Archive for the ‘Life in General’ Category

Shipwreck Day   1 comment

During the summer every year, the city of Anacortes host Shipwreck Day.  The city blocks off several blocks of streets in their downtown area, where people from all over the community set up booths to sell their wares.  In some (or many) cases, it is a chance to have a mini garage sale.  You just never know what you may find as you wander down one side of the street and back up the other.

Yesterday was my third year going with my friend David.  We started the day off going to breakfast at Joy’s Bakery and Cafe (a must for breakfast if you are in the Sedro-Woolley area!!).  It so happened to be David’s birthday and our server brought his french toast to with a lit birthday candle.  This gave us some time to catch up and analyze which lens David should purchase next.

After breakfast we headed over to Anacortes to join the crowds.  Even with a cloudy overcast for the morning, hundreds of people had shown up to see what treasures they could find to take home with them.  It certainly added a challenge to the day as David and I took photos.  David made sure to note his birthday by taking a picture of a sign posted.  Overall we had a good time.  I only made a small purchase of a new hand fan.  David couldn’t find anything that he needed.  However, we were able to snap a few pictures… which is what we were after the whole time.

A table full of old masks.

Loved all the old tins this table had for sale.  How often to you see one for Scotch Tape?

A few old signs pointing the way to the beach.  The crazy thing, the arrow was pointing the correct way to the water.

Collection of different “antique” items for sale.

Visit me on Facebook to see pictures I post through the week.  🙂  Have a great week!

Been a bit…   1 comment

Hi all…  I know it has been a bit since I last posted.  I was doing good at keeping up with a weekly post and then I hit a snag.  I went down to my parent’s house for about a week and a half at the end of May.  The full purpose while there was to clear away some of the years of clutter that had built up.  This left no time to think about writing or taking pictures.  The we did accomplish a great amount…  but, there is still plenty more work to do… but that is for another day.

With missing two weekends of blogging, it pulled me out of habit I had been building.  And then June came and went… I’m honestly still trying to figure out what happen to June.  That month just seemed to disappear.  If anyone knows where it went, please tell me.  That leaves me with it now being July.  And hence, I am starting back up and hopefully (fingers crossed) will build the habit back up to where I keep this going.

So.. pictures.. During that missing month of June, my daughter (who just turned 13 this past week!!) and I went over to Port Angeles for my cousin’s graduation party.  We just made a quick weekend trip over there.  I took my camera along, as you just never know.  Saturday we drove over taking the Edmonds to Kingtston ferry.  By the time we arrived in P.A., there only enough time to visit with family and then a retreat to hotel.

Sunday morning, after having a nice breakfast and finding a car wash (the local sea gulls didn’t seem to like my car), we had a chance to head up to Hurricane Ridge.  I was very excited, as I had hoped we would have a chance to go.  My daughter was being an “almost teenager” and showing no interest at all in going.  After making the decision that she would just deal with it, we made the drive up.  I was nervous because it was cloudy that day.  I was afraid we wouldn’t be able to see anything once we got up there.  Up we drove… and up… and up… and WOW!  We went right on up past the clouds that were hanging over the city.  The ridge was sunny and warm.  It was just beautiful up there.

By the time we got to the top and walked around, my daughter’s mood had improved.  She was happy and talking and wanting to play in the snow that was still hanging around.  The sad part was we only had about an hour to spend there before needing to head to the party.  On the way down we made one last stop.  Along a curve there was a pull out that allowed this great view of looking over the clouds.  My daughter actually offered to “pose”.  This was a little shocking, as she doesn’t like me taking pictures of her.  Of course I said yes!  and here are the results.  I did a few different color options.  I can’t make up my mind which I like best.  Feel free to voice your opinion. 🙂

Color

Sepia

Black & White

Yesteryear

Have a great week!

Around the Yard   4 comments

This past week the weather has been great.  The hubby and I decided to take full advantage of it around the yard to first part of the week.   We got my raised bed finished, weeds pulled up from another bed, and the lawn looking great.  My Grandma came for the second half of the week.  We spent some nice time visiting.  Her and I went and picked up some starts to fill up my raised bed.  Overall the week was fantastic!  Who can complain about sun and time with family?

Yesterday my hubby, daughter and I went out to a wild bird store.  We picked up a new platform feeder and a squirrel feeder.  The hubby set up the squirrel feeder and I got the new bird feeder up on a hook.  Within ten minutes of having it filled with seed and going inside, a flock of evening grosbeak had found it and were happily chattering and eating.

The one thing that I did not find time to do this week was to get out and take photos.  So, this morning I quietly went out onto the deck and snapped some pictures of the visitors in my yard.

My raised bed.  I’m attempting to grow some vegetables.

This little guy briefly visited my yard.

The grosbeak are enjoying the new feeder.

These two are checking out a piece of plastic that blew in to the yard.

I’m thinking this little one was maybe trying to find a spot to start a nest.

This little house finch was sneaking in some food. 

A Golden Finch is visiting the thistle feeder.

Our resident squirrel is enjoying a snack.

Have a fabulous week!

Baker Lake Road   Leave a comment

On Friday, my friend David and I took the day off from work to go to the “World’s Largest Garage Sale” at our local fair grounds.  We often go out during the summer months together to hit up garage sales.  It just seemed natural we go to this one.  We didn’t find much that we had to have, but David did snap off a few pictures of items.  Very interested to see if they turn up in his blog.

Once we were finished, we figured we might as well use some of the day to go get some photos.  Only logically, right?  We stopped at his house first, so I could borrow a couple of lenses he isn’t using right now.  We were then off for our adventure (well, after getting gas).  We had a choice to go out to the tulips or head east down Hwy 20.  We decided on the later.  We had both been wanting to explore Bake Lake Road.    The name just seemed to promise something good.

Down Hwy 20 we went.  Looking for garage sale signs on the way, along with any signs of elk or eagles.  Unfortunately, we got a little too busy looking for all those other things that we completely missed the road we wanted.  And when I say we missed it, we really missed it.  We were out past Concrete before we realized we were well past where we would see the turnoff.  David went to turn around at the next road.  Instead of just doing a basic u-turn, he decided to drive down the road.  What the heck, might as well, right?

As we drove down the road, we happened across this nice little creek that was flowing down to the Skagit river.  On one side of the road it had this beautiful woodland setting as it flowed down little steps to create mini waterfalls.  The other side, the creek flows out of a culvert to drop 20 to 30 feet before continuing on its journey.  There are pillars there that are covered with moss and saplings.  It appears that once upon a time a bridge crossed over at that point.  Maybe it was an old road?

After a short time there, we jumped back into David’s van.  After driving through Concrete, heading west this time, we found Baker Lake Road.  Which had a decent sign pointing out the road.  How in the world did we miss that?!   The first thing we noticed on Baker Lake road, is that you are certainly going up in elevation.  That felt promising.  The next thing you notice, there are just an awful lot of trees and a stream following the road.  However, there was nowhere to pull off the road at the points with a clear picture.  Next we come across Grandy Lake.  It looks nice and there is a camp ground.   We keep going until we come to a sign pointing to Baker Lake Dam.  Sounds interesting, right?  So we go check it, expecting some little dam.  Well, we were wrong.  That was a pretty good size dam.  Not the Hover dam, but still impressive.   I think we both plan to go back another day to get photos.

Back to Baker Lake Road.  We keep driving down the road without really seeing Baker Lake.  The road finally gets to a point it is no longer paved.  That is where we decide to turn around.  We figure that most of the views for the lake are at the camp grounds.  And those have not opened for the season.  Oh well, just means we will have to come back another day!  As we are going back, there is a marsh type area that we make a quick stop at.  There some flower things growing that interest David.  I snap a few pictures off.  One is of a an old stump with a tree growing on top of it.  Making sure it is keeping dry.

As we continue back down the road, David actually spots a bear as it runs across the road.  I was looking out my passenger window, and completely miss it. We drive up really slow (there are NO other cars in the area), hoping to catch a glimpse.  The bear had no plans to stick around and has disappeared into the forest.  *sigh*  Maybe someday I’ll get to see a bear and take a picture of it (and not one in the zoo).  Of course, from a nice safe distance where I don’t have to worry about being eaten.  haha

Anyways.. we continue on back home.  However, not before making two more stops.  One is just a short distance from the bear sighting (we made sure to keep the car doors open to escape into in case the bear came by).  Boulder Creek is flowing there and *BAM!*  an awesome view of Mt Baker.  It was playing peek-a-boo behind some clouds.  Even with the clouds, it is majestic.

While we didn’t get to see the Baker Lake, I was happy to see the actual mountain.  And I got two new lenses to play with!  The first photo in this blog was actually taken with a wide-angle lens, but I cropped it down.  My Flickr site has a couple of pictures I have taken with macro lens.  Thank you David!

Have a great week!

Spring! It is here!!   3 comments

Today, at this moment, as I write this very entry, the sun is out!  There is blue sky with some high wispy clouds.  The little Pine Siskin are fluttering around the bird feeder.  My tulips are working their way up in my flower beds.  All the perennials are showing new growth.  Heck, I even have one plant with some flowers on it.  Spring is certainly in the air!

After such a horrible Spring season last year here in the Pacific NW, we are very happy to see a bit of “normal” weather come back to us. Here in the Skagit Valley, the best indicator that Spring is on track and arrived are our daffodil and tulip fields.  And what a great place to visit if you can during the end of March into April.  We even spend the whole month of April having a Tulip Festival.

In the past couple years, by the time I get out to the fields the daffodils have already been blooming for a few weeks.  So they are certainly not looking their best.  Well, I wasn’t going to do that this year!  On Friday, my hubby and I scooted out of work a little early to kick off the weekend and enjoy the sun.  We stopped at the The Farmhouse for lunch.  Yummy as always!

We then went off to check out the daffodils.  Scooping out the bloom map by RoozenGaarde we knew there were a couple of fields in bloom.  The first field we went by was just starting to get some blooms.  So we continued on down the road.  As we got closer, you could see the field of yellow.  Almost like the beacon from a lighthouse guiding us to the field to where we needed to be.  I quickly parked the car and set up my camera.

Quick side note to this picture outing … While I was taking pictures, we met a delightful older couple, probably in their 70’s.  They had come up from the Seattle area for his birthday.  It just added to the joy of the day to see them enjoying each others company and being out and about together.  I told my hubby I want to be like them when we get older.

I am so happy with the way this picture turned out.  I had my camera do three bracket photos (just learned about that last week).  Used Photomatix to bring them together for the HDR image.  I then did some final editing in Lightroom adjusting the yellow in the daffodil, bringing out the green of their stems, and adjusting the blue of the sky.  While I know the picture is “perfect”, it is still probably the best I have done to date.  I hope you enjoy!

Final Days of Winter.. Maybe?   Leave a comment

Today I woke up once more to snow on the ground.  And even as I write this, there is snow coming down.  Not enough to worry about, but it does make you wonder if Spring is just around the corner.  I am looking forward to the tulips blooming.  To all the birds that will come visit my feeders.  To just having some warmth.  Until then, I will take what mother nature gives me and turn it into a picture!

This last Tuesday my hubby and I took off early from work.  It was once again another day we had woken up to snow on the ground.  By later in the day, some had melted off, but the further east you went (towards the Cascade Mountains) the more there still was on the ground.  We went out in the afternoon and I played around a little more with HDR and tried out Photomatix.  The sad part is while in trial version it is watermarks, but I like the program and plan to buy on payday! 🙂  These are both of the Skagit River.

Have a wonderful week!

I Think I Got It Now   4 comments

I have now have had my camera for about 3 years.  Over the three years I have a learned a lot.  First, was just the fun of using of it and how much better my pictures looked.  Then it came time to step away from the “point and click” and actually learn more about aperture, speed, iso and taking pictures in RAW.  This last lesson came after taking a two day class that went over the basics of photography.  It was a good class that helped me confirm what I already know and helped with a couple things I wasn’t strong on.

Most of all it led me to finally figure out that I am free to make my photos into whatever I want them to be.   Before now I have been worried if the photo looks right.  I would always compare photos to what my friends are doing and worry that I was maybe just wasting my time.  Which in turn took some joy out of taking pictures.  Now I realize it doesn’t matter!   I need to like what I’m taking pictures of and what I do with them.  I am now challenging myself to post two pictures to Flickr a day.  Hopefully that will grow into posting a blog more often too. 🙂

A big kick in what made this change for me was Lightroom 3.  It made it easier for me to edit my photos and be more creative with them.  And I don’t have to have a lot of knowledge on how to use it.  Unlike Photoshop, that I was using before.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  Photoshop is a excellent program, but I felt completely lost using PS.

So, I suppose this is in part suppose to be a photo blog. ha!  The following photos go from what the original photo looked like the final photo that ended up being my favorite I posted to Flickr this week.

This was the original photo.  I saw potential in it, so flagged it as one to work on.

I took the photo and fixed the exposure, brightness, contrast and a few other things.  At this point I was happy with it, but really felt more could be done with it.  I did though go ahead and post this one to Flickr.

I took the last photo and added on of tons of filters Lightroom has to choose from.  I then made a few more adjustments with grain and vignetting.  And the final result was this photo.  And I just love it!  I hope you enjoy it also.