Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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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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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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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.


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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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It’s October – let’s walk!

It was a windy day.


I’ve been on lots of great walks this month. Casual walks around the neighborhood, fun walks with Katie the dog, beautiful walks through the autumn woods. I could have done a Walktober post about any of them.

But this week I’ve been in a very special place that I thought was perfect for Robin’s challenge to share a walk with her readers.

So let’s take an October walk in northern Michigan along the beach of Lake Michigan, one of the Great Lakes, and as far as I’m concerned one of the most beautiful places in the world.

I arrived ‘up north’ late in the afternoon and after a bit of chit chat we headed down to the water. For me it’s all about the lake.

It was a windy day and the lake was racing toward the shore, big jade green waves and pounding foam.

Rollicking waves danced.

The water was high, leaving very little beach to walk and sometimes we had to leap back up on the dune to keep our feet dry. We’re weren’t always successful.

It’s dryer up here.

Along the way we saw remnants of the summer just past. A pretty boat resting after weeks of riding the waves…

A day of rest.

…a bench hoping to be used a few more times this season…

Come sit for a bit.

…the artwork of people who have walked the beach before me.

A mini stonhenge with evening light.

The sun was getting lower, bathing everything in a warm golden light. Nature’s artwork on the landscape was evident too.

Shadows and lines.

The grasses waving in the wind began to glow, and we knew it was time to turn back.

The grass began to glow in the evening light.

Walking toward home, into the wind, we watched the sun lower and the sky warm the tips of the waves and the water swirling on the packed sand.

Rose gold on the beach.

The light made everything glow.

Pretty in pink.

We watched the entire sunset as we walked, making it back to the house after dark. I felt so lucky, lucky to spend an afternoon walking with a friend near my lake in mid-October. Lucky to hear the lake roar, to see the leaves changing, even lucky to get my feet wet as the waves raced to shore.

See you tomorrow sun!

I hope you can imagine yourself there with us. It’s a very special place that I am pleased to share with you all. And thank you Robin for coordinating the annual Walktober. It’s a wonderful way for us to see such wonderful places.

I can’t wait to see your Walktobers soon!

Friends


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Fall flies

A bit of color among all that green.


It seems like fall is flying away. It’s been unseasonably warm, and by the end of summer we had had days and weeks with no rain.

A soggy marsh.

It’s still warm, even now, but this week we’ve had days filled with waves of rain. Yesterday we got over an inch, the day before was similar, and though it’s barely noon we’ve had half an inch already.

A little bit of peachy yellow shines in the wet air.

The few colored leaves we had are are sailing across the yard on gusty winds. Sometimes the rain blows sideways too and we are feeling a bit of cabin fever.

So in between rain bands Katie and I ventured out to see if I could capture just a few photos of what little color we have. She was hoping to read a few pee-mails left by neighborhood dogs.

The most color we have right now is sumac.

The maple trees, the sumac, and the wild grapes are turning color, but most of the rest of the trees are still green, or just turning brown.

Katie and I only went a block or so in each direction, but we saw what color there was. The wind was picking up again, though, so I urged her to move faster toward home.

The wind scuttles across the pond across the street.

In our own backyard, while I was concentrating on the leaves left on our burning bush I felt the first splat of new rain. “Katie!” I yelled, not looking back at her, “COME!”

Damp burning bush.

I tucked the camera under my arm and sprinted for the back door. As I got there I looked over my shoulder and she was standing out there just looking at me. She didn’t want to come back inside. “COME!” I yelled again. She stared at me.

Berries provide some color too.

She is, after all, a princess.

I ran back out, head tucked into the wind, grabbed her leash and tugged her into the house. And just as I closed the door the rain slammed into the windows. She looked at me as if to say “Gee mama, what was all the rush for anyway? We’re still relatively dry.”

Safe inside watching the rain.

Silly girl.

Hey mama! Wanna play now?

PS: This is not my Walktober. I’m planning something next week when I travel to a special place. But if you’re inclined to do a Walktober, and if it’s not pouring rain where you live, this might be the perfect time to do one! Link to Robin’s blog and she’ll compile them all at the end of the month.