By day, they spend their time in small observation boxes monitoring the wildlife. Sleeping in tents at night can be difficult to say the least with the rainy weather and the ceaseless cacophony from the birds. I was so impressed with their dedication. Visit in order to learn more.

Our next venture took us to Acadia National Park where the tallest mountain on the U.S. Atlantic coast can be found. From the top of Cadillac Mountain we looked out onto amazing vistas (even in the rain) and there is easy access by car. There are over 120 miles of hiking trails and a car loop for those who would rather travel with more protection from the rain! Here you can see the quintessential views of Maine…the rugged coastline with the crashing waves. It was truly awesome.
Fall would be such an amazing time to be there. Ed Heaton, an excellent photographer and friend, is running a Creative Composition Workshop here from October 8th – 12th. To learn more, visit

Last but not least, be sure to go up in a piper airplane with the guys at the Maine Coastal Flight Center, . They will take you over Cadillac Mountain or show you the famous lighthouses of Maine. They have several trips to engage you above the clouds and will provide you with the “inside information” of the sights!

Rain or shine, Maine was a wonderful spot to visit!