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Strange weather hounds us here in enchanting rural Virginia.  Days range from perfectly sunny to projected “severe thunder storms” to high winds and even overnight freezes.

The world certainly looks different with a changing sky and I still play with light to create unique photography (and of course, to develop a photographic masterpiece).  It’s a long and arduous struggle though.  There are so many fabulous photographers who understand their complicated cameras while I stick to my old friend, “Pal” (ye olde trusty cell phone always at the ready).

This last week I was struck by the awesomeness of a looming storm and tried to capture a green green pasture crowned by ominous gray clouds.

Impending Spring Storm

The road out of Camelot was next.  Somehow, punctuated by the shadows of the season, decked out in spring foliage and outlined by ever green grass, my plain old gravel driveway took on a rather elegant persona.

Shadowed Road

And lastly I was trying to imitate the light in a Vermeer painting.  Old Dutch paintings have the most wonderful light and detail.  But Vermeer would no doubt be aghast at my Veggie Still Life.

Veggie Still Life 2

I will keep you posted if a photographic art masterpiece suddenly emerges in the Dork Collection!

Johannes (or Jan) Vermeer is now recognized as one of the great Dutch painters, but while he was alive he could barely make ends meet, and his artistic achievement was almost entirely ignored for 200 years after his death. Little is known about his personal life, other than he died poor and young and left behind a wife and eleven children. Vermeer is admired for his realistic style, his subtle use of color and light and his unusual and inventive brush technique, but fewer than forty of his paintings exist. His most famous works include domestic scenes such as Girl With a Peal Earring (1665) and The Music Lesson (1662-65), and tranquil landscapes such as The Little Street (1657-58) and View of Delft (1659-60).  

From Who2 Biographies http://www.who2.com/bio/jan-vermeer

Crochet-Hooks-6

Boring Croche?

I went to the second crochet class.  Part of the fun is in Talking While you Knit (crochet).  These are ladies who collectively appear to be creatively demure and concentrated upon making a beginner’s “market bag.”

However they may not be exactly what they seem.   We were discussing what goes on at knitting retreats (do you really want to know this?), but we finally got to talking about nicknames like “Beetle.”  Innocent topic right?

I am blessed with various nicknames, depending upon what folks are around.  There’s Dorf, Dorfy,Dot, Dottie, Dor, Dora, Doranne, Dork, and Snort.  I told the crochet ladies, “Some very dear friends always call me Dork.

(By the way, Thank you so much for that fun nickname Debbie, Scott, Pam and Janet!)

There was a kind of silence around the crochet table.

I suppose “Dork” is a somewhat derisive nickname but my friends always say it tenderly so I never object.  This has been going on through 40 years of friendship and I always thought Dork meant Endearing.

However,  one beautiful young lady in my sweet, demure crochet group said, “It means a whale’s penis!”

Huh?

I insisted, “No, it means a kind of funny, silly but very sweet and wonderful person”.

In the group’s relentless search for the truth, wouldn’t you know they looked it up?

Well, to my dismay, it does mean a kind of disjointed foolish person, but a dork is also

A WHALE’S THINGY!

Photo from en.wikipedia.org

Humpback Whale Photo from
en.wikipedia.org

That’s it!  Debbie (the original perpetrator), Scott, Pam and Janet will now be given firm instructions to invent a better nickname!  I will no longer respond to that one.

Imagine?

The things you learn in crochet class!

The blue whale’s penis, or dork, is the largest that ever existed. 

(Do you really need to know this?)

The average size for an adult male is 5m (15 feet)! 

The testicles weight 10kg (22 pounds). 

The blue whale can produce between 3-20 gallons of sperm during its mating season.  

From http://www.urbandictionary.com 

Antique Necklace

Grandma’s Necklace

My blogger friend, Barbara, of Silver in the Barn, is doing a series of wonderful posts for a collection of her family history. Read anything of Barbara’s and I promise you will be hooked!

Although I know sadly little of my own family, Barbara has inspired me to revisit a story about a special necklace.

My grandmother (Bertha) on my mother’s side was from Germany.  And although my grandparents immigrated from Germany to America and Bernard learned the language, Bertha never did.

She grew up in a village in the Black Forest called Waldsee which means Forest by the Lake.

There in the village she met my grandfather Bernard, who was visiting from Holland.  They married and had two children; a son, Ludwig, and my mother, Ida (and later, in America, another son, Carl).

Bernard left his young family in Germany to make a life in America and as soon as he “found his feet” and was able to support them, he sent for his wife and children.  As the story goes, my mom was a year old when she and her mother and older brother, made their way from Europe in a tough ocean journey to New Jersey, U.S.A.

D Grandparents 2

Bertha and Bernard

I never really knew Grandma Bertha because she died when I was five or six years old.

Grandma came to live with us for a while in Florida.  How fascinated I was by the big lady in the wheelchair who sat at her bedroom window admiring sunshine and blue skies and smiling happily at a little girl she so adored.

Constrained by the fact that Grandma did not speak English,  I recall feeling awed over a perceived hugely personal connection that spanned generations and ignored language barriers.  It was all beyond the comprehension of a mere child.

But one day that feeling of being cherished was forever sealed with a beautiful necklace!  That same necklace and the overwhelming feelings follow me even now, when I have  grandchildren of my own.

How surprised I was when my Grandma reached into her bag and took out a beautiful shining thing!

She smiled and folded my two little hands around a sparkling necklace, and then I felt  her own big warm hands enfolding mine.   And with that, she looked into my eyes and nodded her head up and down, as if to say, “This is for you, my love.  This is for you.”  And she kissed the top of my head.

I immediately knew the necklace was a most precious gift!

My heart was about to burst with pride.

Gandma trusted me with this hugely important thing.

And I vowed with the fervor of a child never to lose it,

to keep it safe in some secret place,

and though I did not quite understand it,

 to cherish it as a symbol of an overflowing love.

A jeweler told me the necklace has no monetary value.  It is only costume jewelry with onyx stones.  But as a little girl I thought it was priceless, and must have been one of Grandma’s most treasured possessions.  Now, as an adult, I still think it is priceless and it is among my most treasured possessions.

And just as I originally vowed, it is always kept in a safe and secret place.  I wore it once to a dance and felt as beautiful as Grandma must have been when she wore it so many years before.

I remember how the lady I never really knew tried in German to tell me how she felt.  But it was the necklace and her holding my hands together around it that made me truly understand the meaning of love.

I do believe the best photography tips are the ones that tell us how to look more carefully around our everyday world.

Magic is the ultimate ingredient that negates the necessity to lug around the hated camera’s hieroglyphic instruction booklet.

And magic can elevate the photographer to something above novice status.

You can be an impressionistic  art photographer too – in one easy lesson!

To find photographic art in mundane places

peer around in your ordinary world.  

The messy kitchen or family room will do  

for there is Art (no, not a man!) lurking in every corner!

It’s all in how you look at him/it

or how you resort to camera magic to fool your one eye.

Yes, try closing one eye (Um –  I do that anyway)  

But the idea is to get a skewed perspective.

Skewed perspective = Magic = professional results!

I tried this yesterday.

Without leaving the chair I simply moved in close to take a picture of  the details in a paper napkin!  Wow! When enlarged (cropped) it resembled imprints in the sand!  With a bit of imagination and one eye I could even see some little swirly creatures too.

The happy result was that yesterday’s post was a mystery photo of fossil imprints in the sand!

And all the time it was  just an enlarged rendition of a Vanity Fair paper napkin (available at most local U.S. grocery stores).

Voila!

Photographer graduated to artist proficient in the skill of reflective deception.

BEFORE

BEFORE

Fossils

AFTER

 

 

Fossils in the Sand

Fossils

Are these the remains in a faraway land

of shells and creatures in the sand?

Or were they drawn by a human hand?

What do you think?

Just do This!

Sign of the Times

Sign Chair Massage

I actually stopped and did this after a grueling day on our Wild West adventure!

It was a first.

But ignoring the cautious inner voice of the secret invisible inner me, I thought, “For goodness sake!  You are on vacation.  Just do this.”

The challenge was to ignore the fact said chair was in the middle of a bustling shopping center.

Inner Voice:

“O.K. you have made your own stupid decision.  

Now go!  Go forward!  Just do it!

I paid in advance and then stumbled onto the torturous device.

Hoards of  passing people  were surely snickering at this poor tired lady sloping face down in the center aisle of the mall.

Inner Voice:

“Don’t bother me with your regrets now.  

Take your punishment without complaint.”

Trying to look nonchalant I finally realized my face was only visible from the floor up.

What was the view from the back though?

Relax.  Relax.

Who’s laughing?

After a minute or so, the tension left,  muscles went limp, the inner voice disappeared, and

ohhhhhh – what a delightful respite, what utter luxury, what a way to revive your shopping urges!

Have you done this before?

Forget your face, forget your backside view.

And if you have a cautious inner voice, ignore it.

Just “Do this.”

 

 

 

Red Bud Road HomeCloseup Forsythia

It’s SPRING everyone!  It’s SPRING!

Even the birds are singing.

And look at all the pictures of a picture perfect world!

It’s SPRING!

But what about the itchy eyes,

the filled up nose, and

the constant urge to sleep?

It’s SPRING everyone!  It’s SPRING!

 

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