A Spider, an Event and a Freebie

Good morning!

On Saturday, I did two things and I’ll talk about about the second one first because it’s really cool and really creepy.  

Talk?  Nah… I’ll show!

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Isn’t he wonderful?

He’s creepy, yet fascinating.  

Okay, mega-creepy.  I do not like spiders anywhere near me, which totally does not explain why I got so close to that one.  Zoom is a wonderful feature for a camera too. *laughs*   The lighting and his position were just perfect and I needed it.

Just like I needed this one:

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Beautiful, busy bee.

It amazed me that I managed to catch him, he was, well, busy.  I love the detail in these two pictures.  A friend of mine suggested that I enter two photo contests.  One is the Lambton County guidebook cover contest and the other is a macro contest for National Geography, I think.  I might use one of these two for that NatGeo contest and this one for the Lambton County contest.

The other thing I did was attend an author signing called Ignite Your Soul Author Event 2016.  It’s the third year they’ve been in London (mine, not England’s) but the first time I’d heard about it.  And the only reason I heard about it is because my friend Sue – a bestie from high school – told me she was attending.  We hadn’t laid eyes on each other in 21 years so what was I to do?  

I spent three hours getting toxed stupid, laughing my ass off and meeting some wonderful people.  I have several new books to read, a lead on a couple of publishers and a call to submission that could prove incredibly lucrative if I’m accepted.

I’m not going to talk about that last one though.  It’s my secret until I actually make that submission. 

What else have I done recently?  Why, I started school on the sixth.  I started out with a full load because I’m home and I’m smart, right?  

Pfft.  Thanks to Fibro and MCS I no longer learn like I used to.  I don’t learn as easily and I don’t learn the same way.  I take copious notes to prove to myself that I get it and because it’s easier to remember if I read it and write it.  So it’s taking me 2 or 3 times as long to get through everything.  I’m down to 3 courses per term now and it’s better.  I’m enjoying what I’m doing better.  And I’m not missing anything anymore. 

I’d rather succeed more slowly than not at all.  My business idea has huge market potential and I want to do it and do it well.

What’s your dream?  What are you doing to make it a reality?

I gotta hit the accounting book again.

Oh, wait!  I almost forgot!

Because I’m so damn happy with Saturday’s event, even though I was there as a consumer, not a creator, I decided to put Witch Hitlist up for free again!  If you didn’t manage to grab it last time, now’s your chance!

GET IT HERE!

Enjoy your day, folks!

Muah!

 

A Swan Song

Good evening!

I just had to share some of my favourite pictures with you.  I know that it’s been a while so I will catch you up but first, these completely and totally awesome photos.  

Last weekend, when I was in Grand Bend, I turned from the BBQ and what did I see?  

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Swans and their cygnets!

They wandered into the backyard to pick at the weeds and grass, not entirely sure why they went for a walk, they have a pond about two blocks away.  We were quite delighted to see them for the cygnets were adorable in their ugliness and the parents fierce in their protectiveness, though they were quite relaxed here.  They stayed about ten minutes before wandering off across the street.  

This summer, my daughter decided that her dog needed to live with us full time, rather than her dad, so she could train her and try and get some of her worse behaviours under control.  It’s fallen to me to walk the dog first thing in the morning, invariably just as the sun is coming up.  

So I’ve been appreciating the walks.  I get to see things that a lot of people don’t that early in the day.  We go to the same spot, because it’s easier on me to take her out on the long leash and mostly stand there (sometimes we walk, but it’s before breakfast and before my pills).  I was watching the progress of a large thistle bloom until the municipality mowed everything down on the hillside, I listen to the birds waking up and take time to look for the little things.  Which led to two of three of my most favourite pictures ever.  

 

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This snail resting on the slab of sliced off tree.

Which the dog decided to explore…

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And, thankfully, decided wasn’t food.

My third favourite picture is one I took just this evening after we dropped Girlkid off at work.  We went to the beach to take a gander at the water.  I love the beach when it’s windy and on the edge of being stormy (and when it is stormy).  The colours and movement of the water are amazing.  

The Boyfriend sat down to enjoy the view while I wandered down to the water’s edge then up the pier and around to the boardwalk.  Came up from behind him and saw a picture that had to be taken.

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It was a peaceful moment.

So, those are my favourite moments from the last little while.  

And now, time to catch up!

I decided not to write July Camp, for reasons that are my own, and chose instead to edit HW2.   I’m 43 pages from the end!  That means that it will be published, barring any unforeseen circumstances, on August 1st.  

And THAT means free books! The HW1 ebook will be made available for free for three days (maybe more, depends on mood and options *laughs*).  I will probably make Lizendale for free too.  And then I will begin the research for HW4 and the slow, painful process of editing both HW3 and A Year in the life of S. Claus.  

I don’t have the plot set for HW4 and I am hoping that the research will give me some inspiration for the rest of it.  

AND I have decided to go back to school.  Hopefully, I’ll be starting in September.  I plan on being a busy girl.  The government finally acknowledged that I AM disabled (we knew that, eh?) and that relieved so much pressure in my head, released a huge cloud of depression and anger that was hanging over me that I wasn’t even wholly aware of.  

Happy days!

Time for me to go to bed.  Have a grand night and a great weekend!

Muah!

 

Brrrr

Sand and snow and water

So pretty, oh so pretty

It is storming today and looks nothing like the above photo (taken last month).  It looks more like this:

Snow Storm

Crappy. Blowy. Colder than a witch’s elbow.

I’m not entirely sure about that particular expression but with a windchill of -31*C (-23.8*F) I’ll use it.  It’s one of my Dad’s go-to expressions. *laughs*

I, who refuses to go out if it’s eight below, got dressed up and went outside to take pictures.   I put on jeans, a long sleeve tee, two pairs of socks, ski pants (snow pants?), my boots, a vest, a heavy sweater, scarf, gloves, snowmobile minutes, a hat and my coat.   I think I gained five pounds just in fabric and insulation.  

I trudged around looking for photo ops and ended up taking eighteen photos.  Not all of them made it to the folder but I wanted share what I like best with you.  Pull on a sweater and take a look!  

(I’m wearing a heavy sweater over my clothes and a large down sleeping bag as a blanket. 😀 )

First up, I gotta say, snow is hard to get focused on when you’re using a lower end camera (The Olympus D-700)  Snow is white, it reflects light [painfully] and makes it difficult for the camera to focus.  (She says like she knows.)  I may not know the mechanics (yet) but I do know that all of the pictures came out with a kind of soft focus.

So, I turned to the backyard when I stepped outside.  The first thing I saw was, well, snow.   It was on everything, everywhere.  Kind of the point to a snow storm, eh? 😉    We have a row of bicycles locked up to the trailer-cum-workshop and they were intriguing.  The shapes, the light, and the shadows all pulled me.  

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I want to ride my bicycle! (And the musical reference is)  …Not. I’d freeze to it.  

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The snow is giving me the gears. (*cackle*) See how off the focus is?  It appears out of focus, kind of makes my eyes argue with me about what’s being seen.

On the other hand, I like the contrast of light and dark,  the white and black.  I like how even the jagged edges are soft yet still menacing. The whole thing just makes me happy, even while I’m infuriated by the lack of sharpness in the focus.

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See? Lack of focus.

And yet, it looks like  the sky on a cloudy day.  It’s snow on a fence.

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Like this.

The snow is so sticky that it just…. foomp…sticks to whatever like fake snow.  The side of the car, the fence, the front door and the living room windows.   It’s kind of awesome (even if it did pull power lines down).

I got heavily involved in light and shadow today (how could you not?) and I’m in love with a couple of the shots.

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This is at the top of the private stairs. The horizon and the lake are one.

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This one is almost Yin Yang in its awesomeness. Hints of light in the dark and dark in the light.

And then there’s this…

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…my absolute favourite.

I love the texture in this one.  The spiky needles, the curves on the pine cone and the roughness of the branches in the background.  It is, as Val says, Christmas card worthy.  

And that’s it, folks.  We are still in the throes of our wee storm and I’m on tenterhooks about the power going out.  I’m off to make soup and get scraps of chicken for the cat that roams the neighbourhood.  

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and take good care of your loved ones.

Muah!

The Eyes Have It

Hello!  Happy Saturday!

I had planned on showing you the pretty things in my life, the flora, however, something else came up.  

My inspiration for these photos came to me in the blink of an eye.

My inspiration for these photos came to me in the blink of an eye.

 

Let’s face it, anyone who knows my blog knows that I’m addicted to nature photos.  I love the blooms, the riot of colour, the shapes and details at each phase of growth.  I am editing some sixty pictures for you.  

I will be nice and not bore you to death with 60 flower photos though. *laughs*  I will only share my favourites.

But last night I was getting ready for bed and noticed that my eyes were approximately four different colours.  That led me to wanting to see if I could capture it and THAT led The Boyfriend to wanting to photograph his eye too (seen above at its creepiest).  

My first attempt at trying to take a picture of my own eye ended up like this:

I did crop it some.

I did crop it some.

 

As you can see, I’m not exactly looking at the camera.  I tried to do some colour adjustments to get my iris to show its colours but the lighting in the bathroom was hard to work with.  You can see what I meant about the colour though.

So, because the angle was wrong, (and it wasn’t as close as I wanted before), I tried again.

Caught it this time!

Caught it this time!

 

Bam!  Look at the colours! The white lights are the bathroom lights, forgot to account for them in the angles.  They did allow me to get the colours though.  

Eyes are absolutely amazing in their colour variations.  You can have brown eyes that are the colour of milk chocolate, or dark chocolate, or so dark a brown they’re almost black.  Sixteen shades of blue, fourteen shades of green.  You can have eyes with several colours in them at once or eyes that change colour (like mine).  

Peter’s eyes are blue.  They’re an amazing blue, I like them a great deal.  But! He has blue tinted contacts, tinted so that he can see them if they go in the wrong place on his eyes.  He says they can be tinted any colour, just his are blue because his eyes are blue.

With the blue contact.

With the blue contact.

 

Even with not being able to adjust the colour properly (the lighting made the picture come out tinted yellow) you can see the depth of blue the contact creates.  His eyes are the thing I was attracted to first.

Without the contact.

Without the contact.

And without the contact they’re more like denim blue.  And you can see the starburst is more pronounced.  

His eyes have a wealth of history in them.  They often hold humour and affection for the people around him.  They are full of life and surrounded by the evidence that he has lived.  (And, by the way, he is seventeen years older than me.  It doesn’t make a whit of difference, generally.)

The next time you look in the mirror, see what you can see in your peepers.  What colour are they?  How many shades of that colour are in them?  Do they tell your story?

I hope mine tell people that I’m a survivor, full of humour and affection, and that they hint at the wealth of stories in my head.

I want to hear what you see!

Have a great weekend.

Muah!  

PS  The eyes will follow you wherever you go!  Just ask Tee. 😉

Photo Bonus!

A few bonus photos today! I love them and am too excited to wait for Monday.

The cat woke me at 5:45 this morning, pissing me off, of course. Letting me sleep in for 25 minutes doesn’t cut it. lol But it afforded me the beautiful foggy dawn picture here. Later, I went out to feed the squirrels and ran into two anchor lines for this gorgeous web. Of course I had to photograph it too.

Have a great Saturday. And to my Canuck followers – have a fantastic long weekend!

Muah!

Isn't it gorgeous?  I used the despeckle filter but it still looks slightly grainy.  It seems to work though.

Isn’t it gorgeous? I used the despeckle filter but it still looks slightly grainy. It seems to work though.

 

Spiders certainly are industrious!  One of the anchor lines was to the deck railing and the other to a chair.  Both distances were a good 6 feet.  I turned the saturation down to -80% or so and adjusted the hue just a bit.

Spiders certainly are industrious! One of the anchor lines was to the deck railing and the other to a chair. Both distances were a good 6 feet. I turned the saturation down to -80% or so and adjusted the hue just a bit.

 

For this one I did an auto contrast and the sharpen filter.  I adjusted the contrast and brightness a little more.  I'm quite pleased with it.

For this one I did an auto contrast and the sharpen filter. I adjusted the contrast and brightness a little more. I’m quite pleased with it.

 

Monday Medley – Pretties

Beauty day!

Beauty day!

Good Monday morning! 

This weekend was about contradictions for me – there were some really good things and some really crappy things.  I try to focus on the good so the crappy stuff doesn’t seem so crappy.  

For instance, Friday was so lovely that we sat on the porch with our feet up reading for a spell.  We could see the lake, hear the birds and see all the leaves and flowers waking up.  

Over the last couple of weeks the weather has inspired me to wander around with my camera to capture the blooms.  I was also inspired to do that while I was in a nursery, (Westland Greenhouses for the win. They have a wonderful selection and very knowledgeable staff.  One took a 5 second look at a picture and said, “OH!  I know what that is!), but we’ll get to those pictures.  First, my own gardens – and a couple from goldi’s garden.

The crocuses were my first blooms of the season.  I have this wonderful yellow...

The crocuses were my first blooms of the season. I have this wonderful yellow…

...and this great purple.

…and this great purple.

Even the bugs were starting to wake up a couple of weeks ago.

Even the bugs were starting to wake up a couple of weeks ago.

godli has some marvelous spring bulbs, like this magenta tulip.

goldi has some marvelous spring bulbs, like this magenta tulip.

And these double bloom daffodils.   This picture, by the way, isn't retouched at all.  The lighting was perfect, doncha think?

And these double bloom daffodils. This picture, by the way, isn’t retouched at all. The lighting was perfect, doncha think?

This is also my purple crocus.  I was messing with the hue & saturation sliders again.

This is also my purple crocus. I was messing with the hue & saturation sliders again.

This grape hyacinth is what happens when you go out in the early morning and forget that the flash is on.  I think it's a rather interesting shot but hey.

This grape hyacinth is what happens when you go out in the early morning and forget that the flash is on. I think it’s a rather interesting shot but hey.

We’ve also been to the beach a lot and there have been some really cool finds, like this conch shell.

It is less than two inches long.  And in 20 years of wandering that beach I've never seen another one.  Bits of oyster shells, lots of clam and mussels but never a conch.  I'm pleased with it.

It is less than two inches long. And in 20 years of wandering that beach I’ve never seen another one. Bits of oyster shells, lots of clam and mussels but never a conch. I’m pleased with it.

This weekend, the weather was just as mixed up as the events of my weekend.  We had a couple of rainstorms and I managed to take this wonderful picture of one coming in off the lake.  

I love this picture.  I would love a print of it.  A big print.

I love this picture. I would love a print of it. A big print.

When we went to Westland there were two plants I really liked.  I managed to take a couple of pictures.

This is the Purple Passion flower.  Apparently it's good for restless leg syndrome.  Yay Google.  GK says it's creepy as hell.

This is the Purple Passion flower. Apparently it’s good for restless leg syndrome. Yay Google. GK says it’s creepy as hell.

I forgot to find the name for this one and Google isn't helping - way to let me down this time!  ;)  It looked soft as silk. Also kind of creepy.  Reminds me of a jellyfish in a way.

I forgot to find the name for this one and Google isn’t helping – way to let me down this time! 😉 It looked soft as silk. Also kind of creepy. Reminds me of a jellyfish in a way.

I bought two 4

I bought two 4″ pots of this gorgeous little annual called Landmark Sunrise Rose Lantana. Apparently it’s a prolific bloomer. Plus it’s bright, sunny, very striking visually.

Today is a grey, humid, head-pounding day.  We’re waiting for storms that may or may not arrive.  The atmospheric pressure is intense.  Lots of fun. 

I am going to have lunch and then try to write and THEN I will get to some jewelry making.  I am going to make a healing talisman for someone today.  I think she needs it.  

Have a great Monday, folks. 

Muah!

Monday Medley – Wood

Good Monday morning, folks!  I know, “good Monday” seems like an oxymoron but there’s no reason for it to be.

As promised, here is the new weekly blog experiment.

I have failed big time at posting photo blogs on the weekends for quite some time now.  Part of that was because I wasn’t taking pictures worth noting.  Mostly, it’s because my weekends have been about shutting off and trying to feel better.  They are very much about spending time with The Boyfriend too.  The shutting down is about work, about doing for others, pretty much about doing anything outside of the two of us.

Sounds selfish, I suppose, but to me it’s about looking after me and looking after our relationship.

True, the spasms did break but it didn’t last long.  The only saving grace has been the yoga; it’s prevented the new round from being as bad as the first, so far.  However, lately, days like Friday, where my legs collapsed from under me again, and Saturday, when I spent the day in a fog of pain, barely able to walk, have been happening more and more.  Again.

Monday Medley is about photography.  It’s about the things I’ve found interesting – the subjects, the angles, the shadows and light, the lines – in the last week or so.  And while I do have a backlog of photos, we’re going to start this new experiment with photos from the last two weeks.

This week the theme is wood.  We spent a weekend clearing out dead branches from the bushes and some of the trees a couple of weeks ago.  We found some very interesting (to us, *laughs*) pieces of wood.  Gnarly bits of gnarled wood.  

The Boyfriend did an awesome thing with some of that wood that is a whole other post – he custom made me a cane.  It’s gorgeous.  It’s a prototype, an experiment, he says, but I adore it.  But that’s a show-and-tell for another day.

For now, the other bits we found and some of what he has done with it.  

After this, I am going to continue trying to get to know James, the new computer (an ASUS N551jk 15.6″) , and see if I can get some writing done.  James is still quite a lot toxic and is making me a little brain dead, so we’ll see.

On to the photos! 

A piece of driftwood I found on the beach.  I took the picture with the Rich Format on my camera then used Photoshop to enhance the colours.  I love the textures here.  I love birch trees for that.  They're always interesting to look at.  The fact that the bark is hanging on, still wrapped around the branch, even as the thing is being hollowed out strikes me as tenacious. Especially for a dead thing. ;)

A piece of driftwood I found on the beach. I took the picture with the Rich Format on my camera then used Photoshop to enhance the colours. I love the textures here. I love birch trees for that. They’re always interesting to look at. The fact that the bark is hanging on, still wrapped around the branch, even as the thing is being hollowed out strikes me as tenacious. Especially for a dead thing. 😉

This Rose of Sharon seed pod counts as wood, really!  I like the shapes and colours here.  The fact that the bark is hanging on, still wrapped around the branch, even as the thing is being hollowed out strikes me as tenacious.  Especially for a dead thing. ;)

This Rose of Sharon seed pod counts as wood… really! I like the shapes and colours here. 

We are not sure what this is.  It currently has a pale green bloom of some sort pushing out from the red.  Do any of you know what it is?  Do share, please.  It kind of popped up in the garden.

We are not sure what this is. It currently has a pale green bloom of some sort pushing out from the red. Do any of you know what it is? Do share, please. It kind of popped up in the garden.

Do you see the face?  *grins*

Do you see the face? *grins*

This one just had to be put in black & white so that the colours didn't distract from the lines.    I really like the patterns here.

This one just had to be put in black & white so that the colours didn’t distract from the lines. I really like the patterns here.

This one strikes me as Nature's way of throwing her femininity in your face.   The lines and curves are very sensual.

This one strikes me as Nature’s way of throwing her femininity in your face. The lines and curves are very sensual.

Have a wonderful day! 

Muah!

Good morning!

It’s Spring Break here for my daughter so I am taking a long weekend at the cottage with The Boyfriend.  That means this photoblog still falls in the range of ‘weekend’ for me. 😉

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Like this one. It’s a macro shot of Egyptian chamomile tea, after it’s been steeped

Today I want to share some photos I took with the new camera.  I’ve had to carefully weed out the ones taken with my Olympus.  

No matter how much I want to share them, this blog is for the phone camera.

But wait!  First!  I’m so excited!  Look! (Yeah…okay, that’s a lot of exclamation points.  Sue me. 😉 )

My summer office is thawing!

My summer office is thawing!

Isn’t that great?   The snow is totally gone this morning.  I’m thrilled.  

Okay, back to the job at hand.  We got our new phones at the beginning of the month.  Samsung S4s.  There are positives and negatives but I’m not about reviewing the phone.  I AM interested in the camera; that I will review (ish) as I go.

Here are the specs:

Primary: 13 MP, 4128 x 3096 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
Features: Dual Shot, Simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, touch focus, face/smile detection, HDR
Video: 1080p@30fps, dual-video rec.

(found on gsmarena.com. For full phone specs, check them out)

The pictures are larger and better quality that from my S3, overall.  The biggest difference that I have noticed, (besides the ability to take image in image shots), is the settings, the ability to change how you adjust the colour etc.  You cannot manually change the ISO or WB, for instance.  You have settings like Auto, Drama, Best Face, Sports and Night, and others. 

Pressing the gear symbol, (options, settings, whatever), gives you options like:

  • turning the flash on and off,
  • turning the auto-night adjustment on and off (it will automatically adjust for low light settings) 
  • turning voice control on and off, (Oh, I am so going to have to play with that),
  • options for recording mode, and
  • auto sharing options (on, off, where to)

I dislike that all the settings are automatic.  

I am interested in playing with settings like Drama and Sports.  In Drama, it takes a series of shots and then stitches the best ones together to form a dramatic photo.  Sports allows for photos of fast moving objects.

I did find a setting for “Animated photo”.  I thought that was odd.  When I was playing with the camera I happened to be making Man Soup for supper.  After I dished it up I took a photo using this setting.  The picture won’t share to Facebook because it’s too big and not the right format, even though it labels itself as a .gif in my files.  Let’s see if it works here.

Steamy Man Soup!  And an example of an animated photo.

Steamy Man Soup! And an example of an animated photo.

Pretty cool, right? 😀  (It is slowing my ability to do things wayyyyyy down though.)

The Auto setting takes some pretty sharp photos. 

This is one of the first pictures I took.  Birch  against the blue sky.  THe sharp lines and crisp colours are awesome.

This is one of the first pictures I took. Birch against the blue sky. The sharp lines and crisp colours are awesome.

Terror looks amazing.  You can see all the colours that make him such a gorgeous feline.  Plus, you know, his annoyance that I made him stand there when all he wanted to do was sniff stuff.

Terror looks amazing. You can see all the colours that make him such a gorgeous feline. Plus, you know, his annoyance that I made him stand there when all he wanted to do was sniff stuff.

There is a Rich Tone (HDR) format too.  

I'm not sure I like that it turned the sunlight into speckles but the ice looks great.

I’m not sure I like that it turned the sunlight into speckles but the ice looks great.

It looks better here in the Auto setting though.

It looks better here in the Auto setting though.

This is also an example of Rich Tone.  I think it looks better here.  (It's also an example of snow melt down at the beach.

This is also an example of Rich Tone. I think it looks better here. (It’s also an example of snow melt down at the beach.)

I tried the Sport setting on the only thing I had around here that moves with any speed and regularity – the dripping icicles.

I did manage to catch a drop.  It's right there in the middle.

I did manage to catch a drop. It’s right there in the middle.

I haven’t had a group of people to photograph to try things like the Best Face and Beauty Face settings.  I did try Best Photo but basically it’s on Auto and takes a fast series of pictures so you can choose the best ones to save.  

We were driving home (to my house) last Sunday at sunset and I decided to try and capture it while we were driving.

It didn't really go all that well.  I don't like the colours, it wasn't that yellow.  And even when we stopped to take the photos, it wasn't that great.

It didn’t really go all that well. I don’t like the colours, the sunset wasn’t that yellow. And even when we stopped to take the photos, it wasn’t that great.

It does, however, take lovely macro shots.  Lots of details come through.

Like here, with this fallen icicle.  You can see the striations in the ice and the refraction of the snow behind it.

Like here, with this fallen icicle. You can see the striations in the ice and the refraction of the snow behind it.

And here with a cross cut of the core of my breakfast.  This one is the apple core, though I did take one of the pear, I think I'll put it up on Instagram instead.  (I really need to start using it more, Instagram that is)

And here with a cross cut of the core of my breakfast. This one is the apple core, though I did take one of the pear, I think I’ll put it up on Instagram instead. (I really need to start using it more. Instagram that is)

 Over all, this camera is pretty easy to use and, being contrary as I can be, I don’t think I like it for that.  I have been trying to learn about ISO and WB and everything else it takes to take a good picture.  

For quality, I think this one surpasses my S3’s camera  by a long shot.  There isn’t a lot of tweaking to be done to make them look the way I want them to.  The Auto setting does a pretty damn good job.  

I am sitting outside right now, wrapped up in a coat and a blanket with another coat under my ass, so I thought I’d leave you with a parting shot.  

It’s time to do some writing in HW3 so I can get the book done and do another read through of HW2.  My books are going to be published again, I will deal with the hassle.  I’m never going to get anywhere, never going to see any success with my manuscripts hiding in my Work folder. 

Have a lovely day, even if it is Monday.

Muah!

It is awfully bright out, pardon the squinting. ;)  This is the photo in photo.  Strange, eh?

Look at me being all omniscient.  It is awfully bright out, pardon the squinting. 😉 This is the photo in photo. Strange, eh?

 

New Phone – New Camera

Peace in the Snow

Oh hey, before I get started this morning, I have an ongoing favour to ask of you. If you get these blogs delivered to your email, even if you habitually read them there, could you click on them? I’d like to keep track of the stats and I can’t do that unless you open the blog in your browser.   Pretty please?  Actually, no matter where you see the blog, please, click on it.  I’m curious about locations and referring sites.

And now, back to your (semi!) regularly scheduled program.

Good morning, my lovely people.

I had thought to give you Scotland photographs today – and perhaps still may, today is a catch up of many things – but I found something else to share instead.  Yesterday I was feeling restless and anxious and  I needed to connect with the outside so I put my Wellies on and slipped out the door into the cold and snow.

I thought, at first, to merely photograph the icicles on the porch because they are impressive.  

It turned out to be a lousy picture of it, but it's shaped like a wave.

It turned out to be a lousy picture of it, but it’s shaped like a wave.

And it's four feet long if it's an inch.

And it’s four feet long if it’s an inch.

Okay… That’s a slight exaggeration.  My opinion of it bothered me so I had to go measure it.  It’s two feet, 3 inches long (27″). 😀

But while I was out there I was struck by the utter silence.  No wave noises, no people noises, no animals or birds.  It was totally, completely, silent.  And that silence was completely peaceful.  

I have had silences that are heavy, oppressive and depressing.  I’m not a big fan of silence; I often find it frightening.  I’m not sure why that is but it is how it is.

Yesterday, though, I found it to be perfect.  I stood out there for several minutes trying to be mindful of it.  My brain kept sidelining me into thinking about how to share it with you, how to describe it, how best to photograph it.  (Perhaps I should have video taped it.)  I kept dragging it back into the moment.  

It was a wonderful feeling.

I tried to photograph it for you.  I am not sure that the pictures convey the total serenity of those moments.  It is now a happy place for me.  

The neighbour's side yard. The iced over lake is the biggest reason for the pure silence.

The neighbour’s side yard. The iced over lake is the biggest reason for the pure silence.

This is the closest view to the lake I could get.

This is the closest view to the lake I could get.  (I used a little more contrast on the picture and turned the colours down to try and eliminate distractions and increase the *feel* of the photo, rather than the look.  Did it work?)

Pure.  An excellent word.  That’s what it was, pure.  I enjoyed it immensely.  I wasn’t dressed properly (Wellies, a sweater and threadbare pants I’ve had forever) so I couldn’t stay long.  Pity.

That’s it for my photos this week.  I think I will browse the Scotland folder, because I like the memories.  If I’m inspired to share, I shall. 

Have a wonderful day.

Muah!

Frozen Solid

The view out the living room window this morning.

The view out the living room window this morning.

Good very white, very cold Sunday morning to ya!

Much of the eastern part of the continent (North America) was slammed with a hell of a snow storm last night.  Multiple car pile ups littered the highways, cars driven by people too dumb to stay home or stay where they were for a few hours.  *shakes her head*  I’m sure there were those who had to be on the roads but for the rest… I have no sympathy.  For their families, yes.  

Cold?  Well, with the temps at -25*C and wind chills of -36*C (-13*F, -34*F respectively), damn right I’m cold.  *laughs*  I was thinking of going out to take pictures this morning but changed my mind.  I did take a few, like this one, but I took them by opening the living room window and leaning out (the screens are gone for the winter). And by opening the kitchen door and taking pictures from a couple feet in.  The cat, who loves going outside, decided it was too cold to do more than hunker down, squishing his body together as much as possible, and sniff the outdoors from just inside the door.  

The storms started Thursday night and came in off and on, bringing high winds with them and making

Nightcicles

Nightcicles

travel difficult.  On the other hand, it did offer some spectacular photo ops.  Like this one ->

Again, from inside the window.  Peter had turned the porch light on so we could watch the snow and I noticed that the icicles looked amazing.  So I had to take pictures, of course.  This is the best of the lot.  

I have been wondering, lately, why my pictures have been coming out so grainy.  I realized (remembered) this morning that I had set the ISO on my camera to 400 because I have shaky hands lately.  I think I’d rather take multiples of the same shot to get a focused one than have grainy.  I can delete blurry pictures.  I can only do so much to fix grainy.  

Sneaking out involved dressing super warmly.

Sneaking out involved dressing super warmly.

I wanted to share yesterday morning’s walk with you.  I had to sneak out of the house to get where I wanted to do.  I knew that if Peter saw me he’d forbid my desired meandering down the stairs.  

So I very quietly got ready and very quietly left, praying that the noise I couldn’t help but make while walking along the catwalk down the side of the house didn’t wake him.  

Sometimes, I’d rather deal with the consequences than ask permission and be denied.  I know he knows that too.  There was a kind of indulgent amusement when I told him what I’d done.  

Sneaking out of the house like an errant teenager.  

My daughter would be proud. 😀

I was hoping to get on the beach to find something cool and different to take pictures of.  

I found cool alright.

A towering tree of snow!

A towering tree of snow!

The perspective didn’t work quite as well as I’d hoped but you get the point.  One stray breeze and I’d have had quite a load dumped on me!

I went down the stairs – stairs covered in feet of snow, not inches – and looked back up.  I’d had to use the walking stick I brought with me to push through the snow to make sure that when I put my foot down it was on stair, not air.  It was kind of scary, totally exhilarating.  

I moved a lot of snow out of my way!

I moved a lot of snow out of my way!

 Then… I got to the bottom.  And realized there was no way I was getting to the beach.  I kind of suspected that when I was at the top but getting to this…

...really confirmed it.

…really confirmed it.

Those railings are about three feet high.  I am in no shape to fight with that and then fight with everything after that.  Skis would have been nice.  Or snow shoes. 😀  Either would have been great fun.  

The snow shot to hell all hopes of finding some interesting things to photograph for you.  

But wait!

I turned to go back and spotted a few sturdy flower stems, all dead and dried.  I’m not sure what they are, though they remind me of thistles.  It took some balancing (sometimes precarious!) and some back-and-forthing with the camera to get a couple shots I liked.  

This one is The Boyfriend's favourite.

This one is The Boyfriend’s favourite.

I turned to look out at the lake and the beach before I began the trek up those stairs and stood for a moment watching the snow squalls coming in.   The picture quality is…weird.  The ISO was 400, as I’ve said, but exposure value was at -0.3 and the white balance was on auto.   It made the contrast and lighting really strange.  This is the best I could do with it.  

It's odd to look at, almost difficult to, but you can see the storms coming in.

It’s odd to look at, almost difficult to, but you can see the storms coming in.

So I hustled back up the stairs so I could take a leisurely stroll back.  

I came out of the wind tunnel that is the pathway to the stairs and hit the corner.  I had to decide whether I was going to go south, straight back down the street to the cottage or go east a block and then south and come to the cottage through the backyard.

I opted for the longer walk.

 

It looked lovely, so why not?

It looked lovely, so why not?

I did a walking meditation, chanting Om Shanti Shanti Shanti the whole way back.  It opened me up to the energy floating around.  Energy from the storm and from all the people showing their love from one another.  The latter is tainted with the darkness of those who felt lonely and depressed but that’s okay (erm, well, not for them, obviously); with all light there must be darkness.  

I will leave you with the chant.  This particular version is my favourite.

Muah!