27 May 2009

New Blog Heading

My Hubby pointed out to me the other day that while, “1825” is when the Realtor told us our house was built, that may not be correct. The original records were destroyed in the Abbeville Courthouse fire years ago. One source, Greenwood County, A History by Ann Heard Bowen, says about our house “was built in the 1830’s by the Reverend James Chiles”. (It is interesting to note that the British Houses of Parliament as they appear today were built in 1837 and Biltmore in North Carolina was built in 1895.) I decided to change the whole banner while I was at it. The new background pattern is from the Graphics Fairy’s blog, she is on my list of favorites if you are interested.
Hubby and I had Tea on the balcony the other
morning. We sat up there and listened to the birds for the longest time. It is the most peaceful place. Someone at work recently asked why I would want to live in a place like that. I just smiled.

This is my Sweet Hubby!
I am working this weekend, see you soon,

24 May 2009

Wild Life

No, I am not talking about the "wild life" that I lead, although it does get that way at times. I am writing about all the wild life I have had a chance to photograph in this last week. The very first photo is right here in my own back yard. This little bunny let me get relatively close, about 35 feet. There are a whole family of them that live here with us, but they rarely allow photographs. I took 5 or 6. This is the best of the lot. Maybe he is just camera shy? We raised rabbits for food when I was growing up. I ate so much rabbit I should have long ears and a tail. My Mom even made rabbit tacos once. I would probably still like the taste of rabbit, but you see, these little guys are safe, they are bunnies. Wild little bunnies with adorable faces. Not food for me.

We went to the Great Smokey Mountain National

Park for a few days this week. The timing was perfect. The weather was good, not to hot or too cold and while there were plenty of other people around, it wasn't too crowded. We drove across the park from Cherokee North Carolina to Pigeon Forge Tennessee on the first day. With plenty of stops to look and walk a bit and take pictures.
Some of the lighting conditions were not ideal, but hey, when you see a wild turkey walking along the side of the road and your window is down, you take a picture. This one came out quite well. I do wish I could show you the scale a little better, this guy is quite a bit bigger than his cousins that live in the woods near our house. He just looks so proud of himself. Do you think he knows that Ben Franklin lost the argument, and consequently, he is not our National Bird?

This photo makes me feel tiny. The little tree with the big leaves is actually about 14-15 feet tall. It is a bit like an umbrella. We saw it on the hike up to one of the waterfalls. A word of caution if you go. Some of these trails are steep. Hubby and I were raised in the Rocky Mountains, quite a bit taller than the Smokies, but we have lived at lower elevations for most of the last 25 years. We were both a bit winded on our first day out. The altitude does make a difference even for someone used to hiking and walking.
I found this guy's (or girl?) web first. Right across my face. I must be the same height as a spider's favorite place to put webs as I walk into them regularly. This is a pretty good sized spider and he let me get quite close. He is not as big as he seems in the photo though, my camera is just doing a great job.

You know I can't resist a pretty flower.

This Dragonfly was quite patient with me also. I took 5 or 6 photos steadily closer before it decided to move.
Spotting the deer was pure luck. We were driving and my Sweet Hubby slowed for a curve. I said there is a deer! Since no one was behind us, he stopped and I rolled down the window. She was so far away, I did not think I would get the photo but I took several shots anyway and here she is. Can't you just feel how peaceful the setting is? I can almost hear the birds.

I am always on the lookout for butterfly and Moth photos. I need wings for more Fairy photos. I still have several great nieces to do. These two were dancing. That is just what it looked like. My usual method for photographing "Critters" is to put the camera on telephoto, aim, shoot, sneak closer and do it
again as many times as I can till they decide I am too close. (There are exceptions, I'll explain later). Anyway, that method worked great with these guys.
Have you ever seen such bright mushrooms? I think the color has more to do with the medium they are growing on than the type, but I really don't know. Notice how these look like a sliced log with wood grain?

I took this from the car. Hubby stopped and I leaned across. Good spotting! What a pretty bird.

More flowers.
You remember how I said there were exceptions to my method of sneaking up on animals? Well, I would not sneak up on anything that might be harmed by it. I do try not to frighten the animals. I would not sneak up on a baby, Mom might not like it. I also, do not sneak up on Bears. Nope, not going to do it. That is why this is the best photo of the lot. We saw lots of people pulled off the road taking photos so we decided to join them and see what was up. This guy was. We could see him but it was a difficult shot. Still, you can tell what it is, and I think we were quite close enough. I have some friends working in Yellowstone who may be jealous of this one. All I can say is that I hope they don't try to sneak up on Bears either. (Crocodiles are another thing I won't sneak up on, they have BIG teeth). On that note, I will close for now. Hope your life is good and at least a little wild.

18 May 2009

Please scroll down

Please scroll past the picture of Spontaneous on her tuffet for the newest post
"Anniversary" They are not coming up int the right order. I can't figure out how to rearrange them and haven't got the heart to delete a sweet kitty photo.

16 May 2009

Kitty on a tuffet

I am working this weekend so my usual post will be Monday. Please stop back by and take a peek.
Shh, don't disturb Spontaneous, she is napping on her tuffet.
See you Monday,

15 May 2009


On May 18, 2008, I posted to this blog for the first time. The first posting did not have any photos, the next several had one or maybe up to three, but not as many as there are now. My early posts were shorter, and more frequent, sometimes 3 in a week. They have gradually grown to their current size and number of photos and these days, I usually post once a week. In honor of my one year blogaversary, here is another look at some of my favorite things and pictures.
Photoshop Elements Flower Fairies
Winter Sunset over the old Summer Kitchen

Strawberry Pancakes

Spontaneous and her new toy


Rosie and Ruth

Polaroid Land Camera

Houston, we have liftoff
Study Buddy
Mountain View
Shy Visitor

Old Propeller from Slide

Charleston Fountain
Home made "Challa" bread
Thanks for joining me,
What is your favorite photo?

10 May 2009

Goofing Off

I am not sure if I have mentioned it before on this blog or not, but I have been taking a very difficult Chemistry class this last semester. YIKES. I passed, not only that, I passed with a decent grade (thanks in part to a good friend who dropped what she was doing several times to help me with the math). I have a few weeks off before I jump into my next semester and I feel like the weight of the world has been removed from my shoulders. Sure, I have other things to worry about, but having this one worry removed has made the others easier to deal with.
Have you ever seen the Disney version of "
Hunchback of Notre Dame"? There is one scene
near the beginning of the movie where a riot breaks out. (No worries, it is a Disney riot).
Anyway there is a scrawny old man in the stocks, the stocks get knocked over and they
break. He jumps up and shouts "I'm free, I'm free," takes two steps and gets trapped some other way. He gets free, shouts out "I'm free" again and again gets stuck. Well, there are times when I know exactly how he feels. Right now, I know how he feels when he really does get free, goes home and puts his feet up. (No that part isn't in the movie, but I just know that is how it works out).
He probably realizes that as soon as the riot is cleaned up, the soldiers will come looking for him to go back in the stocks, but hey, for now, he is free. I have plenty of worries and lots to do.
Next semester I will be taking Spanish and an
Economics class. For now though, I am enjoying the day.
Today I am posting some of what I have been up
to. The first picture is of course my barn. (A familiar subject) the second is someone's old fashioned bicycle that I took a photo of last time we were Downtown Charleston. Before you get too impressed, yes, I can draw and I am not bad at it, but these two little beauties were done on my computer with photoshop elements. I really like the way they turned out. I have more ideas in mind. I may frame some prints and attempt to sell them. (We will see)
The next two are digital scrapbook pages based on this blog. One is the camping entry the other is last week's "Obsession". Photoshop Elements of course. I really like digital scrapbooking. Even if I only have a few minutes to play, I can. No Mess. The background for the camping layout is one of my photos that has been altered. I experimented with different settings till I found something I liked. I will use this method again. The background for the Obsession lay out is a digital paper by Katie Pertite. It was a freebie downloaded from the http://www.scrapbooksetc.com/techniques/digital/index.html

Scrapbooks Etc website. (I have a blog over there

and several online friends who do amazing things). If you are interested in scrapbooking, have a look.
This pretty blue flower is growing next to my mail box. I have attempted to take photos of it several times but no matter what time, I never seem to be able to get the color right. O.K. I have a little extra time to play soooo, I made a copy layer, and played with filters until the flower looked like it was supposed too. That left the background looking very odd. Next I used the background eraser to erase the odd background. This left the altered flower in the front and the natural background in place where it should be. Once again, I am pleased with the result.
The photo labeled "Exotic Beauty" is just that, I have no idea what kind of flower it is. It just makes a great picture. It was also taken Downtown Charleston. If you ever get a chance to visit in the spring or early summer,

Take your camera and walk through the old
neighborhoods (The big houses and best gardens are South of Broad street)
The cat, well, it is a cat and it is being a cat and I just liked it. I think the photo came out great so I wanted to share.

I don't know what this is, I thought it was a Trillium, I looked it up, nope, it's "Not a trillium" pretty though. I looked it up on google images, great way to identify things. You can also spend a considerable amount of time getting "stuck" in the interesting things you link to that way.

The handsome man on the bench is my own sweet Hubby. He spoils me rotten. He made German Apple Pancakes for breakfast because of Mother's Day.
I don't usually blog about my children, but I will say in honor of this day, that I have the best children a Mom could wish for and I am (and always have been) quite proud of them.
Last but not least, I stepped outside the other
night to try to record the frogs serenade. When I returned to the house, Spontaneous was just
irresistible. I certainly couldn't ignore that now could I? I took the picture, she let me come in, then I picked her up for a good petting and cuddling session. That expressive little face!
Happy Mother's Day folks.

04 May 2009


I get a lot of praise for my photographs, especially the flowers. That, of course, makes me want to take even more photos. I received my first digital camera the Christmas before last and new horizons opened! With the digital, I could take even more chances. I can shoot one thing 15 or 20 times if I want too then delete all but the best. I know instantly whether or not I got what I was aiming for.
Photoshop Elements has added yet another boon, the ability to "fix" photos that are not quite perfect. Some photo opportunities won't wait for you to keep shooting (our little porch lizards for instance, will

only hold still for so long). My little Fuji does an amazing job with available light, but the automatic settings just wont' work well with very low light sunrises or sunsets. Photoshop Elements (PSE) allows me to take photos at two different settings then blend them for that just right in between. (This is called "Bracketing"). I could go on, and on, and on with this subject, sometimes I do.
My obsession started several years before I got my first camera. I must admit, there was a little bit of jealousy involved. My family was getting ready to go to my big brother Jimmy's house for Christmas.
Jimmy lived in Texas and it was the first time any of us kids had been. I think I was in 4th or 5th grade. The point here, is that Paula who is two and a half years older than me, got a camera for the trip. I don't remember what the details were about it, but it was a proper 35 mil, camera and it took great photos. I am surprised my eyes did not turn permanently green with envy. I wanted a camera sooo bad. I tried everything I could think of to convince my Dad that I was too "old enough" and "Careful enough" to be trusted with such a treasure. No dice, it didn't work. Paula was wise enough not to
let me use hers. (In retrospect, my Dad was right, I really wasn't very careful with things back then).
This was one of those little things that makes a big difference. If I had got my own way back then, the camera probably would have become just one more thing that I tired of and that would have been that. When we returned to Utah after the trip, my obsession did not go away. Since I didn't have a camera, I found a book in the library that told how to make one from a box, or how to use the sun to take photos of leaves, (wish I knew the name of that book now, I would love to see it again). I did not
have the film or photographic paper that were needed, but I didn't let that stop me. My imagination supplied all I needed. I did come up with some rather nice leaf prints by placing them on construction paper in a sunny spot on the front porch for a couple of weeks.
Fast forward to the summer I turned 13. My Dad and big brother Pete were replacing the roof on the garage and Dad "needed a helper". He offered to buy me a camera of my own if I would clean up the shingles and old nails as they tossed them down.
You bet I would! I earned a Kodak 110 Instamatic
camera. It came in a display box with a role of film and flash cubes. (Do you remember flash cubes?)
Watch out Ansel Adams, a photographer is born.
Dad was not in the habit of bribing us to work, if he told us to do it, we were expected to do it with a smile on our faces. We were a family and we all worked together to accomplish things. Most of the time I was growing up, we did not even get an allowance. When we did, it was not associated with chores, we did them regardless. It had not occurred to me until just now to wonder why he "paid" me to help with the garage. Not only that, but I think the
cost of the camera was probably out of proportion to the amount of work I did. The only thing I can come up with is that Dad knew I would appreciate it more if I earned it. He was right.
My Father was also obsessed with photography in all of it's forms. Most of the cameras pictured on these pages were his. I have, literally, hundreds of slides that he took when we were growing up. He died December 30th the same year I received that first camera. The last pictures we have of him were taken with it.
The following year, Mom and I went to California to
visit Aunt Bonnie. My little Instamatic and Mom's camera took 13 rolls of film between us. Then during our tour of Universal Studios, my lens jammed. The man at the camera repair shop sadly informed us that those cameras were not repairable. His exact words were something like, "The only way possible would be to use a sledge hammer and some really good glue". I was crestfallen.
Within a couple of months, my babysitting money went to buy a Polaroid at a yard sell and I was back in business. I could not take as many photos, there were only 8 photos in a cartridge and the cartridges
were not cheap. You did not have to pay for developing, but I think it still worked out more expensive that way. It didn't matter, I could take pictures again.
That Polaroid (not the lovely model in the photo) lasted until I signed up for a photography course at Weber State College. When I told Mom that I was going to the pawn shop to see if I could get a good used 35 mil camera, she gave me one of Dad's Petri cameras. I still have it, it's case, two lens, and the flash. This is the camera in the first photo. I was an art major with a photography emphasis for one
year. I loved it. I carried that camera all over the world. I took photos in Morocco and of Stone Henge with it. Mostly black and white. I Still love Black and White photos. I chronicled my families growth with it. As time went on, life got busier, and the Petri did way quite a bit. Slowly, it started to stay home more and more. My Sweet Hubby had a great camera and a wonderful eye for photos. (He is the only one who can consistently get good photos of me) my obsession lay dormant.
Then the Fuji arrived! The fun is just beginning. The collection from Photo #1. The Petri. #2. is an old German camera from World War II. #3 is I believe, a "Baby Brownie" that was my Husbands first camera. #4. The Argoflex belonged to his Mother. One of the sweetest ladies that ever lived. I can just see her holding this. #5. Keystone Capri 8mm movie camera. It was operated with a hand crank. I have several films my Dad made with this, but no way to watch them. Knowing him, they could be anything so I would like to see what is on them before I have them copied to disk. #5. Nikon One Touch Zoom 90s, sitting on the dashboard of the camper van. #6. Cake I decorated with a camera, told you I was obsessed. #7. Dad's old box camera with a photo of my Mom when she graduated from High School. #8. Part of the box, the instruction manual and a Kodak Magazine that came with the box camera when it was new. I did have the entire box with all this stuff in it, but it was attacked by mildew in Great Britain, the box fell apart. I am so glad that all it got was the box. #9. Pride of the collection. This is a Polaroid Land Camera, complete with it's case, flash, diffuser, and a lens filter. I researched it on line and found out it was produced in the 1950's. I think this is one of the most beautiful pieces of engineering ever. It is also from my Dad's collection.
What are you obsessed with?


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