Photo Challenge 10: Foreign

This should actually be number 11 for me as I totally missed the silhouette challenge. It wasn’t that I didn’t have any images that would fit the bill; on the contrary I had dozens, but none seemed awesome enough in comparison to others I had seen. So, I procrastinated long enough until a new challenge was set.

In honor of Halloween, I decided to share some Day of the Dead shots I got while in Mexico.

This one is Foreign. Seeing how I’ve only been to one country outside of my own, my selection is sparse, but here they are! The first Three shots pay homage to The Day of the Dead (seeing how it is almost Halloween). We were in Progresso on that day and the shops were filled with items honoring this holiday. The last two shots are of my one of my most favorite subjects, architecture.

These, I’m sure are more for the tourists than the citizens of Mexico.

This was an actual Day of the Dead alter set up by a local woman for her mother.

I love how other countries are not afraid to use color in their city buildings; especially pink! Where I live, we are too “dignified” to use colors like these – our loss.

I was saddened to see the face of these old building being smoothed over with concrete. But I guess it was better than tearing them down or letting them fall completely apart. I can only hope they will be restored to their old beauty.

I hope you enjoyed a snippet of my trip to Mexico.

Creepy Bugs and Beautiful Grands

I don’t like bugs.

But I do love my grandchildren.

I won’t ever pass up any time that I can spend with my grandchildren. Even it involves VERY creepy bugs!

Aeden (bottom left in purple) and Owen (on her right) started out together on the rug; Aeden soon moved to my side.

A local library was holding a special program in honor of Halloween called Spooky Bugs; I saw the advertisement and decided that this would be a perfect grandma and me time with Owen (grand number four). He loves bugs and knows a great deal about many species. He loves to catch them and watch them in his bug viewer, and he is always gentle with them. He also loves to collect locust shells (this is the outer skin that they shed during molting that is a perfect see-through replica of the bug). He recently learned to hang them on my screens and on his momma’s.

Imagine looking out your window to about 30 of these little guys clinging to the screen. Great fun!

I knew he would love this program, so I put it in my calendar and made plans to take him. It was almost a failed adventure; my first alert on my iCalendar didn’t set, so it didn’t remind me the day before. My “second alert” one hour before did set and went off on time. Unfortunately, I hadn’t made final preparations with his mom, my hubby was on his way home with pizza and I only had less than an hour to get to their house (15 minutes away). I called my daughter Sarah lamenting about my failed plans and sat wishing I wasn’t so forgetful.

This scientist loves her bugs and the children she teaches about them – she would have to, to be seen out in public in this getup.

Mere minutes after I resigned my plans, my hubby walks in with the pizza. An idea struck; I could do this. After all, I’m an ex-photojournalist and am used to rushed deadlines and last minute stories! I dialed my daughter, made new plans, choked down a piece of pizza and flew out the door. In between the phone call and choking down the pizza, I thought perhaps grand number five (my second granddaughter Aeden) might like to go. Bugs aren’t’ her thing, but she loves the library. So I made another call and our party of two became a party of three.

Owen and the large Walking Stick.

We made it to the library with minutes to spare, and while Owen sat on the rug in front of the big display, Aeden felt safer by my side instead of sitting in front a slew of creepy crawly things. She let me know that she didn’t want to touch any of them, period.

Aeden soon got over her fear of the bugs; big brother Owen helped.

Every girl is braver with big brother’s hand on her shoulder.

Up walks the entomologist decked out in full Black Widow costume and gives a very lively and informative talk on bugs. I learned more than I ever wanted to know about bugs, like the fact that they outnumber humans about two million to one – yuck! And that we consume about a zillion of them in a day in “government approved” portions – double yuck! But Owen was mesmerized; Aeden really just wanted to find the Fancy Nancy books.  By the time the talk was over and it was time to view and touch the bugs, she still wasn’t sure she wanted to participate, but seeing as I was the only adult with them, she had to stay with me and Owen. She actually did really well, and both her and Owen loved all of the bugs -me not so much!

These Hissing Cockroaches aren’t hissing!

Tarantula Molts, like Locust Shells only furrier.

There were live ones and “pinned” ones to view. They loved them all.

This was the 8″ Giant Millipede – this one totally creeped me out, but not as bad as the giant centipede – Tingler flashbacks.

This giant scorpion was “non-stinging;” Owen and Aeden each touched it. Me, no way!

Miss “Fancy Nancy, No Bug Touching, Period!” really overcame her fear of bugs.

In fact, they loved it so much, that we waited in the long line a second time so they could touch all the creepy crawly bugs again. Bugs like giant 8″ millipedes, hissing cockroaches and giant (non-stinging) scorpions. They did great; I felt like I had bugs crawling all over me and was sure that I would have nightmares.

An assortment of the Creep Show. Oh, did I mention that I shot most of these photos standing behind Owen and Aeden, holding my camera from overhead and upside down? It was very crowded.

I don’t care if it is “non-stinging,” it still gives me the heebie geebies!

Did I mention I don’t like bugs?

Please read the whole story, it will touch your heart; in honor of Mac!

Broken Light Collective

Photo taken by autisticaplanet, a 33-year-old woman who has Asperger’s Syndrome and accompanying anxiety related to social and sensory issues. She also has OCD. She writes a blog to pass along lifelong lessons to help others, adults in particular, dealing with Asperger’s. She hopes to help neurotypical people better understand the “complexities within the complexities” of autism spectrum disorders. She’s had a passion for capturing images since childhood, when her father bought her a Kodak 110 on vacation. She has been told that she sees and captures what others overlook or miss.

About this photo: “The “Broken Window of Opportunity” was taken on my way to therapy in September 2011, in De Kalb, Illinois. With autism, the “window of opportunity” regarding optimal early intervention is age 6. On many autism sites, the emphasis is on children. A visual of a male child of about 4 is shown. I wanted to show that adults with autism count, especially those who missed out on…

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Photo Challenge 8 (I mean 9): BIG

I really did have a specific image I wanted to take for this challenge; and I have taken this particular image when I was a photojournalist, but I don’t have access to those photos any more. 😦

I live in the central part of Oklahoma, and it really is true what it says in the song, “where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain.” We Oklahomans have taken advantage of that wind to harness a ever constant source of energy through wind farming. Windmills are everywhere! Not the Don Quixote type, but the three limb monstrosities that are lined up like some type of alien invasion on every available hilly pasture land near where I live. You cannot get the full feeling of their immenseness until you see a single blade being transported by an extra long semi truck down our small town city streets.

From Sneek Peek: Warners Chases After “Don Quixote” website

That is what I wanted to share with you, but I didn’t happen upon a delivery this week, so I went with plan B and dug through old photos until I found some of my oldest grands being REALLY BIG goobers at some of our nearby museums.

This one was taken several years ago at the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jinks, Oklahoma. They have this really BIG tank of fish that are hand fed by a diver in scuba gear. I set my oldest grandson (then about age 6) in front of the aquarium to take a photo using the fish as a backdrop. Just before I snapped the shot, a really big Puffer Fish swam into the frame to check out Ethan. To say Ethan Danger (yes, that really is his middle name) was surprised and perhaps a bit startled was an understatement. This remains one of my favorite shots of him (I know, its hard to keep up since I have so many favs, but what’s a grandma to do?).

Ethan Danger Ratcliffe has never really lived up to his middle name (his mom was on drugs when she agreed to this middle name)! He is tender and a bit timid about things, but he is a joy to his parents and especially this grandma!

The next couple of images were taken at the Sam Nobel Natural History Museum in Norman, Oklahoma. There is a REALLY BIG bronze sculpture of a Wooly Mammoth that we like to have fun with. Because of its huge size and the smallness of the room, and because I was using my iPhone (forgot my camera) these shots don’t have the whole mammoth in them, but you will get the idea!

This is a gag that we always have to partake in every time we go to the museum. The size and shape of the room, and the circular glass windows surrounding it make it hard to get a decent shot with the whole mammoth in it, especially using an iPhone. When, oh when, will I remember to bring my “real” camera with me on these outings?

My grands are such BIG goobers – they are, after all, their father’s children. They were being silly while gawking at the really BIG kahonnies on the Wooly Mammoth!

Have a great week! And perhaps I will make it over to a wind farm before the week is up to get the shot I really wanted to share with you!

Both the image and the words will touch your heart.

Broken Light Collective

Photo taken by Ian, a 52-year-old Welsh rugby fan who was diagnosed with clinical depression 10 years ago and bipolar disorder. It has been a hard journey, with laughter, tears, and heartache, but the support of his wife and two children, 5 and 7 years old has helped keep him going. Ian feels he has gotten an unexpected gift from his depression, and that was self-taught photography. It was very difficult at first, but he kept working at it and learning until he developed an eye and technical skills. He started using photography to get out and have a purpose, and in difficult social situations. It has now become an important part of his life and helpful in his recovery. When he is pleased with the end product, his photos can give him a feeling of pride and make him feel less debilitated by his illness.

About this photo: “I…

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Photo Challenge 8: Happy

I have avoided this photo challenge like the plague.

When presented with the challenge of what makes me happy, for some reason I balk. I always balk facing happiness; perhaps it is because I struggle with that issue. I have no right to be unhappy, but I’m hardwired to lean in the other direction. I know I have been happy so many times, but the darkness always seems to blur those lines and make it impossible to remember.

I do know that sunflowers make me happy so I will share a couple of images of a couple that I grew and shot on film many, many years ago. I have since lost the negatives, so these are a bad scan of an old print, but I keep them around because their sunny faces never cease to bring a smile to my lips. The last one was shot with my iPhone – not bad for such a small medium. 🙂

How can you not smile and be happy looking at sunflowers?

I shot this Mammoth Sunflower that I planted right outside my back door with my really old film camera. This scan doesn’t do the image justice.

This beautiful fellow fell victim to a very hungry grasshopper, but it still captured my attention and made me smile. (taken with my iPhone)

The other thing that makes me truly happy is my family. I love it when we are all together enjoying each other’s company. But this also brings me great sadness when events don’t live up to my expectations. It is no ones’ fault but my own; but then again, I did mention that I was hardwired that way. I won’t bore you with the whys or hows, but I will share a couple shots of last Christmas. Of all my children, my son-n-law, Caleb, was not in the photos, he was very sick and missed our annual event. Thanks for stopping by.

Clint and one of my son-n-laws, Christian. Isabelle and Ethan and the back of Owen’s head made it into this shot. 🙂

My three beautiful daughters Rebekah, Sarah and Micah – with their grandpa in the middle (oh and baby Caera).

This is Papa and me (in a sling no less) with six of our seven grands. Chloe was still cooking in mama’s oven. 🙂 They are (back row from left) Mackenzie, Ethan and Isabelle. (front row from left) Owen, Caera and Aeden.
There is no greater joy than grand babies!

Bring On The Fall!

There is a nip in the air this morning, and it has my blood pumping!

Nothing is more fun (or photographic) than a local Pumpkin Patch

I love fall and everything to do with it. The colors, the smells, the tastes, the sounds and the feel! I can’t help it, like sunflowers, it just makes me happy. I love being able to wear layers of clothes, boots, a shawl or wrap up in a blanket. I love the idea of a campfire and spending time with beautiful family and friends. And, I also love the photo opportunities it presents.

My grandson Owen loves to play outside, especially in the fall

Happy Fall Y’all

One more of Owen with “his” leaves.

Happy Friday and I hope everyone has a blessed weekend!

The “Real” Weekly Photo Challenge 7: Mine

I almost just ignored this challenge. We were instructed to produce an image that signified something we kept just for ourself. Something that was only mine.

I couldn’t come up with anything. Everything that I own or value, I would give away in a heartbeat to anyone who truly needed it or wanted it. Even “things” that I own and cherish now will one day belong to my daughters or grandchildren, so nothing is truly just mine.

Of course, my family came to mind – actually it was one of the first things to come to mind – but they don’t belong to me, but to God. I have always said that they are just on loan to me for a short while until  He needs them back. And I fear if I get too possessive with them, He will need them back sooner than I am ready.

So after some pondering, I came upon an idea. It is actually an idea of an idea; or more precisely, a moment in time that I can claim as truly mine. It is any time that I am alone and in which God shows Himself to me with such clarity that I know without a doubt that He is Awesome, Amazing, All-powerful and truly Mine! Glimpses of nature are when these moments of clarity most often come to me; its also when I most see God’s perfection. It is like the Father is saying to just me, “Hello, I’m still here and I Am with you always!”

And although nature is not really just “MINE,” the moments I share with God are. God is PERFECT, that is why all of these photographs are titled Perfect . . .

Weekly Photo/Travel Challenge 6: Foliage/Color

I guess, the powers that be were a bit behind on posting the weekly photo challenge for this week, so fellow bloggers suggested a few themes. One was Travel: Foliage and the other suggestion was Color (since that time an actual photo challenge was posted and I will address that one in another post).

Seeing how I don’t really travel much, one trip to Mexico and a driving trip to Talimena Skyline Drive in Oklahoma and Arkansaw last fall, I decided to combine color (Mexico) and foliage (Talimena) from both trips, oh and pay a little homage to Halloween and the Day of the Dead. I hope you enjoy!

It was so foggy and rainy the day we took our drive that I feared I wouldn’t get any shots. I soon took to taking macro shots of the individual leaves, which turned out far more pleasing than the landscapes.

We were actually in Progresso, Mexico on Day of the Dead, but didn’t see too much. We later found these trinkets in a small shop.

The spectacular colors of fall never cease to amazing and enthrall me! I can never get enough of looking or photographing them!

From our Mexico cruise: it amazed me that the artwork surrounding the Day of the Dead was so colorful!

Standing like Sentinels guarding the rest of the treeline, these beauties are just one example of the fauna around Oklahoma and Arkansas.

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