Thursday, January 31, 2013

Snowstorm Number 2..........

We are again in the grips of old man winter.  School was cancelled on Wednesday with all the snow and the wind did pick up to gusts of 40 mph.  My neighbor's tree above had beautiful Christmas lights on it but I didn't really know that they had decorations on it.  I zoomed in on the tree to show the snow on its branches and there they are shiny and colorful.

We now have clean fresh white snow to enjoy for a while.  The temps will drop to way below freezing for two more nights.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hot Blooms........

The amaryllis is putting out a lot of color.  It was a surprise to see these full red blooms when the box show blooms white with pink markings. We would have been glad to get either color.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Outside Shots........

I see compostions as I walk around outside.  Sometimes they don't make sense and yet the art of photography can be on the strength of design and composition rather just making a photographic record.

So here is a photographic record of the front side of the picture shown above today. The blue gate is about all that is very cheery in the winter landscape of Iowa.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The First Capture.....of the Winter.

The camera barely caught it and I was snapping it through the window.  Photoshop lets me take off the glass effects with autocontrast.  He is the same guy that I see in the juniper bushes eating on the blue berries.  We had three pair of these cardinals two winters ago but only one pair is around now.  They are the two that raised three young ones and then had one other later in the summer.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Waiting for Freezing Rain........

I was out on Saturday and took a few shots.  There is not much out there that has much beauty.  I did find some interesting compositions.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Winter Blues......

It isn't spring when you look at these blooms but it does remind me that there are plants that are dormant outside that might bloom again some year.  Warming up enough to cause freezing rain conditions early Sunday morning.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Got 'em.........

How many shots does it take to get a fish in focus with my camera?  Hundreds, well not that many but out of a dozen I finally captured the calico fan tailed fish. I was working on the computer and glanced over to the crowd of three. The other two are out of focus as they can't all three hold still at the same time.  He was such a little guy when I bought him a couple of years ago and now he is decorating my world.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Gazing into space......

Another junco photo to show you.  I have a bright red cardinal that sits in the bushes and eats the berries from the juniper evergreen next to it.  It is a beautiful sight but I have yet to snap the perfect photo.  It has been too cold to just hang outside to wait for that perfect shot.  I noticed New York City news people were whining about their 24 degrees temperatures this morning.  Our high today will 12 degrees sometime this afternoon.  We are sitting at 3 degrees F. That is  translated into a  --16.111111 C.

The bird feeder is one of my favorites that my wife gave to me many years ago.  It has a little rusty water on it but it isn't rusty.  I had it soaking in a water barrel and I didn't take time to wash it down after its soaking.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Colorless Wednesday.........

I am back to showing another black and white that I created from my color snaps.  The coal car is actually backwards to the engine as the shoveling of the coal came from the short end of the bunker and the coal was banked up against the high end.  My Uncle Cecil was a fireman on the trains when they actually shoveled coal and when they changed to diesel the position was still called fireman. It meant he was the assistant to the engineer.  Needless to say, the poor guy lost his hearing from working on the train for most of his life. My Aunt Bertha would just smile and say don't bother talking to the old guy he won't hear you.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Visiting the tropics...........

No, it isn't tropical in a goldfish bowl, but they look that way with all their bright colors.  They are in cold unheated water which is a little less than room temperature.  They are so brightly colored because they spend their summers outside in a tank getting fresh air and mosquitoes to eat. I lied about the fresh air but is sounds good.

I feed them fish food also and they grow quickly outside.  All of them were small feeder fish when I bought them and they grow to be big all by themselves.  The feeder fish sometimes cost 12 cents and anymore they want to charge 29 cents a piece for them.  I also babysat fish from the high school science room and some of these days I will take a camera in there and snap their growth for you to see. When they are in the outside pond one doesn't really see how large they are getting to be until you bring them in and put them into a  tank.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Winter Blues

The junco is glad to see there are two more feeders in which he can visit.  The birds started flocking in the yard once the snow started to build up on the ground.  That was Sunday when we received a couple of inches of snow.  When the Arctic air hit in the afternoon our thermometers started dropping quickly.  We had been 45 degrees warm around noon and then it dropped to 16 degrees in the night. This morning the temperatures kept dropping as it was -0.7 degrees when we got up and now it is -6 degrees after I arrived at work.  Cold is relative at what ever temperature below the freezing mark but our wind chill is registering at -25 degrees.  It is worse up north as they are closer to Canada but it seems to be set in to be very cold for another 24 hours.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Saying Goodbye to the Season.........

It is interesting that certain colors have been attached to feelings about holidays. The black and orange of Halloween and the oranges and browns for Thanksgiving.  The complementary  colors of red and green always signifies Christmas.

The stencil decoration of holly with red berries and red bow is a classic symbol for the season.  As we put away our Christmas things and prepare for the rest of the long cold winter we go back to our everyday colors.  The spark of color from blooming green plants is the only balance we can have before spring finally arrives.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Junkyard Buddies......

This photo was taken on the northeast end of Grand Marais, Minnesota along the North Shore.  I have not been there for many years so I don't know if this junkyard is still there. It was a resting place for mostly old trucks of this vintage, all in different stages of decay.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Apples and Orange........

We received a package in the mail yesterday of fruit from our son and his wife who live in Chicago.  It is a late Christmas gift and we really enjoy the fruit they have sent us in the past.  It wasn't apples or oranges but it was red pears.  The company that sent them is in Texas. They need to ripen a little and then they will be eaten.  Hopefully the full dozen will not ripen all at the same time.  Photos of the pears will be seen in the future.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I jerk around with photos of Santa Claus, dolls, trains, and now I give you begonias.  This one sits in our kitchen window and it gets a lot of care.  When I bought begonias for a flower box I bought white, pink and this color.  It is my favorite of the three.

I do know that any outside photos that I might share will be pretty ugly so I will stay inside and find things to shoot. When I find the perfect ugly shot I might share it with you.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Train Game........3 shots instead of just one.

I emptied my box of train cars and engines onto the buffet and played with different set ups to practice my photography skills.  I know that I have put up too many shots of them but I will share them this one last time.

From front view to side view I was able to get another focused shot.  The blue and white cars are Montgomery Ward cars which dates them as that store closed down many years ago.  The orange long car has a silver lid that opens up for products to be place into it.  The hundreds of coal cars that I see today in southern Iowa heading to an electricity plant are not covered so I don't know what product would go into them which would require the metal covering to be placed on the car as a lid.

Here is what the car looks like with the covering in its opened position. Some of you know this but others I will tell you that the train was a gift to my dad over 20 years ago.  My boys played with them and when the estate was closed down the brother who gifted them didn't want any items from the house.  I feel more like a caretaker of them as I am not certain that someday he may ask for them. In the meantime I will just enjoy them.,

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Back into the Box.........

I took down my two trees today that had glass blown ornaments on them.  The smaller ones are actually not glass blown ones.  The Chinese do a great job of recreating our traditional style of ornaments.  The rocking horse and train are small ornaments that have been cast in some form of metal and then hand painted with the same kind of paint that is used on glass blown ornaments.

The creators did a great job of making special items even though they are not the same as the rest of the collection.  I actually bought them at a Stam's Chocolate Shop that sells wonderful candy and coffee.  They like to pride themselves as being somewhat European in style with the selling of Dutch chocolates and Italian ice cream.  I found a dozen of them in a box for a small price after Christmas a few years ago.

Monday, January 14, 2013


My wife's doll collection display is changed with more Christmas like dolls being put out for the season.  I put the santa up next to it when I was unpacking things a few weeks ago and I noticed he didn't get moved the whole season.  He usually goes by the tree but he got to stay with the ladies this year. It was a busy season when you don't notice what you have displayed.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Simple Shot

A begonia responds to the warmth and a big window inside the houes. I normally don't try to save them but they were so healthy this fall that I potted up a few of them.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Archival digging......

The image of an old toy train engine projects an interesting abstract design caused by a moving photographer.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Canada Geese.........

I can remember when Iowa had none of these in the wild.  They were a fascination to see when I would visit Minnesota.  We would watch them fly over and appreciate the novelty of them.  Now that they have changed behaviors they started living in Iowa and they don't bother to migrate anymore.

Their food source comes from gleaning the farm fields of what they can find and heading to any open water either rural or in the city.  I like seeing them when we go to the bookstore or when they flock to roadside water areas created by the highway department.  I don't live close to them so I don't have the problems that a lot of people complain with them being around their properties.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Button Up.......

It is an unusual thing in which I would take a photo but it did intrigue me.  My wife has a friend who lives in Minneapolis who loves buttons.  She collects them from garage sales or department stores to use in her craft making. She makes cards and ornaments with them.   I thought the pattern and shape of this bookmark that she created made an interesting shot. The overhead dining room lights created a great source of light to enhance the illusion of volume for the buttons.

Monday, January 7, 2013


The angel figure is holding a glowing star and as you can see it creates a nice glow on the face.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


It is a small bear on my wife's teddy bear tree.  I shot a lot of photos of the stuffed animals on the tree but this one just expresses soft. The magic of stuffed animals comes from being able to make a toy that exhibits an emotion that is comforting.  Adding a color coordinating bow and who could resist buying it.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Soon to be shipped.......

My wife and I send gifts to three sweet boys who live in Virginia.  We always ship them after Christmas and usually we send books.  The oldest is 5 years old, next is 3, and the youngest is one year old.  As they get older they are collecting a lot of books so we sent a soft thing for the youngest guy. I watched their daddy grow up and it is neat that he has these really great little boys.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Coffee beans on the mug.

I received three new flavored coffees from my wife at Christmas time and I am just now starting to use them.  Today I received an appreciation gift from a set of special education teachers and with it was a new travel mug and a bag of carmel apple coffee.  It is a good life.

Can you dig the mismatched mug with the dainty English made saucer?  It was handy and I didn't want to put coffee rings on the tablecloth.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thursday's Shot......

Just another view into the overloaded tree.  It is fun to collect this kind of ornament but I have stopped looking for them.  Overload seems to be the word on this one. If I were to collect more I would have to move to the next size of tree.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Reflective Colors.......

I was experimenting with low lighting on the tree and caught this ornament with many reflective planes.  You can identify all the different colors of light that I have on the tree by all the little spots of color.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Have a great day!

Happy New Year to one and all.