Saturday, October 31, 2009

Day 53: Brenda's Challenge. Halloween

Argh.  Not the best photo, but this is all I've got today.  The kids (including me!) each get a pumpkin.  They draw on it, and I carve it out.  Kind of interesting designs when kids are still at the scribble stage, as is the one on the bottome left.  The hubby was off getting KFC.  Carving and KFC, our night before Halloween tradition.  There's nothing to see here...move along now...there you go!  Better luck tomorrow, I hope!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Day 52: Yummer!

J is such a ham.  I haven't had a candied apple in years, and she has never had one.  I've had a hankering for them lately--must be the time of the year.  I would have loved to make some, but cheated and grabbed a couple from the supermarket.  Took tons of photos of J tearing into the apple.  This was the funniest, so I had to post for today's photo.

My apple is still in the fridge.  Two of them, actually.  I can't decide whether to go for the red candied one or the caramel one first.  What do you think?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day 51: Cute nails!

J has been begging: "PuhLEASE mummy--paint my nails!" 
So we did.

I was asked to post the instructions for how I did the water droplet last summer.  First, I read the camera's manual, and learned that to freeze action, you have to increase the shutter speed.  If you have a camera that has a shutter priority mode, set the speed and the camera will do the rest.  If not, just go manual, set for a fast shutter speed, make sure everything else is in line for proper exposure, and go for it.  When I first tried to catch the drop, I kept missing it.  Then I remembered reading something in the manual about being able to set the camera for 10 frames a second. That enabled me to get a couple good pictures out won't tell you how many! 

I've been taking a few photography classes lately, which have helped a lot.  If you're interested in becoming a better photographer, take a class or two.  It'll help get you on your way and give you a good solid base from which to jump off and experiment on your own.  Also--read your camera's manual. Then reread it with your camera in your hand! That's all I had when I learned how to freeze water.  A paragraph in the manual and the decision to kick fear out on its ear.

Really guys, when I see the amazing amateur photography posted on blogs that I visit, I'm blown away.  I have so much more to learn--I'm still a photography baby--so I really appreciate everyone's kind and supportive words.   :o)

For some neat photos using the technique mentioned above, check out some of the shots at this post.  Great photos of boys in the mud!

Funny button

Saw this today and have to share it quickly.  Photo of the day will come later.  I still have to go take a picture of something, yet!  Gulp.  Maybe if I do this, something will come out good enough to post:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Day 50: Corner View--Water

There's something about the sound of water washing up on a beach or over rocks in a stream that soothes and calms like nothing else does.  Growing up at the edge of a freshwater lake, I know I was spoiled.  Even now, whenever I get close to water, I feel a sense of peace and relaxation and the atmosphere for meditation that I can't find anywhere else.

Here are a few water photos.  The first ones show the calmness of water, and the last ones area couple that I took when I first got my new camera.  I knew that I could learn how to freeze water, so spent quite a bit of time figuring it out one day this summer.  I just have to show it off!

And now for something completely different:

For more corner views, zip over to Dana's place.  She is being so good as to host while Jane is away.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day 49: Friends Cemetery

I've always found old cemeteries intriguing.  When I was a teenager, many moons ago, I used to walk by the little cemetery in my hometown and pass a little headstone for a child, and I'd wonder who they were and why they had died so young.  As I got older, whenever I'd see an old cemetery, I'd stop and wander through the rows of headstones, taking note of the dates and inscriptions.  Shortly after I met my husband, we took a drive up through the Kootenays in BC to visit my family, and on the way back down we saw an old cemetery by a ricketty little church, so we had to stop.  Until we got chased away by the angry hoard of mosquitoes--veangeful spirits, perhaps?  We had mosquitos in the car for hours afterwards!

My children hold the same fascination with cemeteries. We live near a huge one that dates back to the mid 1800's, and the cemetery itself has a history as being the place where many of the victims of the Johnstown flood were buried. It is one of our favorite Sunday afternoon places. We walk over there, sometimes bringing a snack, and the kids have their favorite stone mausoleums that they like to visit. It's kind of funny, because last summer I took a picture of J behind some beautiful flowers. "Where did you take that?" "Um...the flowers were on someone's grave, and J wanted her picture taken with them, and they WERE pretty, and I'm sure Mrs. so-and-so wouldn't mind..."

Frankly, I think the majority of the spirits whose bodies are in the graveyard would probably find the laughter of children refreshing. We've had nice talks about life and death while walking through the cemetery. J thinks of it as a temporary storage facility for bodies until the resurrection. There's no sense of the creepy or scary. It's just what it is!

I was talking to a friend about our cemetery walks, and that it was a wonderful place to bring kids. There was plenty of open grassy space for the kids to wander, there was lots to talk about, and the kids thought it was great.

She thought it was kind of odd.

What do YOU think?

Today's photos were taken at an old Quaker cemetery in Bedford County, PA.  Drove by and had to stop. 

Monday, October 26, 2009

Day 48: The caterpillar raided my craft bin!

It's obvious that this little guy likes to deck himself out.  He even found some fuzzy bits of yarn for his feelers!  Aren't his little feet gripping the stick adorable?  And look at his face in the second picture--he looks almost like a little puppy!

He is indeed a beautiful fella.  And he liked to pose for pictures, too, which was a bonus for me! I have never seen one like him before, so if you know what kind he is and what kind of butterfly/moth he'll turn into, it would be fun to know.  :o)

Have a lovely Monday, all!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Day 47: Autumn Walk

Today after church, DD and I went for a walk into Stackhouse Park, a nature area just outside our back door. It's something we love to do whenever the weather permits, and today was a gorgeous day for it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Day 46: Painted Cloud

A quick picture of a neat looking cloud.  There was another one that looked almost like it could be hiding a UFO  (oooooooh!!!), but I couldn't get the picture.  The clouds looked almost unreal, like someone had painted them into the sky.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Day 45: Old Tractor

There was something about this old tractor that caught my imagination.  It had such character, and I'll bet it could tell a pretty good yarn, given the chance!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Day 44: Feeding the Goat

Every year our family goes to Weakland Farm to pick a pumpkin at the patch.  It's a great place--petting zoo, corn maze, hay maze, hay mow to play in, hayride...loads of fun.  Anyway, today they had this goat as part of the petting zoo.  I can't say the pictures are the greatest, but perhaps you'll get an idea of how it went. Goats are really smart, and this one was quite funny, too.  The goat could walk up this ramp to the top of a platform, and there was a pully-type deal where you put in the food in the  bottom, turned the wheel, and it would go up a belt to the goat.  The rest is self explanatory:

Just in case you wondered...

"What does a gal have to do to get a snack around here?"

"It's in HERE!"

"Hurry it UP already!!!!"

"I guess I'll just have to do it myself."  She actually could turn the wheel at the top and bring the Cheerios up the belt unassisted.  It was pretty funny to watch.  It was like she was thinking, "If you want something done RIGHT, you have to do it yourself."


We spent the majority of the time feeding Cheerios to this silly goat--we didn't even get to the corn maze, usually everyone's favorite part, because we spent so much time here that it got dark before we did much of anything else.  But you can tell from the kids' faces that they were having a ball!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day 43: Corner View--My Dream

My dream is that one day...

...I will find the mates to these lonely socks.

For more (likely thought provoking!) Corner Views, please check out Jane's place at Spain Daily

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Day 42: Domino Effect

Whew!  I wasn't sure whether I'd get anything posted today--I was drawing a blank as to what to photograph.  Finally, I thought of doing this.  I won't even tell you how many times I set this partly up only to accidentally knock them down, then have to get over the giggles before starting over again.  My husband observed that, "You might never get the shot, but at least you'll have fun trying!"  True. 

I've been fooling around with indoor flash photography lately, thus all the indoorsy stuff in my posts these days.  How I'm lovin' the photography lessons!  :o)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Day 41: The Piano

The Piano

Each note of a piano,
Evokes a different thought.
Of rain drops or a passing tear,
The ebb and flow of life
The insurmountable and surmounted,
The inevitable certainty,

And finality of life.
The beauty of human beings,
Their wealth of emotion and talent.
When intertwined and combined,
Produce serenity.
       ~Gerard Hogan

I have been playing the piano for as long as I can remember.  Growing up, I played to let off steam, and I played when I needed to be cheered up or to get my mind off whatever teenaged angst I was going through.  I played for fun and when I was happy, because it was a way to express my joy!  I spent a great deal of time at the piano until I left for University.  The first chance I was able after moving to the states I purchased my first piano.  It was a dream to have a piano of my own, and it was such fun to look around for one!  It's not a new piano.  As a matter of fact, it's a rebuilt one.  It's like a piano mutt--parts from everywhere--the name embellished on the wood means nothing.  But I've always loved mutts, and I really loved how this piano felt when I first played it.   Nowadays, I certainly don't play like I used to, as evidenced by the dust on the piano keys (and I DID run the duster over before I took the picture--honest!), and my playing has
become a bit of a competition between two little people who always choose just that moment to want to play as well, but I love those rare opportunities to play unimpeded and uninterrupted.  To play until my arms and back and neck hurt.  Being able to work on a piece or a passage until I get it right gives me great satisfaction.  I think it's important for everyone to have something that they love to do, that has taken work and sacrifice and a degree of pain to accomplish.  It can be anything, really, as long as it is something that is enjoyable, took some work to accomplish, and you can dust off every once in awhile to bring you back to the truth that, yes, life can be humdrum and full of mundane must-do's, and though it sometimes seems that it has been awhile since you've done anything other than the usual, once upon a time you learned how to do THIS, and it feels darn good! 

Now I want to know:  What have you accomplished that brings you satisfaction?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Day 40: The Mooch!

OK--this is the reason why our cat, Mooch, always looks so suspicous whenever I pull out my camera.  His suspicions are justified!  SO--what to do with a child who's feeling under the weather?  Quicky photo editing.  Take a quick picture of the cat, go to Picnik, and have said child choose which effects to apply.  So, in order, here you have:

Notice the blush and (if you look really closely) mascara. 
But that wasn't enough to make him truly, extraordinarily GOHJUSS, dahling, so we had to do this...

and these...

and finally, because it's getting close to Halloween:

Poor kitty cat...   :oD

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Day 39: Brenda's Photo Challenge--Highways and Byways

Hello all!  This will be a bit of a photo essay.  The stars were aligned to make a crazy Brenda's Challenge today.

The theme was "Highways and Byways," so I popped the kids in the van this morning to bring them to the place where I had planned to take the picture.  So here we go!

In the van on the way to Somerset. Lovely weather, which was why I had neglected to go out sooner.  By the time today rolled around, I realized it wasn't going to get any nicer, so decided just to go and enjoy the rain!

All to take a picture of this sign, which I think is hysterical.  As if people weren't confused enough when getting off the tollway!  DD and DS were to both be in the snapshot (that's what I'll call it!), but DS fell asleep in the van, and I wasn't about to wake him!  So DD did the honors.

The rain looked really cool! (photos of the day)

Enjoying a McD Pumpkin pie on the ride home.

And then the fun began.  At the bottom of the exit about 20 minutes from home, I put on the gas to pull forward to the accompaniment of whitish/gray smoke, a horrible oil burn smell, and no forward motion.  Which led to:

And when I got out of the car, camera in hand, the lens cap fell out of my pocket and rolled in slow motion, it seemed, right into...

Just great.

After the car completely lost any self respect it may have had,

The kids got a ride in the tow truck!

The blessings?  There were many.  The van didn't break down in Somerset.  It broke down near a Denny's, where I could go and use the phone (mine was being charged at home, since there's something wrong with the car charger do-hickey).  When we got to Denny's, a friend of mine was working there, at a shift that she usually NEVER works, so she gave me her cell phone to use, which enabled me to keep in touch with hubby while we arranged for tow truck and a ride.  It wasn't snowing.  And the tow truck didn't take the 45 minutes that they said they would take, showing up in about 15 minutes.  It could have been much, much worse.

And thus ends my first Brenda Photo Challenge.  I'm kind of nervous about what's going to happen NEXT week--hopefully this isn't a portent of challenges to come!