Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Dusk Falls Over the Harbor



Dusk Falls Over the Harbor



a small foot bridge in the early morning fog




It was a cool peaceful evening as the sun began to set over the harbor.

The day had been hot and the coolness that came along with the dusk was most welcomed.

The boys were relaxing by the water's edge, their fishing poles cast out into the currents of the incoming tide.

As I carefully picked my way over the slippery rocks, I watched several gulls fly over head, greedily eyeing the little crabs that were scurrying away from my feet as I passed by them.

A lone Heron stood motionless in the water - his sharp eyes scanning the depths for his evening meal.

As the day drew to a close, a lobster boat was coming back to its mooring in the harbor.

I watched as it glided across the water, its HID boat lights, and its slowly chugging motor announced its presence in the twilight.

After it moored, I could once again hear the comforting sound of the gently lapping waves.

The Heron was still standing vigil, and the gulls found a new interest with the lobstermen on shore.

Once everything had settled down, I was finally able to capture my photo. The boat was unmoving and creating the perfect silhouette for the slow shutter speed on the camera.

I never was able to capture an image of that Heron. Perhaps next season when we both return to the ocean my opportunity may arise.








ABC Wednesday - X is for XXL



X is for XXL.............







I know that I am really stretching it this week.

I have scoured my dictionary both online and in book form, and since this is my third time around for ABC Wednesday, I just couldn't come up with an X.

So, I had to dip into my second online presence to come up with this week's selection.

If you look really close at this shirt, you will see that it is a size XXL.

Not exactly the fine art image or stock photo that I like to have on my blog, but it works well enough in my online store to show the item that is for sale.

I will have to prepare way in advance for the next ABC round when it comes to X - I have 26 weeks to think about it.




This is the third round of ABC Wednesday. If you would like to join in please visit this site for the details.










Sunday, December 28, 2008

Reflections



Reflections



a small foot bridge in the early morning fog




This image was taken very early in the morning on a back road in Maine while on vacation.

I had set the alarm to get up early to catch the sunrise, but Mother Nature had other plans for me and my camera.

No glorious sunrise over the valley and distant green hills - just fog hiding the whole scene.

On my way back, I passed this little bridge, transformed by the fog into this peaceful, tranquil sight.

Yep, I could trade the sunrise for this - it doesn't come along everyday.

The weather didn't cooperate for any sunrises while we were there, but I came away quite pleased nonetheless.













Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays!



Happy Holidays!



spruce pine needles encased in ice




Wishing for everyone to have a beautiful holiday season filled love, peace, and joy.

Hope you all enjoy special times with those you love, and all the best wishes for the New Year!

I thank you all who have already stopped by with your holiday wishes - they mean more than you could know!

Enjoy and be safe, my friends!











Wednesday, December 24, 2008

ABC Wednesday - W is for Winter Swing



W is for Winter Swing.............


a wood swing covered in winter snow




After the ice storm of last weekend, we were gifted with two winter storms this weekend.

Needless to say, we have spent a lot of time shoveling and moving these white mounds around - over 2 feet of it.

The swing always beacons me when I am outside - something left over from my childhood days I guess.

But all I had the energy left to do was snap a photo of this pristine snowfall on my favorite seat.

I was not about to clear the underneath even though the wind had just about cleared the seat off for me.

It will patiently wait for spring until it can be used again. I can't say I am as patient - only two days into winter and I am ready for spring.

At least the days are getting longer now!






This is the third round of ABC Wednesday. If you would like to join in please visit this site for the details.










Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ocean Sand Dunes for Green Thumb Sunday


Ocean Sand Dunes for Green Thumb Sunday


sand dunes at the ocean




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Last week's post featured sand dunes along the ocean in the spring.

This week, I backed up from where we were standing, and included a glimpse of the ocean along with the windswept sand dunes.

On the other side of the dunes there is a long beach that stretches down to the water.

We were not able to access the beach due to the nesting birds, but I am sure that in the summer it is quite a busy place.

This was a nice little stretch without any houses, but on either side of these dunes the houses are packed two and three deep.

Nature and man - both vying for this beautiful little spot. For now, nature is holding on - I hope it stays that way.











Wednesday, December 17, 2008

ABC Wednesday - V is for Veins



V is for Veins in a Rock.............


veins of granite and quartz running through a rock




Texture images always go over pretty well for stock photographers.

Textures are everywhere when you take a minute to look a bit closer at just about everything.

I have found that nature offers the most unique and vast selections and she proudly displays them for us all to see.

The above macro of a rock along the ocean has a great texture as well a beautiful design that was created centuries ago when they were all molten.

There are veins of quartz and granite running through this massive boulder - some of them are quite fine and intricate.

Only nature offers these kinds of textures and I am glad she shares them with us.

If you click on the photo, it will enlarge the image to show even more details of the veins.






This is the third round of ABC Wednesday. If you would like to join in please visit this site for the details.










Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dunes and Grasses for Green Thumb Sunday


Dunes and Grasses for Green Thumb Sunday


sand dunes with grass in the spring




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Sticking with the grass theme of the last couple of Sundays, this week's photo has grass growing in the sand dunes.

We do not have many sand dunes along this part of New England - most of our shores are pretty rocky and rugged.

We found this little stretch of sand dunes in the spring, and they were marked as no trespassing as the Piping Plover birds were on their nests.

I would have loved to have spotted one, but the weather this day was deceiving.

It looks really nice in the photo, but the chilly wind was really whipping that day - and sand was stinging our faces and finding it's way into everything.

I was quite worried about it getting into my camera and tried to keep it sheltered as much as possible.

Hopefully the little birds were warm and well protected on their nests.

They did pick one of the prettiest spots along this beach to make their homes and next week I have another photo of these beautiful dunes - with grasses.












Thursday, December 11, 2008

Full Moon Rising



Full Moon Rising



a full moon rising over the power plant




We lingered just a bit too long at the ocean on one of our trips, and what a surprise I got.

The boys were casting out their fishing lines, enjoying the last few minutes before we had to leave.

I was watching a Blue Heron along the rocky shore. It was too dark to get a photo of him, but he had me laughing.

We had spent a couple of hours here, the boys fishing the whole time - catching only a few crabs nibbling on their bait.

In no time flat that Heron caught a big fish. Turning to look at me, he flicked it lengthwise, and down his throat it went in one gulp.

I thought for sure it would get lodged in his long, thin neck, but he had it all under control - he was real slick.

I couldn't help teasing the boys about how that bird was such a skilled fisherman. It earned me some dirty looks, and only encouraged them more - the fish were obviously there.

I took a walk along the other side of the park, and as I looked up - there it was - a beautiful pink moon that was huge.

Disappointed that I didn't have my tripod, I used the only thing available for still shot on a long exposure - a picnic table.

After a few shots, and many adjustments, I was able to capture a few good ones. The horizon was off as the picnic table was on a lean, but photoshop quickly took care of that.

The power plant is not an overly pleasing subject, but it does have a different atmosphere in the dusky light.

Even though it didn't have all the ideal conditions for a beautiful full moon rising image, I was just too happy to see it and be able to capture it at my favorite place - the ocean.











Wednesday, December 10, 2008

ABC Wednesday - U is for Under



U is for Under the Bridge.............


the perspective view from under a bridge




The tide was still out when we arrived at the park in the evening.

Perfect - just enough time left for me to get under the newly constructed bridge to grab a photo I had been wanting to get for a while.

The cars were racing above my head as I climbed on the large rocks to get into position.

Right behind me was a chain link fence that I could lean against for balance.

It took quite a few shots to get it lined up perfectly so I could see the supports along the length - like doorways, each getting smaller as they went farther away.

It brought me back to the days of art class when we learned about perspective - drawing pictures of railroad tracks and telephone poles going off into the pin point distance.

We ended up staying at the park until dusk - and I was so happy we did. Not realizing it was a full moon night, I got some really neat pictures of the rising moon.

To be continued with more photos soon!

You can see the perspective of the bridge with more detail if you click on the image to enlarge it on my website.






This is the third round of ABC Wednesday. If you would like to join in please visit this site for the details.










Sunday, December 7, 2008

Handmade Christmas Ornament



Handmade Christmas Ornament



a handmade christmas ornament with flowers hanging from the tree




For years my mother-in-law spent many hours creating these beautiful Christmas ornaments.

In fact, there is not an ornament on our tree that has not been handmade by her.

From quilted balls, to wooden sleds, she loved to create these little crafts.

She would spend the summers gathering all the needed supplies, and come fall she would begin in full force.

She would donate many of them to the service club that she belonged to, but we could always count on a gift wrapped box for us under the tree each year with these beautiful creations.

She always held one aside for me to give as a gift at my job's Christmas holiday party games ornament exchange. I would then give her the one I got in exchange so she could have a new pattern for the next year's creations.

She has been gone for over sixteen years now, but each Christmas we feel her love around us as we decorate our tree with all her beautiful creations.

I have begun to put some of them aside to pass on to my children so they can have these love-filled memories in their homes too.













Ocean Grasses for Green Thumb Sunday


Ocean Grasses for Green Thumb Sunday


tall waving grasses beside the ocean




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This week's post has a different kind of grass than what I posted last week.

This image was taken in the early spring - before the new green stalks take over these dried winter ones.

You can see the ocean beyond these stalks, but in the summer, they are so thick, you cannot begin to even catch a glimpse of the ocean behind them.

The wind was whipping that day, as you can tell from the direction of the feathery tops - making them shake and whisper their cold disapproval.

I stood and listened to them for only a few minutes before I tucked myself into a corner of sun warmed rocks that were out of the cold wind - enjoying their whispers along with the ocean's voice beyond for a bit longer.













Friday, December 5, 2008

The Season of Gift Giving



The Season of Gift Giving



a quilted handmade christmas ornament hanging from the tree




The season of gift giving is fast approaching, and I keep hearing from friends and relatives to please keep the giving to a minimum this year.

Aside from small necessities in the stocking and a few homemade items, most will be looking for the box of chocolate or peanut butter fudge that has become a Christmas favorite.

Instead of buying clothes that my kids will probably not like anyway, I am thinking of getting them Visa gift cards so they can pick out exactly what they want and where they want to buy it.

The spirit of the holidays has always been the quality time we spend together, and of course the great meals. Not much will change there!













Wednesday, December 3, 2008

ABC Wednesday - T is for Teeth Prints



T is for Teeth Prints.............


a tree trunk that has been gnawed by a beaver




Look closely, and you will see them - evidence that a beaver has been hard at work.

This is a very thick tree trunk and he must have really liked the flavor of the bark.

He has completely stripped it - gnawing away at it with his strong, sharp teeth.

The massive tree had already been felled by nature, but even if it hadn't been, there is no way possible he would have moved it, much less gnawed through it.

You can also see the shavings that he left behind.

To see a larger image with more details, click on the photo - it will bring you to my website, where if you click on it again, it will be larger.

Beaver teeth prints - a work of art for sure!






This is the third round of ABC Wednesday. If you would like to join in please visit this site for the details.










Sunday, November 30, 2008

Back-lit Grasses for Green Thumb Sunday


Back-lit Grasses for Green Thumb Sunday


backlit glowing green grasses




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Back-lighting worked very well in this image.

It gives the green grass a glowing appearance and brightens the whole subject.

These plants were growing along the edge of a pond, and I have found that I get my best back-lit images from these areas.

I sometimes wonder if the light reflecting off the surface of the water helps to make the plants glow.

It is hard for the eye to even see it - we are usually squinting against the brightness of the sun.

But leave it to the camera to catch it - all part of the beauty of photography!












Wednesday, November 26, 2008

ABC Wednesday - S is for Swamp



S is for Swamp.............


a new england green swamp in the spring




All of the spring rains made a very lush and green swamp in early summer.

The wildlife abounds here - many birds chattering, deer tracks in the soft ground, and gnawed down trees that only a beaver can create.

The tree on the right side of the photo has a bird house on it - put there by the people who maintain the trail.

The Audubon Society in our area keeps this trail and several others around the state in great condition.

We have hiked a couple of their trails, and they are usually centered around a swamp, or sometimes a large pond.

If you get a chance - check out the Audubon trails in your area - they are usually free to hike, and they usually have a simple map so you don't get lost.

It's a great way to spend an afternoon - just don't forget a bottle of water, and the BUG SPRAY!






This is the third round of ABC Wednesday. If you would like to join in please visit this site for the details.










Sunday, November 23, 2008

Autumn Maple Leaves


Autumn Maple Leaves for Green Thumb Sunday


orange maple leaves in the autumn against a blue sky




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All these little beauties are gone now - thank goodness we have our cameras to capture them in their full glory.

This photo was taken later in the afternoon, and the sun was just off to my right. I was trying to get some back lighting for them - they seem to glow when you can hit it just right.

The sun was just a bit too low in the sky to accomplish the back lighting, but the leaves are still colorful nonetheless.

I find the polarizer doesn't have a big effect when the camera is in the direction of the sun. The full effect of a polarizer comes into play when the camera is at an angle - ie- 90 degrees to the sun.

You can see in this image along the left side - the blue is bluer. That area is farther from the sun.

The polarizer is my favorite filter, in fact I have one for each of my lens and leave it on them all the time.

You do have to remember though, it is a filter, and as with all filters they are an extra "layer" on the lens that the light has to travel through. Many times this affects the exposure, so adjusting this setting is sometimes necessary. Good thing for digital cameras - you can view your image and reshoot if necessary.

Also - don't be a skinflint when it comes to filters. You don't have to buy the most expensive, but go with the name brands. If you spend the money for good glass, don't cover it with a cheap filter.

You will be disappointed with the results. Quality always pays off in the end.










Friday, November 21, 2008

Holiday Traditions



Holiday Traditions



a plate of fudge with a holiday candle holder




The Thanksgiving holiday is quickly approaching and the preparations have already begun.

We stopped by the supermarket this afternoon to purchase the turkey as it needs several days to thaw in the refrigerator.

Another trip scheduled for Tuesday should take care of all the food purchasing we need to do.

We will reserve Wednesday for preparing most of this food and after the giant hustle of Thursday morning, a most grand meal will be shared with the family.

It is pretty much the same each year - better not change too much - everyone counts on the traditional meal with all the trimmings.

And where everyone sits, and how the table is set are two more traditions that had better not change either.

For Thanksgiving, we usually use the turkey as the centerpiece. I have a set of crystal candle holders that I put on either side of it, and the long tapers stay lit until they get close to the decorative autumn flowers that are at their base. When the kids were young they use to love to use the snuffer to put them out when it was time.

At Christmas, the centerpiece is always a beautiful Christmas plant that my son purchases for me.
The candlesticks are once again used on either side of it - this time with decorative pinecones - the ones in the above photo.

So, for one holiday, the food is the centerpiece, and for the other, a plant or flowers.

What do you use as holiday centerpieces, food or flowers? What special table settings are part of your holiday traditions?












Special Awards From Friends



Special Awards From Friends



Friends

This past week I have received a couple of awards from two blogging friends.

Both of them were given in friendship - with no strings attached. No requirements for posting it, no rules for passing it on, and no pressure to even mention it.

Given just because they appreciate their readers and wanted to tell them so.

I have been visiting The Right Blue for well over a year now, and have enjoyed the adventures and Bobbie and Jerry in their underwater dives and beautiful photography.

The Painted Veil is a new blog that I have recently discovered, and Jackie AKA Shinade has a wonderful heart and an infectious love of life that she conveys in all her posts.

I am most honored to have these bloggers as my friends, and I thank them so very much for these beautiful awards!









Solar Panel Against a Blue Sky



Solar Panel Against a Blue Sky



a solar panel against a blue sky




Harvesting energy from the sun is a great way to cut down on electric bills.

I am seeing more of these solar panels go up in our rural area. Just down the road from us, right in the middle of a beautiful field, our neighbor installed four large panels.

The field has perfect, clear southern exposure and the panels are placed high enough off the ground to avoid the snow build up that will be coming soon. I would think they are still going to have to clear them off though - I will keep an eye on how it all works.

With all the trees around us, we do not have the correct location to get the most out of installing solar panels.

We have used the small walkway lights during the summer when the sun is high enough in the sky to get to them, but I think that is the best we can do for using solar panels, unfortunately.

So we have looked for other ways of saving on our energy bills. Turning off lights and lowering the thermostat are two obvious ones.

But taking those a bit further, we installed the low energy, high light output bulbs in all the lights - they even make these types of bulbs for chandeliers. And surprisingly, they actually look good in ours above the dining table.

Installing a programmable thermostat has helped us the most. We usually remember to turn it down when we leave the house, but nighttime is the worse - who wants to get up to a cold room in the morning.

Setting it to automatically lower itself after we are already in bed and higher itself before we get up really makes a difference.

I really love the idea of solar or alternative energy and until we can install some form of it, we will continue to reduce our energy consumption in any way we can.












Wednesday, November 19, 2008

ABC Wednesday - R is for Rowboats



R is for Rowboats.............


rowboats moored along the dock




These fishermen were back early after having a busy morning.

Their fishing boats are moored in the harbor, and the only way they can get to them is by taking their rowboats and rowing out to them.

The rowboat is then moored in the harbor as they head out in the work boat.

Very early in the morning, this dock will be empty, but as late afternoon comes around, the rowboats are so crowded against this dock, the water is not visible. They are sometimes 2-3 rows deep.

Some of these boats belong to pleasure craft owners also, as there are sailboats moored alongside the work boats in the harbor.

As a rule, you can usually tell which ones belong to who. Can you tell who and why?





This is the third round of ABC Wednesday. If you would like to join in please visit this site for the details.










Sunday, November 16, 2008

Quiet Time for Green Thumb Sunday


Quiet Time for Green Thumb Sunday







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The tide was finally out so we could go down to the water's edge and explore what was left behind in the wet sand.

It was quite a climb down - those rocks that are all brown - they are covered with a fine layer of slippery algae - one wrong step, and you are right down in it.

It is a much more pleasant view when the tide is in - all that pretty blue water and then the nice white rocks and grass above it.

It might be a more pleasant view, but I like how it looks like layers - so nicely proportioned by mother nature.

An older lady was enjoying a late afternoon break beside the ocean.

A book, a table, peace, and the ocean on a sunny afternoon - just doesn't get any better!










Wednesday, November 12, 2008

No Running Around for Me!



No Running Around for Me!



a teen boy running in a game field




This will not be me when the day after Thanksgiving arrives.

Black Friday is known for all the good deals that can be found at 5:00 AM - after one has stood in a long line for hours before.

And after one runs around like a mad person trying to be first in line to actually stand a chance to get one of the great deals.

And after one has spent the previous day scouring all the sale fliers, marking the pages, writing the lists, and adding up the costs of all these great deals.

The route gets mapped out, and if you're lucky, a partner will take half the list to ensure the success of this madness.

No - none of this for me this year!

I will be comfy and warm, sitting here at my computer, making my purchases with the click of my mouse.

As the sale fliers become available, the black-friday.net website posts them for each retailer.

They also include all the online deals the retailers will be offering on that day too.

I have been looking for one of those digital frames for my aunt, and so far I have found the best deal at CVS, of all places.

Perhaps when the bigger electronic stores have their fliers ready, they may have a better deal.

The best deal of the day will get our business!












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