Contentment in the Journey – Poem

posted in: Fine Art | 19

This past week I’ve been thinking about the unpredictable nature of life. How things can take a turn at any moment, how we need to count our blessings, and look for them — even though sometimes it can be like finding a needle in the haystack.

Contentment in the Journey

Morning comes
The day breaks
Another day dawns.
Life goes on,
whether we want it to
…or not.
Being in control
is a joke, impossible.
Life’s circumstances
are unpredictable
ever-changing
always surprising.
We make the choice to
fix our eyes on the goal
before us…
…or get sucked into
the quicksand of
life’s troubles
surrounding us.
Life will never be free
from difficulty.
But we can choose
to find contentment
in the journey.

Pink Hued Sunrise

The image above is from a morning this spring (yes, we still had snow). We were blessed with a vivid pink sunrise over the lake. As the evening receded and the sun’s rising approached, deep purple and vivid pink hues were muted into orange and yellow tones. The moment was gone quickly, even as we enjoyed the lovely colors.

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature — trees, flowers, grass — grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence. We need silence to be able to touch souls.” – Mother Teresa

Sometimes morning’s coming seems to take forever; other times morning comes far too quickly. And with the night usually comes silence. Silence can be overpowering, overwhelming, and even frightening. It is in the silence that we are forced to deal with our own fears, thoughts, and worries. The hustle bustle of our days allows us to shut out these things, to put off dealing with them until later.

And the morning comes, whether we want it to or not.

Are we ever content with being in the moment? Willing to accept the reality of our present circumstances, whether they be joyful, grief-stricken, or even filled with apathy? I’ve known some strong people in my life. It has always struck me, how, even during their times of trial, they are looking outward towards the needs of others rather than inward towards their circumstances.

Resources on Contentment + Sunrises

Here are some resources on contentment and sunrises. That sounds like such a random assortment, my apologies — but I found some neat activities related to contentment and sunrises. Links will open in a new window for your convenience.

Contentment Resources for Adults

For Parents: Teaching Contentment

For Kids: Learning About Contentment + Sunrises

How Do You Find Contentment?

What about you? How do you deal with adversity, loss, or hardship? Do you think it’s possible to find contentment in the face of adversity? Sometimes it feels impossible to find peace in the middle of life’s trials. What do you do to help cope?

Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. – unknown

“Kids In the Garden” – Growing Romaine

posted in: Parenting | 10

“Kids In the Garden” has featured a guest post of mine on Growing Romaine Lettuce from Kitchen Scraps. I am excited to participate in their series Kids in the Garden; Learning and Growing! Here’s a sneak peek (er, some of the outtakes from the photo session) before you head over to read my guest post: Growing Romaine Lettuce from Kitchen Scraps.

kids in the garden - growing romaine

This started out as an experiment for the winter months, and actually turned into something quite exciting. Who knew that you could take the core of a romaine lettuce head and grow more lettuce? Well, I do now! You’ll have to head over to learn how the process works in more detail, but you can check out some “behind the scenes” photographs here first.

kids in the garden - growing romaine

Toby was thrilled to participate in this with me. He was also happy to be able to sneak some lettuce off the cutting board as a snace. Cinnamon, one of our cats, was very interested in what we were doing also (you can see her checking out the lettuce in one of the photos).

kids in the garden - growing romaine

Have I intrigued you enough yet to head on over and learn how it’s done? Make sure to read my article on growing romaine lettuce from kitchen scraps so you can get the step-by-step instructions on how to start growing your own lettuce!

 

Kids in the Garden Resources

Here are some links for further gardening ideas. They’ll open in a new window for your convenience. Let’s get those kids in the garden!

Do You Have More Ideas?

Do you have more ideas for getting kids in the garden? Or, into gardening? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Outdoor Nature Walk @ LNC

posted in: Parenting | 18

Need ideas for planning your next outdoor nature walk? I’ll share some links (for warm or cold weather) at the end of this post, but first let me share about our recent outdoor nature walk at a local nature center. Winter has been hanging on here, with record snowfall now over 6 feet, twice as much as usual. Needless to say, we’ll be happy when spring comes. But for now, we’ve been content with snow.

The other day, we braved the cold weather to visit the Leslie Nature Center for storytime and an outdoor nature walk. The monthly weekend storytime event is well-loved by the kids. We started out indoors, and read a book on spiders while waiting for storytime to start. The storytime tale was about bunnies — so there were guest appearances by the two resident bunnies (they normally live in the Critter House at the nature center).

This particular bunny was shedding quite a bit — notice the tufts of fur floating in the air in front of Toby’s face:

petting one of the bunnies at leslie nature center, winter outdoor nature walk

After getting to say hi to the bunnies, we donned our gear for an outdoor nature walk on the trails. It was nice to see Toby finally getting his snow legs. The first couple times we ventured outdoors in the deep snow, he wasn’t quite sure what to do, By the time of this outing, he was an old pro. On our outdoor nature walk, we listened for birds (and spotted a far-off cardinal), saw animal tracks (dogs, squirrels, fox, deer, etc), discovered snow fleas, and found rabbit scat.

And the finale of our outing, we of course visited the raptor enclosure. The Leslie Nature Center houses a variety of raptors (birds of prey) that are not capable of surviving in the wild. There are bald eagles, owls, falcons, and even a turkey vulture. Click on an image below to open the gallery view.


Outdoor/Nature Resources

I know some of you love resources and reading further. So, with that in mind, here are some blog posts on planning outdoor nature walks and relevant outdoor nature activities for kids. The links will open in a new window so you can consult the list as desired. Enjoy!

Cold Weather Outdoor Nature Ideas

Year Round Outdoor Nature Ideas

Nature Printables

Birds + Bird Watching

Rabbits

  • Rabbit Care – what is involved with owning a rabbit
  • Rabbit Facts – 23 facts about rabbits you might not know
  • All About Rabbits – learn about rabbits and how they are different from hares
  • Wild Bunnies – what to do if you find a litter of baby bunnies in the wild

  • Have More Outdoor Nature Walk Ideas?

    The possibilities are endless when it comes to creative, imaginative, outdoor play. Hopefully these photographs and links get your brain coming up with even more great ideas!

    Do you have more fun outdoor nature walk ideas? Or fond memories of things you enjoyed doing when young? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

    Shoveling + Snow Sensory Play

    posted in: Parenting | 21

    What’s snow sensory play? I’ll get to that in a minute (with activity links at the end of this post!), but first, let’s talk snow. There’s something about snow that just draws kids right in. My toddler is obsessed with shoveling snow, snow sensory play, you name it — if it has to do with snow, he’s rearing and ready to go. I’ve felt bad about not being able to get out more this winter (negative digits, windchill, plus sick bugs)… but fortunately we stumbled across two nice snow activities this winter:

    • “shoveling” snow on our deck
    • indoor snow sensory play

    Coincidentally, both of these activities *will* work even when the snow is melty and the weather is on the warmer side! So read on to see what we’ve done for snow sensory play — indoors and out.

    Snowy Day - Sensory Snow Play

    Outdoors Snow “Shoveling” Fun

    This past week we’ve finally seen temperatures rise above freezing, so Toby was thrilled to get out on the deck *without* a coat. I think he played for an hour out there, shoveling, scooping, and otherwise manipulating the snow. It started as a trip out on the deck to fill up a mixing bowl with snow for indoor snow sensory play… and turned into outdoors fun!

    Snow Sensory Play Indoors

    He did end up back indoors at the counter, playing with his bowl of snow. We don’t have a proper sensory bin, so have just been using jelly roll sheet pans to contain the melting snow. But, no matter. His fun has not been diminished by “lack” of proper materials. I supplied a few “real” kitchen items, and he supplemented everything else from the playroom. It’s always interesting to see what creative ideas toddlers will come up with on their own!

    Without much prompting, Toby discovered how to use the straw to move water from one place to another. He then experimented with putting ice chunks into a jar via the straw, all on his own. Really quite neat! Here are a few images of the snowy day fun — both indoors and out.

    Click on an image below to open the gallery view. Also, make sure to scroll to the end of this post, as I’ve shared some more great ideas for snow sensory play!

    More Snow Sensory Play Ideas

    Want to play in the snow? Indoors or Out? Well, here are some other blog posts that may help get your parental creative juices flowing. These links will open in a new window, in case you want to refer to this (non-exhaustive) list).

    Indoor Snow Play

    Outdoor Snow Play

    What If You Don’t have Snow?

    Have More Snow Play Ideas?

    What about you? Do you have more snowy day ideas for kids, or great snowy sensory play suggestions? Maybe you have some fond memories of activities you loved when growing up? I’d love to hear them in the comments section.

    Fern – Macro Fine Art Photography

    posted in: Fine Art | 52

    Every now and again I like to challenge myself to create fine art photography pieces from the everyday, the ordinary. We have a fern in our kitchen that could use a little TLC now and then. In the hustle and bustle of everyday happenings, it doesn’t always get watered ;). Despite the lack of consistent nurture and care, it still survives (for now, at least).

    Sometimes the detail is in the little things.

    If you have any plants in your home, have you ever looked up close at them? Take this fern, for example. The patterns and repetition, the symmetry and color. Nature is full of art waiting to be discovered, things waiting to be photographed. It just takes the right eye to appreciate what’s already there …and to create a fine art interpretation to be enjoyed by others.

    Fern - Plant Macro Fine Art Photography

    I love looking at things like this fern from different angles. It always amazes me how a slight change in perspective can make a subject change so drastically. The gentle leaves become spiky points, the shadows deepen and darken, turning murky black. light and shadow are constantly at play with one another. Leading lines draw me into yet another fine art image, waiting to be captured on “film.”

    Fern - Plant Macro Fine Art Photography

    And then the fern becomes familiar, symmetric, again. With the soft light, the sharpness is gone.

    Fern - Plant Macro Fine Art Photography

    What is Fine Art Photography?

    “But Betsy,” you ask, “what is fine art photography?” Well, that will vary depending on who you ask. Maybe fine art photography means landscape photographs or plant photographs to one person, but to another, that doesn’t qualify. Fine Art is really a tricky thing to define, because it is subjective by nature. Here’s how Wikipedia (I know, not the ultimate authority by any means) defines fine art photography:

    Fine art photography is photography created in accordance with the vision of the artist as photographer. (Wikipedia: Fine Art Photography)

    Basically, fine art photography is everything that is NOT commercial, photojournalistic, or documentary in nature. Fine art photography is not intended to be an objective representation, but a subjective representation, of reality.

    Macro Fine Art Photography Tips

    Look for the detail in the ordinary, the normal. Look for repetition, for design elements that are intriguing. Look for patterns in light and dark. It’s all about abstracting something known, something ordinary, into the extraordinary.

    So far as cameras go, most point and shoots these days have macro photography or fine art photography settings of some sort. While your results may vary, I challenge you to give macro fine art photography a try next time you pick up your camera. Consider it an exercise in creativity. You’ll find yourself looking for fine art photography moments in the ordinary, the mundane.

    Yes, it’s challenging, both from a technical standpoint and from a creative standpoint. But by simply experimenting with the creativity aspect, I bet you’ll be able to find more wonder in your everyday life. More fine art than you expect. It’s there, in your home, outside your front door, waiting to be appreciated and enjoyed.

    The Making of “Uphill Battle”

    posted in: Fine Art | 19

    Over the next few months, I thought I would feature the stories behind some of my award-winning photographs. This one, titled “Uphill Battle,” was accepted into 2007 PPA International Print Exhibition.

    Uphill Battle - Award-Winning Fine Art Photograph

    The Making of “Uphill Battle”

    This photograph looks like a well planned still life, but sometimes with a good eye, you can find nature photographs that have been arranged for you. Uphill Battle was one such fine art photograph. While in Arizona, visiting my grandparents, I was having a lovely time being outdoors in the warmth, searching for suitable subjects to photograph. After all, during the winter months, who doesn’t want to escape from the snow here in Michigan (once in a while)? Now, granted, my reasons for being in Arizona were more somber – my grandfather’s body was ridden with cancer, and he was in hospice. Shortly after our return, my grandfather passed away (his memorium). This image serves as a reminder of that for me. In fact, my grandfather was one of the people who inspired me to pursue photography, first as a hobby, then as a profession. I’ve shared a candid photo of him below.

    Major McKinley AshAnyways, as dusk neared, this grasshopper was resting on one of the plants near my grandparents’ home. The background of this photograph, which I love the texture of, by the way, is simply the block fence in their backyard. Nothing spectacular, but with a creative eye and some on-the-fly planning, it serves as a vital element of the image.

    Determination

    “Uphill Battle” was given its name because, well, let’s face it. Sometimes life is tough. For people, for a grasshopper — it doesn’t matter. In this photograph, he is hanging onto a plant, resting before he resumes his efforts to survive. Life is a battle, and often it seems uphill. Often the challenges seem insurmountable. I’ve been at points in my life where I feel like there is too much on my plate to handle. Fortunately, grace gives me the strength to carry on. Life’s obstacles are a given, we can’t escape the rough spots. But, we can count on them to test us, to challenge us, to make us grow.

    Throughout history, mankind has had a tenacity to hold on, to perservere.  Offhand, I can think of two similar proverbs that address this.  

    • “Fall down seven, get up eight,” – Japanese Proverb
    • “For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again.” – Proverbs 24:16

    No matter what, keep trying.  Never give up. Life isn’t a piece of cake. It is, more often than not, an uphill battle. And I’m so grateful to have wonderful people in my life to support me through the tough times. My husband. My parents and in-laws. My family. My friends. And last, but not least, my faith. Everyone has their way of dealing with life’s uphill battles — and everyone who is determined to not give up will find themselves a stronger person for it.

    Sundog Rainbow Sunrise

    posted in: Fine Art | 11

    My son loves rainbows, so when we saw this sundog rainbow the other day, it kept his attention for quite some time. His room faces East, so most mornings he is able to enjoy the sunrise… Because, as most toddlers are, he is often up before the day dawns.

    Nature's sundog Rainbow Sunrise Landscape Photography

    Sundog – Rainbow – Sunrise?

    Is this really an uncommon occurance? If you aren’t familiar with sundogs, I’ll share some weather links at the end of this post. But, to summarize, they are an iridescent shine, or rainbow, seen to the left and right of the sun, formed from clouds which are heavy with ice crystals. In short, it’s typically a winter rainbow, if you want to oversimplify things.

    Why do we find rainbows so interesting, after all? Well, there’s the story of Noah’s Ark, with the rainbow being a promise. There’s the science behind the natural phenomenon of a rainbow (sunrise though?). And the sun rising signals a new day, a fresh start, the return of warmth (usually).

    And here is a close up view of the sundog (rainbow sunrise). Not really all that spectacular, so far as a full-blown sundog rainbow goes, but rainbows without rain, during winter, aren’t all that common so I’m giving myself a little leeway to be excited along with my toddler. There’s something about immersing yourself in their world that makes things suddenly seem infinitely more interesting.

    Sundog Rainbow Sunrise Landscape Photography

    Winter Sunrises

    Aren’t winter sunrises inspiring, even without a sundog rainbow? Since my toddler started waking before the late winter dawn, I’ve grown more fond of seeing the sun’s rays slowly rise over the earth fill the day with warmth and brightness. Well, at least the perception of warmth, huh.

    Here is a view of the sunrise through the trees on this cold morning. I love how frost coats the branches on mornings like this. At the same time, I’m glad my morning commute only involves a couple flights of stairs, and doesn’t require venturing outside. I think it was single digits, temperature-wise.

    Nature Sunrise Landscape Photography

    Finally, the sunrise on the snow. Almost looks like an artic nature scene rather than something in our backyard. Nature photography really reminds me to see the beauty in everyday things, the ordinary miracles that get passed over during the rush to get everything done.

    Sunrise on Snow Nature Photography

    Sundog Rainbow Phenomenon

    So, is it really a sundog rainbow, or even a rainbow? Here are some weather links to explain the sundog (rainbow) phenomenon, which doesn’t always look like a rainbow, but sometimes just like a bright sun spot, or second sun.

    Have you had the opportunity to experience a sundog “rainbow”? I’ve seen a number of them, usually during the winter when it is very cold, and usually during the morning. I hear that if the moon shines brightly enough during the right weather conditions, there is even a rare chance to see a moondog. Pretty neat.

    Foul Weather + Rescheduling Sessions

    posted in: Photography | 0

    With all the foul weather and thundersnow we’ve had lately, I figured a blog post with some foul weather photography tips was in order.  A bit later on in this post, I’ll also cover some situations for which we usually reschedule portrait sessions.  We don’t want to be out in foul weather photographing any more than you want to be exposed to that foul weather.

    Now, first let me digress to the topic of thundersnow.  Anyone enjoying the thundersnow and lightning we’ve had the past 24 hours? We were inside and didn’t hear the daytime thundersnow, but Toby did wake up last night because of the lightening. Despite getting my son to agree a combination thunderstorm and snowstorm was pretty cool, he still wanted the lightning to stop.  In case you haven’t been privy to the lovely foul weather that is called thundersnow, here’s a brief video on the phenomenon:

    Let me also say, we were out driving during part of today’s foul weather.  It was interesting to see the snowplows pushing waves of icy water off to the side of the road.  Lots of big puddles, slushy snow-water, and other runoff.  I will be curious to see how the weather plays out the next few days.  Despite our best efforts at beating this foul weather, we couldn’t keep up with all the snow, slush, and ice on our driveway.  Hopefully it will be warm enough (or at least sunny enough) to melt the ice-skating rink in progress on our driveway tonight.

    When Should I Cancel My Session Due to Foul Weather?

    If it’s stormy out, I always reschedule my location sessions, no questions asked. I don’t want to be out in that weather any more than you do. Weather can definitely become a safety concern. The lighting and camera equipment I use is pretty much a giant sign saying “lighting please strike here.” Now, I will add one exception — once-in-a-lifetime events like weddings.  For weddings, I’ll go with the flow, according to the bride and groom’s alternate weather plans (which usually take foul weather, thunderstorms, etc into consideration).

    But for portrait sessions? It is definitely smarter to plan on doing the session another day.  Or, if the portraits “must” be done by a certain date, there’s always the option of switching to a studio portrait session.  I rarely have to resort to this second option, though.  About 99% of the time we can find a fair weather day for rescheduling a portrait session that had to be cancelled due to inclement weather.  Sometimes I do have clients interested in getting a “stormy sky” look, but please know we can achieve that going out during foul weather. If there are clouds in the sky, we can do some neat things.

    Senior Portrait With Stormy Skies | Foul Weather

    Our Guidelines for Proceeding with a Session during Foul Weather

    Some types of foul weather that we reschedule portrait sessions for include:

    • thunderstorms/thundersnow and lightning
    • heavy rain or downpours
    • winter weather warnings/advisories, including extreme cold
    • excessive heat warnings/advisories, including extreme heat/humidity
    • tornado watches/warnings
    • extreme fog

    We typically proceed with portrait sessions on a “play it by ear” basis for not-so-foul weather, such as:

    • snow flurries
    • isolated rain showers

    Winter Portrait in the Snow | Not-So-Foul Weather

    In short, if you’re concerned about the weather having a negative impact on your portrait session, please get in touch with us. Call, email, text… let’s discuss the weather so you can be confident as we make the safe choice for your portrait session.  Foul weather may ruin our chances for your portrait session to occur on a given day, but it will NOT ruin your overall portrait experience.  It’s always better to be safe than sorry.  If the weather is bad, let’s call it and plan for another day!

    Finally, let me share some resources that I rely on when checking the weather.

    Obviously, none of these are foolproof, and there has been a time or two when we’ve rescheduled a session, expecting foul weather — and it turned out to be a false alarm. But those instances are few and far between. Usually when we play it by ear, we can agree to decide a few hours beforehand whether it looks wise to proceed with your portrait session or not.

    “Foul Weather” Nature Photography Tip:

    From a nature and landscape photography point of view… if you choose to take photographs of storms or want to venture out during foul weather, please exercise care and make sure you are not being reckless about your safety. Sure, it would be awesome to capture a time lapse photo of the lightning storm going on.  But, that photograph won’t mean much if you’ve been injured in taking it. It would be far safer to photograph a storm from inside a building, or even sitting in a car in a parking structure (remember, rubber wheels?).  After all, who wants to be caught on the ground holding onto a tripod turned lighting rod?

    Safety first…then art second!

    Foul Weather Winter Snowstorm | Fine Art Nature Photograph

    Backyard Wildlife | Nature Photography

    posted in: Fine Art | 5

    Even in the cold weather… it’s still good to get outdoors.  We’ve been enjoying the bountiful wildlife-watching opportunities (and corresponding opportunities for nature photography).  There is a herd of deer that likes to frequent our neighborhood.  I believe one count yielded a total of 12 deer, but quite frankly they move around so much we could be off by a couple.  Interestingly, some of the deer will run out across the lake (seeing that it’s frozen) rather than walking the “long way” around.  Where one goes, the others follow.  This particular evening, we had deer galavanting all over the lake, our backyard, you name it.  This nature photography shot is a combination landscape and wildlife scene… love the beginnings of a pink sunset.
    bphotoart-IMG_4811

    And then came the turkeys.  Or maybe they preceded the deer.  Too much backyard wildlife to keep my story straight, I guess.  Nature is really quite interesting to observe.  These are two of the (usually) 6 turkeys that walk from the stand of trees in the photograph, through our backyard, and that of our neighbors, before heading back into “nature.”  Sometimes we’ll see them twice in one day.  And if you’re not familiar with turkeys, do know that they have quite long legs.  The snow in the photograph below comes almost midway up their gangly legs (taken through a particularly dense window screen; my apologies… one of the downfalls of nature photography taken from indoors).

    bphotoart-IMG_4748


    I sometimes wonder how much of this wildlife activity I would notice, in my own backyard nature sanctuary, if I didn’t have a toddler around the house.  We enjoy pointing the wildlife out to each other and then spending a good 5-10 minutes watching their antics as they promenade through our backyard and the neighborhood.  The love of nature photography is apparently something I’ve passed onto our son; as he enjoys pretending to “flash” pictures with his cool kidnoculars (affiliate link disclosure), which are neat toddler-sized binoculars (see image to right) he got for Christmas.

    Wildlife + Nature Photography Tip:

    Patience is key.  While my toddler may enjoy “scaring” the animals from time to time, you need to be quiet and still if you want to effectively watch nature unfold — even if you’re indoors.  Animals have really good hearing, and they are especially sensitive to movement.  So, if it’s evening and you have the lights on in your house, don’t be surprised if you scare them off by dashing to the window to see your backyard wildlife.  A safer bet would be to turn off the lights…or move very slowly.  Pretend you’re stalking the wildlife (well, you are…but in this case, it’s to observe or photograph the animals).

    On Pomegranates and Waiting…

    posted in: Fine Art | 2

    Toby and I recently spent an afternoon dissecting a pomegranate given to us as part of a fruit basket. It’d been so long since I have had one, I had to look online for how to cut a pomegranate. In retrospect, I’m not sure if I ever have. My toddler was thrilled to watch the process, and excited to chomp down on the tiny pomegranate seeds as I put little handfuls on his plate; he reluctantly agreed we should save some for Daddy.

    bphotoart-IMG_4786 Read More

    Butterflies

    posted in: Fine Art | 10

    As a continuation of my reminiscing the other day… Here are some photographs of butterflies I unearthed during a recent reorganization of my hard drive.  I love nature.  As adults, we often get caught up in “adult” things and forget to see the excitement in the world around us!  Even something as ordinary as a butterfly is complex and awe-inspiring, should you take the time to watch one for a while.  We did just that last summer, during our visit to Mackinac Island.  While the Butterfly House wasn’t quite as peaceful with an excited toddler in tow, I still did enjoy watching all the butterflies.  The toughest part was watching little hands and keeping them from trying to “pick up” butterflies.  That “look but don’t touch” rule can be so tough to remember.  This butterfly photograph below is my favorite from our visit:

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    Mackinac Island Photographs

    posted in: Fine Art | 10

    I love nature.  And last summer we were able to take a trip to Mackinac Island as a family.  By that, I don’t mean just the three of us, but also my parents, my brother, and his wife.  We had a lovely time, and Toby appreciated the break from being in a carseat for the week.  While we were there, I did create some landscape photographs…well, because, I just can’t help myself in regards to that.  Sometimes I see a good picture, and it just *needs* to be taken.  Here are a few of the favorites from Mackinac Island.  The first two are views from Arch Rock.  Here’s looking out over the shoreline:

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    Memories of Warmer Weather

    posted in: Fine Art | 1

    As the weather kept dipping into the negative range on our thermometer here this past month, I have been a little (just a little, really, I love snow) nostalgic about springtime and summer.  I honestly love all the seasons, and the only reason I started pining for the warmth is because it is a whole lot easier to be outdoors.  I guess instead of worrying about frostbite and hypothermia, you have to worry about sunburn and heatstroke instead… so each has its downsides.  But, as I was creating an album of family snapshots from the past year (shh….maybe the past two years, a little behind on my personal photos), I came across an image I absolutely love.  I’d turn this into a wall portrait in a heartbeat.  This was taken at our friends’ lakehouse…but the real draw for me, of course, is that it includes my family.

    bphotoart-IMG_0074
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    On Thinking Creatively

    posted in: Fine Art | 10

    Do you let your little ones help in the kitchen?  I’m a fan of hands on learning (yes, we do have a membership at the Hands on Museum, how did you know?), and as Toby has gotten older, he’s been able to help more and more with some of the basic things.  What does this have to do with photography?  Well — directly, not much.  But indirectly, lots.  I’ve enjoyed observing how toddlers (well, all children, really) are always learning.  They are observant, taking cues from adults and kids around them, eager to experiment with doing things themselves, and often find creative ways to accomplish a task if left to their own devices.  In short, it’s all about creativity, unleashing your inner child.  And that’s what we often forget once adults.  How to think creatively.  Photography, and all art, is really about exploring your world creatively.  A fresh perspective on a “boring” subject can make all the difference in the world.  And sometimes all it takes is to consider things from a different point of view (i.e. a child’s).  Doesn’t this look cool??


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    Snowscapes

    posted in: Fine Art | 1

    I love snow.  Really.  And the fact that we were holed up in the house, sick, during the past couple big snows made me sad!  So, I resigned myself to capturing what I could from within the warmth of our house (no way I was going out in negative temperatures to risk an easily induced coughing fit).  Here is one of my favorites — it’s a little on the abstract side, but I have always loved looking at the wind ripples on snow drifts.  And, I was able to capture a section of our yard not tromped over by deer or turkeys!

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    Christmas Cactus

    posted in: Fine Art | 0

    I love flowers and plants.  And while it’s taken me a while to get up the courage to maintain them… (I blame the cats – they like to eat greens) — we have finally done so in the past year.  Not a huge variety – spider plants, African violets, and a Christmas cactus are all that have really thrived thus far.  I won’t talk about my failed attempts at wheatgrass for the cats (it seems to yellow and die …maybe not enough light?), or the fern that I am trying to have survive in the studio.  Oh, there is one more survivor — a fern in our kitchen.  One of the big problems in our house is light. Despite all the lovely windows, the forest behind us just limits the amount of light that we get on the south side of our house.  So, if you have any tips for plants (cat-friendly) that don’t need too much light, I’m all ears.

    Anyways, here is the first ever bloom from our Christmas cactus cutting!  It’s survived the cats, an excited toddler, and the harsh growing environment.  Plus, there are more blooms on the way!

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    Bugs, Bugs, Bugs!

    posted in: Fine Art | 2

    We had some bugs spend the night at our house the other day. Well, in the garage, to be exact. Grandpa sent these home with us, so we could watch them a little while longer before setting them free the next morning. The katydid took up residence on our deertick flower, and the praying mantis liked the Jerusalem artichoke we set her on. In case you can’t tell from these pictures (see more below), someone was REALLY excited to have these bugs around. He’s been talking about praying mantises all week. katydids, not as much…but then again, we didn’t have the interesting backstory for that little lady. The praying mantis had just eaten a humongous bumble bee before entering captivity. Read More

    Discovering England and Switzerland

    posted in: Local | 0

    If you enjoyed Betsy’s previous programs at the library (Portraits of Italy and Israel), then you will be thrilled to hear that she will be giving two additional travelogues this winter at the Dexter District Library! In December, Betsy will share images from Switzerland, and in February, she will share images from the UK. More program details are available below; make sure to mark your calendars now so you remember to attend.

    Discovering Switzerland – A Photo Travelogue
    December 11th, 2012 — 7pm at the Dexter District Library

    Join Master Photographer Betsy Finn for a journey through the Swiss Alps to the picturesque village of Murren. Betsy will share portraits and stories of traveling by funicular in the Alps, by cable car to the Matterhorn, by train around Lake Luzern, and more.

    Discovering Cambridge, Visiting England – A Photo Travelogue
    February 5th, 2012 — 7pm at the Dexter District Library

    Join Master Photographer Betsy Finn in exploring England through photographs. Betsy will share portraits and anecdotes of her month-long stay in the college town of Cambridge, as well as images of many England’s landmarks — from ancient to modern.

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