Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Shedding light on Lightroom

Saturday I attended an all day class intended to up my skill level in the photo editing software Lightroom. The first half of the day was spent learning about cataloging your inventory of photos within Lightroom.

Mama! Don’t you see this stupid stick right next to me?

Much of that went right over my head. I have a system to keep track of my photos, and though it isn’t perfect and would probably make little sense to anyone but me, I am not sure I’m ready to change.

Well, if you don’t look too close, that’s a little better mama. And I like the light!

After all, change is hard.

Cheerful little guy.

The second half of the day was spent in the development module, and was the reason I was there. Though I tried very hard to focus and listen while at the same time playing along on my laptop, some of it still escaped me.

Sitting in a spot of make believe sunshine.

But I learned a lot of the basics, and as I practice I’m sure I’ll get better.

Sunset at the park.

The photos in this blog were taken in the past week with the new Nikon Z6 camera. I’m posting the original, out of the camera image and then the adjusted, messed around with image.

A bit over the top.

Sometimes the changes are subtle, sometimes I’ve over adjusted just to see how far I could take it.

This little guy wanted a treat.

I still have so much to learn…but at least I have hope that I can learn, little by little, photo by photo I’m going to figure it out.

Still hungry.

And maybe I’ll reorganize all those thousands of photos I already have in my catalog.

Just remember who’s most beautiful around here mama.


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Sunshine makes me smile

Sunshine makes everything prettier.


We’ve had days and days of dark sky, rain and cold wind. Though we haven’t had snow or even temps as cold as usual for early January, it’s been pretty miserable.

And then the sun came out.

Hurry mama! We have to enjoy the sun while it’s here!

The temperatures climbed into the fifties and it smelled like spring. For a brief moment I felt the unfurling of joy at the thought winter was over.

And then I remembered it was only January and I laughed at myself.

Moss glowing deep in the woods.

We had two lovely days of sunshine and warm temperatures. That and my Katie-girl made me smile.

What made you smile this past week?

Smiling in January.


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Trent’s Weekly Smile or A Bird in the Hand

During the holidays I’ve lost track of Trent’s Weekly Smile challenge, but surely there are things to make me smile this week. After all Christmas was just this past Tuesday.

Come along with me, there’s got to be something to smile about down here!

Still, I was feeling kind of blue, typical for me around this time of year, with the anniversary of my dad’s death on the 23rd. And this year I had the loss of two people I’d call friends, one in his 80s who was a big supporter of our community band, another a friend from almost forty years ago, someone I haven’t seen in many years but still count as a friend. Both died this week of cancer before Christmas had a chance to arrive.

So early this morning I headed out to my favorite park with my new camera, intent on figuring some camera stuff out while searching for a smile. This park never lets me down.

Even though it’s winter there are still colors here.

My goal was to figure out the manual settings on the new camera, how to set the aperture, the iso, the shutter speed. I’d read the manual and I’d searched youtube. Still, though it made sense while I was sitting on the sofa, I hadn’t been successful on the fly once in the woods.

New ice.

Maybe without Katie to distract me I could figure it out today.

I hadn’t intended to grab images of the birds eating out of my hand this time. You’ve seen those before.

Sure, I’ll pose next to these berries for you lady. That will be one seed please.

But I did have a pocket full of seed, hoping to lure them to me so that I could get good photos of them in their ‘natural’ habitat.

Got anything for breakfast lady?

But darn they were cute on my hand too. They were so hungry! I think I was the first human out there and as soon as I started down a trail they’d be swarming overhead.

Wait your turn!

So I set the camera back to auto and tried to get those iconic ‘eating out of my hand’ shots.

Back off titmouse!

One thing I noticed is that it was harder to get a clear focus. I think I’ll need to work on that. And I haven’t figured out how to fire off a bunch of shots at once yet. So I missed a lot of stuff. But I still had a blast.

Does this seed make me look fat?

I didn’t spend too much time feeding the birds at the beginning of the trail, I dropped some seed and moved along, and around the next corner was the flock of turkeys.

Nom nom nom nom.

I tossed them a bit of seed and kept on walking. The birds were following me and making a fuss so I stopped and took a video with my phone just to show people how crazy it was. And while I was doing that a male cardinal showed up.

Surprise!

This has never ever happened. I’ve had a cardinal here and there that was interested in the fact I was feeding the birds, but they’ve always been too shy to hop up on the hand themselves. They generally waited till I tossed some seed on the ground and moved away.

Good seed lady!

This guy startled me, I’d been focusing on the little birds and suddenly my hand was full of a big red bird!

He sat there and ate until he finished all the seed. I talked to him, stopped the video and clicked through some stills, he tipped his head and looked me in the eye, then casually selected another seed.

Yep, I’m pretty from all angles.

He was obviously king of the birds, because all the little birds waited on the ground or flew around my head while he was eating. One chickadee was braver than the rest and did a fly-by and grabbed a seed without stopping. Everyone else waited respectfully.

Meandering makes me smile too.

Finally he finished the seed, nodded at me and flew off across the swamp. I couldn’t stop grinning.

And that’s my smile for the week. A cardinal sat on my hand for a long time. Maybe he was sent from Aunt Vi, or my friends who have recently moved on. Maybe he was just a hungry bird. I don’t know and it doesn’t matter.

These guys are still hanging around. They make me smile too.

I couldn’t ask for a better smile, it’s one I’ll remember forever.

And when I got home this little bit of nature was napping on our deck.

I hope the images here made you smile too.

Magical.


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Another rainy one

I don’t know what it’s been like where you are, but around here it’s been grey and rainy most days. Seems like we haven’t seen much sun in weeks.

I guess there are pretty things even in the rain.


We had an early winter, early snow, early cold temperatures and now, though it’s warmer, it just rains and rains.

There won’t be snow for Christmas, but that’s OK with me. I’d just like to see some sun.

It’s hard to remember when you’re walking the dog around puddles in the street, hood up to keep the rain off your glasses that just a day before we had walked in her park with beautiful skies overhead.

Katie’s park, yesterday afternoon.

How soon I forget!

The late afternoon light made the grass glow.

So I will endure this, another rainy day, because who knows…tomorrow could be filled with sun!

Evening shadows creep across the park as we said goodbye.

We hope each of you enjoy a beautiful day today, rain or sun.

Hoping for sun tomorrow.


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It’s my birthday part 2

Katie here! I’m taking time out from my day-after-birthday-nap to let you know how it went. While it wasn’t spectacular with balloons and cake and hundreds of guests giving me presents, it was nice, and very specific to mama’s and my relationship.

We spent it in the woods.

Nobody out here but us!

You know mama can’t give me anything more special than a walk in the woods, right? No amount of toys or treats….wait a minute…let me revise that. No amount of toys could add up to the joy I get spending time in the woods with my mama. Especially with mama and my treats.

So yesterday afternoon, after I napped outside a good part of the morning, mama took me to two parks! First we went to my park here in town so that I could get a little antsy worked out. Plus she wanted pictures of me with this stupid grass.

Hey! It’s MY birthday, why do I have to sit over here?

I figured since it was my birthday I’d get double my usual fee for portrait sitting. Sounds fair, right? But noooooo. Mama’s new camera has a different sound when the shutter goes off so I didn’t recognize it, and mama got lots more images than usual before I got up and came for my reward.

I have a strict one click one treat contract and mama broke it!

After I got over it (cause what are you gonna do, right?) we went to mama’s favorite park. Again I ask you, if it’s my birthday why are we doing what mama loves?

At first I was all whiny and stuff cause it’s kinda far away and I had to sit in the back seat for longer than I felt a birthday princess should be confined. But I guess mama really does know best, because we ended up at Kensington Metro Park, and in a special spot that looks like nature trails but isn’t really a nature trail. (Cause they don’t let dogs on nature trails.)

I’m so happy to be out here!

Usually when we’re at this park we walk on the bike path, but that apparently stresses mama out because she has to always listen and watch for bikes and joggers headed our way.

I like walking on the bike path, there are tons of great smells!

I like to walk on the opposite side of the path than mama walks on, just on principle, and she’s worried about me tripping up somebody going by. Not to mention my propensity for barking and lunging at all moving objects within range of my mama.

Mama says all of that doesn’t make for a very relaxing walk.

So she found a spot with a track between two picnic areas. It was covered in leaves and smelled really really good. We found all sorts of pretty places, even though the light was ‘dead,’ a term mama used for the fact it was a flat grey day again.

Look at the beautiful color mama! No, not me, silly, the tree trunk!

We walked for a long way through the woods and down by the lake which was frozen. Mostly I got to be off my leash because we didn’t see anyone else there at all.

I’ll sit here, mama, if you want me to, but I’m not going to pretend that I like it.

But mama put my leash back on when we were near the lake. She could just imagine me exploring out on the ice and she has a vivid imagination. Silly mama, she knows I don’t get my feet wet. Still, she says her first responsibility is to keep me safe and I appreciate that about her.

I also appreciate that she’s a treat dispenser.

Did you happen to bring birthday cheese?

We had the best time! OK, mama did slip in the mud and maybe mess up her shoulder, the other one, not the same one she messed up a couple years ago, but I figure she’s a tough old broad….um…mama and she’ll be fine. It did slow down the number of pictures she took, so I was sort of grateful.

Don’t tell her I said that.

Thank you all for the happy birthday wishes you wrote on yesterday’s post. Gee, I got to get on here two days in a row! That’s probably a world-wide record or something.

There’s some green over here!

Mama says I shouldn’t get used to it but I’d like to point out that she gets more comments on my posts than most of her other posts. Combined.

Just saying.

Well, I guess I’ve monopolized your time long enough. Plus it’s time for me to bug mama about making dinner. I know. Dinner isn’t for four hours, but a girl’s got to keep things in line around here, and there’s no time like the present to remind her of her meal prep duties.

Have a wonderful Sunday everybody! I’ll see you around I’m sure. Mama’s got that new camera you know, and who better to capture in imagery than me?!

Talk later, your birthday girl Princess Katie.

PS: Mama says to tell you that these pictures are the way they came out of the camera, no editing required. So far she’s happy even though she hasn’t figured it all out yet.

Got another treat mama?


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It’s my birthday!

Katie here. Mama said it was OK for me to hijack her blog cause it’s not every day that it’s my birthday. I know I get spoiled every day, but that’s not the same thing. That’s just what’s due me as a princess.

Obviously.

We got sunshine!

But today, Saturday December 15, is my birthday! I am now a big mature girl of 12. Mama says I am too old for cake and ice cream and presents and that I should be happy to just go to my park for a birthday walk.

Does she think I’m going to buy that?

Whatcha mean no presents mama!

Well…going to a park for a walk is my most favorite thing to do. But geeze, mama already took me to two different parks this week. So she’s going to have to up the ante a bunch to make it a special enough walk to qualify as my birthday adventure.

Do I get an extra treat for standing up here?

The pictures I’m posting today are from our two walks. One was last Tuesday when we had our one day of sun. Mama said we shouldn’t waste it and we hurried right over to my park.

It was extra cold that day so I was very very happy. I trotted around that park like I was a puppy! I love it when it’s cold out. Mama? Not so much.

Yep, the pond’s frozen. Must be winter now.

She was wearing about 50 thousand layers and she was still cold, but she let me sniff wherever I wanted and we stopped to take a lot of pictures (of course).

Mama says it’s very hard to take a selfie with a sheltie. I personally think it’s very hard to take a selfie with a mama.

What’s that over there mama?!

Then on Thursday we woke to new snow all over my yard and mama said we shouldn’t waste that either, so she bundled me up in the car early in the morning before it all melted.

Are you going to make me sit in front of a bunch of stuff again today mama?

I was scared. Usually when we go somewhere in the morning I end up at the vet or the groomer or camp. But this time we ended up at a new park!

There was a nice wide path that had been mowed and it moved through the woods which were covered in the new, wet and sticky snow. It was beautiful!

It was hilly too, mama said we did the equivalent of 6 flights of stairs!

But not as beautiful as me!

I don’t know what I’m getting for my birthday, but mama got a new camera for an early Christmas present and Thursday was her first time taking pictures with it. Of course most of them were of me.

Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.

Personally I don’t think she needed a new camera to take pictures of beautiful me. I look good no matter what camera she uses. I can’t help myself.

Which way should we go mama?

But anyway. We had a great time walking through the snow even though the sun didn’t shine until we got home. Mama says that figures. I don’t know what that means but I hope it means we get to go out again soon.

Come ON mama! You are sooooo slow!

Like today, for the promised birthday adventure. Maybe even without the silly camera.

A princess can only hope!

Happy Birthday to ME!


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North into snow country

If you’ve been complaining about the unseasonably cold weather, and you don’t like the snow you’ve received so early in the season, well, maybe you should skip this post.

Not so conducive to a picnic.

Because my husband and I are further north than normal. And my goodness there’s a bunch of snow up here.

And it’s cold too.

Hiking to Miners Falls, only half a mile but it felt longer.

Did I mention cold and windy? Perfect for a short trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

We spent our first night at Mackinaw City, at the tip of Michigan’s lower peninsula, just before the 5 mile long bridge that connects the two parts of our state.

The Mighty Mac bridge that connects the two parts of Michigan.

This morning we took a quick tour around town. Most everything is closed until next spring. It was sort of lonely. And really really cold, just 18 degrees (that’s -7.77 C).

The marina was protected from the wind.

The sky was so interesting, with a row of puffy clouds hanging right above the Straights…

That’s Mackinaw Island over there on the left, a pretty place to visit when it’s warmer.

…but both east and west of where we stood were ominous clouds, some dropping what looked like snow. That didn’t bode well for our drive west.

Looks like we’re going to get a little snow.

We headed over the bridge and started the long trek across the Upper Peninsula. We traveled along the shores of Lake Michigan for awhile, then headed north and drove along the shore of Lake Superior. Lots of boring grey skies on both sides of the Peninsula.

So we stopped to take a break in Munising, the home of Pictured Rocks, a beautiful park that celebrates cliffs and waterfalls in this wild part of our state.

Lucky for us there’s a parking lot not 800 feet from Munising Falls located right in town.

A beautiful waterfall and so easy to get to even on a snowy winter day.

Also lucky for us no one else was there so we got to enjoy the beauty of the frozen waterfall all by ourselves.

Then we got brave and decided we’d drive out to Miners Falls, even though we weren’t sure the roads would be plowed. And some of them were not.

But since a few other people had driven on the road beyond the point that the county kept them open, we decided to go for it. I won’t lie, this made me very nervous and I was grateful we didn’t meet anyone going the other way, so we could drive right down the middle of the road in the tracks of the car (or more likely the truck) that had gone before.

I made my husband stop in the middle of the road so I could take this picture.

Once again we saw no one out there. The woods were simply stunning.

The view out toward Lake Superior.

Out half a mile, then down multiple flights of stairs that hadn’t been cleared. But it was worth it.

Miners Falls was amazingly beautiful.

Definitely worth it, don’t you think?

Going up was easier than going down.

And then, after getting back to the car a bit tired and wet, instead of heading back to town my husband headed further out on the unmaintained road to go see Miners Castle, a rock formation out at the lake.

Nope, nobody out there but us.

Granted I had never been there and I had always wanted to see it, but I was stressing that the road wasn’t plowed and no one was out there and I was having flashbacks of being on this exact road in 1979 with a college friend when the water pump in my Chevette died. That was an adventure, and it had been a warm fall day with no snow!

But that’s another story.

Anyway…we got to the Miners Castle visitor center (which was of course closed) and waded through more snow out to the platform to see it. It, too, was beautiful.

Pretty amazing color for what was turning into a colorless afternoon.

And then we walked all the way down through fencing that reminded me of the security at the Atlanta airport, to see the formation from close up.

Have your boarding pass and ID ready please.

It was all fun, though I could no longer feel my toes. But it was beginning to seriously snow, and we had 3 hours to our destination on a good day.

So we headed back toward civilization, and crept over to Houghton, averaging about 40 miles per hour through increasing snow and decreasing visibility.

The road back into town.

Tomorrow we will explore a bit around here. Both of us used to live here, different years and different reasons, and we look forward to seeing what’s changed. I moved away 43 years ago. Lots will probably be different. But Lake Superior will always be Lake Superior and I look forward to seeing more of it again.

I just hope all the roads are plowed.

Also hope to not run into any bears!


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Birding

Tamarack trees provided what little color was left out there.


I got to head back to my favorite park with a friend yesterday. It was cold, almost sleeting and I figured those little birds would be hungry.

You see, I’d taken her out there last summer so that she could experience feeding the birds out of her hand and we had not one bird visit us!

Even without color the woods was still beautiful.

She sort of thought I’d made up the whole thing about the birds out there swooping down into people’s hands for a snack. But yesterday was an entirely different story. Those little ones were all over her!

Three birds visit at once!

And at the end of our walk we ran into some turkeys. They were hungry too.

The colors in the turkey feathers was just amazing.

I trust none of them will be on a table come this Thursday.

Dressed in red bowties, but not planning on attending Thanksgiving dinner.


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Trent’s weekly smile

I’ve been debating what to use for this week’s smiling post. It’s been snowing off and on all week, wet sticky snow that hung around long after it fell.

There was one morning with a bit of sun that just touched the treetops and then it was gone.

We got a lot, and it’s early. Most of us weren’t finished with fall yet. We complained, talked about going South.

What are you talking about mama? I LIKE snow!

And yet.

Katie has been acting like a puppy in this, our first real snow, of the season.

Hurry up mama! There’s more snow over HERE!

So I’m taking the advice of my sheltie-girl and I’m going to go with the flow and say that, believe it or not, this week the snow made me smile.

More than once.

Even without the sun it was still pretty.

And because I’m retired and didn’t have to drive in it I smiled even wider.

Katie is a wise little girl. I should take her advice more seriously.

Headed straight into winter.