Tag Archives: photography

Breaking News! Shocking Project 365 Exposé!

Manny the Mannequin is Real Genius
behind the Link the Cat cartoon series.

Upon hearing the ping of incoming email, this reporter found an anonymous, ominous message with the subject “DID YOU KNOW! I didn’t know and I wanted to know and there it was; proof positive that Cheri has been putting her name on another’s work.

When confronted with the following photos, Cheri had no comment and refuses to answer this reporter’s follow-up calls. Shame on you!

Manny the mannequin drawing Link the Cat Escher Eye
A photo speaks a thousand words.

Apparently while Cheri folds her laundry, Manny the mannequin draws the Link the Cat series.

Manny the mannequin drawing Link the Cat Escher Eye
Proof of perfidy.

Forced to lie down on the job, Manny puts his best foot backwards.

Manny the mannequin drawing the cartoon Link the Cat Escher Eye
Manny and his nearly finished cartoon "the Escher Eye Link."

Manny refused to answer any questions being a mannequin of few words.

-This Reporter

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Camping in the Dunes

Lake Michigan, Indiana Dunes State Park.
Lake Michigan on a rainy afternoon and umbrellas.

Back on the road after the great time in Chesterton, we went to the campground hoping our campsite would be open early. It wasn’t. It didn’t help that we were an hour earlier than we thought. The northwestern counties of Indiana are on central time and we just a hundred miles away are on eastern time. Time is not a constant in Indiana.

The gatekeeper sent us to the Nature Center to occupy our time, no doubt wondering about our clock reading skills. The best exhibit was a glass-walled room looking out onto a bird-feeding station complete with a microphone to pipe in the sound of running water and bird peeps. It was quite lovely and peaceful until I remembered the  hummingbirds were trying to kill each other.

Unfortunately, the Nature Center did not entertain us for very long and we were at a little bit of a loss about what to do when I thought: “Silly, you are at Lake Michigan. Go see it!” And we did. We went around a roundabout to a sign marked “beach” and there it was. Awesome, breathtaking, and blue.

The photo above is one of the first of many I took. I just cannot get over the juxtaposition of the blue with the sand. And since it was raining there were people walking the beach with black umbrellas over their heads. I thought for a moment that we had exited the roundabout into a Victorian time warp. If you enlarge the photo by clicking on it you can just see them in the far right corner.

The blue, the sandy brown, the rainy atmosphere and the Victorian umbrellas were a perfect introduction to Lake Michigan.

Sunset Challenge, Indiana Dunes

Sunset on Lake Michigan
Sunset on Lake MIchigan, Indiana Dunes

Lynne: This is my first entry in the sunset challenge with photos from the Indiana Dunes. We made it most nights to the Lake at sunset. I took so many pictures that it has taken some time to sort through them. I have to remember the maxim: You can take 100 photos and have them all turn out bad.

I liked this one particularly because it shows the motion of the waves of Lake Michigan. I tried recording the sound of them but the low rumble that resounds in your body does not come through in my recordings. Perhaps you need all your senses, not just hearing, to truly know the dominion of such a body of water in motion.

Notes from the Farm on Wetlands

Creek in wetlands
This is the creek flowing out of the wetlands.

Lynne: My last post was about the beauty of the prairie on the farm, today, I want to post about the beauty of the wetlands on the farm. One of the best things about the farm, is the number of different habitats you can see.

The wetlands are as wonderful as the prairie, but I like to look at them more than I like to walk in them. There are insects and snakes and sucking mud that make me careful about what I wear when I do go exploring. I put on those Wellingtons I spoke of the other day and resign myself to getting really dirty and really wet. But there is so much to see, it is worth whatever it takes to get clean when you’re done. I think of it like swimming in cold water those first few days of summer, once you’re in you enjoy it so much you don’t want to get out.

The photo above is of a stretch of creek that has already been filtered by the main, marshy areas and you can tell that the creek is running clear and swift. The bank of yellow flowers in the foreground is a showy clump of  the pointy sticktights you find on your clothes and your dog after a walk.

The creek is clear, because the wetlands have captured the silt and fertilizers that run off of fields and land cleared for building. The marshy areas act like a sponge that absorbs this run-off before it is dumped into rivers and streams. The wetlands also act as areas of flood control as they absorb water during periods of flooding and release their water during periods of drought. Purdue has a very informative webpage on wetlands and water quality, if you wish to know more.

Pond formed by beaver dam.
The start of a pond behind the beaver dam.

These two photos show a beaver dam. Footprints and the more telltale tooth-cut logs and branches helped us discover it. The Great Plains Nature Center has great photos of beaver and their chewing habits. Water is dammed and pools behind the dam create more beneficial marshy areas. However, wetlands change quickly because of their response to the weather. A beaver dam today is not a beaver dam tomorrow and ‘busy as a beaver’ has meaning when you have to repair or start over whenever a big storm passes through.

Beaver dam
Beavers have been working like beavers and left a telltale print.

Now that I think about it, maybe I do like the wetlands better than the prairie. Oh wait, I haven’t posted about the woods yet or the pond. Well, I guess I don’t have to worry about which is best…If you can’t choose which one you love, love the one you’re with.

Notes from the Farm on the Prairie

Prairie at the farm.
Not vast acres of prairie, but a wonderful vista.

Lynne: Have you ever watched Little House on the Prairie and wondered what it was like to be Laura Ingalls running through the tall prairie grass? Well, the farm has an area of prairie grass and at this time of year it is turning the most fantastic shades of purple and gold.

I cannot describe properly the look and feel of the prairie. The wind moves in waves over the grass and the smell is like hay but less dry and the feel is people-less. Just me and the wind, the grass and the sky. I have tried to get the colors and the feel captured in these photos, but at every angle the light is different. I’ve played with Photoshop to give an approximate vision of what I see with bare eyes, but of course it is not the same. We need more than sight to see something properly.

Prairie grass
Now, this is up close and personal.

I wondered about the prevalence and history of prairie in this area and came across this book on google, The History of Cass County, Volume 1, edited by Jehu Powell. There are numerous references made about prairies and prairie fires in Cass County. Isn’t it a marvel that I can yearn for the days of vast plains and yet rejoice at the ability to read and search a rare book with ease.

Jehu Powell relates the troubles the pioneers had with prairie fires and I suspect that every acre of grass turned into farmland made them feel safer. I cannot imagine the tremendous heat and roar of a prairie fire, but the grass needs fire to reseed itself and to keep thickets and trees from taking over. One third of the prairie here at the farm is set on fire every year. Careful attention is paid to weather conditions, proper fire breaks and there are firefighters on standby.

Mac and prairie grass
Mackie is sure that the deer he saw is somewhere close.

Mackie, my black labrador, loves the prairie grass. He bounds up and down through it like a deer. You can just see the top of his head and his ears flapping for a split second and down he goes again. His tongue hangs out and he has what looks like a huge grin on his face. Sometimes, watching him, I wish that I were young enough to run with him. I remember running through pastures barefoot and wondering why running meant fewer cuts on your feet than walking. However, I am satisfied watching him from the Mule and dreaming of past times.

Notes From the Farm on Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds at feeder
Hummingbirds posturing in the air. Eventually, the lure of the sugar overcomes all the belligerence.

Hummingbirds seem like such sweet birds. After all, they live on sweet nectar and sugar water, but…they are vicious little buzzers screeching and shoving each other with sweetness only on their beaks and never in their hearts.

The farm is a great place to watch hummers. I have counted as many as 75 of them at a time among the flowers and feeders. The air is loud with the hum of their wings and their shrieks of fury as one of them occupies the space another wishes were his. There is little peace where hummers gather, but then peaceful is not nearly as amusing.

Hummingbirds at feeder
Air traffic control to fliers: "Your are buzzing into the path of oncoming traffic! Evade, evade..."
Hummingbirds at feeder.
Mid air refueling. It's a tricky business.

Notes from the Farm

Chickens!
I am filling the bird feeder. These chickens know some of the food will spill on the deck and are in their 'ready' position.

Lynne: I have been on a working vacation for the past few weeks. My grandparents had a farm and I have always held an affection for the rural life, but the thought of having a library nearby has kept me firmly within the city limits. Every now and then, however, I have the good fortune to be able to pretend I am a farmer.

The farm I pretend is mine sits on 140 acres of prairie and woods and has a large pond. I can sit on the deck and watch ducks, geese and even bald eagles go about their daily tasks. The night is so dark, I have to use my cell phone to see. There has to be a moral in there somewhere.

I have not been posting much because rural Indiana is woefully behind in its broadband coverage. Blogging is not possible on a dial-up connection. At least, I cannot do it. I begin to froth at the mouth when a page takes 30 seconds to load. It is hard to remember that the internet is really a new thing and not so long ago 3 minutes to download a page seemed a miracle. Anyway, I will be posting a few notes I have taken during my stay.

I get up in the morning and put on the clothes I wore the day before. I have found that changing clothes 3 or 4 times a day is ridiculous and wearing the dirty clothes for morning chores is the smart thing to do. I also put on rubber boots. It may feel weird to clump around in boots to your knees, but it is really necessary when you are caring for horses. Mucking out horse stalls is a good way to ruin even your oldest shoes. I have found also that I have to stop and put on socks with these boots because they will wear gurry sores on your ankles. (Captain’s Courageous by Rudyard Kipling is my information on gurry sores–the results of the chafing of oil-skins on bare flesh.) In this day and age, gurry sores are treated by antibiotics and a tetanus shot. (Has it really been 10 years since I had one? Ouch…)

I will continue my tales of the farm in more posts, but I will leave with this musing on the vagaries of chickens. If you have food in your hand they gather under your feet, if you don’t have food they are under your feet and if you are even thinking about food they are under your feet. I stepped on one this morning in my rubber boots. Luckily, the stable floor and the boots were soft and I only stepped on the chicken’s foot. I believe chicken feet are tough. At least, this one has tough feet, it squawked and didn’t budge an inch. I was giving grain to the horses. Silly chickens, they think the horses are going to let them have some.

Next time, I will muse on the the chore of watering…everything.

Crafty Pet Pics — Munch

Munch, a Siamese mix cat

Loryn: My glamour cat, Munchkin, was willing to pose for me the other day. She was abandoned at three weeks old, and when I got her a few days later, she was still so small that she could run over my bathroom scale without moving the needle. She was supposed to have a fancier name, but Munch is what stuck. She’s now 13.

Like many divas, she is temperamental and high strung. She was separated from her mother much too young, so she doesn’t really know she’s a cat. I am the only person allowed to touch her (and not always even then). My family calls her “The Cat Trap,” because she was roll on her back invitingly, and sink all claws and teeth into the brave soul who tries to rub her belly.

The first time my husband met her, he picked her up. I waited breathlessly, but she didn’t even hiss at him. He’s the only other person besides me who can pet her. I guess she was sending me a signal that he was the right guy!

Lessons Learned or How I Put the Photography Tutorial to Use

Loryn’s photography tutorial would be useless if I didn’t actually put it to work. After watching her take photos, thinking about design and white space (which I had a lot of in my previous photos), and considering a photo list of all the shots you need when posting items to be sold, I was set loose with my camera and Photoshop.

I have been on a shell, mother of pearl and pearl kick lately in my jewelry. There are so many varieties of shells and pearls in so many colors and shapes that the opportunities and uses for them are too numerous to name or even demonstrate. I will show some of my tributes to mother nature’s wonder: Mother of Pearl.

Three shell necklaces nested together.
I call these my "UFO" necklaces.

These are the three I have completed so far. The pink and white necklaces are both made with pink shell donuts, white quartz round beads, and silver 6/0 and pink 11/0 seed beads. The black necklace is made of black shell donuts, black shell flat round beads, and silver 6/0 and black hex seed beads. I made the hook and eyes out of 18 gauge sterling silver wire.

Pink shell UFO necklace.

Black shell UFO necklace.

The difference in my photography before and after is rather dramatic. These are so much more clear and are visually interesting. Previously I had way too much white space and very little actual design. I would just drape the necklace in a circle and shoot the photo. Here I am trying to make the photos a little more dynamic. My camera is better than i remember it being (I haven’t used this one in a long time or all that often when I did use it) and the lights are wonderful (Thanks Loryn for letting me borrow them). My set-up is really pretty small and doesn’t take up a lot of space and being in a rather unused corner helps a lot. It is also really close to my worktable, so no more excuses for bad photos.

Close-up photo of the trio of UFO shell necklaces.
Nice close-up photo of the trio! Go Kristin!

And one more shot of my clasps from all three necklaces.

Close-up photo of the hook and eye clasps.
Made with 18 gauge sterling silver.

I think it was a very successful tutorial. Let’s all thank my sister Loryn for putting an end to my atrocious affront on humanity with bad photos. Thing of it is, I can appreciate my jewelry work more and see that it really is getting much better and more put-together now that I have some good photographs of it. Of course, I can also see all the flaws and errors much more easily with macro photography. etsy here I come!

–Kristin