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The Tree in My Backyard

We’ve lived in our house for 12 years now and one thing I’ve really enjoyed is the view from my back window.  There’s a scraggly old maple about 10-12 feet from the house and this 2nd level kitchen window puts me at a ‘bird’s eye view’ of it.  My husband bought these rustic old bird houses that I hung along a horizontal branch with hopes they would be home to the cute little finches and other small birds.  It has never failed, at least one bird family makes their home in one of these houses.  Here is the view from inside the house after the snowfall we had yesterday.

bird houses

My Little Bird Houses

Often I’ll open the window and capture this tree because it also has this interesting hole that the birds and squirrels have been working so diligently on making deeper and deeper. It has a certain character, and is like what you see in a many hand drawn pictures, or those in child’s drawings, that ‘hole’ that probably has a name but I can’t think of it.

Hole in my tree

The Hole

So as the seasons change and I see the the tree in each phase I open the window and take a photo of it.  It’s always been my intention to get a photo for every season, though it hasn’t really amounted to me doing anything with them.  I’m not even sure where I filed the others, they are probably on a spare SD card that I intend to work with one day…

As I was photographing the tree, a curious little bird landed on the window sill, and as I was trying to so carefully get a picture of the bird, I startled it and  wound up with just a blur…

The Blur of Wings Flapping

The Blur of Wings Flapping

I was disappointed, though not surprised, it’s almost impossible to change camera setting so quickly from manual to the correct shutter speed priority needed for this shot.  Seconds later a male cardinal landed on the chimney right outside the window but missed that shot too.  Birds are just so darned flighty!! Hard to photograph.  Maybe that will be on my growing list of things to accomplish in my photography.

While working on my ‘night-time’ photography I took a photo of the tree from the living room window.  It was around 9:30 p.m…It always amazes me how bright things get at night when there’s fresh snow on the ground.  It pretty much takes away the creepiness of the darkness.

Shutter speed 4 seconds, ISO 200 (taken at 9:40 at night)

Shutter speed 4 seconds, ISO 200 (taken at 9:40 at night)

Shutter speed 4 seconds, ISO 200 (taken at 9:40 at night)

Shutter speed 4 seconds, ISO 200 (taken at 9:40 at night)

One thing I’ll miss when we move is my view, particularly this tree, my bird hotel, nature’s little haven in my very own backyard.

My View

My View

Another thing on the list of photographic ‘things to do’ is to shoot better high-contrast images…one day.  Today I am enjoying the sounds of the birds and watching the snow melt.  Getting ready to tackle the sink full of dishes, darn!!

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This year we took the kids to Larriland Farm in Woodbine, MD to pick pumpkins and to hopefully catch the sunflower fields before it was too late…it was a bit too late.  Hopefully I will catch it next year.  _MG_1979 _MG_2004

Although the flowers were not at their most gracious moments it was interesting to see them in their changing state.  Patrons can pick their flowers for whatever use, display or seeds for next year.  There were many that were still in bloom and unpicked so the trip wasn’t a total waste, we did get our seeds, I got some shots and we walked out with 65 pounds of pumpkins.  Yes I left dad in charge of that while I took photos…_MG_1956 _MG_1962 _MG_1960

That’s all for now.  Thinking…maybe next year!!

Point Lookout Lighthouse

Point Lookout Lighthouse

Point Lookout Lighthouse

My latest visit to Point Lookout was an interesting one, four days of a tropical storm kept us in the camper most of the time.  I was able to get a shot from the truck of the tower on top of the lighthouse dwelling this time.  Having a vantage point of from the height of the truck I had missed this shot the last time I was there.

I hadn’t done any extensive homework prior to my visits to realize that the light was decommissioned and replaced by an offshore steel tower.  Not wanting to have my camera out in the rain too long I had missed the fact that the light was missing from tower.  I had been excited to see the light beacon in the night from the pier on Lake Conoy, but realized in the  morning that it was not the lighthouse but the tower.  Using my 300mm lens in the daylight, it was obvious that the light was from the tower and not the actual lighthouse.

Point Lookout Light tower

Light tower from Lake Conoy

I had visited Point Lookout in August, 2012 and was able to go into the gates and photograph the keeper’s house from the front.

It had been a nice sunny day and there were people out there working who allowed us to enter the gated area and photograph.

Point Lookout Lighthouse

Point Lookout Lighthouse, 2012

Point Lookout Lighthouse marks the Northern mouth of the Potomac River.  It housed a fourth-order Fresnel lens that was visible for up to 12 miles.  The fog bell tower, originally installed in 1872, was moved and on display at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michael’s, MD.  Shown here from the water along with the Hooper Strait Lighthouse I shot in 2011.

Fog Bell Tower

Point Lookout Fog Bell Tower (left)

Cove Point Light

Cove Point Light

 

On my second attempt to see/photograph Cove Point Lighthouse I was at least able to see the Lantern above the keeper’s house.  It was a rainy weekend and to my advantage I was able to get a pretty good shot of the Fourth-order Fresnel lens doing it’s job on Cove Point.

This cylinder shaped, brick lighthouse sits directly in front of the keeper’s building and is only accessible certain times through the Calvert Marine Museum.   Fenced off from the public, the lighthouse can only be seen from the water or from the private beaches on either side on the point, or during the times of operation.

Apparently the keeper’s quarters, which were divided into two units, are available for vacation rentals.  This would absolutely make my bucket list!

CilantroSageMint_MG_1506

The Proverbial Door

The Proverbial Door

Some doors are really interesting.  Some have more character than others, some are prettier, have more detail, or more fancy or plain.  Like people they are the same but different, each adding it’s particular value to the structure.  There are many proverbial phrases that relate to or reference doors:  “A golden key can open any door”, “The door to success”, or the “Opportunity only knocks once”. Whether directly or indirectly “A woman’s place is in the home” (behind the closed door?),  “There’s no place like home”, and “Home is where the heart is”. Doors represent nonphysical, or spiritual references in our every day life.  “One door opens…another closes” suggests opportunities or life’s choices we make, or come up against.  Closing the door on old friendships, opening the door to new ones, knocking old habits and forming new, better ones, and opening up your heart and letting good things in rather than keeping it shut to the rest of the world.

One of my favorite proverbial phrases is “A picture is worth a thousand words” and with this photo you can literally reference more than a thousand words.

I’ve always loved a good thunderstorm, listening to the thunder from afar, hearing the rain on the hallway skylite.  I like to have my windows open if possible so I can hear and “feel” the rain.  I also love the mornings after, with the raindrops still on the flowers and plants.  Today I took my camera out and captured some of what I saw…

rhododendron, rain drops, green leaf

Raindrops on a Rhododendron Leaf

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My Neighbor’s Day lily After the Rain

 

 

rain drops, branch

Droplets on my Japanese Maple

IMG_3460 2Located in the Inner Harbor, Baltimore City, was originally located at the mouth of the Patapsco River.  This screw-pile light was built in 1855 and housed a 4th order Fresnel lens that shone for 12 nautical miles.  Automated in 1949 and replaced with a skeletal tower.

_MG_0928Located at the mouth of Back River at the Southern end of Hart Island,  this iron and wood structure is the “rear” light of the two Craighill Channel Lower Range lighthouses.  When completed in 1875, the Victorian-style keeper’s house was located at the base of the tower with  a 4th order Fresnel lens in the lantern room above the watch room and service room.  Standing 105 feet tall this lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in Maryland.

Holidays

Hope you are having a wonderful holiday season and may the new year bring many joys and blessings!

It’s been a while since my last post.  I’ve been busy finishing up a semester at school and getting ready for the holidays.  On top of that I taught my self to knit, I made a pretty scarf for my son’s teacher, and also made a couple batches of cold-process soap that smell so nice.

IMG_0826

Now that I have a break from the pressures of school I have been doing some reading and catching up with some of my photography material I’ve been accumulating.  The past couple of weeks concentrating on shooting at night, prompted by a blog/website by Jim Harmer, 22 Things You Can Do Today to Change Your Photography Forever, Action #7 Shoot night photography in your own city.

Hopefully this winter break will afford me more time to shoot and therefore POST!!

Happy New Year to all my blogger friends!