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Posts tagged “Canon EOS 7D

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Hibiscus

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It’s easy to tell it’s almost full-fledged fall. I get three distinct reminders:

 

  1. The horses start shedding their summer coats
  2. The dinner plate-size hibiscus burst into bloom
  3. The skunks make their dusk or dawn presence known

Twice in the last week I’ve been jarred out of sleep by the pungent scent of Peppy LePew wafting through my open bedroom window.  The first time it happened I could hear the low rumble of Gus growling in his crate. Gus typically doesn’t make a peep during the night, but his highly tuned nose put him on full alert. The scent wasn’t too horribly strong, but there was no mistaking that a skunk had wandered across our property. When this happens in the spring it’s usually the young skunks who don’t have full control over their scent glands yet. But when it happens in the fall it’s more likely a full-fledged adult, which is a little more worrisome. It’s been years since I’ve had a dog get skunked, but it’s something you never forget. The smell that you usually associate with a skunk meandering through the area is nothing like the full force stench of them using their smell for defense. It’s got to be one of the most gagging, God-awful, eye-watering smells on earth. And it’s dangerous too. The dog who got skunked took a close-range shot to the face and I’m still not convinced that didn’t contribute to his blindness just a year or two later. With that episode in mind I’m not taking any chances. At the first indication that a skunk might be nearby the dogs get leashed and walked and there’s no running about freely until we’re sure the coast is clear. The pups are a little put out by that, but it’s far better than the alternative!

There are other signs of the approaching fall. The hummingbird feeder has transitioned from a dull roar to the occasional passer-by. We’re on the migration route so I’ll continue to fill the feeder until a couple of days pass with no visitors. The cardinals are getting very vocal. I’m not sure why because they’re here all summer, but every fall they become more active and noticeable. Could it be one of their food staples has come into season and they get more competitive over that? I don’t know, but I enjoy seeing the colorful pairs. Crickets are louder. I always end up with a few that get into my basement looking for what, I’m not sure! And the days have grown noticeably shorter. Our mornings stay dark now until almost 6:30 and the late afternoon sun slips over the ridge across the road by a little after 7 PM. The changing of seasons happens so fast that if I didn’t have nature to remind me I might miss it altogether.


Friends

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Bullet & Rascal

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I’m attending another funeral this morning. I’ve lost count of how many this makes in the last 18 months. This time a very dear friend of my mother-in-law died. I can’t remember a time when this woman wasn’t helping someone or doing something for someone else. She was one of the sweetest, most selfless ladies I’ve ever known, and a very beloved friend to mom. I know how hard it is for my mother-in-law to lose another close friend. I’m lucky to say I count a few of my friends as true sisters to me. And my own sisters are always there for me too. I can’t imagine my life without any of them, yet every time I go to one of these funerals I get a sharp reminder that the clock ticks for all.

In the hallway of one of my childhood homes there used to hang a small plaque that said:

This is the day the Lord has made.

We shall rejoice and be glad in it! 

As a child I used to ponder the meaning of that plaque. Nobody ever explained it to me and I didn’t know the verse was scripture. But I know that now. And with each passing year I feel the urgency of those words with a greater understanding.

Get out there and make the best of your day today. Rejoice in it and be glad you are alive to experience whatever your day brings. And here’s to friends who always have your back, no matter what.


Wish You Were Here

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When I’m not home I miss my critters more than anything.

 

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(Beanie: We both wish you were still here….)


The Right Stuff

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When I bought my camera in June of 2010 I’d never had any interest in taking photos. I didn’t own a smart phone and I hadn’t used a point and shoot more than a half dozen times in as many years. I simply woke up one day and decided I needed a new hobby, and settled on photography. I sat down at the computer and started doing some research on digital cameras, which is sort of hard to do when you don’t know the first thing beyond pushing a button and getting a mediocre result. A few years earlier I’d tried reading the instruction manual for the point and shoot camera we owned and it lost me after explaining how to turn the camera on. As a result, wading through the endless narratives about which camera and what brand would best suit me was a monumental exercise in frustration.

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I finally settled on the Canon 7D for no other reason than the fact that it was (at that time) a new model and most people were raving about it. I didn’t stop to think that I might be getting in way over my head rather, I thought I’d eventually “grow into” my camera. I reasoned that once I knew what I was doing it would be better to have everything I wanted in a camera than wish I’d bought the next model (or two) up, right? Well it’s been three years since I bought it and I’m still not sure if it was the right decision.

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The first year I had my D7 was a spectacular year for taking outdoor photos. I didn’t know that then, I just thought I had a big fancy camera and every picture I took would (therefore) turn out great! Wow. It’s kinda hard to believe I was that naive. Truth of the matter is, by sheer dumb luck I’d just happened to buy my camera at a very good time. I’ve since learned that great shooting conditions are rare and you can go an entire season (or year or two) and not have more than a few days where the conditions are great for shooting. I didn’t use to care about that and I took lots of pictures anyway, but they weren’t the same quality and I (eventually) knew it. As hard as it is for me to look out the window and see beautiful fall colors in the trees and surrounding landscape, I won’t grab my camera unless the conditions for shooting are just right.

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Perhaps that makes me sound like a snob or far more of a professional than I really am, but the truth of the matter is, I’m lazy. The days of taking a roll of pictures and dropping them off to be developed are gone, and while that gives me lots of creative license, it’s a huge time-suck to have to process my own photos. I’ve become far more discriminatory about when and what I’ll shoot and even which pictures I’ll keep. So the fact of the matter is, unless the conditions are perfect for what I want to shoot, I won’t even bother to try.

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I’ve watched the days turn into weeks, then months as my camera sits untouched. I admit, that makes me a bit uncomfortable sometimes. I worry that I’m being TOO discriminatory or lazy. I feel guilty about the money I’ve spent on equipment that isn’t getting used. But eventually I know I’ll wake up to a morning when I can instantly tell that it’s going to deliver everything I want: light, color, subject and the right conditions. The photo above was taken on one of those mornings.


Balance

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Certainly not my best effort, but I get a kick out of the symmetry of the Great Blue Heron and it’s reflection in the pond.


Country Road

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An early morning jogger on a colorful New England country road.


Spiral

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It seems my car has been in a bit of a downward spiral lately. It doesn’t have overly high mileage, but it’s fifteen, almost sixteen years old and certain things are starting to wear out. In the last few months I’ve replaced the brakes and a drive shaft, repaired the exhaust, and last week I bought a new battery when it wouldn’t start.

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Today Gus and I had an early morning appointment at the vet and guess what? The car wouldn’t start. Last week when I got the new battery there was some talk about the starter being the problem, but it was easier to replace the battery and hope for the best. Besides, the old battery was, well … old. So it’s not like that was just a wild guess, but I was hoping it was the problem. Apparently not.

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So today, and until further notice, I’m grounded. All errands and appointments must come to a halt. Once I get past the inconvenience of not being able to drive anywhere I’ll just focus on getting some chores done around the house.


Flaunt It?

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I have two wonderful old garden rose bushes that burst into blossom every spring. The interesting thing is that I haven’t done a single thing to deserve such a glorious and fragrant display of beauty. In fact, I often wonder why these bushes have been so dependable and stunning for the last thirty years since I’ve probably done just about everything to kill them? When I’ve pruned them too late in the season they’ve rebounded with even more blossoms than the year before. When I’ve failed to fertilize or water them during the dry summer months they’ve respond with vigorous new growth. When I’ve ignored various pests or unfavorable growing conditions they’ve rallied and pulled through on their own. In short, I’ve been terribly negligent with these rose bushes, yet every year my reward has been an amazing floral display.

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Thinking I’ve been blessed with a mysterious talent for growing roses, I planted several more rose bushes. After all, my theory about gardening is do more of whatever works. So over the years I’ve bought more rose bushes and, thinking I needed to be more attentive, I carefully tended them. Some years I even followed a strict protocol for feeding, watering and pruning the newer shrubs. And I’ve been rewarded with less than stellar results.  Meanwhile, the old garden roses (that I still completely ignore) continue to blossom profusely every spring.

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Obviously, I don’t have half the talent for growing roses that I thought I had. And as I’ve come to suspect all along, the old garden roses are simply so well established that they’re practically impossible to kill. It seems they’re impervious to my negligence and lack of gardening skills … thank goodness!


Rock Me, Baby

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I used to think I was pretty well-grounded. Believing you’re a rock with a good grasp on your life; where you’re going and that you can get there on your own, is almost a rite of passage for the young. But as the years go by I’m beginning to realize I’m not an island, and there’s a danger in thinking I have complete control over my destiny. I once had somebody tell me that when I avoid asking for help I’m denying someone the opportunity to serve me, which blesses them and helps them grow emotionally and spiritually.

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Deep down I know that’s true, but I still tend to hesitate to ask for assistance. Yet, when someone comes to me for help I usually feel privileged that they’ve put their trust in me. So why shouldn’t I be willing to allow someone else the same opportunity? Is it because I think I might look stupid if I ask for help? Am I afraid of being vulnerable? Am I arrogant, thinking I should be capable of solving all my own problems? Do I hesitate because I might risk feeling connected? Or is it really just easier to go it alone?

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There’s a part of me that stubbornly clings to the belief that if someone loves me they’d know how and when to help and I shouldn’t need to ask. I don’t know where I got this foolish idea, but it’s one of several thoughts that prevent me from seeking help when I need it. Most people aren’t mind readers and don’t always see when a friend or family member needs help. Others need to be given a very specific request to fulfill or they’ll waffle and hold back until you provide them with a clear directive. For example, I think one of the worst things you can say to someone who has recently experienced a trauma or tragedy is, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.” That’s pretty vague. And it puts the affected person in the position having to ask for and even delegate help later, which they may not be capable of doing in the aftermath of an event. Better, would be to simply ask, “How can I help?” and wait for a reply. The person still may say they don’t need help, but at least you’re giving them the chance to ask specifically for what they need at that very moment.

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Life is full of opportunities to learn to ask for help and to offer assistance to those who need it. It’s up to us to get out of our comfort zone, wade through our awkwardness and use these lessons as stepping stones for growth.


Just Beachy

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I’m not a beach person. Many years ago I made it a point to visit the Rhode Island shore a few times every summer, but those days have long since been replaced with other weekend chores and activities. I’m not exactly disappointed either. Around the same time I stopped going to the beach it started getting very polluted, over-crowded and populated by roving groups of kids sporting boom boxes. (Yes, this was pre-iPod days.) It was no longer the peaceful commune with nature that I liked to think it was. Being a bit anti-social, the idea of leaving the tranquility of my farm for a big dose of chaos wasn’t exactly my idea of a day well spent. Besides, once you have animals it’s tough to get away for an entire day.

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Two years ago a massage therapist friend invited me to accompany her to a client’s house who lived in a very exclusive neighborhood on the Connecticut shore. Thinking this might offer an opportunity to do some photography, I accepted her invitation. While my friend worked I walked the area nearby and took some pictures. The large cluster of grass in this photo towered six or seven feet above the edge of a boardwalk that led out to a pier, the sandy beach and ocean shore completely hidden just yards beyond the live border.