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.

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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:

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…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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Iron Stump

Once again, time has gotten away from me. We have been busy with Dad’s house. Hopefully, we will be starting on the “adding” phase, rather than the repairing/cleaning up phase. It’s been a trip!

We did get to take a short break over Labor Day weekend! On Friday, we just plain took the day off. Saturday, we picked up Dad, went to breakfast, then went on to the Cedar Valley Engine Club‘s 51st Threshers Reunion. It started out as a nice day to be outdoors, thank goodness! The temperature was quite pleasant, the breeze slight, and it was mostly cloudy.

Later, however, it started to get quite warm, and that breeze turned into down-right wind. And, it started to get mostly sunny. That made for a hot, humid day. Luckily, we left before it got miserable.

So, after Mom and I did some shopping (WOOHOOO! BARGAINS!!!) at the flea market, and Dad and Lloyd did their round of looking at vintage cars and machinery, we took a break and got some homemade ice cream. We parked ourselves on the bleachers and listened to a wonderful gospel group, Restored, perform on the stage. I wish they had a website so I could direct you to it, but, they don’t. They were really good! I asked about them possibly coming to our church for a performance, though, and am hoping to be able to get them there sometime soon.

After finishing our ice cream, we decided to make our way back to the vehicle. But,,, on the way, I spied this tree stump! I’ve been to the reunion multiple times, but, do not recall ever seeing this. Of course, I HAD to get pictures! And, I had to scrap at least one.

Here is the result.

iron_stump

I don’t know how long those iron pieces have been locked in that tree, but, it sure makes for an interesting picture. I adore shooting this kind of thing! Hope you enjoy my layout!

Go! Shoot!

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Sorting Hats?

Once again, I found myself being bored in Mendards. We have been in that store almost daily since we started working on Dad’s house. I can stand only so much of it! Seriously, Lloyd can spend HOURS in there!

I usually wander (aimlessly?) around, trying to keep myself entertained, and trying to keep my poor, sore feet happy. On this occasion, I was once again on a “wandering” walk, when I spied these roofing flashings.
sorting hats

Innocuous enough, right? Except, LOOK at them. Remind you of something (hint:  Harry Potter fans…)???

Well, they immediately reminded me of the sorting hat in the Harry Potter movies. And, I couldn’t resist taking shots of them to use on a layout.

sorting_hats

The flashing in the layout particularly caught my eye. After I had taken several photos, I stood there looking at them, and pondering… Pondering the layout, and pondering why those pieces of metal were in the shapes they were.

Eventually, Lloyd, and an employee, made their ways into that aisle. I asked the employee what those pieces were. He said they are roofing flashings. Made of lead. And, he said that because they are lead, they are malleable, and people could not resist playing with them. So, the store opted to put them on that top shelf so they would not get further misshapen.

Sorry, that makes me angry! I mean, WHY do people insist on damaging others’ property? If I had been in need of one of those flashings, I would have been very disappointed to not be able to get one in the shape it was intended. And, I can bet that those who “played” with them, should they have been in need of one, would be the FIRST to make a HUGE stink about the shape in which they found those. WHAT is WRONG with people???

Any way, off my rant. So, I find weird things fascinating, and sometimes scrap-worthy. I have a feeling I will enjoy this layout for a long time. It’s just “different”, with a different subject. Odd things. I enjoy shooting them!

Go. Shoot!

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Waiting

Wow! It’s been a while since I last posted. We have been busy lately. We bought a house for Dad to move into, but, it needs work. We’ve been tearing things out, and are getting ready to put things in. It’s our own little “money pit”, but, not really. We bought it at a great price, and are considering the renovation costs as the “savings”.

And, last weekend we had to go to a funeral. Sadness.

Then, there is the weather. The heat has been “something else” this month. Add the humidity to it, and it makes for quite some misery. While I know it could be worse (we do live in Iowa), it just saps the energy out of us. We will be putting the window A/C unit in Dad’s house just so we can stand to work in it. (Later on, it will be getting a “split” – A/C/Heat units, which will replace the furnace, and add A/C! Amazing!)

Any way, I have been yearning to take some time out and go shoot. I’ve been settling for shooting whenever I get a small window of opportunity. So, since I am in a Facebook group who posts images of abandoned things, I knew I wanted to capture something along that order.

A few years ago, Lloyd had bought a couple pieces of machinery at an auction. The piece below is one that I “got” to bring home. We hitched it to the truck, and slowly made our way towards home. Emphasis on slowly! That sucker was trying to be all over the road! And, being who I am (read:  chicken!), I was being extra careful and cautious.

We (I) made it about five miles from home, when I had had enough. I flashed my lights at Lloyd (who was hauling a different piece), and got him to pull over. I got out and went to him to tell him that I wanted to NOT DO THIS ANY MORE!!! It was getting dark, and that meant that it was also getting harder for me to see that blasted “mind of its own” piece of precious farm equipment (I do believe I’ve mentioned that I do NOT enjoy farming.), and I was afraid it would make its wayward way into oncoming traffic.

So, we left “it” at a friends’. Just pulled it into their yard, which was conveniently about 50 feet from where I pulled over, backed it up into an out of the way spot, and continued home. I was afraid it would be gone (HURRAY!!! LOL) when we went to pick it up the next day, but, no. The friends figured somebody had good reason for leaving them a nice little surprise, and assumed someone would claim it eventually. (Our rural piece of Iowa is like that! Nice, huh?)

So, we get “it” home. Lloyd finds a “convenient” (riiiiiight) place for it, and we unhitch, pat it on its back, and that was all she wrote. It’s been sitting there since. I think you can tell that by the tree that has so joyously (sarcasm, huh?) grown up right by the tongue. (This fall, when the weather is cooler, I will be taking my saw to that little tree.)

Well, this “precious piece of equipment” became my subject for a submission to the abandoned group. Here are the before and after versions.

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forgotten

I added a vignette, an orange-ish color overlay, then took the opacity of that down, and added just a bit of noise to it. I was aiming for a slight “old time-y” look. Neat, huh?

If you have some photos you’d like to have repaired, retouched, resized, etc., contact me. I do photo restoration.

Go. Shoot!

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Clouds

Not sure why, but I’ve been noticing the sky more these days, and am rejoicing in God’s creations! We have had some amazing skies this summer!

Last week, I was blessed with being able to watch a shelf cloud roll in, and over, and past. The play in the clouds was fascinating. A couple weeks prior, we had storm clouds in the distance. The blue, blue sky offset the white, gray, and pink clouds in God’s perfect harmony. I just had to capture it. And, this time I wasn’t disappointed as I so often am… I don’t seem to be able to capture what my eyes, or, is it my brain(?) see. My pictures seem, to me, to turn out “flat”, and ordinary.

But, the following picture is one I do like. I did very little post processing on it. The clean-up for specks was something quick and easy. And, I did some sharpening – I was standing in the back of Lloyd’s pickup in order to get the shot the way I wanted, so I wasn’t all that steady (have I ever said I don’t do heights?), and had a bit of blur.

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I also enjoy the look of the clouds over the cornfield and the trees in the distance. Such beautiful contrast!

Of course, I had to scrap this shot. While I normally shy away from such a busy pattern in paper, I think the background of the raindrops works perfectly. I changed the color of the ribbons. They were originally green. And, I changed the colors of the embellishments so they would go with the colors of the rest of the layout. I also changed the color of the butterfly. I then took the opacity of all of those down to just over 60%. Adding drop shadows to those bottom embellishments, including the swirl, made them pop a bit more.

I changed the color of the bird, and added a deeper drop shadow to it. Then, I added the title, choosing a color from the background paper, added an outer glow, and took the opacity down on both.

And, here it is:

clouds

Give digi a try! And,,,

Go! Shoot!

 

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Removing Background/Adding New

I, once again, amazed myself by getting a nice shot of people! I mean, I prefer to shoot landscapes, buildings, and old machinery. But, at market last Saturday, our friends’ youngest son, and youngest grandson were there, and I couldn’t resist this shot. The grandson had just gotten done eating a cupcake, and had it all over his face, but, isn’t that sort of thing what makes candids great?

Any way, as the background was distracting, I couldn’t resist removing it, and replacing it with something more “their style”.

So, voila! From this:

for_web

to this:

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Are they not a handsome pair?

Any way, I’m still practicing my restoration skills, and am enjoying it. The trouble is… REMEMBERING! LOL I have horrid recall, but, am planning on working on that. I will be watching the tutorials while working on the exercise files that come with them. Hear, see, do, is my motto!

Hope you enjoy those handsome guys!

Go. Shoot!

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Humbled

Today, I helped somebody in need. I’m not telling this story to brag. I’m telling to let you know how humbled I felt.

On our way home from market (we participate in the Clear Lake Farmers Market), we stopped at Hy-Vee to get some groceries. We then went to their gas station to get fuel. While I was sitting in the truck, waiting for Lloyd to fill up, I was watching a person across the street.

I could not tell if the person were a man or woman at that point, and, I could not tell what he/she was doing. I could tell that he/she was moving, but, I wasn’t certain if he/she were walking or, as it appeared to me, trimming the grass along the curb. The person was dressed in a neon yellow/green shirt, which looked like it could have been a “caution – I’m here” shirt. Eventually, though, the person got closer, and I could tell it was a man.

I could also tell that he appeared to be having some difficulty. It looked like he was taking a few steps toward the intersection, but then, he would stop. I still could not tell what he was doing, as he was coming up a slight incline, but, I did wonder why he was on the road, rather than on the sidewalk.

After a while, he got to the corner, and I could see he had a cane. He stopped at the intersection, waiting for the light to turn. By that time, I was getting a bit concerned – he really appeared to be struggling to just walk. He had waited for one cycle of the lights, then started across. It took him two cycles of the lights to make it across the intersection!

I became very alarmed when he got to the sidewalk after crossing the road, and he seemed to be in a very big struggle to get onto the sidewalk! So, I got out of the truck, and ran to him, and asked if I could help him up the sloped walk. There was no curb, but, the poor guy almost lost his balance and began falling backwards towards the busy road. He told me, “no, I’ve made it”, and was trying to continue forward. Still having difficulty, I asked if I could walk with him. “That would be fine”, he said.

So, as we continued closer to the gas station, I asked him if we could give him a ride, then an officer pulled up. He got out, and walked towards us. He asked the gentleman if he were okay, and that somebody had called in concern about him. The gentleman said that he was fine, and he was going to Hy-Vee. I asked again if we could give him a ride, and he said, “that would be okay”. We talked a bit with the officer, and I left to let Lloyd know that we needed to give the man a ride. As I left, another officer pulled up, and thanked me as I went past him.

Well, to make this long story short (HA! *wink, wink*), this man, whose name Lloyd discovered is Gary, is a Vietnam veteran. He served in the Air Force as a medic. I had asked him if he were a veteran, and what made me do so, I’m not sure. But, those eyes… They were the eyes of a person who has seen many, many sad things. As I thanked him for his service, the officers stood to attention, and thanked him, and shook his hand.

Lloyd pulled the truck up to the curb so Gary could get in more easily, and I and one of the officers helped him.

Gary was thankful, and appeared to have tears in his eyes. I had tears in mine on the way home, as, I believe, did Lloyd. It was so very humbling. This man, who gave his service for our country, needed our help, but was hesitant to take it. We were HONORED to give it. And, it was just a bit surreal to have this happen on Independence Day weekend. A day we are to celebrate our country’s freedoms! This Fourth of July, I will remember the real reason we are celebrating. And, I will thank God for those who fought to give us those freedoms, and that reason.

Hope you all have a happy, and safe Fourth. And, please don’t forget the real reason!

“All gave some, some gave all”.

Go! Shoot!

 

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