Sunday, January 31, 2021

In all things of nature...

The Mystical world of Infrared. 

Sometimes I take hikes and meander about on the least popular trails on KVR. 

These trails are unappreciated and often missed because they don't offer ice caves and magnificent wonders of the world.

One can imagine Tree Ents moving about on the bluffs with their gnarly twisted roots that seem to be able to hang on rocks with no effort.

Yet they can resist flash floods and high winds....

to teeter above...
ever watchful from the bluffs...

and guide you along a wonderous world of 
something else...

These are places that stop you in your tracks and humble you deep inside. If it doesn't, then you are not a living cognizant creature.

I took Bill along this trail.

I cannot tell you the joy I took in showing him this world of pines/bluffs/trails and snow.
He kept stopping in his tracks and saying:

"Oh wow. Oh Wow!"
Over and over again. 
He mourned over the fact that he'd lived in our area for nearly 26 years and had never explored this region.
Yes, his job, his family and bringing up children had been his priority. And now...

I could show him the magical landscape around him. 

As we parted ways at our vehicles, he asked me this.

"How did I not know about this before?"

My answer was fairly simple. I replied, "You didn't have time for it before."

In all things of nature
There is something of the marvelous.
~~ Aristotle

Wednesday, January 27, 2021


When I am at loss as to what to photograph next, I often try to do some Still Life. I even once signed up for a class and did some really amazing stuff. I mean neato stuff that looked like it came from a magazine kind of stuff.

But I lost interest in positioning coffee cups, spoons, and fruit. It was just stuff. The learning part was interesting. I learned how to 'set' things up for a backround. I learned to do it with a cheap paper - the kind used for making scrap books. I used old felt to make black back drops and a white sheet for white ones. I used poster board to reflect light and a window for natural lighting.

I lusted after things like a 'soft box' and neat lighting. I built my own 'soft box' out of cardboard. I discovered that a light tea towel would diffuse enough light from a desk lamp to act like an expensive studio light.

Over the years kids have donated toys to me to take out into the woods and have adventures with. 
The set up above is one of those easy peasy set ups. I grabbed some of the discarded toys and lined them up. I taped some paper together for the backround.

The photo below turned out as expected. However, it was bland and uninteresting. That creepy doll was not connecting with me.

The shot I'd done before however...did impact me when I looked at it much closer.

She just is creepy!
Those freaky eyes!

Exactly what I wanted.

I swept the toys to the side and piled them on a sheet of scrap book paper.
Those eyes!

While doing that, I opened up my husband's big old trunk and took out his childhood teddy bears. 
I stuck the large one in the old busted up Christmas chair and put it in the bright afternoon sunlight.
Rich was delighted to see his big brown bear and extolled its virtues. 
Yucky looking bear. 
And then he reminded me that this bear was probably 60 years old.
I'm going with a certain 'Creepitude' with this Bear. 

I pulled out his other bear and an old book.
More fond memories and discussion ensued.

I put my Bear with his bear and they seemed to get along okay.
However the old bear didn't seem to have much to say.
It seemed he was rather wide eyed and startled at being out of the trunk after so 
many years of being stored.

End note.

Most of these toys have a story behind them. The Barbie doll head was given to me by my youngest grand daughter when she was about 3 yrs old. She kept the headless body I think.
Other parts and pieces were given to me by the neighbor kids. They all have a back story of some sort.
That creepy baby with the bottle. The one single Barbie shoe. The Zombie doll.
Lego people in various stages of disarray. 

An interview I read with Dan Leonard really hit home.
#WithToysInMind is a project he created with his own personal mental health in mind. It is a creative escape to deal with emotions.

I didn't even realize that I was doing this.
Bear and I is how I deal with loneliness.
Rabbit and Bear is how I used photography to deal my husband's desperate and deep bouts of depression.

Playing with toys is a good thing.
Creativity in any form is good for the mind.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Bear and I

The Pandemic and Isolation have made it hard to connect with friends especially now when it is cold outdoors.

I mean, sometimes I just feel lonely.

Sure there are phones, zoom, live chats, and all that. But nothing really takes place of a real hug, or sitting down with a pal and having coffee at a tiny coffee shop.

Bear decided we'd do Friend things together. 

Bear thought reading together was nice.

But I prefer Winnie the Pooh not fancy poetry.

Bear it isn't fancy poetry, it is Mary Oliver poetry.

Bear shrugged. 

I still like Winnie the Pooh. They had adventures.

Okay Bear, let's have adventures.

Making snow angels is fun. Thank you.

You are welcome.

I really like the mittens! They keep my paws warm!

I agree Bear. Mittens are pretty popular right now. 


This is much better.

I knew when I met you
adventure was going
to happen...
Winnie the Pooh

Monday, January 25, 2021

I like hats. Hats.

If I could have been and Indian Brave, I would have been. They had cool hats.

 I've always been a Hat person. I love hats. 

Many times my parents would let me dress in whatever I wanted to go out and play.
I think my mom took away that red furry thing on my head eventually. She thought it was nasty. I thought it fit me perfectly. I was more of a Wild Thing than a child.

I loved that nasty scrap of fur on my head. It disappeared.

Sometimes people gave me hats and I'd wear them a bit, but I always liked picking my own.

My Skunk Hat is my most prized hat. Rich bought it for me for Christmas.

And I have my fall/spring hat.

Or my Fox Hat with a Tail. I love having a tail on a hat. This hat is for subzero weather.

My chores hat.
I've nearly worn this one out. When I hold it up to the light I can almost see through it.

If you are wondering why I don't wear stocking caps ... I just don't like them.

I went to replace this hat and darn it.
I could only get this style in white. Not my choice, but it is warm.

A fall/spring hat that is just fun. It keeps the hair from getting in my face. My go to town hat. I can pretend to be fancy.

And then my super warm Mongolian [not real fur] hat. I wore this instead of the Fox hat while hiking the Reserve. Rich always points out that hunters might see the fur as something to shoot at. 

I wore this in very cold weather with some wicked wind chills.
This week this is my favorite hat.

For summer? I have a collection of Baseball caps. My favorite one used to be a black plain hat that has faded to some ugly brown now.

Look at it this way. I don't have to worry about bad hair days. I can have them all of the time and cover it up.

I like hats.
Guess I will always be that way...

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Ice hunting part II

The wind chills were pretty darned cool. I think it may have gotten up to about 10F.

Hubby said 'Geeze, isn't it cold?'

I replied with my catch phrase. 

"Det finnes ikke darlig vaer darlig klaer!" 

Actually I don't speak Norwegian but said it in English.
There's no bad weather, only bad clothes.

Maybe I love the cold weather so much because I can wear all my funky crazy hats that are warm and odd.  More on my hats some other time.

Snowshoes were my choice this time. They have long teeth for climbing slippery ice packed slopes and can keep a person from wading through deep snow while brush busting. [Read that as going off trail.]
I wear snowshoes with crampons. My old ones have never failed me yet. 

The picture above is taken where I was standing on a steep slope. Below me is a stream. Last time I was through here, the traction was terrible. This is not a path I would suggest to those with poor balance skills. 

I stopped and looked at the first set of ice formations. After the next snow it will look like there are floating islands of waterfalls. This is always impressive to see.

I even tried it with my little Canon ELPH infared camera. The unedited shot right out of the camera looks horrid.

Without direct sun and 'into' shade, this little camera has a terrible time. I mean this photo looks like mud.
Even with some edits, it didn't turn out much better. 
The pocket camera is very limited and IR can be very tricky. This shot turned out noisy and honestly, pretty crappy. But I tried!

I climbed over the ridge and found the equine trail we used to ride from Ma and Pa's Camp. I followed that over the next set of ice formations and trekked through Prickly Ash and low branches to drop into the next valley. 

A nice little hiking 

Yes, those snowshoes were a huge help! 

I ended up where I'd taken Bill and the kids two weeks ago.
This is the Infrared Version of it.

I was more interested in experimenting with the tiny pocket camera than I was in using the regular one.
I wanted to go wild with Infrared and see what winter would do to it.

The Beaver Dam

Cool Tree

What if we did see in a different 
spectrum of light?

Wiester Creek Ice

My favorite one of
the day.

And then...
Wiester Creek in regular color...

I just sent in my older Olympus to be converted to full spectrum so I can enjoy the alternate colors of the light spectrum. 
I admit, it is not for a lot of people. But for me it is another way of exploring how we see things.

My little Canon really stinks in low light, and it rarely focuses properly if you try to zoom in on a scene. But I've figured out how to work with it and have fun.
That is my point. Explore and have fun. 

Oh and

"Det finnes ikke darlig vaer darlig klaer!" 

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Looking for ice

We had sunshine on Wednesday and it was cold as a Well Diggers ____________, you can fill in the blank.

My friend Bill wanted to go and the winds were absolutely wicked so I picked a hike that would get us out of the wind and next to the Kickapoo River.

These first photos are from that hike. We had Yak Traks but should have had snowshoes as we were 'off' trail and the snow was icy crunchy and pretty tough to walk in. Bill was okay with that as he said the effort was a good test to see if his hip and knee were feeling better.

Bill's commentary was constant, telling me about adventures with his grand kids and then he'd stop and wonder where we were and I'd assure him we were not lost. Next he'd stand still and say, "Wow...Oh Wow!"

This one is my favorite from the ice bluffs and the last one I did with my 'normal' camera.

Note the slight colors in the ice. Pretty cool right? Well I also brought my little pocket camera that is a Full Spectrum Infrared camera. That means I can use different filters for different light spectrums. I chose the 665nm filter. 

The first shot is 'channel swapped'. With the 665nm filter blue skies are orange and green is bluish-white while rocks reflect a blue-grey. It all depends on your subject for white balance for the filter and how you want your colors to appear.  

These last two are not color edited. I simply de-saturated the blues. And let the ice reflection that appears orange come through.

Most IR photographers put their cameras away during the winter months, but I think it is fun to see winter in a different light.

Part II is coming.

I went out Friday to clear my head. Wind chills were -15, but I was prepared and I wanted to go visit the Wiester Creek Ice formations and hike up over the ridge on the old horse trail.