Monthly Archives: September 2013

“What the heck??” back to photography

Slide10Often I just shoot on-the-run and will get some very unusual pictures. I collect them in files over the years and never pay attention to them until I go looking through my hard drive and then fall in love with them all over again. But, ever since my daughter said to me, “I’ll never understand your mind Mom!” when taking weird photographs (like the melons cut in half and covered in shiny wrinkled Saran wrap at the grocery store), I realized that I have taken some shots I’ll call- “What the……. heck?” or “Just because!”

Slide1 (2)“Just because” could mean that I see great shapes (the fence and tent at the County fair) when taking away some of the noise around something (the red Target balls above), or high contrast or 2 textures that oppose each other. Same color or bright color will catch my photo eye (complementary or primary colors, or my themed shots red/white/blue), will get me excited.

Slide2Lined up things (look at the Calvin Klein window) are inspiring, as well as animals doing things not necessarily something they would normally do. Natural occurrences such as the poison ivy growing in an arch up the tree, or that ugly fungus of brown gook popping up in a neighbors yard, can be spur-of-the-moment surreal shots too.

Slide15what the1You should know by now that  I love reflections and shadows, images that really aren’t there if the sun wasn’t out, or the juxtaposition of objects and irony makes me smile. My favorite shot below has to be the fire hydrant with the palm tree shadow coming out of it.

I even love taking pictures of tree branches coming out of people’s heads (I got my sister to actually pose for this one)!  Slide13Look for repeated shapes and backgrounds that enhance the subject too.

That lady with the red stripes was standing in front of my daughter’s office and I saw the red roof in back of her. My friend Joyce had on the colors of this quilt and I asked her to pose. The surfer couldn’t have walked in front of a better store front window.  Moments like these can only happen if you are aware of the possibilities and elements of good design.

Slide5 (2)The BIRDS: My granddaughter is a daredevil and will jump or fly off anywhere. She chased those seagulls on the right so they look like they are coming at you, I call that shot “Gotcha!” And look at that lovely bird of paradise laying on the wall and I adore the textures  below the seagull, I saw the various roof shingles and close colors that makes this more interesting.

These all make for great photos. FYI- My daughter took the airplane landing on the light post because I am determined to get a picture of an airplane landing on the roof of the airport parking garage on Laurel Street in San Diego. She now continues to try to get the photo for me. Both of us have been close, but no cigar yet. The corner of the airport exit at  Laurel Street is where you can see the planes coming in right over that building. If you live in San Diego, next time you go to the airport, watch for it.

Slide3Of course there are those abstract photos where the viewer is not sure what they are looking at, those I love to capture. The zebra” stripes are actually running water on a sidewalk, thought I might clue you in on that one, and the two light shows are done with my camera when the batteries are going low, just move your camera near lots of bright lights.what theror1

Send me some of your “What the heck” photos if you have some of them. Better yet, go take some, although they are never there when you go out looking for them, they just happen to catch your eye on any day (be glad you have your camera when is shoots out at’cha!)

Click on any of the above collages to enlarge them and use the top left arrow to go back.

Paintout in Cleveland, in an unbelievably gorgeous garden

Slide1 On a reportedly rainy day, we braved the elements and were in awe of this garden by Mrs. Ok-sim Kim. What she created is a marvel in color, various plants and fabulous oriental sculptures (she even created many of them herself.). She created a pond and small vignettes for our viewing pleasure and we all want to go back and paint there again.

Slide2Other than it was cold and threatened rain constantly, we each found a piece of the wonderful sections of the grounds to create our watercolors. Along with our main Monday group of painters (Betty L. Sharon C. and me), we have many other people on our list (and every so often the oldies show up). It was fun seeing old friends like Elinor P. again and Tony F. both came and shared this exceptional experience.

Slide3Everyone hurried as we went to make sure we had a piece to show for our work before the sky opened up. The sun peeked out every so often so it made our efforts worth it, and we had a few opportunities to put in the shadows creating some contrast.

Glad I stayed as it started to rain on the windshield as I drove to this house in Shaker Hts. Ohio. I managed to do two quick watercolors (the 2 on bottom right corner).Slide4

We went back this Monday and we did the front garden. Vernika and Linda joined us. There was no sunshine, it was cold but, it was a lovely way to spend a Fall morning.

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Old relics, can’t get enough of them.

family5After watching the “Faces of America” on PBS (a special on genealogy of Meryl Streep and others), I asked my sister Norrie to give me the background info on our family through my Mother’s ancestry line. She had particiapted in a saliva test with the National Geographical Society in search of our very ancient roots.

familyrI put this information on my facebook page for my cousins club, along with a few old photos of the family. All of a sudden I have been in contact with many family members that I have not seen or heard from in a while, especially the 2nd cousins who are now asking questions about the family lines.

Another sister has compiled an extensive family tree, as there were eight brothers and sisters in my Mom’s family alone, along with galores of cousins and  uncles, aunts, including one my Mom called Fancy Tante, as she didn’t remember her actual name. Her family came from Lithuania but not all of them came to America.  familyroDue to the Holocaust, many relatives did not make it through, and there are not any photos of them.

But with the new technology, we can now trace our ancestors back to Africa, the L3 female is the one.

I do have several photos that go back from my maternal Grandmother in the 30′s and 40′s, so those are the ones I have been posting.

familygHere is my Mom and her sisters (cool hats eh?), and yes, that is Eleanor Roosevelt with mom in the other photo. Once I shared my parent’s wedding pics, I decided to photograph my huge wedding album so I have digital pics to add to the others that I took from my Mother’s old albums.

It is nice to have them in files now on the computer and I will cherish them on memory sticks too. What a great idea to keep those memories safe in different forms in case of floods, earthquakes, fire and hurricanes.Slide1wearefam1

Children’s play, from the past!

INSIDE11 We spent the day at Hale Farm and found plenty to see and do. The girls were curious and touched everything. They pumped water, carded wool, wove on a loom,  wool being spun and dyed in big kettles, watched glass being blown, metal being forged and asked questions of the people dressed in that Era (mid 1800′s).

Slide17At the school-house, they learned that they had a much easier time with teachers today, as the guy at the one-room school-house was a real meany! He repeated terms used today that he never heard of, an example is “lunch.” They called it “dinner” and the later meal was “supper.” We kidded him and said we would “Google” it. He didn’t appreciate us at all!  He pulled out his hickory stick (for the boys) and made the girls stand with their nose on the wall on their tiptoes. We couldn’t wait to get out of “school!”

But, they had fun playing with the toys of the Era and even my hubby got up on the stilts to show the girls how it was done. He can now be part of the annual “Parade of the Circle” in June at the Cleveland Museum of Art, as they encourage people to dress up and walk on stilts. I didn’t know he had it in him at his age to accomplish this feat (with his feet!). The old map showing the counties was interesting as everything was totally squared off, which I doubt very much if they follow that path today!Slide9 Slide13

The first house we went into was a log cabin made of hand-hewn boards and had a stone fireplace and an outside smoke house. The guy handed one of the girls a lovely looking ceramic pot with corn cobs in it and tried to explain how one, ummm…….. used the toilet back in the day! (ouch, corn cobs??).

Slide3They got to peek in the attic to see where the kids slept and the guy showed us that the ladder folded into itself and removed when the parents wanted to be alone in their one-room house with very little privacy!

Slide4We walked through about ten houses and could see the changes of affluence through the furniture and the walls. Painted windowsills and more decrative items could been seen on the tables and the various displays.Slide7

The old stoves didn’t look like they could heat the houses much, but they somehow managed Ohio winters. As the people flourished, the furnishings became more lavish and comfortable.

Slide14I loved looking at the fireplaces and the pottery within the kitchens and pantries. Upholstered couches along with Windsor chairs were shown in many of the rooms. I especially enjoyed seeing the hand-stenciled wallpapers.

You can see they hung artwork, had portraits done and I saw old sewing samplers in several of the buildings.

There was a quilting rack and a loom in one of the houses. A sewing machine and a piano graced the walls at another house. So besides having to make the meals and the clothing, music and art was all around them. The places where they displayed the crafts shared the tools and techniques and it was a real eye-opener to realize they had to make or trade for everything the had. Mothers must have had their hands full back then as I cannot imagine all that work plus raising kids. Slide10

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Olden day crafts and things of interest

Slide12At Hale Farm, we watched the blacksmith (who did not make horseshoes, he was a “forger” and apparently that is the distinction between these trades) making tools and things. every hinge and hook had to be made, Hardware stores and Target didn’t exist back then!

The glass blower turned out to be a student at Kent State University and he made things by himself, which is unusual. (They usually have a partner to help so his job there was pretty much limited). FYI- We like to watch glass blowing whenever we can, in fact if you go up to Niagara on the Lake, the Rose Glass Company is there, and in Laguna Beach,CA at the Sawdust festival they demo it and at the Artwalk in Scottsdale, AZ we got to watch this too. Just think, it’s hot sand and a few chemicals that are used with ancient tools and a blow-hole, we were told the methods haven’t changed much over the years. Maybe that’s what makes it so fascinating!

We mosied over to a big barn and found out that we missed the broom making demo (which is what I wanted to see). The man making the brooms told us he had spent the last 45 minutes weaving the intricate handle and was taking a break. Ugh, and they sold for more than I was willing to pay so enjoy the photo of this marvelous technique.Slide13

They had pottery, candle making, and basket weaving samples for us to see, and it was so very obvious that people had to make (or trade for) everything they had. Slide11The houses were very sparse and the antiques were super (loved the old metal work and crocks and glass and fabrics.) I especially enjoyed the handcrafted stenciled wallpapers and the rough hand-hewn timbers and floors. It was all very interesting.

At another spot, a woman was actually dying wool, plus someone was spinning it and the kids got to card it.Slide8

Slide10There were chickens and lambs and pigs in some of the barns, and the excursion was a lovely way to spend a day back in the day!Slide9


“Hale” hail the gang went there!

Slide3After taking a train trip to Hale Farm with my family last weekend,  I decided to separate the photos I took into categories so I could make more blogs out of this wonderful experience. They are now trains  (go to my facebook page and see the videos  of the trains!), houses and crafts. Hopefully, you already read the train trip which in itself was very fun and exciting. Having been on trains to New York and across the country as a teenager, this reminded me of those two wonderful trips. Was glad I could share this experience with my granddaughter before I head back to the West coast.Slide4

Hale farm is a pioneer village now were they made a museum out of Jonathan Hale’s homestead from the 1800′s. Since then, they have created an entire village by purchasing old buildings from around Ohio and adding these structures around the farm. From barns to a one-room school-house, and several other 1800′s houses you can see how they were made of stone, brick or logs/wood.

Slide5One can walk through history within this compound and they have docents dressed in the costumes of the day answering questions and posing doing things that people would’ve been doing in the good ol’ days. The buildings were all furnished with antiques (which I can include in another blog!) and some housed  crafts or activities.

In the school-house, we wanted to run out because the teacher, Mr. Sticker, was a real pain in the… taskmaster. Slide7He had a hickory switch for the boys and for the girls, my granddaughter’s friend found out, that they had to stand on their tiptoes with their nose on the wall balancing a book on their head. We found out what the curriculum was like, reading, writing, arithmetic, Geography and Natural philosophy.Slide6

The gardens were beautiful, colorful and plentiful.  Some of the animals were stinky or noisy (ours were the loudest), we had lots of questions that got answered, and walking back through live history was very exciting.

(You can click on any of these collages to enlarge them and then use the left arrow on top to go back.)

Train travel

Slide2I saw on PBS one day that there was a special trip on a real train we could take this weekend or next week. So I asked my granddaughter if that was something she might like to do and she said “yes”. I bought the tickets and then she invited a friend. So I bought another ticket and we took off Saturday from the Rockside Rd. Cuyahoga Valley scenic railroad Station. We almost got lost finding it and almost missed it being later than we thought we should get there for the 9:00 am train.

Little did I know that there was a very very special event taking place that weekend. It seems they had an antique steam engine that was running these two weekend too. I never knew that there were so many train buffs and photographers in Cleveland and vicinity. When we got off t the Hale Farm exit (next blog), and were surrounded by dozens of cameras mounted on tripods waiting for the steam train to whiz by.

Little did I know that I had taken a picture of that train sitting at one of the offSlide1 tracks a mile or two before. Steam and all, I shot the pictures. So this blog is about the train and how my sweetie pie and her friend loved every second they were on the train. They ran up and down the aisle, talked to people, looked out the windows, went to the snack bar and my little one felt like she was on the Harry Potter Express, whatever that train is called, with her lovey dovey Ron, Harry’s sidekick that she is enamored with at age 12! The fun begins. (May put the video of the actual train zooming by, and the one I took of her telling me about Harry Potter, on YouTube of her expressing this to me!)

Photographing Animals

Slide1My philosophy is if you can capture nature in action, it makes for an amazing picture!


Slide4Problem is that you cannot always get a great composition because you have to grab it when you can. So always trying for that line of thirds or using odd numbers is the way to go for it.

Recently I had to choose three pictures for a photo contest in “Nature” studies, and these were the choices.

Slide5My friends and family each picked different ones when I asked for their opinions. So I went for the ones that were spontaneous and hope for the best.


Slide6I wound up entering the ones my husband chose and they were the unexpected ones because other people couldn’t have achieved those: the thirsty dog, the flasher seagull, and the rutting elk. We’ll see if “he” wins!!


One of my favorites was the close up of the bird, it was so clear and you could count the feathers. The other is the shot I used for the cover of my “Why Is The Sky Blue?” book with the seagull up in the air over the Hotel Del in Coronado in San Diego California.

Slide2Tell me your choice, thanks, Penni

Slide4Odd numbers make for better pictures, one or three will create a good composition. These bird shots show how to capture sitting “pigeons!”