Photography · Writing

Grateful and not Grumpy

Snow… after a several days of shoveling over and over again and/ or road conditions making it nearly impossible to go anywhere, it is difficult to find reasons to be grateful for it. However, snow does have a beauty to it that is hard to ignore. There is a sense of magic in the air when witnessing the falling snow – all those unique individual flakes are enchanting to watch. Then there is the landscape after the snow stops – the beauty and the serenity. What about all the opportunities to play – building snowmen, making snow angels and making ice cream out of the snow.? (Didn’t realize there was such a thing as ice cream snow. More proof you learn something new every day.)

Having gained a renewed an appreciation for the snow, I thought this would be a good day to stretch my photography skills and practice taking snow photos. I’ve been reading up on capturing snow in it’s most pristine condition. In the past, I have tried to take pictures of the freshly fallen snow, but have always ended up with very gray photos needing editing. Most of the time the editing really made the photos seem unrealistic. This, of course, was the result of the photo not being as good as it could have been and over doing it in the editing process.

After researching, it was time to go out and practice what I learned. Getting outside and trying some of the different techniques I had read about was exhilarating. Warm and layered clothing was needed for this quick excursion. It was cold outside. The destination was a short distance from my house, so I wasn’t worried about getting too cold. The snow had also stopped which meant less worry about my camera. Well, it was much colder than I had expected (hint – check the temperature before going out). The temperature was 7 degrees fahrenheit (-13.8 celsius). I had dressed for cold weather, but not this cold. This meant I didn’t get to try various techniques for snow photography. However, the ones I was able to do resulted in better photos with snow than I have taken in the past.

Not much editing was needed for the below photos – just a little cropping and some contrast adjustments. They are a little unclear in some spots as I didn’t have my tri-pod with me. This would have helped since I was shooting in aperture mode. Sometimes there is only so much that can be done. The weather around here is going to continue to be cold and snowy, so there will be more opportunities to try out different techniques in the coming days.

A couple of the photos are more gray than what I would like, but that means there are some adjustments that should have been done when I took the photo. Now I know what to try next time.

Admittedly, the snow has been getting to me and I have been a bit grumpy about it. There really isn’t anything I can do about it – so why waste time and energy on something I can’t change? Instead, I am choosing to be grateful for the beauty and the opportunities the snow has provided. 🙂

What do you think about the snow? Do you have a favorite activity to do in the snow? Does it make you grateful or grumpy?

Thank you for checking out this post !

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless.

Photography · Writing

Back Yard Photographer – Flower Garden

Purple Petunia

Last year the flower garden was a mixture of annuals and perennials. I tried to get flowers that would be beneficial to butterflies and hummingbirds. This needs more work, as there seemed to be more of the “those are pretty” flowers, than the ones with a purpose. Throughout the seasons there are several different types of critters that enjoyed the flowers and plants more than any butterflies. This Spring there will be another trip to the gardening store and a variety of flowers and plants to purchase. Gardens don’t seem to ever really get done. I’m ok with that. It is fun to experiment with a variety of garden plants. Maybe there won’t be as much to buy this year, as more plants may have survived than what I am expecting. 🙂

From year to year, I do not remember exactly what I planted. Thank goodness there are photographs to review. 🙂

Here are some of the things I planted last year. Seems that purple was the color of choice. This year other colors will need to be added. 🙂

I don’t know the name of this plant – I might be in trouble from a gardening perspective.
Blooming geranium
Pansy – It looks like a cartoon owl is on the flower petals. 🙂
Pink Rose bud
Mums – blooms in the Autumn, so the flower beds have color through most of the seasons.

Thank you for stopping by! Hope you like the photos!

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless

Photography · Writing

Gratitude – Thankful to Experience All Four Seasons

When looking outside and seeing all the snow and knowing the temperature is not above freezing, it is a bit difficult to be thankful for Winter, however it is a season with a purpose. Some days I just need to be reminded of that. 🙂 I am grateful for Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. All four seasons have their own special beauty and a unique reminder of the beauty that is truly within nature.

SPRING – trees and flowers begin to bud and bloom. A time of rejuvenation.

SUMMER – Various shades of green and a beautiful warming sun. A time to enjoy all that life has to offer.

AUTUMN – Natures colors at their best! Cooling temperatures and thoughts s’mores. 🙂

WINTER – Colder temperatures, warm sweaters. Knowing the gift of each day, even if the stormy cold doesn’t always feel like a gift. 🙂

Gratitude – being thankful and showing appreciation…

Thank you for stopping and taking a look! I hope your day finds you happy and feeling blessed.

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless

Photography · Writing

Back Yard Photographer – Stormy Day

Snow covered

A winter storm came through our area leaving a foot of snow. Traveling was not recommended during this time, so I stayed home from work and took some pictures of the birds in the back yard. I had filled the bird feeders before the storm hit, so the birds would have plenty of food to get through the bad weather. Even on such a snowy, windy day, the feeders were busy. A few pictures from this day:

Snow Covered Fruit
A bit windy
Holding on Tight

The day after the storm the birds and the squirrels were busy getting through the snow to get to the bird seed that had been spilled the day before because of the wind. The birds stayed on top of the snow but would venture into the paths the squirrels created so they could get to the bird seed. I took a few pictures of the critters the day after the snow storm.

Looking for bird seed
Taking turns at the bird feeder
Not a fake back drop, just a snow covered field.

According to some, this was the most snow we have had in one day since a major snow storm in 1975. And there are other similarities – it took a couple of days to get the streets passable again and the children have had some great snow days to go sledding, build snow forts and snow men. 🙂

Do you have any snow day memories?

Thank you for stopping by – hope you liked the critter pictures. 🙂

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless

Photography · Writing

Back Yard Photographer – Cuteness Overload!

Nom, Nom, Nom… love those seeds!!

During the dark days of winter or just when ever some happy thoughts are needed, it seems to help to look at pictures of little critters enjoying their day – at least it helps me! 🙂

Ground squirrels are just too darn cute – that is until the destructive side starts to reveal itself. But then, those eyes!! I just can’t stay mad at them too long. I spend quite a bit replanting flowers in my garden every year, but… those eyes! I’m preparing (emotionally) for these little guys to be back in the Spring. At least when the are back, it is warm enough to spend some time outside. 🙂

Since these guys spend so much time in my yard (maybe I shouldn’t feed them?), thought I should learn more about them. The ground squirrels in my yard are referred to as 13 stripe ground squirrel. Here’s some fun little facts about this particular ground squirrel:

  • Dig burrows of 15 to 20 feet long with more than one entrance.
  • Litters are usually 7- 10
  • Usually solitary, may congregate in groups of 10 in a prime habitat.
  • The are climbers, but prefer the ground (I saw one climb a tree in my yard so he could get to the bird food.)
  • They eat freshly planted seeds and/or immature plants

There are some benefits to having ground squirrels around:

  • feed on weeds, weed seeds and insects that can cause damage to crops -this may not be a true statement for my yard… 🙂
  • Their digging might actually improve the soil. (I should have the healthies flower garden around!)
  • They are cute and fun to watch!

Not convinced yet that these little guys are cute? Here’s a few more pictures that might just convince you! 🙂

I can see better now
Strawberries!
I see yummies!!
Shhhh… I’m hiding
Brave hunter has found seeds

The ground squirrels and I had lots of fun last Summer, so I have far more pictures than I realized!! Hope you liked these few I picked out. Some days it is fun to just smile about silly things.

Thank you for stopping by my blog!

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless