Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Tell me a Story: December 2014

The month has just flown by and since I knew that my photography month was going to be very short, I decided to start preparing myself for the end of the month.  I was pretty excited when my friend Jennifer called me and asked me if I would be willing to take her photo for her Christmas card.  

I was happy to do that, and it worked well for me because I needed images for my month end blog.  I had so much fun with Jen, and I hope that we get to do this again sometime.  

We headed down to a local beach and wandered along the boardwalk and took photos, and then crossed the road and went to the edge of the Intracoatal.  

Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That's what little girls are made of; the heck with sugar and spice"
~ Bethany Hamilton, Soul Surfer:  A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board.  

I hope that you enjoyed my photo's of Jen.  Remember this is a circle blog so don't forget to head on over to Orange Moon Photography / North Dakota - Melinda Sauvageau and see what she has for you this month. Remember to leave a little bit of love on each page.

As 2014, draws to a close, I have to reflect back and remember that we have been doing this group for a year now.  I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it and have been so glad to be a part of it. I look forward to blogging with each of you in this coming year.  I wish you and your family a year full of good health, happiness, laughter, good friends and enough dreams to make you want to make them happen.  

And so from that wee bit of Irish in me, here is an Irish blessing for you in this coming year:

Count your blessings instead of your crosses.
Count your gains instead of your losses.
Count your joys instead of your woes.
Count your friends instead of your foes.
Count your smiles instead of your tears.
Count your courage instead of your fears.
Count your full times instead of your lean.
Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.
Count your health instead of your wealth.
Love your neighbor as much as yourself.

If you are interested in seeing more of my photography take a look at my Facebook page or my Flickr Page or head over to my new website Sharleen N Stuart Photography

Monday, December 29, 2014

30 Minutes in the Life: December 2014

Time is a fraction, and mine is running out....This month has been a month of adjustments.  I started a new job which means my working hours changed, my travel time changed and I face a whole new learning curve.  It also means my photography time has been affected as well. Added to that I will be having surgery on my foot on the 18th of this month and so I decided to work ahead and take my photographs early so that everything was done and prepared for the upcoming blog.

Working in advance means that when 30 Minutes decided to make this month a Five on Festive, I was not on the same page.  Truth be told, I am not even doing Christmas decorations this year.  While it would be easy enough to put it all up, taking it down will be another story. Climbing in the attic on crutches will be impossible for me.  So I decided to get a Poinsettia and call it Christmas.  Presents can go around that this year.  So my blog will not be the same as the rest but I hope you enjoy it anyway.

A few months back I bought a macro lens, 85mm. The person I bought it from told me she never used it for macro but mainly for portraits.  I have used it for macro but never for portraits.  So when Amy came home for Thanksgiving I asked her to be my model while I tried out the macro lens. 

"Do not stop thinking of life as an adventure.  You have no security unless you can live bravely, excitingly, imaginatively, unless you can choose challenge instead of competence.

~ Eleanor Roosevelt, The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt

This 30 Minutes marks the joining of a number of new bloggers and it will be exciting to see what they have for us in the future.  Don't forget to follow the circle and take a look at what the other photographers have for you this month. Stacey Markel Photography / Maryland Family and Child Photographer is up next.   I always love what Stacey has to offer and I am hoping to live Christmas vicariously through my fellow bloggers.

As this year draws to a close I have to thank all the ladies I have been blogging with this past year.  It has been a blast and I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of this group.  There is amazing talent in here and each one has helped me grow in some way.  

May your coming year be full of love, peace, happiness and joy.  May you dream big and may your dreams be a journey that you constantly strive towards.  

If you are interested in seeing more of my photography take a look at my Facebook page or my Flickr Page.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Project 10: December 2014: Simplicity

Project 10 is a group that I have participated in as a guest blogger for the past year.  I really enjoy their choice of topics.  Sometimes I come up with something, sometimes I am totally stumped. Sometimes I come up with the topic after the fact.  This month was a good month for me.  I love to walk in the wetlands.  It gives me the opportunity to de-stress from my day to day job which has just changed again.  Same company different workload.  Another learning curve. That is all I seem to have done the past 2 years.  

Walking in the wetlands also offers me something else.  The opportunity to see wildlife in it's natural form.  Birds, gators, raccoons, bobcats (although I have yet to see it close up), otto's (them too).  I love it.  I grew up being taught to appreciate nature.  We had all sorts of critters in our home.  Taking this walk just really settles my soul.  

However, you can only take a Moorhen so many times and it becomes a little boring.  So when I walk I tend to look for different things and experiment a little with how I take the photo.  So here is the simplicity of nature as I see it through my eyes.  

"A withered maple leaf has left its branch and is falling to the ground; its movements  resemble those of a butterfly in flight.  Isn't it strange?  The saddest and deadest of things is yet so like the gayest and most vital of creatures?"
~ Ivan Turgeneve, Fathers and Sons

Thank you for letting me post in this group.  I have really enjoyed staying a part of it and I am glad I was able to get it done. I hope that you all have a blessed Christmas and a very happy New Year.  May you dream constantly, and may those dreams come to fruition in 2015.  

If you are interested in seeing more of my photography take a look at my Facebook page or my Flickr Page.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Tell Me a Story: November 2014

Tell me a Story is live, and I was not sure what to do this month.  I have been having issues with my feet recently.  I developed a Morton's Neuroma in my left foot which made it painful to walk on. In compensating I have irritated something in the heel.  So I have tried to keep walking to a minimum recently.  

So what I thought I would share is my little piece of heaven.  Having lived on an acre of land, we were a little shocked at the postage stamp size properties the houses were on.  I look at all of 6 houses and decided on this one.  The very reason, behind the house was a canal and beyond that was the Florida Everglades.  When I sit on my back patio or on the deck, I look towards the trees.  

The nice thing about living on the Everglades is that there is an abundance of critters.  And I love critters, whether they have legs or wings, I love them.  I am not crazy about spiders and I really do not like snakes, but the rest I can handle.  So today I thought I would share one of my typical days out back.  

I have a morning routine.  Feed Moonshine - the cat.  Once she is done, I head outside and feed my Mallards.  For the longest time I had two that would come daily. With winter coming along I sometimes have 8 out there.  I have discovered that even what appears to be the most timid of birds, has a nasty little streak in them.  They are very territorial and do not like other birds trying to eat their food.  Half the time they are so busy chasing each other up and down the canal that their food is being eaten by some other bird, either the Mourning Doves or the Boat Tailed Grackle.    

Third on my list to feed in the morning is my favorites the Squirrels.  I have Ms Squirrel as I call her because clearly she has been feeding babies.  And there are at least 3 youngsters running around.  They are all named Baby Squirrel because I am not sure which is which.  Ms Squirrel is easy to spot.  Breakfast consists of peanuts and conversation, and generally a photography session.  

In South Africa we had something called and Indian Myna. In Florida we have a bird called a Boat Tailed Grackle.  They are similar in mannerisms.  Both are noisy, pushy and fly in packs. If one discovers food, it will call the entire neighborhood.  In this past week we have had flocks of them flying over the back, stopping on houses and in trees.  It really looks like something out of the Alfred Hitchcock horror movie Birds.    However, one thing about the male Boat-Tailed Grackle is the iridescent colors to it feathers.  When the sun catches the colors are gorgeous.   

These are the birds that are typically eating the duck food while the ducks are chasing each other.  

Fake ducks hold down the water pipes, but they also make a great landing spot for the Cormorant as it dries out it's wings.  Very often I will find the Cormorant or an Anhinga, or both sunning themselves on the dock a the back of our garden.  Both these birds swim underwater to fish.  Both, I believe have porous feathers and their wings become waterlogged making it very difficult for them to fly.  So they will hop onto the nearest perch and stretch out their wings and stay there until their wings are dry. 

About 2 months ago we were outside and this Great Blue Heron wandered up to the patio and starred at us. He stayed at the edge of the patio most of the day. I am assuming someone has been feeding it, and it was looking for food, but I feel that this guy needs to do his own fishing. But for the last two months, it seems like when ever someone is outside on the patio or in the garden, Big Blue, as I have named him, appears.  He will stand close by.  If you walk towards him, he will walk away and if you walk away, he will follow you.  Just weird but I love it.  

He has the most interesting knobbly knees and this birds knees bend backwards.  It's feet are pretty big and I am convinced that this bird has a tail that wags every time I talk to it.  Yeah I talk to all the critters.  I was telling Richard tonight that I think I am a critter whisperer.  Since I wrote this post Big Blue as I called him has disappeared.  I guess he has gone looking for his mate.  

The highlight of my day however, was my local screecher. For months now I have heard screeching in the trees.  In fact, I now easily identify where the screecher is. But generally it is up high in the trees and my camera lens does not easily reach it.  However, today I think it was hungry and decided to head on down to the edge of the canal.  I saw some movement in the trees and headed down along my neighbors property.  I was not happy to see my ducks swimming down that way, but with me moving down they swam down away from the activity. Next thing I realized is that it was heading up the canal closer to Big Blue.  I have a rule for my back yard.  No eating the family.  As I got closer to my property this Red Shouldered Hawk took off flying straight at me. At the last minute it swerved away from me and fly down to the waters edge. This is the first time I have been up close and personal with a raptor in its natural environment.  And I was in awe.  

From breakfast routine to evening routine, I close the day off watching and photographing the sunset if there is a good one.  Tonight Big Blue and I settled in to watch the sky change to a subtle pink before it finally set.  

Since I wrote this, I was asked and agreed to change my job description at work.  In order to do that I am required to go into the office 4 days a week. Week 1 is done, and it was a little harder to take photographs each day.  I wake up a little earlier and get the routine done and give myself a little bit of time to catch whatever critters are out, but evenings are harder.  By the time I have driven 1 hour home, it is dark, the critters have given up and gone home. 

Although the dark has critters of it's own and tonight while we were sitting outside, the possum that is living under our deck made its way out to forage in the garden. I was pretty pleased to get a good look at her.  Aside from those you have seen today, we get a great variety of Birds, we also get Turtle, Alligators, Racoons, Vultures, and we have even seen a Bobcat at the edge of the water.

I hope you have enjoyed me post.  Don't forget to follow the link and look at what my friend Stacey Markel Photography / Maryland Family and Child Photographer as for you.  I always enjoy reading her blogs.  

Monday, November 24, 2014

Down in the blades of grass: November 2014

It is halfway through the month and almost time for 30 minutes in the Life, and I wanted to get mine done early.  Life changes for me as of tomorrow.  For the longest time I have worked 2 days in the office, 2 days from home.  My home hours have always been less than my office hours.  That has allowed me to have the freedom to get up in the morning and go for a walk, or work early and walk in the afternoon. From tomorrow, I up my hours of work, and I drive 1 hour each way to the office 4 days a week.  I am not really a morning person.  I like late nights and late mornings.  It sure is going to be fun.

This weekend was quiet.  I have been having a few serious issues with my feet. It appears that I have a Morton's Neuroma in my left foot and the way I have compensated walking has caused an issue in the heel.   

So Sunday afternoon I decided not to walk but rather to go out on the back canal, sit quietly for 30 minutes and see what was going on in the world of critters.  Not much, I'm afraid.  Just my Great Blue Heron looking for food. While the ducks and the squirrels are fed, he has to catch his own.

So while I was sitting waiting for him to do something I started to look around me.  Now something you will not know about me is that I have a real love for the mythical - fairies, goblins, orcs etc.  I love the Lord of the Rings and I am making sure that I get to see the Hobbit as soon as the December episode comes out at the cinema.    

I grew up on stories.  My father would read to us when we were young children, Rabbit Hill, Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Fin.  Our English friends will get me when I say I delved into the world of Enid Blyton.  I love the Magic Faraway Tree, and the Wishing Chair. I wanted to be part of the Famous 5 and if not them, then the Secret 7.  I took a year to read Lord of the Rings, and that was in the days when the print was tiny and the book was big.  I could not stay out of Duncton Wood and the lives of the moles that inhabited the United Kingdom.  

So as I was sitting on the grass, I decided to look around.  What could I see in the world of the blades of grass?  I did not have my macro lens on because I was supposedly watching my Great Blue Heron, but I did have my zoom. Perhaps in the world that is sometimes pesky for home owners, live the fairies and friends under the leaves of tiny tiny little plants.  Wander through the blades of grass and see what I got to see when I got down on the ground.  

When life is not coming up roses,
Look to the weeds 
and find the beauty hidden within them
~ L.F. Young

Still within my 30 minutes I glanced back up to find my Great Blue Heron stalking it's catch. Sadly I think it was a baby turtle.  But since I am not feeding him I guess he has to eat.  

Next time you are sitting on the grass, look around, look down.  What are weeds to some, are mana to the insects, the bees, and the butterflies.  The flowers are so pretty and colorful. And, perhaps if you get up real close you may find a little person hanging out down there.  

When weeds go to Heaven, 

I suppose they will be flowers.

~ L.M.Montgomery, The Story Girl

Don't forget to follow the circle and take a look at what the other photographers have for you this month. Amanda Voelker Photography/Naples, Italy soon to be Poulsbo, WA Photographer is up next.  Amanda has great images and I love to see how she has shared their lives while living in Italy.  Hop on over to her page and enjoy!

If you are interested in seeing more of my photography take a look at my Facebook page or my Flickr Page