Macro Monday – Pine Cones

“Who leaves the pine-tree, leaves his friend, unnerves his strength, invites his end.” Ralph Waldo Emerson



Weekly Photo Challenge – 10/23/15 – Careful

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Careful.”

Camouflage Careful:

It’s deer season in Western Pennsylvania. Archery season started just a few weeks ago, and rifle season is right around the corner. My walks in the woods have become less frequent and when I do venture out, I wear the latest fashion…fluorescent orange.

Today I captured some photos that fit well into this week’s photo challenge. The word ‘careful’ comes to mind when I see these tree stands precariously strapped to trees 20 feet above the earth. In the weeks to come, deer hunters will climb these trees and sit patiently for hours waiting for their prize. The deer will scamper and hide.

It’s not a sport for everyone, but the ‘thrill of the hunt’ entices many. I say ‘BE CAREFUL’… to the hunters and the deer.

Cee’s Compose Yourself Photo Challenge: Week #4 Simplicity

I am participating in week #4 of Cee’s Compose Yourself Photo Challenge. This week’s topic is ‘simplicity.’

The weather has been dreary around here, so I decided to search my archives for photos depicting ‘simplicity.’ I enjoy macro photography, so I struggled to find photos with subjects that didn’t fill the frame or showcase intricate petals, stems, pollen, and antennae.

I finally selected the four photos below. Each photo has one main subject that doesn’t take up more than 1/4 of the photo, and the void spaces highlight the subjects. I sharpened the photos and increased the saturation slightly.

Extra Credit:

Black & White: Turning the photo below into black and white simplifies this photo and gives it more character.

Cropped: In the first photo, the duck blends into the scenery. By cropping the noise, the duck becomes the main subject.

I really enjoyed this week’s challenge and I learned a lot. Thanks for viewing my post!

Weekly Photo Challenge – 10/17/15 – (Extra)ordinary

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “(Extra)ordinary.

About five minutes from my house is a small community park nestled in the woods and off the ‘beat and path.’ Behind the baseball field and fishing pond, kids pass the time playing on the swing sets, teeter-totters, and slide.

I snapped these photos late this summer while the park was empty and the sun was setting. I think they fit well into this week’s photo challenge. At first glance, they are merely photos of mundane playground equipment. But they signify something (extra)ordinary and meaningful…youth, fun, and carefree summer days.





Cee’s Compose Yourself Challenge: Week #3

I’m participating in Cee’s Compose Yourself Challenge: Week #3 Always Take More Than One Photo

This is one photography tip that I have no problem following. I learned very early on that one photo is never enough. There is nothing more frustrating than taking only one shot and then realizing later that it’s out of focus or the angle is all wrong. Taking multiple photos is my insurance policy that surely one of the shots will be ‘the one.’

Below are several photos I took of a sunflower. I didn’t crop the photos but I increased the contrast slightly. I used a 70-300mm lens with a macro feature.

Extra Credit:

I like the photo below because of the detail on the stem and leaves. I also like the background color.


I also like the shot below.  The center of the flower is in focus and you can see other plants in the background.


Shannon’s Creative Photo Challenge: Spooky/Mysterious

I’m participating in Shannon’s Creative Photo Challenge: Spooky/Mysterious

Several weeks ago, my husband and I went for an evening ride so I could take photos as the sun was setting. We came across an old cemetery with graves that date to the Civil War.

At the front of the cemetery stands an imposing mausoleum with iron doors and windows designed in the architectural style of a medieval castle. Past the mausoleum are leaning tombstones with names and dates that have long worn away. We found graves for entire generations of families and several small graves memorializing a ‘Baby Boy’ or ‘Infant Daughter.’ We explored the cemetery for quite some time and I took pictures from every angle until the sun set and I lost my natural light.

We plan to visit again to pay our respects and snap more ‘spooky and mysterious’ photos. Maybe next time my camera will capture more than just graves and tombstones. Maybe a Civil War spirit will pay us a visit.




Nature Walk – Critters

I found these critters while on my nature walk yesterday at Ohiopyle State Park.

The second picture of the caterpillar really intrigues me. We’ve been hearing a lot about a poisonous caterpillar in our neck of the woods. I think this might be an American Dagger Moth Caterpillar. Research tells me that the hairs can case skin irritation, so I guess that could be considered ‘poisonous.’ Either way, I never got close enough to find out.




Weekly Photo Challenge – 10/10/15 – Happy Place

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Happy Place.”

One year ago, if someone had asked me to define my ‘happy place,’ I would have struggled to come up with an answer.  However, about 9 months ago I purchased my first DSLR camera. Since then, photography has become my go-to stress reliever and ‘happy place.’ It’s what I do to decompress and relax!

My photography subject of choice is ‘nature,’ so I spend plenty of time outdoors. My husband and kids often tag along and we visit the local state parks and nature preserves in our area. I also wander around my back yard, stopping to photograph tiny flowers or insects from every possible angle. (I’m sure the neighbors think I’m crazy.)

Today we drove about two hours to Ohiopyle State Park. It was a perfect fall day in western Pennsylvania. The sun was warm (but not too warm) and the leaves were perfect shades of red, orange, yellow, and brown. We walked the trails and I took over 100 pictures.

Spending time with my family while doing what I love is definitely my ‘happy place.’ What a difference a year makes!