Living creatively, love of photography, and passionate living.

Posts tagged “outdoors

Practice, practice, practice.

Whatever strikes my interest, I just go ahead and take a shot.  This day, it seems it was mostly about texture.

It was such a beautiful day–in the middle of winter, at that!  So, again, I ventured out at lunch with a friend.  We drove down a deserted road and came upon an old barn.  We stopped and got out of the car, cameras in hand.  It turned out to be such a fun afternoon that neither of us wanted to go back to work.  Truly, we could have stayed out there all afternoon and had no trouble at all finding so many more things to capture on camera.

I think we’ll probably go back sometime…

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This is my kind of winter!

Okay.  So, I know we had a terribly hot summer.  And I know I said I wouldn’t complain when winter got here–no matter how cold it got–because it would be such a relief from the however-many-days above 100 we had last summer.  But I have been enjoying the unusually mild winter we have been having the last couple of weeks.  I’m talking upper 50’s and low-to-mid 60’s! Especially, since this week is going back to cold and chilly again.

Because it was so nice last week, I made it a point to get out and walk during my lunch time at work, taking my camera along with me.  These are just a few of the images I was able to capture.

Hope you enjoyed viewing these and it gave you some winter relief if you live where it’s been cold and blustery lately!  Next time, I’ll post the pics from the other day I was out and about.


More Night Images

Okay.  So sorry, I forgot to post last week!  I got busy and thought I would do it on Monday (Tuesday at the latest) and before I knew it, the weekend was here already! 

Anyway…

I’ve been out taking  more night images, trying to get better at it.  I had good opportunity the week before last because we had so much going on here around town.  There were even fireworks!  The weather was so stinkin’ hot during the day that the evening was the only time we wanted to venture out anyways.  My kids were good sports and tagged along most of the time (okay, there might have been some forcing and threatening) and helped carry my “stuff.”  My son even attended part of an outdoor night concert of someone who was before his time — although he has heard me play Eddie Money’s album on my old stereo before.

I had some nice surprises and was pleased with the ones that I was able to capture nicely.  The goal is to learn, even from my mistakes.  Hope you find something you like as well.

This first one is of a guy who had the coolest car with hydraulics.  He put on a show for me when he saw I was taking pictures with my camera.  Unfortunately, another car came up beside him (between me and the white car) and was blocking my view just as he had his car turned all the way on its side and was shooting out all this white smoke!  By the time I ran around to the front side of the car that was blocking my view and readjusted my camera, the show was over.  I was so mad!  I have one of where he is looking straight into the camera and giving me this big smile!  What a great guy.

This couple was just as friendly.  Maybe the guy on the farthest motorcycle didn’t want to be photographed, but the lady on the back of the closest one gave me a friendly wave and a smile.

When I was a  kid in high school, the big thing to do on Friday and Saturday night was to “drag Douglas.’   That’s the name of the main street in our town, and you would see all your friends and meet some new ones by getting in a car and driving along Douglas street.  The cops were good about letting the kids ride up and down the street, as long as no one was breaking any laws.  People still do it, obviously. 

Here’s what it looks like now.

And here are the rest of my night shots.

Eddie Money in concert.

A cool “mistake.”

And a fireworks show along the river.


Water Fountains at Night

It’s that time of year again.  Our annual RiverFestival is in full swing and there are plenty of opportunities for some practicing of  night shooting.  It’s tricky for me, because it causes me to have to use more settings than I’m use to or know exactly how to use.  But what better way for me to get in some practice.  The nights are full of people and events, so I plan on making full use of that.

The festival has changed dates this year, and it’s a month later than it normally takes place.  I can honestly say I don’t like it at this time of year.  It seems like they are trying to shift things and there were some big changes that I have heard a lot of people say they don’t like.  So we’ll see if they keep it this way or switch it back to May.  It’s been extremely HOT and that doesn’t make it any more fun for me.  I almost had heat stroke yesterday.  I know I had a moderate case of heat exhaustion.  My daughter and I were out walking in the heat in the middle part (also, the hottest part of the day and not the wisest time to be out, but my son wanted to meet up with a friend) of the day.  We had umbrellas, but the temp was up around 100 degrees.  We were out for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours — a third of that time was indoors in air-conditioning.  We both drank plenty of water the whole time we were out walking around. 

When we finally stopped for the day, we were driving to get something to eat when I started to feel sick to my stomach and a little headachy.  I was struggling with my window (it fell off the track and I was having trouble getting it to roll back up–yes, the air conditioner is broke right now so we do the old-fashioned way and roll our windows down) and was standing in the parking lot, in the shade, and pulling it back in place.  I guess I exerted enough energy to wear myself out even more after the sun and heat had already taken a beating out of me.  By the time we walked into the lovely air conditioning of the restaurant and I sat down, my legs and even the palms of my hands were sweating profusely.  I had to sit and just try to relax with the ice-cold water bottle on the back of my neck and side of my throat to help cool my blood going to my head.  Finally, I started to feel normal again, and once I ate a little something and drank some iced tea, I felt much better.

My point of saying all of that is that I won’t be doing much at the RiverFestival until the evening hours when things have cooled down some.  As a result, I will be able to do more night shooting in an effort to figure out what is the best way to do it and how to make it all work. 

There are some pics I won’t be able to show just yet, because I am entering the photo contest again this year and hope to win more than I did last year.  Therefore, I can’t show the photos I plan on entering yet until the contest winners have been announced sometime in July.  Here are the results of my first night.  They are pics of water fountains in the area.  There was another one that was of a larger waterfall, but I couldn’t get those to come out right.  I need more practice first!  Plus, the wind was blowing like crazy and I had to stand right in front of the fountain to get the pic I wanted, which meant the water was splashing and blowing all over me and my camera.  I wasn’t going to risk it and just wanted to wait for a calmer night. 

I have to tell you it took me several tries to get the effect I wanted.  I had to mess around with my settings and every time I moved to a different area or fountain, the lighting changed depending on where I stood.  I need to learn to slow down and just take my time.  I didn’t use a tripod.  I probably should, but I don’t want to carry one around and I like the challenge of hand-holding my camera and just using what I have–myself and whatever is around me.  It forces me to use my settings more and to do a lot of adjusting, which is how I think I want to learn in order to know exactly what my camera does when I use this setting or that, and when I turn the dial this way (up or down in numbers) or that.

I like the way the water droplets in the second one shine like jewels in the air and stand still.  And I think I captured the flow of the water at just the right speed in the first one.  It’s not too milky and not too stagnate.  You can see some of the water droplets captured in a stand-still mode, while the main waterfall flows naturally.  And I tried to get the bottom one when the wind was blowing really hard so you could see the water splashing sideways, but I never could get it just right with the time I had.  My son was with me and he was getting tired and wanted to go home.  I didn’t want to try his patience any more than I already had, because we had a really nice time that evening together.  His sister had teamed up with some of her friends and it was just him and I for the night.  We walked around, had some good food, and then sat and watched the fireworks before grabbing these shots and heading home. 

Stay tuned for more to come of my night shooting practices!


Changing a photo.

Well, I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday weekend and was able to squeeze every moment of relaxation out of it they could.  I know I tried.  I ended up doing a lot of cooking.  Although, I didn’t barbecue even once over the past three days.  I just did a lot of indoor cooking instead.  I guess I was just in one of those moods. 

Anyway, I had planned on getting out and doing a lot of things with my camera.  However, I never seemed to be able to fit it in anywhere.  Then, on Sunday in the late afternoon, I was finally able to step outside and down the street to photograph one of the many downtown churches in our area.  I’m only going to show you one part of what I shot, because I am working on transforming it into something other than what I started with. 

The church is absolutely gorgeous on the inside, too.  Maybe I’ll be able to get inside one day and see if I can take some photos.  But for now, I wanted to focus on the outside.  When I got there, I saw that some repairs were being done and there were wooden railings and scaffolding up everywhere on the building.  So I zeroed in on the top.  There are a total of three domes on top, and I picked the one I could get the best view of at the time. 

Here is the original.  Actually, I shot it in RAW but always make my adjustments and then save it as a TIFF.  This is that TIFF after my initial adjustments.

You can see the scaffolding in the lower right corner.  I removed it and did some improvements with color and tone.

Then I couldn’t decide if I wanted to make it black and white, or just desaturate the color a little, so I played around and came up with this.

I liked it.  It reminds me of something out of an old school book.  But I never stop there when I have captured an image that I see so much potential in if I know I can play around even more and just work it out. 

I knew I wanted to see this as a night image.  And I knew I didn’t want the building to become a silhouette.  I wanted to be able to still see what a magnificent structure this is by keeping some of the lines and curves showing.  So, I knew moonlight would have to be included. 

This is what I’ve done on it so far.

I’m loving it so far!  I know I want to add some night creatures, but I don’t want to make it into something creepy.  I’ve begun to add an angel to it, though I know you can’t see that yet.  I won’t show that until I am completely done with it.  But I love what it’s becoming and I can’t wait to work some more on it! 

I’ll show you the completed work when I’m finished.  I just wanted to share with you one of my work’s in progress. 

See you next time!


Unknown Roads.

Sometimes in life, our world changes.  Maybe it’s because we made the choice to change it, or maybe it’s because it’s changing due to circumstances we have no control over.  Whatever the reason, we have two choices.  Either we can embrace the change or we can be unhappy about it. 

Being unhappy about it doesn’t really seem like it will do any good in the end.  The change is still going to come.  And trying to fight it is only going to waste time that could be better spent figuring out how to deal with it, how to get through it, and how to get on with it.  I’m not necessarily talking about a life or death health issue here.  Some of those are definitely a worthwhile fight.

What I’m talking about are changes that come in life that make us have to make choices.  Like job changes or moving changes or career changes.  Maybe its a change to live with someone like a roommate, spouse, or boyfriend/girlfriend.  Whatever the change, we know the road is uncertain.

We can’t see the end result, so how can we even be sure we are doing the right thing?  Well, I don’t know the answer to that.  What I do know is that once you make your choice, don’t look back.  Keep moving forward, one step at a time, until your road gets better. 

You may not always be able to see what’s at the end of the path or even what lies ahead at times.  Everything seems unsure, and you can’t always see things clearly.  But if you have a goal, a plan of what you’re after, of where you want to be or get to, then you can make it through the seemingly scary parts.  Keep your eye on what lies beyond the obscurity.

Because, you know, sometimes it the part of the road that makes us have to take chances and figure it all out without a map to get us through that teaches us the important things in life.  It’s that part that makes us grow and learn and become a better person.  It can be that exact part that makes us proud of ourselves for making it through and coming out even better than when we started this path, this unknown road.

And you might have to make some detours along the way.  But that’s okay, too.  A straight road, while seemingly safe and secure, can make for less adventure, excitement, and opportunity for growth.  You might not always know which way to go.  Some days, you could be heading one direction, a little to the right, and the next week, you could be headed a little to the left.  As long as your still moving forward, that’s what matters the most. 

Traveling down unknown roads can be nerve-racking, or full of uncertainty that brings anxiety.  Change can do that sometimes. But if we remember that we are strong and can deal with anything that comes up as we travel along, we can end up in a pretty good place.  And then, and only then, we can look back at the road we traveled to get to our destination and realize what we endured to get here and how much better it made us.  And then we can smile with pride at how we conquered our fears and took a chance, with confidence, that no matter where our road ended, we made the best of it and we let it make us a better person.

And there are no pretty pictures for that.  We all make our own picture of our lives that fit us.  Go out and find yours!


Good memories, bad pictures.

I took a trip this past weekend with a very good friend of mine to Manhattan, KS to see Los Lonely Boys (YEA!!!) at the McCain Auditorium on the Kansas State University campus.  It was the first time I had ever been to K State or Manhattan.  The campus was awesome.  We didn’t see much of it, mind you, because we didn’t get to the campus till late when it was just starting to get dark.  But what little I did see, I thought it was very nice.  I would love to go back and just walk around some time. 

I took my daughter’s camera–just a small point-and-shoot.  I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to take my larger camera inside the concert and I wasn’t sure if it would have been safe in the hotel room or left in our vehicle.  Didn’t want to risk it, so I borrowed hers instead.  But when we left for the show, I was worried I wouldn’t even be able to take hers in, so I left it in the car.  It’s not mine and I didn’t want to have it confiscated.  I’m just not good at NOT obeying the rules.   But when I got inside the auditorium and discovered our seats were in the 4th row from the stage, directly in the middle with no obstructions whatsoever, I was so upset I didn’t risk it after all!

The concert was great and I loved every minute of it.  My legs were shaking from the excitement of the music and constantly tapping my foot on the floor.  These guys are just so good.  My friend and I were gettin’ our groove on, boppin’ around in our seats to the music, getting up a couple of times toward the end to shake our groove thing (Yes, I grew up in the 70’s, sorry.  I haven’t a clue what kids say today.) My friend can scream like no other and was not afraid to show her appreciation with a hoot and a holler whenever she could.  I even gave a few cries of gratitude myself with a couple of closed-fist shakes and waves. 

**This video was not taken by either my friend or I, but it’s a good one, nonetheless. It’s long, so just be aware.

We stayed the night and got up in the morning to barely grab a couple of bagels and orange juice from the complimentary breakfast set up.  On our way out of town, we stopped at the most fabulous place to eat called Coco Bolos.  The smells were drawing us in from the street, and the flowers and colors of the building, along with the outdoor patio on such a beautiful sunny day were beckoning us to go inside and taste!  I’m so glad we did because the food was excellent.   The food was fantastic and the atmosphere was so nice.  And this is where I would have had these great images to show you of the meals we had, the artwork hanging along the bar wall, the chairs (red and black with curved legs) along the bar, the awesome bathroom with black toilet and sink and artistic tilework along the backsplash.  They had stereo piped into the bathroom with another quirky chair in the corner, a large oval mirror and tilework coming under the door but not completely covering the concrete floor. 

I hope I can go back sometime this summer.  But I’ll have to make a plan of it because it’s a 2 1/2 hr. drive from where I live.  Maybe I can take the same route and retake all the beautiful pics I missed on the way up and back because I didn’t know her camera well enough to realize all but 7 of the pics did not come out properly.   When I questioned my daughter about why they didn’t come out, she tells me then that you have to hold the button “like this” or you’ll end up thinking you took them when you really didn’t!  Ugh! 

Anyway, here’s what I did take on the way back, on the road and as we made one stop in Council Grove (most of those pics didn’t come out either).

*This was a really quaint church we saw in Manhattan before we got to the restaurant.  Didn’t get the steeple pic, though.

*These next two are from the man-made lake in Council Grove.  My friend stopped so she could use the pit stop, but I was afraid of possible spiders under the rim, so I passed and just prayed my bladder would hold out till the next stop.  It did. 🙂 

*These next few are from the town of Council Grove on their main street.  I really like stopping in the main area of small towns here in the mid-west.  We did a little shopping and they had a really neat soda fountain in one store where we shopped.  No pics came out, but great to see and talk with the lady in the shop.  She was really pleasant and asked us where we were from. 

*We headed home and I only got one shot out of all the rolling hills, the green pastures, the horses and the cows, the old churches and barns… but what a great time I had with a really good friend.  And what fun and fond memories I’ll always have — even without the photos to remind me!