An insanely long post (5)

(Balloon reflection.)

It’s day 5 and I’m feeling like I somehow got far behind where I thought I’d be right now.  However, when I think about that statement, it makes no sense.  I am right here, right now.  Where else could I possibly be?

M and I have been so busy getting out and about, and there is so much of it I’d like to share.  I’m going to have to learn how to sum it up quickly, I think.  Otherwise, I’m always going to be a day or two behind in my blog posts when what I’d rather post about is the current day.

(Raindrops on asters.)

Commitment unlocks the doors of imagination, allows vision, and gives us the ‘right stuff’ to turn our dreams into reality.  ~ James Womack

It is raining here in the Bogs today.  I thought about putting off my outdoor time until later in the day.  I had just finished my yoga and meditation practice, and I was feeling pretty relaxed.  I decided relaxed is a good way to feel when stepping out the door (not the back door, by the way, with the frogs but the door to the garage which is a favorite spot for spiders but they don’t fall on my head).

Rain is one of those weather conditions that usually keeps me indoors.  When I was a young girl, I used to love to go outside and play in the rain.  I did it every chance I got, something my grandmother, who was often babysitting my brothers and me, wasn’t always pleased about because I also had an affinity for mud.  Jumping and dancing in puddles was a favorite pastime.  I’m not sure when that changed.  No matter.  I’m going to learn to enjoy the rain again.

(This morning’s view of the pond.)

As I debated whether or not to take the camera along, the rain stopped so I strapped the camera around my neck and took my new camera bag along with me just in case it did decide to rain.  It’s not waterproof but it’s water resistant and would keep the camera dry long enough for me to find shelter since I decided I wouldn’t stray too far from home.  I have promised myself to leave the camera behind the next time it rains.  That way I can go out and enjoy it without concerns about what I’m carrying.

The decision to stay fairly close to home slowed me down on my walk which made me more aware of what was happening around me.  Or so I thought.  As I was slowly, almost meditatively, walking along the pond, peering into the meadows to see what was going on in there, I heard a splash up ahead.

Usually when there is a great blue heron feeding from our pond, they fly off as soon as anyone starts down the big hill towards the pond even though there is a good distance between the top of the hill and the back of the pond.  I was surprised and delighted when I turned my head to look in the direction of  the pond and saw this heron feeding, not all that far from where I was standing.  It had a long string of pond weeds in its mouth and it was chewing away at it a little at a time until it finally gulped the last 4-5 inches down in one swoop.  Or one gulp.

I watched it for a while and then remembered I had the camera.  I took a few shots.  I slowly tried to get a little closer, more for the sake of a photo than to actually see it.  My movement frightened it away of course, so I had to settle for listening to the sound of its wings flapping and watching it fly away.

There’s a lesson in that.

The Mum Fest

M and I had a good time at the Mum Fest.  The day was chilly and cloudy, but I think the cloudiness contributed to the way the colors of the mums popped.  There were 20,000 mums arranged in beautiful stripes of color throughout one section of the park.  Vendors were scattered around the block on the streets, and a water ski show took place at various times throughout the day on Lake Anna.  There was also a variety of music.  While we were there Heartbeat Afrika were playing their drums and keeping a good beat going.

For more about the Mum Fest, follow me after the break (in other words, click where it says “read more…”).

Read the rest of this entry »

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.  😀