The Queen of the Mums

This is a Sunday Bonus Post (because I don’t usually do two posts in one day).  Scroll down if you want to see/read my day 4 outdoor adventures post (or click here).

I’ve been lurking for a while over at Views Infinitum, Scott Thomas’  Photography blog.  Sometimes I even do the assignments, but I either keep them to myself or keep the reason behind the photo to myself.  In other words, I don’t officially participate (because, you see, I’m shy that way).

Scott’s latest assignment involves Portraiture.  Karma tried her hand (or camera, as the case happens to be) at it here.  Kathy helped spread the word about the assignment here.  With all that blogging about it, I thought, “hmmm…might be worth a try.”  But portraiture?  I dunno.  I don’t have much interest in it as far as my own photography goes, and I am not very good at it.  It is possible those two things are related, but this is about portraiture not self-analysis.

One of the things I have been trying to do recently is shake myself up in a creative way.  Try something new.  Approach things with a different perspective.  So.  Portraiture.  Why not?

Well, I have no willing victim subject.  There is a shortage of people here in my household.  My husband doesn’t want his handsome face on the internet so there was no point in asking him.  The cats were not appropriate because the assignment clearly states it should be a portrait of a person.  Friends don’t want their faces posted.  My children and grandchildren are not nearby.  That left one possibility:  Find a willing stranger.

I’m not in the habit of walking up to strangers and asking if I can photograph them.  It’s something I should probably learn how to do, but since my preferences in photography don’t include people (with a few exceptions, mostly family and friends), I haven’t been in a hurry to practice those kind of skills.

While at the Mum Fest today I spotted the woman above posing for photos with children, with adults, and by herself.  She obviously dressed for the occasion and didn’t mind all the picture taking.  There was quite a line of people, cameras in hand, waiting for their turn to photograph her so I tried standing back and taking a few shots.

Although it was an overcast day, the light coming through the clouds at the time was a little harsh.  I softened her up with some pink tones to go with her dress, and added some glow because it seemed to suit her and her attire.  I obviously had no control over the background since I was taking a (sort-of) candid shot.

On our way out I saw her sitting by herself, the legion of camera-holding fans having departed for a brief moment.  I asked if I could take her photo.  She agreed and here it is…

Once again, I did a few things in Photoshop.  To be honest, I don’t remember what as I played around with the photo for a while, saving it several different times after doing several different things.  I obviously used the diffuse glow feature once again.   I decided against posting the unretouched photos.

Other options (which I prefer, to be honest):

And that, folks, is why I don’t do portrait photography.  😀

A cycling day (4)


The days are flying by, filled with plenty of outdoor adventures.  I’m already getting a little behind in my posting.  I may switch to posting in the evening instead of in the morning or early afternoon.  I’m not sure how else to keep up and fit it all in.  Things will settle down when the winter weather and winter months arrive, but for now, it’s going to be like the Calvin and Hobbes book title: The Days are Just Packed.

(The Cuyahoga River at CVNP.)

Yesterday morning M and I went to Peninsula where we rented bicycles which we then rode on the towpath trail for a couple hours.  I think we went a grand total of 9 miles.  Maybe a little over that.  Not much, really, on a bike but about all my bottom could handle.  We’ve only recently started getting into cycling and I haven’t quite toughened up yet.  That may change as we are now almost convinced it is time to buy our own bikes so we can go out whenever we like (rather than wait for a rental shop to open).

(Same river, slightly different view.)

We took the part of the towpath trail located within  Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  The day was almost perfect.  Cool, breezy, and mostly sunny with occasional cloudy spells.

(On the towpath trail.)

There is some change to the foliage, but not a lot yet.  Yesterday’s gusty winds brought a lot of leaves down from the trees, most of them not having had the chance to change color before they were torn from their branches.

(Old barn in Boston Mills.)

(Going under a BIG bridge.)

I had a wonderful time.  Fun, that’s what I had.  Pure, unadulterated, fun.  It was the kind of fun that fills your soul with joy and keeps you smiling the whole time and for many, many hours — days, maybe — after when all that’s left of it is the memory (and a dozen or so photos).

(Flower in the woods.)

Later I got to thinking about when I first started blogging and began some of my blogging journey with Bountiful Healing, a blog I started purely for me at a time when I needed a great deal of healing.  I’ve come a long way since Bountiful Healing was created.  I’m walking, hiking, jogging, and now spending a good part of the day bicycling.  Hard to believe that there was a time I could barely walk and my days were spent trying not to think about pain.

Ain’t life grand?

(Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.)

We had lunch at the Winking Lizard in Peninsula.  M and I both ordered from the Seasonal Menu which included a good variety of vegetarian wraps and sandwiches.  One of the great things about the Seasonal Menu is that they buy the veggies from local farms.  Way to go, Winking Lizard!

(Caboose near the visitor’s center.)

The food was delicious, the service was good, and we were able to sit out on the patio and enjoy the wonderful weather.  I had the Hummus Vegetable sandwich (“The ultimate multi-grain bun stuffed with a roasted vegetable medley of zucchini, yellow squash, red peppers, tomatoes and red onion. We add  hummus, alfalfa sprouts and melted Muenster cheese”) and M had the Roasted Veggie wrap (“Grilled portabella mushroom with roasted zucchini, yellow squash, red   onion and red peppers, stuffed into a warm flour tortilla with fresh spinach, cheddar and Monterey jack cheese”).

The train (Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad) came through after we finished lunch.  This eventually gave me a chance at a do-over, something we don’t always get in life (or photography) as the train is pulled by the diesel engine in one direction and the steam engine in the other.  The steam engine is the very same one I photographed last weekend with the result of not one good photo in the batch.

(This place is famous for their sweet corn.)

We stopped by Szalay’s for some corn.  They are famous (in this area, at least) for their sweet corn.  M and I have never tried it before.  Having cooked some up for dinner last night, I can unequivocally say (and write) that their reputation for the best sweet corn in this area is well deserved.  It was amaizing.

(Szalay’s pumpkins.)

They were all decked out for Halloween at Szalay’s.  The pumpkins are looking good.  Like everything else in the fruit and vegetables families, they are a few weeks early this year.  I don’t know how that will play out when it comes to keeping a pumpkin on the porch until Halloween.  We don’t put one on our front porch because we live out in the country where the kids are easily amused and entertained by stealing and smashing pumpkins.  I wouldn’t mind providing one for them, but M is against encouraging that sort of behavior.  (He’s probably right.)

(Hay bale spiders.)

They have hay rides and a corn maze (a maize maze!) at Szalay’s.  I’ve never been in a corn maze.  One of the farms located near us has one so M and I are thinking about going over there and checking it out.  More fun.  Yay!

(Rockin’ dead near the entrance to the corn maze.)

While at Szalay’s we noticed people lining up along the railroad tracks.  The steam engine was going to be making an appearance.  We purchased our corn and set off down the road to wait for the train along with a lot of other people.

(You gotta wonder about people...)

I took a few shots.  While they aren’t the best, they are better than my last attempt.

Not too bad.

(This morning’s view of the pond.)

Today will be another packed day.  We’re off to the Mum Fest in just a bit, and then we’ll stop off at New Baltimore.  Today is the last day of the New Baltimore ice cream season.  The stand will be closing for the season so this is our last chance to have a cone or a sundae until next summer.

As you can see from this morning’s view of the pond, we’re having a cloudy day today.  That’s the result of the cool air over Lake Erie.  It’ll probably be like that all day.  If we’re lucky, we’ll get some rain tomorrow.