Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Happy Birthday Baby-Girl!

It’s Katie’s 11th birthday today. She’s celebrating it with a few of her closest (literally closest — they’re in the same facility) friends at the kennel because her negligent mama and daddy are traveling.

It’s my party mama, and I’ll cry if I want to.

I’m pretty sure she will make us pay for our lack of planning, but I promise she’ll tell you all about it when she gets home. Meanwhile, Happy Birthday sweetie. We miss you and we’ll be home soon.

And yes you can tell me off if you need to. I’m sure you’re practicing right now.

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Lights on!

As the snow floated gently down Rochester welcomes visitors to a spectacular evening of lights.


I haven’t felt particularly festive this year, but that’s not all that unusual. I did put lights on a tree in the yard, one particular smallish spruce tree, and I like the sense of that, the one tree lit in the dark. Sort of sign of hope I guess. But other than that one little tree I haven’t done anything to decorate around here.

Unlike a small town about 30 miles away, a town that goes all out at this time of year. A friend suggested we go one night this week with our cameras. I’m glad she did, because after we tromped around admiring the lights last night I am in a decidedly more festive mood.

Can’t stop taking pictures!

It would be hard not to be, don’t you agree?

The town puts on an amazing light display, and people come out in droves to walk the streets and admire the colors and the window displays. I’ve always liked taking pictures of commercial windows, particularly if there are people enjoying themselves inside. It’s a little slice of life.

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I particularly liked how the lights on buildings across the street reflected in almost all of the window scenes I shot.

There was so much to enjoy, including little details like the lights shining in my friend’s camera lens…

Hope she got the shot with me in the way!

…and the ornaments on the trees lining the streets.

Holiday colors were everywhere.

It was hard to know where to look. So I looked everywhere.

Reflections on the holiday season.

Even the parked cars got in on the show.

Blue reflects blue.

And then, on my drive home I came across a mall with the trees all lit up. Even though it was way past my bedtime and my toes were cold I just had to stop.

Another winter wonderland!

Mesmerizing isn’t it!

Pretty in pink. For at least a mile.

So if you don’t quite have the holiday spirit, stop and peruse these lights of Rochester Michigan. And if you live close enough, visit and walk among the lights yourself.

Sending you holiday greetings.

They’ll be up and shining bright until New Years. Merry Christmas to you all.

Late night pretty.


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First snow!

I wish I could be as enthusiastic as Katie about the first snow of the season.

Really mama? It’s snow. I should be running, not sitting here getting my picture taken again!

I know that people in the South had much more snow than we’ve received. I guess I should be thankful that we don’t have more.

That’s better mama!

But I also know this is only the beginning of the long winter in Michigan.

Let’s do that again mama!

Katie thinks it’s about time there is snow to play in.

I think it’s time for a treat!

Of course she’s not going to shovel the driveway.

Silly girl.

This is my woods mama!


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Still learning night skies

Another super moon visited us last night and the sky was clear all day, so I couldn’t pass up a chance to try to capture it. A year ago last November I stood on a bluff overlooking our library and attempted to catch the pink moon rising. It was freezing cold. I was only sort of successful.

So last night I tried again.

I drove out to one of Katie’s favorite parks where I knew there was a nature trail up to a lookout hill.

Evening descends as I ascend the hill.

I had set the camera up for the moon shots in the nice warm car, but on the way I saw stuff I wanted to photograph (of course) and I forgot, in the moment, that the camera was set for night skies. Hence this:

Flying geese. Put your glasses on. Oh wait. It looks the same even with glasses.

It’s a bad shot that not even Lightroom could fix. But I thought it was kind of cool. OK. I’m weird.

Once up on the hill I settled in along with another family to wait. The sun set behind us and we almost missed it because we were staring at the horizon where the moon was supposed to appear any minute.

The quiet sunset behind us got ignored.

And then it did.

What is wrong here???

And my tripod wasn’t steady, and that bothered me so much I didn’t even register that the moon was completely blown out and I needed to speed up the shutter. Eventually I figured that out, but by then the moon was higher in the sky, past the ridge of clouds it had been shining through.

It really was this color!

I couldn’t get the clouds and the trees and the moon all in one shot. Either the clouds disappeared or the moon was too bright.

But I had a wonderful time. It wasn’t freezing cold. The moon was breathtaking, much more beautiful than these poor images display. The family up on the hill left way too soon, while the moon was still in the clouds. I hope they saw it shining bright on their drive home!


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Looking for the night sky

Most of the time photography is an offshoot of travel for me. We travel to see a different part of the world or to visit family and friends or to attend an event. Photography just happens along the way.

Inviting path.

This time it was different. This time the reason for the trip was photography. And more than that, it was to learn about night photography.

Hello Lake!

So you’d think I’d have some night photos to share with all of you. But I don’t. I have possibly one shot I’d share with you, and I’m not proud of that one either. Mostly I have a whole lot of crazy nothing in particular, error filled, photos.

But I’ll tell you what, I learned a ton.

Pulling me toward the lake.

The weather wasn’t conducive to being outside at night in November in northern Michigan. We had wind that only grew stronger as the evening approached. We had rain that turned into sleet and snow. Obviously we had no stars to focus on.

Stripes of color.

So there will be no star shots in this blog post. But I have every intention of going out some clear winter night and attempting it again. Preferably when there aren’t gale force winds or driving sleet.

November on the Lake.

I am also struggling with the loss of my familiar Photoshop editing program. When my laptop died I was lucky that husband was able to retrieve my documents and photos. But the Lightroom he reinstalled looks different than what I remember, and to be honest, I never used Lightroom because I found it too complicated. I used Photoshop all the time and that didn’t get reinstalled.

I wish I could lighten this up.

So I really really need to read my Lightroom book and figure stuff out. Because until then I can’t straighten horizons or fix the light, or paint out errors. You’ll have to live with the photos as they came out of the camera. Sometimes that’s good. Sometimes not so much.

Bye bye Lake! See you next time.

The images in this post were taken during the few hours I had free while I was up near Traverse City. Lake Michigan was it’s traditional turquoise, there were interesting clouds, and of course my favorite lighthouses.

Also one last barn.

I could’t resist stopping for this one.

I’m debating if I should show you the night images. It would be a study in what not to do. It might provide a bit of levity to your day.

I’ll think about it.

The sun sets on a wonderful weekend.


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There were barns

I started my trip ‘up north’ under slate grey, flat and uninteresting skies. Kind of sad actually, especially since I was going north to attend a photography workshop. November has arrived and we’re headed straight into winter.

But at a rest stop, about halfway to my destination the skies changed. To my west was sunshine and light clouds. To my east the dark sky remained. I was in farm country, and the barns and fields were glowing in the sunshine, still set against the dark skies.

I argued with myself. I have enough photos of barns. There are never enough photos of barns. I can take my time on my drive home Sunday, and there will be pretty things then. There’s no reason to rush today and the light will never ever be the same again.

I was hungry, my stomach growling and I had considered stopping at the next exit to look for food. But there was this barn just the other way up the road.

Guess you know which way I turned.