Theme Thursday: Crop

I’ve not had (taken?) the time the last few weeks to really get into the photography themes on Thursdays.  But today I have a few minutes (wow!) and I actually had the presence of mind to think of Theme Thursday at the same time.  Yay me!

A couple weeks ago I shared a photo of the Seafarer’s Memorial out on the Homer Spit at sunset.  I showed the original and how I cropped it to make it better.  (Better in my opinion, anyway.)  Less can be more, right?

With our warm snow-less winter, we once again have water from the ‘bog’ flowing over the driveway.  It flows during the day, and freezes at night, so we have a new sheet of ice each morning.  (Steady below freezing temps, or snow that can be plowed into a dam of sorts generally prevents this from happening!)  The other day the girls decided to slide around a bit before we headed to town.  I snapped this photo of them:



It’s got the neighbor’s house and the corner of my Jeep, neither of which adds anything to the photo.  The girls are kinda lost in the massiveness of everything else.  So, I cropped it to this:


Shazaam!  The main feature of the photo is now the ice!  And the girls provide a bit of comic relief, as well as size context.

Cropping is fun.  :-)


Take a gander over here to see what cropping others have done this week!

Aurora Borealis

A couple weeks ago we finally caught the aurora!  Hubby had seen little wisps a couple times, but never a grand display.  It seemed that either it was cloudy, or we slept through it, or something.  But finally, finally, he saw it!  The girls were a little under the weather, but we got them up, too.  It was around 5am, I think.  Miss S got a good look.  Miss D….well, she tried, but she had a nightgown on and was a bit chilly and then had to use the bathroom.  All that combined with not feeling the best didn’t make for the greatest opportunity for her.  She saw a little bit, but didn’t really get a good dose.  We’ll have to try again another time, because she’s excited, especially after seeing the few photos I took!

I grabbed the camera and the tripod, assembled them at the top of the porch steps, set the lens to manual focus, and then just hit the shutter button a few times.  I’d say these came out pretty good for what amounts to snapshots!  Next time, maybe I’d like to take a few more minutes to do some experimenting with camera settings.   But I’m really tickled to have gotten any photos that came out even halfway decent.  And I’m doing a happy dance that after over 7 years in Alaska, hubby finally got to see them!


Truthful Tuesday: Rain

Used to be, I loved rain.  And I still do….just not in January, in Alaska.  And not after beautiful snows.  And not day after day after day in the winter.  It is glorious in the summer, in the spring, even in the fall!  But in the winter?  I want snow.  And temperatures below freezing.

This pic was a snapshot taken on New Year’s Day.  Yes, the girls are in rain suits and rain boots.  No winter gear necessary.  It was 40 and pouring rain.  It had been raining for long enough that most of the ice was gone, leaving soggy grass and some mud in its wake.


They were having a blast, and in no way do I want to take away from that.  I should probably take a lesson from them in enjoying whatever the weather brings.  Still, I can dream of snow…

Seafarer’s Memorial at sunset

Last fall we over-extended ourselves.  Too many scheduled activities – many of them right before dinner.  We underestimated just how much effort it would take to get each girl to the right thing on the right day, along with just how erratic and unscheduled M-Man would still be.  So, this semester we shifted a few things around.  In reality, we only dropped one event for one girl.  But the ability to move a couple things to different days has already made a big difference!  One of those changes led to both girls being at the same place at the same time for about 90 minutes one day a week.  Whoa.  Last week, the Mr. and I decided we’d both go to town and we’d do a wee date while the girls were busy.  We headed out to the spit while the little guy was sleeping, and then did a walk on the path as the sun was going down.  It was chilly, but so nice to be out and about!  I snapped a few photos, including this one:



It had been a drizzly, grey day.  The clouds were finally moving on for a bit, and the sun was peaking out from below as it set.  The lights in the Seafarer’s Memorial were on.  The sky, the clouds, the water, the icy road…they were all various shades of grey.  It was pretty cool.  And I really like the way the photo turned out.  Not bad for a snapshot!  Looking at it later, I realized I’d like it even better without all the extra sky.  So, I cropped it.


I like the balance of this one better.  Although maybe I took off a little too much sky, because the road is much more prominent now.  Hhm…  Eh, no, I like it.  It may not be technically perfect, but I like it!  Hooray for date walks, and photo cropping!

Truthful Tuesday: M-Man is 8 months old

So, this may not really be admitting something.  But it is truthful.  And it is Tuesday.  So, it works.  Right?

My little guy is eight months old.  As with most parents, it seems like he can’t possibly be that old and yet how can he only be 8 months?  Insert melancholy maternal sigh here.

A few days ago I put him on his big sister’s cart thingy, and he was absolutely delighted!  He can sit for a bit (before losing his balance and toppling sideways) and he can rock it back and forth.  I think it is only a short time until he’s going to be motoring around on that thing, fighting with his 4 year old sister who still insists she’s not too big for it.


Truthful Tuesday: We find things.

We live surrounded by muskeg.  It is always wet, but the water is just under the surface, saturating the mossy, peaty vegetation.  There are various narrow slashes carved into the ground to try to drain water away from the house and driveway.  There is an area where a former resident tried to widen a drainage spot to for a shallow pond, but it didn’t work and now it is just a large puddle.  We live 800 feet above sea level, and are a mile or so from the bluff that drops down to Cook Inlet.

So, imagine our surprise when I found half a kayak paddle floating in the puddle.


We found this oar in the water you can see at the upper left of the photo (before that water froze).


Judging by the rusty sludge stuck to it, it has been in that water for a while.  Where did it come from?  Why did it suddenly appear after we’ve lived here 4 years?

If we travel up hill from the house, we slog through more muskeg, then some wooded area, then the highway.  No rivers, no lakes right nearby.  And the muskeg is certainly not kayakable.  If only it could tell us the story…  Maybe it is something as simple as a windstorm blowing it from a nearby residence.  Maybe there is something more entertaining?

This property has a bit of a colorful past, as does the small ‘neighborhood’ nearby.  We often find oddities.  Random bolts in trees, a wheel-less skateboard, ropes tied in strange places, boards covering a stash of boots and gloves, a stump that just keeps rising out of the ground…and more that I’m sure I’m forgetting.  Some we’ve thrown away, some we’ve just left alone.

Another truth?  My camera trigger finger has been itchy lately.  I’ve got a half-baked idea to try to photo document some of the ‘found’ things that are still there.  This could get interesting!  (Or it could totally flop.  But I’m going to try for ‘interesting’!)

Theme Thursday: (Broken) Rule of Thirds

I’ve always been one to follow the rules….except when I don’t.  Today is leaning more toward the don’t side of things, at least in regards to Theme Thursday.  But since there are no rules, I can’t really break them.  So does that mean I’m actually following the rules?

Now that your brain is spinning in circles, let’s get to my submissions for this week.  I think these photos DO have to do with the rule of thirds.  There are three children, so each is a third of the photo.  As a rule, it is almost impossible to have all three thirds looking in the same direction and smiling.  Now, honestly, some of the best photos are those that aren’t perfectly lined up and eyes the same way and immaculate smiles.  But yet we try for that so often, and in doing so, end up with some heartwarming photos, even if they are nothing close to technically perfect.  This one is one of my favorites in that category.

It was the same day, as we were about to go inside for naps and cocoa, that I saw the wagon and thought I’d try for a holiday card type photo.

First, snowflakes on the lens and strange expressions on all three thirds.



Then the snowflake problem is fixed, but there are still funny faces on two thirds.



(Imagine lots of other not-even-as-good-as-these images.  I won’t subject you to all those.)

And then you finally say, how about we just goof off?  This is getting too serious.  And voila!



Almost all photography rules about thirds broken, but I like it!  With a bit of cropping, I could make this fit with the more proper rules.  But I don’t want to.  At least, not today.  Today I’m not following those rules.  :-)

Head over to see Micaela for more about the Rule of Thirds.

Three Peas in a Pod…

Let’s start the new year off with a smile, ‘k?  We may or may not get our traditional New Year’s Day snowshoe – I don’t like snowshoeing in rain, I admit.  It is windy and raining outside, but a few weeks ago we did have good snow!  I am truly blessed that all my kiddos seem to enjoy being outside.  We’re hoping for more snow days this winter!  Here are my little peas in a pod, out in the snow.  :-)


To new perspectives…


Usually, I’m kinda sad to see the year end, even if I’m excited about what the new year will bring.  And I admit to sometimes scoffing at folks who make a big deal out of the change on the calendar…because it seems a rather superficial way to delay making a change.  BUT, I also know that sometimes superficial markers make it easier, and I certainly do use others.  Anyway….this year has been rough.  I’m finding myself joining the ranks of those looking forward to tomorrow, because we can claim it as a fresh start, one with an easy spot on the calendar.

I just got to watch Inside Out a couple days ago.  I think my Joy has been running around in my long-term files for a bit.  I’m going to actively bring her back to headquarters this year!  My smile has been neglected too much lately.

Here’s to:

  • recognizing tough times, and moving beyond
  • finding Joy even as daily life seems bleak
  • continuing to be fantastically amazed by my children
  • smiling and laughing and hugging and grinning
  • not getting bogged down with what I haven’t done
  • embracing new beginnings
  • finding new – and better  – perspectives

Sunrise a few days ago brought about the most amazing orange and pink light.   I grabbed a couple quick snapshots, as it was also incredibly windy and we were in the middle of something (though I don’t remember what now).



I say adieu to the last year, and welcome to the new one.  Let’s make it grand, shall we?

Truthful Tuesday…or Wednesday.

So, a friend and a few folks I know have started a new weekly theme FB post.  They call it ‘Truthful Tuesday’.  Each week they share something truthful about themselves that others may or may not know.  It might be something light, it might be something more meaningful, often with a photo.  They are making it fun.  I’m drifting away from FB (I have an on again/off again love/hate relationship with it) right now, but I like the idea.  So, I’m going try to do my own ‘Truthful Tuesday’ here.  We’ll see how it works (especially given my recent [lack of] ability to actually get here and post anything, LOL!)

Right now, one of the things heaviest on my mind is the death of my phone.  I mean, it is old in electronics years.  It is an iPhone 4s.  I’ve had it at least 4 years.  (Geez, how can that be old?)  Anyway, a few days ago I had it in my back pocket, as I usually do.  I have one pair of jeans where it doesn’t like to stay in my pocket, especially when I sit or use the toilet, and usually I remember to pull it out when necessary.  But….this time I totally forgot. (I blame sleep deprivation, but that’s a whole ‘nother topic.)  I went about my bathroom business as usual, and as I was standing up, heard the tell-tale splash and thunk.  (Why does this never happen in a clean toilet?)  I immediately swallowed hard and reached in to grab it.   Pulled it out, rinsed it, pulled off the case, rinsed it, and dried it all.  Then I tried to turn the phone on.

Nothing.  No response.

I plugged it in to the charger and tried to turn it on again.

Nothing.  No response.

ARGH!!!!!  With unemployment still the name of the game in our house, and having just done our small holiday shopping the day before, a new phone was NOT something I wanted to contemplate affording.

I put the phone in a container of rice and crossed my fingers.  Tried it again later that day…

Nothing.  No response.

Tried it the next day.  Same thing.

And again for the next couple days.

I vented to some online friends.  One offered to send me her old phone next week when her new one came in.  Her old one is an iPhone5…one step newer than my dead one.  I would just have to wait a week.  Now, a week or so over Christmas is about the worst week of the year for me to be without a  phone.  Yet, here was a generous person wanting to help me out, one who didn’t want anything in return.  Yes, of course I will wait a week.

Hubby and I will share his cell phone until then.  I’m trying to figure out how to get my calls forwarded to him.  All the instructions say to do something on the phone you want forwarded…yeah, that’s a problem.  Not sure about texts, either.  Hopefully anyone trying to get a hold of me will be understanding!

And this is the story of how my phone diving into a dirty toilet has a happy ending.  I will get a working phone, and a friend will get to do a good deed.   Happy holidays, y’all!

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