Full Manual

I haven’t used full manual mode much but I gave it a try while running the dogs this week. In the past I have struggled to catch the all the action of the running dogs and still have them in focus. But, this time, I think I did it!

It just turns out that most of the action I see is from behind.

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Looking Through The Lens

(It wasn’t an outright question so much as a raised eyebrow of disbelief. But you see…) 

There is a shift that my brain makes when taking pictures, where it goes from what catches the attention of the naked eye to what can be captured through the camera lens.

Some times the shift is hard to make.

It takes more concentration than I have if I’m talking or multitasking so I don’t often take many pictures in a group of people. Instead I make the shift most often when I’m on my own.

When there is no one to tell me to hurry up (except the dogs and they never mind if I fall behind) and nothing to distract me. Then when my focus shifts I can find hundreds of tiny details and shapes that I want to try and capture.

I fiddle with my camera as I experiment with the best ways for it to help me catch the possibility I see in my mind.

I bless the digital camera gods as I snap and review, fiddle and adjust, and snap some more.

Once I’ve started looking through the lens everything seems photogenic if I can just catch the right light, angle, focus, background…

When it comes time to review pictures on the computer there are more misses in my captures than keepers.

And many pictures like these geometric shapes that caught my eye…

…still look just like the rabbit poop and dried corn leaves that they really are.

(And that, Honey, is why I took a picture of rabbit poop.)

 

Color Harmony

John is color blind. Not terribly so, just enough that sometimes he tries to argue that a green sweater is grey or can’t immediately appreciate the beauty of a group of cardinals at the feeder in the snow.

John is also my editor. He proof reads, tells me when I’m not making any sense, adds lots of commas and pretty much every apostrophe you’ve ever seen on this blog (Ooo! except that last one, that one was all me!). Occasionally he helps me pick pictures. Because when you like taking pictures (I do like taking pictures) and you have a new camera (I do have a new camera) it’s easy to take 500 million pictures of a leaf and then get lost in the choosing just one process because you are so excited to show off the focal range of your new camera (true story).

Tonight I was looking through my pile of pictures to choose the picture for this week’s dogwood photography challenge.  It’s about color harmony, pairing opposites on the color wheel, mixing warm and cool colors and I had too many pictures, I needed my editor… my color blind editor…

But there is more to a picture than color, and so between all the pictures of the dead leaf stuck in the evergreen tree, and the grapefruit tree with the red watering can and a pillowcase with blue beads (and yes of course there were multiple of each) he choose this as one of his favorites. 

And it does have warm and cool colors.

So I’m going with it.

And I haven’t over thought it even a little…

Nope.

Not me.

I’ve got a color blind editor, what’s to overthink?

 

The (Dead) Bee Report

In true procrastinator form, after ignoring the fact that one of my bee hives had died out much earlier this winter, I finally cleaned up the hive and brought it inside.

In extra true procrastinator form I did it today because it was sunny and cold and beautiful outside and I was doing all I could to avoid my inside chores.

#hopeless

I’m sure you will be pleased to know that unlike the mess of a mouse nest I expected to find in a hive that had been left out for part of the winter, (because of course this isn’t the first time I’ve made such a poor decision) it was empty.

All that was inside was a small cluster of dead bees still clinging around hundreds of bee butts sticking out of empty cells. A sad sight.dead bees in frame

The cluster was much smaller than I expected which made me wonder if the hive was never as big and strong as I had thought it was. Perhaps that was why it was the target of the robbing behavior last fall and they never would have made it through the winter anyway. Or perhaps the robbing threw them off, destroying so much of their home, hive and brood that it caused them to be low in number going into winter.dead bees in frame

Whatever it is, it drives home the fact that the longer I keep bees the more I know how little I really know.

After shaking off what bees we could and cleaning up the hive for transport into the garage for the rest of the winter, Jane and I spent some time poking about in the pile of dead bees. I’m going to fob this behavior off as “investigative research”  but I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty fascinating to look through the pile of bees. Frozen and dead they look very much the same as when they were alive and the hairs on their legs will still “grab” onto jacks and gloves and each other. Sifting through the pile I only saw one (dead) mite still clinging to it’s host which I shall take to be a good sign. And after a bit of searching we pulled the queen out of the pile and were able to take her back to the house for a morbid little photo shoot.

Queen bee on top with one of her daughters below to show the size difference.

Queen bee on top with one of her daughters below to show the size difference.

While we looked through the dead hive evidence of cleansing flights from the live hive was all around us and they appear to be doing fine. I’m crossing my fingers and making a note to check them during the next warm spell, it can be hard to be a hive of bees in the winter that might be counting on a little extra care from an expert procrastinator.

 

 

Weekend Invasion

When we show up at the door of a kind relative who asked us to come stay with them for the weekend (or the door of an even kinder relative who didn’t mind when we invited ourselves over for the weekend) I cringe.

Five people and an indeterminate amount of animals pile out of our truck and head to the house with smiles and hugs and an inordinate capacity to cause havoc. I don’t think my family is extraordinarily messy or unruly, but neither are we neat and calm. We rush the house while cheerfully saying hello and unload our mountain of “stuff” that we’ve brought with us.

This weekend in our almost-annual winter trip to Michigan to visit my aunt and uncle we brought the five of us, one dog, and 22 pairs of footwear for all our winter related activities.

When you have unloaded 22 pairs of footwear from your vehicle and moved them into your kind and unsuspecting relatives home, I’m pretty sure that’s when the scale tilts to weekend invasion.

We invade and we try to use manners but we eat lots, leave a trail of jackets, hats, mittens, lost toys and markers wherever we land and that’s not even the worst of it.

The worst of it is the toilet paper. No, we don’t bring our own toilet paper (We probably should but since I can’t keep it in stock at home I’m not about to start traveling with it). We use other people’s toilet paper just like normal people. Except that we use lots of it because four of us are girls and three of us have no concept of the amount of paper necessary to use the necessary and all four of us are befuddled by the thick pillowy sheets that others use as toilet paper. You see, at home we are a one ply family. That’s right, we use toilet paper that most would only deem fit for a government institution or a sketchy gas station bathroom because septic tanks and little girls.  I am sure it is possible to teach young girls to regulate the amount of toilet paper they use but I’ve always just been so relieved that they actually USE it and the accompanying toilet that I haven’t bothered. Instead, to prevent things like this happening we buy terrible one ply toilet paper so that even ridiculous wads of it won’t clog up the pipes and the septic. Now this is all very fine for our own home, but please remember, we just invaded a relative’s home.  My relatives, being my relatives, either have septic systems of their own, old plumbing or both. Now imagine, you are used to using toilet paper that comes off the roll in see through sheets,  you reach over and yank a big handful off to use. But, joy of all joys, it’s soft and thick and pillowy and now you have a giant armful of it and oh… this is why nobody’s been able to flush the toilet all weekend.

If septic systems could cringe I wouldn’t be the only one internally quivering as we all pile out of the truck on the next visit to the relatives.