Photo Shoot in the Mountains

Last December, in the midst of typical Christmas chaos, I had wanted to take family photos at the Wichita Mountains. Due to my getting sick and the crazy schedule we had going, we were unable to do that. It took me all the way until June 6 to accomplish that goal!

The Wichita Mountains, I think, must be Oklahoma’s best kept secret. I have heard a few friends say how hard it must be to live in such a flat place. Our part of Oklahoma is blessed with these rugged mountains, complete with buffalo and Longhorn cattle, cactus, wildflowers, and more. If you’re ever nearby, you should stop see the Wild West in person.

Here are the photos of the kids that I took while we were out. I am not a great photographer, and I haven’t even spent much time practicing these days due to life getting in the way, but I’m pleased with how they turned out.

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Lauren snapped this one of me while she was holding my camera. It was totally random, but I like it!

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Here are a few scenic shots, just for fun:

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I hope to return in the near future and take more, maybe even a family photo for the Christmas card. I think I’d better plan ahead this year!

Thanks for reading.

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I Like Ohio

After our tearful goodbye to loved ones in North Carolina, it was a blessing to have something fun to look forward to. Our next stop was Ohio. We enjoyed seeing Terry’s parents and his grandma. Granddad made Matt three awesome guns. Grandma and Great Grandma took the girls shopping, and we all enjoyed lots of fellowship together. Terry was also able to preach for his dad, who pastors New Life Baptist Church in Plain City, Ohio. (I always love to hear my favorite preacher!)

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Matt with one of the guns made by Granddad. I didn’t know my father-in-law could do such fancy woodwork!

We also got to visit a place called “The Wilds” with my in-laws and several of their church members. It is a part of the Columbus Zoo and is located near Zanesville, Ohio. I would describe it as a “mini safari”. We rode in a bus that had the roof replaced with canopy. The sides of it were open so you could get a close-up look at a variety of animals. I snapped 300 hundred photos that day – but I’m only sharing my favorites.

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Here’s our entire group – minus Terry, who took the photo.

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Here’s the group with Terry.

My in-laws are blessed with a great church family! I felt like I was a part of it, too, and I hadn’t been there for three years!

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This is a Sichuan Takin, which until that day, I didn’t know existed.

Trivia: Can you guess which cartoon character Disney created in the image of this creature?

The answer is located in the comments. Let me know what your guess is!

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Matthew loved talking to Grandma…even though our tour guide was talking, too.

I can’t imagine who he gets that from.

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The White Rhino family!


rhino-babyThe baby started nursing while our group was there.


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Doesn’t this male ostrich look angry? He was ornery, too! He stayed by the gate for several minutes preventing our bus from leaving.

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He came right up to our bus, looking for something to eat. He nibbled at the window, and then swallowed, like he’d eaten something!

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I have seen bison several times because we live close to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, but seeing a newborn was something special! We saw this brand-new baby bison nursing, and our tour guide had to radio HQ that the American Buffalo family had grown.

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I liked this photo of the zebras. I think it needs a caption. Any ideas?

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He must not have liked my having a zoom lens pointed his way, because he did this and my allergies went as wild as the animals.

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“That’ll teach ya to git that thang outta my face!”sunset
I tried to capture a breath-taking sunset at my in-laws’ house, but alas, my skills as a photographer just aren’t to that level yet. It’s too blue. Or too dark. Too… something.

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 I like it though.

And I like Ohio.

Thanks for being here.

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A Boy and His Dog

After our Bible Conference ended, we were able to enjoy some pleasant weather. I’ve learned during my brief time here, that Oklahoma weather, is unpredictable. Last winter, we had severely cold temperatures that lasted for weeks. We also had several snow days. This year, it’s been more temperate. We actually have had some days reach the seventies! In February! The kids wasted no time in getting outside to enjoy the sunshine.

One day, I noticed that Matt was playing with our dog, Libby. Libby has been in our family since Lauren was two years old. Terry rescued her when someone abandoned her at his workplace. The vet said she was a mix breed and that she was about two years old when we got her. That means Libby is about the same age as Lauren – 15! That’s old in dog-years. I’m not a “pet person”, (I’ve always been a city girl) but Libby was a very good watchdog in her younger years, and she’s been a great playmate for our children. She has also helped the kids learn responsibility since it is their job care for her.

Here are some adorable photos of Matthew (says the completely unbiased mother – wink, wink) and our dog. Oh, and please forgive Matt’s outfit. The coat is too small, or the shirt is too big, I’m not sure which. He dressed himself that day. I do get points for letting him become independent, right? Hello? Anybody there?

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I just *love* my children.

And the dog.

But I love them more. 🙂

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Sunrise in the City

I have seen some gorgeous photos of sunrises and sunsets. The most beautiful ones seem to come from the desert or the mountains. But right here in town, I have seen some lovely sunrises and sunsets. They have been scarce this winter, though. We’ve had weeks of cloudy skies. Those are days when daylight comes, but it seems that dawn skips us. I made it home from my walk this past Monday, January 19, 2015, just in time to see a lovely sunrise. I grabbed my Nikon and tried to snap some photos, but sunrises don’t dawdle, so I didn’t have much time to perfect the shots by changing the settings. I did as many as I could, and tweaked them a bit using Photoshop Elements. Here are my results:

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This view is from my backyard. I love the way the sun is beaming brightly at the base of this sycamore tree.

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This is from my front yard.

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My settings weren’t quite right on this one, so I darkened it a bit to make a silhouette shot. I like the way it turned out. I love the fiery glow of the sun in the distance.

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A few pastels as the sun rose higher and higher.

Sunrises represent the beginning of a new day, new potential and new hope. They shout to us that we have awoken to another day, a witness to God’s handiwork all around us through His glorious creation. We see the sun in its place, doing its job, and we know that God is in control. It is an awesome and exciting thing to be a part of this life!

We will probably have more cloudy days before winter is over – in fact, we have one today! On those days, I can take a look at my photos and be reminded all over again of God’s faithfulness, His promises and His love.

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. ~ Genesis 8:22

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Beginning Photoshop Elements 12

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recently shared that one of my New Year’s goals is to learn more about Photoshop Elements. I got a great book at the library called Photoshop Elements 12 for Dummies. It’s a classic. It was written just for me, my name is even in the title!

I’m halfway through chapter two, following along with the book while using the program itself. So far, I’ve learned a lot of simple things that I should have already figured out in the six months I’ve owned the program. One thing I learned is how to make slideshows! It wasn’t exactly in the reading, but in the process of looking around, I discovered it. I am pretty happy to have something to show for my study! I decided to share some of our Christmas photos using this method. (Maybe someday I can figure out how to add music.)

The quality of the photos appears grainy, but they weren’t that way on the original. I am still excited to learn how to do this. While the title of the book is slightly demeaning, it really does explain things in simple terms with lots of photos. I’m just proving that there may actually be times you can teach an old dog new tricks. 😉

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Wisteria Hysteria

I suppose the title of this post sorta gives it all away: I have purple wisteria growing in my back yard! We are nearing our one year anniversary of living in southwest Oklahoma; one year of seasonal changes, one year of extreme weather experiences, one year of memory making. I don’t know if we had just missed seeing the wisteria bloom when we moved in on April 25, 2013, or if, perhaps, it didn’t bloom at all last year? Either way, it was a delightful surprise and it’s made me fall in love with my home and Oklahoma all over again. I’ve been a little crazy about taking photos of it. I’ve been experimenting with different settings on my Nikon, because I’m still very much a novice at photography. These are completely unedited, so some of them look a little washed out. Despite that, I just *have* to share them with someone. Care to take a peek?

Oh good! Thanks! 🙂

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These are along the fence in our back yard.

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This was mid-morning. I tried to get a good bokeh, or blur, in the background.

 

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 This was late afternoon, and it’s my favorite! I love the rich color contrast.

 

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Direct sunlight.

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Lauren, in the wind.

The photos of the girls were taken late afternoon. The sun was so bright that I had trouble seeing my digital photo to see if it came out okay. I should have used a smaller aperture because these are a tad washed out. If I’d had time, it would have been an easy fix with Photoshop. (I’m lucky to have time to write this post as it is! 🙂 )

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Mitchell wasn’t too happy to be photographed with the purple flowers! Haha!

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Matthew showed me his “punching stance”.  He’s all boy!

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Spring is here, and it’s been lovely! I’m looking forward to seeing trees and bushes in full bloom and green grass! I got this sign at Ross Dress for Less! 🙂 I love how the glitter sparkles when the sun shines on it…and we have plenty of sun! 😉

Thanks for reading!

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Foggy Morning

I have enjoyed waking to the mild weather we’ve had the last few days. It reminds me of how the weather would be during the final days of school when I was growing up. The muggy, warm start to the day is a sign that spring has definitely “sprung”. We may still re-laps into some chilly temperatures, but it won’t last for long. I love the winter weather, but I love spring weather, too! I enjoy each season of the year. When one has exhausted itself, I’m ready for the new one to step in.

This morning as I pulled back the drapes, I was surprised to see fog lying peacefully in a huge heap across the street. Of course, I had to get my camera!

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I was only outside for about five minutes snapping photos. By the end of that time, the sun’s first rays began melting the fog.

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You can practically see it lifting in this photo.

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Here, only a tiny ribbon remains near the ground.

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Here’s another one of it as it thins out. (Please excuse my neighbor’s truck.)

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It was a lovely, pinkish sunrise.

I hope your day is filled with warm breezes and blue skies.

With love,

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