Friday, October 10, 2014

Still Life Photo Challenge

Life is whizzing by, and here it is photo challenge weekend already! I'm dipping into my archives again for some still life shots.

Last December, this lovely white pitcher distracted me from getting my holiday decorating done. The sun streaming in the window was creating some great shadows that I hoped to capture.

Blue Mason jars are among my favorite things.
I find them very photogenic.

Eggs are photogenic, too!

Thanks for taking a look at my foray into still life photography.
Check out the other other participants' photos at

Thanks, Donna, for hosting each month!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Photo Challenge: Motion

This month's Personal Photo Challenge theme is motion, something I'm just beginning to learn about when it comes to photography. Here are some of my experiments.

You have to look closely, but the water was moving, which produced that pretty blur.

My sisters and I have been working at emptying our parents' house this summer. It's a very difficult but nostalgic task. Before my oldest sister moved our great grandfather's Victrola to her house, I took a lot of photos.

This was taken at our tiny county fair a couple of weeks ago. I had fun wandering around the midway experimenting with the camera. To see more photos from my evening at the fair, read this post.

I'm linking up with A Personal Photo Challenge. Visit the link to see what others have done with this month's theme of motion. Thanks to Donna for hosting!!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Take Me to the Fair

Our tiny county fair concluded last night. It's quite a feat of volunteerism and dedication for such a small county. With a population of less than 2500 people, pulling off events like the Fair and the Maple Festival (in March) says a lot about the folks who live here. We may be small, but Highland County is a community that pulls together for the important things: fairs, festivals, and helping our neighbors in need.

I worked a shift selling ride tickets on Friday evening. Watching the children on the midway brought back a lot of memories. I grew up less than 20 miles from the West Virginia State Fair. Our family's annual afternoon and evening at the Fair was always eagerly anticipated by my sisters and me. We looked forward to the rides the most and would have gone straight to the midway upon arrival if we had been in charge. But our family's budget didn't allow for unlimited ride tickets, so we slogged through the exhibit halls and barns first. Although there were some interesting things to see, us three girls were chomping at the bit to begin our adventures on the midway. After taking in all the exhibits, it was back to the car for a picnic supper, which Mom brought from home, packed in a Styrofoam cooler. Even though we girls would have rather eaten fair food, we knew that the picnic supper meant more money for ride tickets, which was OK with us! After supper, there was more looking around until it began to get dark. You see, my parents knew that riding the rides was much more fun in the dark, and even though it meant they had to endure a lot of complaining, they made us wait. And then, when the sun finally went down, what fun we had! Thousands of colored lights blinking and twinkling, music blaring, kids (and grownups) laughing and screaming. Ride after ride, we were whizzed, jerked, spun, scrambled, twirled, and whooshed through the night air until our heads spun and our stomachs rumbled long after we headed home. By the time our car pulled into the driveway, visions of Ferris Wheels and roller coasters danced in our sleepy heads.

Now that I'm all grown up, the midway, with all its lights, noise, and stomach-churning rides doesn't hold the same appeal for me. But, after I finished my shift on Friday, I wandered around the midway with my camera. It was a beautiful night: the air was clear, not too muggy, and a beautiful crescent moon hung over the fairgrounds. I had fun snapping photos, playing with the camera settings to see what kind of photo resulted. I learned a lot about nighttime photography, which I hope I can remember! Here are some of the best photos of the evening.

I think of all the rides, my favorite was, and still would be, the Ferris Wheel. It's a kind of glorified backyard swing, which I loved, and the view from up top is exhilarating. What are some of your favorite memories of going to the fair?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Photo Challenge: Portraits

Can't believe it's Photo Challenge time again already! I'll have to delve into my archives again as I've had no time to plan or shoot portraits this month. Portraits are not something I usually shoot. Sometimes I try to get good shots of our pets, and on special occasions I try to capture the people involved. But as far as shooting posed photos of people, it's not something I usually do.

I'm saved this time by my nephew's wedding. He and his lovely bride tied the knot on May 17. Blue Mason jars, heirloom flowers, and burlap made for a vintage theme amid a beautiful farm setting. One thing that the photos don't show is that the temperature was barely 50 degrees and everyone was freezing during the outdoor ceremony! Thank goodness the reception was indoors, where everyone was much more comfortable.

On the left is the groom's childhood next-door neighbor. She's posing with my oldest sister.

This is my sister and her husband, parents of the groom.

The maid of honor was striking. Thankfully you can't see any goosebumps!

Once the ceremony was over, wedding guests relaxed with cocktails (and got warm!)
while waiting for the bridal party to finish with photos. This is my husband with
my cousin's wife.

During cocktails, guests were invited to pose for silly photos using a variety of props,
including boas, goofy hats, crazy glasses, etc. This is my aunt. She might not like it if I told
you how old she is. Let's just say she was 11 years younger than I am now when
I was 1960. Can you do the math?

My nephew, the groom, watches while his bride dances with her father.

And the bride watches as her new husband dances with his mother.

Their magical wedding ended with a sparkler send-off.
I'd never seen that done before. It was quite a sight.

Not only are the months flying by, so are the years. This handsome young groom was born just five months before my own wedding, 29 years ago.

Linking up with Donna at A Personal Photo Challenge

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Star Light, Star Bright

Do you remember catching lightning bugs in a jar? I do! Many a summer night found us neighborhood kids running around the yard, glass jars in hand, trying to capture those elusive creatures. The younger the child, the more running, jumping, and swiping was involved. The older ones had learned to move slowly and focus on a small area. One night I was particularly successful and found myself with a jar full of bugs by the time my mother hauled me inside for the night.I was so proud of my catch that I took the jar to the bathroom, set it on the side of the tub, and took my bath by firefly light! Needless to say, it was a dark bath, and I doubt I was very clean once it was over. But I still remember watching those bugs lighting so silently, and yet so beautifully inside the jar as I bathed.

Nowadays I'm trying to catch lightning bugs and stars with my camera. Thanks to a very helpful and easy-to-understand article in the Wonderful West Virginia magazine, I was able to take my first even remotely successful night sky photos tonight. I have tried before on many occasions, but this time a combination of reading that article, studying my camera's instruction manual, and a little advanced planning paid off. The secret setting that I've been missing is the ISO, the equivalent of what us over-50 folks know as film speed. A high ISO setting is necessary for capturing stars and lightning bugs, I've learned.

(Note: to see these photos better, click on them. That will give you a bigger image.)

Out of 50 or more shots, I ended up with two that are not bad. Ahh, the beauty of digital photography: being able to snap away without the cost of film, developing, and printing! If you look closely in the photo above, you can see the outline of the tree tops. Above them are stars. Below them, are lightning bugs. That cluster of lights in the lower center has a slightly yellow cast - that's the bugs! There were thousands of them lighting tonight. Wouldn't it be grand to capture that! 

For this photo, I pointed the camera almost straight up. There's a very famous constellation right in the center. Can you see it?? I won't give it away, but I'm sure you've seen it before. Leave a comment below if you can tell what it is. That will let me know if my attempts are successful in more eyes than my own.

The night sky is a wondrous thing to behold. Problem is, us modern folk don't behold it very often. We sit inside our comfortable houses and watch a TV or computer screen instead of gazing into the heavens right outside our door. I hope the sky is dark at night where you live, and I hope you go outside and look up!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Stormy Weather Photo Challenge

It's Photo Challenge time again, this month with the theme of "Stormy Weather." With all the crazy weather around these days, you'd think getting some awesome photos would be easy. I, however, have had trouble with that. The photos below are the best I've gotten from hundreds of trys.

Trying to capture the quiet of beauty falling snow is difficult! Most of my attempts come out looking too blurry to be pretty.

I caught this thunderhead just two days ago. It was so brilliantly white, but the rain came in later with another batch of clouds.

These are the only two lightning shots I've gotten. Not that I didn't take dozens trying! Consequently, these two were mostly luck.

Thanks to Donna for organizing this monthly challenge. Check out the other participants by going to

Monday, May 26, 2014

Farewell, Aunt Beany

There's hardly anyone alive who can remember Trimble's Knob's previous owners. For nearly 80 years, its caretakers have been Robin's Aunt Beany and Uncle Frank, and for all those years there have been sheep on the Knob. I never knew Uncle Frank because he died in 1980, before I moved to Highland County. For 30 years, though, I was privileged to know and love Aunt Beany, who left us last Friday evening at the remarkable age of 100 years and six months. She'll be buried tomorrow, but today, a fitting tribute mysteriously appeared atop Trimble's Knob. Farewell, Aunt Beany. The Knob will miss you.