Sunday, December 29, 2013

the ragged end of a trip away from home

post #170
      SUNDAY EVENING: I am just now back home after a week away, and there are other things I get to do tonight instead of my blog!  O woe is me!  I look forward to finishing this post tomorrow (Monday, Dec. 30) to wish everyone a happy new year and to share some recent favorite photos taken by my family members.

     MONDAY MORNING -- I can now add that I am always happy to return to home even if it means we drove a full day in heavy rain across Maryland and West Virginia.  At least it wasn't snowing!

     I have indeed planned to share a few photos from my family -- but, since I am a privacy freak, I am not willing to identify them or show face photos.  (Usually I prefer to take faces.)  However, my daughter and my son have recently taken wonderful photos of their daughters which I am so glad I can share.  Both photos make me feel happy -- and proud of their photography eyes.  

      Is this a good photo or not!  I love it.  My daughter made this in a kind of furniture mart.  The hands in the pockets, the eyes on the rocking horse and the cat hat, and the unexpected sun glasses all crack me up, and I am impressed the photographer got the light so right.

      My son's recent photo of his daughter dancing also is full of feeling for me and has great light.  I imagine her getting caught up in the music being played and just going for it.  
      I happen to know she is wearing her favorite dress.  Since I have a fall photo of her in this same dress, with her looking away, I am including it here as well.

       Last week I saw my grandson, age 17, do this to a couch in the amazing flagship store for Yankee Candle, in Massachusetts.  I quickly asked him to do it again for this blog post to be written the next day. He was more than willing to help me out.  Thanks!  I appreciate the trust.

       Unfortunately, I don't have an appropriate photo of my son's son, who is so photogentic that it is impossible not to have his face in every photo.  I will keep trying, though, and add him in a later post.  I promise.

      On the way home, before the rains started, we had driven through New York City just to see this exhibit at the NYC Public Library's main building.  (There are 88 branches!)  It is showing only until March 23.  It is for lovers of children's books, since the exhibit focus is mostly historic, and the lighting is subdued, to preserve the photos and documents.  We thought maybe Saturday would be a slow day at the library, but the place was packed! The whole area was getting ready for New Year's Eve on Times Square nearby.  Crowds.  Confusion.  Traffic cops.  I took this photo with my iPhone; because of time restraints, I resisted taking the two famous marble lions outside, each with a huge green wreath around his neck.

        I wish everyone wonderful new adventures in 2014.  I have a new camera to learn about, and I am sure to share its thrills and struggles on this blog.  Happy New Year!!!


Saturday, December 21, 2013

joyeux noel, happy holidays and safe travels!

post #169
       This time of year has it delights and its challenges.  I'd wager the word TIME says it all.  We are keeping it simple here, but even so, there is always the feeling of wanting to do more.  I hope there are moments of light for everyone during these short days and long nights that are also part of the season in this area of the world.
         Writing those words reminded me of a Christmas long ago when we were visiting my husband's brother in Western Samoa while he was in the Peace Corps.  We were on a small island in the South Pacific, no motors, and the living structures were open to the air.  As we walked around, we heard a church group singing "O Little Town of Bethlehem."  I wondered what they must think of all the snow in that song!  The contrast struck me and opened my eyes to where I was and to what the people around me might be imagining. 

           This Christmas I have already been to and returned from where our son lives. In addition to the photos I shared last week from there is this self portrait -- thanks to their Christmas tree.  Such a photo is fun and easy to do!  Try it! 

       I am now going to share some favorite snow photos -- as the rain comes copiously down all around us. 
a favorite photo, taken by John Flavell, of the ice sculptures in one of our waterfalls

our deck and old barn and bird feeder and our walnut tree

our driveway last year

a bloom on the cactus I showed two weeks ago, from two years ago

the old out house, from out the bedroom window

         I am including yet again the photo of the cardinal that seems to be commented on a lot this year, even though I made the photo several years ago.  I guess its time has come!    

                                                       best wishes to everyone visiting this blog, Ann

well red


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Are you printing those photos that are sure to become impossible to access as technology changes?

post #168
        Printing.  OK, why am I taking on a subject that I am actually not very knowledgeable about -- except I have figured out that it is important to do.  Thus my concern today is not how to print but why do it, where to do it, and when.  
        I hope my sweet daughter will forgive me for using her as an example.  She has a wonderful eye.  She sees stuff and catches it with creativity.  On her iPad.  She also has a full time job, a toddler, a teenager, a husband, a home, and many friends.  She manages to find time to eat and sleep as well, and she telephones her parents, bless her heart.  Using a camera and making prints would require more time she doesn't have, so it makes perfect sense that making prints from her camera just isn't in her books these days.  Instead the camera stays on the shelf.  Her photos stay amazing, but unprinted.
        Even were she using the camera, I ask her (and everyone else) what good are those wonderful photos that are on a digital card on some camera that will become obsolete or on some telephone that can fall into the toilet by accident.  What happens when a printed photo is needed, or the image you loved in your head grows dim?  Some lucky people have a designated photo person in the family or they are great story tellers or something.  That helps in the precious memories department.  All the same, even a shoebox full of unlabeled photos is better than nothing. That has been true for decades, but a new awareness of its importance is urgent.
       While we in the world who have some or many photos wait and wonder what to do, a whole generation is being tricked into thinking its photos on line are there forever.  We seem seduced by the illusion that hundreds of images in some cloud are worth more than printing a few of our treasured snaps that over the years we want to hold dear.  Isn't this a failure of imagination?  Isn't it ironic that we are bombarded with images all the time these days yet all the energy goes toward creating throw away images?

        Maybe it's sort of like insisting climate change won't have consequences just because we don't want it to come to that.

       So just print some already.  Choose out your current best images.  Put them on a thumb drive.  Take yourself to a film processor, to one, if possible, that invests in some individual care with your order.  The worker at a machine at a Walmart, for example, has no control over the end color quality.  There's no investment made in inks that won't fade.  If I am going to bother to print something, I want it to last at least a generation.

       It helps a lot to use enough pixels when you make your photo in the first place.

       I know my daughter will have some words of wisdom to bring me back to reality, so I look forward to sharing them soon.

       For many years I have been printing my photos at Murphy's Camera in Lexington.  It may be almost two hours away from my home, but Catherine works there and does their printing.  I want to put in a good and grateful word to her.  She has taught me so much; she has an eye herself and lots of printing experience.  She can usually get an order done in one day, so I go to Murphy's at the start of my big city day and then pick up my order late afternoon, before they close at 5:30, as I head back home.

        I do have a good printer at home, but I haven't taken the time to know reliably how to make it do what I see.  Plus after so many years of working with Catherine, I am spoiled rotten.  What can I say.  Lots of photographers I know insist on doing their own printing, but with all the photos I do for my note cards, I am just thankful that someone else is doing them.  (I came to photography late, and I do almost all color work.  I used to get migraines from strong odors, so I wouldn't have done too well in a dark room situation anyway.)

       NOTE: A couple of years ago on this blog I made a polite plea and reminder for everyone to keep a printed updated photo of one's self in case it is needed for whatever, including sudden unexpected death.  Wouldn't you like to have some say in what is put out there?  Be fair to your friends and family!

        I will be booted out of the blogosphere if I don't add a few photos here, so let's see what I can offer today, all with a holiday connection:

awesome Morehead, Kentucky, Dulcimer Club concert at the Rowan County Public library

in the garden, Denver, CO

in the park, with my granddaughter who is almost 5


a traditional German Christmas tree, at the McLaughlin's, last year, taken with my cell phone....

      more next week - Ann

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Updates: monarch butterfly stations, the local Arts Fair, and frogs changing colors!

post #167
        I had a lot of fun yesterday at the MSU Arts and Crafts Fair, even though I worked hard all day long and didn't make any more money than the usual.  It really keeps me going to have so many repeat visitors with their stories of where an image of mine might be hanging or how they can't bear to part with a favorite card.  Of course, I'd also like them to be out of cards and buying more.  Yet somehow I can't get too worked up about that particular conundrum since I know it is kindly meant and not really a problem at all.
        The following photo from yesterday is thanks to Jennifer Reis, made just before the doors opened at 9 a.m.  I like to think I was hamming it up for some good reason, but probably I was just simply hamming it up...  Her photo just shows my section of our doublewide.  I never had a chance after that to get a good photo of our entire set-up!  I guess that was a  good problem to have had. 
      Actually, Jennifer also made a photo for her facebook page that shows her side of things....  She is an amazing fabric artist who also makes jewelry, knits winter head bands, and much more.  I'm regularly thankful she is smart and funny as well!  Here is a hint of the some of her items for sale:
         I have wanted to share my photographer friend Betty Hall's information connected to  her passion for saving the monarch butterfly.  This is the link to her RESOURCES PAGE on her blog. She especially recommends a recent article about monarch stations, hereBravo, Betty, for all you do and share with others, and for the beauty of your garden of native plants.
        I am still in thrall with my few milkweed plants even while they look dead and dry.  I suspect the real action going on is the work of the new seeds, currently covered by snow and ice.  I will continue to follow them for months to come. 
        I did find out from a science teacher who came by yesterday that the simple reason the frog on the milkweed pod is green on top is because he has turned the color of where he is situated.  I should have known that many other creatures besides chameleons use that strategy to protect themselves, but I did not.  I am glad someone I asked could finally tell me.  Whew.  Here is the photo again:

       I can tell I am currently a bit wore out, as they say around here, so I am going to save the printing discussion until next week.  It is an important topic for photographers to think about!  Right now I am going to publish this blog for today, grateful to have the needed electricity to do that despite the chilly, soggy, ice-producing weather.  Warm(!) good wishes to everyone,  Ann

Sunday, December 1, 2013

a not-as-sunny Sunday, after Thanksgiving

post #166
      Some of the snow from the storm this week lingers, but the clouds we are having are just clouds!  I want to share some more photos like last week and to remind everyone in the region that next Saturday is the MSU Arts and Crafts Fair.  Jennifer Reis and I are looking forward once again to our "doublewide" booth!  We are one of 100 booths in the Laughlin Building, but we are very near the entrance.  Come by and say hi!

This is what the left side of our booth looked like last year - this year it will have a different layout altogether.

I will have more winter cards than usual -- in addition to more sale cards than usual.  Here are two winter favorites I always enjoy sharing with "my public:"

"well red"

"winter sky in England"

      Next, two more winter photos from England, both from the same spot one soggy, chilly day.  I came upon this place completely by accident, and I was enchanted:

"oak on ice"

     I am next sharing two favorite photos, simply because they make me happy.  I am always grateful for happiness, and for the memories a photo will bring to me of where I was when making the photo.  The first shows our creek, and I thought this would be the photo chosen for the cover of the Wendell Berry book:

4-H day in Elliott County

     Next week I want to talk about the printing process, and how important it is for photographers, both professionals and non-professionals. I will also be able to share how the Crafts Fair went -- every artist appreciates a chance to meet the public we work for!  So again thanks.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

our sunny Sunday before Thanksgiving

post #165
        Well, lately, each week, I have been posting quite a few photos.  As we must regularly remind ourselves, however, there are only 24 hours in each day.  The time has come to cut back on the number of blog photos I post, for the sake of my other photo work.  I have to practice discipline to do this, which is not my greatest strength, but giving up the blog is simply not an option. I love doing it.  So I will try instead for a period of restraint. 
       I also want to explore other layouts for the blog and to figure out how to make the photos I do post look closer to their real sharpness while at the same time protecting them. 

        Since this is the week of Thanksgiving, here's my plan: this week and next I will share some photos with comments about how they each helped the photo work better!  The first one shows the spider whose web caught two leaves and who had not blown away by the time I saw this masterful display.  I caught it with amazing sharpness considering my camera was hand held and the wind was blowing!  (This is what I mean by photographic thankfulness....)  I hope the huge web shows up in what you are seeing, and, if not, I will post this photo again in a future post once I figure out how to make safer, sharper photos appear here.


      Next are three "portraits," with thanks to all creatures who appear, who tolerate, and who are sharing my world:
chewing on an apple right outside my desk window

looking resigned to all sorts of attention at the 4H event

enjoying the milkweed pod, beautifully blending in

      This next photo was made hand held, on Carter Ford, after a big rain.  It has one of my semi-philosophical, semi-humorous captions, which I am always thankful to find in my head:
out on a long leaf, over muddy water....

     To make myself end for today, I thought it a fine opportunity to share a photo of one of our wild turkey visitors.  They are skittish, and don't do what they are told, so this is the best I could get:
      Happy Thanksgiving, safe travels, and my thanks to you, viewers from all over the world who visit this blog when you can. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

a change of seasons sweep-up

post #164
      Last week some snow, today steady rain with gusty winds in the forecast, though most trees which lose their leaves in winter have already lost them.  Now here I am, feeling in between.  What I want to share photographically are two cemeteries, a few recent milkweeds (continued) -- plus a solid old barn and some mistletoe.  

    I don't know if country cemeteries are common all over Kentucky, but they definitely are just that in the northeastern part of this state.   I am so used to them that I forget to explain to readers of this blog about how ordinary they are.  And how beautiful.  We have one on our land as well, for families who owned our farm before us. The next photo is made by turning myself around to look west.

      Last month I also visited a local cemetery in the next county, with a friend who has a burial plot there.  It is also a beautiful place in the fall so I feel it works well to show them together.  It is called Sardis Cemetery; services are held twice a year at the old church house, on Memorial Day and on Labor Day weekends. 

    Now for two milkweed photos, one with seeds about to fly off in all directions, and the other with pods mostly empty and dried out, all parts doing what they are meant to do.

    To end today, a sturdy barn, built on stones, back in the woods, that I visited on a "mule", a four wheeler, one that I hadn't expected to ride in that day, but I am so glad it worked out for me to do.  My camera was in the car when I stopped just to say hello, and so it went with me too.  We were also out on their hay producing hillside, where I made the mistletoe photo.

backwoods barn

kind neighbor/driver, with young grandson beside him


       Mistletoe usually has to be shot out of the tree!  But if I can harvest some by reaching with a ladder, I now have permission to sell it at the annual Arts and Crafts Fair at Morehead State University the first Saturday of December.  (This year that means 12/7.)  
       NOTE: I will be having my usual booth, with the wondrous Jennifer Reis, as before, and I hearby declare a 10% discount on mistletoe if you mention this blog! ( Also, this year I will have a lot of cards on sale since I have way too many kinds of cards and need help paring down to the stars.  Desperate times require desperate means....) 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

MORE amazing autumn moments nearby

post #163
      Shamelessly showing off, that's what I feel I am doing by sharing so many photos made during those two days near Halloween.  I am so glad I was not away from home when the best of fall happened.
      Please note: I end up reducing my photos in size and pixel count in order to put them on the blog, and I apologize for the resulting decrease in quality.  I know there must be a better way to do all this -- and I am open to helpful suggestions in this regard -- but in the meantime, I do what I can figure out, which is not everything and never enough!!

      The first photos look north near our mailbox on the road, which runs along a ridge.  Later I drive over to the barn area in these photos and shoot back toward this spot where I made this photo.

  In order to get to the barn area in this photo, I drove "over the cliffs" on a road that seems narrower than ever since it was paved several years ago.  Beautiful as the drive was, I am grateful I don't drive that way every day.  

looking through the tops of trees!

next heading down, with nowhere to pass

I made it safely this far, took these four photos and then turned around!

This barn can be seen along the top of the first photo from the road....

and the barn in the top middle is up on the main road, where I started.

      We admire the homestead our friends have in between the two sides of this cliff area.  I am including this photo for the several chicken devotees I know who follow this blog!  It looks like chicken paradise to me, with their own caravan that can be moved from place to place on the precious flat land in front of D. and E.'s home.  

then going back up the cliff side, still hoping not to meet another vehicle
    At last, back home again, safe and amazed:

back on our driveway, just before the rain started

         By today, most of the leaves here have fallen.  For these last ten days, we have had an almost constant wind.  Deer season began yesterday, and a bit of snow is mentioned for this coming week!  I had a lot of hits for last week's post, and I hope today's is of interest as well.  For me, it is a happiness to be able to share these moments of beauty and wonder.