Thursday, March 31, 2011

Yes, I was Chasing Ducks

flyingduck by saturnsvu
flyingduck, a photo by saturnsvu on Flickr.

New lens, faster camera - love this shot! Taken at Patton Park.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

79-85/365 Days of Photos

79/365 ~ Carl Sandburg Home

My first visit to this local landmark! I had a wonderful time today exploring the grounds and getting to know Cady and Kevin, one of the couples whose wedding I will be shooting later this spring. What a lovely property. Kim Maxwell and I are already making plans to visit again soon!

The Carl Sandburg Home NHS is located on 264 acres in Western North Carolina. In addition to tours of the Sandburg Home, visitors can enjoy over five miles of trails, stroll through gardens and greet the descendents of Mrs. Sandburg's dairy goat herd. A typical visit lasts 2 hours.

80/365 ~ A beautiful poison

Beautiful in color and form, the Bradford pear tree is native to Asia. When introduced in the United States as an ornamental tree, it thrived. Wildlife love the fruits of the Bradford or Callery pear and an abundance of trees are spread via birds and squirrels, appearing seemingly out of nowhere overnight.

The Bradford pear tree is known scientifically as Pyrus calleryana. Bradford pears are quick-growing deciduous trees that reach approximately 50 feet high when mature. They produce white flowers and small, inedible fruit.

Bradford pear trees are primarily grown as ornamental trees for their spring flora. The fruits, which are inedible raw, can be used to make wine and seasonings.

Pyrus calleryana seeds are considered mildly poisonous to humans. When ground between the teeth and ingested in large quantities, glycosides in the seeds mix with stomach acid to form cyanide. It is hard for a human to ingest large enough quantities of Bradford pear seeds to cause even a mild reaction. When poisoning does occur, it may manifest as a mild fever, stomach upset and dizziness.

Fun Fact ~ The Sierra Club gave the Bradford pear the moniker of "Frankentree" because these originally sterile trees have hybridized over the years to gain the ability to produce fruit and seed.

81/365 ~ Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer - and often the supreme disappointment. ~ Ansel Adams

So true. What I saw in this photo was layers and layers of colors - the green grass then the golden wheat grass then the white and pink flowered trees then the range of Blue Ridge Mountains all topped with a layer of blue sky and puffy white clouds ... unfortunately I'm not so sure my camera captured all the layers I could see but I did have fun trying and isn't that what this hobby is all about!

82/365 ~ Hide-n-Seek

These ducks look like they are playing the innocent game of Hide-n-Seek. While Mr. Mallard counts to ten, Ms. Mallard cutely ducks her head into her feathers thinking that as long as she can't see him then surely he can't see her, right?

Hide-n-Seek was one of my favorite games as a kid but it always made me feel like I needed to go wee-wee. Something about being sneaky I guess :)

83/365 ~ “An optimist is a person who sees only the lights in the picture, whereas a pessimist sees only the shadows. An idealist, however, is one who sees the light and the shadows, but in addition sees something else: the possibility of changing the picture, of making the lights prevail over the shadows.”

So I'm an Idealist I guess. What I really am is a PHOTOGRAPHER because I see the light and the shadows and I see that they are better as one, that together they bring harmony.

84/365 ~ Lake Jocassee Shoreline

Today we took a motorcycle ride in the car. What? Yes, we wanted to take a ride but the air was a bit chilly for the Yamaha so we took the car and drove down Highway 11 stopping by Jocassee to check on the water levels. It's been a while since we've been to the ramp. It's a favorite dive spot for local scuba fans. I've never been a huge fan of it because I hate the rocky pavement and the hill is a pain with a scuba tank on your back. Today's visit was very different. We were the only ones there and I fell in love with this little pine tree trying to grow through the rocks. I wonder if it feels as out of place in these rocks as I do in a wetsuit? Ha!

85/365 ~ What's on my shelf?

I'm often asked, "How'd you learn to do that?" The answer is often, "I just looked it up on the internet," but there still times when I actually "buy the book." The books that taught me the most about photography and that were written in a language I could understand are by all by Scott Kelby. I've lost or let someone borrow Book 2 but still refer back to books 1 & 3 almost weekly. Kelby's Lightroom book and Matt Kloskowski's Layers books are entertaining and full of neat tricks for photo editing. I find inspiration in 'Charleston' and 'Our State' (honestly, I can't live without reading these EVERY month!) We rarely hop on the Yamaha without checking out at least one of Hawk Hagebak's Motorcycle Adventures books. Of course the thickest and newest book in the stack is the Canon EOS 7D book. I've got A LOT to learn about this new camera and I want to make the best use of every single feature!

Monday, March 21, 2011

If it looks like a duck ....

I took these duck photos at Jackson Park after the flooding. One of the
photos actually won an award on the FLICKR site where I store my photos
online. It earned me a free membership for the next year :)

72-78/365 Days of Photos

72/365 ~ Technology on his own pace.
We got on our first computer Christmas, 1998. I gave up using it as a primary email and web browser about a year later however it is still the browser of choice by the other computer user in this house. This is the same person who prefers a laptop that is ten years old just because it has a middle scroll button that newer models don't. Oh well he might not be at the forefront of technology but he has at least given up the GIANT MOUSE TRACK BALL :)

73/365 ~ “Once I saw a duck walking down the street so I went into Subway and ordered two pieces of bread, and they informed me that they could not do that, like there was some speical rule at Subway that two pieces of bread weren't allowed to touch. So the woman asked me what I wanted on the sandwich and I said I do not care it is for a duck, and she was like oh then it's free. I was not aware that ducks eat for free at Subway. It's like give me a chicken fajita sub, but don't worry about ringing it up, it is for a duck.”- Mitch Hedberg quotes (American Comedian, 1968-2005)

Spotted these ducks having fun in the flooded lowlands at Jackson Park today. It was cool because they weren't actually on a pond and I could get closer to them. Of course, I now need to buy new dress shoes and my stockings are trashed but hey, don't you just love the reflection in the muddy flood waters?

74/365 ~ It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Who says you can't take pictures in the rain? Fog is one of my favorite subjects especially when found atop a mountain covered in tall trees. I found these on Randy Drive across the street from where I live (up behind the Highway Patrol's office.) The fog is hiding it but there is a huge boulder behind the trees.

75/365 ~ "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD." Psalm 122:1 (KJV)

Picture number 004 with my new Canon 7d. Steeple surrounded by the lifting fog. Penrose, NC.

76/365 ~ A Kiss for Luck ~ Stephanie & Rodney

Stephanie and Rodney were married four years ago today. I asked, "Why St. Patrick's Day?" "It's my favorite holiday," replied Stephanie! Good enough reason for me!

So where did the saying "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" originate? Here are the answers I found on Yahoo's Answers site:

It is a reference to the Blarney Stone. Kissing the Blarney stone brings you good luck so if you can't kiss the stone the next best chance of getting good luck is "kissing an Irish person." (Side Note: The Blarney Stone is the 'Stone of Eloquence' in Blarney Castle, kissing it gives you the ability to never be lost for words, becoming a smooth talker so-to-speak)

And it had this to say about the Luck of the Irish ~

Have you ever heard of "luck of the Irish" people would kiss something like a lottery ticket to get luck! So who has more luck than the Irish! (I am Irish) So people came up with the saying "kiss me I'm Irish" to get luck or to get lucky!!! Haha (:

Actually "luck of the Irish" is an old racist saying that has now been interpreted differently. People said the Irish were lucky when they started having successful business ventures because the stereotype of Irish were that they were too stupid to run businesses and many signs in stores would read "Irish need not apply.

77/365 ~ Self Portrait. That's me in the reflection of Frank's glasses. Of course I'm holding the camera. I love looking at myself through his eyes because even though he sees every flaw and knows where all my wrinkles and rolls are, he loves me just the same.

78/365 - Painting with Light
Believe it or not this was the most interesting thing in the room (to me) today at a photography class that I took in Greenville. Maybe I just get bored too easily :)

65-71/Days of Photos

I found a new, faster way to upload a week's worth of photos at once so I should do better at keeping the site updated with my 365 shots. One catch - I started out posting the week with the newest photo back, this new way to post actually post in chronological order as the photos are named. Hope that doesn't confuse anyone. Thanks for looking. Enjoy!

65/365 ~ Baby Braelyn
She was born 1/11/11 - it's about time I met her. Less than two months old and she is holding that head up waiting on Aunt Paula to snap, snap, snap. Isn't she a doll?

66/365~ Ms. McGee stands at the ready to pay out big bucks at this year's Vintage Carolina event.
When I was in school, I had five teachers who influenced me greatly. Three of them were English teachers, Ms. McGee being one of those three. I will never forget the two years I spent in her classes. We read 'Gone with the Wind' and it was the start of my love affair with that novel and with reading in general. We dissected poems which led me to always look for the symbolism in poetry. My favorite dissection was "Because I could not stop for death, he kindly stopped for me." Ms. McGee taught us to love Poe, too. I probably still have some of the papers I wrote in her classes and I can still remember sitting in the desks lined up for spelling bees. I formed many of my best friendships during English class with Ms. McGee. When I look back and think about it, I definitely rank her at the top of my class! Thank you, Ms. Shirley McGee for instilling in me a love of learning I still have today!

I chose this as my photo of the day because I know there are many of my friends out there who also had Ms. McGee. I thought you all would appreciate seeing that, while we have all aged dramatically, she looks the same as always!

67/365 ~ Spring has Sprung!! [So sue me, I couldn't pick just one today :)]

The tree on the left is at the in the Walker's yard in Penrose. I had the sunroof open and it smelled so wonderful, I had to get out and take its picture. And the daffodil, or jonquil as my mother calls it, was in full bloom at the Woodfield Inn. Not sure what kind of tree it is but here is the info on the flower we call daffodil.

There are two derivations of the name. One is that of the youth of Greek mythology called Narcissus, who, in at least one of many variations of the tale, became so obsessed with his own reflection as he kneeled and gazed into a pool of water that he fell into the water and drowned. In some variations, he died of starvation and thirst from just sitting by the edge of the pool until he gave out, gazing at his reflection until he died. In both versions, the Narcissus plant first sprang from where he died.

The other derivation is that the plant is named after its narcotic properties (ναρκάω narkao, "to grow numb" in Greek).[6]

The name Daffodil is derived from an earlier "Affodell", a variant of Asphodel. The reason for the introduction of the initial "d" is not known, although a probable source is an etymological merging from the Dutch article "de," as in "De affodil." From at least the 16th century "Daffadown Dilly", "daffadown dilly", and "daffydowndilly" have appeared as playful synonyms of the name.

The name jonquil is sometimes used in North America, particularly in the South,[clarification needed] but strictly speaking that name belongs only to the rush-leaved Narcissus jonquilla and cultivars derived from it.

68/365 ~ Drive
Nothing but an ugly box, right? Wrong. What's in that box is the result of four years of drive. Four years of blood, sweat, and, yes, a few tears. The contents of that box represent my middle child's drive to succeed. And I'm afraid to open it. I'm afraid if I open it I will start to cry. I'm afraid if I open it I will realize that my sweet little mischievous middle child is almost grown. I'm afraid that if I open it she will be gone, moved to Charlotte, and working out in this big old mean world. I think I will wait and let her open it. Then I might not cry. I might just see the big smile on her face and smile with her instead! Come home soon, Amy. Your college graduation invitations are waiting :)

69/365 ~ “What a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be.” - Ellen Burstyn
It's weird but of all the photos I took today this is the one that speaks to me. Yesterday, Elaine took photos of the falls and they were roaring and I said to myself I need to get over there. I expected to find it deafening but what I actually heard was the quiet. I took a few photos and just sat in this chair quietly watching the water rushing by. Today I traded places with that normally serene and slow moving water. Today I sat still while the water rushed by. It was nice.

70/365 ~ My new toy. Can't wait to learn to use this.
It's for editing photos and a lot more. "Need precision? Pick up the pressure-sensitive pen to edit photos, create personal greetings, make sketches, and mark up documents in your own handwriting." And the great thing about it is that is was bought with gift cards I received for my birthday, Christmas, and United Way donations. Yes, I actually held onto them for almost 6 months. Usually Best Buy gift cards don't last a day in my purse :)

71/365 ~ Nuclear Challenge

Today we ate at Beef O'Brady's in Arden and watched Carolina win again. While we were there, these boys from TC Roberson decided to take the Nuclear Challenge - eat 15 of Beef's hottest wings in 15 minutes. I can't eat one. The guy on the end was sweating something fierce with 6 minutes to go. The fourth guy from the left did it in record time: 2.38 minutes. I asked him if he swallowed the bones, too. Dude, how did he do that. They say redheads are fiery - maybe it's the wings :)

58-64/365 Days of Photos

64/365 - I love rainy days ... and we really need it!
Umbrella Song
Put up your umbrella
When the rain comes down.
Wear a happy smile
And wipe away a frown.
Splash in all the puddles
And do a little dance.
Rain is just the thing we need
For watering the plants.
~Submitted by Cheryl's Sweethearts ChildCare

63/365 ~ This little piggy went wee, wee, wee, all the way home.
Amanda and I went to Clyde today to see Grandma and Granddaddy and on the way out we took the backroads to the interstate. I found this farm filled with wild turkeys, bulls, cows, baby calves, and pigs of all shapes and colors. Amanda loved the spotted pig. Funny thing was that they followed me all along the fence while I was snapping so I started talking to them and without thinking I said, "You guys like having your picture made don't you? You're such hams!" hahaha - yes sometimes I crack myself up :)

62/365 ~ All roads might lead to liberty but who can afford to get there these days?
Sometimes the shot of the day is very topical. Everywhere I went today, they were changing the signs at the gas stations. $3.49 seems to be the going rate today. I think the signs above the pumps at the Triangle Stops are appropriate - our gas prices are rising in direct correlation with the Libyan people's pursuit of their freedom (liberty).

61/365 ~ Pop's Shoe
This shoe belonged to Frank's grandfather who was born in 1920 - yes, it's really old!! He was called Pop and he was a real character. While going through his old things, he found a 1985 Minolta Maxxum. He had two or three lenses to go with it and a really cool velvet strap. I liked taking pictures before that but when he gave me that camera - my first SLR - my love for photography was born. That was about 10 years ago now. This shoe was Pop's support as he learned to walk; Pop's gift to me was the support I needed to pursue a hobby that not only satisfies me everyday but makes others happy, too. Thanks, Pop, you are missed every day.

61/365 ~ Pop's Shoe
This shoe belonged to Frank's grandfather who was born in 1920 - yes, it's really old!! He was called Pop and he was a real character. While going through his old things, he found a 1985 Minolta Maxxum. He had two or three lenses to go with it and a really cool velvet strap. I liked taking pictures before that but when he gave me that camera - my first SLR - my love for photography was born. That was about 10 years ago now. This shoe was Pop's support as he learned to walk; Pop's gift to me was the support I needed to pursue a hobby that not only satisfies me everyday but makes others happy, too. Thanks, Pop, you are missed every day.

59/365 ~ Biltmore House Under Severe Thunderstorm Warnings
Today was the last day to use the free passes that came with my yearly passholder privileges at the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC. Wouldn't you know it, it started raining and storming and we missed getting to take a lot of pictures outdoors. I did manage to snap this one (actually three shots woven together with Photomatic HDR software) while waiting for the shuttle. Believe me, it was POURING but I think the shot was worth it, it looks so medieval in this lighting.

The celebrated architect Richard Morris Hunt modeled the house on three châteaux built in 16th-century France. It would feature 4 acres of floor space, 250 rooms, 34 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces. The basement alone would house a swimming pool, gymnasium and changing rooms, bowling alley, servants' quarters, kitchens, and more.

58/365 ~ Another Sunny Sunday
So hard to believe it was in the 70's on the next to the last day of February. Don't get me wrong, I love it, but I'm afraid March might make us pay for it. Or even worse, April.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Amanda & Grandma & The Honey Dish

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Happy Birthday, Angie

A lot has been said about being sisters. Usually really sweet and sappy things. But I thought these were kind of funny and most likely the way my sister has felt about me more than one time in our 43 years together! Love you baby sister!

Big sisters are the crab grass in the lawn of life. ~Charles M. Schulz

If you don't understand how a woman could both love her sister dearly and want to wring her neck at the same time, then you were probably an only child. ~Linda Sunshine

Sisters never quite forgive each other for what happened when they were five. ~Pam Brown

A sister smiles when one tells one's stories - for she knows where the decoration has been added. ~Chris Montaigne

More than Santa Claus, your sister knows when you've been bad and good. ~Linda Sunshine

If sisters were free to express how they really feel, parents would hear this: "Give me all the attention and all the toys and send Rebecca to live with Grandma." ~Linda Sunshine

I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones. ~Author unknown, attributed to a 4-year-old named Lauren

And finally ... a bit of the mushy

Sisters annoy, interfere, criticize. Indulge in monumental sulks, in huffs, in snide remarks. Borrow. Break. Monopolize the bathroom. Are always underfoot. But if catastrophe should strike, sisters are there. Defending you against all comers. ~Pam Brown

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Biltmore House Feb '11