The photographic explorations of a former film student.

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Tiny Tropics

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.

Butterflies3OrangeButterfly1

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.

Heliconia

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.

Koi

Next Time

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.

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Running Away South

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.

TreeTopsSmallYellowTreeDells

BranchCU

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.


Playing in Photoshop

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.

CrazyFlower

I also wanted to try a more subdued painting look on another photo.

TreePaintingLook

I’ve always liked the winter fantasy land idea.

WinterGlow

Now I can go back to normal editing for a few years.


Sponge Frog

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.

FrogSpongeHolder


Rose Garden

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.

RedOpenWhiteClosedRufflesAndCenterCincoDeMayoPinkWhiteOpen


Dear Spring – Are You Coming?

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.

OakLeaf

GoldenLeaves

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.

MrMrsDuck

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.


Peace, Love, and Spray Paint

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.

hippiebranches

Yep, it is pretty large. Many of the smaller trees in the area are painted as well.

largetree

Some of the graffiti on the tree is more neat and artistic than most.

livealittle

The vast majority of it is bright, Hippie-ish, and positive.

happiness

Old bark covered in layer upon layer of spray paint over the years produces some interesting combinations of texture and color.

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The Future

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.