Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Doing Sidie Hollow ~ by Charlie

She walked around the house putting things in her back pack and I started to get worried.
The back pack means 'Walk' or 'Hike' or 'Let's go to the woods and smell good stuffs'.

So I watched carefully from the couch.

She put a small bag of doggy treats in the back of the pack and then I started to get excited.
I like walks!
She let me outside and I ran around the yard. She jingled the car keys and I ran to the Subaru.
Was I going to get to go to town and 'Socialize' again? Oh boy!

I was ready.

I still don't really like the car rides as much as She seems to, but we sometimes have some pretty cool adventures when we go.

I perched on the edge of my seat and looked out the window while we drove out the driveway.
She babbled on and on about something and something...stuff that didn't make sense really. Just human talk.
Every once in a while she'd reach over and lightly touch me on the head without looking at me.
She said something about the roads were too twisty and turny for paying attention to me.

We got to Sidie Hollow and I was patient while she hooked me up to the leash thingy.
She pointed at the sign that said "All pets MUST be on leash."

Part of the way around the trail we ran into a young couple and a couple of kids. They had a huge brindle dog that looked exactly like a pit bull. She stopped several feet away from them and started to talk.

Big old Bad Bruno wasn't big and bad really. I rolled over and wagged a lot. He whined and lay down next to me. Imagine a bigger dog than Dixie playing with me!
We sniffed each other's butts and other private parts. The young folks were a bit embarrassed I think but not Her. She was like...Oh no big deal!

We hiked fast and hard, I led most of the way. The only time I didn't was when SHE picked me up and walked. There was some people and they had a  really huge boxer ---something mix--- that was growly and angry. He didn't have a leash on either. He dragged the human type person around and snarled.

She didn't say a word to them and walked by with me in her arms.
I don't think that was a happy dog.

She laughed later on when we found a "Hello" mushroom. I have no idea what that is.

We talked to some people in a canoe..okay, it was a yellow floaty thing that people pushed around with board things. I couldn't make any sense of it except that the yellow thingy kept them from being in the water.

I wagged my tail a lot.

She eventually said that She found a good spot to take a morning photo. She said something about Jersey Valley and then sighed loudly.

I don't know, all the smells were just fine with me. I like this Sidie Hollow place. 

When I got back in the car seat, I curled up and let Her navigate all of the way back home.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Training Collar ~ by Charlie

Well the Bossy Lady got upset twice when I went running off into the underbrush and disappeared. The old guy just grumped at me and growled when I was out in the yard and didn't listen to his calls.

So the old grumpy guy said the Bossy Lady should do better training. Bossy Lady said she needed a training collar like the one she used on Dixie to keep Dixie from chasing deer.

Yup. I chased deer one morning too. I lost sight of them, but could smell them! I ran off into the fog and caused Her to have Heart Failure because the grass swallowed me up.

So I got this pretty little funky collar to go with my camo collar. It is loose on me and not snug. I don't mind it at all because I am a tough guy. And She says I look like a Big Dog wearing it.

Imagine my confusion when I trotted off into the woods on one of our morning walks and She called and called. I ignored her. After all, MY daddy is a mini doxxie and dachshunds were bred for hunting. I'm just following my heritage and nose. What can I say?
She called.
Nope I didn't want to go back.
Something beeped and beeped.
She called.
I spun around confused.
She called.
I sat down and thought about the beeps.
Then my neck vibrated.
Okay, that scared the crap out of me and I ran to Her.
She smiled and loved me all up.

"Oh Charlie! You are such a good boy!" I like it when she does that. I get all wiggly and goofy.

She and the old grumpy guy [he isn't really grumpy] are taking me on short walks after breakfast now. The old guy is doing it because he says She nags him to walk, but he wants to walk and get stronger.
I get to go and show off my skills.

Don't get me wrong. I still get to chase squirrels and birds...and run and sniff around. But now I pay attention when I am called and I get the "Charlie, you are such a good boy! A lot which is better than the Bad Boy Charlie!" or the sound of Her having a Heart Failure.

I am a very quick learner.
Old Grumpy Guy says I am stubborn just like Her.
She says I am stubborn just like the Old Grumpy Guy.

I don't care, just as long as we take nice walks. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Why do I walk the Woods?

I really wanted to be very clever and say something with deep inner meaning and thought.
I even read Rumi for some inspiration, but sadly, his words are not my words.

So instead I told my husband that I was going to wander down to the creek. I said something like "To check the trail camera." He looked at me and smiled. He was sitting and watching Netflix. I know he is in there and he smiles, but his face is innocent and almost blank.  He also knows that what I mean to say is:

"Hey honey, I'm going for a walk because I can't sit still."

He is much better now, not depressed but still the person I used to be with has become someone else. It isn't his fault. The brain won't work quite the way it used to.

I grab a copy of Mary Oliver's book "Felicity" and my camera. I say over my shoulder as I head out, "See you in a bit!"

He nods and turns back to the program he is watching.

Funny how he never watched TV and now that occupies his afternoon hours. I can't even drag him away from it unless I walk up and hit the pause button.

I clutch the book with me and wonder why I've brought it. Really? A poetry book?
And it could start to rain at any moment.

I shrug and head out across the soggy meadow, my feet going squish squish across the grass. Actually, the National Weather Service predicted 2 to 4 inches of rain again tonight. So I am worried about the desk and the bears. 

The camera bag bumps me as I negotiate the trail down the steep hill. I can hear water falling from the 'run' off to the left. But it is getting darker out so I won't explore all of what I want to. I'll save that for another day.
I have something important in mind, but the idea is not clear yet.

I get distracted and make a slight detour.

The light is fading so I work quickly. I know exactly what I want to 'shoot'. I carefully lay the book on top of the camera bag and take some shots.

I want to see how these areas will change after another flash flood.

I can hear water droplets falling out of the trees. My book has gotten water on it. I carefully wipe it off and continue downstream towards 'the beach'.

I pick a rock to take a shot on. I need to find a good spot to 'shoot' from now until Spring. I want to see how this looks in all seasons.

Well, that is not what I came for not really.

I stand up and hold the book in my hands.

There is the desk.
It is very heavy and shouldn't wash away, but I don't want it to get damaged.

So I move it.
I carefully set the Artist Conches that the kids had drawn on aside and put them inside the desk.

I move the desk up above the creek to where it will be safe.

Off in the distance I hear a rumble.

I wipe off the desk and sit down.

And I flip open the book.
I read:

A Voice from I Don't Know Where

It seems you love this world very much.
  "Yes," I said. "This is a beautiful world."

And you don't mind the mind, that keeps you
   busy all of the time with its dark and bright wonderings:
   "No I'm quite used to it. Busy, busy,
   all of the time."

And you don't mind living with those questions,
   I mean the hard ones, that no one can answer?
   "Actually, they're the most interesting."

And you have a person in your life whose hand
   you like to hold?
   "Yes I do."

It must surely, then, be very happy down there 
   in your heart.
   "Yes," I said. "It is."

~ Mary Oliver

I close the book.

I now know why I walked the woods today.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Fall is coming

This year fall has crept up on us. Hot weather, pounding rains, flooding, and humidity have all felt like the Dog Days of August and certainly not mid September.

The rivers around here are still nearly full yet more hard rains and dangerous storms that could produce heavy rainfall is coming over the next day or so.

Yesterday Charlie and I went to the creek to move the Teddy Bear Guardians safely above any flood level. I really got attached to those little muddy toys. There is a new bear added to the mix. When I found him he had been tossed into a basket on the floor of a resale shop marked as .25 cents. He had stains on his fur.

He is now one of the Creek Guardians.

He looks shaggy and amazing sitting on the rock above the creek. He appears to take his job seriously.

Chance did get a rinsing yesterday in the creek. Whew, what a job! He still has a long way to go before I can think of washing him in a regular machine!

So Charlie and I went for our afternoon walk and as always, it leads to the creek. He investigated smells while I walked around and enjoyed some quiet time in the creek itself.

These next two shots were taken on the same flat rock. I just pointed the camera upstream for this one....

 ...and downstream for this one. [Yes that is a fog that is hanging just above the water. The water is much colder than the air temperature and this fog moves in and out almost imperceptible.]

If you look closely in the right upper corner you can see the blue chair where the guys are sitting safely out of the way of any angry waters.

However, it wasn't until I got home and looked at the photos as I pulled them up, that I noticed all the yellow leaves and oranges that had dropped into the water.
I mean...I did see them, but it didn't strike me until I got home.

And then there is this shot of Charlie investigating and interesting smell. Look at the foliage! It is rapidly turning colors!

Never mind the Charlie butt. He was too busy to sit nicely in front of me and pose.

Fall is coming. I hope so. We could use some cooler temperatures and some drier weather.

And...you know what comes after that!

I will have to write about my new office! Very exciting stuff.
Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Photography has rules and then we break them.

This photo was shown under 'Winter Scene'. I had other choices but settled on this one.
I have a habit of photographing smaller winter scenes than most other folks. This is the water falls at Skillet Creek in Parfrey's Glen before they went in and removed the sticks and branches to 'make it prettier'. I like those sticks, without them the mini ice formations wouldn't have occurred.

This did win a first. I wasn't there to hear the judge's rules. However I can see the focus on the right is sharp, and it follows the rule of thirds. The falling water may add interest. And it looks cold.
This also earned a Merit Award. I think that means something like the judge liked it above some other categories.

I don't mean to sound naughty, but I have to agree with one of the other photographers.
Rules are meant to be broken.

Centered, busy, full of patterns and different lights. The judge wanted the majority of the light in the bowl. But I couldn't change the sun. I know, excuses. However I liked it and it felt good.
And it did place.
In my opinion now...the photo is too busy and your eye doesn't settle on anything, nor does it follow the 'rule of thirds'.

I really should have gone with a simpler Still Life, but we all make choices and next year the judge will be different and have different a different opinion.

This wasn't even considered, but I know why. It is really a silhouette photo that tells a story...for me at least. However, I did look up the fair book definition and well, it had no description for this category. I'm okay with this too, as I had other shots that I thought would fit, but took this one anyway.

Sunday morning I took a shot that would have qualified for that category:

The shot is framed by branches, you can see lines of fog, lines of hay, and there is the sun coming up on the left.

This one? Probably the highlights were too bright for her. And not all the fungi were in sharp focus. With a no edit rule, I didn't use the stacked edition of this with the highlights toned down. [The photo is too busy and nothing here follows the rule of thirds either.]

Live and learn.

This one she liked a lot. However only a line of mushrooms are in focus. For me it gives the shot depth.
She wanted everything in focus. Again I could have done it with focus stacking and editing.

With all that said, I am happy that I tried this. I was nervous about 'showing' my work.

I asked the Superintendent if I could help her when it came time to take photos down and hand them out. She looked so surprised.
Let's say my first impression of her was not favorable. She had been a bit curt regarding a few things.
I decided to try a different tactic. Be nice and be friendly.

I was asked to join a camera/photography club. And I think I will go. After all, it will be nice to have a reason to go somewhere and discuss things I like.
And I can continue to learn.

I spoke with the Assistant Super and she told me about the club and she told me that I could learn all about my camera. [Insert a grin here....]
The other Super told me that categories were going to change for next year some things will be added and some things will be dropped.

Good, perhaps I can break some rules!

Have a great day! Looks like we are going to get a 'pile' of rain!

I'll be checking on Percy and Chance this afternoon!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Finding Chance...The Amazing Rescue.

He was spotted when the Kenosha gang and I walked through the creek with the dogs.

Four pairs of eyes can sometimes be so much better than just one set.

Suddenly I heard a shout.

"Found HIM!"

I turned around and there he was. He hadn't been swept that far down stream, perhaps nearly a quarter of a mile, but there he was tangled in roots and debris.

He was snugged in tight between some roots.

As you can see, just one portion of him remained white. He was put in a backpack and we headed further downstream to where the chair was embedded in the dirt under a huge log.

That chair it was decided quickly, would have to wait until another flood let it loose. We continued the walk using sticks to poke around at other debris piles.
No Creepy Doll.
Well, I didn't feel a loss as she wasn't cute like the bears.
We made it to the snow mobile crossing which was now an open pit of water.

I wanted to come back and take a shot of this wide open place where the flood waters must have swirled in circles cutting a wide pond into this space before moving on.
[Method used, 3 exposures...no filters. I'm sort of enjoying that method and still experimenting]

We hiked back towards 'the beach'.

The Teddy Bear Reunion was something to behold.

Percy hugged him tight and I thought I heard a whisper.

"I'm so glad you are back Chance. That sure was a rough ride..."

Maybe it was the wind, maybe it was the water flowing softly over the rocks. Maybe I imagined it.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Things I learned today ~ Photo Judging

I didn't plan on spending much time 'watching' the judging of the photos. But 3 1/2 hours later, I was riveted to my seat listening to the judge talking about the photos she sorted through.

Okay, if you aren't into photography at all you wouldn't have been very interested in it.
But it was the first time I'd ever listened to a 'judge' look over photos and explain why she would place them as she did.

I must say that I am glad I did. I learned that I'd made major mistakes that were so basic. I wanted to slap myself for not knowing that each section had a description of exactly what they were looking for in each category.

So. I took this photo and labeled it 'water scene'.
Now to be honest this is probably one of my favorite shots that I've done in the past year.
When I took it, my heart fluttered and I felt it inside of me.

I did not read the description of this category.
After all, it is a scene, and it has water in it right?
The Judge said she loved it and would give the photo and "I" for Ingenious.
However according to the definition of a water scene, the water had to be the main subject of the photo.

Water Scene- this category includes such things as waterfalls, ponds, lakes etc. Water should be the main focus. 

Obviously the flower being plucked or dropped into the water is the focus.

Well, I felt like smacking my forehead and if I had not been there and listened to the explanation I may have been a bit offended wondering why this shot was discarded.

I had read 'un' edited photos literally and questioned it out loud when the Judge talked about cropping photos for better effects. It was explained to me that no photo can be expected to come out perfect straight out of the camera so as long as it was not "photoshopped" it was deemed okay.
I asked if HDR was okay. And that caused the Judge and the Super to pause.
They did discard a photo that had been super edited and had halos around the clouds so yes. HDR if it is not extreme.

I learned that "Action" could have been something other than what I thought it was. I had several "Duh" moments.


This would have probably worked. I think she would have cropped it down quite a bit. And her mind, this action doesn't really tell much of a story.
It really does go back to basics.

This action would have made her happier, however it is a rather old photo.

Domestic Animals.
I searched and searched high and low to find a good shot of a Dexter cow or a mule.
Shots of peoples' dogs were in there too.

Winter Scene.

Well I nailed that!
Winter is my thing and I love love winter!

How interesting that the Judge and the Super assumed that the photographer had been to Apostles Islands for winter photography.

I did let them know that this was in the Kickapoo Valley Reserve and not way up north.

I also met a fellow named John and he had just started out in photography. He was rather disappointed in some of his photos not getting any notice by the Judge.

At lunch break I asked if he'd like to grab something to eat and we could chat. And we did. John had been bitten by the digital photo bug and he was hit hard. He told me that he bought lessons from someone in another town to learn what his camera functions were.

I told him to start to experiment, not to be afraid of taking mistakes and that I always made mistakes and was still experimenting after years of using a camera.

He told me he lived by one of the county parks I love so much. I said if we can hike there you can go with our gang sometime! Or I can text or call you for when I do go out.

John and I sat down in the Lion's Club area and I guess were so engaged in conversation the guy that took our order assumed we were a couple. Both of us were duly embarrassed.
However that didn't stop us from talking photos, cameras, scenes, artistic visual ideas versus the strict rules of thirds, depth of field, and photo editing programs.

Before we knew it, the break was over.

I had to leave before the Judge was done. I had learned so much.

I didn't agree with her idea of macro shots, but did see her point. When in doubt, she did stick to the rules of photography. Focus on the subject, rules of thirds, and composition.

I could see that I am more artistically creative in my shots and she was judging on the technical side.

I learned a lot.

I would have liked to stick around and see how my winter color shot did. All ice and water. I won't know how she viewed it, but then again I couldn't stick around all day.

I'll do it again next year and perhaps I can watch the Judge from start to finish this next time.

Besides. I think I made a new photography friend too.