February 28, 2009

Loving This

I keep listening to THIS over and over again. 
"He ran and he won so that all our children could fly", 
puts a smile on my face every time. 
Every journey begins with that first step. 
May your journey be filled with clear blue skies, fresh air, 
healthy seas, soils and a strong spirit.
This photo was taken in Cambria, CA

February 27, 2009

Growing Somewhere

Somewhere there are tulips growing, somewhere, now. Not here quite yet, but these did last year. And now the bulbs hide under fertile soil. Waiting. Feeding, building strength for the big push of life to come. I hope whoever purchased them took great care in their planting, to make up for their forced bulb beginnings. 

The Beginning

It's Friday, let the adventures begin!

February 26, 2009

From White to Green

 Thought it might be time to bring a little green into the picture following the cold white. I love all the seasons but I'm ready for some warmth and color. How about you

February 23, 2009

Snow Moments

Just a simple snow moment or two for you. 
They are quieting as I head to bed.
What dreams will they become a part of? 
Night all.


February 22, 2009

Building Trust

We have hard working, horse loving friends living nearby. I love to stand on the hill of their small farm and watch the horses graze. Some are boarded, some family and they come in all sizes and types. Raised in farming and ranching country in CA, I grew up seeing and occasionally riding bigger horses. Conversely miniature horses are new to me and its taken awhile to get my head wrapped around them. I think it's because they remind me of toys come to life. They have been fun to get to know at the farm. 

The horses pictured above fall into the medium category, with the smaller just two weeks old at the time of this photograph. On the spring day this was taken I tagged along with my husband to the farm while Helen, one of the owners and a master at therapeutic massage, attended to his back problems. I thought I would wander around and see what I could see. Instead her dear husband brought these two out to the side pasture so I could spend time with them. Mom and babe. As the gate closed behind me I found a spot to sit in the grass and let them get used to me. 

With trepidation the babe watched me from behind his mom, then ventured out and back a few times. Following his own assessment and sensing no apparent concern about me from his mother, he suddenly took off like a rocket. He was running, leaping and literally springing up in the air as he raced in circles around the pasture, only to find himself on wobbly legs when coming to a stop. A pause for breath, a nuzzle, then off again. This amazingly steady yet unsteady circus act continued for an hour with only an occasional hesitation on his part when picking up the sound of my camera clicking. 

It was a lovely hour filled with the scent of earth, feel of sun and the sounds and sights of new life. And though we couldn't know at the time, one that proved especially meaningful later. Once home I was able to examine the results of all that clicking and play with a few of the better images. Later I made some larger prints for our friends in thanks for the morning. Those images were gifted to their daughter the same day for her birthday along with the beautiful blond tailed babe. 

I can still feel that morning in my bones, hear those little hooves. See him peeking at me from behind his moms long tail. And thankfully we have the images, for the little light filled fellow became sick a year or so later and passed away. Building trust that spring morning is a gift I treasure.

February 21, 2009

Camera Camouflage

Pink and fuchsia tulip fields this time. These scanned photos of the fields (see earlier tulip posts as well) are pretty frustrating to look at while holding the sharp originals in hand. Note to self, not all scanners are created equal. Still you can see how stunning all these colors were as we traveled from field to field. Bless my husbands patient soul. Again it's been a few years since all these Skagit Valley shots were taken and I'm told a lot less folks are farming tulips now.


Our local photo club will be making the tulip fields their first outing for the season this April. Last year (my first with the club) all the group photo trips fell on days I had work obligations. Hoping the timing works out better this season. I have a lot of room for improvement though I'm definitely out of my league equipment wise. The Sound Exposure Photo Club is made up of some great folks with amazing photography skills. Maybe I can camouflage my camera and they won't find me out. Right. 

February 20, 2009

Birds, Birds, Birds, Birds, Birds

My work takes me out of the office to a number of locations in the area for meetings. One of them, the Nisqually River Council, meets at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge a few times a year. The refuge is a truly wonderful project and a great home to fish and foul. No matter the time of year or day, there is always something to see, even during times of dense fog. Bird watchers flock there in droves. 

My camera is always with me at the refuge and happily these meetings usually end during the lunch hour giving me time for a quick peek. I've taken some fun pictures when there, but I've never been standing right in the midst of a HUGE flock landing before. Geese aren't an unusual sight in Western Washington, but standing there as hundreds of them circled, landed, rose, circled and landed again, was humbling. About ten minutes later another big group came out of nowhere and joined those already munching grass. More than I have seen in one spot before. I was too close to catch a shot of them all so these small sections will have to do.

This was one of those rare days I was sorry I don't use a more serious camera. (With fast and sharp shooting capabilities) Years of leaving my 35mm's in the car or at home, because of the weight and bulk, led me to satisfaction with a nice point and shoot. Non-the-less today I would have walked through...uh, goose poop...for a really good camera. Short term, no ownership required. 

It was a special day; the estuary, birds and light were putting on a fine show for those of us milling around. I saw a man with a foot long camera lens heading down the trail leading out to the Puget Sound. Considered tackling him but it didn't seem prudent. Happy Friday all!
PS...yes George, Tippi Hedron did come to mind once or twice.

Skagit Tulip Farms

For Northwest tulip lovers who gravitate to the Skagit Valley in tulip season, part of the beauty exists away from the fields in the tulip gardens. They provide an opportunity for the gardener in search of bulbs a view of the options for purchase sans identification. Simply pick your favorites, go home, cast the bulbs about and you too can have a scene like this the following year. She kids. Obviously there is more work involved, but that hit of tulip beauty in the spring is hard to beat. I have a friend (are you reading this?) who has been planting bulbs annual for many years; sometimes a few, other years far more than a few. Think drifts of color. She spends a lot of time smiling in the spring. Again, all of these tulip farm photos were scanned from shots taken with film a few years ago. Unfortunately their clarity reflects that fact.

February 19, 2009

Skagit Valley Tulips

An April gift grows up the road a few hours in the Skagit Valley. The area is famous for it's tulip farms. There are other fun things to do in the area as well, but those tulips, oh my. They come in a vast array of colors and thousands of people make the journey to see them. The farms open up for viewing and vending. We have only made the trip once due to the crowds. Happily the best light for taking pictures is too early for most people to be out in large numbers. I will post a few more shots of the fields later as I'm heading out to work. Just wanted you to have a bright start to your day as well. This photo was scanned from a film shot so the sharpness isn't great.

February 18, 2009

Cows and Cattails

Cows and cattails formed contrasts in Black Jack Valley at the beginning of our last snow. The light white snow came down in transparent waves as I headed down the road.

February 16, 2009

Traveling

"...traveling on wings of early morning light." 
From poem by Aberjhani

February 12, 2009

Vessels

Mix equal parts of earth, water, sun, hard work 
and patience 
for vessels of hope.

February 11, 2009

Back to Grandma's House

What's that ad..."what says love better than roses?" Frankly, old fashioned home grown roses (or in this case, grown in the rose garden at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma, WA) are the ones I love. Of course I have NEVER been able to grow them with one whit of success. Here in Washington, with fir trees at our place blocking them from a good long sun soak, no chance. Old rose scents send me back to grandma's house instantly. Those are the kind of roses I hope people are enjoying in memory on Valentine's Day, instead racing out to buy a dozen scentless rose soldiers at some obscene price. Be creative, "remember them" in any color you wish. Today mine are pink and free

February 10, 2009

Getting Centered

It snowed most of this busy work day. Big fluffy flakes leaving white blankets all around. Now, as night has fallen, it seems a good time to throw some color up into that night sky and let it land here. It's centered, sort of... and I'm getting there too. 

February 9, 2009

Shadows and Stains

A red clay version of this face appears in a post from a while back. I promised to try and find the image of the other one I saw installed as a waterfall. Tonight it found me. The cast cement has taken up some of the moisture over time and deposited stains. Tree shadows and reflections bring the other bits of character. I am mesmerized by these faces when standing beside them. They would be unknown to me if not for my dear, dear friend Chris and her thoughtfulness. 

February 8, 2009

Scent O' Vision

And as the work week begins I'll leave you with the scent of more Paper Whites. No scent O' vision? I'll work on that.

While We Are At It

In the previous post I mentioned the downside of taking photos in low light; grainy results without speed adjustments and a tripod. The photo above is one of my best examples of grainy misfortunes. (Sounds like a disease) I was sitting with family in a seaside restaurant in California having dinner in a nook surrounded by windows. We were all chattering away when I turned to see the final moments of a top ten sunset. The good news - I had my camera near by, the bad news - there was no time to get outside. Between the light issues and the scarred windows from years of salt sea battering, a clean photo wasn't going to happen. With some maneuvering I found a place where the window marks spread out just enough to allow the sun to be mostly unmarred and caught a few sky magic reminders. Again, bad according to photo hoyle in a number of ways but what a sight it was!

February 6, 2009

Thanks Again Mother Nature

My daily commute takes me past places that can be so lovely it takes my breath away, especially when the light is just right. Of course enjoying these places requires looking at them while moving, which is not the safest option ... OR ... stopping. That option can be tricky too. None-the-less, when the stars line up (figuratively speaking) and there is a sunset firing up the bay whadayagonnado? Me? In this case, between the stars, the pull of the little camera riding shotgun and the vanishing light, I couldn't pull over fast enough.   

Yes, those lights to the right are on coming cars and I am standing right beside the drivers door of my car. Gives you an idea of the tricky (read stupid) aspect of this move. I swear, no cars were coming when I raced to the left and stopped like a kid on a BMX bike. There is no place to park on the other side of this narrow highway. In fact even the local badge wearing folks park this way sometimes. So, click, click, click. Did I mention it was cold? Click, click. Those birds were swimming but if they appear blurry, it probably has more to do with my shaking hands than their fast peddling feet. Click.

Now if you are reading this and you're a professional photographer; I know I didn't use the rule of thirds and photos get grainy when shooting this way in too little light. Don't care. After clicking with frozen fingers long enough to get two reasonably clear images to remember the moment and not getting hit by other sunset watchers, I'm a happy camper. It was an awfully good moment. One of those happy to be alive to see such magic, kind of moments. Thanks Mother nature, you got me again.

February 1, 2009

Barking Differences


In and earlier post (I know, again no link to one of my own posts. Can someone tell me how to do that?)...anyway, in an earlier post Dave had me thinking about nature's amazing beauty and it's variations. I responded mentioning some tree bark caught by the camera at the same Conservatory housing Spring in Winter. 

These are those...those trees bearing bark of interesting texture, color and character. Not every ones notion of beautiful, but I find them so. I think it's the boldness I find so appealing. Though I don't know what they are or where they originated, I'm pretty sure mother nature had some specific reasons for their appearance.

Time and time again through the years, my cameras have landed on bark and it's variations. The barks that hold on, build up and form a protection to the finish. Or the barks which seasonally peel away like natures striptease, while building deeper and more interesting textures as they age.  Maybe that is the draw, they are like us. More interesting and reflective of exposures as the years pass. 

Glad the writing of the piece below triggered my memory enough to follow through on this posting promise. Memory is not my strongest suit these days. This one's for you Dave! 

Wander to Wonder

While wandering through Point Defiance Park in Tacoma this summer past I caught these tree trunks. They are in a more hidden location and I'm still not sure if some wild child basket maker made off with the bark or the park folks did. They might have been test strips for research, who knows. Whatever the story, the results are interesting. Once home I started playing with the image in Photoshop Elements, something I do often to see if a lack luster image has a hidden personality. (No, I don't use full blown Photoshop)

With this image, transitioning it into black and white and pumping up the contrast was the starting point, followed by cropping to it's strongest aspects. Then the true playtime began. The resulting strip was duplicated, triplicated, reduced, regrouped, enlarged, butted, flipped, pinched and so on. Sounds painful I know but I didn't make up the terms. Truthfully, I can no longer remember what the end result is comprised of entirely. That's half the fun, a project to get lost in. Then awareness dawns and you realize a good portion of your Sunday morning is gone. And what have you got to show for it? 
 
Something, which is hopefully more interesting than nothing at all. Where I will end up using this is an unknown.  That is the other half of the fun, looking for the images that will translate into something unexpected, which later become part of another adventure. It's about the journey. Find a little time for your own journey. Do a little wandering so you can wonder too.
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