Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Awesome Creek by Morris

Nobody rocks a brass bell like I do.
She decided I needed this so she could keep track of me at all times.

I guess the few times I sort of got lost in my head and the time I got lost in the Big Meadow sort of scared her.
This thing is loud enough for her to hear me just about anywhere.
I don't think it is that loud though. In fact, I think she is losing her voice. She says she isn't but she doesn't yell MORRIS icky icky! As loud as she used to.
She says I am losing my hearing. Harrumph.
I'd rather she get a smaller ding dong bell though. This one is heavy.

It has been a while since the two of us have gone off to look for adventure, and find deer droppings.
Well, she doesn't care for deer pellets, but I still do. One day her taste buds will awaken, I hope.

She said we were going to check fences and see how the black berry situation was.
I know better.

She wanted to walk around the creek and take pictures.

I must admit, I'm a pretty good assistant.

I do improve photos.

Maybe not in this one.

I believe she calls this ... Photo Bombing.
I call it, doing what I do best.

After all, this adorable face deserves to be photographed.

We did have fun together though. It was like old times. Even when I got very sneaky and stood very still in deeper water so my bell wouldn't ring.

She got to spend some time in her special quiet place. And I stood above her on the bank watching.

That is my special duty you know.

Soon enough she pulled out that thing that she does stuff on. Like talk, tell time, tell temperature, and weather. Smart Phone? It doesn't work in the Creek Bottom.
Anyway she mumbled something about the time and how we had to head home.

I may be a bit dingy in the head, but I do know home when she says it.

I turned and headed up the muddy bank. She put her camera away and scampered up on all fours.
I love it when I can show her how to do things.

I rang that bell all the way home. See, everyone thinks I am getting old. But can they keep up to me?

Mostly not. I'm still pretty fast.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Glue Mule and the Happy Chair

I finally got to work on the 'Happy Chair'. Well, what exactly is a Happy Chair?

Here is one that I started quite a few years ago...

Well a Happy Chair is a chair that I take mess around with until I have something bright and chipper.
I've given most of my chairs away as gifts but I think I am keeping this one.

They normally take quite a long time to do. So I decided to try and different method.

First I primed it after sanding the old crusty varnish off from it.

The seat is still okay enough to keep so I covered that with plastic bags.
Apparently recovering the seat with cloth later won't be too hard.

I place it on a stump in the yard and gathered some spray paints.

The first coating was purple and I started at the top of the legs.

I then proceeded to take the red and blue and just have some fun.

I touched things up and then set the chair out to finish drying in the sun and the wind.
I'll work on the details with my craft acrylic paints later and then seal the whole thing.

All that fun with color for only about $9 in spray paint.
My husband watched me and thought I was a bit nuts. However, this old chair had been hanging in the shed for as long as I've lived here and I think at one time Rich had purchased them at auction with the intention of refinishing them and selling them.
This one is just for fun. It will probably be a favorite for the kids when they visit. I know I'll grab it to sit on the porch or eat at the table often. How can you not smile when sitting on such a brightly colored chair?

I took my rope halter and lead rope and went out to the Merry Meadow and started to gather up mules. Siera was the first one to come, so I grabbed her and took her out of the Meadow for grooming and hoof picking. She enjoyed her time and reluctantly went back into the meadow after taking a munch of grass in the yard.

She needs her haircut too for the summer, but Rich wasn't quite up to helping me.
Next I got Sunshine and took care of her. She was going to run off and evade me when I came with the halter but in the end she stood quietly while I 'captured' her.
Sundance was too easy to catch. As we left the Meadow she snorted and looked a bit wild eyed. She can be a bit herd sour and hates leaving Sunshine, her half sister.

I tied her to the Hickory Tree and proceeded to work with her. She had never gotten the attention she deserved before so I've decided to take care of that. She is my mare's second mule foal and the last one we have raised on the place. Rich was always going to start her under saddle and now that I have more time [I think], she will start her schooling.

Sundance thought the fly spray was a bit of a monster. It is my own home brew and works well for the time I am grooming them. She danced around the tree, and then settled down. I groomed her and then went to picking her hooves. She'd done well the last time I had her out, but occasionally she gives our farrier a bit of grief. I wanted to cure that.
I wanted to make this a daily thing.

On cue, she gave me a hoof shake with her left hind. I held it until she stopped and then slowly put it down. I repeated picking up all of her feet again until she started to anticipate what I wanted. In between holding her feet and rubbing her, she got the idea that this was a game.
I finished with her and walked slowly with her back to the Meadow. I expected that she would be in a rush to get back with Fred, Siera, and her sister. However I was surprised.
I let her go and stood to the side.
She moved over to stand next to me.

I rubbed her forehead and stepped away. She stepped over and stood quietly. I moved again. She moved again.
I was pleased. Rich had always handled her before as he had claimed Sundance as his mule. She was showing me some rather pleasant attributes. She potentially was like Badger and Siera. A Glue Mule.
Some think that a Glue Mule is not a good thing to have.

However when riding out in the woods and picking berries or hunting for photos, it is a great thing to have. A Glue Mule is more interested in staying with you than running off towards home.

Her education will be slow and not hurried as will 15's. I'm looking forward to time with both of them in the round pen and first rides.

Got to love a Glue Mule!
I know, slightly blurry shot. But it was getting dark and...well. There she is, the red headed beauty.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Night Moves

The alarm beeped and I reached over to turn it off. Dang thing.

What did it go off for? Who set that alarm for 1:30 am? Oh. I did.
I was going to get up and see where the Milky Way was and I'd set up my camera to try a shot of the night sky.

I had pre-focused my Nikon D5200 just before sunset and had it locked on infinity in hopes that using the 35mm prime lens would give me enough sky to capture some stars.

I shot this at a 20 second exposure with an f stop on the lens of 1.8 and an ISO of 100.
What I saw on my screen afterwards was nearly totally black.

I took another shot on the other side of the house looking north.

I could see a bit more of the stars on my screen. But I wasn't happy with it.
So I changed up the settings and did some light painting.

I used a LED flashlight for about one second on this shot, just clicked on and off quickly.
I could see this on the monitor.

So I tried another experiment. I wanted to take a shot of the porch.
Note to self. Once I took the camera off from the infinity setting and used the Auto focus to take a shot of the skull, the camera would not focus for me. I even tried manual focus.

Frustrated, I set the exposure to 10 seconds and then flipped the little flashlight I had across the porch...

Early this morning the alarm went off at 1:30 again. I sighed and shut it off. I shut my eyes and soon I was wide awake. I glanced up through the window and the stars were bright. The weather folks were wrong!

I grabbed the camera. I thought I'd set it up properly.

I hadn't. The focus was off and I didn't know that until I opened the photos later this morning.
However, I do know where the Milky Way is around 2am now.
And have an idea of where to get shots of it from the yard.

So I will set things up again for another try tonight.

Settings for these shots were 20 seconds, f 1.8 [35mm lens], 640 ISO and 800 ISO.

Tonight I will set up the 35mm lens again and set up the 18-55mm lens to see if I can't get a wider angle.

My husband thinks I am certifiably crazy.

I say, I need to keep experimenting and challenging myself.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Long Day

It started with a trip to the ridge to enjoy the morning purples and the emergence of the summer sun through the fog. I checked out black bottom creek and it was so dense with fog that there were no opportunities there at all.

I moved Annie and Valerie to a holding paddock. They are being sold soon.

This lot looks barren because the mules had used this spot for mud bathing and standing.
However the Dexter cattle love to strip burdock so it is a good thing! They have cleaned up the ox eye daises in their other summer pasture and will devour nettles if I knock them down first.

These cows are the forest gleaners and do an excellent job.

I finally got tired of looking at the mess of the west yard. It still needs to be landscaped and is a mess of lumps bumps and weeds with some areas that are washed out. Rich keeps saying that he will get to it.

I attacked it with the weed wacker. I'm getting better at it. I even trimmed around the garden before I nearly ran out of gas. That is my stop point. If I keep going and going the tendons in my forearms will be extremely painful.
My intentions were then to mow around the back of the red shed with the mower.

I chose instead to have a late lunch with my sweet guy and after a glance at my garden, I decided that a short siesta was in order.
I guess that is one good thing about being home all of the time. I can afford a short rest before heading out again.

I walked past the mower and it begged me to push it and make it roar. However I decided to do something enjoyable.
I caught up Fred and cleaned him up. He got his summer haircut.

Sundance pushed Siera and Sunshine out of the way when I put Fred back. I worked on her tail and ended up cutting it shorter. She was not receptive to the clippers but she also ended up with a summer haircut.

Rich helped me. I decided that was enough for the day and spent some time grooming Sundance before putting her away.

I then went to get 15. Her paddock had gotten muddy and she needed a grooming plus a drier place to be.
With her done, it was time for chores and other things.
I walked by the lawn mower again and assured it, its day would come soon again...and again...and again.

I called the neighbors and asked if they'd like to celebrate the Summer Solstice by lighting a couple of Chinese Lanterns.
And we did.

And the day ended full of joy with children's laughter and cattle complaining about being moved.

Such was the Long Day.

Monday, June 19, 2017


Well the big day arrived. Daryl and I left the house at 6:30 AM and grabbed some KwikTrip breakfast. We knew we were in for a long day.
We'd discussed strategies for shooting the wedding.

We'd gone over the list of 'must have shots' by the bride the night before. We both had our lists.
We went over indoor strategy and out door bright sunlight was going to be a challenge for sure. A wedding photographer's nightmare can be bright sunlight and deep shadows on faces.

Daryl likes shooting landscapes and water. Well we both love 'water' shots and macros of anything we can find to 'shoot'. Bugs and spiders or fungi and flowers. It is a fascinating world of little things out there.

But this day was going to be his first time at a wedding.  During our ride we sort of talked about things and tried to envision obstacles we'd run into. It was nice to have someone to bounce ideas off from.

I have a love/hate relationship with wedding photography. I love it while I am doing it and obsess about the photos I'm taking and worry about it so much that I really sort of hate it.

Because if you have ever been involved in a wedding you know that nothing really goes as planned. And if you try to follow a rigid list you will end up tied in knots.

Fun things do happen. We had come early so that Daryl could meet the family and they could get comfortable around him.
I've known the father of the bride for 9 years. We worked together until about 5 weeks ago.

We started with all of the shots we could of the Venue and the bride getting ready.  We had some fun with the children that were going to be in the wedding party.

Daryl was so patient and good with the kids. 
There was the moment when the bride got upset over something and I followed her outside. 
We talked and I reminded her that this day was hers, that she and her husband to be were the main focal point of the day.
That no one would recall what someone else in the wedding party may or may not do.

In the end, those who came to the wedding ceremony would only recall one thing. How beautiful she looked walking down the isle to meet the groom.

I knew that once the wedding ceremony started that the best laid plans would fly out the window and it was going to be a 'shoot' hard, shoot fast, shoot like crazy. Run around in the heat and dodge people to get that shot.

Duck and weave. 
Wedding photographers have the hardest jobs. They dodge well wishers and cell phone photographers as well as anyone else with a camera.

I once did a wedding where I turned the camera on the audience.
There were about 7 people milling through the audience with long lenses and various types of DSLR's. 

A word about having a second photographer. This is a godsend. I choose Daryl because he is from a different generation [nice way of saying that he is young enough to be one of my own kids..and that I am an old codger...] and he has a different perspective on things than I do.

He comes up with unique ideas that I would not have thought of.

Daryl stacked two long folding tables together and then took all the table clothes we could find and we made a make shift 'studio' for the shots of the dresses and the rings.
The following is a merged shot of the veil and the rings...both of these shots also done by my partner.

I should have moved the tables when I took a shot of the bride and used the table clothes for an appropriate back round...however. Best laid plans and all of that...

The room was busy and everyone was rushing around. I grabbed some more shots.

She was pleased with the edited version.

I had told Daryl that he would most likely get done with the wedding and decide he would never ever do another one. And then after he had forgotten the pressures of the day and how tired we were at the end of it all, well he may think about doing it again.

And of course we couldn't help ourselves but include something fun.

Did everything go perfect? Oh gosh I don't know. I do know that I enjoyed every second of the hours we put in. I had a great partner. That made all of the difference in the world.

Would we do it again? Oh yes, I think so.