7.30.2013

Wordless Wednesday - Gorgeous Irises

Welcome to Wordless Wednesday once again. 

Okay, so I love flowers. Enjoy these springtime beauties.






Thanks for dropping by!
I do my best to return comments and Linky love!

Here are some of my older posts on Photography Tips:

Using Silhouettes Part 1

Using Reflections, Part 1Part 2
What's That Dial (on your camera) ForPart 1Part 2Part 3
Discussing Some Photos (using the learned information)




Here are some of my most recent Monday's Musings:

Finding Joy in the Midst of Sorrow
Living with Loss


7.29.2013

Monday's Musings - Finding Joy in the Midst of Sorrow

Dealing with loss and sorrow is not easy. 

I know. I'm there. 

There are days it's overwhelming. 

Life as you know it changes. People you love are gone. Something you hoped for is not attainable. Everything in your world changes colors. Things may dim. 

Grieving takes time for such losses. 

And the passage of time takes you further away from your loved one or dream. 

You want to hang on to every good memory of them. You want to remember the last time they said, "I love you." Or held you. Or smiled at you. 

I know I do. 

But I also know, unequivocally, that if my mom or my father-in-law could say one last thing to me, they would want me keep praising God and learn to enjoy life again. 

That's how they both lived up to the end. 

Mom sat and read her Bible. She loved the Psalms. They were her comfort. She highlighted entire passages. In the midst of the pain of spinal fractures, broken bones, and constant headaches, she loved on Daddy and all of us, her children. She pointed us to God. There was no bitterness or anger in her about her suffering. Just sheer delight when we came to visit or call her. The grace with which she lived and died was humbling to watch. It was because her anchor was in God. That He is really in charge. And that suffering doesn't mean He doesn't love us. 





My father-in-law also grew to be more grateful as his life neared the end. He know it was coming. He was under hospice care. One of the hospice workers said he was the happiest dying man she'd ever met.....Anytime I visited or talked with him, he recounted how blessed his life had been. He'd go over the blessings God had given him. And he was so grateful he wasn't suffering. But then he'd immediately start praying for my mom. He started calling her to check on her. We didn't know she'd leave the earth two weeks before him. He cared about my mom's pain. That meant the world to me. 

So how in the world do I find joy in the midst of losing my mom and precious father-in-law?

Well, some days it's a little easier and some are harder. 

My daughter married 2 weeks after my father-in-law's death and 4 weeks after my mom's. Leading up to the wedding was hard. My daughter and I talked about how to handle their missing presence at the wedding. That was difficult. 

So we changed a couple of things so they could be honored, but not be overly sad for both sides of the family who had each suffered a great loss. 

Photos compliments of Edie Meslon
The day of the wedding was amazing! We were all truly happy. My daughter glowed! Her husband could hardly contain his excitement. It was gorgeous. A wonderful day. 



I felt truly happy. 

I wish that feeling could be that strong every day. But I know that's not realistic. I'm still grieving. 

But I'm learning to enjoy little things again. 

A good movie. Going out with my husband. Fun with my kids. Their loving and silly antics toward each other. The company of caring friends.

I know Mom and Pap Pap would want me to enjoy life again. 

So when a good moment or two enters my life, I just relish it. No guilt. 

And no guilt when the sadness washes over me. 

Little things that remind me of Mom or Pap Pap crop up at the weirdest times. I may tear up or cry, but that 's okay. They both meant so much to me. I'm missing them. And that's okay, too. 

I can honestly say that God has shown me much love during this difficult time. He promises to never leave or forsake us. Sometimes, we may not believe that. But it's true. I may not feel like He's there. But He is none-the-less. 

I'm thankful for the moments of joy I find. Thankful for such a wonderful Mom and loving father-in-law. Thankful for all the years they blessed my life. 

And thankful to understand the lesson they were teaching me before they left. 

That God is good. And that He is in control. 

I pray that you will see God's hand at work in your life today

Mary

7.26.2013

Photo Tip Friday - Using Silhouettes - Part 1

Today's Tip is about Using Silhouettes Part 1

Welcome back! 

What I love about photography is that there are so many ways to take pictures. 
So many ways to express or capture a feeling in particular moment. 

And today's photography technique especially creates wonderful mood in shots. 


Let's get started.  


What's the first thing you notice about this and the next photograph?

Maybe the similar colors? 

If that's your answer, you'd be correct. 
So why is that?

Both of these shots were taken at sunset. 


With the light coming from behind the church and behind the Grand Tetons, the foreground of each shot is almost completely blacked out, creating the silhouette effect. 

And, in the second shot, notice I also used the reflection technique to advantage?




Here is one of my personal all-time favorite shots. 

Why? Those are my kids. We were at an aquarium and they were just watching the fish. I stood across the room, waited for everyone else to move out of the shot and I snapped away. 

Notice I said I waited. Not all shots happen the second you think of them, or notice the potential for a good shot. I got far enough back and just waited. Other people were walking through, but this picture was worth capturing.


Here's another use of silhouette 

This is a sunrise shot and the silhouette is the bird. It's a seagull. You can't see the feathers or eyes of the bird, or even the color. But you can certainly feel the movement of the bird soaring. 



This is also the same morning. What I did was let the brilliance of the rising sun "wash out" the shot, causing the water to sparkle and the board walk to become very dark. 

Again, this is creating the silhouette effect. 

The strong lines of the man-made deck stand in stark contrast to the soft light of the sun and waves. 

To me, the sun feels warm. It's almost like being there again. 







So, to create a silhouette, you need to have the subject backlit. 
In other words, have the light behind the object you're shooting. 

The subject can be an object - the church, deck or mountains. Or people. 

And you'll also notice that these are tricky lighting situations. 
Either dimming light or direct bright light (the sun). 
That requires a bit of technical explanation and I'll go into that next week in part 2. I'll teach you how to set your camera using the manual function or how to trick a point and shoot into taking these shots. 

Which of these shots do you like best? As always, if you have a shot you want me to look at, leave me a link! 


Go grab your camera!

Hope this tip helps. 

Keep on clicking!
   
Mary


Past Posts:

Using Reflections, Part 1Part 2
What's That Dial (on your camera) For? Part 1Part 2Part 3
Discussing Some Photos (using the learned information)
Clink on the links above to go to those pages!



If you want to know more about a particular topic, leave me a comment and I will try to include it in an upcoming post!

7.24.2013

Wordless Wednesday - Roses


Welcome to Wordless Wednesday! 






Thanks for dropping by! 

Come back on Photo Tip Friday where I will discuss silhouettes this week!


Past Posts:

Using Reflections, Part 1, Part 2
What's That Dial (on your camera) For? Part 1Part 2Part 3
Discussing Some Photos (using the learned information)
Clink on the links above to go to those pages!



Below is Linky. I do my best to return Linky Love! 

Happy Wordless Wednesday!







7.19.2013

Photo Tip Friday - Finding Reflections - Part 2

Welcome back!

Last week we discussed using water for reflections. (You can read that post here.)

This week, I want to continue talking about reflections. But I want you to look for them in places other than water. 

Ready? Let's get started!


Here is the first photo. Yes, it's a grand piano. With a lovely pianist playing for her very appreciative grandparents. I could have taken a picture of them by themselves. But I love the feel of this shot. You can see their faces, the pianist and her hands on the keyboard! How cool is that?




So what do you think of this? It may take a moment to see what's really going on. I took a shot in the open lid of the grand. Then I flipped the photo. You're looking at the reflection of the church on the inside of the top of the piano.

Look for reflections in any shiny surface!




Of course mirrors work well, but my take is a little different. I love using car mirrors to document our trips! In this shot, notice that the side mirror is in focus but the scenery is whizzing by. That's on purpose. I love the feel of motion this shot creates.

I just relax remembering that ride through the mountains.



But don't just try one angle. This shot is using the same mirror with a completely different feel. You can still tell we're on the road. (Yes, I'm the passenger....) But I focused closely on the mirror to get a great photo of the tunnel we had just left.

Nothing like seeing dark tunnels of time in our lives in the rear view mirror.








And lastly, here is a self portrait...in a Christmas ornament.

I told you to look for any shiny or reflective surface. Play around with it. Try different angles.

You can add such interest to your photos by looking for reflections.

I've taken reflections using cars, puddles, granite, marble. If it's shiny, I'll try it!





Which shot do you like best? How have you used a reflection in a shot? Leave me a link and I'll go check it out!

Hope this tip helps!

Keep on clicking!


Prior posts:

What's That Dial (on your camera) For? Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Discussing Some Photos (using the learned information)
Clink on the links above to go to those pages!



7.16.2013

Wordless Wednesday - Abstract Nature

Welcome to Wordless Wednesday! 

Today's shots are abstracts inspired by nature.







Thanks for dropping by. 

Come back for Photo Tip Fridays where I discuss different aspects of photography, such as:
What's That Dial (on your camera) For? Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Discussing Some Photos (using the learned information)
Clink on the links above to go to those pages!

I will do my best to return the LINKY love!

Happy WW!






7.11.2013

Photo Tip Friday - Using Reflections in Water


Welcome back to Photo Tip Friday! 

Today, I'm going to talk about using water reflections to create interesting photographs.



Here's the first shot. Notice the hint of the buildings in the top of the frame and the actual reflection of them in the water? The spire shone beautifully in the setting sun. And that light made the reflection in the water very distinct. But there were ducks out that evening. I thought they added a little interest to the shot as their wake cut across the spire. 






Here's a fall photo. Notice the towering trees reflected in the water? The leaves form perspective in this shot. And the ripples add interest. Notice I caught the ripples in an area that was mostly blue? It made them stand out more that way. 

The leaves in the foreground add a great pop of color and help your eye figure out what the perspective is since the trees are upside down.




Again, I'm using the surface of the water as a means to show the gorgeous, October blue skies and the colorful foliage of fall in the mountains. 







Here's a picture of nothing but the colors of the sun and sky reflected on the surface of our neighborhood pool.

It definitely has an abstract feel to it. 



You can also use the water to reflect people. Here is a swimmer doing the breast stroke. Although the water behind the swimmer is very turbulent, the water ahead of him shows his reflection very well.  

I framed the shot to get both him and his reflection instead of cutting off the reflection.



In all of these shots, there is a common element besides the water. It's essential in every one of them. Can you see it?  

Study the shots. 

Yes, there's water. But what else? 

Light. Lots of light. 

You can get a silhouette of a reflection when there isn't much light. But to get a complete reflection? You need lots of light. 

So, give it a try. Go find a puddle of water somewhere and see what you can see. 

Which is your favorite shot of these? 

Let me know. And if you have photos for me to look at for you, please leave a comment with a link and I'll be happy to pop by!

Hope this tip helps. 

Keep on clicking. 

Mary


7.09.2013

Wordless Wednesday - Lake Como, Italy, Part 2

Welcome back. The morning we left Lake Como was so beautiful and sunny after rainy days. Enjoy.




Come back Friday for photography tips!

Here is regular LINKY. 

I will leave comments for those who use the regular LINKY....I don't think I have quite enough hours to visit ALL the blog hop blogs....but I will try!

Happy WW!



7.07.2013

Monday's Musings - Living with Loss

In the living of life, we have struggles. Some of them are nameless. 

Others definitely have names: depression, divorce, disease, disappointments, defeat, death. The list could go on. But there's one struggle that kind of overrides many of the struggles we go through.

It's called loss.

Loss of a dream. Loss of hope. Loss of health. Loss of a career. Loss of a person. 

I think it contributes to the feeling of mid-life crisis. Or when we go through a season of feeling down or discouraged, but can't put our finger on what is really at the root of it. 

Losses don't have to be the "biggies" like the death of a loved one. 

They can seem small and insignificant. Like the realization that you may never get to take a cruise that you dreamed of as a kid because of the realization of a lack of funds you have as an adult. 

Maybe you wanted to be a writer but find your creative well dried up.
Maybe you've been rejected. Then you figure "they" must be right. And you give up on your dreams. 

Maybe you never found your "soul" mate and never married. 
Or you thought you did and then they broke your heart. 
Or you married them, only to end up disillusioned years into your marriage. 

We all go through losses. 

I'm in that season of life. 

As you may know, I lost my mother May 1, 2013. 
On May 17, 2013, I lost my father-in-law. 

Two weeks later, our eldest daughter married. Let me say clearly: we love our new son-in-law. We are so happy to have him in our family and completely support their marriage. 

But the deaths of two such precious loved ones was difficult so close to the wedding. 

Then I had major surgery two weeks after their wedding. 

Yep, my cup runneth over. But not in a way I would have chosen. 

And that's led me to think about the past year of my life. I traveled 6 - 7 times to another state to take care of my mom and father-in-law as they had medical situations. 

I have five kids. 

My father-in-law was in hospice care. My mom was not. We juggled caring for our parents for a year. 

No wonder I'm exhausted. That I'm sad. That I miss two dear people that I love.  

Often, when we go through losses like this, we ask the BIG question. 

You know, the one we say, "God, why?"

So far I haven't really asked Him that. I have decided that as hard as things in my life are right now, others over time have suffered far greater losses. And they made it. With their faith in tact. 

My mom and father-in-law were two of them. (But that's a musing for another Monday.)

Oddly, I've reached the conclusion that as sad as I am, that as hard as this is, God believes in me. He believes that this will not destroy me. That He can carry me through. That He can use this in my overall life. 

If He didn't, He would have had it happen in a very different order. 

The fact that the timing is so painful just makes me believe more that God has reasons for why this is happening. 

And that gives me peace

I still hurt. I still miss mom terribly. She was the most gracious, sweet woman you could meet. Every card sent to my dad says so. Literally. I hope to be more like her each day. Well, more like Christ in her. He made her who she was. And she'd be the first to tell you that. 

But do you know how comforting it is to think that the God of the universe knows that with His help, I can get through this very difficult season of life?

That blows me away. But I'm not that special. 

He has the same faith in you. It may feel like it's more than WE can handle. That's true. I can't handle this on my own. But to have God working in me to get through it? 

That's amazing. That's peace. That's comfort. 

So where in life are you struggling or dealing with loss? 

How can you see God working in this difficult area of your life? Having faith that HE can get you through. 

May God bless you with His grace. 







7.03.2013

Wordless Wednesday - Night shots of Lake Como, Itlay

Thanks for dropping by! 




I do my best to return linky love! Join below! 

Have a happy Wordless Wednesday!

Okay, so today, I'm going to attempt to have a blog hop here......Link up in the first one for the blog hop, the second Linky is the regular, "link up" to my site only.....