Photo Blogging Challenge: Four

PJ, over at A ‘lil HooHaa has been hosting a photo blogging challenge for four years this month. And, in honor of that momentous occasion, this month’s challenge is centered around……you guess it….Four.

I thought this would be a slam dunk this month. But I would have been misinformed. This was a much bigger challenge than I anticipated. On one hand, I’m still dealing with Entrepreneur’s post-brain surgery adjustment. He’s doing well…I’m the one who seems to be struggling.

So, you all will need to give me a little bit of latitude on some of these selections. 🙂

#1 Four
Included in this row of Bradford Pear trees are FOUR trees in full bloom. They lasted all of about four days before a late spring hard freeze turned all those lovely white blossoms brown..

#2 Four
Bridget is one of FOUR kittens that came to live with members of our family 12 years ago. The no-kill shelter nicknamed them the “Irish Kittens” because they found them on or around St. Patrick’s Day. Three are from one litter, the fourth was found somewhere else, but was assimilated in with the others. All four assimilated together nicely into the bed.

#3  Four
My grandfather’s violin (or is it a fiddle?) still has all FOUR strings in tact. Circa early to mid 1900s, I really don’t know its story other than he owned it. Wish I knew more.

#4 Four
Twix has a puzzle with FOUR separate puzzle scenes in one, which may be a little confusing when you’re only three years old. 🙂

#5 Four
Here’s where I need a bit more latitude. Since March is the month to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day, what better way than to look for FOUR-leaf clovers. What? You don’t see any in this shot? Neither do I. But, there may be one hiding in there so I think it should count. 🙂

Bonus FOUR foto!
Twix turned three years old in February. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, she was not able to have her “official” party until this month. So, here is the ONE-YEAR-LESS-THAN-FOUR-year-old birthday girl with FOUR presents. I thought it only fitting to include this since PJ’s photo challenge is celebrating FOUR years old this month.

Whew….Be sure to visit PJ’s place to see how others interpreted the prompt this month.

October Photo Challenge: Water

photo blog challenge

Here we are again, the end of another month—and ready for PJ’s photo challenge. This month’s prompt was Water. I know everyone is sick of me commenting on how quickly time is passing and how little of said time I seem to have each month. So I’m not going to say any more about that except that I was able to put together five water-based photos to survive another month. 🙂 If this prompt would have come in February, I’d have tons of beachy, vacay photos to share!

Watery #1
My in-laws live on a farm and run a few head of cattle on their land. This is a shot of Entrepreneur’s brother’s house, taken from his parent’s barn lot. This is a shot of their backyard, and the cows are not allowed in this particular pond. But, now you’re stuck with shots from land-locked Middle Missouri.

Watery #2
It is that time of year—Autumn, but our temps still say summer with the thermometer running about 20 degrees warmer than normal. The leaves are falling like rain from the trees and I did finally take in the hummingbird feeders….much to the yellow jacket bee’s irritation.

Watery #3
The change in seasons is usually accompanied by temperature inversions. Here we have water suspended in mid-air (aka: fog). If the temps were colder, we would have had frozen fog on the cedar trees….one of my favorite things to capture with a camera.

Watery #4
What to do while sitting in the car and being pulled through an automatic car wash? Take photos, of course. This might make an interesting photo texture…hmmmm…the muse may need to play around with that idea.

Watery #5
My favorite of this grouping; front porch mums after a watery shower.

For more wet photos, pop over to PJ’s and see what others shared for October.

Out of the box…all the time!

photo blog challenge

May was Out Of the Box (OOB) month over at PJ’s photo challenge. In my world, May is always May-hem so it wasn’t easy to take time to do much out of the box thinking on this one. But, here’s my best effort for the month.

OOB #1
I’m an adjunct instructor for a university strategic communications department. I work with graduating seniors on their capstone project. As student agencies, they work with “real-life” clients on designated projects requiring them to draw on knowledge learned from previous coursework. The end product is a professionally-developed strategic plan, complete with formal presentation to the client for approval. This year, one team won an award for best campaign strategy….an award they would not have won if they had not thought outside the box on their approach to the problem.
campaign toast

OOB #2
These two require out-of-the-box thinking more often than you might realize. Motherhood the first time around was a challenge….and now, my Nana Nanny skills have been honed even further by these two pocket rockets. You’ve heard necessity is the mother of invention? At our house, (grand)mother is the necessity of invention!
Peanut Twix 2016

This may not look like an out of the box photo, but believe me when I tell you it is. This birdbath was in desperate need of a makeover. Entrepreneur took it and had it sandblasted and then primed it for a new coat of paint. And that’s where our opinions diverged. He is more of a standard color type of guy….and I wanted it purple, which was more than a bit out of the box in his view.
purple birdbath

OOB #4
Peanut just finished first grade and what a year it was! While kindergarten was fairly easy for her, first grade pulled her out of her comfort zone and made her think outside the box in a lot of areas in order to succeed. She is good at thinking strategically to get what she wants….sometimes to her detriment.
Peanut end of school

OOB #5
Creativity at its best. Peanut’s out-of-the-box thinking about roller skating had her sister pulling her with a jumprope. This can only end one way.
roller skate idea

OOB Bonus photo
Well, what do you know!? Just when I though I was going to be a photo short on this challenge, new foto fodder came my way. When Field Day at Peanut’s school was  rainy and cool, the teachers had to think outside the box in order to entertain a couple hundred antsy children for the afternoon. Classroom stations were set up with games and activities to help make Field Day a success.
field day

There’s my selection for Out Of the Box. Please click on over to PJs and check out the other OOB thinkers as well.

Photo challenge: Inside

photo blog challenge

January’s prompt for PJ’s photo challenge is Inside. While winter has been fairly mild here in Middle Missouri, I can’t seem to talk myself into going outside much…so this prompt is perfect.

Inside #1: Bridget is inside…and the birds at the feeders are outside and very thankful. She perches on the windowsill and watches…always watches. As if somehow, miraculously, she’ll be able to grab one.
inside 1

Inside #2: What to do when it’s cold outside? Go rollerskating! Peanut met a friend at the skating rink one Saturday morning. The rink offers a two-hour session for skaters nine years old and under every Saturday morning.
inside 2

Inside #3: For my birthday, The Golfer sent me a bit of the outside to brighten my inside. These lovely tulips have been the inspiration for some much-needed creative fun.
inside 3

Inside #4: Entrepreneur also gave me some color to brighten the dreary winter days…and wine to deal with the rest.
birthday carnations

Inside #5: A few weeks ago our church hosted special exhibit of original artwork from a few well-recognized masters; Picasso, Miro, Dali and Chagall just to name drop of few of them. The outside night was cold, but inside was warmed with music, art, wine and appetizers. This one is doing double duty as I’m showing one of Joan Miro’s works…which give us a glimpse of the “inside” workings of his Surrealistic/Expressionistic mind. Sorta a scary place. 🙂
Miro-Constellations 12 copy

Bonus: January was my birthday month and I was thrilled to get a shot of me and the grandbabykins…inside…on the couch.

So, there’s my inside five for January. Go on over to PJ’s to see what inside activities the others did with their time.

Songography and LTTL: Dreaming of a place

Bauer-For D

Artist: Rudolf Baur; Title: For D; Medium: Pen and ink on paper; Price: $24,000

And I’m dreaming of a place
Where I could see your face
And I think my brush would take me there
~The Painter Song, Norah Jones

Our church heavily promotes the arts of all types…Literary, Film, Music, Visual. But it’s not limited to art in the “sacred” sense. There is no sacred or secular because everything beings to our Creator. Humans were created so it’s ingrained in our DNA that we must create…in one form or another. And, conversely, we are wired to appreciate what others create. Works of art, regardless of the  medium or genre, tells a story about the artist. We may not always like what we see, hear or read, but the art always speaks of deeper insights into the artist’s worldview, culture, hopes, dreams, fears and values. And for that reason, our church encourages Christians not to wall themselves away and only appreciate the “sacred” arts, but to engage in culture and develop a biblical appreciation of the details and craftsmanship that goes into every artist’s work. Art in every form conveys powerful feelings and ideas…sometimes overt but, many times, covert.

So, when it was announced they were hosting a special exhibit of original artwork from a few well-recognized masters, I may have been the first to register. Original works from Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Rudolf Bauer, Marc Chagall, Robert Kipniss, Roberto Matta and Joan Miró were brought in from a local gallery and displayed on the walls of the reception area. I have to admit, the monetary values attributed to some of the works escaped my understanding, but I alway tried to find something to appreciate in each one even when it didn’t appeal to me (aka: Marc Chagall).


Light appetizers and wine were offered and viewers were visually treated to works of art most of us would otherwise never have the opportunity to see. And I’m going to now share a few of my favorites with you. Click the artist links to learn more about their life, impact on the visual arts, and the motivation behind their artistic passion.

Salvador Dali

Dali-le Centaure

La Divine Comédie: Inferno Canto 25 – Le Centaure, 1960; 71/150; Color Wood Engraving; $8,500

Joan Miró

Miro-Constellations 12 copy

Constellations: 12 – Le 13 l’échelle Frôlé le firmament (On the 13th the Ladder Brushed the Firmament), 1959; 240/350; Pochoir; $12,500

Pablo Picasso

Picasso-red earthenware

Tete De Femme A La Couronne De Fleurs, 1964; 57/100; Red Earthenware Plaque; $65,000

In the end, my left-brained Entrepreneur and I had a lovely time. I feel fortunate to be part of a church family that respects cultural differences even when they differ from our understanding of biblical teachings. Repeatedly, we are encouraged to challenge our cultural stereotypes and find the common ground that allows us to treat others with dignity, grace and understanding. Through their support of the arts, the message of thoughtful consideration and respect comes through loud and clear when it comes to engaging with cultural and worldview differences.

Linking up with Songography and LTTL

October Photo Challenge: Close Up

photo blog challenge

Over at A ‘lil Hoo Haa, PJ’s theme this month is Close Up. While I don’t own a macro lens, I do own PhotoShop sooooo…..with a bit of cheating, I’m able to participate again this month. Honestly, the biggest complaint I have with the little digital camera I have now is that it refuses to focus when I’m too close to an object. My DSLR shot craps last year and I was talked into replacing it with a smaller digital camera that wasn’t so “intimidating-looking” for others to use. And, “it would be easier to tote around on vacays”….yada, yada, yada. That part is true, but I really dislike it on many levels. But, I don’t have an extra grand plus to spend for a new DSLR and lenses.

But enough ranting. In lieu of a macro lens, I must concentrate on focusing on the shot I really want and then crop to what I envision in my mind’s eye. While I love a good landscape shot, there is something about macro photography that forces the eye to really see detail. And there is an endless supply of detail to appreciate in our world.

Time to get up close and personal.

Close Up 1: ‘Tis the Season for cinnamon spice and everything nice. Autumn is my favorite season. The colors, smells and textures of the season screams comfort to me. And not a moment too soon. It’s been a helluva year.

Close Up #2: Beauty from destruction. While the end result of a summer listening to cicadas can be lovely, it’s a reminder that this type of beauty (like magic for all you Once Upon a Time fans) always comes with a price.
lacey leaf

Close Up #3: Autumn I-Dos: Autumn weddings can be gorgeous. We attended an outdoor wedding the first part of the month and the weather was perfect. Peanut was the flower girl and The Investigator was an attendant. The colors were deep purple, green and gold.
wedding boquet

CloseUp #4: The nights are nippy now and the trees are pretty much past their peak color. Soon the winds will begin to blow and all the leaves will be gone. Then we go into “brown season.”
green-red leaf

This one is not as close as I’d like, but it will have to do.

Close Up #5: Wooly Winter: We saw the first wooly worm caterpillar at a pumpkin festival and, thankfully, it was mostly brown….indicating most of the winter will be relatively mild. However, this contracts the Old Farmer’s Almanac that states this winter will be brutally cold with lots of snow. Hmmmm……who to believe.
wooly worm

Pop on over to PJ’s tomorrow, October 30th, and get up close and personal with what others shared this month.


August Photo Blogging Challenge: Rule of Thirds

photo blog challenge

So PJ over at A ‘lil HooHaa switched things up a bit for our August photo challenge by choosing the theme: Rule of Thirds. Now, for those who are skewed more left-brain, this might not make much sense…but there is a mathematical logic to it. For those of us who have spent most of our lives in creative careers, the rule of thirds was drilled into our psyche s very long time ago.

To understand the rule of thirds in photography, imagine laying a grid over an image that splits the image into thirds both horizontally and vertically. The grid shows nine connected areas. The “rule of thirds” grid can help guide the composition of a photo. When used while framing an image, points of interest are strategically placed for maximum viewer appeal along the intersecting points. Usually, our eyes naturally go to one of those intersecting points on the grid instead of the center of the image. Subconsciously, it helps viewers interact better with the image.

Here’s a sample….
rule of thirds grid

Cool, huh? But, just like any rule, it may be broken under certain circumstances. And it’s always good to know the reason behind a rule before you decide to go rogue with your own idea. I’m sorry to say, most of my casual shots don’t take this rule into account since many times I’m shooting on the fly to capture the moment. Enter Photoshop and the cropping tool. Yes, I admit it….hardly any of my shots are straight out of the camera. There’s probably a 12-step program for that.

So, here’s my five for August.

1. Tanner’s birthday is in August. He’s an 8-year-old puppy in many ways he’s come a long way since 2007. Still somewhat goofy, but totally adorable most of the time.

thirds 4

2. This Morning Glory blossom sums up our summer…..wet. While it was disastrous for the veggie garden, the flowers, trees and bushes loved the precipitation.

thirds 2

3. Ganzia is an annual flower I bought for the flower pots because it’s drought tolerant….for when I forget to water the flower pots. Didn’t have that problem this year. See above.

thirds 3

4. Free and easy was the summer’s goal. Twix is big enough to sit in the swing….and swing she did every chance she got! She loves all things outdoors and has since last summer when she spent a lot of time eating and napping in my lap on the patio.

thirds 1

5. Peanut started first grade around mid-month. Seems awfully early. Of course, we took gigabytes of “first day of school” shots to commemorate such an important event (only 11 more years to go!).

thirds 5

So there’s my five, Rule of Thirds shots. Please make time to visit PJ’s place and see how the others fared with the theme this month. Hope everyone had an enjoyable summer!