Thursday, August 30, 2012

Summer Photos to Take Right Now

This is assignment #3 from the Big Picture classes is to take a photo of your favorite fruit. I skipped it and went straight to #4 last week. Oh, well! Had to get some fruit first in order to be able to do assignment #3!

Strawberries are my absolute favorite summer fruit...I like 'em plain, just straight from the container. I don't put whipped cream on them, only sometimes, when I have a little angel food cake or those little sponge cakes you put the berries on. THEN I will add a little whipped cream. And it's gotta be whipped cream, not Cool Whip! I'm a little picky when it comes to my food.

When my girls were little, we used to be able to go to "U-Pick" farm fields outside of South Bend, IN and we'd pick and eat, eat and pick those wonderfully tasting strawberries, they were SO sweet! Is it just my imagination now, or are the berries not so great tasting? The fields are gone now, we just have our memories. Did I take any pictures? No...I wish I had...Documenting your life is so different now, with everything digital. I didn't have time to stop and take photos with a film to be developed camera. I do wish I had....

When we were in California last year, there was a field of strawberries outside the town of LaQuinta, CA. The berries were picked daily right there at the field. They were the VERY best tasting strawberries I have ever eaten, even since the ones we had when the girls were little! Traveling full time make it a lot easier to try local, fresh food. What a difference in taste as opposed to buying it in grocery stores!

Now we are in Maine, and it's tiny WILD blueberries as opposed to the hybrid large berries you find in the grocery. That's probably my second favorite fruit, now that I've tried Maine's WILD blueberries. The taste is a little milder, but they seem to be sweeter. They are just wonderful, tiny little berries! Fantastic antioxidant properties, I hear. Seeing the wild blueberries in Maine always makes me think of a favorite childhood story, Blueberries for Sal....What's wonderful about traveling full time, is we have been in Maine for five weeks, and the author's daughter was giving a talk about her father, who wrote this book and many others, about her family growing up in Maine. She was presenting the talk not too far from us. Unfortunately, things didn't work out to where I could go see her.
But it's just great to see these personal connections in your travels and to take the opportunity to make the connections, if you can.....We'll see what next week brings as far as photo ideas might be....

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Summer Assignment #4--Outdoor Play

That's an easy one for me....One of my favorite ways to play as an adult is kayaking...Here I am in a rental...or rather, here are my feet!

I've just gotten done paddling across a busy channel, narrowly being hit by a big yacht that wasn't watching for little boats. I paddled like hell to get across the channel, misjudging the speed of the yacht. Kinda scary seeing that big honkin' ship barreling down towards me! But I got across safely and took a much needed breather. My heart rate was definitely up!

I love kayaking. I started ten years ago, paddling the rivers in the northwest and northeast parts of Indiana. I had an eleven foot "Tupperware" boat, one of those polypropylene, some kind of plastic boat. It was great for rivers. It got pretty banged up, lugging it around all over northern Indiana, in and out of rivers, banging up against rocks. It was great! I didn't have to worry about knocking a piece out of it, like you do with fiberglass. But it was HEAVY, about 40 pounds.  I considered it great exercise, getting the boat up and down off the roof of my car. Being single at the time, I didn't have anybody to help me.

I had Thule saddle kayak holders on the top of my CR-V. It was the type of setup where I could load the boat myself. Put the bow up against the car against a towel, lift up the rear end, slide it forward, and TADA! All that was left to do was tie down the boat. I went all over the rivers in the northeast corner of the state. I'd paddle every weekend in the fall. Sometimes I'd paddle with the Fort Wayne group of paddlers. They were a FAST bunch!

Getting underway
It wasn't long before I was wishing for a longer, sleeker boat that would boogie across the water. The Fort Wayne kayakers paddled mostly lakes in the area. So I bought a fiberglass boat. That boat would FLY across the lake waters. But you really had to watch for rocks and be extra careful launching the kayak. Unfortunately, not long after that, I was going to start full timing in the motorhome, and two kayaks just didn't want to be schlepped all over the U.S. on a car rack, worrying about being stolen. So I sold them. Sigh!

Wherever we traveled and there were kayak rentals, I would rent one and head out on the water. I love the peace of the water, the quiet, the solitude. In our travels, most of the time, we are in areas with quiet water, not the whitewater rapids. I ended up getting a Sea Eagle 330 inflatable kayak to be able to go out anytime. It's a great kayak for RVers, inflates easily, is extremely sturdy, it tracks really straight and is holding up well. It's my play of choice...out paddling for several hours, looking for wildlife, watching the birds. I don't have to paddle fast any more, I just need to paddle.....It's my favorite summer play.....

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Time to Get Focused

I decided to take a look at Big Picture Classes for some inspiration to get me going in a photography  direction, since it seems I'm happiest when I'm behind a camera, and doing something with my pictures.  They have free online classes, so I signed up for a couple, and signed up for a couple of inexpensive ones, too. That ought to keep  me busy for awhile, and not dwelling on some very sad news I received this week.

Big Picture Classes has self-guided classes as well as classes with a defined starting and completion date. That means STRUCTURE, and since I'm retired, I chafe a little at anybody telling me I have to be somewhere, someplace at a certain time or heaven forbid, perform activities every day in a routine. I've gotten to be even MORE independent and willy-nilly about what I do every day being a full time traveler in a motorhome. I LOVE it!

I signed up for the free class "Ten Summer Photos to Take Right Now"...and it's fun! You get a pdf. guide with your class, email access to the teacher, and you can start or stop at any time. The other workshops offered by Big Pictures are more structured with more help, gallery boards to post your projects and all kinds of extras. The cost, depending on the class, ranges anywhere from 5.00 to 99.00.

So I started the class today...Assignment #1...."Take a photo of your favorite summer accessory." Boy, that's a hard one...a bike is not an accessory, is it? But maybe it is, it's an important part of's an extension of myself.

I love my Trek Navigator 3.0 bike. It's what they call a "comfort bike." That's sort of a nice term for a little old lady bike. That's not me! It is designed for easy short rides around town or for biking on well paved trails a few times a year. It's got fat, knobby tires and totally upright handlebars. The bike is on the heavy side, and the rolling resistance is tougher than if I had different tires, a lighter frame, a different style bike. I bike everywhere we travel, and seek out the rails-to-trails paths. I've put hundreds of miles on it, and it's time for new tires or maybe even time to explore buying an upgrade, since I bike so much. I'M NOT AN OLD LADY! Well, not quite yet....Hybrid, here we come?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Beautiful Blogs

I've been reading a few of my back issues of Artful Blogging...what a wonderful resource of artistic photography and writing talents of online bloggers...I went exploring this week...and found some wonderful blogs....While reading my magazines, I came across a blog that talked about "Photo Styling" interesting concept to me and it really hit home of what I wish I could do "in my next life".  I'd like to explore a class in photo styling if I could find one in my travels, or maybe I could take a class online. I LOVE this idea!

Photo styling is taking every day items and photographing them in an artistic way to make them look exceptionally appealing, that's my own personal definition. Everything you see in catalogs, in ads, is "styled" to make you see the item in its most flattering light. There's food styling, "off the model" clothing styling, furniture styling, and product styling and more, I'm sure. Lighting is critical, angle and positioning of the item are critical, there are lots of design aspects where training and a great eye would come in to play. Sometimes I think I have a photographer's eye, and sometimes I don't. My daughter, the new mom, says I should get a job as a Wally World children's photographer. I actually looked into that at one time, and they wanted ridiculous hours from anybody who works for them. You had to work holidays...yuck! She says I have an obsessive problem...I take too many photos every day! Hm-m-m-m...awareness is the first step, right? :-) But it makes me really really happy to take photos and have some good ones turn out. It's now my retirement hobby, and if it takes up a LOT of my time, who cares? I swear that my new little grandson was starting to have an awareness of Grandma and her camera before I left. He would slow down his little arms and legs flailing away when I came near with my camera and just watch me.

Back to the photo styling, I digressed, something I do often in my life....Here is my own primitive attempt at photographing some yarn....A photo stylist would change the angle of the needles to show off their color better? Have a different placement of the sock in progress? Maybe use a different background?  I'm just guessing here, but it gives you some idea that there is a LOT of work and a LOT of time involved setting up items for a photo shoot. But I do like this photo regardless. I like the way the grey picnic table plays up the fun color of the yarn. I like looking at this photo. It makes me happy just to look at this Pagewood Farms bright rose/orange/salmon sock yarn.

The Artful Blogging magazine is full of "styled" blogs...They are eye candy to look at and aspire to, with the way that the writers delve into their psyches, or report about the ordinary, and the way they photograph and document their lives...just really beautiful blogs. I'm going to post some of my faves next time.....