Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Birthday Dump Cake

Today we went to a picnic at a friend's house after church. She surprised me with a birthday cake and present.

There were about 9 of us and dinner was delicious. Ribs, steak, salad, pasta, corn on the cob. Yum! After we were done eating, Louise and her friends were in the house cleaning up, when we heard some raucous laughter from inside. Not unusual for this group, so we didn't think anything of it.

As the cake was brought out to the table, this is the sight that greeted us! Apparently, the cake slipped off the tray and landed (right-side-up) on the floor, basically self-destructing.

As the cake was brought outside, there was a trail of cake and icing left behind. Dobie enjoyed the cake as much as we did.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

S'more Time

Today I spent the day at a friend's lake house. Every year, at the end of the summer, Sue hosts a picnic for the ladies from the photo club. It's one of those events where everyone brings something to nibble on, and we just hang out talking, taking photos, swimming, and thinking about the assigned topics for the photo competitions in the year ahead of us.

Part of the tradition is having a boat ride around the lake and then taking a group photo. It's basically a comedy of errors--getting everyone posed, looking in the same direction at the right time, getting all the cameras started at the same time, and then the mad dash for everyone to get in the shot before the cameras go off.

This year there were only three cameras on tripods, but in years past we've had up to 6 or 7. It's really more fun photographing the one or two people assigned to press all the shutter buttons and their efforts to get into the group on time than it is to photograph the group.

As the afternoon wore on, the bugs became a little intense, so we went to the point and sat next to the fire. These kayakers went by and I couldn't resist trying to get them through the leaves of the trees.

Along with the fire and the great view of the lake, there were the makings for S'mores. I wondered when I last had one and couldn't remember. Guess it was a long time ago. Anyway, they were good and we all had a good time. As it began growing dark, I headed home. Another good day.

Friday, August 29, 2008

My Birthday
Today is my birthday. Jessica had us over at lunchtime and we ordered pizza and wings. Yum!
After that we had cake and ice cream. Jacob couldn't wait till the ice cream was dished out, so he started ahead of us by cleaning off the lid.

Jacob is 5 and he'll be starting school in just a few days. He's not happy--he likes being home with his mom and sister.

Loren will be starting in head start this year. She's very excited.

That just about covers it, huh?

It was a good day. Praise God for good days.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Favorite Book

This is the first day of my self-assignment of taking and posting at least one image a day, and I already almost forgot about it. I got home from work around 3 and immediately got busy doing some things to get ready for the meeting I have to attend tonight. As I sat down to rest for a few minutes, I remembered about the "daily photo". For a few minutes I was stymied! What, what, what, should I photograph? As I wandered around in a fog, I spied this book lying on the counter. If you'll notice on my sidebar, it is one of my favorites. I've chosen it for my turn at book group next month, so I just finished it again (for the 4th time in my life) last night.

It was written in 1954 about two brothers who lived in Manhattan during the early 1900s. It's a totally fascinating, true story about the psychology behind how the brothers became reclusive and how their lives deteriorated into a nothingness which included paranoia, fear and bitterness.

If there's a chance that you might want to read it, be forwarned that there aren't very many copies of it in the libraries. I found several for sale on amazon for reasonable prices, but I also found some on other booksale sites where the prices were outrageous.

There are several different books by this name, so make sure you get the one written by Marcia Davenport.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Congress Park

Last Saturday I had some errands to do in Amsterdam, so I decided to take my camera gear along and check out a cemetery that I'd been wanting to stop at for some time. The cemetery was a bust--hardly any statues, and the ones that were there were pretty high up in the air.

Since I was out already and it was such a beautiful day, I decided to take a ride to Saratoga--hadn't been there in a very long time. I figured I'd go to Congress Park and see what I could see.

I love these spitting statues, and even though the photos aren't particularly creative, I like them.

I was hoping to do a lot of infrared at Congress Park, but it was late in the afternoon by the time I got there. There was also a lot of shade in the park, so the infrared didn't work too well, but I managed to get this shot and one other that I really like.

I spent some time walking around the park, then decided to head home. It was such a great day weather-wise that I didn't even feel too badly about not finding much to photograph.

Last week I found a photographer's web site that was interesting. He posts one image a day--I think that's such a good idea. Even when nothing out-of-the-ordinary happens, or there isn't anything especially exciting going on, the challenge to make at least one photograph and post it is intriguing.

It puts a different spin on posting to the blog. It puts a different spin on photographing my life and experiences. Instead of waiting for the interesting/exciting/unique photograph to present itself through different activities and locations, it now becomes my responsibility to create the interesting/exciting/unique even in the commonplace situations I deal with each day.

This is not to say that I can't post more than one image on any given day--just that on those days that I would characterize as ordinary and boring, I would have to stretch my vision to find something to photograph and post.

So that's my new goal--I won't gnash my teeth if I fall short some days--but it will be fun to try and keep it up for a while. Wonder what I'll find on my journey?


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Angels, Trains and Ghosts

Today my friend, Steve, and I took a fieldtrip to Utica, NY. Our first stop was a huge cemetery. Our goal was to find angel statues, but it was a beautiful cemetery and there were plenty of other things to photograph. We spent quite a lot of time there. It was a beautiful day and a real pleasure to be out of doors this morning.

When we got done at the cemetery we headed over to the train station, a beautiful old building that seems to have been kept in very nice condition. While we were outside taking photographs, an elderly man asked if we were from the newspaper. hmmmm He used to work at the station in the baggage handling department and he gave us a little information about the station and its history. The thing that impressed both Steve and I is that, in its day, there were 92 commuter trains in and out of the station per day. That's a lot of train traffic!

When we went inside, I was taken completely by surprise at how beautiful the building is. We both took a lot of photos, but I'm just posting two. This resting girl is so iconic of train and bus stations. I was surprised at how many people were actually getting on the trains, but Steve said that he's heard that since gas prices have gone up, train and bus travel has increased again. Interesting!

There was a beautiful old engine outside, but it was black as black and the sun was pretty strong so the contrast was too great to get a good shot. Instead I just concentrated on getting a little of it in the background with this Queen Ann's Lace.

So after having some lunch, we decided to head home on Rt 5 instead of the thruway. We passed this house on the other side of the road and just had to double back and get some shots. When we got out of the car, I headed for the front door, which was the only place with an opening large enough to get in the house. I heard a voice behind me--it was a woman who lived across the street. She came over to warn us to be careful if we went inside since it was probably pretty unstable and she was concerned.

During the conversation she told us that the house is haunted. Several years ago she was having a garage sale and one of the women who stopped said she had a feeling about the house. She claimed that there were 7 spirits in it. Very spooky. Apparently, at one time, someone took a photo of the house and when the film (you remember that stuff) was developed, there were faces in each of the two upstairs windows.

I didn't go in the house after all, but I soooo wanted to. Maybe another time.

It was a great day, we met two nice people and we had a nice respite from the rain.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Last night several of us from the photo club went on a field trip to the Altamont Fair. It was amazing that it didn't rain. It got real cloudy for a while, but it stayed dry, at least in Altamont. As I was driving home, I could tell by the wet roads that it had rained quite hard in other places.
We met at the main gate at 6 pm, chatted for a few minutes, then went our ways to photograph the fair.

I took some pictures of the rides when it was still light, but as it got darker, the photo ops got better.

This performer is from Trick Pony, which I probably never listened to. But she's gone out on her own recently and is into country now. She has a single called Johnny and June, a tribute Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. I took about a zillion photos of her, but the majority of them were out of focus. It was still fun, it's the closest I've ever been to a performer...

When I was ready to leave, I turned around to head toward the gate and I saw this scene: the moon next to the ferris wheel. It was so awesome-looking that I couldn't resist unpacking all the gear and setting up the tripod again.

So ended another good evening. Aloha

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Wedding

Yesterday we attended a wedding. Laura, the daughter of a good friend of mine, married Ben. If you remember from one of my earlier posts, Laura's mom and I were in the hospital together after delivering our babies just one day apart.

Yesterday was a long, full day, but the weather was beautiful and everything went along without the usual glitches that seem to occur on most wedding days.

The wedding took place in our church, so the girls were able to get ready right next door in the manse.

This is the sign that greeted the bride and her father upon entering the church vestibule. We have several pranksters in our congregation, so ergo, the sign...

Here are the bride and her dad beginning their walk down the aisle.

Here are Ben and Laura.

Between 8-10 years ago, our church had a field trip to Water Slide World. Caleb, Ben (not the Ben Laura married) and Laura hung out together that day, and I managed to get a photo of them together.

At the reception, I convinced them to let me take their photo again. The boys weren't too excited about it, but they finally got up when I promised that if they let me get a couple of shots I wouldn't bother them again the whole day.

So while the three of them were standing there, I added another friend, Tiffany. These four graduated from high school 3 years ago, and even though they attended different schools, we had a graduation party for them together at church.

Our ex-pastor, his wife, and son came up from Maryland for the wedding, and we were seated at the same table at the reception. It was good visiting with them. It was a good day.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

My Bucket List and Go Kart Races

Tonight I was surfing blogs of different photographers I found online and came across one that had a list of 101 things the author wanted to accomplish, and that gave me the idea that having a "bucket list" is probably not a bad idea. I haven't seen the movie but I like the concept.

Many years ago, when the "Chicken Soup For the Soul" books first became popular, one of the first in the series had a chapter that listed a long series of things the author hoped to accomplish. I was impressed by that list at the time but never made any effort to compile a list of my own.

So now I've started a list. It's to the right of these posts. It's short right now, but I hope to add to it as time goes by. I also hope to put completion dates next to the items when/if I'm able accomplish them.

Our family has a budding race car driver on the rise. Jacob, 5-years-old, is trying his had at Go Kart racing. Last night was just his second time and he did great. At one point, a car in front of him spun out and was facing in the wrong direction. As Jacob came around the turn, his mother stopped breathing, but he made us all proud by the way he swerved around the stalled car, and went on his merry way. Jessica finally started breathing again...

I deliberately used a slow shutter speed on this image--makes it look like he's burning up the track.

By the end of the evening, it was dark, but I wanted to get a shot of the whole family (minus Mackenzie who was at a friend's birthday party). I shot this without flash--when I got home I then wondered why it never occurred to me to put the flash on. hmmmm It was one of those "zone out" situations.

Until next time, Aloha