Welcome to Timeline Photos. A few years back I started peeking around my archives in search of some of the first photographs I had taken. Here records my quest into better understanding my long term love of camera and experiencing the world with it in hand. All photos appear in chronological order hopefully revealing an evolution of how I see and what moves me to speak with light.

Images are licensed Creative Commons BY-NC-SA. You are welcome to share an image given that you credit me, Irene Kato, as photographer with mention of my blog link, 'irenekatophotos.blogspot.com'.

Contact irenekatophotos@gmail.com for information about prints, permissions, and on-site assignments. Thank you!!

(Photo credit Phil Monahan of Orvis)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Camellia perspective

I scooted home through the back fields today for lunch, and was surprised to see a pretty scattering of camellias.  At first I looked from my standing position but found myself slowly losing altitude as I moved closer and closer to the ground.  The bed of petals provided a much more lovely perspective despite the wet soil.  Wishing that time was endless at that moment I enjoyed imagining setting up a little house within the cover of one of the plants.  It looked like the space was just waiting to welcome some company.

Also seen today was the further greening of the fallen tree on the back edge of the field. Apparently it still has life in it as it works with its roots barely attached and the sun. I'm curious how long its functions will withstand its struggles.

Monday, March 18, 2013

An embrace of light

*Dedicated to a special friend and woman from my childhood who is very ill and being cared for in an ICU.  Sending warm light and love her way.*

I continue to be very fond of having about an hour on Monday evenings to myself, and I find myself looking forward to the walks on the levee with Sparkle.  The weather has been gorgeous, and the late day cool, breezy air welcomes me to my elevated levee view of the Mississippi River and downtown Baton Rouge.  Yes, I said "cool, breezy air" while still being in Louisiana.  A gift indeed, especially with the longer daylight hours it's wonderful.

On this given day, we walked on the both the bike/walker path and the river side flats.  Water continued to sit while flowers bloomed and trees greened a bit more.  I was very taken by the placement of the sun through the gathering of trees and vines, and realized that in just one week it was sitting just a bit higher than before.  Possibly I wasn't the only one aware as there were a good number of cyclists, runners and walkers making the most of the experience.

I had fun experimenting with the water reflections and the sun, hit the ground for some florals with great background bokeh and even tried a few sun placement shots between a horseshoe like tree split as I was walking back up the incline to leave.  As usual, time had passed very quickly and I had a handful of minutes to make it in time to pick up my daughter.  I squeezed in a couple silhouette shots of people as I made my way to the car, and started making plans in my head to do more of the same during my visit next week.

As I pulled out of the parking lot, instinct told me to turn and look one more time.  The sun was sitting softly like a golden ball of light within the ends of a tree branch.  Quickly I stopped the car and positioned myself in  the open car door to watch.  It was beautiful and timeless in a breath, and it changed before my eyes inviting me to soak it in before it disappeared.  I took a series of shots, and was lucky enough to have a sampling of people walk through the scene, too.  I felt it in me that this was something, and held it well without distractions to always remember.  Oh so to return to be able to do it again and again.

When feeling out a title I went through cycles of 'Just one more look', 'Stay with me', 'Instinct'.  'Embrace of light' was born out of the moment you stop as a photographer because you see, know, look for and wait for the right light.  We inherently know that that particular combination of light and nuance will not last forever and we take the best advantage to embrace and appreciate in our actions with our eyes and camera.  In that moment with the sun, I took it in with both self and tool, nearly making my wish to extend the experience true.  This is the gift and art, the action of embracing light.   On these things, I will think, process and share.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature -- the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” - Rachel Carson

Saturday, March 16, 2013


I will stop, look and watch, even standing on my tippy toes, to watch the sun give us her last glimmer of light.  Whether through a clearing of trees or the florals covering the view, I take pause to participate in the daily ritual shared between Earth and Sun.  

In these images I know the place, time, weather and mood when I turned to face the dimming light.  It was beautiful with the blooming Japanese Magnolias, and I loved the changing pink hues and silhouettes against the golden sky.  

I'm reminded of something I learned in a Native American Studies class in college that always left me exercising my brain and spirit.  Each sunrise, each sunset was celebrated as the original.  Rituals created a time space and oneness with nature, a sense of respect to the sacredness of the act.  What if I was able to tap into their ways and consciously practice such a life?  Maybe in that moment of stopping to feel the setting sun, I receive a gift of knowing a tiny part.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Meeting aerial photographer Fred C. Frey, Jr.

The above binder holds the prints made by longtime aerial photographer, Fred C. Frey, Jr.  I was very fortunate to visit him in his home with a neighbor of mine who is friends with him.  She thought it would be a great idea for me to meet him to learn about his childhood days playing in the farm fields where I like to walk and photograph.  It was wonderful spending time with him and his sweet wife, and we discussed everything from his Korean War days, the development of Baton Rouge, to the space of the Ford Property.  I learned many interesting historical facts and really enjoyed listening to his stories. He mixed humor into his words which had me attentive and laughing throughout.

I became most excited when after lunch he opened the binder to show me more aerial images.  There were many sharp and detailed black and white photos documenting the before and after of regions throughout Baton Rouge over a forty year period.  The pair you see above made me stop because of their visual impact.  The scene in the bottom image shows the city from above the Mississippi River looking North towards our capitol building.  The top image shows the city from the same view after the development of Exxon.  It's a strong image of shadows and light, and I fell in love with it.  When I asked if I could take a picture to post in my blog, he paused, looked over the binder, then handed it to me saying, "Here.  Take it home with you so you can look at them."  What?!  These are the man's prints, his work, made in his darkroom using precious and gorgeous Hasselblad negatives.  I looked at him in disbelief, and he convinced me that he really wanted me to take them to view.  "Show them to whoever you'd like," he continued with a smile on his face.  Wow.

Looking at it right now sitting carefully above me on a high shelf, I'm still so surprised to have them in my hands for safe keeping and enjoyment.  I think that I most appreciate that he entrusted me, and that we'll meet again so I can return it to him.  When I do see him, we may just be discussing the history of the Ford Property in more detail.  During our many conversations, I had expressed the wish to collect stories, photos and documents about the the space. I felt like he understood and saw some value in the possibility.  Before I left he looked right at me and said that he'd like to work with me on that.  Another moment that stopped me in my tracks yet propels me forward more motivated and open to learn.  I am so very grateful.

Morning delight

Our mornings have been cool, bright and beautiful with stunning blues and dashes of budding greens in the trees.  I usually step outside for nanoseconds to breathe it in, then jump back inside of our busy morning routine getting ready for school and work.  Today I just had to run outside after I saw a surprise fog suddenly appear on our street outside of the kitchen window.  I ran to the front door to see if it was in fact Mother Nature treating us to a late morning fog, which I so love.  It was indeed, so while running to grab my camera I scooted the girls to take a look, too.  It really was lovely, with the misted air picking up the filtered sunlight through the trees.  I love the magic, and it becomes a source of beauty to power the day.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Time change sunset on the Mississippi

I enjoyed my first sunset since the 'spring ahead' time change over the weekend.  Usually I walk a dark levee while waiting for my little one who is in gymnastics, so the golden skies and late day sun on the Mississippi was a welcome change.  I was first greeted by a crucifix, which was not there the week before, as I crossed River Road to climb the levee stairs.  I assume that there had been a death in this location.  The extended sun light pulled me over the levee and to the river with Sparkle to be near the tree and vegetation line.  Greening had slowly begun, so the area is still overcome with dried vines and grasses waiting to burst with growth and life.  Before having to leave, I was able to cross an open area towards a parked tugboat.  Peering through the brush, I hoped that timing would help me capture the setting sun through its tinted windows.  It wasn't to be, and walked away catching glimpses and appreciating the play with golden light once again.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The fire inside

"Each of us is born with a box of matches inside us but we can't strike them all by ourselves..."
- Laura Esquivel, Like Water for Chocolate

In the familiar

In the familiar, there is something more to be discovered.

I have walked by this tree on the river side of the levee many times, and with each pass it grabs my attention in different ways.