Shooting Stars (badly)

And once again, I have plucked up the impetus to actually log into my WordPress and actually do a post.  Life is busy: daughter involved with everything sports related in high school, son heading to college in one short week (and breaking my heart by doing exactly what I have raised him to do), crazy project deadlines at work and three photo shoots scheduled in the next week.

I am finding time to shoot each week, though I don’t think I could ever finish another 365 project.  Current project:  shooting stars.  Current mood:  disgusted with the noise in the photos because of the high ISO needed.

Sonnet 25: Let those who are in favour with their stars

By William Shakespeare

Let those who are in favour with their stars

Of public honour and proud titles boast,

Whilst I, whom fortune of such triumph bars,

Unlook’d for joy in that I honour most.

Great princes’ favourites their fair leaves spread

But as the marigold at the sun’s eye,

And in themselves their pride lies buried,

For at a frown they in their glory die.

The painful warrior famoused for fight,

After a thousand victories once foil’d,

Is from the book of honour razed quite,

And all the rest forgot for which he toil’d:

Then happy I, that love and am beloved

Where I may not remove nor be removed

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How remiss of me!

Strangely enough, when I tried to find something “blank” to photograph, my mind started to whirl with possibilities. Then a feast presented itself to my eyes.

I received a reminder tonight of what a lazy, neglectful blogger I have become.  Oh, I have the more than occasional flights of fancy and pure inspiration that I have sincere, deeply sincere, intentions of posting, but they just skip merrily down that path to Hell where most MOSTLY good intentions go.  So now I sit here with my mind completely blank.  “You must be brain-dead!  How can a mind be truly and completely blank,” you say, but alas, my mind really is blank in between the words that my fingers are struggling to type.

Let me tell you how blank I am tonight:  As I have been sitting here struggling to think of something, ANYTHING, to write, at one point I asked my lovely son to let the dog in from outside.  Keep in mind that the dog is very loud on our wood floors, click clacking and sliding around, my son is very loud, elephant stepping across the floor, the doggy gate does not shut quietly in my son’s hands and the doggy biscuit does not clatter ever so quietly across the floor.  I stared quite intently at the air, thinking of nothing at all and when I roused myself from my reverie, I asked my lovely son if he had, in fact, let the dog in.  He pointed at her, sitting quite nicely on her princess pillow, doggy treat all but gone.  Blank.

Thinking really shouldn’t be this hard…..

And once more, an utter blank when presented with all of the wondrous possibilities of a ‘caption box.’ It turns out that seeing is far easier than actually thinking. Who knew?

Green Apple

The Apple Tree by Dorothy Parker
When first we saw the apple tree
The boughs were dark and straight,
But never grief to give had we,
Though Spring delayed so late.

When last I came away from there
The boughs were heavy hung,
But little grief had I to spare
For Summer, perished young.

I went on a wander this afternoon, to my favorite little shooting range, Shipshewana.  I am in the middle of opening and editing what I shot, but had to stop to post this one.  I simply like it.  And it is “as is” from the camera other than a scant sharpen.

Saturday

The stream is mere inches deep right now, with the detritus of wasteful living exposed.

There Were Dry Red Days by Sharmagne Leland-St. John

There were dry red days
Devoid of clouds
Devoid of breeze
Sound bruised
My burning bones
Dirt cracked my hands
And caked my cheeks
No buds on limbs of trees
No birds on branches
No hope of rain
Scrawny chickens
Kicked up dust
Scratching for food
That wasn’t there
In the stifling, stillness
Of the scorched night
We dreamt
Of cool oases
Tropical isles
Emerald bays
Not these dry red days

•••

I suppose that I should probably get the post written that I have been planning for oh…. a week now.  Photos shot last weekend for this particular post, and for that matter, photos being shot constantly for the posts that never get posted.  I could use the excuse that it has been a busy week – on vacation with camping, beach time and a day in Detroit to watch the Tigers – but there has been plenty of time in between to take care a post, so we’ll just call it what it is:  L.A.Z.Y.  Anyway, on to my post–

It is dry here.  I am sure it is dry everywhere in the States, with the exception of Duluth, MN and Florida.  We are in the midst of a drought here in the corn belt. Our streams and ponds are drying up, marsh lands are turning into grass lands and lake levels are at record lows and the temps are at record highs – 102 f here today with heat indexes in the 110 f area.  The irrigation sprinklers are watering the fields of corn, soy and other sundry crops.  Looking at the irrigated fields, green with healthy looking plants, someone not native to the area might not think we are as arid as we really are.  I just took a 25 mile drive and saw over 60 sprinklers dousing the fields.  We are praying for rain…

Irrigation: The savior of the corn you like to enjoy….

Kind of eerie looking – that would be the edit I used.

 

 

No Stranger

Chic chic chicory….

Floral shots are too easy, I think.  I know people who will not shoot flowers because they are too easy.  But, flowers have all of that scrumptious color, those sensual shapes and while they are too easy, they are just too wonderful to pass by.

 

I have spent the better part of a week looking for some chicory to photograph.  It normally “grows like weeds” around here, but for some reason, maybe the drought conditions, it has not been so abundant.  Today on the way to church, I spotted a few stalky stems and the distinctive color of the flower, bookmarked the spot in my mind and headed back out at the wrong time of day to shoot anything outside – 3:00 pm with the sun glaring overhead.  I ended up having to adjust every setting I could adjust on my camera to get a decent shot and some pretty largish curve adjustments in raw.  Stupid girl, you know the optimum hours for shooting!

The sweet peas were a bonus while driving home on the back roads.  I spotted two huge patches of them on each side of the road and, of course, even with the excessively bright sun overhead, I pulled over to get a few shots.  Tomorrow I may post the shots I took a couple of days ago at my auntie’s house – again, flowers.

  

Yep, flowers are too easy to shoot, but not easy enough to pass by.  I wonder when the Bonneyville dahlias will be blooming?

And she picked up the camera….

… and shot a few frames.

I have to tell you the truth:  it has been extremely hard to pick up the camera.  Oh, I have been dragging it around with me; it’s just that I leave it in the camera bag, neglected, alone, sad, dusty. It really isn’t that I loath taking photos right now, it is more that I am so wiped out after a day at the library that I can’t summon the creativity to come up with a decent shot

Wiped out after a day at the library, you say with an incredulous voice?  Yes, wiped out.  For the past month, I have had at least 4 graphics projects going at once, constantly and daily, because this co-worker needs this and that co-worker needs that while the director needs something else entirely RIGHT NOW.  And in the middle of it all, I am trying to get book orders done, doing everything a circulation supervisor does (customer service, overdue reports, letters, calls, collections agency referrals, database edits etc..), trying to keep the library blogs and Facebook pages current, replacing and repairing worn books, sorting all book donations, and writing and assembling books for the Photoshop and Gimp classes that I am teaching in one month, while everyone stops by my office to talk, talk, talk – and I have 6.5 hours each day to try to get it all done – I give the library 1.5 hours a day of my own time so that I can keep my head above water.  It is no wonder my chest is starting to hurt every day when I get into the car to drive to work.  And it is no wonder that my camera is sitting neglected.

 

But… I did get out to shoot a photo or two today and had someone model for me unknowingly – I did show her the photos after I shot them.  The photos were all shot at Ontario Dam – no, I didn’t head to the Great White North – Ontario is a tiny burg in Northern Indiana.  But don’t blink or breath while you are driving through because you will miss the stop sign.

Just a corn field on the way home….

This is what happens when the 365 is done…

So, the project officially ended and the relief was palpable.  I didn’t pick up the camera for a whole week.  Well, I picked it up, had a couple of good intentions and ended up paving the road to Hell with them.

Before the crowds piled in….

And so this is where I pick up now…  A trip to Indiana Dunes yesterday with the spousal unit and the kids.  Oh my goodness, it was hot, Hot, HOT!  (The shot above is actually 3 photos merged together to create a nice panorama of the shore where we sat. It’s the first time I have actually attempted it, and I must say, I am quite happy with the result!) The  sand was scorching, the sun Muy caliente but the lake was freezing – the water temps have just reached 50 f – so diving in was either out of the question or just plain masochistic.  And to add insult to injury, we didn’t pack the frame for the canopy!  But it was as outweighed by the scent of the water, the wind on my face, the waves hitting the shore and the fact that we had no cell service at the beach – it all added up to a peaceful, relaxing day – Bob even got all of the way to the top of one of the tall dunes without burning his feet off and I had the pleasure of watching him run down the dune all Bay-watchy.  If you want to know, I only made it half way up the dune before my feet told me that it was time to head to some water before they burned to little stumps and my muscles were screaming at me that I am too out of shape!

At the end of the day I had to thank God for sunscreen and golf umbrellas, and the A/C that made life bearable on the way home with the outside temp at 100 degrees when we left.

One last thing – this photo is of Phragmites.  It is an invasive grass, that along with zebra mussels and Asian carp, is threatening the ecology of our Great Lakes.  The phragmites have almost completely choked out the native cat tails and other flora of the swamp and water areas.

Phreaking Phragmites…..