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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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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It’s all about the parks!

Katie here. I’m certain you’ve all been missing me terribly. I know that mama and daddy have been busy and stuff, and you’re getting to read all about their adventures, but I’m positive you haven’t forgotten about me!

I don’t know why she wants me to sit in this grass.

When I finally got sprung from the slammer….ahem….kennel last month I gave my parents the stink eye for a couple of days and then I forgave them. I mean, what am I supposed to do? They hold the keys to the food bag you know? So I can’t stay mad at them for too long.

These reeds and berry briars are pretty mama. But not as pretty as me.

But then we had a string of bad weather days and I didn’t get to do anything fun for a katrillion billion days. I made my mama’s days miserable. I figure that’s only fair, right? If I’m miserable, everybody’s miserable. It’s a law or something.

Lately, though, she’s been making it up to me. Every nice day she takes me to another park! She says something about not wasting nice days because winter is coming.

I like the way my fur looks here.

I don’t know what she’s talking about, winter is lots of fun! I love running in the snow and I make sure to get her out in it as often as possible. I know she appreciates all those trips outside after she puts on her boots and coat and hat and mittens and scarf and stuff.

More leaves to sit in for mama!

Anyway, this week mama took me to three parks! We went to my park, just a couple of miles away and mama figured out how to use the timer on her camera and we got a picture of us together. That almost never happens.

Hey mama! What’s that over there?

We had to do it about five times and never once would I look at the camera. I mean, why would I do that? The camera doesn’t disperse treats. If it did maybe I’d consider looking at it. Maybe.

Then mama took me to her favorite park (That’s where most of the pictures here were taken.) It was really windy, and lots of oak leaves were blowing around.

Hey mama! It’s too windy here for photos!

We walked down a bike path and I was very good. I didn’t chase the joggers or the people on bikes at all. I didn’t bark at anyone! I even sat still and posed for mama when people were walking by. The only way she even knew there were people walking in back of her was the way I turned my head to watch them. I am such a good girl.

They’re not running away from ME are they? I didn’t even bark at them!

And I let a kid pet me! He even kissed me on my head and I was good with that. I guess all that training mama took me to was worth something after all.

I love walking in the woods with my mama!

And then today I got to go to a big park with my pal Deuce! There was hardly anyone there and the moms didn’t take too many pictures, which was fine by Deuce and me.

This is a pretty cool bench mama, I don’t have to sit too close to the BOY!

We did have to sit together a couple of times, but we’re used to that. We figure it’s the least we can do for them since they take us to these awesome places.

So…three parks in one week! It’s been amazing, but mama says after this weekend all this sunshine is going away. I hope I can convince her to take me fun places even without sun.

I might need your help on that, I know all of you can convince her. I’m counting on you to make sure she pays enough attention to me and I get to have adventures all winter long.

You can start bugging her now.

I got an oak leaf stuck on me mama! Get it OFF!


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Playing with the night

Ok, OK. I’ll show you a couple of my failed night images from last weekend’s trip to Traverse City. My excuses are many, most I blame on the cold wind, rain, and sleet. And fumbling fingers, and bad eyes.

It was a dark and stormy night.

And remember, none of this is the fault of our instructor. She would have gone to the same locations in the same weather and found something much more worthy of your perusal.

The photos here are after I’ve messed with them a bit in Lightroom. I can’t show you the original images because they were shot in RAW and apparently WordPress won’t allow them. They’re probably too big. Or something. Plus when I went back to change the originals into JPEGs in Lightroom they had been replaced with the edited versions and it’s just too much work to go upload the originals and try again. I’ve barely figured out how to get this far.

Anyway.

We started out at the Traverse City marina where the waves were crashing over the end of the pier and the rain was beginning to drive sideways.

That first image up at the top was at the marina. I was pointing at nothing in particular, trying to figure out my camera settings and I accidentally set off the shutter. It turned out very very orange, but the neat thing about shooting in RAW is that when you go to edit it you can change the white balance. So I did. Plus I tweeked a few other things…still, it’s a weird shot and not one I’d normally show you.

The person in the left corner is another of our students, wearing his red headlamp. I liked the reflection in the puddle. That’s about all I liked in this one.

Shortly after that shot I was messing around with the camera, thinking I might get some wave action when a Traverse City Police officer drove up, while my shutter was open, to find out what kind of fool was out in that weather. So this is what I got.

And then there was light.

The original image was completely blown out by white light. So I found it interesting to see that I could push that much light back and still see something. Even though, once again, it wasn’t a shot of anything I really liked.

Still trying to get a shot of the waves crashing over the concrete barrier we tried to use headlights from our own car shining out over the bay.

Caught a little bit of a wave.

It didn’t really work, but still, after editing, it kind of tells you how cold and wet it was that night. The only warmth is the red light shining from my neighbor’s headlamp.

After we gave up on the marina we drove way out to a lighthouse. By the time we got there it was snowing wet sleety flakes. And the wind had picked up.

Oh joy.

It was difficult to face into the wind coming off the lake and take pictures of the lights of Traverse City to the south. So we focused, out of self preservation, on the unlit lighthouse behind us.

Standing in all kinds of weather.

I set the camera up, choosing 28 seconds of exposure, and someone lit the lighthouse up with a pen light for a moment. It’s called light painting. It’s not perfect, and my lens had drops of water on it. But it was fun.

This image doesn’t begin to convey how cold and windy it was out there that night. By the time we headed back to the car we were all soaked through our many layers of clothes.

But my goodness it was fun!

I want to try again some night when it’s not 28 degrees (-2.22 C) with driving snow. Some night when the stars are out and the air is fresh with spring would be good. I’m already scouting out locations.

And I’m beginning to mess around with Lightroom. Between the instruction I received last weekend, and a book I have I’m starting to make sense of it.

My favorite lighthouse

I haven’t found the straightening tool, and I’m having trouble figuring out how to import just one photo instead of the entire folder. And I know there’s oh so much more that I haven’t found yet.

But I’ve started. And that’s the hardest step in any learning process.

It’s a long road.


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New laptop practice

It’s here! The new laptop is here! And husband spent all night setting it up so that I can take it with me on a little trip this weekend.

I should have made more cookies for him.

This morning I uploaded the last series of photos taken the day the laptop died. They’ve been sitting patiently in the camera ever since.

This was way back in October mama!

Katie thought you’d like to see a couple shots of her, given it’s been so long since she’s been online. She figures you need a Katie fix.

And she’s seen my suitcase so she’s alternating between excitement and pouting while she’s attempting to figure out if she gets to go.

No she doesn’t.

But don’t tell her that.

Can we go play now mama?


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Trees and color and sky oh my!

I drove down a side road to turn around and look what I found.

People go north around here to ‘leaf peek;’ to drive and wander while enjoying the fall colors that are usually stupendous in northern Michigan each year.

Looking for color, but can’t ignore the lake!

This year the color is a bit muted, a bit late, sometimes not there at all. Everyone has a theory about why that is.

Still pretty green back in the woods.

Maybe it’s the lack of rain earlier in the year. Or the above normal temperatures.

I found these way back on a dirt road while looking for a lake. Never found the lake but that was OK.

Maybe it’s because we haven’t had a frost yet.

Even without a lot of color I just had to stop at this field.

Maybe it’s all of that and more.

These maple trees made us stop and take notice.

For me, heading up north is usually about the Lake, and last week was no exception. But we did spend one day wandering the interior of the peninsula, looking for color where we could find it.

Color hides everywhere, even underfoot.

If you look you’ll see it’s there. Sometimes brilliant…

Glowing.

..sometimes more demure.

Shades of neutral fungus.

But it’s definitely there.

I hope you have the opportunity to get out and enjoy whatever’s around you too. Take a wander and share what you find with us!

Around here it won’t be long until winter descends. We need to make the best of these warmer temperatures while we still can!

A little blushing pink tucked underneath.


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Just a typical day

Not every day in retirement is an adventure, but the simple days are OK too. This morning Katie and I woke up to another beautiful October day. Blue sky and the moon just going down.

Hello moon!

We wandered a bit around the yard. She likes to check in with her tomato patch, just in case a spare cherry tomato falls off the vine don’t you know.

Guarding her tomatoes from marauding squirrels.

And of course it did.

Then a wander under the white pines at the back of our yard. Such a pretty place that we hardly ever visit, I don’t know why.

Can we camp under here mama?

But she said that really wasn’t enough of a walk, so she arranged to go to the park with her friend Deuce.

They posed under duress.

The mamas felt like a walk in the woods too, so it all worked out.

The light was beautiful!

We even tried to walk on the beach but the sun was getting too hot, and besides, they have this sign there.

They thought this was a silly rule.

Which we ignored.

That sign didn’t me ME, did it mama?

No, not every day has to be an adventure, but when you’re retired adventure can turn up any day!

Hey mama! This leaf is as big as I am!