31 May 2011

Black and White Wednesday

Another shot from the weekend events, a natural black and white photo of the flags.
(Okay, there is a hint of color in the one flag, I just didn't have the heart to edit it out).

The clouds came over before a colorful sunset, but the silhouette was moving all the same. 
I took this with the lens facing west and into the remaining sun.  I also lowered myself and the camera to shoot upward.  I have to admit, it took a few tries to get both the look I wanted and a photo without people walking by!  There are certainly some bonus challenges to shooting in real life and not a studio.

I'm hoping to get to a park full of roses tomorrow.  The weekend events and 90 degree temps slowed me down a little. I can't wait to see what kind of blooms I find this year.


29 May 2011

We Remember

There is a flag display in a nearby town.  There are hundreds, maybe thousands of flags.  Each has a tag attached honoring a current service member or remembering one lost in war.  I took many photos, but for today I just wanted to share a few important ones.

I don't know who these folks were, but I do know how important it is to remember them and their families.

This display is put together by several community groups.  They hand place every flag on Friday and pick them each up on Monday afternoon, to be returned to the sponsoring families.  They have volunteers standing by to help you find a specific flag or just to answer questions, around the clock.

There are flood lights for night viewing and to see the 9-11 display, also new for this year.

It was very important to these groups that every single flag had a Made in the USA label.  There is a flag store nearby that makes them for each event.

Live a life worth dying for...

28 May 2011

Bring on the weekend

I'm hoping the weather folks are right and we get some of the weekend with no rain.  The cities and towns around here do Memorial Day weekend very well.  I have a list of places and events I hope to see and of course, I will take the camera!

Here's a spring flag photo to start the weekend off.  I used another Kim Klassen texture to participate in Weekend Texture Twist over at Life-n-Reflection.  Do stop by if you have a minute, tons of talent over there!


25 May 2011

All 4 Seasons!

Finally!  I got around to adjusting the photos from the park scene I've taken over the last year. 

I have not altered them heavily, most of it is cropping to get them similarly centered.  You'll notice the first shot (summer 2010) was taken a bit further down the lane and aimed downward more than the others.  Truthfully, I had no idea what I was doing and just shot a bunch of photos and hoped for the best.

July 2010
The first three in the series were taken between 5:30-6:30 in the evening, with the sun coming in from the left of the frame.  Part of the reason was because I read a book early that talked about early morning and later afternoon (dusk) lighting.  However, the practical part involved the fact that I couldn't get away from work and to this park until dinner time!

October 2010

You can see that starting with the autumn shot, I stepped a little further back.  Actually, there is a tree to my left and I lean right up against it for balance, and so that I knew exactly where to stand for the rest of them.

January 2011
This might be my favorite.  This is when I first noticed the bridge.  When I went back for the spring photo, I explored that direction.  The bridge leads to a nice platform overlooking the river and some of the falls.

If you see this as your Christmas card this winter, act surprised.

April 2011
As you can tell by the bright light and higher shadows, this one was taken earlier in the afternoon, about 4:00.  It was one of a handful of days with sun and no pouring rain in the last 6 weeks.  I took the shot even though I knew it would be slightly different. It was that or potentially lose any chance at a spring photo for another year - and that was NOT and option.  You can still barely make out the bridge, a nice little fence line in the back, and the blue of the sky completely makes this photo for me.

I plan on printing these as 5x7's and then framing them together.  I'm not sure if it will end up in my house or my office.  Heaven knows I could use a little more zen there these days!

I hope you enjoyed my project.  I have to admit, I want a re-do on the summer one to make it match a little better.  I won't though, because it reminds me of my continued learning curve.  Now I need to find another place to try this four season project this year. 


23 May 2011

Vintage Barn Charm

Today I tried to help one of my not-so-spectacular barn photos with Kim Klassen's yesteryear texture.  I also added a little canvas texture, to try and bring out the feel of the barn.

I think it worked!

I like how they started with one main barn, then added to the left, and then added to the right.  Sounds a little like the hokey pokey...sorry, wandered for a second there!   Seems that after all the additions, they didn't quite make it back to reinforcing the main barn again.  Hopefully it's on the to-do list!


22 May 2011

Macro mint blooms

With all the rain and occasional sun, my mint is thriving.  I took advantage of the nice day and went out to look around the garden.  It was breezy, so the macros were a challenge.

I had to trim back the plant, so I put some of the cuttings in a little cup inside.  Then I tried to get a closer shot of the adorable little purple blooms.  My cat was far more interested in the new smell of the plant leaves than my success with the camera.

Incidentally, this is catmint - not to be confused with catnip.  While animals like to smell it, they don't seem to eat it.  This kind of mint can be used in teas and to preserve meat.  It can also me made into a spray as an organic pest control. 

Visit Lisa for more Macro Monday.


21 May 2011

Feeding the locals?

The neighbor that lived behind me had a cute little dog that would hang out on her patio some days.  They moved a few weeks ago and the new owners do not have a dog.

So, now the local critters spend much more time near my back yard - snacking.

I think it's mostly rabbits, because our houses are a bit close together for it to be deer.  Either way, they left the mint alone, but love the hostas!

It was a beautiful day here today, 80's and sunny for a while.  Isn't it amazing how much better everyone's mood is when the weather is so gorgeous?  Even the cat was loving sitting in the window watching the birds flitter around while she chattered with them. So funny to watch.

These are straight out of the iPhone camera!
More SOOC photos at Murrieta 365.


19 May 2011

Heart at Lunch

At the Victorian Tea last week we had scrumptious soup in these heart shaped bowls. 
I think I may need to find some for my house.  
Because really, any soup is better in this bowl!

Guest Heart Thursday here.


16 May 2011

Re-purposed Barn

This was one the barns I came across a few weeks ago on my drive home through the country.  I love how it's been reborn into a Indian and Antique shop.  I didn't stop to go in, but I imagine there is a plethora of assorted items in there just waiting to find a new home!

Also, I like how there is a little barn added on the back too.

More great barns at Bluff Area Daily's Barn Charm.


15 May 2011

One Year!

Well, I see Blogger is back in business, but I seem to have lost the Bon Jovi post.  I may re-post at least one of the photos because it was pretty neat.  

Today is officially one year at The Places I Go! It is amazing how much I have learned over the year and all the wonderful people I've met through this process. I am truly blessed and I'm looking forward to more over this next year.

This week's Scripture and a Snapshot focuses on thanks.

I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders.

Psalm 9:1

I am thankful this week for the rain and sunshine that brings the trees and flowers back to life.  

I am thankful for the good work of volunteers, when there is too much rain (flooding) or sunshine (drought), both of which we are seeing in the US right now.  

I am thankful for the dedication of those I work with, both in their everyday choices and for using their "free time" to completely re-plant a memorial garden.

I am thankful for long time friends, some who I get to see in person soon and some that are still far away.

 I am thankful for the photography class I will be taking this summer - and hopeful for learning new things.

I am thankful for the season of open windows, shrimp on the barbie and children's laughter in the air!


09 May 2011

RememberRED - Sand

This week a writing prompt from The Red Dress Club was sand.  
It conjured many ideas for me, so I thought I would join along.

The neighborhood is like many in the area and is simply known as The Lake by the locals.  It's a community of about 250 homes, with small barely paved streets that fit one car comfortably and two with some practice.  The families that live there have children and pets, both who run freely in those wonderful summer months.  It's that place we all wish we'd grown up in.

And in the middle of it all, is the lake.

It has been stocked with fish, but most of what's in there have come downstream after spring storms, from the fishing club further up the road.  There is a small dock that gets re-built every 10 years or so, for the tiny sailboats some of the neighbors bring down and leave for the summer.  No one is worried their boat will be taken, and they are willing to share with anyone who will show it respect.

Along the northern edge is strip of sand, barely a beach. But this is where is all happens.  This is where lifetime friends are made, where screaming family members cheer on their swim teams, and where the Moms line up their chairs. 

It starts fairly early in the morning, even on the cloudy days.  The kids want to swim and the Moms know everyone who is anyone will appear, so they should get there and claim their spot in the sand.   They have those small, low, webbed folding chairs you see in the store near the floaties and water toys.  They sit on the water's edge, in a curvy line, to left of the guard chair.  They move further into and out of the water, as the sun moves across the sky.

These hardcore beach setters are not just there to watch their children splash around.  They plan yearly community events, discuss politics, and gossip, umm, network in their own way.   I'm pretty sure the world's problems could be solved by the beach Moms, if they were given a chance.  Not all the families in the neighbor have members who join in this tradition each summer, but they all know the ones that do. 
The children here learn quickly how to walk across this shallow beach made from pristine yellow sand raked each morning by the life guards.  The sand is scorching, so they dig their toes in quickly as they flitter across it to their over sized towel.  They love swimming to the island and jumping off the boards, but don't mind the "rest period" too much.  This is the time when castles from dreams are brought to life.  The sand is thick and when you dig down just a little, it's still damp.  It packs perfectly in the turret shaped buckets and leaves a solid tower when turned upside down.  Every castle, it seems, must have a moat or river or sometimes both. 

Most days the only break in the slow paced action of the lake, is the picnic lunch at the tables under the trees or the crack of the bat at the nearby ball field.  Occasionally, you may hear a crying child who signals it's time to head home for a nap.

But truly it is a place where although time has not stood still, summer memories are etched forever by the sand.


07 May 2011

A BIG birthday

I'm not normally one to go out of my way for birthday events, but this year I decided to celebrate through the weekend.  I was planning on traveling, but the place I intended to go is currently battling some flooding, so I improvised.

Friday my work buddies were super cool and we all went out for lunch.  Sunday, I'll be joining my brother and his family for a combo birthday/Mother's day (for my SIL) dinner.

Saturday (my birthday), my friend Angie and I went for a Victoria Tea.  This was new to her and a favorite event for me.  In the spirit of celebrating, and last week's wedding, and this week's Kentucky Derby - I sported a fun new headband with ribbons, lace, and bling. 

They had handmade quilts on each table.  They were all different colors and patterns.  The wallpaper was cream based, with tiny flowers.  There was a hand painted mural on one wall.  I would have taken a photo, but I didn't want to interrupt the laddies at the table in front of it.

The bottom tier had finger sandwiches, which were so delicious I forgot to take a photo of them before we ate them all.  YUM.

The second tier had these scones, fruit, and smoked cheese.  Of course on the table we also had jam and cream for the scones.  This was a particular favorite of Angie's.

The top tier had lemon walnut cookie bars with a glaze, angel food cake with cream and cherries, and dark chocolate fudge wedges. 

Of course we ate this with assorted samplings of tea.  (And no, none of this is on my gluten free plan - but it was my birthday).

The tea house is located in a small suburban town, in an original coach house.  This location is very near a river, with railroads not far as well.  The building was built about 1830 (I think), but was added on a bit to fit in a few more tables.  The tea house has been running for about 26 years, which is quite long in the US.  They are only open lunch hours, but do serve other items off a menu, if the High Tea isn't your style.  We did have to take a few of the sweets home to finish later.  I will definitely be back!


More Straight out of the Camera photos, click the camera.

05 May 2011

Skywatch Friday

"It was the perfect day
What I'd give if I could find a way to stay

Lost in this moment now
Ain't worried about tomorrow
 When you're busy livin, feels like dreamin', 
slowly drifting, through this perfect day."
-Lyrics (most recently) Lady Antebellum

Sometimes the best view really is from my front porch. :)


04 May 2011

Leftover heart

This week for Guest Heart Thursday I found one that was a "leftover" after a tree was cut down.  Just goes to show, there is always something more to be loved.  It reminded me of The Giving Tree story.  One of my all time favorites.  If you haven't read it, try to locate a copy.

Also, in the neighborhood of this tree trunk were a few heart leaf friends.

Guest Heart Thursday:


03 May 2011

Black and White Wednesday

A friend of mine sent me a power point presentation of amazing animal photos.  The artist/photographer's name is Nick Brandt.  He uses sepia and black and white in a really good way. 

I wondered what my animal photos might look like using the same technique.  Here is one example.

Here is the color SOOC version from last summer. (You had to know these weren't recent, look at that sun!)

The result is a very different look.  Not sure I love it, but I like it enough to keep it in mind with future wildlife photos.  I may never get to the skill level of Mr. Brandt, but it's a good goal to try.

More wonderful Black and White Wednesday photos here.


01 May 2011

God Bless our Troops all over the world.