Sunday, February 27, 2011

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Just a thought for the day

To speak truly, few adult persons can see nature.  Most persons do not see the sun.  At least they have a very superficial seeing.  The sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and heart of the child.  The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Dream has begun!

Today I was notified that one of my photos will be featured in the Paint Shop Cafe' at Chattanooga's Volkswagen Plant.  After entering an employee contest that was to show my interpretation of "Green City, Green Plant, Green Car", I chose this photo for several reasons. 

Looking through hundreds of photos (remember that luck photographer phase) I came upon the folder with the photos that were taken at the Enterprise Nature Park right after our January 10 snow.  I thought about the feelings that I had while hiking through the woods, looking for the deer that had left their footprints in the snow.  The sun was shining, the trees stood tall in their canopies over the snow, and it was just darn peaceful.
Then I thought about where I was.  Not 1/2 mile from me was Interstate 75, traveling from our North to our South, and is the busiest highway in our area.  Over the hill, and visible from the trailhead was Chattanooga's new Volkswagen plant, which would soon produce hundreds of thousands of cars and provide hundreds of jobs for Chattanooga.  I stood still in this place.  There was a dry creek bed, which will have water running as the spring rains start.  The trees, one of our greatest resources, were standing tall and straight. And the sun, our best source of energy, was shining brightly through the trees.  And the best part of all?  There wasn't a single sound that could be was "a quiet green".

"A Quiet Green"

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Passing of "Lick"

Today was a beautiful day for photos..though I was feeling very lazy, and decided not to get far from home.  My pug had a litter of pups 9 weeks ago, and I thought I'd let them stay out and play in the den today. 

The three boys, Billy, Lick, and Bubba have been growing quickly in the past few weeks.  Lick was aptly named because every time you picked him up, he immediately began licking your face until you just had to put him down.  He  liked toes, too, and never failed to find the closest ones.  They were all eating and drinking on their own, and had started on their potty training.

Later this afternoon, Lick was a little sleepier than the others, and I picked him up to hold him.  He immediately had a seizure.  Two more in the next few minutes led me to start looking for answers on the internet.  His shots were up to date, deworming was done, and everything seemed to be fine.  Then he gasped for breath and died in my arms.  I buried him in my garden, where my beloved pets have been laid before him.

His brothers haven't missed him yet.  So I sit and shed tears for the great dog he was growing up to be.  No answers, no reasons that I can give.  Mother Nature can be cruel, but she takes care of the little ones..

Rest in Peace, little Lick, we will all miss you.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Hurry Springtime and the impending Valentine's Day

The month of February begins with cold wind, dreary skies, and hearts and candy boxes scattered throughout the aisles of Wal-Mart and Walgreen's everywhere.  Valentine's Day was always a day of roses and sweets in our house when I was a child.  Dad always made sure every woman (and/or little girl with excited eyes) was gifted on this special day of love.  Though we thought this day was special, it only went along with the other 364  days that were scattered with love.

After the Valentine's Day retail scurry is over, Easter eggs and the Easter bunny are our focus.  Easter means springtime, resurrection, new beginnings, and a gift from God. The weather begins to warm, and winter is over. 

This year, because there is no one special in  my life for the ceremonies of Valentine's Day, I'll overlook it. I'll show my children how much I love them, get my granddaughter a cute stuffed animal, and buy my Mom roses,  just as I have every year since my father passed away.  There will be no need to scour the card aisle for that special romantic card.  I can skip it this year.  Last year I bought a card, but Valentine's  Day was cancelled because of snow. 

This year, I will look forward to Easter, scan the skies for the first robin in the yard, and the sunrise service.  Spring will be welcomed after the cold of winter.  The breezes will be warm, and the sun will shine. And then there are the flowers!  I will once again be somewhat of a "luck photographer", simply because one little flower can render a hundred angles for a photographer.

For those of you who have a special Valentine, don't forget to show the love every day of the year. For those who don't, Spring is just around the corner! 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Luck Photographer

When I read this  particular article, I knew what I was when I started this digital adventure.  I would stop by the road, see something that I wanted to shoot, and take lots of pictures, hoping for the best.  I was stuck on auto, afraid to change any of the settings on my camera.  I was shooting only JPEG, fighting all advice to shoot my photos in RAW.  My reasoning behind this was that I had purchased a camera that had a great brain, so I could get great matter what.

I knew about composition, I was aware of the rule of thirds, and I understood that lighting was what it was all about.  I had one goal in mind with my new camera - I wanted the perfect waterfall shot!  Once I had accomplished "misty water", I would be accomplished!  I could take the world by storm, and hang my photos on every wall in my house, garnering compliments from all who stopped by. 

I won't say it was a dare, but it was the closest thing to it that got me off the AUTO mode.  I knew in order to shoot the perfect photo, I would have to not only go to the Manual mode, but carry that silly tripod through the woods.  I practiced and practiced on little waves, fountains, anything that I could find.  A trip to the beach gave me waves to slow down..still not quite right, but I did use the tripod, and decided it was okay to be seen in public with all of the gear.  That week in Florida and up the East coast I shot almost a thousand pictures, but I was pleased with quite a few.  I was learning more about composition..leading the eye through the scene. 

Enter Fall Creek Falls State Park in Spencer, Tn.  The water was low, so the falls weren't racing as fast as I would like them to. I got some good shots from the base of the smaller cascades, but still not the one I wanted.  A few hikes later, I got a great shot in Tellico, TN, of a friend at Conasauga Falls..then I took myself on a trip last week.  I found the perfect  setting, the perfect falls..the sky wasn't great, but I was able to NOT use the sky in some photos..

Cumberland Trail - Heiss Mountain Trailhead

I walked around and around, set up my tripod, and there it perfect waterfall.  I shot it in JPEG and RAW, set my aperture and shutter speed, and shot not twenty, but  three shots at this angle.  I took a chance that my planning would get the photo I wanted. 

And yes, eventually I could Photoshop another sky in here, but I don't think the waterfall could be any purer, nor the water any mistier.  And I couldn't be any happier to realize that the "Luck Photographer" was learning a little something about how to start taking pictures on purpose.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Moments that take your breath away

Click on the link- listen to the song..every time I get in the car this song comes on the radio.  I sing along, and I listen to the words.  And the more I listen, the more I realize that there is a message in this song for me.  It's telling me to look around, to hug my kids, to take a walk, to breathe deep.  Most of all it's telling me to slow down and appreciate all that is around me.

When I was a kid, there were lots of days when I rode my horse to this pond.  It's on our farm, and it has been neglected, no longer needed by livestock.  On my 54th birthday, I left my house and walked over to the pond.  After sitting for a while, shooting some pictures, and walking off into the woods for a few minutes, I came back to this spot.  It reminded me how simple this pleasure used to be for me, and that it still was.  It didn't look like it did back then, but it  brought all the thoughts and memories back..

I was with my daughter when my granddaughter was born, and I was with my father when he died.   Both moments won't be forgotten.  I was at all of my children's band concerts, ball games, cried at all the graduations, kindergarten to high school,  and went to as many field trips as I could..I wouldn't trade these moments for anything..slow down, love your friends and family, and remember the times that took your breath away.