Ducks in the Amazon River Basin…

I swear…Amazon does occasionally listen.  Either that, or they’ve been stalking my blog and decided to do something nice for me in hopes that I’ll boost their 3rd quarter earnings.

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THIS particular offering actually had me drooling.  Pliers?  Oh, yea, baby…bring it on!

Right now, I’m practically wedded to my Xuron Chisel Nose pliers.  They are my go-to’s.  I loved the Chisel Nose so much, I ended up going out and buying a second pair for those REALLY tight spaces…which, in my world, is almost anytime I build something.

Sculpture inherently demands the removal of as much ‘wiggle room’ as possible.

 

I’ve looked at, and drooled over, the Tronex tools for quite a while, as there are plenty of other maillers in my group who swear by them over my beloved Xurons.  There are only 2 reasons why I’ve not jumped at new tools.

  1. I love my Xuron’s, and they might feel ‘cheated on’ and
  2. HOLY SHIT – look at the PRICE of the Tronex!

Right now, though, my credit card is in time out status, as I’m not buying anything I don’t absolutely NEED because I’m gonna have to dump it in a box and move it, so the Tronex/Xuron/Me love triangle will have to wait until probably September.

Hmmm…my birthday is in September.  Maybe get myself a little something? 😀

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In totally unrelated news – last week, I got to walk to work exactly 1 time.  Rain, a wicked cold, and running for house-related things kinda ate up the rest of my week.  But that one day I did get to march my happy feet on the pavement, I had a solidly FUN experience.

Because of the rain, my normal route was slightly flooded.  The park IS right next to the river, after all, and when it rains, it retains.  We had enough standing water to flood out the walking path right along the river bank.  But looking at the bright side of things, the new puddles did serve to amuse the ducks…

Duck in puddle

The good news was, the park wasn’t flooded enough for me to have to turn around.  I could still get up the hill and take ‘the high road’ as it were.  Up by the street, the park has not flooded since I’ve been walking things.

When I got to the park on the walk home, I wanted to see JUST how much water was standing, figuring I could hike up the rise if things got too soggy.

And soggy, they were.  There were a couple of large patches of water covering the footpath and surrounding grasses.

But then, I took inspiration from the little duck I’d seen in the morning…

Shoes and socks came off.  Pant legs got rolled up.  And I SPLASHED my way through the standing water.

Why do we stop doing things like this when we’re adults?  It was FUN.

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Hard Water

Water.  H2O.  The stuff that the human body attributes over half of its mass from.

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Yea…that stuff.  Well, when it’s packaged in 36 individual, 20 oz bottles, all bound together with additional thick plastic – that stuff is both heavy and rock-hard…

I went shopping yesterday, picked up a new package just like the above, and thought…”I’ll just toss this over my shoulder to balance and get it up the stairs to the apartment that way.”

Now known as Mistake #1

Wellllllllllllllll…when you swing such an object upwards, getting enough velocity to counteract gravity, (which demands such things go DOWN), and you don’t move your face out of the way of this heavy, fast-moving object – it’s gonna hurt…

Maybe I’ll volunteer at the battered-woman’s shelter this weekend – the bruise should be nicely purpled by then….

Ouch…

 

The Dirty Dozen

Tempest teacup crop

2014 to 2014. RIP little buddy…

Have I mentioned lately that I was infected with the photography bug a few years ago – and that as a result, I suffer from an obsessive desire to point various lenses at strange, twisted, ordinary or really beautiful things?  That this illness additionally manifests as an almost manic need to show these images to everyone who can stand a chance-encounter with my blog or my Facebook page?

There.  Photography is a disease.  Does that make my camera a drug?

Last year, after the frenzy of Christmas had died away to the cold doldrums of January in Wisconsin, I started browsing the web to alleviate the boredom.  The trouble started when I found my browser looking at cameras.

When all else fails…blame the computer!

Big cameras…complete with big price tags.  Cameras with them scary interchangeable lens systems and multiple menus and complex books for how to operate them.  In February, I dragged my credit card out of my wallet, and made it (well, the company who issued it, really) rather happy by using it to adopt a Canon Rebel.  Since then, I’ve had a lot of fun pointing it at the aforementioned strange things.

Now…here comes the hard part.  Going back through the files in my computer, I’ve chosen the “Dirty Dozen” – my 12 favorites, shot with the new camera.  These are the ones that I Ooooooh’d and Ahhhhh’d over when I saw what I’d captured in the small view screen, and continued to get all Oooey-gooey over when they came out of the camera and onto my computer screen…

Of all these shots – only one was manipulated beyond simple straightening or cropping in ‘shop…and even that one was merely a simple change of background.  No colors, pixels, or lighting adjustments were made to any of the Dirty Dozen.

Do you know how HARD it was to pick only 12????

The first one is obvious – I see it every time I take a look at the T&T.  This is the shot that started the blog…got me back into writing…and eventuA Tempest and a Teapot copyally, introduced me to all of you.  This is the only picture in the group where I did major adjustments in ‘shop – I took the teapot on the rocks, clipped it from its original background, and dropped it in front of the waves.  Both teapot and wave images were by my hand, taken on the same day, at the same location – which is why they fit well together – I didn’t have to balance lighting values.

AIMG_0633This next one was the inaugural launch of the Canon – the SQO and band-mates had a show in Mid-March – their first live event in over a year.  the Canon was primed and ready to catch fantastic images!

This is actually a shot taken when the headliner band was on stage – a group called the Black Moods based in Tempe, AZ.  They actually toured all the way up here – in the uncertainty of Spring in Wisconsin (yea, I was impressed) to introduce themselves to the world.  This is actually a shot of the lead singer’s hair, as he flipped it around behind the mic.

A WE Energies

Let’s go a bit further in the year – June.  June 13th, to be exact.  Friday, June 13th.  We had a full moon due to come up that night, and those who follow the heavenly bodies declared that this would be a yellow, honey-colored globe rising.  Thus…the Honey Moon.
I celebrated this celestial event by heading to the same beach where the T&T shot was taken – this time at night.  While I was waiting for the moon to make her appearance, I squeezed off this fantastic reflective shot of the Electric Company plant.

A Dave holding the moonAnd when the moon finally rose?  I had the SQO capture the whole thing in his hand.

Sadly, this was the end of the little teacup featured quite heavily in the early days of the T&T on Google –  Friday the 13th reared its ugly head, and caused the teacup to shatter on the cement walkway.

A bird Feeder Close

Skipping forward another month – we have a family thing every year in July up at my Dad’s place on Lake Reinhart.  I did get coerced into taking some of the stilted, stiff, wooden family groupings (which weren’t even considered for the Dirty Dozen) I detest, but then I got to aim the lens at nature and the landscaping.  Three of this day’s shooting made the list.  This one is a favorite bokeh shot.

A pump and Drops FramedDad built his own ornamental pond in his yard, and decked it out with a small bridge, fountains, and ancient, rusty outdoorsy things.  I’ve always had an obsession with water and reflective surfaces, but in this shot, I didn’t focus on the water in the pool, instead concentrating on the spray of fluid jetting up from the fountain.

A Fireball 4

The last shot from the reunion at the lake was my oldest son.  He used to skateboard until an unfortunate spill from his board resulted in breaking his ankle in 3 places.  While I had hoped he would find a nice, safe hobby to replace throwing himself high in the air, allowing gravity to drag him back -hard- to the ground, he took up spinning bundles of Kevlar, soaked in kerosene and set on fire, around his body as he danced.  Seeing though this wasn’t enough to give me a mild heart attack, he attempted again to halt my bodily functions by actually spitting flames.

At one point in the day, he discussed how his hobby was not as hazardous as skating.  The reply?  “Dude…you’re breathing fire!”

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And speaking of fire – in September, the kid’s fire tribe held their last meet of the year.  Because I had shared the fire shot from the lake widely on Facebook, I was invited to point the camera at their group as they played with flame.  Out of that series, this one, and the one below, made the ‘Dozen.’

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After this shoot, I realized one major thing.  The shots taken earlier in the evening were great – as the night wore on, shots were less likely to be sharp – the reason?  Fatigue.  The arms start to get tired holding the camera up, and start to shake.  When taking shots in a dark location – any shaking is transmitted to the image.  Off I went to the ‘net in search of a new rig – the shoulder harness.  I can’t wait until the spinners do their thing again, as I’ll be ready to be steady throughout the night.

IMG_3287October rolled around, fading the greens of summer to the autumn palette of tans, reds, browns, and yellows.  I took one final stroll down the Waukesha Riverwalk and up Main Street to catch the Autumn feeling.

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And, finally, November.  The Feastaval.  I have to include this one in the ‘Dozen,’ because I absolutely love the shadow which appeared in the light of the staff…it’s sharp and crisp and painfully in focus.  The staff’s path created whirlpools of vibrant color.  a IMG_3442 crop

**Whew**

I’m spent.  Reviewing all the shots I’ve taken over the last year, even narrowing it down to ONLY the Canon shots, and then having to pick the best of the best…let’s just say I won’t be volunteering for any judging anytime soon.