Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thematic Photographic #170 -- Drink Up!

This week at Carmi's Written, Inc. the Thematic Photographic topic is "Drink Up!"  That brings to mind so many tasty beverages for me, but the first thing in the morning rich, aromatic coffee gets my attention.  And not just any coffee!  My favorite is Komodo Dragon at Starbucks, though I will savor just about any blend any time.  I'm one of the lucky ones that can drink coffee like water!

I don't have just one favorite cup/mug, but I do have one requirement:  it must be larger than the dainty cups that came with my set of china!

Dark coffee is lovely............

...... but I do love my cream and creamers in a variety of flavors.  This particular morning I had the new Bailey's Caramel flavored creamer.  The real Bailey's is still my favorite ;-).

I like watching the cream swirl in the rich brown liquid.  Of course the clear glass mugs are best for watching this dance of the morning brew!

Nearly ready...........

Just a one more stir with the spoon........ Ahhhh! Perfect!

Hmmm, I think there is still a bit of coffee in the pot.  I suddenly have a craving for a warm cup of joe!

Grab a cup of your favorite beverage and drink up!  Hop on over to Carmi's and see if he and his commenters have hit on your favorites. This week's theme goes until tomorrow evening when Carmi will once again send us on another Thematic Photographic trek.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thematic Photographic #169 --- (More) Brick and Mortar

When Carmi at Written, Inc. posted the Brick and Mortar theme for this week my thoughts went to Charlottesville, VA, one of my favorite places to visit.  So I Wednesday I posted photos of the town.  But I couldn't let the week go without posting brick and mortar from the home of Charlottesville's most famous resident:  Thomas Jefferson.

This is my favorite shot of Monticello.  Jefferson loved tulips and the flower beds were in full bloom with many different strains and colors.  This visit was in April so the trees weren't in full leaf yet, but the tulips added so much color we didn't notice the trees were merely budding. The pond in the foreground is actually where live fish were kept after a fishing trip until the cook needed them for meals.  

Before we were taken up the hill to the house we gathered at the visitor center to wait for the trolley.  This gigantic hearth had been cleared out after the winter.  It looks like they had some roaring fires in it, though, to keep winter visitors warm while waiting.

These arched side windows take sunlight and warmth into the arboretum.  We weren't able to take photos inside the house, which was the most interesting part of the tour.  Jefferson was an amazing man and his home reflected his passions for literature, inventions, and his country.

The homes back then didn't have attached kitchens, but separate cook houses.  This is part of such a building at Monticello.  Everything on the plantation has been impeccably preserved and the fields are actually a working farm, much like the fields at George Washington's home, Mt. Vernon.

We were able to tour the various cellars where the stone foundations retain much of the original stone and mortar construction. 

This is part of the wine cellar.  It was still rather cool on this April day and we were wearing jackets.  I was really glad to be dressed warmly in these subterranean chambers. 

This is taken in the stables where, again, the original brick and mortar is evident. 

Thank you for returning for more of the tour of brick and mortar found in Charlottesville, VA and Monticello.  A new Thematic Photographic won't be posted until Monday evening so there is still time for you to join in or just hop on over to Written, Inc. for a look.  

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thematic Photographic #169 --- Brick and Mortar

From last week's Metallica to this week's Brick and Mortar, Carmi at Written, Inc. is striking another favorite chord with Thematic Photographic #169.  The theme announced Monday evening immediately brought to mind Charlottesville, Virginia, one of my favorite cities, which we visited in April 2006. While my son was deployed in Washington, DC we made several trips to Virginia and explored dozens of historical sites.  Old town Charlottesville is practically all brick and mortar from the streets and sidewalks to the buildings, much of it intact from the 1800s.

It's a beautiful place and up the hill is Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home.  Talk about brick and mortar!  I'll have to post some of those later during Thematic Photographic #169 which you can also play along with by posting your photos of brick and mortar and linking them up in the comments here.  You can also visit other participants' blogs and see their works.  It's always a great trip, especially since we have bloggers from all over the world joining in each week.  Thanks, Carmi, for another great theme. 

(Note:  These photos were taken with my Canon Rebel EOS, the first digital SLR.  Since late 2007 I've been using a Canon 40D.  What a difference!  Of course at the top of my wish list is to step up to the newest Canon that we can afford..........Santa, are you listening?  hmmmmm?)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Continuing With Metallica Theme

This morning Mom and I went to our favorite place for breakfast, Billy Gail's in Branson. They capture the flavor of the Ozarks better than any place around.  What was once an log cabin is now a very rustic and interesting cafe.  I've been taking photos there for them to use as postcard souvenirs so I often take my camera along.  While waiting for a table (they do get very busy, but it is worth the wait!) I spotted this bowl of METAL, going along with the Thematic Photographic theme at Written, Inc. this week.  With camera at the ready I took another trip into my childhood...........

We actually sliced eggs with this gadget.  I have one like it now that is yellow plastic, tho' still has the metal wires. 

This manual egg beater even predates me! 

All kinds of metal gadgets in this bowl, all kitchen tools.  I am so grateful for the advent of stainless steel and plastics! 

This was up on a shelf, but looks like an old ice bucket.  

There are a couple more days left of the METALLICA theme so hop on board with your photos of metal, old and new!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Thematic Photographic #168 - Metallica

Remember when our sidewalk toys were made of metal? We had tricycles, fire engines, red wagons, cars, and even airplanes like the relic (a very well preserved relic) in the photo above. I lived at the bottom of a long hill and we could spend all day pumping the petals or pushing the mini-vehicles up the hill, then race down the sidewalk, legs stretched to keep from dragging our feet (and ruining shoes we weren't supposed to be wearing outdoors! -- but that is another story!) There was always one big bump in the sidewalk caused by trees roots pushing up the concrete and this would just add to the thrill of the race -- and a bruise on the bum.  Those hot wheels of the 60's were just that --- hot to touch in the summer and stored away in the garage in the winter (well, in snowy climes, that is.).  As they aged their colors, which were usually red and white, dulled and their fenders developed a rust spot or two due to being left out in the rain a few times. (enter the EPA)

Carmi's Thematic Photographic at Written, Inc. this week is all about metal. Metal is still all around us though plastics have taken the shapes of our favorite  playground toys and even parts of our grown-up cars and bikes and planes. I suppose a plastic mini-Corvette can be raced on a downhill sidewalk, but surely without the same thrill as our little red metal Nash Rambler.  The mini-Corvette has a motor, after all.  We didn't even have brakes, not that we used anyway! :-)

We are having fun this week with Metallica.  Come join us with your photos of things metal and post them so we all can check them out.  The more the merrier! 

Photo was taken May 2009 at the General Store, Amanas, Iowa.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Thematic Photographic 167 --- Edible

This week's Thematic Photographic is Edible -- photos about edibles, that is!  This is an easy one, right?  Sure it is -- if we take a lot of pictures of food.  My bet is that the participants of this challenge will come up with some delectable delights as well as creative cuisine, no doubt having us all craving goodies all week!

I actually have some "phood photos" so I might be sharing more than once this week.  But to start with I like to show off my son's groom's cake at his wedding in July.

Scott is an admirer of Olde World maps as well as a collector.  His lovely new wife is a classical pianist, so combined, they went with an Old World theme.  This classic world map was transferred to the fondant, however they do that, and placed on the top of the cake.  Completely edible it was not only attractive, but surrounded by chocolate!

Like I said, Carmi and the participants of Thematic Photographic will no doubt have us salivating, drooling, and maybe a few eeewwwwsss along the way.  Check it out and join in!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Thematic Photographic #166 - Triangular

I missed last week's Thematic Photographic -- Welcome Autumn because I was on the road in Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa where the fall colors were just beginning to emerge.  Here in southern Missouri the colors are just beginning.

But on to this week's Thematic Photographic which is Triangular.  Carmi has already given us so many fantastic examples, some subtle, some obvious.  As always he prompted me to look around for all things triangular.  I actually found these examples when I wasn't looking for anything specific.  I recently acquired a new computer (yea!) which requires re-installing software, such as Photoshop Elements, and then moving files back in.  Much like moving into a new house and emptying boxes.  At any rate, I decided to move a few more files into PSE under a revised cataloging system.  In looking through photos from a 2007 San Diego trip I found these:

 I can never get enough of the beach! This one taken at sunset caught my eye because of the sea gull and his reflection.  Then I looked at the clouds in the sky ... and their reflection.  Triangular!  

 The beach in the morning is bathed in much softer colors.  Who can resist taking photos of the pier --- which all those triangle shapes?

Exploring the San Diego Zoo reveals more than the incredible animals.  Though called a Bird of Paradise this isn't one of the featured animals, but adds bright beauty to the grounds around the enclosures.  This is one of my favorite flowers, and loaded with triangles!

So, a closer look at what we take for granted shows TRIANGLES also make the world go ROUND.  (ugh! sorry, had to say it!)  Hop on over to Written, Inc. to see Carmi's angles in life --- and check out the comments, too.  The participants from around the world have amazing examples.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Thematic Photographic #164 --- It's In the Details

Carmi over at Written, Inc. has given us another fun theme this week.  It's "In the Details".  That can take us on all sorts of photographic adventures.  As always, Carmi has a challenge inside the challenge.  Besides the sharing of photographs, he challenges us to look within the big picture, at the details.  That could mean putting the macros lens on the camera, or fine tuning our perceptions of life around us.  He's quite philosophical that way!

So, let me start with the details.........

This is a macro shot of a section of a much larger project that I am working on.  It is counted cross stitch which is making thousands of "X" stitches on a piece of fabric.  Nothing is printed on the fabric.  I follow a very detailed chart and count threads for stitch placement.  In this case the fabric is linen with 32 threads per inch and I place the Xs over 2 threads, so 16 stitches per inch, 256 Xs per square inch.

Panning back a bit, another hint of the big picture is revealed.  

And this crinkly piece of fabric shows my progress so far.  I had hoped to have it finished by July 29, the day my son Scott married Paula.  I've done several of these projects over the years and one this complex usually takes nearly a year of pretty regular work to get finished.  I started this one in February.  Even spending entire weekends stitching till my eyes crossed I didn't quite make it.

No, this is not my piece finished, but is the photo that came with the pattern.  It's what I will have when I do finish it.  As you can see, I have quite a way to go.  There are approximately 100,000 stitches in this project.

Now for the philosophical piece.  If with every stitch I wish Scott and Paula a day of happiness they will be married for 274 years!  I think they are off to a pretty good start since I have about 130 years worth already stitched. 

Looking at the rarely seen details of something is always fascinating.  Looking through the microscope during my high school science classes opened up worlds I never imagined.  But looking at the details doesn't require a microscope.  Visit Carmi's Thematic Photographic to see what he zeroed in on, then visit other participants' blogs.  This group never disappoints with their variety of interpretations.  Then, join in the fun and add your own!

Thanks for stopping by today.  I hope your week is a pleasant one.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Written, Inc. Thematic Photographic 162 -- Playing With Light

Thematic Photographic this week is "Playing with Light".  Tricky, Carmi admits, because what is photography if not playing with light? Well, Carmi, I'm going to take you down memory lane for a look at light itself playing with our imaginations.  Remember this?  It was my first entry in your very first Thematic Photographic....

 This mirror image on our driveway was unlike any reflection I had ever seen.  It was created by the sun shining on the tailgate of my Chevrolet Avalanche and throwing off this image into the shadow of the garage. Amazing!

 It lasted only a few minutes and I haven't seen anything like it since.

 Now here is a photo of how we play with artificial light for artistic effect, not just illumination.  This is from a stage production here in Branson.  As close as we were sitting, and as fast as the burst is on my camera, the dancers are a blur.  A trick to freezing action is to be as much in the light as the subjects --- but then I wouldn't have captured the arrangement of spotlights -- and the dancers were spinning very quickly :-).

And here is one more piece that I really like.  The depths of water carry light just so far, but the distance the light penetrates allows for magical illumination of creatures we might never get a chance to see.  This photo was taken at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska.  The aquarium there has a walk-thru tunnel putting us in the midst of sharks, manta rays, and hundreds of other sea life.  I nearly expected this school of fish to spell out "Nemo" with their synchronized swimming!

Now, this is just a sampling of my favorite "playing with light" photos. Like many photographers I have hundreds if not thousands of shots of light.  Gotta love this pasttime-hobby-career-addiction!

Thanks for stopping by for another fun Thematic Photographic.  Hop on over to Written, Inc. to see Carmi's inspiration and the participants' take on the theme.  You won't be disappointed!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Thematic Photographic #161 --- White

Just hours ago Carmi posted the Thematic Photographic for this week --- white.  I'm not usually quite so quick to respond, but I recently took some photos at the zoo and just happen to have.....

A White Tiger

This beautiful animal is at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska.  In addition to his unusual coat, his ice blue eyes are so captivating.  This fellow was enjoying a cat nap (sorry, just had to say it) as were most of the other lions and tigers and bears while we were there.  Just a bit of a plug -- there are more photos in my facebook album.

As Carmi pointed out, white is often a difficult "color" to capture.  I've done many weddings and whether they are indoors or outdoors, the white gowns throw the light which makes it tricky to capture the details of the dress  That's another reason why I chose to post the white tiger instead!  In any case, you will enjoy this challenge.  White after Labor Day??  You betcha!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Thematic Photographic 160 --- Shopping

For 160 weeks Carmi at Written, Inc. has challenged us with very interesting themes to stimulate our photographic creative juices.  But I think this week's Thematic Photographic -- Shopping -- is one of the most challenging for me. I mean, shopping, really! It is something I love to do in photography and craft stores, but dislike in grocery and clothing stores. Realistically, most of my shopping is done online because much of what I need for my crafts I can't get locally, or the stores I really love to browse in (Barnes & Noble) are too far away to frequent very often. Also, I don't carry the Canon 40D everywhere -- people get a little nervous about that in the local Walmart. So my take on the theme this week is a collage of common links in the internet shopping mall.

If people think taking photos in a big box store with a high caliber camera is weird, I'm sure anyone watching me take photos of my laptop screen with said camera would think I was weird!  Oh, well. Probably not the first time!  Thanks, Carmi, for another fun week! Be sure to check out what the other participants have posted here.  They are much more creative!

Have a wonderful holiday weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Thematic Photographic #159 --- Vibrant

This week's Thematic Photographic over at Written, Inc. is vibrant.  That usually evokes thoughts of bright reds and blues and every color in the rainbow.  And normally I would be looking for such vibrancy.  But, Carmi, you have given this proud new mother-in-law yet another excuse to share a couple of photos of a vibrant newlywed couple.

My son Scott and his beautiful bride Paula had a full dress Navy wedding on July 29.  Nothing raises goosebumps more that the ceremonial arch presented by Scott's peers!

Of course, Paula got the traditional sword tap on the backside with the "Welcome to the Navy, Ma'am" remark.

This was one wedding I did not do the photography for, although the photos above I did take, as well as a couple hundred at the reception.  Along the theme of vibrant I do want to share a couple of photos that the wedding photographer took.....

Vibrant whites, vibrant smiles, and, yes, vibrant colors in the bouquet (and bling on Scott's uniform).

As more photos come in it is fun to relive the event of a lifetime.... a cry some more!

There is so much all around us that is vibrant.  Some of it right under our noses, some takes us by surprise.  Wherever you find it, embrace -- and photograph -- the vibrant side of life.  Hop on over to Carmi's Written, Inc. to enjoy this week's theme.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thematic Photographic #158 --- Made of Glass

Carmi at Written, Inc. looks at life on so many levels, and for that I love to see what he will come up with next for the weekly Thematic Photographic.  It's not just the theme, but also what he captures during the week on that theme.  There is an art to looking at the ordinary in extraordinary ways, and Carmi is the Guru. That's what I was missing while away from TP and what I am enjoying the most by coming back!

This week's theme is "Made of Glass" which leaves the field wide open! Everywhere you look there is something made of glass, much of it we take for granted and never think twice about it.  A couple of days ago I was listening to the humming and twittering of the hummingbirds outside the door near my computer.  (By twittering I mean the original twitters of little birds.) This time of year the hummingbirds are storing up the sugar for their migration back to Mexico and Central America so they swarm around my two feeders and go through a gallon of nectar each day!  So, what does this have to do with "Made of Glass"?  The bottles on the feeders are glass, but the birds have no idea about that.  They only know that the little red flowers yield the sweetness they crave to stay alive.  However, if that glass bottle becomes empty, they aren't aware of that specifically, but they do seem to know that when the little red flowers go through the patio door, they come back out with more juice.  Let me tell you, hummingbirds are NOT that shy.  They will hover at the door if the flowers are dry and land on the feeders before I even have a chance to get them hung back on the hooks!

With 20-30 birds around my deck at any given moment I just had to try to capture them in flight. Even with 6.5 bursts per second it is not an easy task to get a perfectly clear photo of even one of them during this frenzy but I came pretty close.

This is one of my favorite shots. You can actually hear the clicking of little sword fights as they battle for position on the feeder.  This time I captured it!

And in the very next frame they were off (lower right corner), forgetting about the nectar.

This was a fresh bottle of nectar, still cold from the refrigerator. The condensation of moisture on glass is at times annoying, but who doesn't have fun making shapes on fogged up mirrors or windows?

Wow, those little critters can move!

Now and then one will get the feeder all to herself ..... for a few seconds!

Carmi, thanks again for another fun theme. Now I find myself looking at -- and through -- all things glass this week.  Check out Carmi's Thematic Photographic and play along with your photos of things made of glass.  Do you see anything unusual in the everyday things you never noticed before?