Tag Archives: landscape photography

If you see something red, shoot it

It’s even better, if there’s an interesting sky.


Red Barn With Sky

Rural Putnam County, Indiana, on an ordinary October day.




Travel Theme: Sky

This week, Ailsa has picked sky as the theme of the week.   What better excuse — as if one was needed — to show off a few of the beautiful sunsets I experienced during my recent trip to the Adriatic.  It was only a little more than a month ago, but the weather here makes me feel like it has been months since I’ve been in a warm climate.  It’s now teeth-chattering cold where I live, so just looking at sun setting over an ocean makes me feel a little warmer.


Sunset, from the Grand Canal

Clouds, At Sea

Clouds, At Sea

Leaving the port of Durress, Albania

Leaving the port of Durrës, Albania

Sky over water beats wintery snow sky like rock beats scissors or paper!

Want to see other’s interpretation of this week’s theme?  Here are a few.  Head over to Where’s My Backpack for more links or to leave  your own link.

January WrapUp

So here we are at the first of February and I find myself wondering: Is it too late for New Year’s Resolutions? Should I have done something more specific?. But then I realized that I have accomplished a lot in the last 31 days, even if those things may not seem significant to others. On Jan 2, I wrote a post regarding my goals for the year, which can be summarized by the following list:

– Write — finish that novel!
– Read — something other than blogs/internet
– Shoot — take at least 1 photograph daily.
– Walk — this is part of a training program; more on this later
– Take note: find something beautiful, wonderful, awesome, out of the ordinary or just makes you smile.
– Be Grateful. Every.Day.
– Be Kind. Every.Day.

How did I do?

PHOTOGRAPHY: I took over 4000 photographs when I was in Florida. I was astounded when I realized the number. But, there were many that I knew, as I was taking them, that they would not be “keepers”. Instead, they were experiments intending to help me learn. Sometimes I would take 4 or 5 shots, making slight variations in shutter speed, aperture, composition to better understand what would make a “good” shot. My intent was that I would choose the “best” and delete the rest. I still haven’t deleted many of them — reviewing all of them when I downloaded each evening was just not always possible. But, it is still my intent. Already, I have learned a great deal, including discovering the “sweet spot” on two of my lenses and also understanding some of the idiosyncrasies of my camera’s built-in light meter. Overall, as I moved from using the semi-automated settings (e.g, TV or AV) to full manual, I learned to better judge what was going to work. I found that my the end of the month, if I shot something that I thought was going to be the “best” settings, and then shot in AUTO, I could guess what my camera would use as the settings. Furthermore, I began to predict successfully when I wouldn’t LIKE those automatically chosen settings. This is one of the most valuable learning experiments I’ve done since I received my DSLR 2 years ago. FUTURE: I need to not only invest a quite a bit of time in backing up all of the shots I’ve taken, but I need to spend hours going through all of them, studying what worked, what didn’t work, and being judicious about what I keep — there is no point in keeping things that aren’t examples of good work.

READ: I finished 6 books, listened to 2 audio books (completed 1, abandoned the other), and started 3 other books that I should finish soon. Ah, the joys of a “flop & drop” vacation where you have plenty of time to read! Maybe that audio book count should be 3 — my husband read enough of the Steve Jobs biography that I feel that I listened to the abridged version. I may read it myself; parts of what I’ve heard of it was fascinating, parts infuriating.

WALKING: I — by the length of a toe, I think — walked 60 miles in January. Keeping a log has proven to be very helpful. Also, having a visual of what I’ve done helps motivate me to keep up with it. My specific goal for February is 75 miles.

NOTICING: You bet, I did! Making an effort to have my camera with me every day helped this. Even without the camera, though, I was always finding something interesting to look at on the beach, or when walking in the mangroves and swamp preserves. The real challenge, though, will be to keep this up now that I am back home. It is always easier to find interesting things when you are in a new environment; finding them in your everyday surroundings, where so much blends into a blur or a background noise, is much more challenging. Be sure to check back at the beginning of March to see how I did in February on this one.

GRATITUDE: I think that I did a good job on this. However, it is so easy to take things for granted, to not notice. By the end of the month, I was forgetting to make a specific observation of something that I was grateful for. Did I fail? Of course not! Can I do better? I’m grateful that I can try to be!

KINDNESS: Well, I sure hope that I was as kind as I good be. But, like gratitude, it is so easy to stay within our comfort zones that we don’t make an effort to do an act of kindness when we can. The opportunities, while not hidden, are just not seen by us. Again, something that I can work on! I won’t go into details here on some obvious deviations for this. Deviations? What am I saying? I should say “times when I obviously FAILED, choosing NOT to be kind”. Were there some? Hell, yes! I’m not trying to become perfect. But, I think being aware that you are striving for kindness makes one more aware when you have NOT been. Always good for a course correction!

WRITING: Well, yeah, that didn’t happen. Not.One.Word. And that’s ok for now.

So, what is ahead for this short month of February? More of the work of these major areas. I am also considering a month-long “experiment” of some sort. I have a few things in mind and will be writing about them in the next few days.

Golden Light, Cutting Through the Fog

Is it really Jan 31st already?

If the eleven months flies by as quickly as this month has, I’ll be welcoming 2013 before I can catch my breath! I’ve been running 50 mph with my hair on fire today. Though I don’t usually look as such things as portents, perhaps this morning’s sunrise held some fiery clues as to what sort of day lay ahead.

Fiery Sunrise

At least 17 stories

When we began to plan our recent trip to Florida, I told my husband that I wanted to drive, rather than fly. I argued that it would be more economical than flying and renting a car. Of course, I wasn’t sure that was really true, especially if adding in the hidden costs of vehicle maintenance and the additional mileage on the car. Still, I had my mind set on driving. I wanted to see the land between here and there; I wanted to look at fallow fields and old barns, and muse about interesting roadside signs. Mostly, I wanted to have a slow travel experience, taking our time to arrive and slowly wending our way back to the cold north when we returned. I tried to explain this to a friend whose response was: “If you fly, you might end up with one interesting story. If you drive, you might have — who knows — 17 or 27 different stories. Tell him it’s fodder for more short stories.”

In the end, flights were very expensive and my ears had been bothering me a lot, so I won and we drove. Armed with a few audio books and CDs, my GPS and T’s TripTik (who knew that AAA still did those!), we set off. Despite someone’s alarmist fears that we would have ice and fog crossing the mountains in Chattanooga, we had excellent weather in both directions. (I hope he didn’t see the news reports of the massive pile-up on I-75 near Gainesville. We missed that by a day.)

I don’t know if I came across the seeds of 17 different stories, but, on the return trip, bored by the long drive and without the anticipation that marked the start of our vacation, I picked up my camera. Shooting photos out the window of a car going 70 mph is not the easiest thing. I’m surprised that I didn’t send more shots directly to the electronic circular file than I did. But, as always, when I look through my camera lens, I see interesting things. Like this:

Red Clay of Georgia

The landscape whirled by, but stayed the same. For miles. And miles.

There were billboards that appeared to have been remnants of abandoned stores. Like these, that pointed to an empty building:

Too good to be true -- at least for long

Lowest Price: Would that be zero?

I didn’t get a picture, but next to this abandoned store was an RV and Boat lot, now closed, with a lone, stranded motor boat. Signs of the weak economy are everywhere.

There were frequent reminders that I was traveling through the South, the “Bible Belt” and the part of the country that has referred to the American Civil War as “The Late Unpleasantness” or “The Second American Revolution” or “The War of Northern Aggression”. I have never spent sufficient time in the South to understand the deep-seeded nature of Southern loyalty, but I know that the region is different from “up North” where I have always lived.

It's the sign, more than the theology, that I find startling

There was a confederate flag flying above. No American flag nearby.

Sometimes, when I wasn’t driving, I was intrigued by the idea of capturing the motion of tires on the semis passing us.

Can you look at this and not hum a Willy Nelson song?

I especially like the shadow of the mudflap on this shot. But there were also skylines to shoot as we looped around major cities.

Music City From the Highway

And plenty of furling flags in the slight wind:

Whose broad stripes and bright stars...were so gallantly streaming

And clouds on the crisp blue sky:

A beautiful day

When we stopped, there was graffiti that I found interesting:

BabyGyrl's graffito make no sense 2 me

Did BabyGyrl change the spelling of her name? Makes more sense.

If miserable, I don't think I'd pick the Reststop Restroom to tell the world.

And, of course, there was plenty of farmland: cows, horses, silos, barns old and new.

Raw Milk

I love the color of this barn's roof.

The only stone silos I see around me are ones that have yet to be torn down.

Horses: More comfortable than Mitt's dog?

Love this barn.

This was another favorite.

A source of firewood?

There's a story or two in that decaying barn!

Old and Red barn, somewhere in Tennessee

At the Georgia/Tennessee border there were plenty of signs encouraging motorists to “SEE ROCK CITY”. As this was my leg for driving, I have no photos. But, as we crossed from Tennessee into Kentucky, having turned over driving duties for a while, I knew that there would be some interesting images to capture as we approached Mammoth Cave. While I don’t mean to offend (turn away for the next paragraph if you might be), I used to find that an attraction in this area, named “Golgotha Go-Carts”, to be a very funny site. I don’t understand the theology that sees go-carting around three crosses on a hill as a witness of faith, a cause for conversion. It has been years since I’ve travelled this section of I-65, so perhaps it wasn’t on this road, but, rather, on the State Highway that leads to the cave. Regardless, it wasn’t to be seen. However, there is now a place named Guntown Mountain. And, apparently, lurking in the caves are dinosaurs. I’m not sure if the “life-size” refers to humans or triceratops.

Mommy, can we stop? PLEEEZZZZ?

But, like all places were there are lots of attractions — and some where there is nothing else around for miles — there seem to be places like this:

A roadside attraction?

Open 24 hours. I hope no parent answers the dino plea with After I make a quick stop here.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, I think I am halfway to the end of a novella. At the end of the trip, the best site was my mailbox! As fun and relaxing as vacation are, it’s always good to return home, and to all of the stories that reside there.