Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Visiting the Animals on Christmas

We had a quiet family day today. After a yummy breakfast of blueberry pancakes and bacon, we as a family of three humans and two furry dogs, opened our Christmas presents. Everyone was pleasantly surprised with their gifts, including the dogs.

Needing to walk off all the food eaten over the last two days, I set out for an afternoon hike and Walk and Click adventure. I decided to visit the Outdoor Discovery Center for something different. There are quite a few animals that live there due to accidents that have happened to them.

A family of Elk.

They have a wonderful Birds of Prey area. There are Bald Eagles, a Golden Eagle, different hawks and  owls. So many beautiful and majestic creatures. This is a Barred Owl that has one eye damaged.

I could just stand and watch them all day. All the birds were active and seemed excited to see us. We wished each bird a Merry Christmas before we moved on to the next cage.

Yes, I said we. I was so happy to have Mallory join me today on my Walk and Click adventure.

The Outdoor Discovery Center is used for outdoor education for school age kids, so there are many interesting areas set up. This is a replica of an Ottawa Native American Summer Village.

We have a small dusting of snow on the ground here, and there was a little ice on the ponds, which was something new to photograph for Walk and Click.

Winter exposes the bare bones of everything, things that wouldn't be seen the rest of the year with foliage covering them.

Mallory and I had a wonderful time spending the afternoon together. It was so nice to have somebody to go exploring with, and one of my favorite people to go exploring with is my beautiful daughter.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Road to Perdition

I happen to live quite near to the place where they shot one of the final scenes in the movie Road to Perdition starring Tom Hanks. The scene is the one of the cottage on the beach where Tom Hanks confronts the killer of his wife and son.

The spot where the cottage use to stand...

The same beach where Tom Hanks walked in the movie...

I had visited this spot once before this fall, but Monday I went with the intention of shooting for Walk and Click Wednesday. I loved the film and it was fun to explore the spots where this scene took place.

It was great to be able to walk on the beach in Mid-December with no blowing wind or snow in the air.

I even took the time to take a "selfie"while I was there.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Park and Some Props

The weather here lately has been gray and gloomy, not to mention damp and chilly. Not the most inspiring weather to go out on a shooting adventure. Also with the holidays fast approaching the big blocks of time I was blessed with in November seem to have disappeared.

Friday morning I was able to get out for a couple of hours, combining it with a couple of errands I had to do. I needed to go someplace close and in the general direction of my errands. I love it each week how someplace seems to magically pop into my head and this day was no different. Howard B. Dunton Park...not a place I normally hang out, but a place with wonderful memories. Glen and I use to go here after work when we first started dating and "make out", he proposed here and we also renewed our vows here four years ago.

When I arrived I did a quick walk around without my camera, just using my eyes to "see" what possibilities were there. I noticed a lot of different textures so that became my shooting focus for the day. Also looking for scenes already set, all I had to do was shoot.

I did cheat a little on this one, I turned the leaf just a bit, but it was already on the post.

Next, I drove around to the lower parking lot to a covered pavilion and hauled out my props. There is a bench in front of pavilion facing the water that has wonderful texture on it.

I found this leaf in front of the bench and it went so perfectly with my cup...

My dried hydrangea blossom from last week made a return appearance...

The Paisleys also wanted in on the fun...

They did some major additions to this park a number of years ago, so much of it is different from our dating days. This upper section and bathrooms did not exist back in those days.

Ahh...wonderful memories! And such fun to play with some of my props for a little while.

Linking up with Lissa at laf Custom Designs for Walk and Click Wednesday.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Beauty in the Barren

One thing that is becoming very apparent to me as I do these Walk and Click Wednesdays is that I LOVE structures. Cottages, Lighthouses, Bridges, Barns, even benches and stairs. I love them all.

This past Friday I visited Upper Macatawa Natural Area, my 9th Ottawa County Park visited out of the 26 I need to visit before June 19, 2013. I knew right away I was going to be challenged, not a structure in sight, not even very many trees. I was going to have to "see" new and different things to photograph.

Then some gifts started to present themselves. The beauty of a red cardinal in a tangle of vines. That was the spark I needed.

I continued down the wide mown path and really started to look and down and all around.

More gifts became apparent...

I had some processing fun with the remains of these Queen Anne's Lace using some Lightroom presets and Sarah Gardner textures.

I did find somewhat of a structure in this fence...

One the way back to the car there was a rusted railing, wood planked foot bridge over a small creek. I went back to the car and got a dried hydrangea blossom that I had found that morning on my walk with the dogs. I set the hydrangea blossom in the rusted texture rail and did a few still life shots. Post-processing and a Sarah Gardner texture and here is the final result...

I may not have found the structures that I enjoy shooting, but I did find beauty in the barren.