Photography · Short Stories · Writing

Back yard Photographer – Cardinals

A family of cardinals has moved into the field behind my house and I could not be happier.  The opportunities to get pictures of the cardinals are almost endless.

Here’s a few of my most recent pictures:

Tree Top View
Working for some food
Wow this snow is bright!

This fascination/obsession of mine with cardinals has not been a life long thing.   It has only been since this past Summer when I got my camera and noticed the cardinals.  They may have been there all along, but this is the first that I have noticed and paid attention.

A few more pictures:


When I got my camera, there were some pictures that I had on my “to capture” list.  Getting a picture of the male cardinal was on that list.  His bright red feathers stand out in any backdrop: Winter snow, Summer green and the browns of Autumn.

Some examples:

DSC_0002BC 16DSC_0004

The more I tried to get pictures of the male, the more I got to see the female and the beauty she possess.  She doesn’t have the full body of red feathers, but her muted colors stand out on their own.  Her orange beak is vibrant and usually the first thing I notice.  Then her wings and tail feathers have a beautiful, subtle hue.

Here’s a few pictures of this beauty:

GC 15ADSC_0068GC 13


I’ve learned a few things about these birds as I have worked at getting pictures of them:

  •  Their distinctive sound.  I know when they are in the yard or the nearby trees, because I hear their chirp.  That is my queue to get my camera and take some pictures.
  • Best time of day to get a picture of a cardinal – Near sunrise or sunset.  Once I knew this little tidbit I would watch for the cardinals at these times.  Almost without fail, the would be near the bird feeder at these times.

If the belief is true:  A sighting of a cardinal is the spirit of a loved one coming to visit, then I am very blessed as I get visited daily.

Hope you are blessed with inspiration and peace.  Have a wonderful day!

Photography · Poetry · Writing

Struggles of Addiction

Struggles of Addiction
Struggles of Addiction: Promise VS Darkness

Another disappointment
Another regret.

Today a reminder
of things I want to forget.

Choices made.
Now I see.

The impact of these decisions
on  me and my family.

Ready now to
do what’s right.

First I must
remove this blight.

Tomorrow is another day.

A chance to run
or to stay.

Face my demons
and move beyond
that person
I’ve become

I hear the voice of my inner self
He struggles to be heard

I know he’s there to help me
to be the best that I can be.

This time, I think I might listen.

Original poem and photograph by Kim Stites

I’m dedicating this poem to my son who has been battling addiction for more years than I probably know (or want to admit).  I struggle with him, being on the outside and looking in.  However, I will never really know what it must be like for him.  So, I pretend and write my poetry.

Please feel free to comment.  If you have struggled or have watched some one struggle, I would love to hear your stories.  Sharing can and does help.  None of us are alone.

Photography · Writing

Back yard photographer – There are still some leaves

I was surprised to see that there were still some trees with leaves on them.  While walking along the path by the lake, I had been so captivated by the ice that I didn’t notice the trees that still had their leaves.

After I had finished taking the pictures of ice, I decided to walk a little further on the path.  I was getting cold because I hadn’t been as prepared as I should have been for the temperature, but I wasn’t ready to go yet.  I wanted to get some more pictures.

As I followed the path around a curve, I saw them.  The trees which still had most of their beautiful leaves.  Sure the leaves weren’t as full or bright as they had been at the beginning of Autumn.  But here they were, still hanging on after days of cold and wind, snow and even some ice.  Kind of have to admire their strength and stubbornness.  🙂

Here’s a few pictures I took of the trees.

Trees along the path

leaves and sky

The last leaf on this tree:

The last leaf

Just because  I liked the mix of browns and blue/gray:

By the lake

Hope you enjoy the pictures!

Feel free to comment.  I would love to hear from you.

Note: All photographs are original and taken by Kim Stites

Photography · Writing

Back yard Photographer – Ice at the Lake

Spent some time by the lake this afternoon.  Even though it was about 20 degrees outside, it was nice to be outside.  There were portions of the lake that had frozen.  Geese were enjoying the part that hadn’t frozen yet.

Here are some pictures of some of the ice.

Ice at the lakeIce at the lake 2Ice on the dock 2Ice on the dock

And a few pictures of the landscape.

Lake sideThe lake in the afternoon

Hope you have enjoyed your day!

Photography · Poetry · Writing

The Photograph

Original poem and photo by Kim Stites

beneath the water

The right word can be so hard to find.
What if none of the words are fitting?
None perfectly describe what is in your mind.
Sometimes it is simply hard to get the story told.

A picture – worth a thousand words,
An eye into the photographer’s soul
Or maybe more clearly into your own.

A picture can express a different thought
Depending upon the day.
Does it trigger a happy memory
or darkness that never seems to go away?

Does the picture bring calm and peace
Anger and despair?

The beauty of the picture,
the photograph;
It has something for all and yet,
something different for everyone.

The story may only be
what you need to see.

Short Stories · Writing

Some Distractions Cannot be Stopped

Photos and story by Kim Stites

I am trying to focus.  I really am.  But tonight nothing other than what my cat wants will get done.  Tonight I seem to be his favorite companion.  Most nights he will lay by me or contentedly at the other end of the couch.  Tonight – no such luck.  

By companion, I do not mean that he is comforted by a few minutes of petting and a scratch under his chin and then off he runs.  No, I am his chew toy, his pillow (as is my keyboard), his cushion to “fluff” , the road most traveled as he walks from one end of the couch to the other (I’m sitting on the one end) and the object in the house that needs to be head butted to most.

He has in the past few months taken to nibbling at my fingers (yes, while I’m typing) until I push him away.  At first, I thought it was because there was something about the fake nails I had which bothered him.  I no longer have the fake nails, but he still tries to chew on my finger tips.  I’m sure this is his “gentle” way of letting me know he wants some attention.  If I raise my finger in the “just a minute” indication, he nibbles at it.  So, I stop what I’m doing,  give him some attention and then get back to the task at hand.

When Milo does decide he wants to settle down and be cuddly, he uses my arm or my keyboard as a pillow (again as I’m typing). 

Are you done yet?

Milo also “fluffs” (some refer to it as kneading) me.  This not just some kneading on my leg or arm.  No, he crawls in between my laptop and me.  He has his face in mine and his back paws on my keyboard.  He meows loudly in my face while “fluffing” me.  I’m not as patient with this tactic as I am with others.  He gets set aside pretty quickly.  I then have to correct any additional typing he added to my work.

Are you DONE YET??

Milo, as most other cats, gets the zoomies (running without purpose throughout the house, being as loud as possible).  When I’m working, he as a favorite course: the place where I’m sitting.  Some days it is across the desk I’m working on, but this particular evening it is the couch, where I am leisurely writing.  He will run from any room in the house, jump to the end table next to the couch, and then slides to a stop just at the arm of the couch.  From there he carefully tip toes across my keyboard and then plops down on the couch next to me.  He lays there and purrs for a few minutes before he moves to the other end of the couch.  From there he stretches out and cleans himself.  Once done with this, he’s off  to race again.  This time he runs across me and the keyboard to the end table where he jumps to the floor.  His ears are back flat against his head as he races through the rest of the house.   Then he collapses.


His final tactic is the head butt.  Milo will jump up on the couch, sit next to me and just stare.  When he tires of this (because I’m not giving him his desired attention) he will nudge my arm with his head, several times.  If, I don’t respond, Milo then places his front paws on my shoulder and nudges the side of my head with his head.  The nudges become harder and more frequent as I continue to ignore him.  Finally his head-butting becomes more than I can ignore, so he get’s the much desired attention he wants.

ARE YOU DONE YET???  Please…

Tonight he has used all of his best tactics.  It is time to put the laptop away, and spend some quality time with Milo.    🙂

I hope you have been able to achieve you goals today, but most importantly I hope you have taken time to give your attention to your distractions.  I would love to hear your stories!

Note:  Last two pictures were taken from my deck looking into the house through the screen door.  Milo was begging to come outside.  That is why the pictures look a little grainy, but I thought his expressions fit the story.  🙂

Writing · Photography

Backyard Photographer – Changing Seasons

Weekend morning routines seem to be changing now that it is  Autumn.   Sure I still spend time sitting on my couch, checking out the things going on in the social media world as well as spending time staring out the window, watching the birds with my cat.  ( His thwopping tail on my lap gives me an indication of how much he  enjoys this time. )  But, I haven’t been grabbing my camera and heading out into my back yard to take pictures nearly as much as I did in the Spring and Summer.  The chill in the morning air does have an impact on these routines!

Instead of going out into my back yard, I’ve taken some pictures from my window.  I have added a bird feeder to entice the birds to spend a little more time in the yard.  🙂  Here’s a few pictures from my window.

Just sittin’ on the fence post…
Leave me alone!  Can’t you see I’m eating?
Cardinal enjoying the bird seed.

Even though I like these pictures from my window, I need to get my coat on and actually go outdoors.  In the Spring and Summer I was surprised with all that I found to photograph.  I’m looking forward to my Autumn and Winter time outside.