Sunday, December 30, 2007

Browns & Greens

From two very different climates:

Browns along the Pennsylvania Turnpike last month, on our return trip from Dayton (same trip as the Cloud post ... I was entertaining myself taking pictures out of the window).

Greens in Arches National Park last May, a desert wonderland. I took the pictures because, in each case, different shades of one particular color caught my eye. I'm also trying to pair pictures up, and I'll have a few more sets for you all here shortly :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Ansel the Red-Nosed ReinCat

Ansel's "grandmother" got him a laser-pointer toy for Christmas. He loved it! However, he couldn't see it when it was pointed at his face, even though it made his nose glow like a certain famous reindeer. I just had to nab and share this picture :)

So, once again (just in case the moose wasn't enough), the ReinCat says MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays ...

and a Merry Chris-Moose!

Mr. Moose is wishing everyone a very happy holiday season and hopes everyone is safe and sound and having good times with family and friends. And sends a big thank you to all the well-wishers who stopped by, too!

Christmas equals family and tradition in my eyes, so I'm going to share this picture of my grandfather. I'm looking through a door in his house, out across the porch to where he's doing some chores. My grandmother (or maybe even my great-grandmother) hand crocheted the pineapple-pattern lace that covers the glass.

When I was younger, I would hang small bulbs and wreaths and other decorations all over the window coverings. Grandma and I would also bake hundreds of cookies, especially sugar cookies, on the days I had off from school. It would take Pap quite a while to get through all those. I made a double batch of sugar cookies last night; we'll see how long it takes Pappy this year!

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Cedar waxwings having a ball:

There's actually six birds in the shot, but a few of them are just blurs. I guess this is feeding activity?

Lately, my creative energies have been directed into other venues. I've been shopping for Christmas presents, making jewelry for Christmas presents, wrapping those presents, and cooking, among other things. I love the holiday season, but it's amazing how zapped all that can make you feel. Blogging has taken a bit of a back burner, but I'm eager to get back to it full force :)

Monday, December 10, 2007


Part of a big flock of starlings, hanging out on high voltage power line supports. It amazes me how birds can line up on these kinds of wires and not get toasted.

Not too long ago, we saw an IMAX movie on helicopters. One segment showed the local electric company, PPL, performing maintenance on its electric lines. A person scooted out of a helicopter (already something I wouldn't do!) and crawled directly on to the wire. As long as the person and the helicopter touched no other objects, the whole technique worked just like a bird sitting on the line - no getting electrified!

It probably goes without saying that you could not pay me enough to take on that job :)

Friday, December 07, 2007

Thanks Everybody - Its a Beech!

Anybody know what kind of tree these leaves belong to? I am curious to find out.

It may not be a native tree. We found it in the woods, but close to an old stone foundation. So it might've provided shade for the yard in years long passed. Something kept it from being logged, it was by far the largest tree around.

ETA: I don't think anyone will be logging it anytime soon, although some people would probably love to get their mitts on it - the tree is now on state park property :)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Attention to Detail

This is a shot of a window blind pull at the Dayton Aviation Heritage Visitor Center (the one with the vintage wallpaper). They had every last detail worked out. These days it seems like we rarely make something so utilitarian so beautiful.

I've really enjoyed finding out what others envisioned in the cloud formation I posted - I think I can see most of them, but a few I have to squint real hard with one eye and close the other :P

Friday, November 30, 2007

What Do You See?

I snapped this interesting cloud on the drive home from Ohio. Justin thinks it looks like a jellyfish. I think it looks like a crooked finger, like someone is saying "come here." I guess clouds are kind of what you make of them :)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Vintage Wallpaper and a Fond Farewell

I hope all had a nice, safe time this last Thanksgiving week. We are doing fine, although of course the deer is not. While the car had a great run (its 18 years old!), this straw has broken the camel's back, and it will be traded in this weekend for a new model. It's not even my car, but its really grown on me. I'm going to miss it!

In other news, I had one of those "So THAT's what that button does" moments, and figured out how to make collages with Picasa :)

We went to the Dayton Aviation Heritage NHP while we were visiting Justin's parents. I was very impressed with the Visitor's Center located next to the Wright Brothers' Cycle Shop. The exhibits were interactive and really attention-getting. You could push a button to make an engine run, and a life-sized propeller spin. Plus there was a recreation of a corner grocery store, with mannequins that talked to you. The upstairs was done up as rooms of a house, and each room had ornate wallpaper in what I assume are vintage patterns. Even the ceilings were papered. Needless to say, I was fascinated.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Forget the Turkey ...

We got a deer!

Justin is officially a Pennsylvanian now that he's had a run-in with a deer. This happened Wednesday night, on our way to his parents in Ohio. We were only a couple of miles from the McConnellsburg exit, which is close to where my parents live. Fortunately, his car is big and sturdy - we hit the deer on the Turnpike in holiday traffic, and it easily could have been far worse. He's out some headlights, and the quarter panel is pushed back just enough that the passenger door cannot open. So I get funny looks for crawling out the driver's side :)

I've had enough adventure. I'm planning on having a nice relaxing rest of the week!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Turkey Travel Time

It's still a little early yet, but I wish everyone who celebrates it a Happy Thanksgiving, and for all those who travel, be safe. We'll be leaving this evening for Ohio, and I most likely won't be able to post or catch up on blogs till Sunday. I'll miss you all!

I thought a leafy trail in its fall glory would be nice for all those who are travelling somewhere this holiday weekend (although hopefully no one has to go too far by foot!).

Picture taken two weekends ago in Susquehannock State Park, in Lancaster County.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Hocking Hills

Since it was a rainy weekend, and we are getting our stuff together to head to Ohio for turkey time, I though I'd post two pictures from a rainy day in Ohio. These were taken in Hocking Hills State Park, back in the summer of 2006. It was just barely raining, and very misty.

We'll be going to the opposite side of Ohio this coming week, but we'll make it back to Hocking Hills sooner or later. Before I started dating an Ohio boy, I never really pictured scenes like this when I thought of "Ohio." I thought it was all flat as a board.

In fact, I've learned all kinds of interesting stuff about Ohio in the past few years. If you're interested in Native American mound building, use the label "OH" on the right to get to a long-ago post with a picture of the Serpent Mound. It's at the very bottom, after some posts on flowers, barns, and covered bridges.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Get Your Ducks in a Row

Thank you all for your kind words and encouragement on my anniversary post! I really do appreciate it, and I really enjoy keeping up with my blogging friends. Can't believe its been over a year already! Now, for all my blogging friends, here are some of my ducky friends:

These mallards stop by our detention basin pretty much every time it rains enough for them to get their feet wet. On this day, they would paddle along, get tired of swimming, put their feet down, and start walking (the water was only a few inches deep). There were actually quite a few of them out there. Once they saw me, they'd start to move in the opposite direction. Twenty-some ducks tramping around and quacking are loud!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Stone Soldier

From Gettysburg, last year, on Veteran's Day.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Teasel Time = Party Time!

I've missed some opportunities to toot my own horn lately. Back in September I reached the one year anniversary of my first post, and four posts ago (the b & w barn), I reached my 100th post. Didn't know I passed either milestone at the time. So now that I'm aware, its party time!

I usually find hobbies, become infatuated, and then lose that loving feeling pretty quickly. I'm proud of myself for sticking with blogging. I find it very entertaining, and you all certainly make it more than worthwhile!

I chose this picture because recently several blogger friends posted beautiful and educational pictures and comments about teasel. I think its a good example of how inspiration can pass from blog to blog, photo to photo.

I took this back on Fulton Fall Folk Festival weekend. Mom had whipped her little car into the driveway of a home with a garage sale. Fortuitously, a field full of teasel was right behind where she parked and I grabbed this shot.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Kickoff to Cold Weather

Because its finally getting cold here, and because I haven't had much time to shoot lately, I rooted out a frosty shot from November two years ago. This is the same gorgeous icy morning in the Great Smokies that I posted about back in August. It remains what is probably the most beautiful morning I've ever had the pleasure of witnessing.

These deer are all alertly watching my father, the PA Wildlife Photographer, as he made his way through the field towards some larger bucks. I didn't have the lens to pull the bucks in, so I went for the arrangement of distracted does. I imagine I'll probably be posting more photos from this particular morning as we descend into winter here in Pennsylvania.

I haven't been able to visit you all as much as I would like to this last week or so. I'll be coming around soon, though :)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Election Day (Tell Me How You Really Feel)

Tomorrow, at least in this part of the world, is Election Day. I am a big fan, because it is a day off work, and that's always a reason to celebrate.

Usually, plenty of stronger emotions and a good deal of humor are wrapped up in the election of government officials. This year there are a couple of big issues that has everyone all worked up, but I haven't seen any really clever or outrageous campaign signs. So, in honor of Election Day, here are a few of my finds through the years:

From when I lived in East Tennessee

From vacation in Las Vegas, Nevada

Now with a name like Cotton in a state like Tennesee, you just have to take advantage. I made a special effort to get a picture of that sign. The second one I took from the car while waiting at a stoplight. Whoever posted these had no problem telling us how they really felt. I wanted to be able to blow the picture up to read the fine print, because the large print seemed bad enough! The sign says, among other things, "'Family friendly' assemblywoman will crush any child in her path"! Wonder how that election turned out ...

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Beautiful Boards

My friend Sandy has been to the "the barn" several times over the years, and has posted several of her favorite pictures here. Please check it out!

I decided to post a far less creepy picture of the barn, taken on the same day as the previous post. With those warm-colored boards, there's nothing scary at all :)

A Shadow of What You Once Were

I planned to post this for Halloween, because I thought it looked eerie. However, I got distracted by flowers and dropped the ball on that one :) This scene intrigued me because the shadow of the tree on the barn brought two types of wood into the picture, living and dead. Although dead seems like the wrong word for such beautiful knotty boards, and its only a shadow of the living tree.

My Cousin Chad gave me very good advice on cropping and editing this photo (big thank you!). His latest post tells about his experience with the barn.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Floral Fireworks

There's a flower vendor in the Central Market in Lancaster that always has really interesting, unique bouquets for sale.

Justin occasionally brings them home to me :)

I love flowers about as much as I love birds (alot!) and, now, blogging has inspired me to use them as a photo opportunity as well as something pretty to look at. Thanks, guys!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Birds on the Brain

I've noticed quite a few posts about birds lately and felt the need to add another to the mix, as they are one of my favorite subjects :) But I had to cheat, this one is from a few months ago.

I was sitting on the deck at Mom's and she wanted me to take pictures of the hummingbirds. The hummingbirds sit in the chestnut tree at the side of the house when they are not at the feeders. I was having trouble with them, and started taking pictures of whatever bird would sit still long enough. I thought I had a nice shot at a goldfinch. But when I reviewed my pictures, I realized it wasn't a goldfinch at all!

After a great deal of time with two different identification guides, Mom and I decided it was an immature Chestnut-Sided Warbler (after the oven bird incident, Justin tries to tell me this is a yellow-headed crab finch - yeah right :). This shot makes me smile, because I had no idea what I was shooting at the time I took the photo: a type of bird I'd never seen before!

ETA: Ack! I tried to post from Picasa's "Blog This" feature. I assume that's what caused the problems. Here's the bird :)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

For Sale

Colorful stuff for sale at the Fulton Fall Folk Festival. Getting a mum (or two, or three) is one of my fall traditions. I first saw the red pumpkin on Friday, when it was dreary and drizzling. I thought it made a nice sort of natural selective color situation. When we came back late on Saturday afternoon, the little red pumpkin was still there, but it was sunny this time. To my surprise, I like the pictures taken on the overcast day better.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

It's a Set Up!

I've been meaning to share this, ever since Salty posted me taking this shot with Chad watching on. You can see the set up here.

It's obviously not a naturally occurring situation, but I am not above staging if I think the result might be interesting :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

My Walk in Details

My Sunday walk provided me with something I'd been wanting for a while: a decent shot of one of my favorite wildflowers (though some would call it a weed), chickory. A bumblebee was nice enough to point out this perfectly lit flower, but off he flew before I could get him in the frame.

This goldfinch is cropped so tightly that the shot is not good for much besides web viewing. But since I can't convince the birds to let me walk up and shake their hands, this is the best I can do :) As it is, I was amazed that this one let me approach so closely. I guess he was really determined to get the seeds from his plant.

And finally, one more leaf filter to round out the trip. This is an extra-munchy sycamore leaf, found down by the creek.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Fording

The road doesn't end here, but the walk does, if you have shoes you don't want to get wet! The fording is where the road meets the creek, without advantage of bridge or culvert.

As the creek marks the boundary of my grandfather's land, its always been a good destination and sometimes turning point for my rambles. This Sunday, I turned right and headed overland, keeping close to the creek for a while. I found that, although no person regularly walks the grounds, there were plenty of paths worn into the forest floor. Deer make these trails, and I was glad to use them. I find it "endeering" that animals that have the run of many acres still create and stick to pathways, even when the underbrush doesn't limit them in any way. I soon stumbled into an area where four deer were bedded down, and we gave each other mutual heart attacks as they snorted, jumped, and ran for it.

Earlier this year, Salty posted about two individuals who had very different experiences with the fording than I had this sunny fall day. You can check their stories out here, if you haven't already done so.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Good Morning from Fulton County

Welcome to Fulton County! This is a view very familiar to me, as it is within throwing distance of my parent's home.

Sunday morning I went on a walk, just me and my camera and my binoculars (and some brownies, but that's besides the point :). The air was crisp, the colors were bright, the birds were singing and I was in heaven. I kept a mental list of the birds I saw that morning, including a friendly downy woodpecker that modeled for me.

I saw mockingbirds, robins, a titmouse, a kingfisher, a flicker, bluebirds, a flycatcher of some sort, chipping and white throated sparrows, goldfinches, blue jays, crows, a mourning dove, and cardinals. I heard a nuthatch, but never saw it. The woods and fencerows were crawling with winged critters, another advantage to morning.

I do a decent amount of hiking these days, but I don't have much of an opportunity anymore to stroll through woods and fields, completely off of any established trail, completely alone. But I did so for many, many hours in my earlier years. I recommend it to anyone, and I plan to share more moments from this walk in the next few days :)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Sweet Side, part II

I wasn't really expecting to see a lot of folks I knew, but I ended up finding my grandfather, an uncle, and six cousins in amongst the various parts of the parade. Pappy surprised us by being third in line with his 1970s-era Mercury Marquis:

One of my cousins is a flute in the marching band (just like I was) ...

And another was proud of his tractor, and trying to play it cool while his photo-crazy cousin snapped a bunch of pics ...

Mom and I "fleamarketed" like crazy all of Friday and most of Saturday, but I'm glad that we took an hour or so out of our day to watch the FFFF parade.

The Sweet Side of the FFFF, part I

After Salty's post, I can understand how some might get the wrong idea about the Fulton Fall Folk Festival ... but I have a softer, sweeter side to show you:

The FFFF Parade is a Saturday tradition. When I was in marching band in high school, we dreaded this parade because it seemed like miles and miles of tractors signed up for it and slowed things down.

But one of the great things about it, for kids, is that people in the parade toss out candy along the way. The auto parts store where my Mother works, and where we normally watch the parade, is right next to the fairgrounds, where the parade ends. It was hit or miss to be a kid watching at NAPA. Some of the folks had run out of candy. They had thrown to all the kids who had the sense to sit closer to the beginning of the parade route. But those that had candy left over, those were the best, because they'd toss out great big handfulls to the last kids along the route. I guess it all evened out it the end :)

We watched from a different vantage point this time. These tykes were right in the middle of the route, and were having a great time stuffing all the tootsie rolls and smarties into the bag provided by Mom.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

To See & Be Seen

One final picture from last weekend, before I head to my parents' house to enjoy the Fulton Fall Folk Festival (I'll call it the 4Fs from now on) this weekend. If you've been keeping up with the Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer, you'll know about the deer below already. They are quite trusting when people familiar to them are near, and and we got to stop in for a visit .

Normally I avoid placing shadows in the frame, but this time I thought they added a sense of being watched to the deer in the picture, and also helped to show how close we were to them.

I have a feeling Salty and I may have dueling 4F blogs come Sunday :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Family Affair

One thing I've realized about my photography is that I rarely have people in my pictures. This last weekend was a welcome change!

It was wonderful how my Uncle, Aunt, and Cousin made the shoot a family affair. My Aunt did not have a camera with her. But several times she pointed out interesting colors or compositions and the camera crew started shooting away. When a daisy wouldn't stop blowing in the wind, my Uncle steadied it so Chad could work his magic. And then, all three were willing to reenact the daisy shoot, to allow me to get some shots.

Teamwork gets the job done!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Green & Gold (Leaf Filters)

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

-Robert Frost

A church near my apartment has this on its message board: "If you are reluctant to change, think of the beauty of autumn." I believe there is truth and comfort in this statement. When we were in New England, we drove by the church where the famous poet Robert Frost is buried. He lived in New Hampshire and Vermont for many years, and I think his words capture the pairing of autumn and change so gracefully.

If you are interested in the story behind the "leaf filters," my fellow filterer Chad has recounted the adventure far better than I could here. My Uncle has documented the technique (me manhandling a leaf) in his latest post.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Framed in Fall

This weekend, I was lucky to be in the complete company of my "Family of Bloggers". We haven't all been in the same place since before we started blogging! We had a blast traipsing through the woods and playing with the fall leaves.

Some of my favorite effects are ones that happen completely by accident. This time, I was trying to take a macro shot of a leaf, and noticed that I could see Justin through a tiny hole. I told him to hold still, changed a few settings, and got this interesting perspective. Once Chad returns home, we'll post some shots we got using leaves as filters.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Whale to Watch

I'm trying something new: blogger's video function. I took some footage on our whale watching excursion. Of course, this is hand held on a rocking boat with a still camera's video function, so it has really great picture quality :P Here's a photo, too, in case the video thing doesn't work out so well :) These are humpback whales; the guide said they're the most playful of the ones they typically see. These guys seemed to be having a good time, doing their whale things :)

Fall in Vermont

We're back from out last road trip, and finally getting caught up with everything. I was excited to see New England in all its fall glory. This is a church spire in Bennington, VT. The fall color had not peaked in the valleys, but the higher mountains had some. We drove to the top of Equinox Mountain on a mostly cloudy day. We were just underneath the clouds:

We had more luck with the leaves and the sunshine in New Hampshire, but I'll save that for the next post. Instead, I'll offer up something that Vermont surprised us with:

Hot air balloons! The Quechee area is apparently the hot air balloon capital of Vermont. The lower one in the picture ended up wedging itself the entire way into the valley - the tops of the trees were covering the balloon. I think it would be really neat to get a ride in one of these puppies!


On a separate note: a girl leaves town for a few days and comes back to find her Dad has launched his own blog! I'm sure most of you have seen the post and link on Salty's page, but if you missed it, check out Dad's posts as the Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Susquehanna Sunburst

We are heading for New England this evening, so I will leave you all with a parting shot ...

I can't take credit for taking this picture, but I can for the editing. Justin's camera seems to get better sunburst effects than mine. I wasn't going for a realistic result, just something that looks interesting. I may do a blog from the road, but if not, I'll catch up with you all on Monday!