Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New Home

No, it's not a new house. It's a new home for my blog. With the on-going issues of not being able to upload images, I've decided to relocate. The one drawback is not having the same ability to move my "followers" along with me to my new home. So, if you'd like to keep reading, and viewing my work, please come visit me at:


I look forward to seeing you there. And thanks for your support here. Blessings, ~T~

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Photo Challenge #61

This shot just reminded me of when paparazzi shout at celebrities for "one over the shoulder".

Photo Challenge #60

We came across a small heard of deer - about 6-7 - in a field along the side of the road near Palo Duro Canyon. The road was too narrow to stop so we drove about a quarter mile then I walked back. I was surprised at how close they allowed me to come.

photo challenge #59

I added the text because it just "fit".

Photo Challenge #58

Rock formation known as The Lighthouse, Palo Duro Canyon, Texas.

Photo Challenge #57

Probably one of my favorite shots I've taken....ever.
Converted to black/white and cropped in PP.

Photo Challenge #56

Using leading lines.
Palo Duro Canyon, Texas

Sunday, March 14, 2010

#55 Photo challenge

The child has zero fear. Mom, on the other hand...
Little Miss standing precariously close to the edge of a small ridge in Palo Duro Canyon.

#54 Photo Challenge

Lilly. Climbing inside the wood blinds.

#53 photo challenge

Playing with fire.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Photo Challenge #52

*singing* Sometimes I feel like...somebody's watching me...

It's a little challenging to work with a kitten watching and attacking the laptop. Her favorite things to do are chase the cursor and chew on that latch that is visible in the photo just below her chin.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Photo Challenge #51

What do you do when you stuck waiting for a train?

Me, I take pictures. Next time I hope to capture the perplexed look on the engineer's face. I think I'm learning to enjoy the obvious questioning look of "why ARE you taking MY picture?" The ornery side of me, perhaps?

photo challenge #50

The fiftieth post to this challenge! Whoot whoot!

Another shot from the zoo. At least it isn't a lion. :)

Seriously thinking about doing my blog a different way other than through BlogSpot because of the ongoing problems loading images.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Photo Challenge #49

Another nice day, another trip to the Amarillo Zoo.

Still working on trying to get a decent shot through the fence. Trying different settings, angles, etc.

Photo Challenge #48

Miss Mac and her first lost tooth.

Actually, it isn't lost. She yanked that sucker out herself. She did that about a week and a half ago, but I'm just now getting around to taking a picture with the real camera. I did take one the night she pulled it but with my cell phone.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Photo Challenge #47

Palo Duro Canyon. Also known as "The Grand Canyon of Texas", which is a rediculously stupid tag because PD Canyon is much smaller than the Grand Canyon and supposedly everything is BIGGER in Texas.
It's still pretty.

Photo Challenge #46

Shoes. Reflective of my intent to fulfill a goal of starting and completing the Couch-to-5k program.

I first heard of C25K from another police wife. She is currently finishing up and has 3 or 4 scheduled 5ks she is doing within the next few months. I'm so proud of her and a wee bit envious, too. I intended to start weeks and weeks ago. However, between family chaos and more importantly, cold, yucky weather, I have, in typical procrastinating form, put it off. However, with new-found energy with sunnier days, and warmer temps, I'm encouraged and motivated. I plan to start.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Photo Challenge #45

Color. Finally.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Photo Challenge #44

This is the second in the series with the lions. I meant to post this shot after the initial shot of the brother and sister playing. However, I stuck the geese post between the two. Sorry! Anyway, this is after she took her brother to the ground.

Photo Challenge #43

One of my favorite things about where we live. The Canada Geese that "winter" at the playa lake one street over from our house. Starting around the end of October and going through about the first of March, several times a day approximately 300 geese fly into or leave our lake, The sound is amazing. When they take off to or fly in from the west, they fly right over our house. Since they are so low, it can be very loud! Miss Mac and I always run out the front door when we hear them because they are so graceful when such a massive amount fly in to land at the same time. How they don't crash into each other amazes me!
Each season I manage to take hundreds of photos of them, hoping to eventually get that one great shot!

Photo Challenge #42

Brother and sister lions at our zoo. She had no problems tackling her brother and taking him to the ground.
Girl power!

Photo Challenge #41

A horse is a horse, of course.

Photo Challenge #40

One of the foxes in the exhibit. I've tried several times to photograph them; however, they're always sleeping during regular zoo hours. This particular day we were lucky enough to be there during feeding time. When the keeper went in to give them the food, they promptly woke up and scurried around the exhibit. Apparently they don't like the keepers being in their area.

We did learn an interesting fact. The foxes are about 3 exhibits away from the skunks. While walking around, I smelled what I thought was a skunk, but the keeper said they've all been de-scented. What we actually smelled was from the foxes! I never knew they made a smell similar to a skunks but not even close to as potent. This was interesting to know because one street over from us is a playa lake that we know is home to several foxes. Husband and I have both seen them. Frequently I've smelled what I thought was a skunk scent. Now, I'm pretty sure it's from the foxes.

Photo challenge #39

A better shot of the peacock. The first was just for fun because the look was priceless.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Photo Challenge #38

He seemed to be saying, "Why are you following me?"

Granted, I took about 20 shots before he finally looked directly at me. He didn't like me following him at all, either.

Photo Challenge #37

Not a new picture, but one of my favorites. Taken last summer from Dinosaur Ridge in Denver, Colorado. I forget what this rock formation was called, but it sure looked amazing. Such a stark difference from the flatness of the Texas panhandle.

Photo Challenge #36

What I like about this photo:
the fence
the angles of the fence
the look of the snow where it meets the ground as it's melting
the lighting and shadows

What I don't like:
the slight blurriness of the first post
the damn two twigs in the top right corner that I tried to crop out but are too in the way

*Mental note to self* Check and double-check composition in camera before taking shot!! In my pathetic defence, it was cold, muddy, snowy, and uneven ground. If I stood at the angle I wanted for the shot, the tree/shrub thing was in the way. If I dropped down the little hill I was standing on, the angle of the shot changed. I was too close, and too low, but the tree/shrub would have been out of the way. And it was muddy. Did I mention the mud? Did I mention I had on Crocs?

*Mental note to self #2* Don't wear Crocs to go shoot nature photography when it's cold, rainy/snowy, muddy, etc.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Photo Challenge #35

This stinks!
I was making potato salad for dinner, and the color of this onion was so pretty, I decided to snap a still shot real quick. Still practicing taking shots in RAW format. Still not crazy about it and have kind of a "what's the point, it takes more work!" attitude about it.

Photo Challenge #34

Oh, look. Another kitty picture. I know, I know.

Actually, I've been practicing working with pictures taken in RAW format versus JPEG. I have sooooo much to learn.

Photo Challenge #33

(Click to enlarge)
Yes, another snow picture. When we get this much snow this frequently, it makes it difficult to shoot anything other than snow (outside) or kids & pets (inside).
This time I opted for something a little different. My challenge was to take a nighttime shot of our neighborhood, something other than my neighbor directly across the street. So around 11:30 p.m. I set up the tripod and camera outside to take some night shots of the snow. Since the NYIP Unit I am currently working on is Exposure, I figured this would something interesting to play around with since the snow, and clouds, and some lighting from the street were all present.

Photo Challenge #32

Shooting range. Practicing stop motion shots for photography course. Hindsight is 20/20. I should have submitted this photo instead of the one I actually turned in, because even though I got good feedback on the photo I submitted, I like this one better.
Lesson learned: Stop second guessing myself!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Photo Challenge #31

I didn't set out to shoot this photo but sometimes things just happen.
I drove to this particular area in the Texas panhandle because we had driven here a couple of times searching for a geocache in the area. This is looking due north while standing on the caliche road. If I had turned around and snapped another shot, you would see numerous trees lining the opposite side of the road. Living in these trees are several red-tail hawks. I had hoped this day to get a couple of shots of hawks. However, someone nearby was shooting - it was hunting season - so the hawks weren't out. I intended to use this shot as a practice shot in case we did see hawks. I was really surprised later when I saw it turned out quite well.

Photo Challenge #30

Miss Mac has been going to the shooting range for about two years now. Usually daddy helps her shoot the .22 that was her big brother's when he was her age. On this day, another LEO was at the range with his son and he let us borrow his ... ok, I am sure the thing has a name, but heck if I know what it's really called...shooting support chair thingy. This was a huge help because the .22 is still pretty heavy for Miss Mac to hold, aim and shoot all by herself. Even with the support thing, big brother still lent a hand.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Photo Challenge #29

"The Tank"
A big reason for my lack of time and energy lately! Our grandson is staying with us for a while. I'd forgotten how time-consuming and energy-draining babies can be. He's a sweet one with a really happy disposition. I'd just become quite spoiled with how it easy it is with a 6 year old to just pick up and go when I need to run errands. I'm building up some serious upper body strength lugging this guy around!!

Photo Challenge #28

Got Cookies?
Introducing our newest family member, 8-wk old Lilly. She enjoys playing in the Girl Scout cookie boxes. Apparently she prefers Thin Mints. I'm more of a Caramel Delight kind-of-girl.

Photo Challenge #27

I wish I could start my morning with one of these each day! A tall caramel latte from Roasters, a local coffee shop. However, at $4 apiece, I'm forced to settle for regular, although VERY strong, home-brewed coffee with Coffee Mate's Belgium Chocolate Toffee creamer.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Photo Challenge #26

From DailyShoot.com:

Franz Kafka said "Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old." Make a photo of something beautiful today.

So, this is an old post - from several days ago. Between life's realities and the blogger vs. my laptop issue, I'm just able to load the photo today. This is our new kitten, Lily. Miss Mac calls her "silly lily". Psycho Cat is tolerating Lily quite well. Better than she tolerates people, actually!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Photo Challenge #25

These are Miss Mac's favorite snack cracker. And I took a picture to do more practice with still's and my homemade lightbox. The idea for the photo, although lacking in creativity, came from another photo forum challenge about you guessed it...crackers!

Also, for the next couple of weeks, I am testing out different photo editing software. This week I am testing out Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3. This is an upgrade from the current software by Corel that I use. So, the pictures I post and blog about in the upcoming weeks will possibly have more post-processing done than usual as I try out various programs to see which, if any I like best. I might just stick with what has been working up to this point.

For post-processing in this shot, I edited out a seam in the paper, added fill light, tried to brighten the white background, sharpened a bit, add a little saturation to the color, and finally tried to eliminate some of the "noise" on the box. Notice the word "try" in the previous sentence appears often.

Photo Challenge #24

I really am taking pictures daily!! Ok, almost daily, but still.
The hardest part about this challenge isn't taking the pictures. It is the loading them onto the computer, cropping and editing, writing something halfway interesting, and then, if I'm very lucky, getting the picture to load the first 20 times I try. I am not sure why blogspot doesn't like my computer, but something doesn't jive between the two. So, I really have to psych myself up full of motivation to write these blog entries.

And that is the end of my pity party!

This shot was taken at an intersection just south of town. Another West Texas sunset. And if anyone can tell my why the Texas Panhandle is called WEST Texas and not north Texas, I'd love to hear it. North Texas is considered that little part above the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Oh yea, the picture. I was trying out different exposures but playing around with ISO, and complete manual mode - meaning I messed with apertures and shutter speeds like crazy!! I took some good shots, and....some really crappy ones. Ain't that learning curve grand?

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Photo Challenge #23

I made myself a small lightbox so I could do photo shoots like this. My box is small and I need another light, but I have something that is somewhat usable now. I'll probably look back on this photo in a year and think, "good gravy, what was I thinking?" but for now, ignorance is bliss, and I had fun playing with it!

So, this picture is for another mini challenge on the photography forum. The challenge was "letters". These are little plastic tiles Miss Mac uses for phonics. I thought they would make a cute, whimsical photo with the bright colors.

Photo Challenge # 22

If you were to lay on the entry floor and look out my front door, this is how the snow would look at midnight.

Believe it or not, this picture had a purpose. I am currently working on Unit 2 for my Professional Photography course at the New York Institute of Photography. One of my assignments for this unit is framing. This picture is a practice shot. And, I learned, not a good framing shot either. While the snow and the side pillars do frame my neighbor's house, the trees are in the way.

I also wanted to practice lighting. Taking a picture at night is different from taking a picture at night when the ground is covered in snow. Snow works as a reflector of light. So, the snow in front of me is too bright while the house across the street is shadowed.

I have to continuously remind myself that I learn from my failures. Rejoice in the successes, learn from the failures.

Photo Challenge #21

This was one of my first attempts to do photo shoot with this kind of set up. This was taken for a mini challenge on a photography forum. The challenge was "glass". What I tried to achieve was the look when using a lightbox.

One problem. I didn't have a lightbox.

So, I made my own little set up using white paper, and the spotlight above our fireplace. Several shots and adjustments later, this is the result.

Photo Challenge #20

This is another picture from the day I stopped at the cattle feed lot. A couple of things to point out:
  • It's FLAT here. No, like really FLAT.

  • Yes, those are all cows and this is just one of a gazillion feed lots here.

  • Cows are stupid. Funny, but stupid.

  • The one steer is not supposed to be on that side of the fence! Why didn't he escape? See comment above.

We actually try to eat as little beef as possible at our home, and when we do, I try to use organic, grass-fed beef. But, I thought the caption I added was funny. So, there ya go!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Photo Challenge #19

(Click for larger image)

Tonight's full moon was the biggest and brightest of the year. There is a wonderful article about it on Space.com that explains why it is bigger and brighter.

I had hoped the clouds from the snow storm would pass and I'd have a chance to photograph it. That opportunity came about 1am. I grabbed my camera and tripod, explained to my husband what I was doing, endured looks of "you're crazy!" and headed to the garage. I figured that the moon had past far enough that I'd be able to shoot from the pseudo-warmth of the garage. Nope. Not wanting to waste time going in to change, I trudge through the almost foot of snow in my: tshirt, jacket, pajama pants, socks and....pink crocs. Yes, I am that stubborn (read:stupid).

Several minutes later, I'm soaked from the mid-calf down, my fingers and hands are numb, but I have pictures. I trudge back through the snow, into the garage where I leave my tripod and camera because I can't feel my fingers to take the camera off the tripod, and go inside to take everything wet off. I load the pictures onto the computer and...my settings were off. So, I have about 10 pictures of white blobs. Great! Take two...

Now that I know that I can't shoot from the comfort of the garage, I opt to go to the front yard this time, because at least half of the sidewalk got shoveled and I can set up the camera there. And I put regular clothes and shoes on. Oh, and I fix my camera settings inside the house where it's warm. Of course, the moon is directly overhead and the tripod won't tilt far enough so I have to trudge into the snow again but at least this time I have real shoes on!

I played with the settings a little while outside shooting, and this was my best shot. I used the settings of: ISO 200, f/11 @1/1000th sec. with a focal length of 250 mm. I cropped in post to position and zoom a bit.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Photo Challenge #18

(click to view larger image)
Today, it snowed. And snowed. And then, it snowed some more.

I will say, people prepared well. They bought every loaf of bread in town. Not sure why because there were still knuckleheads that ignored every warning issued by the media, police agencies all over the Texas panhandle, TX Department of Transportation, etc. that specifically stated DO NOT DRIVE! and went out driving anyway.

This is why my husband is the cop, not me. If I were the one who had to freeze my backside off rescuing idiots who were too stubborn to head warnings and stay home, then got stuck in a snow drift, I'd let them sit there awhile so they had time to think about what a stupid decision that was. Perhaps that is the mom in me? You live with the consequences of your actions. I'm not risking my life to save your ass. :) OK, maybe for my kids, I would.

Anyway, this is a picture I took during the snow storm. The photo is of my neighbor's house across the street. Why her house and not my own? Because it was too stinkin' cold to leave my front porch, which is where I took the picture. Because it was so cloudy, snowy, and just grey outside, I did clean up, brighten and sharpen the image in post-processing more than I usually do.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Photography Challenge #17

This is where I spend far too much time. The keyboard on my laptop.

Normally, I don't go around photographing my keyboard. I know there are far more interesting things. However, the members of a photography forum that I belong to do random challenges intended to inspire and motivate us. This photo was for a challenge involving "Letters". Initially, I had another project in mind that involved using small plastic letters that Miss Mac used for phonics. They are small, and brightly colored. But, they seem to have been misplaced. So, I opted for the keyboard. A quick but simple task.

I thought wrong!

Ten photos and thirty minutes later I realized some important points. First, my living room has terrible lighting at night. Second, my keyboard on the laptop is black and glossy and reflects in an odd manner. Trial and error. Adjust and re shoot. And this is what I ended up with finally. Not great. Definitely not too interesting. Vast improvement over the initial photo on a project I thought would be simple.

Thankfully, nothing is ever simple and we are given ample opportunities to learn from our challenges.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Photo Challenge #16

Down in front!!

Texas is known for cattle and rightfully so. I know of four rather large feed lots within ten miles of our house. My husband would probably correct me and tell me there are more but then he spends his time driving around our county so he would know. A feed lot is where cattle go before they're taken to slaughter; it's for a final "fattening". Feed lots are smelly, and enough to make any meat-eater consider a vegan lifestyle - at least temporarily.

But cows can be kind of cute.

After an afternoon of driving around taking pictures, I decided since the wind was blowing away from the feed lot that I would stop and take some pictures. I never knew cows were so funny! We stopped the truck between two lots, and every cow in each lot pushed up against the railings to see. The ones in the back would push forward, causing the ones in front to have to scoot over. And they all just looked at me standing there with my camera, taking pictures. I couldn't decide if they were trying to figure out what I was doing, or if it was more of a "me next!" kind of thing! Then these two in the photo jumped up to see over!

I never thought when I decided to stop for a cow photo shoot that it would be half as entertaining.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Photo Challenge 15

Yesterday, my son commanded his Jr. ROTC Color Guard at a special memorial ceremony. He did a fantastic job. About one hundred people turned out to show respect for fallen soldiers. This picture is one of many I took. While the photo looked nice in color, I did change it to black and white to give it emphasis in post-processing with Corel.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Photo Challenge

Since I have fallen so far behind with posting pictures for the photo challenge, and it would be silly to post 4-5 pictures just for the purpose of catching up, I'm just starting over. After all, it is my blog and I can do that! It's part of the reason I didn't go with a structured group for the challenge. I knew at some point I would slack, and while a group can sometimes be helpful by holding a person accountable, it can also be a deterrent. Once you "fail" at the task, it is far too easy to convince yourself there isn't any point to starting over. It depends on the personality of the group, whether rigid or flexible.

Now that I've babbled on about that long enough...here I start. Again.

Our family is blessed to live where we do. Our neighborhood is nice (mostly - you gotta have a few bad eggs to keep things interesting, right?) and our street in particular is small and pretty social. The children all play together and we look out for each other. One of my neighbors, a lovely woman, turned 70 yesterday. A friend she has known since school sent her these for her birthday. She invited me over to see them and I offered to take photos for her - after all a picture will last longer than flowers. The entire bouquet was 70 yellow roses and it was just stunning!

Friends are the glue that holds us together. I hope I live to be 70 and if I do, I hope I'm blessed to not only have friends like that but more importantly, to be a friend like that.