Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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WordPress Photo Challenge: Place in the World

The photo challenge this week is all about place – where do we go when we need comfort or to feel creatively challenged?

Many of you can probably guess where my place is, whenever I can get there I love to be on the shores of my Lake Michigan.

But sometimes it’s not possible to travel the four hours to get to my lake. Lucky for me I have a park not so far away that provides similar inspiration and comfort. You’ve seen me visit Kensington Metro Park frequently too.

Isn’t it amazing that a person can feel a special connection to more than one place in the world? I feel very lucky.

What’s your special place? Where do you feel most at home? Is it a nature filled place or a city close to family or somewhere in between? I look forward to seeing your place!


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WordPress photo challenge: Sunset

When I saw this week’s prompt I knew immediately the sunset I wanted to show you.

Fire to the south of me.

I was in northern Michigan in December of 2015 when one evening the sky just exploded. To the south it was burning in orange and reds, and to the north the sky was sighing in shades of pink and purple.

Cotton candy to the north of me.

The air was pinkish gold. I couldn’t shoot fast enough, and I never felt the cold.

The waves were tipped in light.

Though I usually limit myself to one photo for a photo challenge, this time I just couldn’t decide. So since the sunset itself was divided between fire and sweet I decided to go with full disclosure.

The islands out at the horizon were crowned by gold and purple.

Picture me turning from south to north and back again, trying not to miss any detail.

It just kept getting better.

It was amazing and I’m so glad to be able to relive it through these shots.

What a place to sit and enjoy the show!

And, as always, I’m glad to share them with you.

A firestorm in the sky.


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Birds!

It’s been cold up here and I’ve been hibernating in the house. The day before yesterday we finally got to double digit temperatures (Fahrenheit and above zero!). Sitting on the sofa, camera by my side I was watching the lake when this big guy stopped by to look for lunch.

I got to see him run up and down the tree, then fly past my window. He was really cool in flight, maybe someday I’ll catch that too.

And yesterday on a walk down the street I got only two driveways away when I heard a soft chirping. I looked up and saw this:

A whole flock of something. Can you guess? Does this help?

Yes you are correct! A huge flock of cedar wax wings! Those in the tree were resting after a big lunch. Lunch was a buffet on a tree full of red berries.

I cropped the heck out of that shot, and I liked the artsy form it took on when I tried to get the bird’s colors to show.

I think I saw a bald eagle when I was out too, but it was way too far away for me to be sure. I’ll be here another day, and I’ve seen them fly down the shore before, so you never know.

Stay tuned.


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Chilly Tourist

Thursday the snow slowed a bit and someone plowed the driveway. I took the opportunity to go to town with groceries and visiting in mind.

But before I got to town I had to stop and grab this barn with the dark clouds.

There’s a storm brewing over there.

And this orchard with the rope of clouds above it.

Striking clouds that morning.

Once in town I stopped by Dog Ears Bookstore to visit with owner Sarah and her person Pamela.

Queen of all she surveys.

We chatted for awhile and then I got brave and drove eleven miles over curving hilly snow covered roads to Leland where I spent a few bone chilling minutes wandering historic Fishtown

Cold and lonely.

I don’t know what the temperature was, but with the wind blowing I know it was below zero.

Snowy fish.

I’d see something interesting, take off the gloves, shoot the image, and put those gloves back on while stowing the camera under my coat as fast as I could.

Icy cold.

I didn’t stay very long. This town is definitely a tourist destination, though there were plenty of locals out and about. They didn’t seem that cold.

Crazy cold.

Along the way home I saw a few interesting things that made me pull over and attempt a capture.

The snow is starting back up again.

I was only out there a couple of hours, but by the time I got back to the house I was glad to look at the view from the sofa.

There’s a lot of color out there.

And I was grateful for the little lap warmer named Lydia too.

Pet me!


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Every day is different

Sometime in the middle of the night I woke to the absence of sound. I smiled as I realized that the wind had died down and the lake had stopped it’s incessant pounding. The quiet lulled me back to sleep.

This morning the bands of lake effect snow drift across the lake toward the house. I watch them like I used to watch rain on the lake where I grew up. The snow dances like fog out along the horizon and then moves closer until my entire view is obscured. And then, just as quickly it is gone.

More snow on the way.

Yesterday ice began to push against the shore. Today there is an even wider band of ice on the beach, and large pies of ice floating free in the slow rocking waves further out.

Cold.

And, today, in between bands of snow I spotted my first freighter headed north.

See that ship out there?

For a brief moment the snow abated and the colors of the lake, though muted, began to glow.

Catch the light when you can.

And then the snow closed in again, the vignette disappeared, and I headed back up to the house.

Another day of beautiful blues.


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Day two on the shore of my favorite Lake

This morning, the day after Christmas, started out just like yesterday ended; blowing snow and roaring wind and waves. I was somewhat discouraged to face another full day inside. Still….the lake was beautiful, though often obscured by bands of incoming snow.

Not a good morning to lounge on the deck.

I began a new book. Checked social media. Checked the fridge. Filled the cat bowl with fresh food and water. Took a nap. Watched some cooking shows on PBS, and then learned how to paint a happy little tree with Bob Ross. By early afternoon the wind had died down a tiny bit and I pulled on the coat, hat, boots, gloves and grabbed the camera to go down to the lake and see what was what.

Each little weed is covered in ice and pressed snow.

For all the blowing and noise of the night there really was very little snow left on the dune. But each little stem of the dune grasses was coated in a hard covering of ice and snow.

And the rope, which would be used to help me climb back up the dune looked permanently frozen, but beautiful.

Not so helpful now.

The wind really hadn’t died down very much after all, I was just out in between snow bands. It was frigid, (only 7 degrees F, -13 C) so cold I couldn’t really see through my view finder, especially squatted down low to see those little ice clad weeds. The horizons on those shots were almost 45 degrees! Good thing I found the straightening tool in Lightroom!

I only lasted outside for a total of 7 minutes. And I didn’t risk climbing down the dune to the water. But I got outside and I feel much better for having tried. I might even attempt a drive to town. But probably not, as that would entail removing ice from the car windshield. Tomorrow might be a better day for that adventure.

So, until I get out to find something new to capture, stay warm everybody!

Cold.


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Practicing on the lake

The lakes expands up over the beach.

I’m sitting in a warm living room, way up north, on the shores of Lake Michigan. I’m devoting Christmas Day to reading and napping and occasionally running down the forty-something steps in an attempt to capture the magnificent lake in all it’s windy, turquoise and frothy white splendor.

The colors are wonderful. In between bands of snow I try to capture the sound of the roar and sight of the tossing waves and the feel of ice pelting my face.

The sun came out for a brief moment.

I only take a few shots before my fingers are too cold to work and my ears feel like they might fall off. Still, it’s enough to use in my processing practice.

I’m still learning. But truly the lake really is this magnificent turquoise color, and the clouds really were navy.

The waves are bigger than they look.

Since this morning the snow has moved in and though the lake is still it’s beautiful greenish blue, the sky has turned an uninteresting shade of slate grey. They say it’s 9 degrees (-12.77 C) here, and that’s not accounting for the wind chill.

The wind is roaring in off the lake, the sound is deafening outside and noticeable even sitting on the sofa, the huge waves pounding the shore are mesmerizing. I’m glad I’m inside and I doubt I’ll be out again any time soon. So I’ll sit and listen to holiday music while figuring out more about Lightroom.

Standing above the lake on a dune.

I’m so glad I have such an alive subject to use in my practice!

Wind, water and snowy sand.


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Playing with the night

Ok, OK. I’ll show you a couple of my failed night images from last weekend’s trip to Traverse City. My excuses are many, most I blame on the cold wind, rain, and sleet. And fumbling fingers, and bad eyes.

It was a dark and stormy night.

And remember, none of this is the fault of our instructor. She would have gone to the same locations in the same weather and found something much more worthy of your perusal.

The photos here are after I’ve messed with them a bit in Lightroom. I can’t show you the original images because they were shot in RAW and apparently WordPress won’t allow them. They’re probably too big. Or something. Plus when I went back to change the originals into JPEGs in Lightroom they had been replaced with the edited versions and it’s just too much work to go upload the originals and try again. I’ve barely figured out how to get this far.

Anyway.

We started out at the Traverse City marina where the waves were crashing over the end of the pier and the rain was beginning to drive sideways.

That first image up at the top was at the marina. I was pointing at nothing in particular, trying to figure out my camera settings and I accidentally set off the shutter. It turned out very very orange, but the neat thing about shooting in RAW is that when you go to edit it you can change the white balance. So I did. Plus I tweeked a few other things…still, it’s a weird shot and not one I’d normally show you.

The person in the left corner is another of our students, wearing his red headlamp. I liked the reflection in the puddle. That’s about all I liked in this one.

Shortly after that shot I was messing around with the camera, thinking I might get some wave action when a Traverse City Police officer drove up, while my shutter was open, to find out what kind of fool was out in that weather. So this is what I got.

And then there was light.

The original image was completely blown out by white light. So I found it interesting to see that I could push that much light back and still see something. Even though, once again, it wasn’t a shot of anything I really liked.

Still trying to get a shot of the waves crashing over the concrete barrier we tried to use headlights from our own car shining out over the bay.

Caught a little bit of a wave.

It didn’t really work, but still, after editing, it kind of tells you how cold and wet it was that night. The only warmth is the red light shining from my neighbor’s headlamp.

After we gave up on the marina we drove way out to a lighthouse. By the time we got there it was snowing wet sleety flakes. And the wind had picked up.

Oh joy.

It was difficult to face into the wind coming off the lake and take pictures of the lights of Traverse City to the south. So we focused, out of self preservation, on the unlit lighthouse behind us.

Standing in all kinds of weather.

I set the camera up, choosing 28 seconds of exposure, and someone lit the lighthouse up with a pen light for a moment. It’s called light painting. It’s not perfect, and my lens had drops of water on it. But it was fun.

This image doesn’t begin to convey how cold and windy it was out there that night. By the time we headed back to the car we were all soaked through our many layers of clothes.

But my goodness it was fun!

I want to try again some night when it’s not 28 degrees (-2.22 C) with driving snow. Some night when the stars are out and the air is fresh with spring would be good. I’m already scouting out locations.

And I’m beginning to mess around with Lightroom. Between the instruction I received last weekend, and a book I have I’m starting to make sense of it.

My favorite lighthouse

I haven’t found the straightening tool, and I’m having trouble figuring out how to import just one photo instead of the entire folder. And I know there’s oh so much more that I haven’t found yet.

But I’ve started. And that’s the hardest step in any learning process.

It’s a long road.


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Looking for the night sky

Most of the time photography is an offshoot of travel for me. We travel to see a different part of the world or to visit family and friends or to attend an event. Photography just happens along the way.

Inviting path.

This time it was different. This time the reason for the trip was photography. And more than that, it was to learn about night photography.

Hello Lake!

So you’d think I’d have some night photos to share with all of you. But I don’t. I have possibly one shot I’d share with you, and I’m not proud of that one either. Mostly I have a whole lot of crazy nothing in particular, error filled, photos.

But I’ll tell you what, I learned a ton.

Pulling me toward the lake.

The weather wasn’t conducive to being outside at night in November in northern Michigan. We had wind that only grew stronger as the evening approached. We had rain that turned into sleet and snow. Obviously we had no stars to focus on.

Stripes of color.

So there will be no star shots in this blog post. But I have every intention of going out some clear winter night and attempting it again. Preferably when there aren’t gale force winds or driving sleet.

November on the Lake.

I am also struggling with the loss of my familiar Photoshop editing program. When my laptop died I was lucky that husband was able to retrieve my documents and photos. But the Lightroom he reinstalled looks different than what I remember, and to be honest, I never used Lightroom because I found it too complicated. I used Photoshop all the time and that didn’t get reinstalled.

I wish I could lighten this up.

So I really really need to read my Lightroom book and figure stuff out. Because until then I can’t straighten horizons or fix the light, or paint out errors. You’ll have to live with the photos as they came out of the camera. Sometimes that’s good. Sometimes not so much.

Bye bye Lake! See you next time.

The images in this post were taken during the few hours I had free while I was up near Traverse City. Lake Michigan was it’s traditional turquoise, there were interesting clouds, and of course my favorite lighthouses.

Also one last barn.

I could’t resist stopping for this one.

I’m debating if I should show you the night images. It would be a study in what not to do. It might provide a bit of levity to your day.

I’ll think about it.

The sun sets on a wonderful weekend.