Monday, December 26, 2011

2 Things Challenge: Soft/Brilliant

The 2 Things Challenge for the holidays is Soft/Brilliant.  Every year during the holidays, the people who own this small lake near Highway 26 in Columbiana float a tree of lights out on the lake.  The lights are brilliant as you drive by, but the reflection tends to have a more soft appearance.  

Okay, okay, the night I stopped to make the photo, the lake was incredibly still and the reflection was not much softer than the actual tree, so I softened it up a smidge.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Snail's Pace

I don't know where he thought he was going on a chilly morning, but I don't think he made it.  He was still here that afternoon.  Poor fellow.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

2 Things Challenge: Apple/Art

The 2 Things Challenge this week was Apple/Art.  This is the remains of an apple that was my lunch on Thursday.  Is it art?  Or is it just a photograph of garbage?  I do remember thinking as I ate it that I wanted to carve it into this exact shape with my teeth, so . . . maybe it's art.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

It Was a Cold and Foggy . . .

. . morning yesterday on Lay Lake.  Very little color, but some fruitful silhouettes. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

2 Things Challenge: Full/Feminine

The 2 Things Challenge this week is Full/Feminine.  In an early photography class I learned that curves are feminine and straight lines are masculine.  Here I managed to get two full curves on the road and more on the fence, so this is a definitely full feminine composition (ignore the tree trunks, what tree trunks, they aren't really there).

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Confederate Rose

This is called a Confederate Rose.  I have no idea why, because it is not a rose (probably some type of hibiscus) and while it may be more acclimated to the southern climate, I don't know of any particular affiliation with the CSA.  The thing I find most intriguing about the bush is the transformation the flowers go through in such a short period of time.  On day 1 they open into a very nice looking white flower, with maybe just some slight tinges of pink.
 Overnight they change completely into a pink flower, just as pretty, but very different looking.
 Then, just as quickly, they are gone.
Photos of three different blossoms taken on the same day in November.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

2 Things Challenge: Card/Blue

The 2 Things Challenge for the last several weeks was Card/Blue, and even with extra time to work on it, I wound up taking the photos on Saturday and Sunday morning. 

Five of a Kind!
Everyone gets the same hand, but it's not a very interesting game. 

House of Cards/Blue
Now, seeing how big you could build a house might be more fun.

Actually, these are bridge tallies, not playing cards, but cards they are.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Whigmaleerie Day

Wilsonville, the little one stop light town from whence cometh my mail, held it's second annual Whigmaleerie Day on October 29.  What is a whigmaleerie?  It's a term of Scottish origin which means a whim or a gimmick.  The town decided to hold the event to celebrate their Scottish heritage.  Apparently, John Wilson, the town's founder, was Scottish.  

They had a few booths for local craft and food vendors, an antique car and tractor show (with about 6 cars and a similar number of tractors),
an airplane flyover, and, the highlight for me, a performance by Birmingham Pipes and Drums.  It was a little chilly for a skirt, but they all were appropriately dressed.

Friday, November 11, 2011

2 Things Challenge: Wet/Hot

The 2 Things Challenge this week was Wet/Hot.

Pepsi is wet, but when it's a balloon,
 it can get pretty hot.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Grown Up Red

Last February I posted a couple of photos (here) of a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk that inhabited the valley near Kristina's house.  Well over the summer he grew up and donned his adult plumage.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Down Side Up

I'm sure one of the cardinal rules of flying aircraft is to land with the down side down.  That does not apply to dragonflies, however.
It was windy at the beach and this one took refuge under the roof of our patio.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

2 Things Challenge: Eye/Sharp

The 2 Things Challenge this week is Eye/Sharp.
While in Ft. Walton Beach, we visited an outlet mall which had a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.  The treats inside were not only sweets for the tummy, but there was plenty of eye candy as well.
And if you finished one of these (which we didn't) you would have a sharp stick to do with as you wish.  Just be careful of your eye.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fungi and Moss

The last time we went to Pennsylvania it rained the entire time we were there.  Plus it had been quite wet for several days before we arrived.  Therefore, there was an abundance and variety of the spore reproducers everywhere.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Partners in Crime

Actually, this is another case of photographing one thing (the spider with her beady, multiple eyes) and finding something else (the ant) while processing the image.  I don't think either realized the other was there.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

2 Things Challenge: Abstract/Value

The 2 Things Challenge this week was Abstract/Value.
This was one of the first photos I took in a class way back in 2007 called "The Art of Seeing."  It came out as a very abstract way of seeing the fall colors across the river, and although it was based as much on luck as it was on my ability to "see," it had some value to me at the time.

Gullectric Slide

Went to Fort Walton Beach, FL last weekend and the gulls were everywhere.  This one was practicing his Electric Slide line dance.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

2 Things Challenge: Star/Vegetable

The 2 Things Challenge this week was Star/Vegetable.  I present several stars from the "vegetable kingdom", a Sweet Gum leaf, the green remnant of a tomato bud atop the ripe fruit, a star fruit, and the remnant of a persimmon bud atop a full grown, but not quite ripe persimmon.

Monday, September 19, 2011


I just caught this little guy on the outside of our kitchen window.  I think he had come down from the big oak to catch his dinner near the light.  I have no idea what kind of frog he is.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

2 Things Challenge: Suit/Playful

The 2 Things Challenge this week is Suit/Playful.
For this challenge, I have chosen to determine which suit is the most playful by analyzing the expressions on the face cards of a standard deck of Bicycle Rider Back Playing Cards.  You may have to zoom in to see some of the details I talk about here.  I knew that there were things like one-eyed Jacks and other differences between the suits, but I had never sat down and studied them before.  

Let's start with the Jacks.  As I look at them, the Diamond and Club Jacks appear to be the youngest, probably because they are both clean shaven, but the Diamond Jack's mouth seems slightly turned down, and his whole countenance seems like he has just suffered some minor disappointment, but overall, not a very playful mood.  The Club Jack seems much more open in his expression, but perhaps more studious than playful.  The Heart and Spade Jacks seem a little more mature, but the Heart Jack seems a little concerned about something, based primarily on the upturned inner corner of his eyebrows.  Now the Jack of Spades seems the most playful of the four to me.  Note the upturned smirk of his lips, and the overall rakish demeanor of his appearance.  So, based on the Jacks, I vote for Spades as the most playful.

Now let's turn to the Queens.  To be honest about it, none of the Queens look very happy nor playful.  I detect a bit of anger in the almost snooty expression of the Queen of Spades, and the Queen of Clubs looks like she's resigned herself to living out her days as a subservient monarch in a kingdom she doesn't much like.  The eyes of the Queen of Hearts have somewhat of a sadness to them, even though her mouth has the slightest hint of pleasantness about it.  While the Queen of Diamonds doesn't show extreme joy or very much playfulness, her crooked smile and inquisitive eyes indicate there may be some playfulness buried down in there.  So based on just the Queens, I would vote Diamonds as the most playful suit, but not very strongly.

Now let's look at the Kings.  King of Diamonds is definitely the least playful of the lot.  He looks absolutely depressed, very down about something.  Next look at the King of Spades.  He looks very confident in his leadership, but his eyebrows betray a very deep worry about something.  It is difficult to be playful when you are worried sick.  The King of Clubs seems like a stoic monarch who is posing for a portrait and feels like he must look regal for it, but not necessarily happy.  But look at that King of Hearts.  He seems the youngest (no mustache) and to me, definitely the most playful of the lot.  His eyes and mouth look pretty happy, and he's got that sword held jauntily high behind his head, like he's about to do something he would enjoy, hopefully not behead someone.  Anyway, the King of Hearts wins the playfulness title, hands down, among the Kings.

So, we have the Jack of Spades, the Queen of Diamonds (barely), and the King of Hearts.  Well, that tells me that Clubs is the least playful of the suits, but which is the most playful?  When I look at it all, and based on the importance of the King, and the strength of the King of Hearts' playfulness, I vote for Hearts as the most playful suit.

What are your thoughts?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

2 Things Challenge: Satisfaction/Old

The 2 Things Challenge this week was Satisfaction/Old.
This is my first camera.  I got it for Christmas when I was 11 years old, and believe me, that makes it OLD.  

This may very well be the first photo I ever took with that camera on Christmas Day, 1959.  The date says January, 1960, but in those days it was roll film, which was a pain to load without ruining it, and you didn't develop the roll until you had taken up the 12 or 24 frames.  I'm not even sure Polaroid had come out by then.
The subjects are my grandmother who lived with us, and my cousin and his mother.  He was almost exactly my age (2 days difference, he was older), and as you can see, he got a camera for Christmas that year too.  He always came over on Christmas Day to see what we got and to show us what he got.

Although the photos were always blurry and poorly exposed, I got quite a bit of SATISFACTION from that old camera, even today as I scan in the few surviving photos I took with it.  I later owned many Kodak Instamatics, even the little bitty 110 variety, but I think this is the only one I still have from before the SLRs which came much later in life.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

2 Things Challenge: Door/Road

The 2 Things Challenge this week was Road/Door.  This is the shop of my barber in Columbiana.  She is also a sort of professional photographer.  You can see the back door to her shop through the window, and reflected in the window, you can see the yellow glow of the street lamp on the road between her shop and the courthouse (reflection looming in the window against the dusky blue sky).

Saturday, August 27, 2011

2 Things Challenge: Venture/Night

The 2 Things Challenge this week was Venture/Night.  The definition of venture includes some degree of risk.  

A couple of years ago I took a photography class on alternative lighting and it included several night shoots.  Trails of car lights are standard fare for such shoots, but several people commented on the risk I took setting up the tripod so close to the traffic, so maybe this was a "night venture."
On the way home after another night shoot, I tried shooting out the front window as I was driving, . . . alone, so maybe there was some risk involved there too.  If you want to do this I would recommend that someone else drive and you do it as a passenger.  This was the last shot I took as I went through THE "downtown" traffic light in Columbiana.  If you look close you can see the signs for M&F Bank and the Chevron station.  The twist came from rotating the camera, not a rollover accident.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Plague

I mentioned in my last post the stresses and turmoil that people on the farm face.  One of those is that, although they may be closer to nature than most of us, they are also more subject to the whims of nature and the weather.  

This summer the farm in Pennsylvania was hit by a plague of grasshoppers/locusts.  While maybe not of Biblical proportions, they were quite destructive to the very localized areas they hit, including the farm.  This one is munching on one of my mother-in-law's hosta plants.

They did not eat everything is sight, but were somewhat selective.  They ate so much of the grass in the hay field that my brother-in-law must consider selling several head of cattle because he won't have enough hay to feed them through the winter and can't afford to buy more.  Just a few weeks ago this was a very healthy green lilac bush.  It, along with the crab apple tree, a dogwood, and many others, is now stripped bare and we don't know if it will survive.

They ruined the garden too.  Corn was stripped to the stalks, and they may have even eaten some of the stalks.

I believe this is the remnants of the potato vines.  Hopefully the potatoes had developed enough that they can get something of crop when they dig them up for harvest.

While comforting in a black sort of way, the story was told that they also ate some of the poison ivy and as a result died.  I'm not sure how true that is, since dead ones could be found everywhere, but at least some of the poison ivy was fought back.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

2 Things Challenge: Peaceful/Patterns

The 2 Things Challenge this week was Peaceful/Patterns.  For someone who has spent most of his life in or near fairly large cities, the pastoral setting of the farm can seem like a very peaceful, simple way of life, and even influences where I live today.  We had a visit of a few days last weekend to my wife's family on the farm in Pennsylvania.

Below are a few patterns from our brief visit, some peaceful, and one chaotic.

By the way, those who live this supposedly peaceful, simple life on a day to day basis might argue that it is itself full of just as much stress and turmoil as the big city life, just different.  More on that in the next few days.

Monday, August 8, 2011


A little detail I saw on an antique mantel Sunday.  I thought it was carved at the time (it was kind of dark in there), but studying the photo I now believe it is a plaster molding.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

2 Things Challenge: Music/Control

The 2 Things Challenge this week was Music/Control.  They control all the music in the contemporary church service using the dozen or so slides, scores of push buttons, and hundreds of little knobs on the sound board.  I have not figured much of it out yet.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

What's for supper?

Salad with grilled chicken and cashews, three cheese sour dough bread, and a glass of Chilean Chardonnay.  Not bad.