Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It was a sharp and scary night

Close your eyes. Imagine yourself in the wilds of the Arctic. It is the blackest of nights. The temperatures are in the negative double digits. The air is utterly still. As you burrow more deeply into your sleeping bag, you suddenly hear the steady crunch of crumbling snow surface outside your tent. A gentle chuffing brings you fully alert. Through the thin nylon of your temporary home, you feel the hot breath of what can only be a polar bear. Trying to remain as still and silent as a flake of snow, you hope your visitor does not care to show you his teeth....

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Still Life

I never would have thought that taking a photo of a bowl of tomatoes could be so challenging. I finally ran out of angles, light changes and PSE ideas. These are (nearly) fresh from my neighbor's garden. Now that they have had their moment in the spotlight, I'm ready to have them for lunch. Yummy!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Stop the action

Caught this heron in flight at a state park not too far from my house. So graceful!

PS: A shout-out to my stepdad's his birthday today! :-)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

So many computers... little time...

From a lighting and processing standpoint, not one of my better captures, but I had fun setting it up! :-D

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Memories of childhood

I grew up living in a neighborhood where school was a block from home, so I walked to school. To my knowledge, ALL the kids walked to school, but I can remember longing to ride a school bus, like kids on TV and in the books I read. Yesterday, I helped chaperone a high school field trip to professional theater production. Our group was the only one arriving in a charter bus...and my grown-up self was VERY GLAD not to have bounced around for 90 minutes on a school bus to get there!

I took this picture of buses parked at the theater on my cell phone. Pretty good quality, considering!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Just put them in there any old way

Most of the fruits and veggies at the farmer's market were neatly ordered in rows or artful piles, but this collection of colorful gourds was just haphazardly tossed into a large basket. Pretty, nonetheless!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fruits of the season!

Pumpkins have seeds, so are they fruits? Regardless, I'm looking forward to seeing all the colorful pumpkin photos that are bound to pop in blog land this month. I swapped out the early-morning, misty-gray sky in this photo and replaced it with something that had a little color.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fruits of the season???

I never would have associated watermelon with fall, but on a visit to a farmers market last weekend, I spied this truckload of watermelon, fresh from the patch.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Autumn begins!

What says "Midwest Autumn" better than corn stalks in a pumpkin patch? Get out those sweaters; fall is officially here!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Never on Sunday

This past weekend, we went up to Wisconsin to catch a couple of stage plays. We drove back to Illinois on Sunday morning, and stopped by a farmer's market. This adorable llama was part of a little animal exhibit. He looked happy to see us, but when I turned around after taking his photo, I saw it was the farm owners with a bucket of feed, behind me, that had caught his attention.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I'm all wet...

Thanks, Vicki, for nominating me for a Splash Award, which is given to blogs that are "alluring, bewitching, impressive and inspiring".

Recipients are to splash up to nine other blogs, and link back to the original splasher.

Truthfully, I am inspired by ALL of you! Here's my list:

Bill Z Love your uniquely auto and food point of view!

Julie Your composition never ceases to amaze me!

Ron Possibly the best stories in the blog monster.

Grant Photo lessons in lighting, exposure, composition, and processing.

Tammy Awesome animals (and more) and inspiring comments.

Ellen, Queen of flowers, and a wonderful eye for seeing the artistry in the everyday (doors, windows, all-things-grungy and textury)

I was the clouds that caught my eye

Not too far from my house, construction has been going on for well over a year to add lanes and reconfigure an on/off ramp of the interstate. It's still unfinished, but they are making progress. These cranes await their operators early one morning.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Deal or no deal?

On my morning walk before work, I came across a garage sale, full of bargains. This guy greeted shoppers. Yes, he really was that purple!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Field of dreams, anyone?

I pass this For Sale sign on my way to work, and I have enjoyed how the flowers have grown up around it. I'm sure the owners aren't as charmed, however, because it's a living chronicle of how long the property has been on the market.

Used a little Topaz Clean to add a touch of interest.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Taking pause...

Murphy belongs to good friends of mine, and was happy to pause to pose his paws (without pay) for a pic. Thank, Murph!

I had to use a flash on this photo, resulting in uneven exposure. I used some of the techniques from the Sept/Oct Issue of the Elements Techniques to dodge and burn my way to a more evenly exposed image. I really like what it did for his eyes. Thanks to Matt Koslowski for a great article!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Saving some coin

If you are fortunate enough to have a job, you may find it difficult to get there, what with the price of cars, gas and insurance. Recessionary economics might dictate you bicycle to work, and you could lock up your ride at this fine-looking rack.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Local landmark

Many years ago, our town commissioned this statue from the sculptor Alexander Liberman, and had it erected downtown. When traffic flow was reconfigured, the statue was dismantled and stored while the local powers-that-be decided where to put it. Not everyone was enamoured of its hulking, orange presence. Folks weren't sure what to make of it. Interesting, as its name is "Symbol". Go figure.

After much haggling and negotiating, it was finally relocated at one of our river front parks.

If you look at it from certain angles, it resembles Abraham Lincoln, wearing his trademark stovepipe hat.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Open, Sesame

Over at the house where Jon's kids live, a roofing project is underway. I stopped by to admire the progress and found no people in sight, but all these open trunks suggested a flurry of activity somewhere.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

ZZZZZ zzzzz ZZZZZZ zzzzzzz

Passengers await their flights in these Logan Airport-provided rocking chairs. What a way to rest, in peace, between flights!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thank you . . .

Here is one occupation I’m happy to photograph; the line chief performing a routine inspection before we are allowed to board our plane back to Illinois.

A heart-felt thank you to all airplane inspectors, fire fighters and police personnel on the anniversary of 9-11-01.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A walk back in time

Because of the wedding, we didn't get to walk the Freedom Trail on this trip, although we have on previous visits. If you ever get to Boston, pack your walking shoes and follow this 2.5 mile brick path that leads you to many of the well-preserved historic sites in the city. You'll learn what is was like to live and govern in the days leading up to America's Revolutionary War. More information can be found here

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

"Where everybody knows your name..."

One of Boston's favorite - and famous - gathering spots. Can't you just hear Cliff Clavin sharing his insights about the history and import of today, 09/09/09? :-D

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Childhood antics

Another of my small cousins plays with her Mommy’s sunglasses.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Not at all camera shy!

Clowning around with one of my little cousins. Love that grin!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

And the beat goes on...

The wedding was lovely, and followed many conventions, but my cousin and her new husband chose to march to a different drummer in one of their formal photos. Say “cheese” everyone!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I want Tom Brady's insurance plan

The night before the wedding, the couple treated close friends and families to a cocktail party cruise on the Boston Harbor. Floating along, we passed by this hospital. Players' contracts with the Patriots must be packed with bells and whistles!

Friday, September 4, 2009

One if by land, two if by sea, how many if by air?

Near the end of August, we flew to Boston to celebrate the wedding of my youngest grownup cousin. The airline we flew demonstrates its national pride in both its name and its tail logo, which includes a US flag emblem. This was shot through a window. I used a touch of Topaz Simplify to clean it up.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


We stopped in Telluride, Colorado, on our drive back to Illinois. I was hoping to see Tom Cruise, or maybe Oprah, but no luck. Instead, we caught the gondola up the mountain to do a little exploring. Many ski areas have an area on the mountain for non-denominational worship services. This one is a typical example.

We've actually been back in IL for about a month now, but I think I've exhausted all possible themes using my vacation shots. Thanks for coming along for the ride! Who knows where we'll go tomorrow??

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A different kind of real estate

A visit to Mesa Verde National Park, not too far from Durango in southwest Colorado, gave us some insight into the culture of the Anasazi people. We visited the Cliff Palace late in the day, and I was very lucky to catch this shot with no tourists in it, before we headed down. Exploring these magnificently preserved cliff dwellings gave me a renewed appreciation for the intelligence and ingenuity of these early, early residents. (Plus, it was really fun climbing on all those ladders!) :-D

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Black and white and shades of gray

After our stop in Colorado Springs, we headed back south west. Destination: Durango. The drive between Ouray, Colorado, and Durango, Colorado, along the “million dollar” highway (Colorado Highway 550) contains many jaw-dropping views. One of the few cloudy, drizzly days we had on our trip occurred on this road, unfortunately, but it doesn’t diminish the beauty of the Grenadiers, seen here behind Molas Pass Lake. This entire photo was already mostly shades of gray, so I converted it to black and white.