Tag Archives: PostADay

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflection

Yesterday, I took my first walk this Spring (as opposed to my last walk of winter last week) along the Greenway Trail near my home.  It still looks a lot like winter, but everywhere you go, there are the tiniest hints of Spring’s arrival.   The first shot I took — one that I won’t be able to take in a few months as the growth along the creekbanks will obscure this particular view — was of the creek and the beautiful reflections of the trees.   Perfect for this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.


Late Afternoon Reflection

Fall Creek is bigger than most “creeks” around here, but it isn’t as big as a river, at least during parts of the year.  When the snow began to melt a few weeks ago, you couldn’t even walk on the paved trail, which is several yards away from the creek.  The water has receded now, but there are plentiful signs that the area was recently flooded.

Creek, water, Fall Creek Greenway

After The Water Receded

But, I didn’t have to walk very far before I saw the first buds on trees:

Silver Maple Awakening

Silver Maple Awakening

Just beginning

Just beginning

On the walk back home, I snapped a quick shot of the roadway, and then a few in my yard.  Again, from a distance it still looks dreary, but slowly, imperceptibly, Spring is awakening.

Roadside Slumber

Roadside Slumber

The first daffodils peaking their heads above the ground.

The first daffodils peaking their heads above the ground.

Snowdrop & Leaf:  Old &  New

Snowdrop & Leaf: Old & New

As Thoreau wrote in Walden, They were pleasant spring days, in which the winter of man’s discontent was thawing as well as the earth, and the life that had lain torpid began to stretch itself.”

Look carefully:  don’t miss Spring’s early stretches.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Perspective

Can’t see the forest for the trees?  Change your perspective.

It all depends on how you look at it.

It all depends on how you look at it.

See how others have interpreted “Perspective” this week by checking out the links here.


Quotidian (WP Weekly Photo Challenge: A Day in My Life)

Today — more than most days — was not a day to take pictures.  Sure I was busy.  Who isn’t?   It doesn’t matter what you do, we always try to squeeze more activities into less time.    I don’t usually read the DP Photo Challenge when it is published, so I was surprised to see it early this morning.  But, only a few words into the post I realized it was because it was a day-long assignment.    Oh bother!  I had such a boring day planned.   Who wants to look at my laundry, or my dirty floor, or the umpteenth coffee cup of the day.

I decided that instead of taking good photos of the mundane, I would try to take great pictures of the hidden side of my day.   The lights in the laundry room seemed to pulse:  a rhythm of the day beating “Go. Go. Go.”   The vacuum cleaner needed to be cleaned.  There wasn’t enough coffee.  I waited for a contractor who didn’t show.  I had some banking tasks to attend to.  I found time to dust, but “dust” is a bit euphemistic when you haven’t done it for weeks.   Is it possible to shovel dust?   If I waited a few more weeks I might have been able to experiment.

Along the way I was distracted by the usual bright shiny objects.  One in particular has been sitting in my living room for two weeks:  a topographical map of an area near my home, as surveyed in 1946.  Of course, in the middle of something important — like fixing the beater bar — I had to stop and unroll that map.   How fascinating!

It’s all in the collage below:  the coffee, the duster, the broken vacuum, the laundry soap, and the dust; it was interspersed with computer work and phone calls and oranges for snacks;  and there were flowers to deliver, and others to spy peeking out of the ground, and a new bird’s nest discovered in an  outside light.  And the topo maps?  Oh yes!  the maps!

Everyday Jazz

Everyday Jazz

The laundry is done and the house is quiet.  But that pulse of activity beats on . . . .

Be sure to check out other’s post for this week’s challenge.  Here are a few (you’ll find more on the DP page):

Other Bricks in the Wall (Weekly Photo Challenge)

This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge was to get Lost in the Details.    I love seeing the details that  can  be so easily missed in a larger image.   I think that is why I love macro photography and shooting close-ups of flowers.  But, for this week’s challenge, I looked for something larger, a large piece of an even larger whole.   I’ve been wanting to post this shot for a while and this seemed like a great fit.

Lost in the details are the other bricks

Lost in the details are the other bricks

A larger view:  Fort Pickens

A larger view: Fort Pickens

This is the Civil War-era battery at Fort Pickens, Gulf Islands National Seashore, Pensacola Beach, Florida.  

Be sure to check out how others interpret “Lost in the Details”.  Below are just a few.  You can find other links at The Daily Post.

Patricia D Drury
My Vivid Visions
Folly Girl
Schelly Cassidy
Esenga’s Voice
Allan G Smorra
Scott Randall

Weekly Photo Challenge: Year-in-Review Photos

I reviewed my photos of the past year, but found I  had a difficult time narrowing my selection of  “favorites”.   Finally, I decided that my criteria needed to be not which ones I liked the best, but which ones could tell the stories of that month.   I could have chosen 12 favorite flower photos — I’m sure that I took at least one flower photo in each month. Or I could have focused on the woods and creek where I often take my camera walks, showing the seasons ranging from icy to record-setting heat waves in the spring, to dry drought conditions throughout the summer, and ending with foggy and soggy autumn days until we came back around to the deep snow we have presently. Or I could have chosen the new techniques that I learned this year and showcased what I see as my improvement as I resolved to take a photo every day without relying on the “auto” settings on my camera for aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Instead, here is a quick journey through my year, photographically.  Turns out, that is exactly what the last Weekly Photo Challenge of 2012 is all about.

I spent much of January in the mild, warm weather of southwest Florida. Walking the beach nearly daily, sometimes as much as 8 miles at a time, I photographed life at the shore: birds, tropical flowers, shells, fish and other sea creatures. Everything in nature at the shore looks so interesting to me, especially when seen through my camera lens. And nearly every evening, there was a beautiful sunset to photograph. I even tried night photography, though it wasn’t exactly what I would call “successful”.

In February, I returned home to the cold. But, there were still birds to photograph as well as plants, trees, and life along a different type of shore — the creek bank near my home. I even found a colorful shell. There was a sunset or two to shoot — and at the end of the month, the earliest of spring flowers started to bloom. I also discovered some things on my walks that weren’t natural — like the remains of a 1978 Lincoln Continental and a small, hidden ravine in a nature preserve that was filled with empty, rusting trash cans. Also on my walks I ventured away from nature photography to look for design patterns in concrete and other structures — my first foray into abstract photography.

March was absurdly warm — I even wore sundresses a few times. That’s crazy for the Great Lakes region in March. But it made for wonderful walking weather, with all of the wild flowers and trees blooming. Some of my favorite non-floral finds were a skeleton of a box turtle and a fallen tree that was still alive despite its upended roots. I was crazy enough to crawl out on that fall tree — over swampy water of unknown depths — to shoot pics of the red buds.

The great weather continued in April, with avid gardeners starting their plantings early. Color was everywhere! I began venturing into the world of post-production editing, taking little baby steps using programs like Pikmonkey and Snapseed. Though limited, both are easy to use and allow you to do fun things with your photographs. I continued with abstracts, trying a few arrangements inspired by (and I hope not insulting because of their amateurish nature) artist Andy Goldworthy. Rock Rainbow and Dandelion Clock were so fun to do and were instantly my favorites.

May flew by quickly. Flowers were everywhere, but my favorites were in the ditch across the street from me. I got some pretty funny looks from people driving by as I sat in the weeds with my camera. May was also the month my son graduated from college and moved away from home to begin a career in the Air Force. Big changes for both of us!

June made me long for a road trip, but we stayed close to home for the summer. Most of what I shot had to do with home renovations we did so they were not published here. But, I did get some good abstracts by shooting tile and marble with a macro lens. The hummingbirds, which had been buzzing around since the beginning of May, finally made my feeders regular stops on their never-ending feeding frenzy. Other delights of the summer were the neighbor’s cat — “S’s Cat” as I don’t know his name — who was always willing to pose for a few snaps if he thought he might get into my house. Dream on, S’s Cat! While June brought the start of the drought, we still had enough produce from the farmers’ markets that I could experiment with canning. Pickles, green beans, corn, beets and jam! Yummy!

The drought continued and everything began to dry up. Watering bans were established and firework shows were cancelled. A few rogue flowers, however, seemed to open up whenever I had my camera. Pictures that weren’t too interesting as-is became inspirations for abstracts and digital art. I was really pleased with my creation titled “Universes”.

Dryness continued and the only flowers available to shoot were ones that I bought at the grocery store. Fortunate for me, most of them look rather thirsty and the price was often reduced. The mosquito-pit — aka our pond with the broken pump — still managed to sustain a few waterlily, which were beautiful to shoot. Finally the rain came, ending the worst drought this part of the country has seen since the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s.

An unplanned trip to the Panhandle of Florida brought me back to the beach soon after Hurricane Sandy. The damage was still evident, with huge piles of sand plowed to the sides of the roads, much like what we see in the North following a snow storm. The rain rejuvenated flowers at home and many gardens had a second season before the fall.

The leaves started falling later than usual it seemed, although the trees that didn’t make it through the summer had already lost their leaves. I’ve heard that the real damage to the trees will be evident over the next few winters if the trees have been weakened too much to withstand wind, snow and cold. Leaf collection is a never-ending fall task for those who live in the woods, but I always had time to stop to get a few snaps of the last rose of summer or the beautiful colors of Fall.

Frost and fog were the subjects of my nature photography in November. I began using Photoshop Elements and learning lots from my mistakes. I experimented with creating painted looks for my photographs, sometimes just enhancing them a bit, other times creating an image that doesn’t seem to resemble the original. This kind of second chance to create a work of art is fun! As I do more of these, I am beginning to envision the type of photo that I want as my starting point, rather than just “playing” around with different filters. I think that means I’m making progress with learning the software!

And so we come to the end of the year. Where did it all go? In December, I continued to learn more things with post-processing and began to learn how to apply textures to my images. I’ve taken a lot of holiday-themed photos. With Photoshop, I created a daily holiday banner for my Facebook page – a sort of electronic version of an Advent Calendar. I’m not sure that too many of my FB friends noticed that there was something different everyday — or maybe they did because of a high annoyance factor in their newsfeeds yet were polite enough not to mention it. Regardless of whether others noticed, I had fun doing it. For Christmas, my dear sweet husband gave me a Lensbaby with several components of the Lensbaby Optical Swap system. I think I heard him mumbling this morning as I stood with the door to the balcony open, snapping shots of the light bouncing off the snow on the trees, that he had created a monster. Should I tell him that he did that when he gave me my camera three years ago? 🙂

With this post, I’ve officially blogged every day this year – 366 days.  With the exception of four days — one day too busy, one day too sick, two days just plain forgot — I took at least one photograph daily in 2012.   Thank you for reading my posts throughout the year.  I’m honored that you’d spend a few of your precious moments reading what I have to say or seeing how I look at the world through my camera lens.

I’ll be back in 2013, but I may not be posting daily.   You can expect some photographs, some writing, maybe more on recipes and cookbooks. Musings on other things of life.  I plan to continue my Sunday Quote series (I may already have 52 quotes collected!) and I hope to start a series where I feature other bloggers.

Happy New Years! May you have a safe New Years’ Eve and a healthy, happy, prosperous 2013.

Be sure to check out others “2012 in Pictures” submissions to the Weekly Photo Challenge.  If you don’t already, consider participating in this or future challenges.  It’s lots of fun and there are lots of great photogs posting amazing images.

Sunday Quote (St. Augustine) 2012, Week the Last

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. 
~ Saint Augustine.

Dreaming of the next adventure

Dreaming of the next adventure

On The Fifth Day of Christmas

I snapped golden-colored photos of ornaments on the tree.  No partridges in a pear tree.

GlassAngelsm Angel1sm SnowBabyAngelsm

The more I use it, the more I like the Lensbaby. Taken with Lensbaby Composer Plus with Double Glass Optic.

Cactus Bud (Travel Theme: New)

Here is another photo “experiment” with my new Lensbaby.   Added a texture of my own, and one by Kim Klaussen, with lots of layering in-between to achieve the right feel to the background while keeping — I hope — the selective focus/blur of the Lensbaby.

Christmas Cactus Bud

Christmas Cactus Bud

I’m not doing the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge today because it is going to take me awhile to compile my best pictures of 2012.   Will have that up in a few days.  Have a great weekend, everybody!

Edited:  After I posted this, Ailsa posted her weekly travel theme challenge.  Normally, I would post something specific for the challenge, but these photo just seem right for this challenge:  new lens, new photo, a new texture that I created & used on this photo,  new bud on the plant.  What could be better?  New!    Be sure to check out others who are participating in Ailsa’s theme this week.  Here are just a few:

Travel Theme New | True Travelings

Travel Theme: New—Hawaiian Marriage Proposal | There & Back

Travel Theme New | Patricia D Drury


Travel Theme: Festive

I almost didn’t get this one in this week.   Ever since Ailsa posted her theme for the week last Friday, I’ve tried to come up with something “festive”.   It isn’t that I haven’t taken any seasonal photos during the last month.  I have.  Some of them I really liked.  Some I have already shared on this blog.

The problem was that I felt that I had already taken and posted all of the “festive” shots that had caught my eye and everything new seemed like a retread of what I had already done.  Could it be that I was burned out by the holiday season?

I don’t really get tired of it, though the days after Christmas do offer a welcome slowing of pace.  I’m the type of person who marketers hate:  I’m pretty immune to the advertisements and displays.  They’ve been up since October?   Are you sure that they were ever taken down?  I couldn’t tell you because last Saturday was the first time in a year that I’ve been inside the mall, so for all I know, those giant varnished plastic ornaments that try so hard to look like glass on the 30 foot tree never went into storage.

I could have walked by them in June and not noticed.  Just like the train that was in the mall.   Yes — a train!   Decked out in holiday designs for the little kids to ride around the concourse.   As I walked down the main aisle, I wondered why I kept hearing a whistle blow.   I continued on my merry way and then the whistle was REALLY loud.  I think that bored mall employee-conductor might have run me down had I not realized that it was directly behind me and stepped aside before the cowcatcher on the train nipped at my heels.   Several of the parents sneered as they proceeded on at an increased clip.  Really?  In the mall?   Huh.  Who would have thought?  Not me.

But getting back to festive.   We’ve had lots of family festivities for the last few days.  With my siblings and their children.  With my mother’s husband’s family (do you call them step-siblings when your parents remarry in their 80’s?).   With my husband’s son and his SO, and my husband’s grandson.  With my son.   Yes, there have been lots of festivities, followed by a much-hyped but minor punch “blizzard”.  Things started to seem more like normal today and I had a few quiet minutes to get out my camera and play with my new Lensbaby lens.   I have a lot of experimenting to do before I get some really neat images, but for starters, I got one or two that were okay.

And this one seemed festive to me:


Not a holiday ornament, but festive all the same!

Festive can mean merry or joyous.   This glass ball that catches the light and creates distorted images of the woods makes me happy.  And that means festive to me.

Want to join the fun?   Jump over to Ailsa’s blog, Where’s My Backpack and leave a link to your interpretation of festive.   There’s a new theme every Friday.

CatbirdInOman: Travel Theme Festive
Travel Theme: Festive « Beach Treasures and Treasure Beaches
Travel Theme Festive | MrsCarmichael
Travel Theme Festive | Le Drake Noir
Travel theme: Festive « The Eclectic Eccentric Shopaholic
Festive: Ailsa’S Travel Theme… | Ouch!! My back hurts!!
Travel Theme: Festive | Across the Bored
A Little Bit of Festive « Reading and Writing
Ailsa’s travel photo challenge: Festive « Sounds like wish
Travel Theme: Festive | Chronicles of Illusions
Travel Theme; Festive – Christmas Tree « Day One

Christmas Oratio by W.H. Auden

Christmas Oratio
by W. H. Auden

Well, so that is that.  Now we must dismantle the tree,
Putting the decorations back into their cardboard boxes —
Some have got broken — and carrying them up to the attic.
The holly and the mistletoe must be taken down and burnt,
And the children got ready for school.  There are enough
Left-overs to do, warmed-up, for the rest of the week —
Not that we have much appetite, having drunk such a lot,
Stayed up so late, attempted — quite unsuccessfully —
To love all of our relatives, and in general
Grossly overestimated our powers.  Once again
As in previous years we have seen the actual Vision and failed
To do more than entertain it as an agreeable
Possibility, once again we have sent Him away,
Begging though to remain His disobedient servant,
The promising child who cannot keep His word for long.
The Christmas Feast is already a fading memory,
And already the mind begins to be vaguely aware
Of an unpleasant whiff of apprehension at the thought
Of Lent and Good Friday which cannot, after all, now
Be very far off.  But, for the time being, here we all are,
Back in the moderate Aristotelian city
Of darning and the Eight-Fifteen, where Euclid’s geometry
And Newton’s mechanics would account for our experience,
And the kitchen table exists because I scrub it.
It seems to have shrunk during the holidays.  The streets
Are much narrower than we remembered; we had forgotten
The office was as depressing as this.  To those who have seen
The Child, however dimly, however incredulously,
The Time Being is, in a sense, the most trying time of all.
For the innocent children who whispered so excitedly
Outside the locked door where they knew the presents to be
Grew up when it opened.  Now, recollecting that moment
We can repress the joy, but the guilt remains conscious;
Remembering the stable where for once in our lives
Everything became a You and nothing was an It.
And craving the sensation but ignoring the cause,
We look round for something, no matter what, to inhibit
Our self-reflection, and the obvious thing for that purpose
Would be some great suffering.  So, once we have met the Son,
We are tempted ever after to pray to the Father;
“Lead us into temptation and evil for our sake.”
They will come, all right, don’t worry; probably in a form
That we do not expect, and certainly with a force
More dreadful than we can imagine.  In the meantime
There are bills to be paid, machines to keep in repair,
Irregular verbs to learn, the Time Being to redeem
From insignificance.  The happy morning is over,
The night of agony still to come; the time is noon:
When the Spirit must practice his scales of rejoicing
Without even a hostile audience, and the Soul endure
A silence that is neither for nor against her faith
that God’s Will will be done, That, in spite of her prayers,
God will cheat no one, not even the world of its triumph.