Thursday, January 31, 2019

Photography Challenge Week 4

There was an extra challenge to this week's prompt to photograph Story Telling: Warmth. There is little warmth to be found around here, that's for sure, with sub-zero temperatures and snow! A lot of people participating in the challenge took pictures of their pets, kids, coffee and fireplaces, which are all great ideas. Looking for something different, I tried several variations of photographing candles. I finally settled on this one where the little candle is reflected in my sun glasses. I like the additional reflections on the countertop, which also ended up appearing in the sunglasses as well.

Dogwood Photography Challenge Week 4

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Photography Challenge Week 3

This week's photo challenge was to take an amazing photo in black and white. I'm not sure how amazing this one is, but I had fun working with both my iPhone and my DSLR this morning. It is incredibly cold here, so I decided to stay inside and play with my food. This is a blueberry on a plate covered in powdered sugar. We had a brief period of sun popping through the clouds, so I took advantage of the natural light coming through the dining room windows to capture the shadow as well. I love the star shape on the top of the berry.

Dogwood Photography Challenge Week 3

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Photography Challenge Week 2

This week's challenge was Composition: Rule of Thirds. Specifically, we were to use the rule of thirds while showing motion in our picture. Uh, oh...that sounded like I was going to have to take my camera off of the automatic exposure setting!

Essentially, the rule of thirds involves mentally dividing up the shot you want to take using 2 horizontal lines and two vertical lines. Many cameras have a grid in the viewfinder to help photographers frame their shots. The thought is to add interest to the photo, and not have things centered in the picture.

I took advantage of the unusual snowfall that we had in St. Louis over the weekend to try out some shots. While I definitely did not end up with the wonderful blur of motion that other photographers illustrated in their submissions, I am proud of the fact that I tried new techniques with my camera. After all, that is what the challenge is all about.

Dogwood Photography Challenge Week 2

Monday, January 14, 2019

Snow Day

Muny bandstand
Between Friday, January 11th and Saturday, January 12th, St. Louis got dumped on - literally! We had over 11 inches of snow at our house. Fortunately I had prepared, so we had plenty of groceries and no place we need to be. Many other people were not so lucky. There were reports of hundreds of motorists stranded in their cars overnight due to impassable interstates and/or accidents. I cannot ever remember hearing of such a thing in the past, even when we had more significant snowfall.

By Sunday the additional predicted snow had skirted past us, and the roads were in fairly good shape. We decided to head out to Forest Park and the famed Art Hill, where sledding is a contact sport whenever it snows. We wanted to take some pictures for Week 2 of the photography challenge we are participating in, and moving targets on the hill would fit the bill.

It was fun to watch all the people, and listen to the screams of glee as children flew down the hill. The slight warming of temperature and the volume of folks going sledding made the slope very fast. Once we were done taking pictures, we couldn't resist a few runs down the hill ourselves. We had drug the old plastic sleds out of our storage shed and brought them along in case we were compelled to go down. I'm so glad we did. What fun we had! Though we may have been the oldest people taking part that afternoon, it goes to show you that age is just a number. Who said we have to act our age?

Art Hill, Forest Park

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Sunny Saturday

My niece Julie and I took advantage of the beautiful 66 degree day we had in St. Louis on Saturday to go to Tower Grove Park to take photos. Julie's sister-in-law gave her a DSLR camera after getting a new one for Christmas, and Julie wanted some help getting used to it.

She has an excellent eye for photos, and takes some amazing pictures when she goes on her lunch-time walks around downtown St. Louis. Since that is an important piece of getting a good result, I am eager to see what she can do with a camera that allows her to take both closer and farther away shots.

We had such a nice time together, and it is fun to share my love of photography with someone else. Here are a few of my favorite shots from the day.

Tower Grove Park

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

52 Week Photography Challenge 2019

My husband recently came across an article talking about a year-long photography challenge, and he shared it with me. Last year I participated in a 52 week genealogy writing challenge, and he thought I might like to try photography this year. Always eager to improve my skills (and looking for an excuse to get out and do so), I signed up for the challenge. There are no winners or losers, just the satisfaction of learning from 10,000+ other photographers from around the world. There is more information about the photography challenge here.

For Week 1 the topic was Story Telling: Self-Portrait with the instruction that we "take a picture that tells us who you are, without actually showing your face". Since I was out photographing in Tower Grove Park on a picture-perfect 66 degree day Saturday, I decided to give the topic a shot.

Here are two photos I took, but decided not to submit. The first I believe showed too much of my face, though other people in the challenge submitted ones that clearly identified who they were. The second one I liked, but there were quite a few photographers who had the same idea and submitted their own shadows.

self portraits
In the end, I settled on the following photo, which I took of myself reflected in a pond. I had my niece hold onto my belt loop so I didn't fall in!

So far over 750 photos have been submitted on the private Facebook page. Many others are posting their pictures on Instagram, using the hashtags #dogwood52 and #dogwood2019. The talent and creativity in the group is outstanding! I'm looking forward to absorbing photography knowledge from them over the next 51 weeks.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Bring on 2019

We had a very nice Christmas holiday. Our daughter arrived on the 23rd, and she and Jim went to see A Christmas Story at the St. Louis Repertory Theatre. I'm probably the only person in America who cannot stand that show, and I have already seen it at both the Rep and the Fox Theatres, not to mention countless movie viewings. I was so excited that she wanted to go so that I didn't have to see it again.

Christmas Eve we drove up to Iowa to see my in-laws, and we didn't tell them that Katie was coming with us. They were very much surprised, and we had a wonderful visit with everyone. On the 27th we came back to St. Louis, and the 28th Katie and I went to the Fox Theatre to see Anastasia. It was excellent, and I had a fun night with my girl. Jim went out to dinner with us before the show, but he graciously let Katie have his play ticket.

cranberry cosmos
On the 29th Andy and Megan arrived after having spent Christmas with her parents and family. We opened our gifts that afternoon, enjoying our customary holiday cocktail (cranberry cosmos) as we did so. That night the four of them went to the St. Louis Blues hockey game while I finished getting things ready for an open house on Sunday. We invited my sister and her family as well as some old neighbors over for the afternoon so that they could have an opportunity to see our kids. It was a very nice afternoon.

New Year's Eve we drove out to a winery in St. Charles County, played some games, watched the local fireworks from our perch on the curb in front of our house, and then toasted in the new year. Katie flew back home the next day.

Aerie's Winery
Wednesday the four of us visited the newly reopened Soldiers Memorial in downtown St. Louis, and then had dinner at Cunetto's restaurant on The Hill. Thursday we stopped by the Audubon Center before driving up the River Road to Aerie's Winery in Grafton. This is the first winery I have been to where they charge by the glass for a tasting, and you can select any wine on the menu. Normally I don't do the tastings because I only like sweet wines and those normally aren't an option. At Aerie's I tried two different wines, and settled on getting a glass of one of them to enjoy as the others drank their selected wines. The views from the winery are incredible, as advertised. From there we hit Ted Drewe's for the requisite frozen custard stop.

Andy and Megan headed out on January 3rd, and actually drove straight through to their home in Virginia. We are trying to get back into the groove of not having company, and also getting back to healthy eating habits again.

The holidays were filled with great food, games, puzzles, laughs, presents and, most importantly, being surrounded by our family. It was a great way to end the year, and to get 2019 off on the right foot.

Happy New Year