Photography · Short Stories · Writing

Back Yard Photographer – Grateful For A Patch of Dirt

Weird to take a picture of dirt – I know. As you know, every picture has a story and this is no different.

This particular patch of dirt has gone through quite the evolution. In a way it is reminiscent of the Shel Silverstein book, The Giving Tree. The dirt patch is always ready to do what we ask of it and it gives us so much more.

When my children and I moved into my current house, my youngest was excited about the big play area in the back yard. To a six year old play equipment in their back yard is a big deal. This was a small set with a couple of swings, a climbing area and a little spot for a fort. She was excited every time she went to play in the yard. She didn’t play in the dirt much, but she did love that fort with the swings. This little patch of dirt was the strength beneath the equipment and made for a soft landing if you slipped out of the swing. Trust me – I know.

As my children grew, the need for the play area became less and less. Every once in a while I would see my daughters with their friends sitting on the swings while they discussed the latest crush or the happenings at school. This happened less and less. It became obvious that the play area just wasn’t needed anymore. We tore it down and stored the wooden pieces.

The next great project was to try a vegetable garden. I used some of the wood from the play equipment to mark off the garden by building around the patch of dirt. I thought this was going to be easy – the dirt was already there and all I would need to do is drop in the seeds. I dreamt of the delicious vegetables that we would enjoy from the garden. But, that didn’t happen. The little dirt patch tried. Some of the seeds sprouted, but little critters got to them before we could get any vegetables. I tried this for several years and finally decided no more gardens.

Even when the gardening was done, I didn’t put any grass seed down or try anything to fill in the patch of dirt. I just let it be there. This was not necessarily by design as I hadn’t decided what I wanted to do next. So, the patch of dirt just sat there. I was almost ready to put some sod down to get some grass to grow when I noticed all of the activity in this little patch. Several different types of birds would cool themselves in the dirt. Even rabbits and squirrels found the dirt to be a perfect place to rest. It was about this time that I got my camera and begin taking photos. My new photography hobby began – inspired, in part, by dirt.

But the greatest thing this patch of dirt has brought is a place for me and my grandson to play together. We have spent hours playing in the dirt. We’ve dug a lot of holes, planted many rocks, built roads for pretend cars and made mud pies. We would always be dirty when we were done playing (some times it was more muddy than dirty). This was no big deal because it meant we had had fun (and now we could play with bubbles while he took a bath!).

I now have a granddaughter, who I look forward to spending time with, while playing in the dirt.

So yes, it is just a patch of dirt. But, for me, it is a treasure chest of memories.

Here’s some photos of the fun in the dirt.

Yes, I am grateful for my very special patch of dirt and all the wonderful memories.

Hope you liked this post. Thank you for stopping by and checking out my blog.

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless.

Photography · Writing

Back Yard Photographer – More Macro Fun!


Love my micro lens! The detail is awesome – even with a slightly shaky amateur photographer. In the title photo the lens picked up the detail of the cotton seeds that had landed on the zinnia. In the photo it looks like very faint spider webs. We have and lots of cotton wood seeds in the yard this year. At some points it almost looked like we had snow. End result – most everything has a thin layer of the cotton substance on it. Oh well, just some added detail. 🙂

Back to the micro lens… after water the flowers in the gardens, I saw the water beading on the roses and started taking pictures. There’s just something about water beading on roses.

Even without the water beads, I like the detail of small flowers captured by the micro lens. Here’s a few more examples.

I’ve been try to capture some insects with the micro lens (who doesn’t like a good fly or dragon fly photo??) – but my timing has not been great. I haven’t had my micro lens on the camera when flies are bothering my while I try to capture some bird photos. One day, a really pretty blue and green fly landed on my hand. It seemed quite content to sit on my hand. I happen to have the micro lens near-by, so I attempted to change lenses with the fly still on my hand. I actually was able to change the lens, however the fly took off before I was able to get the shot in focus. (It is really hard to hold the camera in one hand and focus the shot while the subject is on the hand you are trying to use to focus the shot.) I shall not give up! Soon (I hope) there will be a post with insects.

Until I get those insects, I hope you enjoy the flower photos!

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my blog!!!

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless.

Photography · Writing

Back Yard Photographer – Glass Ball Experiments

Who knew using the glass ball could be so much fun?? Late winter I had taken some photos of the snow using the glass ball (earlier post), so naturally when spring came around I had to take some more photos with the glass ball. Hope you like these!

I tried capturing irises through the glass ball, but the experiment didn’t turn out like I had hoped. The composition was ok, but there were technical aspects that should have been better. Some more detailed editing would definitely improve these photos, but I wanted to show you the concept. And give you a few hints. The hints aren’t new, but they are a good visual of why you need to pay attention. 🙂

Hint 1: When using the glass ball, having the sun behind you isn’t necessarily the best idea as it causes glare. (Yikes! My eyes burn a little when I look at this photo!)

Hint 2: Placement is EVERYTHING! Since the purpose of the photo is to capture the subject within the glass ball, cropping while editing can’t remove unwanted distractions because it takes away from the glass ball. In the photo below (and trust me – many more) the grill shows. This does NOT add to the composition I was going for! Yes, editing could be done to get to the photo I wanted, but it is always best to have near perfect photo before editing. It just simplifies things.

So, with some cropping (does take away from the point of the photo) and a little editing (removing the glare), here’s what I ended up with:

And this is why I titled this Glass Ball Experiments – some worked and some didn’t. I shall keep trying – practice, practice, practice!!! 🙂

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my post!

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless

Photography · Writing

Back Yard Photographer – Chasing Sunrises

What else encapsulates all the hope and promises of a brand new day like a sunrise? The variation of color and the overall beauty is like natures biggest embrace. It tells you, “You got this! Today is your day!” Many mornings, while I was in between jobs and feeling all of the horrible feelings of worthlessness, being outside feeling the sun’s rays on me, I just knew I could continue in my search. Yes, there truly is magic in a sunrise.

Now that I’m working again (fortunately I was able to work a temporary position during the pandemic that has now become full time work), I enjoy the sunrises as I travel to work. It isn’t quite the same, as standing on my deck and enjoying the sunrise, but the hopes and promises are the same. 🙂

Through all of this I never took the time to photograph a sunrise. Silly – right? So much opportunity, yet I didn’t take it. So, I took a day of vacation and went chasing a sunrise.

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my blog – hope you enjoy the photos!

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless

Photography · Writing

Back Yard Photographer – Northern Cardinal – The Date

Northern Cardinals on lookout

It starts with a song. The male cardinal sings to attract their mate. Once she responds , the courtship truly begins. Here are some photos from this cardinal pair’s first date. (At least it is their first date in my mind – makes everything seem just that much sweeter!)

“Would you like to share a seed with me?” Asked the male Northern Cardinal. He had been practicing the “move” for months. Ever since his love responded to his song.

Being some what shy, the female Northern Cardinal hesitated for a moment and then whispered “Yes.”

Without a second thought, he jumped to share her fence post and the seed.

The seed, and the first kiss, shared.

His heart pounded as he kissed his love. He knew this moment would change his life forever. He couldn’t be happier.

His love, his one true love – forever.

There you have it – the Northern Cardinal’s love story. Guess I’m going to have to look for a nest nearby. 😉

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my blog. Hope you liked it!!

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless