For The Very First Time, HDR Photography That Is

“With photography a new language has been created. Now for the first time it is possible to express reality by reality. We can look at an impression as long as we wish, we can delve into it and, so to speak, renew past experiences at will.” ~Ernst Hass

Dirt Man takes some incredible HDR shots. I am always envious at his results. This weekend while at Botanical Gardens he talked me through it. Capturing the photograph is easy…it’s the post processing program that is time consuming. However, the results are well worth the trouble! These are my first and only three HDR photographs taken of the Annette Kagan Healing Garden; I simply call it the Zen Garden.

For The Love Of Butterflies

Here are a few more of the butterfly pics I took at Norfolk Botanical Gardens. I took way too many to share them all. I even threw in a couple of caterpillar shots as well.

This one is reading up on where he came from!

How many caterpillars do you see?

Not sure what these guys are doing!

Falling Into Autumn

Dirt Man and I had an awesome weekend. We started out Friday night with wine tasting at our favorite local wine store and then had dinner with our grown children.

Saturday we attended the Military Aviation Museum’s Biplanes and Triplanes event. I took so many cool photos it’s going to take me several posts to share even a few of the highlights. I’ve shared with you the dude rocking the kilt. I got Charlie Chaplin to shake Dirt Man down a few notches. They performed an airshow of the war planes with an awesome narration. The museums contained not only collectible planes but cars as well. The night was topped with a dance and roaring twenties music.  There was supposed to be hot air balloons but the evening was too windy…oh well. And the planes, oh the planes!

Sunday we spent the day at Norfolk Botanical Gardens. What glorious Autumn weather we had. Today I’m just going to throw a few shots of the weekend in here and I’ll post various pictures throughout the week

Notice the bird flying right up there with the planes.

Biplane

Another Biplane

Triplane

Did you know the pilots wore scarves to wipe the petrol off their faces? I thought it was to keep the wind off their necks, lol!

Dirt Man was on his best behavior the rest of the night.

What a gorgeous way to end the night!

My favorite spot in the gardens.

Always love the purple!

This beauty was in the butterfly house. A columbine?

Black swallowtail (will post more butterfly pics later this week)

Love this fountain!

…and the lions were out!

I caught a rainbow!

No garden tour is complete without roses.

I’m Really NOT A Stalker!

We ran across this guy at a show we went to this weekend. He was dressed in time period regalia, as many of the participants were…but this dude rocked this kilt and I just had to get a photo. I swear I’m not a stalker but I couldn’t help but look for him all day in hopes of getting a picture. Finally I snuck this shot of him. With a puzzled look on his face, one of the volunteers asked me if I took a pic of the caterers cooking steak. I explained I wanted a shot of the dude in the kilt. He replied the kilt guy came to all of the events and would love to pose for me if I went up to him. I explained that I didn’t want to offend him. Dirt Man interjected, “The man is wearing a kilt. Come on, how modest can he be?” Ok, point taken.

Look at those socks and boots…awesome!

 

Ask and you shall receive. He was delighted when I asked to take his picture. He asked me to wait until he could get on his uniform jacket and even asked me to take one with his camera. What a great sport  he was. He also shared his motto “If it nain’t Scottish, it’s crap”.

Can this dude rock a kilt or what? I know he made my day by posing for this pic.

Hanging On The Edge

 

Feeling like you’re hanging on the edge?

Sometimes you don’t know whether to jump off or hang on for dear life.

Possibilities can be overwhelming and overestimated.

Maybe you won’t have to hang as long you we think?

What’s the worst scenario if you fall?

Perhaps you can make the second attempt.

And then, the reason you’re hanging on the edge might be something much simpler.

Are you hanging on the edge because something is sneaking up on you and you can’t shake it?

That seems to be happening around here. Tis the season. Allergy season, that is.

First the sneezing and itching eyes show up.

Then the tickle in the throat with the cough…and the runny nose…

Eventually, I feel cruddy all over and can only hope it doesn’t go into more.

For now, I’m hanging on the edge, just trying to shake that bad boy off!

Ha, bet you didn’t think this was where I was going!

Seriously, how can I possibly let a picture like this go to waste?

Elements Of Surprise

I stood in the midst of a warm rushing wind. Hair tangled across my face, I listened to the whipping and snapping of branches and the whispers of the leaves as they tickled one another. Limbs which had been drooping to the ground swished and swooshed and lifted skyward exposing the veiny undersides of the leaves. My soul soared beneath the wings of wind as it bent and arced its way into another space and time. For a few moments I felt free…and then I slipped back into the day.

I went to bed with the sound of the wind whistling and awoke early to the pounding of a downpour. It quickly softened to a soothing drizzle. All the while the cicadas strummed and drummed away. As the time for me to rise approached the cicadas silenced themselves with sleep.

From an exhilarating breeze to a comforting rain, the elements move me in unexplained ways. Elements of surprise? Perhaps, it’s the surprise of the elements.

On The Trail Again

My feet said a mighty welcome to my hiking boots. They have been estranged for months, since I started having problems (plantar fasciitis) with my foot and Dirt Man had back surgery.   I took them (or should I say they took me?) out onto the trails at First Landing State Park. I found this six mile hike to probably be one mile more than my foot needed for its first outing. Wylie was ecstatic to be in the great outdoors.

All our senses tingled with nature’s delights. We were greeted by moderate temps with a slight crisp breeze. The sky was mostly washed out by clouds but later colored into a cobalt cloud spritzed heaven. Spanish moss dangled from the trees and swirled with the wind. The sun eventually emerged to kiss our shoulders. Light sprayed through the tree branches, shimmered across the water, and danced along the shoreline. Leave rustled as critters scampered through the forest. Squirrels barked and birds sang while we meandered across the dunes and through the woods. The sweet aroma of berries mingled with the pungent scent of early autumn.  A hint of salt brushed across my lips as my sand sprinkled hands pushed a branch out of the way.

This was my first outing of using only manual settings on my camera. Some pictures turned out well while others were a bit pale or too bright. However, I am not savvy enough to photo shop them.

Slice of Life

Lichen covered limbs

Berry on the ground

Creek and shoreline

Youngsters in the treetop

Refreshing

The Great Expanse

In the Middle

Osprey nest

Swinging from the trees

More Marshland

Sticking up for you

No Gym Membership For Me!

Exercise, me? Phooey, don’t believe in the stuff; at least, not the kind that requires a gym membership. I can’t see paying someone to make me sweat! Other than mowing the grass or gardening I must be provided with a photo opportunity upon exertion.

Weeding the flower gardens provide me with many pretty subjects.

Sometimes I catch a great sunset when I stroll through the neighborhood.

I will climb a mountain for an amazing view.

I will paddle a canoe for a fresh perspective.

Hiking takes me down many new paths.

I’ve been known to scramble river rock.

Beach walking hardly feels like exercise.

Swinging is probably more relaxation than physical effort, but it does give me opportunities to take pictures of the birds and bugs in the backyard!

Spin Cycle: Exercise

The Love Connection

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”  ~Herman Melville

Connection is the beginning. Look around. Who do you see? Who have you stumbled upon in your life’s path?

No matter how much we crave solitude we still need relationships. At the same time we desire to feel we belong.  It is in the midst of belonging we also find a sense of self.

When we cultivate these relationships with love and compassion they grow roots and blossom into lasting friendships. These are the people with whom we not only swap stories but share our lives. We laugh and cry together. Our heartbeats surge, slow, and steady with the rhythm of one another.  We feel the rise and fall of the breath of life. We stumble together as we climb the mountain. We pick one another up when we fall. And when we reach the mountaintop we scream together and listen as the echo of life harmonizes with us.

Love makes connection fulfilling, sacred. The giving and receiving of love is a life in process. This connection of love completes us.

“When we get too caught up in the business of the world, we lose connection with one another  and ourselves.” ~Jack Kornfield

Kicking Bitterness In The Butt

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” – Paul Boese

Sometimes it takes seeing ourselves in the shadows to know who we are. The shadows are where we don’t like to admit we hang out, but truthfully we all fall into them now and then.

I often spout the benefits of forgiveness. And forgive I do…but I’ve been known to allow anger to return and eat at me one thought at a time. It seemed I was able to forgive someone for having done something wrong to me, but I couldn’t let it go when that person did something wrong to someone I loved.  I became so consumed with bitterness other things began to annoy me.

I didn’t like the way I was feeling or acting. I was torn between whether I felt the other person deserved to be forgiven or whether I deserved to be free of resentment. My head, heart, and priorities were totally in the wrong place. While I don’t want to condone ill behavior I also don’t want to let my feelings over it rule my life. By moving on I can focus on what truly matters.

Forgiveness expands us, makes us reach beyond our comfort zone. It takes incredible strength to forgive, to truly let it go without inviting it back for a visit. I must remember compassion starts with me, if I want mercy I must extend it to others.  I pray I can be that kind of person.

Some consider forgiveness to be a selfless act, others a selfish act; truth is everyone wins. Perhaps, forgiveness is the ultimate gift of love, to yourself and the other person.