Anne’s challenge to us this week is to photograph wildlife close to home.
The Center for Birds of Prey in Awendaw, South Carolina rescues wounded and sick birds of prey. They offer Photography Days several times throughout the year which allows unfettered views of the birds in natural surroundings.
Several years ago, my daughter and I attended and had four hours to photograph the birds and take a tour of the Center.
Our host this week is Tracy and she has asked us to create some marvelous surrealism mayhem with our photos. This sounded like so much fun so I decided to play along this week. It also meant brushing up on some Photoshop techniques and getting creative.In any event, don’t believe what you think you see.
First up is a photo I did of my grandson several years ago. I think he was around 3 years old. I was learning how to move and transport images in and out of photos and thought it was really cool to place him with this red dragonfly.
The image above is one taken on a typically crowded day at the beach. To be honest, the original picture is nothing to write home about but I like the painterly touches added and especially love the woman in the blue hat.
The photo above was taken several years ago and is one of several of a series of a great white egret coming in for a landing on a very gray day. Here, I’ve duplicated the bird, reflected it and smoothed out the reflection in the water to make it appear as if they are dancing or at least going in for a hug.
This photo started out as some overhead beams and using a Photoshop effect I’ve not used before, I think I’ve given this an underwater effect.
And lastly, I had so much fun with the technique above, I decided to try it again. This photo started off as a psychedelic gradient I did years ago and I think because of the colors, it’s my favorite from the series – but then again, it could be the egrets.
Thank you Tracy for the prompt. You’ve inspired me to play some more with Photoshop.
Our prompt this week is “Local Vistas”. I dove into my archives on a scavenger hunt.
At the southern tip of Pawleys Island is a public park where we frequently take our grandchildren when they come to visit. The ocean side is perfect for long walks, playing in the water or relaxing under the tent.
The creek side is much calmer. You’ll find families on jet skis, fishing, boating or trying to catch bait.
Just north of the park are private homes and you can see where groins have been placed to prevent beach erosion. Since this photo was taken in 2017, several hurricanes have hit this beach and caused severe erosion. A large renourishment project in 2020 widened the beach pumping over 1 million cubic yards of sand on the beach. The groins are no longer visible which can give you an idea of the size of the beach widening.
More private homes are just south of the park/creek. Lawsuits have been filed recently accusing the beach renourishment project of causing severe erosion to the beaches and property to the south. You can read more here: https://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/article262480702.html
We’re in hurricane season again and NOAA forecast calls for 14 to 21 Named Storms with 6 to 10 becoming hurricanes and 3 to 6 becoming major hurricanes. Even the milder storms cause erosion so my local vista is constantly changing.
This week our theme is three of a kind. Sometimes when you think you’ve got the perfect photo, it seems that something is missing – the photo needs fleshing out to capture the soul of the subject. For me, this always occurs when I’ve found a large beautiful field of flowers.
Outside my office, wisteria blooms a couple of times a year. It’s one of my favorite flowers and I would always take time to take some photos before I left work for the day. On this particular day, there was a mild wind – just enough where I couldn’t get a clean shot. So I crawled inside the wisteria bushes and snapped away at the wisteria surrounding me.
I visited Brookgreen Gardens in April 2017 and I couldn’t believe the fields of foxgloves in bloom. They were planted throughout the park and it’s been my favorite design to date.
The prompt this week is Light and Shadow – one of my favorite topics. The right lighting makes a picture perfect but it can also be one of the hardest skills for a photographer to learn.
Getting the light right is something I struggle with every time I pull out my camera. There’s no strict formula – at least one that I know of. It’s usually just a “guestimate” and then a couple of clicks one way and then a couple a clicks the other way until I’m satisfied with what I see in the viewfinder.
If you look closely enough, I swear this turtle is giving me the evil eye.
There’s so many features to consider – aperture, shutter speed, angles, ISO, distance etc. One certainty is to try and avoid the sunniest part of the day but I got extremely lucky with the two photos above.
The photo above is the window where my dad and his Sunday School class sat during church. I was visiting mom one night and when we went out for dinner, I saw the church lights on so I was able to get my first stained glass photography. That took lots of trial and error before I got it right.
Our prompt this week is “serene” – a wonderful choice for year end.
I frequently am at Brookgreen Gardens and enjoy the sculpture there. There’s something about finding a bench and enjoying the tranquility and serenity of the gardens. It’s the perfect example of the “stop and smell the roses” quote.
One of my favorite subjects in the garden is Diana – the Roman goddess of wild animals and the hunt. Diana was a popular subject of the artists as there are several interpretations of her in the gardens. The photo above and two photos below are of a sculpture done by Augustus Saint-Gaudin. There is always a fantastic seasonal floral display around the sculpture.
The Diana sculpture below was done by Anna Hyatt Huntington. She and her husband – Archer Huntington – purchased the property and transformed it into the first sculpture garden in the country.
Anna Hyatt Huntingtonsculpted the twolions above also.
On one visit, I was able to get a photo with the sunset in the background. I’m especially happy with this photo as I was able to photoshop a couple of pesky tourists out of the background.
With the end of 2021 around the corner, our prompt this week is celebrating. Our biggest celebrations in our backyard are the 4th of July and the Night of a Thousand Candles at Brookgreen Gardens. I’ve shared photos of these events before and you can find them through searching my site.
Instead, I’d like to tell you about another celebration our family had this year – in fact, just last week. One of our daughters, Melissa, and her boyfriend, Tim, finally tied the knot after 10 years together.
They decided they did not want a big wedding and it was only the two of them and the official – who just happened to be one of their friends. A few days later, I took photos of them in White Point Garden in Charleston and we had a dinner for them. With her permission, I’m sharing a few of these photos.
This week we are asked to tell a story with just one photo. We can tell multiple storiesbut eachstory can only use one photo.
A friend and I were at at the beach to catch the rising of the orange moon. There were several groups of people out including the two in the photo above – a father and son fishing in the ocean. All is not as it seems though. In talking with the man, he said he had no idea who the boy was! The boy came up to him earlier to see if the man had caught anything and stayed.
Polo anyone? This was a first for me. We actually went because there were going to be hot air balloons after the games. But by that time, the winds had picked up and the balloons only went 10 to 15 feet off the ground. But despite that disappointment, we had a good time with my daughter and her boyfriend. One thing we learned about polo though – the players don’t bring their horses with them. It’s too difficult and expensive so they use the horses at whatever location they are at.
This photo is my first attempt at shooting fireworks. The fireworks are shot from a barge in the inlet and the timing is coordinated with the tide. The marsh walk is always crowded so we usually take our chairs to the church adjoining the marsh walk. Everyone brings their chairs or blankets and there are plenty of “ohs” and “awes” from the crowd.
Our prompt this week is shapes and designs. Shapes and designs are all around us although we usually don’t slow down long enough to see them. When was the last time you stopped to watch a butterfly?
I absolutely love photos of butterflies (and bees). If I get photos of them, I’ve had an excellent day. Nothing tops butterflies and bees except sunrises and sunsets, pictures of family – well, maybe butterflies and bees are in the top 5.
For me, butterflies are more difficult to catch than bees. Bees are heavy workers and will stay burrowed into a flower long enough to take a picture. Butterflies are more elegant. They skip from plant to plant just long enough to take a few sips and then move on. It requires some stalking to get a good butterfly shot.
Butterflies are so beautiful. Their colors are so bold and the designs they present are so clear, so symmetrical (I’m very OCD about symmetry) that I could follow them all day. All the designers at Fashion Week, etc can’t hold a candle to what Mother Nature can do.
This week Amy has given us the prompt of the Colors of Autumn. Hubby and I took a trip to the mountains of North Carolina in October 2020 and we caught the leaves at the perfect time. They were absolutely gorgeous! You can check out this link for my post of November 2020 for a look at those pictures.
The weather here at the beach gets a little cooler each day along with a decrease in the humidity so it’s a perfect time to head out of the house. But the cooler weather also has me thinking of making some of my favorite soup recipes. Soups are usually way too hot for us to make during the summer.
I started a food blog in 2016 and it is the reason I got interested in photography. Your food has to look good and my photos were awful. I took some photography classes and soon started this blog. I kept up with the food blog until the end of 2017 although I still keep it active. It was taking time away from my photography plus – have you ever tried to take photos of food when hubby is ready to eat?
Our challenge this week is to share photos of artificial light. Ann-Christine’s choice of a prompt was chosen as she realized that we in the Northern Hemisphere are moving away from the sun and would need more artificial light soon. I went searching in my files and found several ideas but settled on photos of the artificial lights at the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and Broadway at the Beach. And then I decided to present them in black and white.
The board walk is at the heart of the downtown area and is lit up most of the year. The sky wheel is a big attraction at the boardwalk. After 10 years of service, it was dismantled in January and sent for renovations and upgrades. It should be ready for the 2022 tourist season. It’s over 200 feet high and enclosed with glass which makes it a great spot for photography.
The three photos above and the one below were taken at Broadway at the Beach. It was December, wet and chilly. I only saw a few people out but the ferris wheel was still running.
In the photo below, you can see what the locals call “the upside down house”. Rumor has it that this building was once a top-secret laboratory located in the Bermuda Triangle. An experiment didn’t go as planned, lifted the building and carried it to Myrtle Beach where it landed upside down. I’ve also heard that it was a hurricane that brought it here. It’s a science/entertainment site and the little ones will enjoy it. We took our oldest grandson there years ago and the other three will be old enough and tall enough soon for a visit there.
Lighting is probably the most important element of a good photograph. As photographers, we learn the best time of day for the best lighting and we also learn to manipulate it. Our manipulations can be dramatic or subtle. Today I’ve chosen subtle.
What can be better than a walk through Brookgreen Gardens at the height of Spring? Our grandson was visiting over his spring break from school and a walk through their zoo was a perfect excuse to enjoy the weather.
John is our guest host this week and he has given us the prompt of “On/In The Water”. Living on the beach provides me with all sorts of water pictures so it was a little hard to decide. Until I came across these photos – and well, they made me smile.
I had stopped by Huntington Beach State Park on my way home from work – just to see if there were any birds coming in for the night. I was driving across the causeway when I saw a huge white bird in the water up ahead. It was too far to tell what it was and I was keeping my fingers crossed that it would still be there after I parked.
I was so surprised to find this swam taking his evening bath. It was the first (and still the only) swan I’ve seen at Huntington and even though it was chilly out, I stayed there for quite a while snapping away.
A little scrub here…don’t forget behind the ears….
One last scratch and then a huge stretch….Time for bed.
Our challenge this week is to share photos with shade and shadows. Normally shade and shadows are a photographer’s worse nightmare but you can get some nice captures with the right timing and positioning.
To make the challenge a little harder I decided to use photos of wood storks only. For those that don’t know, the wood stork is partial to our marshlands and can be found there most of the year. They are very graceful in flight but they have got to be the ugliest bird on this planet.
I‘m not being mean. I’ve heard other photographers say the same thing. From the neck down, they are beautiful but from the neck up, they look like buzzards.
Wood storks are very social birds and often roost together each night. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all get along like the wood storks?
But the more I watch them, the better looking they get. Strange, isn’t it?
The photo below is one of my favorites. It was taken at sunset and the water was a beautiful gold color.
My newest book Caroline Has a Mole is out, It’s about a little girl with a mole and how she deals with a bully in school. It was written specifically for a friend but could apply to any child being bullied. Here’s a link:
This week our challenge is a little different than normal. We are to pick a color and then pick photos from our archives containing that color and present them from the photo with largest amount of that color to the smallest amount. I chose the color purple.
My first photo is a beautiful coral display in the aquarium in Chattanooga, Tennessee. My aunt lives there and mom and I spent a couple of weeks with her a couple of years ago. We explored a lot of the sites I remembered from visits there while a child as well as new sites like the aquarium. It is one of the best aquariums I’ve seen and recommend you visit if in Chattanooga.
Nothing makes me happier than a good bee capture. The original photo is full of purple flowers but I cropped it for a closer look at the bee.
This photo was taken at Huntington Beach State Park. Most days are great for bird watching – you’ll find herons, egrets, anhingas and more. This heron was the last to leave for the night and I was getting some last minute shots. The sun was just about to set and the heron seemed as interested in the sunset as I was in getting a picture of him looking at the sunset! I wish I could say that I set this shot up but I can’t. I was dialing all sorts of combinations into my camera and got lucky.
This photo was taken at the end of a long beach day. We’d been there since early morning with our umbrella and cooler. The weather was great – no humidity and a cool breeze – you couldn’t ask for any better.Days like this will cure whatever ails you.
This is one of my favorite beach shots – four friends enjoying the day with their toes in the water. A little Photoshop magic and I have a image for my next project.
For my smallest and last purple picture is one purple jelly bean in a bowl of jelly beans. It was taken for a photography class a couple of years ago.
Our prompt this week is to have fun showing off our dots and spots.
One of my favorite hobbies now is writing children’s books for my grandchildren. I’ve given them as Christmas gifts and I’ve listed them on Amazon too. I’m having so much fun doing them and while it would be nice if I made a little money when a book sells, I really don’t care because I’m having fun! FYI, I can’t draw at all but using Adobe Illustrator, I can actually draw now. Isn’t technology wonderful?
I’ve just finished my fifth book. Four are on Amazon now, the fifth is in printing and I’m working on the sixth. The title is Carter Goes to the Aquarium. It started with a visit to the aquarium with my youngest grandson who was 4 years old. I take photographs the entire visit and I use them as a starter for my illustrations.
There are over 33,000 different types of fish in the world and I think we saw some of the most beautiful. Their colors are so vibrant and varied, it’s astounding and some are so unusual, I couldn’t help but wonder what in the world??? The photos below are examples.
And if you look at them long enough, you notice that they are watching you too. Seriously, this one stayed close to me and I felt like he was giving me the evil eye.
Below is an image from the new book. If you’d like to check out the book when finished, follow me for an announcement.
If you’d like info on my current books, you can find them on Amazon.
So this week our challenge is to get outside and take some photos of Spring. Yay! With warm weather now outside and being fully vaccinated, I needed no further encouragement to grab my camera and head out to Brookgreen Gardens.
The colors were absolutely beautiful and although there were some empty beds, the air was filled with the perfume of the flowers.
I stopped at the outside kitchen to take a break and grab some water and a cookie (chocolate chip – delicious!) and watched these little birds stroll back and forth looking for crumbs.
This week we’re given the opportunity to choose our own topic – which isn’t an easy decisionuntil I came across these photos.
My dad was a collector. He collected Ty Beanie babies, garden gnomes, Hess trucks, California Raisins, Biblical collector plates, kitchen spoons and hummingbird figurines. I’m sure I’ve left something out.
I never asked why or questioned him about his collections. His family was very poor and he was orphaned at an early age. His oldest brother took him in along with two other brothers. He wasn’t able to buy nice things growing up so I think he was making up for lost time. Regardless of his reasons, they made him happy.
Mom started giving some of his collection away several years ago but before she did, I took photos of each one. This was in 2016 when I first took up photography so the pictures aren’t the best but hey, I’m ok with that.
Our prompt this week is geometry – a course I barely passed in high school. The shapes themselves are beautiful but figuring out the formula to measure, etc just wasn’t interesting to me.
I originally pulled out photos of bridges, piers and flowers, etc to share but my brain did a complete 180 degree turn on me. Because of some health issues and the pandemic, I haven’t been able to get out to take photographs. I’ve been reading a lot (My mom and aunt like the same kinds of books I do so we pass them back and forth.) and taking a couple of online classes to learn how to draw – something I’ve always wanted to do. Well, I still can’t draw by hand but drawing with the computer is going much better.
Aren’t these the coolest things? The computer figures it all out for you once you learn what values to input.
Once you learn how to make the shapes, you can learn how to make patterns from them.My grandson, who is now 5, has about a thousand little cars which were the inspiration for the pattern on the right.You have to be very careful walking through his room or take a chance of stepping on one and taking a fall.
And last is a project done for a watercolor class. Happy Easter!
Beth of Wandering Dawgs is our guest host this week and her prompt is A Change in Scenery. It’s a timely prompt since the majority of us are now emerging from some sort of a Covid lockdown.
Other than visiting family, we haven’t been anywhere since lockdown started so I pulled these photos out from October 2019. These were a change of scenery for us since I usually post beach pictures.
We decided to drive up to the North Carolina mountains to see the leaves change color and we timed it exactly right. It was absolutely beautiful. We got on the Blue Ridge Parkway and just drove with no timeline or plans. Each turn and curve in the road brought more color and ooh’s and aaw’s – just like the July 4th fireworks!
Our challenge for this week is “natural light”. Light can be a photographer’s best friend or mortal enemy. Sunrise, sunset and cloudy is good. Bright light – typically from 10AM to 7PM is bad – oh so, so, so so bad. We won’t talk about bad light though. This post is about several days where I had absolutely fantastic natural light.
My work office is less than 1/2 mile from the beach. I had just left work and saw the biggest pink cloud over the beach. I made a quick U turn and headed over to the beach, grabbed my camera from the backseat and spent about an hour or so taking photos until the sky got dark.
The above two photos were taken on different days and at different beaches. A storm was on its way and provided some awesome clouds and contrast you won’t get most days.
Most weekends we spend the entire day on the beach. Lunch, drinks and snacks are in the cooler and we’re underneath our umbrella digging our toes in the sand and enjoying the breeze off the ocean. On this particular day, we had a small rainstorm come through in the afternoon and it kept the sun behind the clouds so we had a beautiful sky for some really great photos to end a perfect day.
One Saturday back in 2015, two of my daughters and my mother asked me for my spaghetti recipe. I’m an OK cook if there’s a recipe to follow and with my family’s requests for my recipe, I decided to do a food blog so I could share all my recipes. It wasn’t long before I realized that good photos were a necessity for a food blog and photos taken with my cell phone weren’t up to the job.
So I went back to school taking several photography classes at the local tech school with my new Nikon 3300. And it was never on Auto thanks to a wonderful teacher.And my food pictures started looking like food you would want to eat.
For more than 40 years, I did cross stitch, crochet and knit but had to quit when I could no longer see to thread a needle. So finding a new hobby – no, make that a new passion – has meant the world to me and I now take my camera everywhere I go. My Nikon D3300 has graduated to a D7100 and now a D750.
I’m very lucky to have so many wonderful places and subjects to photograph – from Brookgreen Gardens to Huntington Beach State Park, Boneyard Beach to Charleston and all the beaches along the way.
This week Patti has given us the prompt of “emotions” for our challenge.
I don’t take a lot of photos of people – except my grandson who has the most expressive face but I’ve featured him a little too much lately – so I went through my files and actually found a few photos that apply.
Brookgreen Gardens hosts a summer musical series – cancelled this year due to Covid – where local bands come and play for a couple of hours. It’s a nice relaxing way to end the day – sitting under the oaks, sipping a beverage and tapping your toes. The photo above is father and son.
The son and the singer really got into the music but you might not realize it if you didn’t know better. They do look a little like they are in pain.Check out the man on the drums grinning away.
Music stirs our hearts and engages our souls in ways we can’t describe. Hildegard of Bingen.
So whether it’s tapping your toes to country music, head banging to heavy metal, shagging to beach music or conducting along with classical music, music has the ability to draw emotion from us.
This photo is the 5th Street Bridge that connects North Augusta, South Carolina to Augusta, Georgia. The bridge closed last year and I was told it would soon be a pedestrian bridge. I’ve taken some beautiful sunset photos from it so I can’t wait until it’s reopened.
This week, guest host Anne has invited us to take out our macro lens and get busy. I have to admit though that I’ve not taken out my macro in a long time – much too long so I’ve pulled out some photos from my files.
Most of my macro shots are flowers in bloom so it was hard to pick just a few.
Can you smell them? I can.
And here is a begonia closeup edited to be a Valentine Day’s card.
This week our challenge is to share our favorite images of 2020. Unfortunately, I didn’t have as many to pick from as in previous years. I only had 4,700 images this year compared to over 20,000 in 2019. And from reading posts from other bloggers, we all had the same issue. Covid 19 and the lockdown prevented vacations and other activities that would have resulted in many more photos.
These first photos were taken in our yard. We have several bird nests around the property but this was the first time I’d gotten a photo of the mockingbirds feeding. The osprey managed to catch a squirrel for dinner in our yard and didn’t seem too happy that I was taking photos.
It should come as no surprise that the majority of my 4,768 photos was of this little guy. He spent some time with us and we managed a trip to the beach once the beach lockdown was over. This is the top of my list for most favorite picture for 2020. I even had a personalized cover made for my cell phone so I get to carry him around all day.
So to keep from going completely bonkers with nothing to do, I’ve taken a couple of online classes through Skillshare and Udemy to learn how to draw on my laptop using Adobe Illustrator. The first picture below was inspired by a trip to the aquarium while the second was a class project. They are short lessons, I’ve learned a lot and I totally recommend Skillshare and/or Udemy.It’s a wonderful creative replacement when I can’t use my camera.
One of the special things we do for the holidays is a trip to Brookgreen Gardens for the Night of a Thousand Candles. Brookgreen Gardens is a beautiful sculpture garden and I visit there often. There’s always something in bloom and I always have my camera with me.
The gardens are transformed each December for Night of a Thousand Candles. Lights are placed throughout the gardens and it is transformed into a magical place. It started a week early this year so some of our family visiting for Thanksgiving were still here and able to see it for the first time, Three of our four grandchildren were with us and it was very special to me to see it through their eyes.
My father passed away on Christmas day 2014 so the holiday season has been tough since then. We now have grandchildren though and we make the rounds to visit them so Christmas is magical for me again.
These are some of my favorite pictures from our trip to the North Carolina mountains last year. We timed it right and were there for the peak in the colors. Each bend in the road was so beautiful that it took your breath away.
Another bonus was that I got to try my new wide lens. I love it!
And last is a picture from the top of Grandfather Mountain.