Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Pere Marquette 1223

In preparation for Kat Sloma's A Sense of Place class that starts in a couple of weeks, I went to Grand Haven last week Friday. I spent a lot of my toddler and preschool years in Grand Haven. Growing up we lived about half way between Holland and Grand Haven. My dad worked in Grand Haven so we would often go that way to get groceries and stop and visit him.

I took some pictures last week, but mostly I took a trip down memory lane. I wanted to start the creative  thoughts flowing in my head for Kat's class. I don't know what the course material will be, but somehow I have a feeling our early years will come into play.

I don't want to reveal my pictures that I took yet, I am saving those for class. But I didn't want to waste the opportunity for something for Walk and Click Wednesday. So I visited the Pere Marquette 1223.

Built in 1941 by the Lima Locomotive Works for $90,000, 1223 hauled freight between Toledo and Chicago in the years immediately before and after World War II.

When Pere Marquette was absorbed by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, 1223 was assigned number 2657 but never had the new number painted on her. The locomotive was not paid off at the time and the merger agreement stated that equipment still under trust remained in Pere Marquette livery.

1223 was retired from service in 1951.

After retirement, 1223 was moved to New Buffalo, Michigan to be scrapped. However she was repainted and moved in 1960 for display at the state fairgrounds in Detroit.

In 1980 state fair officials wanted to expand the grandstands but 1223 stood in the way. The City of Grand Haven won the bidding process.

With the help of the Michigan National Guard as well as Grand Trunk Western and Chessie System railroads, 1223 was moved to Grand Haven. The 180 mile trip took place on September 1, 1981.

  • 1223 never visited Grand Haven while in service due to her weight (400 tons).
  • 1223 is displayed next to a previously abandoned Grand Trunk Western Railroad coal tower on an out-of-service industrial rail spur.
  • 1223 is missing driving pistons. These were removed before the engine was ever taken to the Fairgrounds.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Macatawa Park

Last Friday I repayed a visit to Macatawa Park. The first time I visited out here I only went to the Lighthouse. This time I concentrated on exploring around the cottages.

This community of cottages was originally established in the late 1800's. Many of the original cottages are no longer here due to many different fires, that took out a big group of cottages at a time. Which is really no surprise as close together as these cottages are.

I love all the detailing on the cottages, such a yesteryear feel.

This was one of my favorites. I love the trio of windows on the mini turret.

I took a little stroll along the beach as well...

As I left I took a picture of the guard house, used in the summer to keep out people like me.

Joining up with Lissa at Walk and Click Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Where I Grew Up

On Saturday, Mallory and I went out to my parent's house for a visit. They had not seen her yet since she came home for Spring Break. My dad would never let her get away without a visit.

I thought I would bring my camera along and explore with it for Walk and Click Wednesday.

Exploring where I grew up...

The red barn where my pony use to live when I was young, and where my dad now keeps his tractor.

My dad is a man that is always doing something around the house. For a few years he made maple syrup, he even has a Sugar Shack, which he now uses for storage. You will see he has many buildings for storage.

My fellow explorer :)

My dad has been a bee keeper for over 30 years. He has seen really good years and some really bad years. This sign is on his pole barn (different from the red barn and the Sugar Shack).

The last few years he has lost a lot of bees over the winter. There is a mite problem that has continually gotten worse. Not good.

The former Christmas Trees. See this post where I talk about the Christmas Trees.

My dad's chicken coop. This place gave me the creeps growing up, now it is a photography dream for someone who loves old, falling apart buildings.

I found the pad lock on the chicken coop quite funny....

The back of the chicken coop. LOL!

My parents live on 23 acres, so I had lots of outdoor space growing up. It is no wonder I love being outside so much.

Finding My Eye: Learning by Description

Here it is...the final lesson of Kat Sloma's Find Your Eye - Journey of Fascination class.

The exercise for this lesson is: Find several photographs, not my own, to which I have a strong positive reaction. Then analyze them, facts not emotions. Look for things like format, technical choices, perspective, light, lines, etc.

I have been putting this lesson off for a few reasons:

  • It is the last lesson :(
  • Last week was busy with my daughter home on Spring Break, and this lesson required some thought and quiet time.
  • I don't want to analyze photos. I just want to feel them. I like them because I like them and that's good enough for me. 
That being said, in the spirit of being a good class participant, I buckled down and did the lesson. I turned to two of my boards on Pinterest - Photography and Still Life Photography - for my pictures to analyze.

I generally prefer horizontal as opposed to vertical photos. I feel horizontal tells more of the story. I love shallow depth of field. I prefer eye level shots. Natural light is a must. I like roads or paths with clearly defined lines. In my still life pictures, there is a heavy preference for blue in every hue and saturation.

I think the biggest eye opener for me when I did this exercise was learning my preference is for eye-level shots, followed by shots from above, least favorite is from below.

The first picture is taken looking up at the barn, the second shot is of the mechanism for opening the barn doors, taken at eye level.

So once again even through my resistance Kat has taught me something about myself and my photography style. She is so tricky.

If you have never taken one of Kat's classes I would highly, highly recommend taking one. The stuff you will learn about yourself and the way you photograph is amazing.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Finding My Eye: Recognizing Intuition

I had passed this rusty piece of abandoned farm equipment on my way to photograph the windmill. It caught my eye, but my focus was the windmill.

After more than a few shots of different perspectives on the windmill. I started to wander back to my car.

This time when I neared the piece of equipment, I listened to my intuition and walked across the crunchy, frozen grass to get a closer look. I was definitely rewarded for listening to my sixth sense. The crisp white of the frost against the rusty brown was spectacular.

I am certainly learning to listen to that little voice in my head when something catches my eye. I now usually go back and explore it further.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

An Antiquing Adventure

I have fallen in love with still life photography for the following reasons:

  • I needed something else to photograph besides snow
  • It is warmer in my house than it is outside
  • I can rearrange the scene as many times as I want, shoot, load on the computer and then go back shoot some more
  • BUT the BEST reason of all is the PROPS!
On my Creative Inspiration Day last week Friday I decided to take a trip to a nearby Antique Mall in the hunt for some new (old) photography props.

This is quite a large Antique Mall with lots of rows of treasures. I didn't see any signs that I couldn't take pictures, but I still tried to be fairly discreet about it. The beauty of an iPhone :)

The hardware drawer in this booth was filled with lots of odds and ends.

There were quite a few old typewriters around, ranging in price and condition. I don't have need of one yet :)

I loved these word flash cards, but don't have a use for them right now.

At first I thought this was a Victorian Era travel carrying case for a roll of toilet paper...

I was very tempted by the scale at this booth. The owner of this booth happened to be there and we wound up chatting about antiques and photography. It is so awesome when the shared love of photography can create some wonderful conversations with strangers.

Loved this 1950's Zenith T.V.

My mom had a bun warmer like this when I was growing up except her's was green.

And finally the treasures that I did take home with me.

I enjoyed going Antiquing so much that this might just become a once a month Walk and Click Adventure.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Finding My Eye: Learning a New Technique

Kat's instructions for this assignment were to think about new techniques I would like to learn. Think about every aspect of the photography process from capture to processing.

I am quite happy where I am at with the capture part. I already made the Still Life and Lighting Breakthroughs this year.

Three things I would like to learn this year are:
  • iPhoneography
  • Photoshop CS6
  • Printing my Photos
The one I have made my absolute goal to learn this year is Photoshop. Right now I can add texture and type to my photographs but that is about the extent of it. I use Lightroom to do most of my processing and I am comfortable there.

But it is time to step out of my comfort zone and learn about actions, brushes, clipping layers and even whitening eyes and teeth. So I am doing something about it. At the beginning of April I will be starting a Photoshop CS6 class with Kim Klassen. Her teaching style works really well for me to learn technical stuff. Step by step video instruction with year long access, so I can go back and watch something over and over again until I get it.

I will not be able to post my end results until after this class is done, but you never know where we will meet up again, and when we do I hope to be rocking Photoshop CS6.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Photo-Heart Connection ~ February

The Photo:

My Observations: I love the sharp focus on the flower and the soft blur of my hands. I love the white fleck on the one petal, adds a little imperfection. Great contrast between the whiteness of my hands and the black of the piano bench and the dark gray of my shirt sleeves. The red flower adds wonderful color to an otherwise monochromatic setting.

The Story Behind the Picture: I had just been outside in the falling snow with this flower and vase shooting for a different class assignment. It was about bringing the inside outside. I had my mittens on outside and had them cupped around the vase. I had gotten the shot I wanted outside so I decided to come inside and use my north window light to get an inside shot. In warmth and without the mittens.

My Heart Connection: This flower is part of a bouquet that my dad brought me for Valentine's Day. For most of my married life (almost 27 years now) my dad has stopped over every Valentine's Day with a bouquet of grocery store flowers. Maybe he does it to let me know that he is still one of the men in my life, maybe he does it just because he loves me. This year he apologized because he didn't have roses. I told him these are even better because they will last longer. Two weeks later they are still going strong in a vase on my counter. A lovely reminder of his love.