Nature and Leading Lines

To me, the natural world offers myriad opportunities for interesting photo captures.  In this case, just after an ice storm, I went out to find icicles everywhere!  While potentially devastating, and there was considerable damage by way of downed limbs, trees and wires in the wake of this storm, it also provided some very cool pictures!

These icicles formed on the lower edges of the board fences – a perfect combination for today’s topic!

Icicles form on the fence line during an ice storm.

Icicles form on the fence line during an ice storm.



In Madrid, one of the original “gates” of the ancient city stands imposingly in a Plaza surrounded by flowers.  By day, it is a massive marble structure inscribed with the name of Carlos V on the top, but at night, it becomes a glowing beacon.  I love the way the night illumination softens the harsh glare of  the daytime sun.

This view is taken towards the Gran Via, one of the main streets of Madrid, and you can see the “Metropolis” building through the arches in the distance.

Alcalá noche

Day 6 – Connect

I struggled with this prompt for some reason – possibly because the last time I did Photo 101, I really liked the picture I used for the theme and couldn’t get my mind to go in a different direction.

During the summer, the Amish and Mennonite communities in southern Pennsylvania sponsor huge auctions to benefit their local fire departments.  These are well-attended events where they auction everything:  animals, plants and flowers, furniture, handmade cabinetry, quilts and bags, tools, carriages, tack and junk.

While everyone attends these auctions, the Amish and Mennonites and easily identifiable and connected by their unique attire and choice of colours.


A couple observes the auction of handmade quilts.  This rack is where prospective buyers can examine the items before bidding.  Quilts of all shapes and sizes from baby to king hit the auction block for a great cause.

IMG_7311Three young men watch the sale of carriage and riding tack


This young auctioneer was excellent!  He stood out in the July sun for hours hawking plants and flowers to the highest bidder.

IMG_7317 (2)

Once you’ve made your purchases, these enterprising young fellows will cart it to your vehicle – for a small fee, of course!

IMG_7318Waiting for customers.

IMG_7326 (2)Once the carriages were sold, they must be moved out of the auction tent and back to the staging area.  It takes more than one to move these large coaches.  So every strong, able-bodied young man lends a hand.

Day 5 – Solitude and the Rule of Thirds

Solitary swimmer:  Lahinch, Co. Clare, Ireland

Solitary swimmer: Lahinch, Co. Clare, Ireland

While walking on the beach in Lahinch, Co. Cork, Ireland last summer, I spied this little swimmer exploring the waves.  Despite it being high summer, the water was chilly, so dressed in his wetsuit, he ventured out for a swim.

Day 4 – Bliss

For some unknown reason, my camera has decided that it will not focus.  Auto-focus is not working – I cannot press the shutter at all in AF mode, and when I put it in manual, nothing happens when I try to focus it.

I suppose it could use a good cleaning and servicing, it is five years old and has never given me an ounce of trouble.  And this might just be the perfect opportunity to upgrade the camera.  I’ve been thinking about that for a while.

Meanwhile, thank heaven for camera phones.

So, today this is how it looks outside.

20150305_132705The one thing that the camera phone cannot capture is the blowing, driving snow.

No “Bliss” there.

Instead, I decided to capture the beautiful orchid that is blooming in the living room.  I am very proud of this orchid.  It was a gift from a student five years ago.  I was leaving the school where I had been teaching for 10 years to move to Maryland to live with my dad after the death of my mom.  I loved the plant and had never had an orchid.  I have cared for it fastidiously – I am better at killing houseplants than at growing them – but it has survived moving, re-potting and sporadic watering to bloom year after year.  This year, I’ve been reading up and might even be so brave as to try to grow a cutting when it finishes blooming!



Six beautiful blooms it has!

Six beautiful blooms it has!

This is my idea of bliss.

Day 3 – Water

Well, today is clearly a day of ‘water, water everywhere…’  but between the pouring rain and the lochs of water produced by the melting snow, it was simply not conducive to venture out to find a worthy subject.  Besides, I distinctly recall when I bought my camera, the salesman told me there were two things that I should avoid:  water and sand.  So I have done my best to keep both away from the camera!

Given that the climate is not fit for man nor beast, I decided to wander through my archives and hunt for something suitable to the theme that would give me some pleasurable memories and assuage my desire to escape the winter doldrums.

Last summer, while I was in Ireland, I decided to take a weekend trip to Co.Sligo.  The day was fierce; “lashing” rain, as they say.  But, not to be deterred, I was determined to see as much as possible.  So, camera at the ready, I ventured out into the countryside following signs for Glencar Lake and Glencar Falls,  favourite haunts of W.B. Yeats, who lived and is buried nearby.  Due to the heavy rain, the river was rushing; the power of the water clearly evident as it raced to the lake.

Among the images I captured were these three…


I took this with my 75-300mm lens so it is a bit hard to imagine the size and volume of water that was cascading over the face of that cliff.

IMG_7982Here I was experimenting with various settings on the camera to get different effects of the rushing water.  I liked this one as it gives a great sense of movement.


Finally, on Glencar Lake, a lone fishing boat moored among the reeds and flowers with the backdrop of the spectacular Irish countryside.

Day 2 – Street

I had neither the time nor the inclination to stop to take photos today.  When I left school – I am a high school teacher – my car was covered with ice and my sole intention was to get home as quickly as possible.  The temperature hovered around 30º F and just after I arrived home safely, all the rain turned over to freezing rain.  I took a quick minute to run out to the driveway which, being 600′ long is the closest I could get to “street”.  It has thawed and re-frozen for nearly a week now and is quite a mess.  Normally I like winter, but I am SO ready for spring!

Icy Driveway or "street"

Icy Driveway or “street”