Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Journey to Torch Lake


No, no...I haven't fallen off the blogging train. I was not home last week, off on a wee vacation visiting long time friends at Torch Lake. A lake known as one of the most beautiful in the world. At least according to my friend, George.  If you look at a map of Michigan, up along the northern end next to Lake Michigan you will see Traverse City, MI, Torch Lake is a short drive from that point. A vacation spot, both summer and winter.  Our friends have a cottage with beach access making it the perfect spot to hang out for the summer (except for perhaps the 4th of July, it gets too noisy, too crowded, and too much trash is left by the visitors). George and his lovely wife are now in their 80's so their idea of fun has changed over the years, they have slowed down alot, both having major surgeries on backs and knees. 


Their life is spent at a much slower pace, but George still tinkers with his tools, walks the dog twice a day, and stops for wine around 4:00 PM everyday without fail. He and his wife share a great love and respect for each other, they laugh alot, hold hands alot, and are an illustration of what a long and happy marriage should be.

A big chunk of time was spent sitting on the patio with old oaks and pine trees surrounding the cottage on all sides. Taking a deep breath the air smelled like someone had sprayed a pine air refresher, but instead of from an aerosol can, it came from nature.  A large bird feeder hung within easy site, so I brought my 150-600 mm lens out and waited. I was not disappointed.....





One evening George was grilling on the patio and spotted a deer. Here I come with the BIG lens, and lo and behold it was Mom and 2 babies.



The baby was too quick and my lens focused on the tree instead of on the fawn. Oh well....next time.

There were 2 black squirrels that kept us entertained with their games of tag and who can scale a tree faster.


It was a a lovely time being with old friends and surrounded by the beauty of nature.

This week I am returning to Michigan to join a photography tour of the lighthouses of Lake Michigan. We will be getting up early to capture the lighthouses at dawn and staying out late to photograph them at sunset. We will end almost as far up as Torch Lake, traveling Tuesday thru Friday along the shores. So next week look for lighthouses.  Hope you have a great week ahead as summer winds down and the glories of Fall begin.

Until next time.....

Friday, August 19, 2016

The June July August Break


Oh dear, I did it again, Said I would and then I didn't. I am very unreliable. Blogging is akin to a habit, you must continually write and post so it becomes part of your daily habits. And I don't mean a bad habit, I mean a good habit, sorta like drinking a cup of coffee before the world begins to turn. Many bloggers are taking what is referred to as an August Break, where they either don't post at all or very minimally. I think I fell into that first category but my August break went back as far as the end of June, the 29th to be exact.


And I might be in real trouble when it comes to forming a habit.  I just checked Google (I love Google) and instead of the old adage of 21 days, apparently the University College London has done a more thorough study on habit forming and now it has been determined that no longer is it 21 days but 66, trumping the 3 weeks to now more than 6 weeks. Are you kidding me, OMG I'm done for.

Oh well, I will give a quick over-view of my adventures this summer. trying to catch up during my June-July-August break. The two photos above were taken in Chicago on a night photo-walk during the photography conference. I rarely, pretty much never, do long exposure night photography. You need a tripod and patience, both of which I tend to fail at.


The 4th of July I drove to Dayton, OH with my kids to spend a long weekend with my sweetie's family.  Only one good day of weather the whole weekend was a disappointment. I thought it was a rule that it doesn't rain on the 4th of July.  Seeing and being with family certainly makes the days brighter even if the skies are dark and rainy.

Later in July I flew to California to visit and stay with my son and daughter-in-law for a week. We visited the San Diego Zoo, along with a million others and walked the beaches with a million others, and yes, it was hot like a million other places have been this summer. Remind me not to visit California in July. Fall or spring seem to be the more pleasurable times. But again, seeing and being with my son and daughter-in-law removed the unpleasantness of the crowds and the heat.




  But one thing is for sure, roses love the hot southern California weather.


And along the way I found a red barn.....always a fav!


And a gorgeous butterfly....


Many happy moments were spent with family this summer....this being one of them.


Can you believe this little bundle of joy will be two next month.


I am heading to Michigan next week to visit old friends that have a cottage on Torch Lake. Expectations are high for many photo ops.  Hope you have had a lovely summer as we head into a new season soon. It's been too hot and too humid around these parts this summer. The windows and doors have been shut almost the entire month of July and into August with the air conditioner running. Love having the windows wide open, enjoying the soft breezes and the sounds of summer. Maybe in September it will cool down for that enjoyment.  Until then, I will continue to sit on the screen porch, overhead fan on high, ice cold drink by my side, with an occasional trickle of sweat dripping on the pages of my latest read.

Until next time.....





Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Out of Chicago - Part Two



When I was presented choices for classes, workshops, and a 1 on 1 with a professional photographer at the Out of Chicago photography event, I chose Bryan Peterson for the one day workshop and Matt Kloskowski for a 1 on 1 critique of my photography.  I wrote about my adventures with Bryan Peterson yesterday, today I will profess the feedback Matt gave to me. First, I want to tell you what a really nice guy Matt is. He is the exact opposite of Bryan. Humble, kind, gentle, warm, friendly are all the characteristics that I would use to describe Matt. And I say that not because he gave me a glowing assessment of my work, but because he truly is a well centered person.

Matt and I corresponded via e-mail to establish a meeting time and place, how many images I should bring, do I print them or bring them on a zip drive etc. He indicated that he has a method that he can record the feedback along with the visuals so I have access to his critique by having all my images on a zip drive. Bring about 20 images, oh Lord with my gazillion or so images on multiple portable hard drives what pictures do I bring?  I spent most of the afternoon Wednesday deciding and choosing, changing my mind several dozen times. I held my breath as I approached the session.

He used words like fresh, clean, a great eye, sees things he would never see, would enjoy going on a photo-walk with me. I was overwhelmed and needless to say extremely flattered. I spent about an hour and a half with him, just one on one. I am still basking in the glow of his kindness. And to top it off, I attended one of his classes on Sunday afternoon with a roomful of attendees and he asked if I was in the audience then told everyone there I was a great photographer. Surreal.

OK, enough of that. I appreciate you letting me blow my own horn and how grateful I am for the validation.  Prior to the critique I arrived in the city about an hour early, it was a beautiful day, so instead of waiting inside, I walked toward the lake and snapped a few images of  Chicago. It is truly a beautiful city, I would encourage a visit, just don't come in January.



Love this red, white, and blue combo....


And ofcourse when you see a man with his pants pulled up, socks pulled down (at least one of them), sunning on a park bench it's just a picture waiting to happen.


I probably won't be around for a few days, off to Dayton, OH to spend the 4th with my sisters-in-laws. Love those ladies. And taking the kids along too. Will finish my tales from Out of Chicago next week.

"People usually consider walking on water or walking in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child - our own two eyes. All is a miracle. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh 

Until next time.....