June 2017

featuredjune29

Sweet Dreams are Made of These

Well, a little over a week has gone by and what has Maggie been up to, you ask? Of course, taking photos, being lazy, contemplating her navel, being lazy, taking a few more photos and so on and so forth; but you are here, so why not stay and take a look?

To start with, I’ll address the title of this blog: “Sweet Dreams are Made of These”.  I took some dandelion fluff photos (don’t know what they are officially called) but when I put it up on FAA, I got a comment from Michel that it reminded him of the Annie Lennox song and then another comment by Rene where she said it reminded her of the same thing. Now I can’t help myself and when I look at it, I hear Annie singing that song so I had to name the blog after that, because… who am I to disagree! :-D   Here is the image in question:

Sweet Dreams

I also did another dandelion fluff image that reminded me that apparently kids blow on dandelion fluff and make wishes.. and being a big kid at heart, I wished everyone could just close their eyes, and make a wish and I hoped all your dreams would come true. We could all use some good happening to us!

Close your eyes and make a wish

Besides the dandelion fluff images, I did take other photos albeit they didn’t make the cut for being sold but I think they are interesting in other ways.

Every year when my lilacs blossom, I get yell0w swallowtail butterflies and clearwing hummingbird moths circling it, sucking and nibbling away as if the best dessert were offered. This year was not different except it was. Usually the butterflies and moths are much bigger and so into the yummy treat that they completely ignore me and slowly chomp away. Not this year though. The swallowtail wingspans are normally about 4 inches wide, so quite bigger than regular butterflies. This year… only 2 inches or a little more perhaps?

yellow swallowtail butterfly

Some of them like the one above were in good condition, but some look like they just came back from war and needed hospitalization. I don’t know if they had been in a fight or just had extreme  trouble getting out of their chrysalis. Also the hummingbird moths were tiny and lacked vibrancy.  Looks how sad this looks:

humming bird mothHere it is not even feeding, just resting and warming up its wings

Look at a photo of a hummingbird moth from a previous year:

hummingbird moth

 

Besides being more vibrant and beautiful, this year both the moths and the butterflies were extremely jittery.  Maybe it was because although the sun was shining, the wind was cold and it was chilly. Believe me.. I think I was a little jittery too.

On Monday, there was an inauguration of a park that would be on main street downtown which has several places to sit down and have a coffee or a snack. The park would be called ‘Parc Albert Dumais’, named after the man that left the space in his will to the town and wished it would be turned into a park. How cool is that? I decided I’d pack up my camera and a couple lenses and go. I hoped to get there early to get a good spot but on the way met Susan, whom I had not seen since the end of last summer. We had a bit of a chat; she told me she was leaving for England on Tuesday as her daughter was going to Oxford! Holy Moly… She had just been in Jordan helping out at a Syrian Refugee camp trying to help get them passage way to Canada. Now in Oxford.. way to go girl! :-)   I got to the inauguration on time, but later than I hoped and was behind a lot of people. Of course, it started off with members of the town council:  the mayor, minister of culture etc., giving their prerequisite speeches: yada, yada, yada.. applause, applause, more yada, yada, and more applause. Finally the entertainment: Abidixie.  I was expecting some sort of Blues Band.. but as you can see in their name: Dixie.. it was a bit more dixieland but it was fine. It is probably not something I would buy to listen to, but they were good musicians and it was a nice time.

Abidixie

There was also a guitar player that is not in the photo but I didn’t bring a wide lens and would have to move backwards and behind the crowd so wouldn’t have been able to get a picture anyways.  I am also embarrassed to say that something unusual happened to me because of how I normally shoot.  I shoot manual. Never Aperture priority or the P or TV or whatever they are called. I learned how to use manual when I had a point and shoot and have always shot that way. My son used the camera on the weekend to shoot a girl, her boyfriend and her parents for her high-school graduation. The weather (as has been the norm this year) was all over the place; sunny, cloudy, raining, cold, warm.. argh.. so he put the camera to A: aperture priority. Ha… well, Maggie.. couldn’t get it out of that mode. Seriously. I didn’t know how.. How could it be that I have used a camera almost every day for the last 14 years and didn’t know this… I am really not used to letting the camera decide what it thinks I should do and  wanted to crawl into a ball to have to feel like I was not going to get any shots. It was very sunny out, there was tons of contrast and the wind was cold and here I was pretending to know what the freak I was doing.. .but didn’t.  A friend finally helped me out, but I kept thinking inside: God.. he’s going to think I’m such an idiot!

While I was there, I met Anni Leblanc who is a commercial photog from this area. I met her when I joined an art group exhibition a few years ago. Apparently she’s not doing her photography right now as there was water damage and mold and then she got ill and has finally just recovered. She told me she also had signed up to got to school in Laval every second weekend or so to take some photography/psychology courses.  I had never heard of this before but I wish her much luck. One thing I wish I had like her: the ability to sell herself. Man.. she knows how to work it. She has that instinct and the confidence. I could use an extra dose! :-D

I did take a few images, but mostly just of the people at the event.  Here this little girl is offering up a chip to the older lady. Maybe she’s her grandma or something but then maybe not. It was so sweet! Want a Chip?

There was also these two little boys with probably their dad. They had seen something higher up.. it’s a bird, it’s  a plane.. I don’t know… maybe it’s superman! :-D

Look Up

The event was almost over when I noticed this guy that I recognized. Yes, a guy that I have befriended on Facebook but that I used to go to school with. He was moving in front of the crowd to get better photos. Yes, like me, he brings his camera around with him all over the place. Although we went to school together, we really didn’t talk. I think we were both too shy but on Facebook we’ve become friends because we share the same passion. He does mainly landscapes and as most of you know, I do mostly still-life but also like me, can’t help from taking pictures of everything else! :-D LOL.

I’m really not an extrovert type of person but I took my courage in both hands and blind-sided him and said hello! I think he was quite surprised to see me. It was pretty noisy at the event, but we sat down and had a bit of a chat. Some lady came and asked him for a book of his photos and he left for a short time to get one. He lives very close-by (so close you could practically spit to clean his windows!) and later he got me a copy to show me too. Gorgeous photos.. holy cow. I don’t do landscape but I know good when I see it and his stuff is really good.  He had to leave but gave me the book as a gift. How kind, right?  I live close to the woods so one day we’ll go and shoot together. That would be great. I was so pleased to meet him. Great Guy!

The next day there was a lot of chirping going on in my backyard. I went out to see and found that there was many juvenile birds that were learning how to fly around. They were pretty big for juveniles but some birds are like that. I wasn’t really sure if they were grackles or starlings but the net says probably starlings. If you know better, please let me know and I’ll correct it here!  It was again, kind of cold but sunny and very windy so I found them both cute and hilarious at the same time. Loos at the one to the left.. trying to keep his balance… and how funny the one to the right is with his feathers all lifted up like that.. haha!

Windy out there

then a quick pic of some columbines

Columbines

then back to the birdies

Ruffled FeathersWould you look at those feathers? so cute!

then of course, I’m distracted by tall grass with lupine behind. Yes, the lupines are pretty but I like them as a backdrop in here!

tall grass

And then again, back to the birds… yes, yes.. don’t call me a bird brain, please! :-d

Pick that nose

Here I’m not sure if he’s scratching his head or picking his nose.. I’ll say he’s picking his nose.. that’s way funnier! :-D

Besides hanging around on the telephone and cable wires, they also sought food in the grass but when a plane passed overhead, they head for the trees!

flyaway

Then yesterday, I went out and picked some Irises from the front yard. I brought a bunch to my neighbor Lyne and today I took some pics of mine to share with you all.  They are not the same Irises that are on the Quebec flag but Siberian Irises but they usually bloom on St-Jean, which is my province’s holiday on the 24th of June so I consider them like ‘my’ St-Jean Irises. This year they are a few days late… but as I repeatedly said several times in this blog post.. the weather has been weird!

Siberian Iris

Although they look like they are only one color, they actually are hiding an array of yellow and white lower down

siberianiris2

They will not last very long.. a few days at most but I think they are beautiful. I’m easily pleased.

Most of these images are simply shared via my blog for those that like to know how my mind works and what I take photos of. The only images that I uploaded to FAA are the dandelions as I thought they were good enough. the other are just photos that I need to take.. even though they will never go far. Some of the photos are bigger than what are shown here but if you click on them, you will be able to see them a bit bigger.

As always, I adore it when people come by and even so much more when they take the time to leave a comment. Hey, so and so came and read this.. and then I think perhaps if you didn’t write a novella every time you blog, maybe more would come.. maybe more would comment!

Now off to watch some Masterchef Australia that I downloaded. So much better than the Canadian, American, British etc., Masterchefs… the Australian one has SO much heart! nothing can compare!

 

 

featurejune17

Chiana and My Photoshoot

The weather has been all over the place lately with the sun poking out its head and then rain on and off, several times a day. I decided that I would pick some flowers before they became all rusty from the rain and do a shoot. A couple of days before I brought in some forget-me-nots that I noticed were blooming when I went out to put some clothes on the clothes line in the back yard. On a side note; it was just a load of towels and the first time I’d put clothes out this year because of the weather. Well, to start off, all my plastic clothes pins just snapped in two. I had left them out during the winter, and believe me, they were no longer good for holding anything. I did however have some wooden ones and since I didn’t have that many pieces decided that  I probably had enough. So I began to pin them up when what happens? The clothes line breaks! yes… my towels on the ground in the grass and now I have to bring them all in, all wet and heavy and put them in the dryer. Now I need to buy not only new pins but a whole new line! Yes, the life of a photog is very glamorous as you can see! :-D

Back to my photo shoot. :-D

So anyways, I decide to see what’s blooming that I can use. There are some Lupins that look fine. They are not bright blue like the Texas Bluebonnets variety, but they are a mixture of a subdued pink and some darker, murkier blues but I think I will be able to do something with them. Oddly enough, these flowers grow in my yard but I have never planted them. They grow wild in the woods and I think I may have somehow dragged some seeds on my pants while out wandering around doing what I love to do… taking photos. I also find that I have some irises that have bloomed, not many but that’s okay and my lilacs are just starting to bloom so I should just grab a bunch of those too. They are not completely open, but we are expecting rain on and off so figure that some is better than none.  I rummage through my containers to choose items I could use for this shoot. I actually like to use small teacups and stuff the most but these are all quite big, so out come the teapots and yes, a large vase. The vase is out of crystal and not something I would ever buy myself as it’s fancy and I prefer a more minimalist look but it’s from my dad and he brought it back from Europe and I have to say that when the light hits the cuts on it, the rainbow of colors that spills out is amazing.

choice of containers

Okay, I think I’m ready. Of course, Chiana, my cat, has noticed that I’m going to do a shoot and comes to investigate. What you all must understand is that she is never available for a shoot if I want to shoot her, but almost always available to stick her head or her butt in when she has not been called upon. Some of you may think that I’m a cat person and that is odd because I grew up with dogs and never thought I would ever have a cat but friends of my son had found a pregnant abandoned cat and brought her home to take care of her. Once she had her kittens, they were all given away, but nobody wanted Chiana as she was the runt. My son said, maybe you’d like a cat, mom. And I said, no, I don’t think so.. but he brought her home just to show me.. ahem… yes, then you put this tiny thing in your hand… she was so small and your heart just melts. I could not send her back.  I named her Chiana because of the name of a female alien in a sci-fi tv show called Farscape. She was all grey and silver and very catlike and I thought her name fit my new cat to a T. It’s been already 11 years since I got her, but look at how tiny she was with her eyes just bulging out of her head, could you have sent her back?

My Cat, Chiana

So back to the shoot. Once I placed the lupins on the table, I had not even chosen how to place them yet when she got upon the table  and decided to check out what was going on.

Cat notices I'm doing a shoot

 

Hey Maggie, are you doing a shoot? Perfect, time for me to see if you are doing things correctly!

Cat confirms I'm doing a photoshoot

Actually, do you know what? I think this looks like a very comfortable place to lay down! Let me test this out.

The Cat settles in

 

Oh, Chiana.. you are not serious are you?  I take a shot from the other end of the table.. yes, that is the vacuum cleaner you see… and behind that my computer area… oh, yes, if I knew beforehand,  the monitor would not be showing my spam folder. LOL

The Cat gets comfy

She is a beautiful cat though, you have to admit.  Look how much she’s grown!

the cat is pretty

I figure I’ll lure her away with some lilacs… they smell nice but cats can be finicky about such things… so we shall see.

cat smelling lilacs

Cat will not budge

They smell fine, Maggie. Continue with your shoot! :-D

Well, the morning shoot was not to be… Chiana stretched out and settled in for a snooze and I decided I’d try later in the day.

Preparing for her cat nap

Later that afternoon, I did do a shoot but I promise you, she was on the table but at the other end. I really didn’t get to do the shots that I thought I would.

So I did a couple shots of some forget-me-nots closer in:

polka dots in the morning

The old copper pot

Copper pot and an apple

then finally decided to do some shots closer up

Never forget our love

 

and

Forget me not

and a triptych of some irises

Triptych of Irises

I also did the featured image at the top with the forget-me-nots and the feather.

Some people may say that I should have just shoved the cat down but really, it was kind of funny. ;-)

Also, if some of you missed my last blog entry about my run in with a duck and what I thought was a beaver but turned out to be a muskrat! http://maggieterlecki.com/fine-art-photography/2436/here-comes-the-sun

A reminder:  To see the images a bit bigger, be sure to click on them and also, if you have never commented here before, the site puts your comment in a queue for me to check out before the post shows up but every time you comment after that, it will know that you are okay and it will not be held. I also love to hear your comments because I know that someone has stopped by to look at the photos and maybe even read what I write!

:-) Maggie

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Here Comes the Sun

To quote the Beatles, Here Comes the Sun, it feels like years since it’s been here! :-D

Ha.. well, after literally weeks of daily rain, it appears we will have a few days of sunshine and I was really pleased to get out into the warm weather. I decided yesterday, that I would go out after 4 for a couple of hours to be back around 6-6:30 for supper, which seemed reasonable and I thought the sun would not be as direct than earlier in the day. When I got up in the morning, it was still fresh, so although I had a shirt on, I was wearing pants that were kind of thick (like fake suede) and thick socks, but I thought I’d be fine so didn’t change when I went out. I also only brought 2 lenses… because, well, they get heavy. So, since trees are just starting to flower, I brought a macro (which also being a 105mm ) can take slighter wider angle images and a telephoto .. well, just in case!

I went down to an area where there is usually a tiny stream.. since several years, it seems like it was just a trickle, but with all the rain we have had, there was plenty of water. Water is always so lovely in the woods as it brings lightness with it and reflection and just makes any image better.stream

If you look at the top of the image, you will notice a couple logs that are crossing the stream. As I was about to leave, I noticed some movement there but I was using the 105 and it was too far to see. So I switched lenses to the telephoto and had to up the ISO as it was darker up there where the sun was hidden by the trees.  Moving in closer, I was to have a bit of a surprise… there was a Mallard Duck! Holy Cow! How cool was this?

Mallard Duck

Actually, I was just telling Carol about this on Skype this evening and only when I was doing post did I realize there was another duck there. If you look directly right of the log, almost completely hidden is another mallard… a female! This was a surprise to me tonight because I did not even notice until just now.

Sadly I couldn’t get a composition that I really liked as this was taken from way up a small hill, looking down, and it was very steep. I was thinking that if I was with someone, I might have shimmied down and then I would have back-up to get back up! :-D But it was not to be and I tried going around to the other side, but there just was no way to get a better view … so I figured I’d come back the next day in the morning when the light was on the side that would illuminate it better and I’d at least have a less noisy image.

On the way into the woods, I noticed these nice yellow globe flowers someone had planted in their backyard so took a few photos of those. Nothing extraordinary but most photogs will understand not being able to pass anything by.

 

globe flower

 

I then entered the woods and parts of the trail were simply full of water and you had to walk on the very side and grab a branch or two along the way to not fall into those huge puddles.

I was starting to feel quite hot and sweaty and not great… really not great… like I should get to a bathroom soon, and not to pee. Yes, I ‘m sure you all understand what I’m saying. To make matters worse, the mosquitoes were relentless and I was getting pretty hot. To save weight, I had not brought any water, and having had only an orange for lunch, was thinking I should have brought some nuts or something to keep my blood sugar up… well, no.. of course not! heh.

So I decide that I will go home. There’s no way I’m going to defecate in the bush with swarms of mosquitoes watching close-by awaiting their chance and it was just not going to happen. I took a trail that leads out but into the back lane of a row of houses. At the end of the lane, I can see an elderly man cutting the grass behind his house. When he sees me approach, he stops me to ask how the mosquitoes are.. haha… I don’t want to be rude as my mother taught me to have good manners and be nice.. so I stop to chat. He says “Why don’t you have a big referee whistle around your neck? ” “Now, why would I do that?” and he goes on to tell me that he’s lived in his house for the last 40 years and in that time all the instances where bears, coyotes, wolves etc., have traveled through his back yard.  Now, remember, I need to go to the bathroom… but I can’t tell this stranger that.. but the sweat is starting to burst out of my forehead and I’m starting to get really worried. He seems oblivious.. oh, yes, one time he left something in the bbq and went somewhere with a friend and to be honest, this part of the story gets a little screwed up as my mind is preoccupied with what is going on in my body and that I really, really need to go. After this, I tell him that I’m really sorry but I need to be somewhere and must leave and reluctantly he lets me go.

It’s another 10 minutes before I get home and seriously, unlocking the door, I think I was starting to shake a bit. Open darn door… and finally it does, and I sprint to the bathroom without a second to spare.

 

PHEW!!!!!!!

 

 

So this morning, another beautiful day with warm weather, I decide I’m going to go back to the stream with the light in the right area of the sky and hope that the duck is still there (yes, I know now there is another duck.. I guess they were trying to have a bit of a love connection but I didn’t know about the other duck, right? ).  I don’t bring my bag, I only bring my telephoto as that’s what I’m after. It’s already hot out, but it’s not very far, I will be fine.

I get there and there is not a duck in sight.  Nothing, nada. Ugh. I’m disappointed but there is nothing to do, that’s how the cookie crumbles some times. I’m just about to leave when something starts crossing the top of the tree trunk. I pull up my camera and missed his face by a millisecond.

muskrat1

 

oh my gosh.. what is that? I think it might be a beaver, but I’m not sure.. I’ll have to check the photos at home. I’ve been able to take 3 photos in all before he disappears to the other side. Once home, I realize that it doesn’t have a beaver’s tail, it’s furry and internet search makes me believe it’s a muskrat! Of course, someone out there might know better and correct me and that’s fine as I’m not positive.

muskrat's tail

I try to enter the woods from the other side to see if I can see it better but I cannot see it. To be fair, he does blend into the landscape pretty well. Also, since it had rained for so long, the ground is not mushy, but certainly spongy and although not leaking water, it felt like walking on marshmallows. No matter, my trials and tribulations, no muskrat anywhere to be found and I went back to the same spot in the stream hoping the duck would reappear but he was not putting in an appearance either. I decide just to go home.. it’s hot.. and I have trees in my backyard, let’s see if I can find a bird or something.

Well, the birds were really quiet.. either further away or in hiding but I didn’t see any. At all. I did however see this small day moth. It’s a Mourning Cloak or so says the internet. I know I seem very ignorant but one of the fun things about finding a new animal or bug is finding out online what the heck it is. It’s not rare and lives just about everywhere. It’s prettiest with it’s wings open and with it’s wings closed, it pretty much resembles a dried leaf and could easily not be seen. At first I’m perhaps 15 feet away but I slowly move up closer… very intrepid.. I move silently and without brusque movements as I don’t want to spook it and have it fly away. I am shooting with the telephoto so can’t really get as close as with another lens anyways.
Mourning Cloak

And that was it. As I entered the house, I could hear a bunch of ducks that seemed to be in the gully below but my foot was in the door and it was hot; it will have to be for another day.

I hope you enjoyed my small adventure.. my life is quite boring so this is just about as exciting as it gets.. lol. If you stop by to read this, I’d love to hear that you’ve been here, so leave a little comment as it makes me so happy. Remember too, that the first time you post, the site doesn’t know you and waits for me to allow the comment, but once allowed, next time you come, it will remember and the comment will appear right away.

:-) Maggie

p.s. Clicking  on the images will make them bigger!