Tag Archives: photography

Happy First Day Of Spring?

IMG_3303by Kimberly A. Cook

Here in Oregon the trees are budding and Spring may actually appear. We had a wonderful warm day yesterday and then the bird bath froze last night. Welcome to weather.

I read another Nor’easter is headed for the East Coast. So sorry. Thought I’d send some blooms your way. This is one of the trees on my street. Used the telephoto so we could all get up close. Tree climbing is not my thing.

Hope this finds you enjoying the small signs of Spring. Or if you can’t find the ground buried under snow,  I suggest silk flowers and bunny figurines. Couldn’t hurt!

Have a wonderful first day of Spring!

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White Christmas Memories

by Kimberly A. Cook

Happy Boxing Day! It’s a balmy 28 degrees here in Oregon and the ice and leftover snow are still on the roofs in my neighborhood. The unexpected freezing rain on Christmas Eve turned into fluffy snow in the late afternoon.

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The glare of ice crystals on the bird bath on Christmas Eve, lit by the street lamp reflection. Birds will need ice skates!

 

Geared up with crampons on my boots and cookies and eggnog in my backpack, I hoofed it over to my Mom’s house at 2:30 p.m. for Christmas Eve eggnog and cookies. Walked carefully since one does not want to fall on their eggnog. The Army did teach me to find my feet on the ice. The walk back home through fluffy white snow and the quiet that only a holiday with a blanket of white can bring was magical.

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The bird bath on Christmas Day. Since the birdie bath heater died, it’s now an ice rink. Must get to the store to replace the heater.

 

An emergency run for take-and-bake pizza on Christmas Eve morning by my sister worked out well to pre-position food for the holiday. We went with super easy Christmas dinner this year. Christmas pizza a first for us. It was wonderful with eggnog and cookies, plus some salad thrown in for good measure. Plus dark chocolate. ALWAYS dark chocolate.

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This is the winter camellia blooming while hit by the freezing rain. Note my fabulous mini pink bunny trellis in the background. Did that this summer for color in the garden for the winter.

 

So I played with my camera and thought I’d share some pics from our little weather event. Forecast for more freezing rain, snow, sleet, locusts tonight. Something like that. So here are pics from a lazy photographer who basically stands on the front or back porch and takes photos. I blame the pizza and eggnog.

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One of the last rose blooms attacked by the ice.  Spring will come again!

 

 

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This is my laziest photo of all.  I’m a big Music Choice fan on Comcast. I love the holiday music which comes with fabulous rotating pictures. This is my favorite photo every year. Cookie conveyor! It dawned on me I could take a picture of the tv from my LaZBoy and share it. Truly the laziest pic of all. Almost Happy New Year! 

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Blankie Time?

by Kimberly A. Cook

The past two weeks family commitments have kept me busier than a popcorn fart, as my Dad used to say.  Nothing bad, just hectic. Plus given the news lately, sometimes I don’t even know what to write.

But here goes. Compassion fatigue is real. Back in the day we had three tv channels that went off the air at midnight, no cell phones and social media happened at the hair salon.

So feel free to unplug, turn off and give yourself a break. Take action to focus on family, friends, pets and neighbors close to you. What you can control.

Believe it or not, we are USAStrong. We’re a very big family, a dysfunctional bunch, but that is true with most families. So practice kindness and see what happens.

With that goal in mind, here are some of my favorite recent pics to focus on pleasant moments.

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The Fall colors are here. Gorgeous.

 

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A picnic lunch last week at Chinook Landing in Fairview to watch the Columbia River presented us with river breezes and the approaching storm front.

 

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This little guy was very busy storing snacks for the winter while we were on a neighborhood walk.

 

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After passing Mr. Squirrel we came upon this gorgeous view of Mt. St. Helens, our resident volcano, across the farm fields.

 

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One of my favorite roses, The Fairy, is still blooming in October. How about that magic?

 

And if you could use more happy moments, the Hallmark Holiday movies launch this weekend on their two channels. Get your blankie, eggnog and snacks and start training for the holiday movie/series marathons of your choice.

There’s nothing like a good jammie day to pick up the spirits!

 

 

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Got Secret Sea Lions In Your Camera?

by Kimberly A. Cook             (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Sun fever. That’s my excuse for no posts the last two weeks. The bright orb came out for three days in a row, so I grabbed Mom and we bugged out for the beach. The Friday traffic was light, the sun kept shining; we were sure we’d get struck by lightning, but nada. Yeah!

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This is one of the coves on the North Point at Depoe Bay. You can see the city in the background along the sea wall.

 

Took my almost new Canon PowerShot SX530 HS with me to put it through its paces. This beauty has focal length from 24-1200mm with a 50x zoom and 16 megapixels for about $250.00. It’s my first foray back into larger body cameras after leaving my metal 35mm Minolta’s behind in 2006 to go digital with the Canon ELPHs. Sometimes you just need a bigger lens. Smirk.

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When I went full zoom from the same spot above, look who showed up? A faithful seagull subject. Thank heavens the clouds came in so his colors show up nicely and he/she is not bleached out.

 

Anyway, a big perk is the plastic body so it doesn’t weigh a ton like my vintage 35mms. When I worked on the newspaper I carried a 28 wide and a 100-250 zoom on two camera bodies and tried not to break my neck. Weighs less than a pound. This seems the best of both worlds, plus no film!

Of course, the manual has so many gadget settings it may take me years to figure them out, but I was out stalking marine wildlife and taking shots to test it. Much fun. Mom is working on her photo skills too, so we were girls on a mission.

One thing I did was make like a human tripod, since I didn’t bring one along on our walk. Both tripods were safe in the car back at the condo. I ended up leaning against a post and bracing my legs and then my elbows on my chest. It helps, really.

The clouds came over as a bonus since we were out at 2 p.m., not the best time for getting photos. But you take what you can get and go with it. When the wind picked up we scuttled back to the condo. Upon perusal of my many pics, I cracked up when I saw the ones of the buoy.

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One photo trick is to get the path to take the viewer into the picture. This one I used both the rope and posts on the left side and the path on the far right. Between trees three and four from the left, is where the buoy is in the next pic.  It’s a ways out there, trust me.

 

Surprise sea lions! The 50x was at its max zoom, I was concentrating on being a tripod and just trying to get the buoy in the frame, so imagine my delight to find sleeping sea lions in my picture, lounging on the buoy. You never know what might show up in your pictures.

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A tripod would have helped this exposure. As the “marine mammal editor” on the paper I was always mixing up the harbor seals with the sea lions. Harbor seals are like fat sausages and sea lions have the big flippers and small ears.  Sea lion on the right, I’m holding judgment on the other two.  Next time I’m taking both tripods!

 

So keep taking pics and being surprised. It’s part of the adventure!

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After The Easter Bunny? Spring?

by Kimberly A. Cook                      (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Recovering from my chocolate Easter egg binge, so thought I would share some sights of the holiday celebration. All the candy seems to be gone; cannot figure out how that happened.

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This year I decided to pull some of my favorite bunny figurines out of the china cabinet and mix them with some new Fairy Rock Garden items. Loved the look it gave the table.   

 

The day before Easter I met with my fabulous writing support group and my buddy Martha gave me a bouquet of her award-winning camellias. Then her husband gave me my very own bloom picked fresh from the plant. Gorgeous!

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How gorgeous is this pink and white beauty? I’m drying the petals as they fall off to see if I can preserve them for resin jewelry.   

 

When I got back home from the writer group it was time for final preparation for family on Sunday. Got the items together for setting the table, put the flowers in a grand spot and made bunny candy bags.

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The single picked bloom floating in water. Takes my breath away.

 

Hope you had a nice weekend and are making plans for when the sun returns for good and Spring really kicks in this year. In the meantime, it’s finally time to move the fuchsias out of the garage. I think.

Maybe if I put parkas on them just to be safe…… Happy almost gardening!

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Spec Ops Cat helping with the table setting. Not. The bunny and flower wall did not keep him off the table. P.S. Got the bunny napkin ring holders at Goodwill for pennies. Bunny bargain!

 

 

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Can Warm Memories Fight Snowmares?

by Kimberly A. Cook                  (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Mother Nature is cranky. We just got a Special Weather Statement predicting another snowstorm and possible freezing rain. Weather Service says small accumulation, tv stations say two to four inches; last time they both predicted that we got a foot of snow followed by ice. Sigh.

I’m sure the ice cream and chip rush is on at the grocery stores, especially with Super Bowl this weekend. Snacks rule! Since December when this weird weather started, I’ve cleaned out my bathroom cabinets and drawers, my pantry, three stacks of old newspapers and started my taxes. At this rate my house will be spotless by May, a rare occurrence.

So to perk us all up, I’ve decided to recycle some of my favorite photos. I need to remind myself there is a warm season when my toes can run naked in sandals, I don’t have to wear four layers of clothes and there are actual rose blooms in my backyard. Note to self, must get busy on more Fairy Rock Garden building plans….

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My favorite place on the planet, my lawn swing. Nap heaven.

 

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The Double Delight. A favorite rose in my back yard.

 

 

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Chipmunk hijinks! This Batman and Robin pair in Eastern Oregon gave me a run for my money to catch their pic.

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Let’s not forget the berry bounty! Before baking it looks fabulous. After, not so much. More practice needed.

 

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And a sunny summer day at Depoe Bay, Oregon. Break out the flip flops!

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Winter Photo Wrap Up?

by Kimberly A. Cook                 (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Optimistic headline at best, but I can dream can’t I? With another potential snowstorm heading in to the Portland area tonight, wanted to share some more pics of the season. One of the few things I’ve been able to achieve these two months is taking photos.

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Clear, crisp and sunny. East wind enough to rip your lips off. So pretty.  

 

A quick trip to Mom’s place on Jan. 7 featured clear views of both Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens. Besides the East wind blowing my skin off my face and my eyebrows turning to ice, it was lovely. Trees were in front of Mt. Hood, but got this shot of Mt. St. Helens across the farm lands.

She was such a pretty mountain before she blew her top off on May 18, 1980. She looked like a pile of sugar before, now she has a flat top. A volcanic buzz cut so to speak. But the snow still makes her shine.

The next day another snowstorm hit. I’d done my duty by refilling the birdie food, putting out the suet block and making sure the bird bath heater was keeping their water warm; a balmy 33 degrees. When it is 14 degrees out before the wind chill, bath water matters. This little feathered friend appears to be ready to throw himself in the middle of the pile of food. I do not judge.

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Since this was taken through a window, not as clear, but the bird doesn’t care. If that was kettle corn popcorn, I’d throw myself in there too.  

 

Last but not least was this pic I took on Christmas Eve. Spec Ops Cat and I were watching the Hallmark Channel’s Yule Log presentation with Happy the Cat and Happy the Dog. SOC became quite interested in Happy the Cat. Think he thought there was an invasion.

When the kittens showed up for Happy the Cat to play with, SOC had to go investigate. He even went so far as to look behind the flat screen tv to find one of the kittens. Stealth kitten was not to be found. Once SOC was sure there were no additional felines in the house, he cuddled up for a long winter’s nap.

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Spec Ops Cat always on perimeter patrol, in case Happy The Cat tries to invade from the tv.

 

No idea how long this crazy weather is going to last all over the country, but we can be sure Spring and Summer will come again; not soon enough for me!

Happy winter photo taking. Wear your mittens!

 

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