Spring Time Sights and Scents

  For months, life has been frantically chaotic and busy.  The realization of how little “me time and tea time” I have carved out for myself finally sank in when I walked the dogs around the yard and realized that that I am missing the best part of spring and my soul is suffering needlessly. 

I’m nourishing myself this afternoon ensconced in the sun room, iced tea with fresh mint and lemon in hand and relaxing to the sights, sounds and scents of spring in South Carolina. It is so lovely!! Not too hot, not too humid, the ceiling fan is lazily moving the air around and a soft breeze is coming thru the screens.  Come join me…

The hummingbirds, goldfinches, woodpeckers, chickadees, jays, and cardinals fly in and out showing off their bright spring attire and providing a concert of cheeps and trills. Mozart could not compose anything as lovely. 

The squirrels add comic relief as they chase each other up and down the river birch and across the deck, stopping long enough to ask “Hi, where have you been?” as they peek in through the bottom section of the glass door.  Industrious little guys digging last year’s nuts out of flower beds and pots and teasing the cat thru the screened windows. They sooo know what they are doing! Samantha may be old, but she still has enough oomph to give them a short chase – I suspect going up a tree is not on her list anymore. The squirrels are safe. 

A family of deer graze their way around the yard. Their rich sable coats glistening in the late afternoon sun as they nibble and the younger ones play. Last year’s fawns are still hanging out with mom.  So peaceful!

And best of all, the breeze brings the amazing scent of the gardenia blossoms around from the side of the house and gently into the sun room! Can you smell it?  Mmmmm spring in my own little section of heaven!!


Dreaming of Spring!

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For this final weekend assignment, I revisited the the “Nature” theme. As winter arrived much sooner than normal for many of us, I invite you to join me with your tea in the sunroom and dream of the coming spring!!

It has been an honor to share this class with all of you! I’m looking forward to seeing you in the next one 🙂

Triumph Is… (From the Birds of Wakodahatchee Wetlands, Florida)

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Triumph is so many things, big and little, but mostly I believe, it’s a person’s attitude towards life. Triumph is reflected in how we live, our beliefs, priorities and goals, how we overcome the myriad of challenges that come our way, and in how we treat others.

Initially, I wanted to post a gallery of people whose triumphant attitudes have influenced me. Well, that presented just a few problems.

First, I don’t have photos of all of those who have been participating in Photo 101 and have been incredibly creative, supportive, and great fun to meet and learn with and from. We have triumphed together – THANK YOU! I’m going to miss you and this class. Hopefully, we will share other photo adventures in the near future.

Second, I started looking through photos of people whom I consider to have or be living their lives triumphantly: grandparents, parents, siblings, husband, son, nephews, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends, the people I work with, our clients, mentors…you get the picture (:-)). Far too many to post and then there is the not-so-small issue of consent forms.

My triumphant solution is the slide show above. Last June we visited the Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Florida. It is an amazing place hidden in very urban Palm Beach County. The name, in the Seminole Indian language means “created waters.” It is used to reclaim highly treated wastewater, that is further filtered naturally at the rate of about two million gallons a day through the wetlands and then used for irrigation purposes.

Over 140 different types of birds have made the wetlands their home. Thanks to a large SD card and extra batteries, I took hundreds of photos of birds as I clicked my way along the three-quarter mile board walk that meanders through the different eco-zones. Breeding season was over, but the chicks (some still in nests) and juvenile offspring were everywhere! It was paradise. Every few steps there was something new to see and photograph. I can’t wait to go back!

This afternoon, I revisited Wakodahatchee Wetlands and, with great difficulty, pruned the number of photos, assembled those that best express facets of “Triumph” into a slide show.

Please enjoy!

Tea for Two and Chocolate, Too!

Tea for Two

Tea for Two

Afternoon tea with chocolate in the sun room is one of our favorite ways to take a break on the weekends. We love seeing who will come to the feeders and bird bath while we catch up and relax. Today, when we got up from the table for a moment, Samantha decided to move in. These chairs are among her favorite perches for napping and for bird and squirrel watching. I think she missed seeing this squirrel!

How many doubles do you see?

Trio of Edges

As with the other assignments this month, “EDGE” had me looking at many things with a new perspective! There are many things waiting to be photographed that have “sharp terminating borders; a margin; a brink; or are the boundary line of a surface.” Here are three photos representing different interpretations of “Edge”. The first I took today, with the help of our two roughhousing dogs, Einstein and Rockne. The other two are photos from my iPhone library. Which is your favorite?

Bamboo Edges

Bamboo Edges

My very talented brother gifted me with this lovely bamboo cutting board that he created from scraps. I love the contrast between the narrow edge and the cutting surface.

I'm Hiding - Can You Find Me?

I’m Hiding – Can You Find Me?

Edges within edges. Can you find the edges of the lizard?

Dock to the Lake Edge

Dock to the Lake Edge

Every now and then, the electric company lowers Lake Murray to do maintenance around the perimeter. Combined with a drought, the edge of the lake receded further than normal leaving docks stretching over seldom seen land and barely reaching the water. There are so many edges in this photo – the dock, the normal shore line, the land that is normally under water, the water line, the far shore, and the skyline!

Ear Cleaning Einstein Style

Ear Cleaning Einstein Style

My helpers! After rolling around on the floor and wanting attention, Rockne got his ears cleaned by Einstein to take the edge off and then it was nap time 🙂

Through Raindrops on Glass

A day spent cooped up in a windowless court room for jury duty and a judge threatening to confiscate any cell phone that makes a sound or an appearance does not lend itself to experimenting with a camera and glass. But, this evening, the different lights sparkling thru the raindrops on the windshield were a fun inspiration! Using my iPhone 5s, I clicked away while my husband drove to and from the restaurant. Bet you can guess which ones were taken when the car was moving or stopped. We had fun, dinner and the company were great, and now I’ve also done my first circle gallery!!

Treasured Time!


Today’s theme, “Treasure,” is perfect!

Laying in bed this morning,  enjoying the few minutes between waking up and the dogs realizing walks and breakfast were in the offing, I was trying to figure out how to capture the essence of the treasure of 35 years of marriage.  All the ups and downs, kids, pets, careers, moving, home renovations,  who’s cooking, joys and sorrows,  and gradually mellowing into who we are today.  As my husband isn’t inclined to let me post his picture,  I was considering various options.   Rings – too newlywed (and I’m not sure my husband even knows where his is).  Flowers – pretty, but not the essence of us.

Love is so much richer now than when we started out. The small, daily moments are the foundation of our shared treasure.  Coffee, tea, morning time together – that’s us, but I’ve already posted that one for the “Connect” post. When we opened our cards, we both knew that this was perfect! Today,  we are on the same page and started year 36 with a good laugh!!

Gallery of a Day of Finding YELLOW

Nature and marketing – it is amazing how much YELLOW is used by both! Breakfast and a trip to Lowe’s and Tractor Supply with my husband. Yellow flowers, lemon, and eggs and then….yellow everywhere at both stores :-).

This was an interesting project. I have never before used color as the common theme in a series of photos. I chose yellow in protest of Christmas being pushed at the stores before we’ve enjoyed my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving.

In pursuit of YELLOW, I examined products that I usually walk right by, and then became aware of how the mix of colors and shapes on the shelves work together to draw attention. I’m sure there is a sound scientific basis for why certain colors are next to each other, which height shelf an item is on, why some things hang, some are stacked, some are in rows, etc. As these stores cater to men, is YELLOW a color that attracts a man’s eye? My husband can spot a display of DeWalt tools at the far end of any store we are in! Whatever the reason, YELLOW was everywhere!

What’s Growing In Here?

Dwarf Palmettos Flourishing in the Swamp at Barataria Preserve in Jean LaFitte Historical National Park & Preserve

Dwarf Palmettos Flourishing in the Swamp at Barataria Preserve in Jean LaFitte Historical National Park & Preserve

The Barataria Preserve at Jean LaFitte Historical National Park & Preserve is an amazing place to visit. It is worlds away from the French Quarter and the Garden District in nearby New Orleans. Meandering along the boardwalk of the Bayou Coquille Trail offers encounters with alligators, toads, insects, birds, and primordial views through the swamp. It is amazing and creepily beautiful.