A Tuesday Photo Challenge…on Thursday

Frank over at Dutch Goes the Photo  requested music as his Tuesday topic.  Granted, I’m late (again…) but I do have some shots that are very musical in nature, as my SQO is a musician.  So just another little quickie to share out my growing collection of instrument-themed photos…

I’m particularly fond of getting up close and personal with instruments.  The way they’re constructed, with stage lighting throwing dramatic colors and shadows on ’em…always an abstract artist’s banquet.

Headstock:

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Drums:

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Strings:

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The HoneyMoon’s over (Lake Michigan)

Originally published 6.15.2014 on The Tempest and the Teapot’s Google site.

This Friday, June 13th, 2014 – there was a rare event.  A full moon rising on Friday the 13th.  What made this moonrise even rarer was the coloration – a warm, amber-honey color was predicted for this rising.  Thus, the Honey Moon.

So, risking all the horrors of Friday the 13th – and when you’re carrying a DSLR camera to the beach/lakefront that’s a LOT of money to be daring the bad-luck fairy to look away from – the mythos of the full moon causing madness (ok…so I’m already crazy and didn’t need to worry too much about that one) and the SQO’s being bored, I dragged him into the car and off we went.

Once we got to the lake, I realized I had forgotten all about the whole ‘cooler by the lake’ thing, and was only wearing a light top with no sleeves.  Well…  Artists always suffer for their work.  My Turn!!!

We arrived a bit early – sunset was in full swing, but the moon hadn’t come up yet.   So, as I had some time to kill, I set up on my beach for some sunset shots.

I wasn’t disappointed – Mother Nature delivered a very purple sunset…

My beach on the Lake (and just to be clear, here, if I’ve gone to a location for shots 3x or more, it officially, at least in my mind, becomes ‘mine.’  My Beach, my Riverwalk, my Fountain, etc…) runs roughly northwest to southeast, so I can get both sunset and moonrise on the same location.

I foresee a foray out to my beach in my future…one VERY early morning.. to catch a sunrise.  

Two years, hasn’t happened yet.  Can I procrastinate, or what???

As we made our way up the concrete causeway to the round observatory extending into the Lake, I found – people.  Not many people, mind you…but just a few -as crazy as I am- with cameras extended toward the horizon to catch the Honey Moon rising.  Once again proving that I’m not the only nut-job in this state, but amongst a small, eccentric minority of slightly insane nature-lovers.

I snapped away.  Moonrise was well in progress, the color was fantastic, and the camera was singing in electronic joy.  Once I took my attention off the moon – I noticed the power plant further up the shoreline.  Beautiful, the way the reflections hit the water.

Say what you will about the cost of utilities these days, but I’ll forgive them my high-heat bill last winter for them putting out this spectacular light show on the shore.  But only last winter’s bills.  This winter, they’re on their own.

Now, I know I’ve mentioned that the SQO is a musician.  As a performer, he’s a natural in front of the camera.  I’ve lost count of the number of projects he’s appeared in – he’s always a willing vict…er…volunteer for whatever insane idea I have involving my camera.

I’d come across a number of forced perspective photos on the web – and naturally, the ‘what the hell’ just burst out of me in the throes of the moonrise (who am I to question the strange ideas blooming under the light of the full moon?)
Several moments of ‘just a bit to the right, now raise your hand JUUUUUUST a bit more, back to the left a hair, turn your head a little more, lower your chin, NOPE, too much, lower your hand a fraction of an inch,’ produced this ducky little shot.

 

And, as an aside – He was certainly more attentive to the Lakeshore temperature than I was – June, and he’s sensibly dressed in a leather jacket, hat, and scarf, while I’m doing the whole ‘Freezin’ for a Reason’ thing.

Overall, the shoot went well – but I couldn’t tempt the wicked fates of Friday the 13th by getting great shots without paying the price for my success – even with being under dressed, freezing my bunz off, and succumbing to the influences of the light of the crazy-generating moon.  (where do you think the term ‘lunatic’ comes from?)

Finally, there were no more good shots to be had.  As the moon rose higher in the sky, the amber hue faded away, until only the standard white moon filled the sky.  Quite pleased with my shots, I quickly packed things up…because by this time I was shaking more than a bit, I believe I started acquiring a lovely shade of blue, and the mosquitoes were undaunted by the brisk night air.

In Wisconsin, the mosquitoes grow fur to combat the weather!

The DSLR came off the tripod and into its bag – close and clip.  The Canon with the mega-zoom got looped around my neck.  The tripod was folded, but the legs were still extended.  The teacup had its own little bag to stay secure in, along with a smallish brass chalice I’d picked up at Goodwill (seriously, folks, if you’re ever looking for awesome photo props that won’t break the bank – go to your local Goodwill, St. Vincent de Paul, or any other resale shop in your area), and they were both nestled inside.

We made haste to the car – up the concrete sidewalk toward shelter and warmth, when I heard it.

A metallic tink. Followed by the breaking of glass.

I had forgotten to zip the bag with the teacup.  Both it, and the chalice, launched from the bag in a misguided attempt to break for freedom.  My poor, brave, foolish little teacup.  I guess the pressures of stardom were too much for it.  It must have been depressed to never be pressed into service as a container for a hot bath of Earl Grey, surrounded with happy, crunchy bikkies on the side.  It ended its life of photographic supermodel-dom on the concrete walkway for the observatory on Bender Beach on the Wisconsin side of Lake Michigan.

Rest in Pieces, little buddy. Friday the 13th took you from me, and the Honey Moon is now over…

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

Cee’s is a blog I stealth-follow.  I look at the pictures, I ooooooh, and ahhhhhh…and see her weekly challenges.  Most of the time I just view, as chainmaille has dominated the creative soup and the cameras sit (patiently) in their cases.

This will be the first time I’ve contributed to her photo-challenge.

Better late than never, eh?

This week, her challenge is glasses, cups and saucers.  Well…the T&T has LOADS of these things..so thanks a ton, Cee – for the opportunity to toss out a blog post featuring some of my favorite shots.

Octopot – by far the quirkiest teapot I’ve ever seen!

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My chalice – brewing up some potent water under the full moon’s face.

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Dare you try the wicked brew?  The martini glass here, with the glass etched in my own hand, now exists only in photographs.  It was a victim of fur-covered curiosity combined with gravity.

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This teacup will also be greatly missed – gravity and concrete took this darling from me.  I still occasionally shed a tear over his grave.

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Denial is More than a River in Africa

a 20161204_190027.jpgSunday morning, I woke early, went downstairs, plunked myself down in front of my work station, grabbed a pair of pliers, and started opening rings.

I had a dude to finish, a tassel to put on my chainmaille mala, and I was itching to start on a new whirly project.

I glanced out the window at the rising light, and saw…to my horror…

little white flakes falling out of the sky.

OK…it’s December in Wisconsin.  I’ve had the big coat in use for about a week now, and pulled the heavy boots out of the closet.  My scarf and gloves were right where I left them (in the arm and pocket of the big coat, respectively), and in good shape.  All the winter-wear was assembled are ready for action.   I should be ready for this, right?

 

Sooooo wrong.  I fight the first snowfall each year, usually by refusing to believe that the white stuff drifting in lazy spirals from the heavens above is actually there.

Ok…I fight MOST snowfalls this way…

Nobody does Denial better than me when it comes to the White Menace.

So…contrary to what you may have heard on the news, your local and/or international weather program, or what I can see when I look out the windows…none of that non-existent white stuff fell from the sky in the city of Waukesha on Sunday…nor was there any accumulation of the aforementioned imaginary frozen/air-puffed di-hydrogen monoxide on my car, the sidewalks, the street, or any nearby rooftops or tree branches.

But you gotta admit – for an atmospheric/precipitation-ish event that doesn’t exist…it was kinda pretty…

In unrelated news not regarding freak weather patterns – my street was home to another running event today – the 5k Santa Run.

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I got to see (and hear) a veritable gaggle of people dressed in red & green running, walking, whooping and hollaring their way up my street – all while I and Mariko stayed nice & warm and dry.

(the blue car in the photo is mine…notice the ‘not’ accumulation of white stuff on the windshield?)

 

 

 

Other events over this holiday season in Downtown – an ugly Christmas Sweater contest (and I got a doozy for that one!), horse-drawn carriage rides, an art crawl, a breakfast workshop with Santa, savings cards for all the downtown merchants, and even a ‘selfie-window-decoration’ contest for those visitors to the area.

I LOVE this downtown area – from Friday Night Live all summer long, to a huge Farmer’s Market, to the Christmas season – the merchants and denizens who live above them show a wonderful sense of community spirit that you just don’t find many places in the states, anymore…we CARE about this little piece of the Earth we inhabit, and it shows.

Love your friends.  Love your neighbors.  Mostly…love the little slice of the Planet you’ve put down your own roots.

Well wishes to all my internet friends from my tiny patch of dirt on these shortest days of our solar year.

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I Miss my Images

I’ve been having random fights with my PC.  It likes to crash when I’m not looking.  About 2 weeks ago – it crashed and stayed crashed.

 

I blame Windows 10.  All this nonsense started when Microsoft did a stealth update on my computer.

Did I ask for Windows 10?  No – seeing though every time the little prompt came up –

FREE UPGRADE – YOU KNOW YOU WANT THIS!!!!

I told the damn computer, No, I really, REALLY don’t want this.

I guess Microsoft thought they knew best, because one night, when the world was quiet and zzzz’s were being issued from the bedrooms upstairs…those sneaky little f**kers slapped 10 into my 6 year old PC without so much as a by-your-leave.

electronic rape, anyone?

I was perfectly OK with the Windows 7 OS that came with the PC – although, to be perfectly honest, XP was my favorite out of the Microsoft bunch.

10.  Really.  Sucks.  Not only do you have to deal with a perky, bubbly Cortana down on the left corner of the screen chirping “Ask me ANYTHING!”, she continually suggests that the Edge browser she’s tied to is far superior to the Firefox browser I’ve been running for 5 years.

She regularly disses Chrome, too…

Edge sucks more than Windows 10 and Internet Explorer combined.

Currently, I’m stuck on a little laptop…yet another Windows product, but a non-crashing one.

The problem with my laptop?  It doesn’t have any of my Excel workbooks (Keto & Chainmaille), any of my Word documents, Photoshop, or any of my images.

6 years of serious/semi-serious/goofy photo work – all stuck in a PC that my Eldest is still working on getting back to running status.  So far, he’s managed to remove 10, and reinstall 7 – but he still needs to update some of the drivers in the thing…

Gawd…I miss my image files…

So I’m gonna share out some of my favorites which are stuck in this WordPress storage site – for nostalgia…

 

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When the Moon…Moons you…

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This month’s full moon promised to be a good one, as the moon’s slightly elliptical orbit around the Earth would combine the close-point of this elongated oval with the moon being perfectly round in the night sky.

This means when the moon is close to the horizon, both rising and setting, it looks larger than normal, because (1) – the moon IS a bit closer with the wobbly orbit, and (2) the atmospheric distortion magnifies this phenomena.

The layman’s term for this is a SuperMoon.  A bigger than normal, bright man-in-the-mo0n face staring down at us plebes on the planet.

Can you say:  Photo-op?

I took a look at the celestial charts – the Full Moon was due to appear on November 14th – Monday.  Now – if I’d read a bit better – I’d have found that the moon would reach optimum ‘fullness’ on the 14th, all right – but a lot closer to moon-set (4 am-ish) than moon-rise (5 pm-ish).

I missed the Sunday evening rising – which (so I heard after the fact) was spectacular.

**Cue the frustration of the Photographic Muse** 

I soothed Ms. Shutter-bug Muse by reminding her that the Full Moon is, technically, a 3 night event – and that we could still get stellar shots on Monday Night – which we’d planned for.

**roll the clock ahead 24 hrs, please**

Monday night, after work.  A quick dash home to grab camera & gear, an even quicker run to the parking structure downtown.  Set up my perch on the 4th floor – a fairly high vantage point over the city with a nearly unobstructed view of East/North-east and completely open to the night sky.  Some quickie shots to settle available light vs. sensor settings.

Aaaaand – we wait.  Moonrise was supposed to be 5:06 pm in Waukesha.  It’s now probably quarter to six, and the horizon is still woefully orb-free.  I know what this means –

Heavy cloud cover – and an overwhelming amount of haze – are hiding the object of my photographic desire…

**Muse frustration-take II**

Rather than get discouraged with the lack-o-moonie – I rolled the camera around, snapping some interesting shots of the night city-scape from my vantage point.  The moon did, eventually, attempt to make an appearance – shoving some errant beams of light through the cloud cover, and I dutifully snapped up shots of the effort – just because.

Then I packed things away – and returned to life at the grocery store.

Adding insult to injury – the kids mentioned Tuesday night that when THEY went to the grocery store, the moon was out, in all it’s Super-glory, low in the sky and not a freaking cloud in sight.  I – managed to get myself stuck in traffic for the event.

Better luck next time, eh?

 

 

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Lights…Camera…ACTION!

 

Camera work.  For me, it’s an on-again, off-again obsession.

A lot of times, I get a satisfactory dose of camera work whenever I finish up a new chainmaille piece…after all, the thing has to be properly photographed and listed on Etsy.   Using the smart phone and a tiny tripod, it’s become semi-regular to set up the shot, frame, shoot, edit, and post – all from the comfort of my work station.

It isn’t often the Camera Muse stirs from her hibernation for purely artistic reasons – but when she woke at the mention of an event going on in Hales Corners – she REALLY woke.  Not only did she roar through my mind like a toddler hyped on sugar & the Muppets, she organized the other muses with more vengeance than the Greek Furies.  At one point, the whole lot of ’em were picketing the command center of my brain – DEMANDING I get my buns and the big camera to …

The China Lights Event.

Now – granted – it didn’t take that much persuading.   The China Lights event at the Boerner Botanical Gardens is a traveling display of Chinese Paper-lantern artworks.  These are brightly lit, intricate displays set against the velvet dark background of nighttime – My personal favorite when it comes to art photography…

The rest of the household?  It didn’t take much persuasion to get the kids to agree – they’re always searching out new and exciting things to look at – and with them being fire-spinners, night-time light shows are already a part of their psyches.

The SQO was less enthusiastic, but he was pleased to see the creative flows boiling over in me, so was ultimately happy to come with.

So the whole lot if us jumped in my Cheap-Jeep and off we went to the wilds of Hales Corners.

In retrospect- my use of the words ‘wilds’ may be a bit…off.  Hales Corners is a perfectly urban city-type population mass on the south end of the Milwaukee Metroplex.  The only ‘wilds’ are in my imagination…

Traffic was heavy once we got close.  Got even heavier once we saw the squad car with full party lights spinning blocking the entrance to the botanical gardens – announcing a full parking lot at the event and waving all us wanna-be light-show viewers to the side streets.  I managed to find a parking space about a half-mile away.

Here’s where I do an overt nod to the keto efforts of the summer.  I’ve lost some of my excess poundage, which has allowed me to be a bit more active.  I survived the walk TO the entrance, and the walk up the slight hill (another good half-mile) to the ticket booth without collapsing in a heap from the exertion.

The heavy traffic, the crowds, and the walking were totally worth it.

I’m sharing my favorite pics of the thing…

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D taking the time to stop and sniff the extremely illuminated flowers.

 

 

 

 

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These flowers look like they’re spilling from the basket.  This was set on a slight slope, so the basket is at the top of the hill.

 

 

 

 

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In case you were thinking ‘Botanical Gardens=floral displays ONLY,’ They didn’t JUST do flowers.  This zebra is sporting what can only be called a “Da Fuq YOU lookin’ at, Bro??” face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Or maybe the zebra was just upset because the pandas appeared to be having WAY too much fun on the seesaw!

 

 

 

 

 

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Of course – it wouldn’t be a China Light show without a resident dragon…

Here with D in the foreground for scale, and trees in front for a stained glass look.

 

 

We also had a detour into Holland, with various tulips and pinwheels.

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This has to be S’s favorite light sculpture…she’s been obsessed with praying mantis bu
gs lately, and she squealed in delight when we ran across this little guy.

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I think this one was my favorite – they had a walkway covered with these flower-forms.

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Here’s the whole gang (minus myself, who prefers to be behind the camera) under the flower-walkway.

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I’m fairly certain that the fan was their show-piece.  They had a little wood ‘stage’ set up in front of it for people to pose at.  D didn’t disappoint.

The fan deserved multiple shots…

As we were leaving the event, a bit footsore and a very sated Camera Muse in tow, I had to stop for one last shot.  This grouping was outside the ticket gate, in front of the Garden’s welcome center – and had a frog with, again, the ‘what chOOO lookin’ at’ expression.

Because it was ‘outside’ the gardens and not well-watched, D crossed the little rope ‘fence’ to get up-close and in the toad’s face.  Gotta love my Rebel 😀

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