Sunday, October 30, 2011

iPhoneography Mission #9: My Favorite Butterfly

This week's iPhoneography mission was our ninth one, and it was a lovely one:

Admire the color palette of butterfly wings.

While I find so much beauty in all butterflies, the monarch holds a special place in my heart. Unfortunately, they seem in short supply around here, especially as we near the middle of autumn. I did have the exquisite pleasure of seeing one soar overhead a couple of weeks ago. Those brilliant wings against a perfectly blue autumn sky...

That moment served as my inspiration for this week's mission. I decided to focus on the palette provided by the lovely monarch.

My initial shots come from a book sent to me by a Flickr friend (thank you, Pam!). It's called simply Monarch Butterfly and is by Gail Gibbons. It is a lovely little book that details the growth cycle of monarchs and how to raise and release your own. (Aside: I cannot wait until spring!!)


Stained Glass

An Abstraction of Wings

Once I had exhausted myself on pictures of the monarch from the book, I looked for a similar palette of colors around me...

(from a picture of clown fish...Nemo!)

Woolly Bear
(from my comfy socks)

Autumn's Ode to the Monarch

On a Clear Autumn Day

Respite for a Monarch

(All shots were done with various lenses and films in Hipstamatic. I should keep better track, but I have a habit of...well, being too lazy!)

In all, it was a lovely little mission. It was fun seeking out that beautiful orange color...and especially trying to find it in a non-Halloween way. I hope I did my favorite butterfly justice!!

Now, on to the next mission: Mission #10: Make a cup of tea and follow the color saturation of the water.

Oy. This will be right up Laura's alley! As for me? I don't even know if I have tea in the house! Unless it's iced and from Guer's Dairy, I'm not really a fan...

But I do love a challenge!!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011


There is nothing like finishing a project.

Well, there are many things like finishing a project, and all of them are awesome!!

I have been doing my barn images for a long time. And I've toyed with the idea of putting some of my favorites into a book. Heck, people have even asked me when I'm going to do it!

I kept putting it off. Partially because I'm a procrastinator. Partially because I didn't feel like I could ever get to that point where I felt like I was ready to put the book together.

But then it happened.

Hubby took me on a drive the other weekend. Just some back roads with the occasional barn. Roads that we've traveled before. But then I noticed there was a distinct direction in which he was traveling. And I noticed that he pointedly took a road that we normally do not take.

And then? There it was.

I have coveted this barn for months and months. It's on a little side road that we never, ever take. I always said something whenever we passed the intersection to this road, but Hubby never seemed to pick up the hint.

Until the other day. When he took me down the road. Just so I could get this picture.

I love him.

And I love this barn.

I processed it as soon as we got home because I just couldn't wait...

A Happy Thought of Yesteryear

As soon as it was finished, I knew that something else could be finished.

I've been planning a book of my barn images for a while, but I hadn't brought myself to the point of actually bringing it to fruition. I think, in hindsight, that I was just missing that definitive image that would tell me the book was done.

I've got that image.

And I've got that book. (Heck, now you can have that book too!!)

I feel so good tonight!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

iPhoneography Mission #8

This week's iPhoneography mission was a silly one:

iPhoneography Mission #8: Notice the position of your feet.
I've actually taken pictures of my feet before. Not usually bare, as I never have a good pedicure. And from wearing dress shoes five days a week, well...blech.

Traditional shot of my now-retired comfy socks.

Now, for this week, I started by simply noticing my feet. How they were positioned. What positions I put them in the most. Things like that...

Chillaxing on the couch after a long day...


My standard and norm. This is how my feet are 90% of the time, I think!

Well, my feet started to bore me. Especially since they did tend to be in the same position all of the time. And because they are my feet and I deal with them every day.

About that time, my mom got my little guy his first pair of slippers. Well. That just opened up a whole new world of opportunities!

Keeping an eye on busy little feet

Sitting with Mommy

I think my favorite shot, though, was the one below. Just me. Just relaxed. Just as I like to be.

I'm looking forward, as always, to next week's challenge. The challenge I'm not looking forward to? Figuring out how to get my laptop to work outside of safe mode! I should take a picture of my feet now. They certainly don't look relaxed now!!!!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Oh, October...

Perhaps I am a little biased. It is the month of my birthday, after all. But I love October. Adore it.

I love the colors of autumn as they sweep across the trees. The bold oranges and brilliant reds. And then I love the stark and barren trees after all the leaves have fallen. The sky is bluer in October...just before it starts turning that cold and eerie gray. Halloween brings its own joys. Costumes and scary movies and imaginations that go bump in the night.

Yes, I love October.

I love, too, that Hubby provided me with a couple of opportunities for photo safaris this month. We drove up to Mansfield University for Homecoming. Hubby and I both went to school at MU, and that's where we met. That's a silly story for another blog, though...

Then, this past weekend, the little guy had a cold, so we got him some fresh air at Tuscarora Lake, one of two lakes/parks in the area. He had a blast, and I snapped a billion pictures. (Well, maybe over a hundred, anyway...) After the lake, Hubby took us for a drive...for the sole purpose that I could shoot some drive-by pics. And he did something so amazingly sweet...but that, too, is a blog for another day!

So, I give you a taste of some of the shots from these two weekends. Some have been processed; some have not. And I'm still working on tons more...

Hubby played tuba in the Mountineer band. Thought this was a cool shot...

My attempt at being an action photographer. Ha ha!

The Pride of Pennsylvania!

My goofy little guy, pretending to freeze in a sweat-inducing sun!

The little guy standing and squinting under the "Kissing Tree". Legend has it that if you kiss your true love under this tree, you will be together forever. Hubby and I used to part ways under this tree before going to our respective classes. He'd always plant a light kiss on my forehead. Sealed our fate, I say! :)

My two favorite guys, heading down to the lake...

These "steps" were killer!

And now some processed images...

"The Christmas Barn in Autumn"

"Seasons Still Change"

"The Old Man and the Lake"

"Autumn Splendor"

What wonderful weekends we manage to have! Sometimes the week is so busy and stressful...It's nice to be able to surround ourselves with fond memories and nature's beauty at the end of those weeks...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

iPhoneography Mission #7

After last week's challenge, I was excited to see what this week's iPhoneography mission would bring. I was relieved to see that it wasn't an impossible challenge (which last week's nearly was).

This week's challenge was to "Seek out light in the dark".

So many ideas! So many options! I started to snap shots right away. I thought about taking a more symbolic approach, but decided to stay a little more literal and play with bits of light in the midst of absolute darkness.

What I learned? 1. The iPhone is not necessarily equiped for shots in absolute darkness. 2. The results when light is picked up are pretty cool!

I will say this before I share the shots I snapped: I did not intentionally seek out creepy images. They just came naturally! Ha ha!!

All of the following images were taken using various lenses and films from Hipstamatic. Most were then processed using the Pixlr-o-matic app on my iPhone. No Photoshop here!

At the Dawn

Just a Few More Steps

Champagne Supernova

Haunted Still

I See You


Don't Let Them In


Tunnel of Light

I really enjoyed this mission, really enjoyed the interplay of darkness and light. It is pretty cool to see what I can create on my iPhone and I love that, just like the regular images I process in Photoshop, the images can speak to me and tell me what they want to look like.

On to the next!!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Five Years and a Week Later

From Saturday to Saturday, what a week it has been...

Last Saturday, the 8th, was our angel's birthday. He would have been five years old. It's hard to wrap my brain around that. Has it really been five years? What would he be like? How different would our lives be?

Quite honestly, I can't imagine a life without Nick. I think we are very blessed and that all the pain of five years ago paved the way to all the happiness that we now have.

Still, my heart continues to ache. There's a void that even time cannot heal. I don't know that everyone understands that, and truly, unless you've lost a child, I don't know that you can fully understand it. I mean, I have a child now, so I should just move on, right?


I very quickly removed a couple people from  my life five years ago. The friend who said that my husband and I would "be parents someday," who failed to acknowledge that though our baby was born with an angel's wings, we were still parents. The family member who said that our grief was hurting her feelings and it was time to just get over it.

Yeah. Good-bye.

But then there have been moments of grace and beauty. The one family member who wished me a "Happy Mother's Day" that first May after we lost Gregory. The kind words spoken to me by a colleague who isn't generally known for his gentle heart. The surprising compassion of my former boss when I suffered a miscarriage just months later.

The single monarch butterfly flying overhead in a clear blue sky on October 8th of this year. I associate butterflies with Gregory, and I know it was his way of letting me know that he is okay and that he is watching over us.

Every year, around his birthday, we make it a point to visit the Rose Garden where he was laid to rest. I couldn't bear the thoughts of a sterile and dismal cemetery for him, so when this option was presented, I suppose I sort of bullied my husband into agreeing. I wanted him to have sunshine and butterflies and flowers...and the companionship of the other angels who would be laid to rest with him.

It is such a peaceful place for me. Somewhat sad, sure. But it is so healing to be there. To feel beauty and light and love surrounding me. I know that I couldn't have the feeling elsewhere.

Each year, I take pictures when we make our visit, and I always make an image just for Gregory. This year's image might be my favorite. I love how it turned out and I love the little angel that I snuck in. I placed the same angel in last year's image, and I think I may make it a part of all future images, too...

This past week has been full of what will become other sad remembrances, as well. One of our former students--the son of a former colleague--was killed in a car accident. Such a sad loss, and though I understand the loss of a child, I can't imagine the level of her pain. Two of my friends lost their mother-in-laws, and knowing the closeness of the relationship I have with my own, my heart aches for them and for their spouses.

In honor of these losses, I felt compelled to create an image for them last night:


When I was through processing this, I loved the glow coming from the center of the flower, like a votive candle was illuminating it from within. Well, that reminded me that today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. The October 15th website recognizes today with a Wave of Light. Everyone is asked to light a candle from 7-8pm tonight so that a wave of light will cross the globe in remembrance. I have a special candle that I light each year, and I'll be lighting it tonight.

I also processed another image last night, a reminder to myself that there are stages to life. And that these stages create a cycle of renewal, a cycle that means that--in some ways--everything that matters will go on even after we our gone...


Hmmm...what an introspective week for me. So many thoughts and memories, yearnings and sorrows mixed with joys and laughter.

I suppose that's a definition of life, huh? That balance between two ends of an emotional spectrum? The sadness paving a way for us to appreciate the wonderful blessings that we are given each day...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

iPhoneography Mission #6: I'm a Cheater

I cheated. I admit it and declare it here and now.

This week's iPhoneography mission was:

Mission #6: Throw someone or something in the water and evaluate the splash.

Yeah. Just didn't happen. It was a busy week, for one. And with a three-year-old? It would have been a fun mission but would have resulted in a drowned iPhone, I am quite certain.
So I cheated. I still recruited my three-year-old to help, of course. But we sort of did the opposite of the mission.
We finally got some dry weather up  here after weeks of flooding rains. The little guy and I went outside to play, and I noticed that, despite all the rain, my mums needed to be watered. I pulled out the hose, started to water the flowers...and decided to cheat.
Water Master
~native camera~

I handed the little guy the hose (the first time he's been allowed to use it), and you'd have thought he'd just been elected president! He was so proud! I put it on mist in the hopes that I wouldn't get soaked by an errant spray, and we got to work!!

Webbed Wonder
Lens: Lucas AB2
Film: Ina's 1935
Lens: Lucas AB2
Film: Ina's 1935
Double Rainbow
Lens: Lucas AB2
Film: Ina's 1935
Seasons Change
Lens: Lucas AB2
Film: Ina's 1935
Mission accomplished? I'm saying yes if for no other reason than the little guy and I had a blast blanketing the flower bed with water.
Still, here's hoping that this week's mission isn't quite as challenging! ('s looking forward to the next challenge! Bring it on!)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Hipstamatic Hijinks

Since my husband is a high school band director, our Friday nights from September to November are usually booked with football games. Because of budgetary cutbacks, however, we had this Friday night off. Hubby wanted to run to the bookstore to grab a magazine, and I decided to snap some pictures along the way.

Generally, I do my drive-by photography with my traditional camera. This time, I decided to use the Hipstamatic app on my iPhone. I also decided that I would use the same lens and film for each shot: Buckhorst H1 lens and Ina's 1935 film.

Day is Done 

Under the Bridge

Off-Kilter Farms


Long Way Back

Red Barn Blues

Roadside Curiosities 
From Here, You Can See Forever