Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Now living fearlessly - Excuses Begone!

I just started reading Dr. Wayne Dyer's book Excuses Begone! for the third time.  Each time I get more and more out of it and more and more determined not to let excuses get in the way of my becoming the full and complete person I am supposed to be.  My Mom died at Easter time with so much left to give, with so much talent still left bottled up inside.  She was still so much afraid of life and what she had to give.  Dad gave her a necklace for her birthday that said "live, love, laugh" something I think she was learning it was missing from her life and was trying to put that philosophy into her life.  She made my sister, Pam, promise to give it to me when she died because she felt that of all her children I was the one missing that philosophy the most.  Mom received the necklace in January and died in April, not much time for her to use it.  I wore it for a long time, then put it up and only recently got it back out again.  It's time for me to use it to the fullest; to "live, love, laugh" to become the person I am supposed to be; to fearlessly live to leave the excuse behind so I don't die afraid of life with all my talents left bottled up inside.  This message seems to be coming from all sides, finding the necklace, finding the book, a receptionist who reminded me that I didn't want to die with my talent bottled up inside, to the unexpected death of a friend my age, to the anniversary of my mother's death. Serendipity coming into my life once again.
I edited and will print up this photo to remind me to live life fearlessly, to keep up my current zest for life.  The clouds are exploding out from behind the dark trees that had been hiding them and lighting them up on the way.  The clouds also remind me of the Pheonix's flames from which I can burst forth reborn.  (PLEASE CLICK ON PHOTO TO SEE MESSAGE MORE CLEARLY)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Good-bye Marsha

I just learned today that one of my long time friends died a day or so ago from a medical mistake.  I have many fond memories of my sweet friend who gave me a hug every time she saw me.  I will miss her very much.  She loved and collected hummingbirds so here is one last hummingbird for you, Marsha.

Double Cabins Plantation

Since I take picture of the woman's activities at church and turn them into collages I decided to practice making collages and then get some opinions from my friends at MSS.  I thought that this old restored plantation would make a good subject for such a collage.  So I had some pictures that I had taken at the stop sign nearby and did one up and asked for opinions.  Oh boy! did I get opinions most of which were negative.  Now that I have received the comments and worked with them I can see that it really was pretty bad. I worked really hard to improve my collages by following their advice and the above collages are the results. When I decided to try again and I went back three times to get the house from different angles as it sits pretty far back off the road.  The last time I went there I had my camera set up for telescopic picture taking complete with my tripod. I parked at the end of the driveway by the county easement but who should come down the drive but four of the adults that lived there.  I was pretty intimadated.  They just wanted to know what I was doing and they turned out to be very nice people.  In fact they turned out to be a good representative of southern hospitality.  They invited me up to the house and allowed me free run of the outside of the house and the gardens.  They have peacocks which they let out so I could photograph them.  Pretty nice, huh?  All in all I now have about 150 photo of the place.  They took the time to talk with me and give me some of the history of the plantation and their current business which is a Bed & Breakfast and they also host weddings and other special occasions.  We also talked a lot about photography and painting and other artistic endeavors both on my part and on theirs.  They were very interesting and delightful people and I'm glad I had the opportunity to meet them.  One of those magical serendipity moments that have come about because of my interest in photography and the new courage I have developed because of it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Isn't the world beautiful?

I've been out taking photos over the last couple of days and have been impressed by all the photo ops there are.  I think I could spend all my time taking photos of all the beauty that surrounds me and never get around to doing anything else.  The Lord sure has blessed me and all of us with a beautiful world in which to live in.  My soul is filled with gratitude for the blessing of this world and of my ability to capture and share it's beauty.  Here is a sample of the photos I have taken over the last couple of days.

Oh No, I've discovered You Tube

 My daughter posted this on her blog and I laughed and laughed.  We have both Star Trek and Star Wars fans (some BIG time) in our household and we have and have had some rather lively conversations about both series.  This little video is particularly appropriate for our family.

Monday, March 22, 2010

March goal- follow my bliss

Last months goals did not get done like I would have liked I didn't look up near enough of my friends blogs and websites.  I have not been posting in my blog like I would like; I keep getting distracted.  I decided that maybe I had to much structure in my goals for a while and my creative mind was rebelling so I decided to do more of following my bliss.  At first I thought that I was not getting near as much done but I came to realize I was actually getting as much done and more (in part because my health is improving).  I just was not getting the same things done.  Even though this is past the middle of the month for setting goals, they were in fact set at the beginning of the month just not blogged about, I have decided to put some structure back, more priorities.  I have missed doing my blog terribly and reading my friends blogs.  I need enough structure to make sure that there is enough structure so that the things that I have found recently and really love have a place in my life.
Let me tell you about some of the bliss that I have followed.  A couple of posts ago I was complaining about the Georgia winters and then discovering the wonderful intriquing shapes of the bare trees.  I started taking pictures of them and in looking at them I was reminded of Bonsai trees and started researching them.  Of course I need to be thrifty in going about this new hobby so i found out how to start my own trees from seeds and cuttings.  Of course this has to be done in the spring so I have been putting time into that so I wouldn't have to wait till next spring or struggle and not succeed because I was trying to do it in the wrong season.  See the photo above of cutting that is being rooted.
I've also been trying to capture some of trees and landscapes with lots of character because the trees are bare.  I put together this college of this old restored plantation house with it's trees with large pieces of bark missing from where the peacocks used to roast.
Of course being spring I've been working hard to get my gardens going.  This year almost everything I plant I will have started from seed (except the roses and azaelas) Most are already started and are ready to be planted or are planted or will be ready to be planted when they are supposed to be planted.  This is a first for me, both in growing from seed and having them ready on time, ironically this is due to my structured goals the last couple of months.  I have been frequenting the local garden centers, not to buy but to enjoy the flowers.
I was also asked to take picture at the birthday party for our women's society at church.  I took lots of pictures and edited 28 to make the collage.  I took the pictures on a Thursday and had the collage done the next Sunday.  Pretty impressive,huh?  
All in all this has bee a pretty enjoyable month so far, but I'm already starting to plan more goals but that is for another blog.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Which do you like best?

I was feeling kind of down in the dumps so while I was out doing errands I stopped by the Wal-Mart garden center.  Amazingly they have some really nice plants.  I just wanted to see some pretty spring flowers.  I took some picture of several different kinds of flowers and these flowers were nothing really special but there were a lot of them on the plant so I took a picture of them, too.  I had no idea at the time how much fun I was going to have editing them.  The bottom photo is the original.  Please leave a comment as to which you like best.  Thanks- Johnina :^D

Photo notes: Nothing was done to the original.  All basic editing was done in Picasa 3; cropping, signature.  All framing was done in picnik. 
Picture 1;   HDRish in picnik
Picture 2;  Render- clouds in Paint.net
Picture 3:  Heat map in picnik
Picture 4:  Duo-tone in picnik
Picture 5:  Distort- dent in Paint.net
Picture 6:  Vignette (green) in picnik
Picture 7:  Original 

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sleep study

I had a sleep study done at the hospital last night. They hook you up to all these wires, every wire that you see is connected to me somewhere, then they hook you up to these machines and put a mask on your face and THEN they expect you to sleep. Amazingly you do sleep, in my case better than at home. Rat's when you go in for medical tests you want them to show what is wrong and to get your money's worth and this test is expensive. Actually sleeping better does show them what is wrong because one of the things they do is use a CPAP machine and if that helps you sleep better it indicates sleep apnea. They try different air pressures during the night to see what pressure works best. I'm guessing that since I slept better there was a change in pressure which means I'll have to take my machine down to have it recalibrated. Hopefully this will mean less sleeping time and more wide awake functioning time. This has been one of my biggest frustrations of late so maybe I'll have one more improvement in my life. Hooray!!!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Scene at a stop sign

I don't usually take pictures at stop signs because it is more dangerous than at stop lights, but this was a very long line with very long lines coming from each direction. This is an old plantation house that has been restored and since it has been restored I decided to do an antique edit to show how the house might have looked before it was restored. The house peeking out from the winter trees just gave me that type of feeling. The white on the trees is not snow however; it is from where the peacocks have roasted and peeled off the bark. I really like being able to go by this house so often (almost every time I go into town) it has been beautifully restored especially when viewed from the front. It is on some historical site list complete with sign out in front. I was pleased with this unusual view that I got from photographing it from the side and in the winter. It gave the house a whole different personality than the traditional front view.

Photo notes: Picasa 3 for basic editing- crop, color correcting and filtered B&W
Photoscape for antique filter

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Scene at a stop light

Considering that it was snowing my preferred viewpoint for taking pictures was from the inside of my car. This photo was taken at a stop light in Fayetteville.

Photo Notes:
Basic editing was done on Picasa 3- cropping, color correcting, signing
I got rid of of distractions using the clone and smudge tools on GIMP
The borders were added from PhotoScape
(Both PhotoScape and GIMP are freeware that I downloaded from cnet.com)