Tag Archives: Photo Friday

A Wee Bit of Spring

It’s been a hectic week and despite good intentions to post time didn’t seem to allow it.  Fridays usually mean that I participate in one or another photo challenge.   Never have all of them converged so easily into one post.  In addition to that, the challenge from my Beyond Beyond class easily fit too.  That’s a convergence that don’t expect to see again soon!

Photo Friday — a wonderful challenge that I haven’t participated in for many months but occasionally wander by to check out the excellent photography — had “Springtime” as this week’s challenge.

The Daily Post hosts a Weekly Photo Challenge.  This month has had a focus on iPhonography.   Today’s challenge:  Lunchtime.   Springtime = lunchtime?   Absolutely if I my lunch had included ramps, but it is a bit too early in the season to find fresh ramps where I live.   I’m already thinking about them though.   Instead, my mid-day break was spent wandering through the woods adjoining my house, looking for signs of Spring with my iPhone.  It was a little chilly today, but with the ground wet from the recent snow but starting to warm, it smelled had that loamy Spring scent.

Ailsa, the awesome Irish lass who hosts the weekly Travel Theme, has a theme of Green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.  It has been several years since I’ve visited Ireland.   I only had to step off the plane and look across the runway to the horizon to understand why Eire is called the “Emerald Isle”.   During the gloomy grey days of winter here in the Midwest, I long for all of the varied shades of green that begin to appear in late March.  There are a few here now, but I can’t wait until green is everywhere!

Lastly, Kim Klassen’s Beyond Beyond class this week discussed a technique for creating a chalk board effect.   I’m not entirely happy with what I did, but it was more fun than just using a “chalk” font.

Green/Spring/Lunch Convergence

Green/Spring/Lunch Convergence

There may have been snow on the ground yesterday, but it is gone today.   While there are plenty of fallen limbs and dead wood to be removed from the woods at some point, for now it waits on the still-cold ground, providing a nice place from green fungal growth.  The ground cover, which turned a crimson color in the late fall is beginning to turn green again.  On warm spring nights in late April or May you can hear it grow,pushing aside the crunchy, crumbling leaves.  The daffodils are starting to poke through and will soon burst open.   My hellebores, which I checked just yesterday and wondered if I would see any flowers this year, have developed buds overnight.  Soon their pale yell0w-green flowers will open.  The timing is later than last year when we had an unseasonably warm February, but they are true to their other name:  Lenten Roses.  They’ll be in bloom before Easter.

Be sure to check out the work of other participants in any of these challenges.   You’ll find great photography that is sure to be an inspiration.  What about you?  Have you found a bit o’ green nearby, a hint of Spring for those in the northern hemisphere?  If not make it a point to step outside on your next lunch break and take a look.   You don’t even have to wait until lunch!


This week’s Photo Friday’s challenge is “Fleeting”.   It seems a perfect time to showcase a project I’ve been working on:  a near-daily shot taken from my front porch for the last month.    Winter is fleeing fleetingly.   Spring is here.

You’ll notice some tropical looking plants appearing, then disappearing, as the slides progress.   These “houseplants” which take over my living room each year, made an early departure for the porch.  A predicted frost brought them back into the house, but they’ve been kicked outside again.

Known and Unknown … Early Spring Signs

The Unknowns:

Sometimes I see things in the woods that I have no idea what they are. Sometimes I wonder how I even notice them. Like this little flower, on a green plant growing close to the ground. This teeny clump of flowers was smaller than the nail on my little finger.

Teeny tiny flower

Much easier to notice, but still a mystery to me are these red plants growing in a marshy area. Do you know what these swamp creatures are?

Swamp Things, Dancing in the Sunlight

They don’t grow only in water, as pictured below. While this was wet and muddy, it was definitely on shore.

Growing on dry but muddy, marshy land

I first noticed these unusual red growths back in December. The first time I saw one, it seemed to jump out, shouting Notice me!  Since them, I’ve noticed many of them. These seem to be an abnormality on these canes, but there are many of them. They seem to be located along a particular 1/2 mile section of the creek. While I find these thorny plants elsewhere, I don’t find the bumpy red growth on them. Could it be that the soil is different in this part? It is more of a marsh-like area, but it isn’t nearer to the water than elsewhere, though the bank is lower and more likely to flood.

Red Growth on Vine with Frost

Another view: different plant, same type of growth.

Another one, on a warmer day

The Known, but easily unnoticed:

The first yellow burst open yesterday. The other daffodils followed today.

First of the Season

Unless you look closely, you won’t notice that the trees are starting to bud. Most still don’t look green, but I’ve seen a few bushes and trees with red or yellow branches that are starting to show color.

Budding Tree, Blue Sky

The viburnum bush outside my study window has leaves that often turn an orange-red color in the fall. This year it seems that it never lost its green color. It’s early, but the buds are starting to emerge. In about a month, when I open my window, the scent will be lovely at first, then overpowering like some granny’s flowery perfume.

Viburnum beginning

A “blaze” and some bliss

This week’s Photo Friday Challenge is BLAZE. I knew immediately, when reading the challenge email early this morning, what photograph I would use, although I had thought initially that it was one that wouldn’t make it into the ‘share’ pile. I was experimenting with shooting glass pieces reflecting against a large window at night when I decided to see what sort of abstract I could produce with a long, handheld exposure. Not sure that I thought I’d get this result, but I like how it looks like the woods are on fire.

Blazing Trees

And, as I’ve done for the last few weeks, here is this week’s List of Moments of Bliss. See other’s Bliss Lists at Liv Lane’s blog.

1. Frying an egg perfectly — and admitting that it was the first time ever!   I’ve been afraid to try to fry an egg for at least 20 years.  Having never learned how, I failed miserably at making eggs the way that I liked: with set whites without any crispy, brown edges and a warm, runny yoke. Now that I know how to cook — something I didn’t learn until I was in my 40’s — I was a bit embarrassed that I still couldn’t fry an egg. So I tried. You know what?  It’s easy if you know how. I used this recipe by Alton Brown, though I would rename it something a bit less gender-oriented. The secret is low heat, and a lid for the pan. I still think I make an awesome scrambled egg, but I’m happy that I can now make eggs the way I like them. This is especially useful since I don’t have the resources to go to France — where I think they only serve them this way — on a whim.

2. I had coffee on Saturday with two dear friends — our weekly get-together that, due to lots of life’s circumstances, last happened on 12/31/11.

3. Some friends of mine have a bi-monthly girls-only gourmet dinner. The host choses the menu and each person brings the specified dish. Due to a last-minute cancellation, I was asked to sub. Although we all agreed that the too-rare standing rib roast was not our favorite, we enjoyed the meal. What fun to share a meal and laughs with good friends and new friends. My cat allergies (the reason I have declined joining the group of 5 cat-loving cooks permanently) stayed at bay until it was time to leave.

4. February is over and March is here! In Indiana, March can be any of the four seasons — and sometimes all of them, it seems, on the same day. Yesterday was a beautiful Spring day; today is colder and blustery with a chill that reminds me that there are still officially a few more weeks of winter.

5. I took my son to the dentist. While a dental visit is not usually blissful, the time spent with my son was. To understand the circumstances, you can read about it here, or a slightly better, edited version on my Open Salon blog.

Dual Purpose: Photo Friday & Friday Little Bliss List

In some ways, photography could be on my bliss list every week. I’ve realized recently that I am at ease, in the “flow” as psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi has identified it, when I have my camera. It challenges my brain and my creativity, combines artistic and technical skills. I learn something new, see something anew, every time I pick up the camera.

I decided at the beginning of the year that I would participate in the Photo Friday challenge each week and that I would not dismiss those weekly challenges that either didn’t interest me, or that seemed too difficult. What am I going to do with that? I’ve found myself thinking several times already this year. But, since I made the commitment to myself to participate, I’ve found that I usually don’t have to think too long before I figure out something that meets the challenge.

At the same time, I’ve been participating for the last few weeks in Liv Lane’s Friday “Follow your Bliss” blog hop. While photography is a blissful pursuit for me, at first glance it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with this week’s Photo Friday Challenge, which would appear to be the opposite of bliss, to be something reflecting despair.

This week’s challenge, Inner City, was not one that seemed too difficult. Yet, it wasn’t something that I was that interested in doing. Why? Because I immediately thought of the cliché picture of urban blight: decaying, boarded buildings, broken windows, trash, poverty.

Years ago, a colleague from another city commented that there were no “bad” places in Indianapolis. I laughed. You just haven’t been in them. I replied. On another visit, with no intentions of sending him through slums, I gave him an alternate route to the airport because of road construction. On arriving in his office the next day, he called me. I believe you now. I wanted to lock my doors and get the hell out of there quickly. And I don’t think that it was really a short cut!” I didn’t find that route on the way to downtown to be that dangerous, but there were many blocks that were abandoned. That area has been revitalized in recent years, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t areas where the gritty inner city exists. It exists in every city. While I don’t want to diminish the hardships of poverty, or turn a blind eye, I just wasn’t in the mood this week to take a photograph for photography sake of what might be someone else’s bleak existence. After all, there is joy in the inner city too, sometimes in spite of hardship. Sometimes because of the joy that we have, or will, overcome such hardships.

Number 1 on my bliss list this week is remembering that this memorial is in my city, on the spot where Robert Kennedy gave a speech on the night Martin Luther King was assassinated, a speech credited with helping to prevent the riots that occurred elsewhere that night. It makes me happy that this memorial is in my city. I wish more people knew about it; I wish that fewer people would be hesitant to go because of where it is located, in the “inner” city.

Kennedy-King Memorial, Indianapolis, Indiana


UPDATED: Here is a link to a story about Robert Kennedy’s remarks on April 8, 1968, breaking the news of the King assassination. The link includes audio of Kennedy’s speech. The official name of the memorial is The Landmark For Peace Memorial.   Here is a link to a Wikipedia article about it.

Other things on my bliss list this week:
2. Finding the skeleton of a box turtle along the creek. It was fascinating to look at. I tried to find it again to take photos a few days later and could not locate it.

3. Realizing that the trees are starting to bud. It’s early — I think I saw some flurries earlier — but it still makes me happy.

4. Reading Jane Tomaine’s St. Benedict’s Toolbox monthly newsletter on reframing Lent with a spirit of joyfulness. Lent is one of those periods that I was taught to think of in terms of starkness, bleakness, or lamenting what miserable creatures we are. I always have problems with this. Her words reminded me not to beat myself up too much, during Lent or anytime. Thanks Jane. This message was repeated by my pastor when I went to Ash Wednesday services. I also saw a link to this website, Dark Cloth Diaries; Greg Miller takes pictures every year of people with ashes on their foreheads. Although most think that only Catholics do this, others participate in this ancient ritual as well. I think Miller captures this tradition beautifully. Scroll down on Jane’s website to the link for the feature article in this month’s newsletter to read about reframing Lent.

Eat…Drink…Be Merry

This week’s Photo Friday Challenge is: EAT.

After trying several times in recent weeks to get decent pictures of food, I have come to understand why there are people called “food stylists”. Getting a picture of food is easy. Making it look appetizing is a completely different thing.

Fresh from the Farmers' Market


The veggies photo was taken in ’09; the drinks photo a few weeks ago. My dinner this evening? Photos will not be published, but it tasted better than it looked.

Remember: Everything in moderation.

Friday: Photo & Bliss

Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.

This week’s Photo Friday Challenge was “Handsome”. This is the type of challenge that initially frustrates me. I immediately thought “portrait of handsome man”, which would be problematic for me as I don’t typically shoot portraits. I have a great photo of my son, taken two years ago, in which he looks, in my opinion, very handsome. He dislikes the photo because he is unshaven, and he thinks he looks like he has a double-chin. I wouldn’t post at anyway, because it is a rule that we have that I won’t do that. My next thought was that I could post a picture of a Handsome Cab, but then I remembered that it is HANSOM CAB, not HANDSOME Cab, and I’m not nearby any place that would have such a vehicle.

And then, this story landed in my lap in the most unexpected place: my aunt’s funeral: My cousin gave the eulogy. He reminded us of how his late father would come home each evening and, smiling, announce “Handsome’s home.” This was quite the joke with his kids as they grew older. Several years ago my aunt, coming out of anesthesia, asked a nurse, in the silliest of ways: “Am I beautiful?” This was repeated to her later, after the drugs wore off. It, too, was a joke with her children. The nicknames “Handsome” and “Beautiful” stuck with them for the rest of their lives. It was a beautiful memory for my cousin to share about his parents, who were lovely and loving people who lived long, happy lives that touched many people.

My aunt loved birds. As I was thinking about her and this story, I thought of this photograph that I took earlier in the week of two Canadian Geese, sitting quietly on a small island in a pond. I had been taking pictures of the water when I realized the birds were there. Canadian geese mate for life. These two seem like a content couple, happy to be blending into the background. My aunt and uncle were just two normal people. In a crowd, you might not notice them. To each other, though, they were Handsome and Beautiful. In honor of my aunt & uncle, I name the geese in this photo Handsome & Beautiful. My aunt would like that I think — and would likely have something quite witty to say about a goose being named after her!


On a completely different emotional note, here is my bliss list, in no particular order, for this week. See links to others’ lists here. Thanks, Liv Lane for sponsoring this.

1. Having the time to take long walks this week.
2. Hearing the frost melt in the woods.
3. Getting such wonderful feedback from visitors to my blog on my photographs.
4. Spending time with family. (Son home from college this weekend = smiles.)
5. Sharing laughs and fond memories with extended family. There are always more laughs than tears at funerals in my family. I think that it should be that way.

Photo Friday Challenge: TALL

We’re having a little party this week in my hometown. So, I thought that I’d meet this week’s Photo Friday Challenge with a TALL Window Cling. In fact, it isn’t just tall, it’s SUPER.

Lombardi Trophy Image on 33 story JW Marriott Hotel; Taken from 2 blocks away

I’m sure that this image will be shown on TV tomorrow. At night, it is illuminated and visible from the downtown area on the nearby I-70 interstate.

Other Super Bowl related stuff:
* If you’ve heard that its been great weather this week, it’s true. But I can’t remember a week in February when it’s been in the 60’s. This isn’t Indiana Winter weather.

* Sounds like Indy has been getting great reviews for being the host site this year. Fun to see my city, which is often met by disdainful sneers from those on the coasts, get some good press. Indianapolis is a nice place to live, with a lot to offer. It isn’t New York, or Boston, or Chicago or LA, but we aren’t hayseeds either.

* I don’t watch Jimmy Fallon but I taped his shows this week. He got everything right in his jokes about Indy. Fun to see people and businesses I know mentioned on the show. Jimmy seemed to be having a ball. Is he always this funny?

* And if you watched Jimmy yesterday: nothing suspicious about it: there really is a Korean Taco Food Truck in Indy. West Coast Tacos serves awesome food! And how can you not love their URL: http://www.thebestdamntacos.com ?

* I’m hoping for an exciting game down to the last second. I don’t care much about football, but I’d love to see a repeat of Super Bowl XLII. I always like to see the underdogs win. But, it is true: Colts fans love to cheer for anyone playing against the Pats. Almost as much as the Ravens like to cheer against the Colts.

Enjoy the game and festivities if that’s your thing.

Photo Friday: Greenery

This week’s Photo Friday Challenge: Greenery.

At first it seemed like an odd choice for the end of January, when much of the Northern Hemisphere is anything but green. Yet, the time of year I most often associate with the word greenery is December, when pine greenery is ubiquitous in holiday decorations.

Greenery for January? Though I could have found something in my photos archives, I only had to look at some of the shots I took a few days ago at Lovers’ Key State Park in Bonita Springs, Florida.

This is named a Spanish Bayonet — for good reason! I stepped backward off the path to take a picture of something else and walked into one of the sharp, pointed barbs of this yucca plant. Ouch! This barb could be used as a fishing or hunting spear! I thought, as I snapped this picture, that it could be used to identify what sort of toxin killed me should the plant prove dangerous. Not that anyone would have thought to look at what was on the memory card if I was found on the Black Island Nature Trail! (I’m joking; I’m not that paranoid. Well, not quite!)

Not a plant to meet in a dark alley!

This is certainly green!

Photo Friday: Pristine

This week’s Photo Friday Assignment is Pristine.

From The American Heritage Dictionary:
a. Remaining in a pure state, without human alteration: a pristine stream.
b. Remaining free from dirt or decay; clean: pristine mountain snow.
2. Of, relating to, or typical of the earliest time or condition; primitive or original.

What better example to illustrate pristine than an untainted stretch of beach on a warm and cloudless day?

Mangroves And Beach As The Tide Was Slowly Coming In