I don’t particularly like winter, but every season has it’s own beauty, even this season.
I apologize for not doing a Christmas post this year. Most of my time and energy went into figuring out how to celebrate the holiday during a pandemic while still bringing some joy to my older, more at risk relatives and spending some time with my immediate family. (Not to mention, COVID precautions can be time consuming.) I hope we will be able to celebrate together in 2021.
Outdoors was the place to be for most of 2020. Nature is good for us. Some of my most fulfilling hours last year were spent out shooting. I hope to spend more time out photographing in parks this year. But, as someone who wants to do more things than I have time for, I also want to practice and improve my still life skills. And, I have some photos from the fall I haven’t edited yet. Never enough time. Whatever 2021 brings us, may we all make the best of it.
I went to a small town car show on the 4th, and yes, I’ve had trouble finding time to edit and blog this month. I did mostly some contrast and color adjustments with a little glare and dust spot removal. However, I did decided to split tone the Nova so it would be more blue and less whatever was reflected in it.
The city I live in has a small tropical conservatory. They run various shows in it, each lasting a month or so. The day before Easter, my father and I went to their annual butterfly show. Butterflies of several species were kept in a small enclosure within the conservatory. Only a limited number of people could go in at a time.
While there, we also looked around the plants in the conservatory. This one caught my eye. The Heliconia, or lobster-claw, is colorful and has an interesting form.
Of course there were Koi as well. It seems like there are Koi all over now. Some places you can even buy Koi food and feed them. When I was little, we used to feed the ducks bread in the same park the conservatory now sits in. There aren’t as many ducks around these days, and no one wants you feeding wild animals. The new conservatory is impressive, and I do enjoy it. However, I sometimes long for the simplicity of the old lagoon full of ducks. This koi is kind of cute though.
I hope I can get out and photograph some spring flowers. Weather has been up and down here. 70+ and sunny, rain, and a snowstorm last weekend.
Some weeks ago, Dad and I ran away from the deck and other house projects to find the last traces of fall with our cameras. We had to go south a ways. Since it wasn’t the best day, we decided to make the trip double as a scouting expedition of Matthiessen State Park. We’d been to Starved Rock several times, but Matthiessen never got past “if we have time”.
It so happens lots of people wanted to enjoy the end of fall. There was also an enormous geology class field trip. However, both of us did manage to get a clear shot of the dells and some other photos of the scenery.
Next Time: Merry Christmas
My goal this year was to blog once a month. I’ve been a few hours late a couple of times, and I’ve used a good bit of “archive” shot in previous years, but I’m calling it close enough. One more blog in observance of Christmas is all I need.
This month, I just wanted to have some fanciful fun with Photoshop. So I took some old pictures and experimented with filters, special brushes, layering, and the like. It’s been awhile since I’ve just let myself have fun, so I went a little overboard.
I also wanted to try a more subdued painting look on another photo.
I’ve always liked the winter fantasy land idea.
Now I can go back to normal editing for a few years.
One day a few years ago, I decided to cook sweet potatoes for the first time. I needed to clean them, and found myself asking “What would Grandma do?” Yes, my Mom cooked potatoes, but for some reason I always got left out of that and was assigned carrot peeling duty instead, so I referenced my Grandma memories. Grandma scrubbed her potatoes with a scrubber she kept in her ceramic sponge-holding frog, a common mid-century kitchen item currently enjoying a bit of a comeback. Lacking such scrubber or a frog to put it in, I had to improvise a bit, but I got the job done.
The desire struck. I wanted a sponge frog. Yes, I could buy a modern one at several stores, but they just weren’t the same. I considered a few on e-bay, but again, Grandma solved the problem. For my birthday that year, she gave me a spare sponge frog she had stored away back in the day. It’s the best. I love it.
One sweltering Sunday morning a couple of weeks ago, I went out to a local garden to photograph roses. The garden has a great variety, and I don’t remember what all of them are called. At any rate, they are beautiful and worth the time and temperatures to see.
I woke up this morning to find a thin, fresh layer of snow on the roads. It is the middle of April. This should not be. I want spring, and so does everyone else. We are in protest. My boss reportedly put his snow blower away weeks ago. I am not washing any more winter outerwear until I can put it away for the summer. The daffodils are trying, but they keep getting snowed on. Too bad. Some flowers would be really nice right now.
About a week ago after exercise class, I was commiserating with some ladies in the class. One said there were flowers at a local park. From her description, I was hoping they’d be grape hyacinths, but at this point, I’m not picky. There were two colors of what I believe are Scilla and some little yellow flowers. Quite small. I should have brought the macro, but the park is in a so-so area of town, so I was a bit insecure about it.
Old grass and leaves from the winter were still hanging on and refusing seasonal change.
There were ducks in the large cement water feature. It used to be more of a natural pond when I was young, but now it looks like a fountain close to the greenhouse and main gardens and rather like an industrial drainage ditch as you get farther away. The ducks don’t seem to mind though.
The whole world is full of both change and consistency, and here I am wanting to rush one thing on while complaining that another has changed. There will be beauty in the future, but there is also beauty now.
Last fall, I went on a hike with my Aunt and my Sister. That was the hike that ended with the super moon. Our objective, however, was the Traverse City landmark known as the Hippie Tree. It is mostly fallen down and coated in bright spray paint. People have drawn flowers on it and left their names as well as messages of encouragement to others.
Yep, it is pretty large. Many of the smaller trees in the area are painted as well.
Some of the graffiti on the tree is more neat and artistic than most.
The vast majority of it is bright, Hippie-ish, and positive.
Old bark covered in layer upon layer of spray paint over the years produces some interesting combinations of texture and color.
As you’ve probably noticed, I haven’t posted in nearly two months. This year, I am not making any commitment to the blog. I’m running out of storage space for photos on WordPress, and my life is changing. Most likely, I will find a different venue for sharing my photos. If so, I’ll link to it here. It’s still possible I’ll do the occasional blog.
Some people have asked about my new little friend, Maggie. She didn’t like the sound of my camera shutter, so I’ve waited to take more photos of her. Maybe I will photograph her in the next few weeks. She is much more comfortable here now, and she may be more at ease with the camera. When I photographed her before, my home was still quite new to her (less than a week!) so she was still a bit on edge about everything. After two months, she’s much more calm.
Nothing stays the same forever, but the future can be bright, hopeful, and beautiful, even if it sometimes takes awhile to figure it out and get there. Until then, I wish you peace, love, and spray paint. Here’s to the future.
I’ve had a lot of changes in my life these past two years. Unfortunately, they didn’t bring the happiness I thought they would. Instead, they left me lonely. This in turn gave me the desire to adopt my very own kitty. Sometimes, I’m uncertain about her with me. I work full time. Will that leave her lonely? Hopefully, we’ll both adjust. For now though, she is new, and we are getting used to life together. Meet Maggie:
Miss Precious made herself comfortable among the gifts under the tree Christmas 2014.
I took a long walk in the local Japanese garden recently. It’s something I like to do every year more to clear my head than for serious photography. Even though the lighting was sub par that day, how could I not take a few photos?
The town I visited for the fireworks show also had a car show earlier in the day. People from the town and the surrounding area came to show off their prized automobiles both new and from decades past.
Next Time: Restored Movie Palace
There are so many photos of grand old theaters in ruins. Although I enjoy the work of urban explorers and photographers, I have a happier story for you: the story of one that was saved.
Photographing fireworks isn’t considered serious photography. The main ingredient is luck. The rest is pretty simple: low ISO, bulb setting on the shutter, and tripod. In college, they told us it was one of those things we did in high school because we thought it was cool. Well, dumb or no, I still think it’s cool enough to attempt it once a year. After all, I’m going to the show anyway. Might as well try my hand at photographing it. Here’s the luck I had this year:
Next Time: Car Show
I happened to call my Dad the evening after he went on the photo club outing to the train museum. He informed me there would be a live steam event the next day. An old train was up and running and about to make a journey it hadn’t made in decades. I was disappointed I’d missed the train museum, so I decided to join Dad and go see the train at one of its stops. It was an hour late, so it only stayed 20 minutes. A large crowd of train enthusiasts and families with curious children gathered to see it.
After the train stopped, we all went up to get a closer look. The steam practically caused it to rain on us. The train had many interesting details, but the short stay and large crowd made getting a lot of photos difficult. As the train left, I noticed many of the passengers were taking video of their trip. So many train enthusiasts were elated to see the old engine up and running again.
Next Time: 4th Festivities
It is a bit early to know for certain what I’ll shoot next week, but there’s a good chance of the typical Midwestern 4th of July staples: fireworks and a car show.
Two years ago, I went to the Milwaukee domes in February (https://mycameramyfriend.wordpress.com/2014/02/). Since the heat and humidity of the tropical dome was so nice in cold, dry February, I decided I’d like to do it again. However, I didn’t feel like the trip this month and even if I did, the domes are closed. So I went to a more local conservatory instead. It’s not near as big or quite as humid, but it does have many tropical plants and the orchid show was on last week.
Next Time: Classic Cars
Photo club decided to go to an auto museum. Lots of detail shots. I promise I’m still working on the dictionaries. It may be a few more weeks because other stuff keeps intervening.
I have those times when my brain just doesn’t want to do anything, let alone anything creative. When that happens, I do an abstract black and white with split toning in Lightroom exercise. It’s not the most magnificent thing in the world, but it’s fun play and it sometimes gets the brain moving again.
Next Time: Old Dictionaries
I love them and I have two. One I just found is pretty cool.
Here are my ten favorite shots from 2015. I had some good trips last year, but other life events cut into my photography time, so it was not my best year. I’m looking forward to devoting more time to photography in 2016. Happy New Year everyone! May 2016 be a year of growth and understand.
This year, I did things differently for Christmas Decorations. For one, I decided to hang my little beaded whatever it is off my living room lamp. I like it so much I’m not sure why I didn’t think of it sooner.
Then, my mother thought I should change up my mantle decorations a bit, so she gave me a tall round glass vase to put ornaments in. After looking online for ideas, I decided I wanted pine cones too. I thought I’d have some fun with the reflections and surface curvature while photographing the end result.
Merry Christmas Everyone!
Wishing you peace on earth today and throughout the coming year.
Several weeks ago, I went out for my last Fall shoot of the year. There wasn’t much left, but the colors were vibrant.
I’ve been preoccupied lately. There are several reasons for this. One of the biggest is that I’ve moved. Relocating is a pain, but sometimes, it is worth it. Like any curious soul, I decided I needed to get out and see the area. Everyone needs to get out for fresh air now and then.
Someone in this area liked pine trees.
These bushes are pretty typical for landscaping in several areas I’ve lived in. So is they fly.
I liked these flowers. Honestly, I’m not certain they were invited where they are growing or if they are weeds or wildflowers. I just think they are pretty.
Next Time: Lake at Sunset or Still Life
I got out to the shoreline of a nearby lake around sunset. Earlier would have been better, but I got a few interesting shots. Otherwise, I would like to get back to still life, if I have time.
I don’t normally use flair in photos, but I decided to try it last Fall. This is the result.
Admittedly, stock photography isn’t a main focus in my life right now. I’ve been pecking away at it for three years. Enthusiasm was higher earlier in the process. I don’t really like this kind of photography. It’s kind of fun now and then, but the main thing I sell seems to be plain old backgrounds (and one more popular photo of staples and paperclips).
So this year, I’m going to look into selling my photos as artwork. Yes, I know it will be slow going and I won’t make much from it, but I think it is worth a try.
Next Time: Necklaces or Spring Begins