Follow The Lines - Photography Tips

Follow the Lines

Photography.

Photography gives you a chance to share the world through your view.

To perhaps share a new angle.

A new way of thinking…

Of seeing.

Follow The Lines - Photography Tips

Lines.

The photography challenge up for interpretation this week is lines.

While I am far from an expert when it comes to photography, lines are actually one of the things that I consider when I’m composing my shot.

Quite often, lines can add an element of interest to your photo.

Today, I thought I’d share some photography tips (examples) on how I add lines in my photos.

Photography Tip #1.

Shadows.

Not only were there lines in the porch railing, I also liked the shadows cast by the sun streaming through the metal railings onto the snow-covered porch.

Photography Tip #2.

Fences.

If you’ve followed my photography for some time, then you are already aware that when I’m shooting nearby scenes in Virginia, I love to use fences and fenceposts as a focal point to draw the eye along the scene.

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Photography Tip #3.

Roads.

Roads have great lines. There can be a focus on the center line or just the shape of the road itself.

 

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Both straight roads and curvy roads each have their own fascinating features.

You should always use extreme caution when shooting a roadway. I haven’t yet had the opportunity to shoot on abandoned roads. Nor have I typically been on a road that is less traveled, so rarely shoot from the center of the road.

My photo quote was in a neighborhood right after a snow so we were able to stop the Jeep and I could lean out the window.

The photo above is from an overlook along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

If I were going to take center of the street shots, I would definitely have someone with me to be my traffic eyes.

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Photography Tip #4.

Lattice or Chain Link.

You can find interesting compositions almost anywhere.

Don’t be afraid to capture something that catches your eye.

Remember, everyone has different taste and beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

The photo above is of a sweet pea vine growing in the wild. It’s growing along a chain link fence that provides a barrier from a parking area in downtown Roanoke and the interstate rushing along beside.

I love how lattice and chain link both create a diamond pattern.

Photography Tip #5.

Trees.

I photograph trees.

A lot.

I am not a fan of Virginia winters, but I do love to see the shapes of the trees after they’ve  shed their seasonal coats of leaves.

I was on Roanoke Mountain to watch the sunset, when these trees turned vibrant as the sun they were facing began to set. The moon had already made its appearance, being framed by these ancient beings rising up from the earth.

Photography Tip #6.

Landscapes and Sidewalks.

You can find lines most anywhere you look.

Many places will line sidewalks with trees or bushes. While the sidewalk itself creates lines, I love when the landscaping enhances them.

This sidewalk is in the Museumplein in Amsterdam.

These are just a few examples about how to incorporate lines into your photos.

What are some of your favorite ways to incorporate them?

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Let your light shine!

Amy

 

 

 

Photo Interpretation of Prolific photo challenge

Photo Interpretation of Prolific

Photography Series.

I never do two post in one day.

BUT….

I haven’t missed a weekly photo challenge yet this year

…and I don’t intend to start today.

 

Photo Challenge.

The word we were asked to interpret was prolific.

Prolific is defined as: Present in large number or quantities; plentiful. Producing in large quantities or with great frequency; highly productive.

I’ll spare you my normal plethora of words and let the photos mostly speak for themselves.

 

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Tulips in Bloom at Vondelpark in Amsterdam. (see more of Amsterdam here)

 

Love locks along the Seine in Paris. (see more here)

 

Gravestones at Old Town Cemetery located at Church of the Holy Rude in Stirling, Scotland. (see Stirling Castle here)

 

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Rocks, seagulls en masse on the rocks in the background, stunning turquoise beauty…take your pick. Baby Beach in Aruba. (see others here)

 

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Pink Dogwood in bloom. Roanoke, Virginia (see others here)

 

So much of who we are is where we have been. -William Langewiesche

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

 

wpc: prolific

 

19 Years Of Marriage

Aruba.

I know that you all are waiting for photos from my trip to Aruba.

They are coming.

I promise.

Photography.

I’m clearing out computer space to import them. My laptop is already full and there’s the moving of things to an external hard drive.

I shot all my photos in RAW this time. I know all you photographers out there are gasping in horror that I didn’t shoot in RAW in the past, but I’ve only recently installed Lightroom (which I still haven’t used). And I’m sure to all the non-photographers, I sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher… wah…wah…wah.

Don’t worry, some of it still sounds like that to me too. I’ve got a long way to go before I find myself well versed in photography skills.

Anniversary.

However, I think there are moments in life that deserve acknowledgement. An anniversary is one of those moments. So I’m stopping my digital decluttering to acknowledge the 19th anniversary of my marriage.

I think it’s a disservice to future marriages to pretend like a marriage unfolds as a fairytale or that there aren’t hard times.

I shared a lot about my thoughts on marriage and those facts when I acknowledged our 18th wedding anniversary.

If you missed that post, you can find it here.

Eternal Optimist.

But there are fairytale moments!

That heading is tongue in cheek.

Being an optimist is not my normal bent.

Part of my journey has been learning to focus on the good.

To be mindful of the good that is happening now.

To have gratitude for all that is well.

Smile.

To smile more.

So today, I pause and share some silliness and smiles with the man who has walked beside me, loved me, believed in me, and raised children with me for 19 years of marriage.

Amsterdam.

This was on the boat ride in Amsterdam last April. We had a photo from a different time on the boat where the lady behind us photobombed our selfie with big eyes and her cookie held in her mouth. So Big Mr. photobombed us with big eyes as a play on that photo.

Carolina Beach.

This was silliness on full display during our family beach vacation last summer in Carolina Beach, North Carolina.

Aruba.

Lastly, here we are, all smiles on the lunch break of our Safari through the desert in Aruba.

Natural Bridge collapsed in 2005. Unfortunately, we never saw that one. However, there is a Baby natural bridge. This photo is taken in front of that.

You can see that this coastline was much more rugged than other coast.

Stay tuned for more photos from Aruba.

In color.

We all are a little weird. And life is weird. And when we find someone with weirdness whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutual satisfying weirdness - and call it love - true love. Robert Fulghum quote

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

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Aruba Sunset

Aruba Sunset.

The weekly photo challenge this week is to share a sunrise or sunset. I couldn’t let that pass by without popping in to share a photo of last night’s sunset in Aruba.

Look for more photos when I return home!

The sky broke like an egg into full sunset and the water caught fire. -Pamela Hansford Johnson

Let your light shine!

Amy

Wpc: rise/set

Hiking Mill Mountain Star Trail

Hiking.

Hiking is one of my favorite ways to spend time outdoors and in nature. As most of you know, the cold and I don’t get along very well. Due to that fact, I use every sunny opportunity to get outdoors in the winter.

Mill Mountain Star Trail.

In my Friday Faves post a few week ago, I mentioned that the hubby and I had hiked the Mill Mountain Star Trail here in Roanoke. That time, I didn’t bring along my camera, but as I shared last Friday we once again took advantage of a sunny day and went on the hike again. This time, I brought the camera.

Mill Mountain Park.

Mill Mountain Park spans 568 acres. Along with all of the amenities located within the park, there are also multi-use trails.  Mountain Bikers can use all the trails except the Watchtower Trail and the Star Trail. Hikers may use any of the trails.

Parking.

As I mentioned before, we choose to park in the car parking lot at 1208 Riverland Road. You can also park at the Mill Mountain Star and access the trail from the top.

We prefer to access it from this point because the ascent is on the front side of the hike. Also, once you reach the summit, there are benches and bathrooms. I prefer that in the middle of the hike vs. on the front or back end of the hike.

The parking lot is not very large and can fill quickly.

As you can see from the view in the opposite direction of the trail, Roanoke has a history as an Industrial Town. In fact, that segment is still in operation as an Industrial Center.

Star Trail / Woodthrush Connector.

From the parking lot, you begin the hike on a gravel path known as the Star Trail/ Woodthrush Connector.

You then reach the intersection where the two separate and we followed the Star Trail.

Star Trail.

The Star Trail is marked by a yellow blaze. It is hiker only, considered more difficult, and is 1.38 miles long (one way).

On our second hike, the green was beginning to sprout a little more. I suspect that as we move into spring, the trail will begin to look like an enchanted forest.

Fishburn Parkway.

The Star Trail crosses Fishburn Parkway.

Beware of cars and bicyclists as you cross the road. I’m pretty sure the bicyclists coming downhill are traveling much faster than any car. The cars heading uphill have a blind corner if they aren’t prepared for the fact that there is a pedestrian crossing ahead.

It’s really not a scary as it sounds! Just use common sense when crossing.

Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?

To get to the other side!

Okay, I had no real segway. I just wanted to show you that after you ascend the stairs, the hike climbs upward.

Some people cut off the first part of the hike by parking in the visible pull off area on Fishburn. However, there is only room for two cars.

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Star Trail / Monument Trail.

After some more hiking, you come to the intersection of the Star Trail and Monument Trail.

Monument Trail uses a white blaze, it is multi-use, is considered more difficult, and is 1.55 miles long. I have not hiked this trail yet.

We continue along the Star Trail until we reach the summit. According to the trail run project, the ascent of the trail is 631 feet.

If you recall when I hiked Dragon’s Tooth, the elevation change was 1500 feet, so I had no problem with the elevation change.

I had dusted off my Fitbit for my March Challenge and it claimed that I climbed about 65 flights of stairs. My iPhone was in the backpack that the hubby was toting and it claimed 30 flights of stairs.

Whatever the case, your legs will get a nice workout.

Treasures.

Many of you know that my posts are always photo heavy. I love taking photos. I also love research and know the amount of photos an average viewer will look at before they begin scrolling past (hint: it’s 5).

However, I know that you aren’t average and I feel like using more photos is the best way to walk you through the journey. BUT…if you feel differently, by all means let me know because as much as I hate culling my photographs… I can.

I captured many scenes that I considered to be treasures along the Star Trail. I’ve culled all but the photo of the Converse tossed over the power line at the summit of the trail. If in the future, I create a photo series of the treasures, I will come back an link it in this post.

Mill Mountain Star.

One of the highlights at the top of the Star Trail…is the actual Mill Mountain Star. I shared details about the Star when I gave you a photo tour of Roanoke.

The Summit.

There is an overlook at the Roanoke Star which gives you views of downtown Roanoke.

There are also bathrooms and a parking lot located here. A short walk around the park brings you to another overlook, a playground, Mill Mountain Zoo, another parking lot, and picnic tables.

The day that we hiked the Star Trail, many people were taking advantage of the sunshine.

There were children scrambling around the playground, squealing with delight. There were a couple of kids kicking a soccer ball back and forth. Dogs on leashes sniffed the ground.

There was a couple having lunch at the picnic table located on the overlook. There were crowds at the Star overlook, looking down into the city along with a group of college students asking somebody to take their photo in front of the Star.

All of us looking for a reprieve from the cabin fever that winter can bring.

Mill Mountain Star Trail sign in Roanoke, Virginia

The Way Back Home.

After taking in the beauty of the day, we began our descent.

The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.- John Muir

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

 

wpc: story

Why I Celebrate International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day.

I often talk about my beliefs of the equal rights for women. I keep it no secret that while I have chosen what many consider a “traditional” role for a woman (stay-at-home mom, household manager, chauffeur…take your pick of the many of things I do), it is exactly that…A CHOICE.

A choice that I realize is a privilege.

And a choice, at varying moments over the years, with which I have struggled.

Why I Celebrate.

The question becomes… why do I celebrate?

I have spoken on reasons why this day is important to me. You can find my thoughts in 2017 hereand in 2016 here.

But perhaps to fully understand why I celebrate International Women’s Day, my own background may help, lest you think I only speak from a place of current privilege.

My background.

Many of you know that I just finished reading The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. I found that I could relate in so many ways even though there were plenty of ways in which I couldn’t.

I recognized my dad in her father. Not in the erratic, alcoholic side of Rex Walls. My parents drink once a year, if that. It was the genius and nonconformist side of Rex. It was also his belief in his daughter.

My dad once told me that in the world there are leaders and that there are followers and that I was a leader

…and I believed him.

My parents never once told me that there was something that I couldn’t achieve.

I don’t know if I had lofty expectations.

Surely, I didn’t dream that someday I’d be sitting, in the middle of an optical illusion, on a bridge in Paris, with my own daughter.

I just did what I was good at…doing well in school.

Education.

I never assumed that I wouldn’t go to college. It felt like a given that I would. And so I did. I graduated high school in 1994, I was sixteen and the thought of heading away seemed overwhelming. I decided that I would attend community college and maybe by the time  I finished I’d know what I wanted to be when I grew up.

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College.

I was the first person in my immediate family to attend college. Actually, I was the first to graduate high school in a traditional manner. I graduated sixth in my class and since the local community college awarded a full tuition scholarship for 60 credit hours to the highest academics in the school…and everyone else ranking above me was heading off somewhere else…I received the award.

In the past, I mentioned that I also received a scholarship from a local Women’s Club, which I used to pay for my books. I was also awarded enough financial aid, that it took care of all my other costs.

Due to the fact that I am extremely uncomfortable with new situations, I never met with an academic advisor. I just moved through the list of requirements for an Associates of the Arts degree.

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Graduation.

I remember wanting to quit college. I remember telling my dad that I wanted to quit. And he told me “just quit then”. Now I’m sure most of you are thinking this is bad advice. However, my dad knew me, and he knew that I didn’t give up once I set my mind to something. Through tears, I told him that I couldn’t quit. He told me that I could and that the reality was that I didn’t WANT to quit.

He was right.

I was on the Dean’s List and was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa (not the first time I was asked because…again…uncomfortable).

After checking off boxes, I finished up in the fall of 1995, after a year and half, and put in for graduation for my A.A. I was barely 18.

Take Your Daughter To Work.

The spring before that graduation, my aunt had taken me with her for Take Your Daughter To Work Day. She worked for a Dermatologist. I spent the day there and I loved it. He had a transition happening, so he hired me part time on a temporary basis. I mostly worked the front desk, but I did get to be an assistant in a hair transplant surgery!

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First Real Job.

I had always loved math and science, but then I knew that I loved the medical field. The temporary basis came to an end. I didn’t know what I wanted to study. Plus, I still wasn’t prepared to leave home so I got a job at the hospital, working in a Rehab unit. I was fascinated by the Physical Therapists and talked with them about the schooling. Dissecting cadavers and the burn unit made me nervous. I know now that I would have been able to handle things, but hindsight is 20/20.

Back to College.

I decided I would become a Pharmacist. So I got a part-time job (along with maintaining my full-time job) at a 24 hour pharmacy and worked two 10 hour shifts over the weekend as a pharmacy tech. Then, I put in my notice at the hospital and re-enrolled at the community college in 1997.

However, what I didn’t know and hadn’t been told, was that once you put in for graduation at the community college, you aren’t eligible for financial aid at the community college level any longer. A person in my life at the time helped me scrape together the money for that semester, but I had to withdraw from Biology because of the schedule and I needed to get another job to pay for life. I finished out my Chemistry and Trigonometry classes, but by the end had decided I was not going to become a Pharmacist.

I did not like the automation of the medicine.I would have loved it back in mortar and pestle days. As it was my favorite part was learning how to read the meniscus.

Work.

The second part-time job I got during that semester in college turned into a full-time job. It was at a MRI facility. I thought about going back to school to be a MRI tech, but then life happened along. I switched jobs. Met my husband. Came back to that job when the day shift opened. Then I had my first child in 2000.

You might think that I easily went into being a stay-at-home mom. I didn’t. I wanted to be one, but I’d also never had a point in life where I wasn’t earning my own money. I’d been working since I was 14. When my son was 6 or 7 months old, I took a job in the nursery at the local YMCA because I could bring him with me.

Stay At Home Mom.

And then I got pregnant with my second son. I had complications in the beginning of my first pregnancy. Pains that made them check to make sure it wasn’t ectopic. It obviously wasn’t, but I was told to take it easy to avoid a miscarriage. When the pains started with the second pregnancy, the doctor advocated that I even avoid carrying around the oldest too much. He was 9 months old, so complete avoidance wasn’t going to happen. Since I couldn’t pick up any kids in the nursery and the diaper changes of other people’s kids were doing a number on my morning sickness, I resigned.

We would add our youngest, Miss Sunshine, in 2003. I sometimes thought about going back to school, but I also loved being home with my children. In 2010, the nearby community college changed to a state college and added some Bachelor’s programs.

Back to School.

That was how we found ourselves moving over to Stuart, Florida. I had many reasons for wanting to go back to school. But if I’m honest, one of them was because I wanted my children to realize that I was intelligent. It may seem silly, but that means something to me. It was my one claim to success in my formative years. I also wanted them to know that different choices are always possible. I enrolled for the Bachelor of Biology with a concentration on Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (I don’t know if that’s still offered), but even with 68 credit hours, I still was missing some lower level classes. So after 13+ years of being out of college, I took Chemistry and Statistics. When I aced them, I felt a real sense of pride.

At the time my dream was to go to work for some of the local biomedical facilities. They were touting the Treasure Coast as the Research Coast. If you don’t know…I love research. However, I came to realize that it’s mostly interns in many of those places. I thought I’d supplement the Biology degree with a way to actually earn income. Even though I wanted to work in a medical laboratory, the pay for that degree isn’t that well. I started considering a Physician’s Assistant or Nurse Practitioner, so I thought I’d get a nursing degree. After taking Anatomy and Physiology I & II, Nutrition, and some Psychology based classes, I changed my mind. I believe nursing is a calling…and I have not been called. About that time, life changed. We moved to Virginia. I wasn’t about to pay out of state tuition.

After a year, I sent for my transcript papers. Where they still sit in the filing cabinet. Unopened. I decided not to return to school because I found other passions and we also have three teenagers to put through college. Sometimes I worry that people think less of me because of my educational background.

I have learned to live with that.

Mostly.

I don’t know exactly how many credit hours I have. Probably over 90. I think less than 100.

I’m not sure because I haven’t broken the seal.

They sit there…waiting…in case I change my mind.

Being a Woman.

That is one of the reasons I celebrate International Women’s Day.

Because nowhere in that story was the decision not mine. Nothing about being a woman changed my options.

It is because of the way paved by other women that I had the freedom to make each of those choices. There wasn’t any choice which was prevented by the mere fact that I am a woman.

I’m sure there are many out there who would have made different choices. And that is okay.

Isn’t it wonderful to have that option?

Not everyone does.

Which is why women will keep fighting to be seen as equal.

Having a Daughter.

I also celebrate because I have a daughter. I often use her as a muse in my photography. Whether its captured unbeknownst to her as in the shots of her in Paris or when she willingly helps me create my vision like in the canal shot in Amsterdam, I am always in awe of her.

Miss Sunshine has dreams and visions and goals.

She heartily pursues them without any regard to her gender.

She is even stronger than I consider myself to be.

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Soccer.

Most of my regular readers know that Miss Sunshine plays soccer. She has played since the age of seven. We went through a hard transition when she was 13 and the U.S. Youth Soccer changed the age guidelines. She went from being the oldest on the team to being one of the youngest.

The transition also made her miss the first year that the field transitions from being 8v8 to 11v11. She found herself moved from a forward to a defender and she worked hard to learn the role. I live the behind the scenes. I know all the dynamics of the shift. But she did what she does, she persevered.

I love this shot of her during warm-ups. They were playing one of their league competitors and decided to put on war paint.

It reminds me of the quote:

Fate whispers to the warrior, “you cannot withstand the storm”

The warrior whispers back, “I am the storm”. -unknown

Self Assured.

I have taught my daughter that if she finds a glass ceiling, she should break it.

She should pursue her dreams with no regard to the naysayers.

I have spoken in the past about the fact that at this time she wants to be an Engineer. She’s 14 and that may change many times before she decides on a path. It may even change many times while on a path.

There is great freedom in that reality.

Locally we have some part-time specialty high schools. She has applied to two and while she is waiting to hear from one, she has been accepted into the Engineering Based one.

Part of application process was to come up with an invention that could be patented and describe the materials, cost, building process, and usage.

While I’m not sharing her invention…I have to say…I love how her mind works.

So today I celebrate all those women before me who fought and all those women who continue to fight to be acknowledged as equals.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Let your light shine!

Amy

wpc: story