This is a change! LOL

TWO DAYS IN A ROW! Can you believe it? I’m shocking myself! LOL

So, yesterday I posted a whine. Part of the reason for my wanting to hear from people is to know if I’m on the “right track” in what I am pursuing as a money making endeavor. My post for today is to inform anybody who cares (yeah – another “pity party”) about my newest try. I will now be offering handmade greeting cards that people can order from this blog. As I’m not willing, yet, to pay for a WordPress blog, I won’t be adding an order form to it. Should you like to order, you will have to contact me via email. I’m going to see if I can link the cards to my email account so all one should have to do is to click on the card he/she wants to order, and it will bring you to my email address. Gotta figure that out, yet. Hmmm… !!!

Anyhooo… I am in the process of making greeting cards for farmers market. I am trying to find something that I can do to make money so I can pay off a bill I’ve had hanging over my head for some time. (It’s a long, boring story, and no I won’t slough that bill off!) So, I thought since I *may* have greeting cards already made up, why not try another venue to sell? If you do visit my blog, look for the Greeting Cards tab that should be coming soon. ūüėČ

In the meantime, since I still want to show my photography skills, such as they are, here are some shots I took in 2014 when visiting the Grotto of the Redemption, in West Bend, IA. I haven’t processed many of the pictures, yet, but will be shortly, and then I’ll send them to be printed so I can use them in actual paper scrapbooking! I’ve been doing mostly digital lately, and am kind of itching to get my hands on paper.

Enjoy! And, Go! Shoot!

 

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May I should just quit?

I don’t know why it is, but most things creative that I try just don’t appeal to anybody but myself. I am in my 50s, and still haven’t found a niche. I enjoy several creative endeavors, but, apparently nothing I make is “good enough”. Yep. I’m whining.

Any way, that is part of the reason it’s been so long since I have made a post. After logging in, I saw my stats, and they are pretty much zeros across the board. However… I’m not¬†quite¬†ready to give up, just yet.

And so, I’ll get off my pity podium, and continue on. We’ll see what comes.

So, this winter, I haven’t had much inspiration, nor ambition, to go out and shoot. I have, however, gotten a few photos that I like. I did get one that fairly satisfies me. I do wish, though, that it were sharper. I am not certain why I can’t get those tack-sharp photos, but I’m hoping that new contacts, and resetting my diopter will help. Any way, here it is.

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I took this one because I have a similar of the truck (see it?), only that one is in the summer, and the trees are not so grown up in it. I really liked how the sun was shining on the pines in this shot, and barely caught it. It is amazing how very quickly the scenery changes when the sun is rising and setting. It took me just a few seconds to run and get my camera, and already in that short time, things had changed quite a bit. I just missed that really “golden” moment – that glow that is so well-liked in photographs. But, I do enjoy this lighting.

So, this photo was taken shortly after “the big snow”. We had our first true snowstorm of the season, and got about 14 inches of that lovely white stuff. As happens rather frequently in Iowa, the day after is lovely. This time was no exception, and I wanted to go out and see what I could see. Of course, I had to take Zest with me! Boy, were we both sorry.¬†But, about that later.

I did manage to get a nice shot of him, shortly after we got outside, and were not yet into the deep stuff. We have a row of pines along the east side of the house yard, and they did a good job of blocking the worst of the snowfall. So, here is my little “Zestimator”, having a sniff (for bunnies or squirrels, of course!), under the pine.

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This shot was taken shortly before “it” happened. This little guy liked (remember this tense) snow. He would run, jump, play, and roll in it with all the glee a dog can have. Snow was his friend! Until…

Our trek took us around the whole “house yard”, including the several stands of pines we have that act as wind blocks. It really isn’t all that far of a walk, but, in the deep, heavy snow, it quickly becomes burdensome. And, while I was keeping an eye on Zest, I wasn’t paying¬†enough¬†attention. After all, I was out shooting! (Hmmm, or trying to.)

Having exhausted myself to the point of almost passing out (I’m out of shape, but add that to the Meniere’s, which is exacerbated by cold, and that does not a good combination make), I decided I’d had enough. So, back to the house we went, following the lane from the house to the field. That lane is quite protected from wind, for the most part, and it was deep with snow. The going wasn’t all that easy until I got past the shop, where the lane is less protected.

Now, I knew Zest was behind me. I could hear him. But, in my own “suffering” of¬†floundering¬†through that “four-letter-word”, as Lloyd will call it, I didn’t notice that he, too, was having a difficult time. It wasn’t until I got to the front of the garage that I realized Zest was no longer behind me.

Thinking that he was off on a bunny or squirrel chase, I turned to look for him. And, there he was. Just sitting in the middle of the lane. Not too far past the shop. He was looking at me, almost expectantly. I called him, and he got up, and hopped forward, then sat again. Okay, so, I’m slow. I did not yet realize what was going on. I called him again, and once more he hopped, this time twice, and I saw.

Take a good look at him in the above picture. See all that hair? That hair that is so meticulously groomed for show? Ah! What a problem that is. Especially. In. Deep. Snow.

There he was, almost “stuck” to the snow because the snow was stuck to him. He was a little gamer, though, and finally made it to the front of the garage where I was standing. By that time, I really saw why the poor dog was having such a hard time. He was one HUGE snowball!

This first photo is¬†a close-up.¬†I was in a hurry to get pictures of him, and they don’t have the greatest settings, nor are they all that good quality, but, the red lines are there to show how much snow is attached (or, I’m sure he would think, “attacked”) to him.

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And, here is a whole-body shot, where you can see a bit better how much snow is on him.

3zestsnow

See how wide it is? Poor boy! And, these pictures don’t show the back end of him! So, I carried the poor guy into the house. I put him in the shower, and sprayed that crap away. I’m guessing he had about 15 pounds of snow attached/attacked to him, which makes that a little under half his body weight! Worst of all, Zest no longer cares much for snow. ūüė¶ He most certainly does not like deep snow, and that was reiterated a few days ago when we got about 10 inches more of that “stuff”.

So, if you enjoy my pictures, and stories, please do let me know! If I’m reaching anybody, comments would be nice, and will give me hope that “somebody” may “like” what I’m creating. (I’ll quit begging now!)

Go! Shoot! (And stay warm and snow-free!)

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Another long stretch…

Let’s just say I’ve been busy.

So, one of the “busies” was to take a road trip to Wisconsin. Weyauwega, to be exact. Dad has fond memories of his grandparents’ home there. He has been wanting to get back there for some time, and, I figured, “why not?”.

I had the trip planned via Google Maps, and because it’s Autumn, and I am tired of taking the same ol’, same ol’ route (when we make our apple trips, we usually travel Hwy. 9 to Lansing), I decided to try the Scenic Highway 60 route. Google Maps said it should have taken five hours and 15 minutes. Riiiiight! Not with ME navigating! LMBO! Let’s just say that between the Garmin, and Google Maps, I was soooo “lost”.

I won’t bore you with the whole trip, but somehow, it ended up taking us about 11 hours, according to Lloyd. Yep, you read that right! Eleven hours!

Let’s just say that we had a “plot twist!”, and instead of driving directly to Weyauwega, we went to Neenah, where I had booked rooms for us. We did, however, drive a scenic route! ūüėČ I couldn’t tell you where we had driven, for certain. But, along the way, we got to see this very cool barn.

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I don’t know if the name of the people who lived in the house nearby was Miller, but, this looks like the Miller beer font, and since Miller was my favorite beer for a long, long time…

So, a while back, I believe I may have posted about Serif’s Affinity Photo software. (If not, I apologize. But, I’m too much in a hurry at this time to go back and check.) I have been using Adobe Photoshop for years. But, with their release of the CC version, I no longer really want to use it. I refuse to pay a subscription! I also do not care for their practice of not supporting your .psd images should you choose to no longer subscribe. And, they will no longer support the older versions (of which I have PS5), so…

Any way, I digress (I’ll get off my rant, now), and will continue onward!

I was signed up for a challenge on my Scrappin’ Peeps message board, and decided that I would do the challenge using Affinity Photo. I must admit that I was a bit frustrated. However, I think once I get used to where things are, and how things work (don’t you like those technical terms?), I will enjoy using AP.

So, here is my first scrapbook creation:

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And, here is one I created to post on Facebook (because of all the Christmas ads I’m seeing there, and on television.):

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I’m thinking I need to do some touching up with that one. I would like to put it on our church’s website, and want it to be “perfect” before I do so. But, I think it isn’t too bad for my first creation in AP!

And, another opportunity missed – the Autumn season is about closed. Most of the leaves have fallen. The weather is turning colder. I didn’t get to go out and shoot like I wished I could have. *sigh* But, there’s always winter!

Go! Shoot!

 

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?What IS that?

I was walking up to the door of Dad’s house, and saw what I thought was a leaf on the screen. As I got closer, I figured I’d brush it off, but saw LEGS! Um, what is that???

I took another look, close up, and saw it was a butterfly! I don’t ever recall seeing one of these strange looking creatures, and of course, I had to get a picture!

After taking several shots, I wanted to see what the upper side of the wings looked like, so I barely touched it. It quickly, and I do mean quickly, opened its wings. Just barely long enough for me to see orange.

What appeared to be an oddly shaped, brown, drab leaf turned out to be a Polygonia Interrogationis, or “Question Mark” butterfly. NEAT!

 

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Upper side of the “Question Mark” butterfly. (Wikipedia)

Striking, huh? Nature never ceases to amaze me! Who would have thought “underneath” that drab brown was this brilliant orange?

And, of course, I had to make a layout!

question_mark_butterfly

So odd! That shape is what caught my eyes in the first place. I thought, “leaf”, but, also, “oddly shaped leaf”. “WHAT is it? What kind of leaf?” And, now I know!

So, I’ve been busy. Did a brief stint as a temp employee at Principal Financial Group¬†for Manpower.¬†I made it through one week of training, barely. I caught Lloyd’s cold, and Thursday and Friday were very difficult for me. Concentration was spiraling downwards. Throat was sore, head was sore, nose was getting sore. So, I quit. Yep, I’m a quitter. I feel like such a failure, but, I just wasn’t catching on – because of the cold, perhaps? It wasn’t happening, though.

So, it was either a good thing (my thinking preference), or a “punishment” for quitting, but, whatever it is, my truck died about 760 feet from home last night. I turned the corner onto our road, and it just died. No warning. I let it coast a way because I wasn’t sure that it was NOT running. (Remember that cold? My ears are also plugged, so… ) I turned off the CD player, and stepped on the gas a bit. NOTHING! BLAST, BLAST, BLAST!!!

I was on my way home from dropping Lloyd off to pick up HIS truck after it had new tires put on, and the ball joints worked on.¬†It does not rain at our house, it pours! (Yes, I’m venting!) So, is it a good thing that I quit, or, am I being “punished” for quitting??? Seriously, God does NOT work that way, but, sometimes I feel like it. ūüėČ

Okay, off my rant! I’m hoping to be able to get out and capture some of the color before it all leaves (Get it? Leaves! Okay, I’ll quit!). I really need to practice, practice, practice!

Go! Shoot!

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Beauty – how I see it

I admit it. I am a bit strange. I see beauty in things most others do not. For instance, I think broadleaf (curly) dock is beautiful in the fall, after it has turned dark brown. (I know many farmers who would like to shoot me about now! LOL) I also think creeping Charlie is pretty. (Lloyd thinks I’m absolutely nuts!) I can’t help it! I like some of that “odd stuff”! I also enjoy the fact that I can find beauty where others may not see it. That’s a part of who I am. Can’t handle it? *shrugs* Your problem, not mine! ūüėČ

So, I was out for a shoot for a purpose one day. Trying to find an “abstract” for a monthly contest for the local photo club (did you see that post?), when I spied an every day, ordinary metal field fence post with a weed climbing on it. (Here I go again with weeds!) And, I couldn’t help but to see the beauty in it.

Now, I admit that this may not be the best composition, but, in order to get the post, with the weed, but NOT the distracting house/cars/mailbox background on the left, and the gnarly “weed” tree on the right, I had to shoot from this angle. Still, I like this shot, and, as I’ve said before, I shoot for ME. I shoot what I like, and hope others see that beauty that I see. So, do you see it?

post_weed

God made this world, along with all the beauty in it. Find that beauty and shoot it! Have fun! SEE!

Go! Shoot!

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Miracles!

I create and maintain the website for our church, Messiah Lutheran. I’m constantly trying to find material to use on the site. I’d like to “zhoozh” it up. So, yesterday, I was hunting around for something to go into the Bible Studies page, which I had just added so the members can prepare for the classes. The theme for the next six weeks is,¬†“The Unexplained: ¬†Miracles, Mysteries, and More”. So, I figured a nice picture of a “miracle” would be super. After doing some surfing, and making a request to use a proprietary image, I decided I could make my own image. DUH!

So, off to the hunt in my pictures. I have a LOT, btw. I need to do another clean-out, and put most of them to a flash drive. (My poor ‘puter! I’ve filled the 1TB HD once, already, and had to delete a bunch of stuff off it. I now have a 1TB external HD that is almost filled with scrapbooking stuff, and many pictures on a 5TB external. Can you say, “hoarder”??? LOL) Any way…

For a digital photography class in college, I needed a landscape picture. I happened to be driving by a ditch full of pampas grass, and, the sun was setting. Opportunity knocked! With my faithful little Canon PowerShot A710 IS, I got a couple shots of the pampas grass with the sunset behind it. However, none of them really presented the mood I wanted. Sooooo… I took off my polarized sunglasses, lined up a lens over the camera lens, and took a couple shots. Voila! (YES! That DOES work! Give it a try. In a pinch, if you don’t have a polarized lens filter, your polarized sunglasses may give you the same effect!) Don’t you love creativity??? LOL

Now, to make this long story short, I took the best image of the¬†“Pampas Grass Sunset”, and made this for the website.

miracles_happen

Granted, the image isn’t as sharp as it could, or should, be, but, I like it nonetheless. To me, it looks like a miracle, and that was my intent for the site. My small inspiration gave me a pretty shot, and now that will be seen on the church website. (Free advertising!)

Hope you enjoyed this little “tutorial”. Go! Shoot!

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Abandoned

Okay, I admit it. I have a “thing” for worn out, falling down, grungy-looking buildings. I don’t know why they hold such a fascination for me, but, they do. I’m always on the lookout for picturesque barns, and now, for ruined buildings.

A few weeks ago, on a rainy day, Mom and I went to our favorite “local” scrapbook store, Backroads Plum Crazy (don’t you love that name?), and we passed an abandoned farm along the way. I said to my mother that I should have stopped and taken pictures of it. I didn’t stop, and have thought about that place since.

So, a week ago, I once again found myself on the way to BRPC, and, it was a rainy day. The weather was cooperating with me when I stopped to shoot that place. If you look closely enough at the pictures, you can see the raindrops. (View larger images in the Photography section.)

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I really like these pictures, and am happy with the way they turned out. I think they come awfully close to conveying the feeling I get when I see that abandoned beauty.

So, here is the scrapped version (of course I had to scrap them!):

abandoned_farm

Wait! There’s more!

I am a “member” of our local photography club, North Iowa Photo Club. The club hosts a monthly contest, and September’s theme is “Abstract”.

I admit, I don’t really shoot abstracts, as the the Photokonnexion¬†site defines it. (BTW, check that site out! FUN stuff!) But, I figured I need to get out of my own little photography world, and give it a try.

So, I’ve been on the lookout, and on the way home from town, we passed a cornfield that has pretty much turned that wonderful tan that dying field corn turns. The sun was hitting it just right, so that there was a lot of patterning, colors, and “abstraction”. I really wanted to holler at Lloyd to STOP! so I could shoot. But, that is a busy road, and he was in a bit of a hurry to get home. I did, however, keep an eye on all of the corn fields along the way.

When we got home, I grabbed my camera, headed out the door and to the corner of the cornfield across the road. Ha! Along the way, of course, were other distractions. I made a few quick stops to check some things out, but really wanted to get to the corner of the field before the sun quit cooperating.

So, I carefully made my way into the ditch (a trick in itself, but, I won!), and up the other side. I shot the corn, but wasn’t impressed with what I got.

img_7602_corn

It just wasn’t what I saw. Perhaps I should have gotten more “into” the field? Shown less sky (not that you see much as it is), maybe shown less of the tassels? Don’t know, but, I wasn’t happy with it.

So, the next picture I took, just because this caught my eye:

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…isn’t really what I wanted as an abstract. But, I like it!

Then, I took some of the thistle flowers I spotted along the way. I like this one because of the little bug “peeking” out at me.

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Do you see it? It’s that little yellowish spot under the bee’s antennae. Cute, huh?

Next, I spied this:

grass_mist_2

…which is the one I submitted. I like the way the grasses looks like a sort of haze. I like the colors, too. So, we’ll see. The members vote on their favorites. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I get at least some votes.

Any way, that’s what I’ve got for now.

Go! Shoot!

 

 

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