Saturday, February 28, 2009

Here is bread, which strengthens man's heart . . .

. . . and therefore called the staff of life.

Matthew Henry (1662-1714)

Friday, February 27, 2009

"Swirled" for 100 points

Wow - I got blindsided by that word! Scrabble is one of our favorite games.It entertains us on cold winter weekends.

I was feeling a little smug, having played "jape", when Jon plopped down "swirled". By adding on to my word, hitting the Triple word square in the middle of the board, and using all his letters, he ended up with a 100 point word. My head was swirling!

The board was actually pointing to my right when I took this photo, but I rotated it for the blog post. Kind of looks like the letters might slide off the screen!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I made a light box!

After reading this post from JohnnyN on the Village forum, I was intrigued by the idea of a light box. Off to Lowe's and WalMart I went, and with the help of DBF Jon and his little jigsaw, I made this:

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Bear down, Chicago Bears..."

One of my favorite spectator sports is football! This little guy helps cheer on the home team. Go Bears!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

This post may be a little tacky . . .

. . . but only if you don't follow the directions. Then you might find yourself stuck with (or to) something you hadn't counted on.

Monday, February 23, 2009

"Attach staircase A to wall panel B"

My DBF Jon is a teacher and a theatrical set designer. He had the blueprints for his building's auditorium spread out on the kitchen table the other night. Not only are these plans for a building, but they will help him with the set he will be building.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Reading material

Planning for the long summer road trips we take begins right after Christmas break. Jon always fetches back issues of Backpacker, Adventure, Outside, and guide books on whatever area we are visiting and starts marking articles that discuss trails or scenery we might enjoy. Typically, all of this reading material stays in mostly-tidy stacks in the living room until we narrow down our options. This pile represents about 25% of the current annotated stack.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Theme #320: The Global Village

This isn't really a photograph, but I want to celebrate the true International flavor of our web home - Elements Village....the Global Village.

Friday, February 20, 2009

In the pink!

Sitting at my desk, reading Villager blogs, I enjoyed one blogger's photo of the theme "pink". On my own desk, I notice my little pink Pentax P&S, lying atop a pink legal pad. In my pen tray is a pink Sharpie and a pink golf tee (hmmmm?) As I am piling these things on my desk to snap a photo, I catch sight of a half-buried little notebook (pink with butterflies).

Seeing all of this pink stuff I didn't realize I had, I feel a little like Elle Woods in the movie "Legally Blonde". Yikes!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

...and the dish ran away with the spoon

We are so sad Circuit City is going out of business, but we were happy to add to our camera collection by picking up a (waterproof, snowproof, shockproof) Olympus 850SW P&S for about $100 less than the going rate. I was testing it out on Jon's dish of ice cream. I liked the image, so I present to you...cutlery.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Round and round she goes

Circles make up most of the display on my dryer.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Better than beating your clothes on a rock!

Groovy display on my new dryer. Combined with the matching washer, laundry is almost fun now!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Ever feel a little "board"?

One of the purposes behind the 365 challenge is to train your eye to see things in a different way. For me, another reason was to get me carrying my camera and photographing ordinary things.

At the big box home improvement store, looking for an ice-chipper, I happened across this lovely display of yellow plywood. I had to compose the photo so the customer near the stacks, examining and feeling the boards, wouldn't be in my shot.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I once was lost, but now, I'm found . . .

(with apologies to the lyricist who penned "Amazing Grace")

This photo was originally taken about a week ago, for the theme of "Lost and Found" on the Village forum. Thanks, BillZ, for giving me a chance to double-dip on photos!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Lights, camera, action!

Modeling an "Action Cam". I wanted to demo it in class one day, so the wonderful folks in our Info Tech department let me take it home and try it out. For lack of a better idea, I strapped it to my bike helmet. I had to take a picture to see if I looked as silly as I felt. Great fun!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Chalk it up to experience . . .

. . . the lifelong learning experience, that is. My classroom doesn't have chalkboards. I have a wall of whiteboards instead. So, this photo is a quasi-substitution for theme 46, chalkboards.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A quick change of categories . . .

I took about 6 photos of this scene, just certain it would be the PERFECT image to represent the theme "white". Alas, there is no theme of "white". However, all of these white seagulls are on the water, so I happily post this shot of the Illinois River (taken from Starved Rock State Park). The red barge in the background was being shoved along by another boat and provided a nice contrast to the snow and birds.

Our hike through Starved Rock has drawn to a close. Time to pack up the hiking boots and head back indoors.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Stairs are hard work . . .

. . . but a trip up these beats a scramble up the limestone cliffs. There are several sets of long staircases at Starved Rock State Park, which hugs the shoreline along the Illinois River and encompasses acres and acres of rugged limestone cliffs. (Yes, cliffs in Illinois!)

The staircase winds around a corner and continues up. Someone used a Sharpie at the bottom rail to write "236 steps to go". We didn't count.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

OK - so I cheated this one a little

Still in Starved Rock State Park, this time in Tonti Canyon, we come across more ice-climbers. Shooting this brave fellow, who had set the ropes and was ready to rapel down, I caught the moon in the photo. I couldn't figure out how to expose this to really make a true silhouette (where's Grant when you need him??), so I played with levels in PSE to deepen the blue of the sky and darken the climber. I think "Outdoor Photography" magazine would bust me, but I kind of like the results, so phooey on them.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Hopefully, I'm developing a flare for this hobby

This was a happy accident. I liked the arched tree in the foreground, and the frozen waterfall in the distance. The great sun flare stole the show. Very little processing, just a tweak to levels to whiten the snow.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Not quite glacial ice . . .

. . . but being behind the frozen falls in LaSalle Canyon in Starved Rock State Park still wraps me in a soft blue light. I did no processing to this photo. Pulled the EXIF data because I was interested in how I managed to capture the blues that I saw with the naked eye. This was shot handheld on my Olympus 570UZ, f/2.8, shutter speed 1/30, ISO 125, focal length, 7.0mm.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Honey, shall we tie the knot?

Ice climbing requires a lot of gear, (k)not the least of which is an assortment of ropes. Serious knot-tying skills ensure a climber's safety.

Friday, February 6, 2009

What do you call a guy with no arms and no legs...

...who hangs on a wall? (Answer: ART!)

Still in Wildcat Canyon, I enjoy this guy, just hanging on the ice wall, thinking about his next move. He is no doubt grateful to have had full use of all his limbs as he made his way up.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Move over, Jimmy Choo!

Who needs stiletto heels?

Entering Wildcat canyon, we happened upon some ice climbers scrambling up the frozen waterfalls. I thought their footwear was photo-worthy, so asked permission to snap the following:

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What the heck??

Along the trail to Wildcat Canyon, we see a snow-covered, fallen log with this tail atop it. Jon said it was the left-behind tail of a raccoon that something had eaten for dinner. Who put that there???

I said he should pull on the tail and see if a really angry raccoon popped out of the snow!

He declined. Go figure . . .

Julie asked about the history of the name Starved Rock. Direct from the Illinois DNR web site:

"Starved Rock State Park derives its name from a Native American legend of injustice and retribution. In the 1760s, Pontiac, chief of the Ottawa tribe upriver from here, was slain by an Illiniwek while attending a tribal council in southern Illinois. According to the legend, during one of the battles that subsequently occurred to avenge his killing, a band of Illiniwek, under attack by a band of Potawatomi (allies of the Ottawa), sought refuge atop a 125-foot sandstone butte. The Ottawa and Potawatomi surrounded the bluff and held their ground until the hapless Illiniwek died of starvation- giving rise to the name “Starved Rock.”

A little ironic, to read this history, and find all that is left of a raccoon is his tail....hmmmmmm.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

At a crossroads . . .

Early in our hike at Starved Rock State Park, we happen on the first of many crossroads. The trails wind and criss-cross throughout the park. We were headed to Wildcat Canyon, so we turned left.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A pair of . . .

bald eagles! Credit for this photo goes to today's guest photographer, my boyfriend and hiking companion, Jon. Over the next several days, you'll tag along on a recent hiking trip to Starved Rock State Park, along the Illinois River in north-central IL. It's known as a winter nesting ground for bald eagles. I had a couple of eagle shots, but none as nice as his, so I borrowed this one.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Going to wash up at 9 AM . . .

. . . when the name on my new soap catches my eye. How is this different from Softsoap CS4?