A Photo a Week Challenge: Sun & Water

OK, OK, so the feature photo above is NOT of sun and WATER…but when I took the photo, I thought it was!! We were on a fast moving train and I snapped several before I realized it was not water, but some sort of agricultural stuff.

Then I remembered another picture I took while also moving fast, late for the San Juan Ferry, so no time to pull the car over for a better shot. But it was a stunning sunrise for a few miles!!

20190912_064352
The wetland north of Everett, WA.

 

Still wracking my brain for a Sun and Water photo, I found these next three, but they were kind of standard and I wanted something different.

20151007_18250120131207_134623_Android20151002_183135

 

OK stretch, I thought…water, sun, sun and water, two of my favorite things to photograph. Surely I had something!

Oh YES! This summer we went to The Wheel, our Church of the Blue Dome…which is a group (2 to 50 people) who meet on a mountain top, every Wednesday evening, and have for more than 20 years…rain or shine…sometimes to share food and music, sometimes to play Frisbee golf, sometimes to Walk the Medicine Wheel, and sometimes to drum. But always open to something miraculous.

These were taken at this year’s Solstice Wheel.

20190619_20163820190619_20103120190619_20203220190619_202547

I have been there when coyotes come right up close, when Owls join us to serenade, and when it has snowed or rained or hailed in a big circle all around without touching us at all. So this gorgeous rainbow, doubling itself and then showing us two Pots of Gold locations at once, was miraculous but not a surprise. Sun and Water. What a beautiful combo!

 

All of this got me thinking about Sun and Water in it’s different forms. That’s when my very favorite popped into mind.

A few years ago, when driving my grandsons along the north side of Hood Canal out of Belfair, WA., the sun rise was at the perfect point for spotting THIS on the side of the road!

 

 

20131208_110937_Android20131208_110618_Android20131208_11085320131208_111002_Android

It only lasted a few minutes so our timing was fortunate! (I do wish camera phones were what they are today, but I love this memory!!)

 

OK, last thing, if you’ve a mind to…

I wrote a short story (true) a long time ago. I posted it on my blog when I was still new, so I did not properly credit one of the photos to National Geographic (although their name appears in the lower left corner, so I hope that’s enough).

It’s one of my best stories, and although Sun and Water figure prominently in the tale, it is not all sunshine and rainbows. It is the telling of one of the more profound experiences of my life. Please read if you like. When I first posted it, I had only a handful of “followers” and not much response. So please comment. (Less an ego thing than a bare, naked soul that needs recognition.)

https://chosenperspectives.com/2016/02/12/calling-the-dolphins/

 

https://nadiamerrillphotography.wordpress.com/2019/10/10/a-photo-a-week-challenge-sun-water/

Nancy Merrill’s A Photo a Week Challenge 9/28/19 Changing Seasons

I have been blessed in my life to witness Seasons Changing all over the US…from the West Coast beaches to the expansive Southwest deserts to the Deep South to the East Coast, to Canada and back to the Pacific Northwest!!

But I got completely spoiled a couple of years ago right here in my neighborhood when I accidentally discovered the most glorious Autumn display I have ever seen.

I was simply driving out a different driveway than usual from my Home Depot parking lot…and there it was. So fantastic, I made 5 or 6 trips in the following weeks to try to capture this Color Extravaganza in all its stages. On cold dark days, in the pouring rain, in the blinding sunlight (that’s how we experience sunlight up here…blinding), sunrise, sunset, and always with both my cameras! I even gave it a name and told all my friends and neighbors to go see it.

I’ve posted on it before but here are some photos to enjoy. Believe me, it’s not even close to walking the block-long side walk in front of “The Wonder Wall”!

Not driving by. You have to stand in front of it and feel the thrum of color and growth, right there in front of you! Just pretend…and see if you can hear it….feel the colors.

 

 

 

 

 

https://nadiamerrillphotography.wordpress.com/2019/09/26/a-photo-a-week-challenge-changing-seasons/

Photo a Week Challenge 9/19/19 Stacked!!

I already LOVE this week’s challenge!

First the DATE! How fun! As a kid, I always told everyone 9 was my favorite number.

Also, as a kid, the word “stacked” meant something very different than the way Nancy Merrill is using it here. Don’t worry. If you are old enough to remember that use of the word, I will spare you any “R Rated” photographs…but here’s a word picture for you.

My last name was Bessey, which got mean-girl turned into “Busty”……because I wasn’t! 

I was the very last girl in my P.E. class to wear a bra! And boy, did I get teased about that. But understanding just a little about genetics, even in junior high school, I knew a time might come when I deserved the nickname Busty. My mother, aunt and grandmother were all…uh, hugely STACKED. It just happened to each of them a bit later in life! Where are those Mean Girls now, huh?

Back to what I’m sure Nancy intended with this challenge…

It has taken me all week to figure what I might have in my life that is “stacked”. I have been completely blank…even last Saturday when we went to the Farmer’s Market. I actually took pictures but never equated the two things. Duh.

 

Then a trip down to the beach did not trigger an idea…duh.

20181214_145919

 

Next, I house-sat for friends and took a bunch of photos out the kitchen window, trying to capture the interaction between a feisty squirrel and sarcastic Blue Jay! Uh duh.

20190918_164653

 

And again, with the Universe shouting in my ear, on the long drive home, listening to early morning radio, there was a delightful debate among the D.J.’s about the piles of rocks one finds while hiking the Pacific Northwest trails. One suggested these stacks were Art. Another, a memorial. And the third, irate by the way, insisted they were trail markers, both directional and as a warning to indicate some difficulty.

I still could not figure out any thing in my life that was stacked. It wasn’t until going through old photos that I started to get a clue. First I spotted this…a wonderful house on Alki Beach called the Flower House. Check out the STACKED rows and boxes of flowers!

 

 

That made me think of our Mountain Retreat. Look how many stacked railroad ties that are holding it all together!

Casa-before new bathroom

 

This reminded me of a trip we took this summer to Glacier National Park. We stopped for gas and I fell in love with this stacked rock wall.

 

You know, denial is a funny but powerful thing. I had all these hints and arrows pointing, but I STILL had not remembered the most obvious example of “stacked” in my life. There’s a good reason for that. I don’t want to think about it, but maybe confessing it here to you, will inspire me to get off my you-know-what and finish a massive task I took on 5 years ago.

I love our Casa in the mountains but parts of our paradise can be pretty gray, barren of vegetation for long stretches of the year. And though it serves an essential purpose, one of my least favorite views out of more than half the windows, is the massive stacked rock wall along the whole back of the house and driveway. It is actually a work of art in its way but it’s just bleak, all year round.

So I took it upon myself to brighten it up! I am NOT a gardener of any kind. I plant Primroses every year because they are the laziest, easiest thing I could find to bring color into my suburban yard. But we are at elevation at the Casa and very few things survive winter and the deer….except certain succulents!

So for years, I have been experimenting with just a few types at a time. Those amazing plants grow practically right out of the ROCKS. And so far, some have wintered well, and apparently are not of interest to our wildlife population.

 

But this wall of stacked rocks is over 60 feet long! It may take the rest of my life but little by little, I’ll get them all decorated!

Now I understand why I completely “forgot” about this example…literally right in my own backyard!

Whew! Stacked indeed!

 

Thanks for reading and I so love comments!! Especially from those Readers I have not welcomed or interacted with yet.

 

 

https://nadiamerrillphotography.wordpress.com/2019/09/19/a-photo-a-week-challenge-stacked/

For my Best Friend, on his Seventy (Hundredth) Birthday (for a Photo a Week: Traditions) 9/8/19

For 43 years now, this birthday guy and I have been proof that men and women can be best friends without all that romantic nonsense that seems required when a boy and girl become friends. We have had a fairly gender-less relationship.

It’s not that we haven’t had a bunch of different roles with each other. We’ve tried ’em all, believe me. 43 years is a long time.

For 30 years or more of those years, we had a delightful tradition of competing over our birthdays…who could outwit, out do, out surprise the other? My favorites from him involved dinner on a train with friends, a sunset cruise with his family, and the really sneaky one, when I met him for a drink in a very dark, very fancy bar, where it took me the better part of an embarrassing hour to realize all the other patrons in the bar were friends of mine…just waiting for me to discover them and be surprised! My favorite for him was the time I had a limo drive him all around town to very specific locations. Waiting for him in each destination, was the friend (sometimes a long-lost friend) he had shared a memorable event with in that very location. That one I was so proud of because the logistics (arrival times especially) were a nightmare and this was before GPS, cell phone contact, etc. It all went off perfectly. The evening culminated in dinner at his family’s favorite Mexican restaurant, and by then, our limo driver, having witnessed all these emotional reunions, was so connected, he joined us for dinner.

Each year, this tradition became more dramatic and elaborate until I think we both maxed out and silently agreed to just stop, and go back to corny, insulting birthday cards.

We do have our other ongoing battles for sure (sometimes feeling like the sibling role we adopt with each other). When we were younger, the fights we had were, uh, intense, heated, passionate, dramatic, elaborate, but always clean. He is the person in my adult life who taught me, through experience, people could be really angry with each other, and it didn’t mean they would leave or the relationship would be permanently damaged….or damaged at all, for that matter. Not my experience growing up, believe me.

Here’s a milder example of one of our disagreements.

I believe art is about taste, and only “good” if you happen to personally like it. He believes art is inherently either good or bad. Different upbringing for sure. He is widely educated in, and had a lifetime of exposure to historically and world famous art. His whole family is well versed in the field. He knows “good art” and will tell you exactly what’s wrong with “bad art”. He’s just that informed.

I, on the other hand, have very little interest in or knowledge of “real art”…although, when he and his family took me to the Getty museum, I have to admit getting goose bumps standing in front of several paintings. But I couldn’t tell you now who was on exhibit at the time.

I think, because my Dad taught me so young, to observe the “art” in even the smallest details around me, I instead fell in love with photography. Starting in the 4th grade, I never went anywhere without a camera. Are you old enough to remember that cheap Brownie camera so many of us had? Then the Instamatic, and I also had a Polaroid or two. I even got my first real job working in one of those little drive-thru Fotomat booths. People were thrilled to be able to get their pictures developed in ONE DAY!! And I loved being around all those people who loved snapping pictures like I did.

One of our ongoing debates has been about photography. Can it be “art”? He has leaned toward “No”. But to me, there is nothing more beautiful than capturing the “art” that actually exists…in real life…right there in front of you and your camera!

Being such a good friend, sometime in the early 1980’s, he gave me my first real camera…a beautiful Nikon, with amazing telephoto and macro lens! In some ways, it was wasted on me as I never really maximized my knowledge of that great camera. But I did get hooked on that macro lens. Imagine some 35 years ago, being able to take a close-up of a butterfly’s feet, or the mountainous texture of wrinkled blue velvet. Of course, now most of our phones can do that, but back then?? People seemed impressed because that kind of close up was so new. I kinda got it in my head that I might be ever so slightly “artistic” with my camera…a bit of a stretch, but the bottom line is I became completely enthralled with photography and it has been one of my favorite hobbies (passions? obsessions?) ever since. I LOVE taking pictures.

I have my best friend to thank for that.

So for his birthday (very few know his actual birth year, because he looks and acts much younger than his age) I am dedicating this post to him. To say thank you for the life-lessons, the experiences, the joy all these years, and for sharing his family with me. But most especially, to thank him for finally finding his princess…a lovely modelesque, blond-bombshell, adorned in all her pinks!! (He’s met his match with her, educationally, artistically, and she is so wonderful, she may well bump him into the 2nd best friend position!)

Oh and to say thanks for that now almost antique camera.

Here are some of my favorite photos, many of which I deserve no artist credit for because they were completely accidental. But they are my version of Art, so I share them in love and gratitude. There are a lot of them but in keeping with our tradition, I had to go BIG and be dramatic!

Hope you enjoy! (If you want to see an individual photo bigger, click on it and it should enlarge.)

Flowers and other growing things

 

 

20190321_070206

back up ALL 8-07 068

IMG_9099
no clue what this is

IMG_1553

20180923_104439
avocados you left in your fridge

 

Animals

 

Birds

 

DSC_0197
Landing HOT!

Hummers and Crows (different from the other birds…)

 

 

 

 

Oddities

 

 

 

Perfect Timing

20190801_17211920190903_072438IMG_7514

20141016_172516_Android
Favorite photo subject

20190113_16005420190320_200113

back ups 114
“Just resting Gramma”
sundog curve
Sun Dog

Simona's12-10 292

20150626_165747
very last family outing

Sky

IMG_7516IMG_6556IMG_5552

 

I would love comments!!! Even if they are to debate!!

 

https://nadiamerrillphotography.wordpress.com/2019/09/06/a-photo-a-week-challenge-traditions/

A Photo a Week Challenge–8/22/19 What’s for Dinner?

Nancy Merrill’s challenge this week immediately made me think of the many times James and I have had the wonderful experience of house-sitting for my sister and brother-in-law, in the San Juan Islands. It’s like a second home for us, but without the incredible amount of work it takes to maintain paradise.

I’ve written about this wonderful place many times before, but today’s topic, “What’s for Dinner?” made me realize just how special our experience has been.

First, the location is truly exceptional…it’s house and setting are unlike any other!

But it’s the food that we get the biggest benefit from! They work year round work to keep their garden and green house producing beautiful fruits and vegetables….and we just get to come in and EAT there for 2 or 3 weeks each year.

Here are some samples of dinners we’ve had there, where almost every ingredient is picked, plucked, harvested and gathered…from these famous gardens!!!

Thank you so much for this experience!!

 

 

https://nadiamerrillphotography.wordpress.com/2019/08/22/a-photo-a-week-challenge-whats-for-dinner/

A Photo a Week Challenge: Still life

Another fun challenge from Nancy Merrill. Here’s my interpretation:

Starting with a more traditional example…my trip to the local Farmer’s Market yesterday…yum!

20190813_155654

 

But moving to another shot of “produce” that’s anything but STILL!!

My son left on vacation, meaning to bring me this leftover watermelon…

Combine his oversight with 90 degree weather for several days and you get THIS…sort of a Still Life, but more like a weird science project!!!

20190808_15382720190808_17042820190808_17044020190808_170435

(I told my son he owes me BIG time, as this disintegration all happened on top of the stove! Who knew an old stove top had so many nooks and crannies. There were watermelon, uh, remains, all the way down inside the oven!!!)

But how beautiful, in a creepy, sickening way….

😣

Now, to cleanse your visual palete…

This qualifies as a “still life” because of its extreme contrast to what’s normal for this currently “inanimate object”!

IMG_2649

There you have it!

 

Still Life, sort of.

 

 

 

 

 

https://nadiamerrillphotography.wordpress.com/2019/08/08/a-photo-a-week-challenge-still-life-sort-of/