February brings thoughts of love

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A mother’s love…

God sure knew what he was doing when he designed this feature of human nature.
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Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. ~ Psalm 127:3

It’s all about the energy

The energy of the mind is the essence of life. ~ Aristotle

I love life.  Life is up… life is down…  Images can reflect that emotion with a little planning.

Moyer-7598popdmvhpshcr2Long beautiful hair lends itself to the movement of the image above as does the fun, playful personality of the subject.  I focus on the subject, subject turns to the back, swings hair forward and just feel the fun.  I played with the cropping until I decided that this was the most pleasing angle.  Focus is tricky and the shutter was as fast as my flash sync would allow – 1/200. If using a darker background I back light the hair to show separation and depth. 5.6 ~ 1/200 ~ Canon 5d mark 2 ~ 70-200 L lens

VanD-6796wwdmvhpshcrBack light from the sun gives extra “spark” to the image as does the athletic pose of a volleyball player.  2.8 ~ 1/1000  ~ Canon 5d mark2 ~ 70-200 L lens

You don’t choose your life… you live it.

~The Way

Another phase of my life goes by… taking a career break from traditional portraiture.

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This has been in the planning stages for the past 4 months and I was going to wait until mid October to announce my future plans, but I guess now is as good a time as any.

It’s been 16 years of growth and transformation, starting with 35mm and medium format film, darkroom processing and now the digital age with Lightroom and Photoshop. It is time to move on, so I will be closing the traditional portrait studio as of October 15, 2013.  All sessions scheduled up to that point will go on as planned and the current website will be up until May 1, 2014 to facilitate senior orders.  After that, I’ll start working on a new website reflecting the art of both Randy and myself.  The studio will then be transformed into Randy’s painting studio and workshop.  It’s his turn now.

I still love photography and hope to continue learning and exploring new, unusual techniques and push for a more and more creative style. Maybe even try an impressionistic painting style of photography.  I also plan to continue showing art work in galleries, promote the arts,  and hope to find time to put together other products using images.  (Greeting card line?)  I may ask to borrow some of your kids if I get an idea for some prairie photography because, after all, southwest Minnesota/Eastern South Dakota is a great place to raise children and that is a theme near and dear to my heart.

I will not be twiddling my thumbs and eating bonbons by the truck load, as I move into this phase of my life.  I’ll need to complete this year’s photo orders, try to be Randy’s farm hand/gopher, occasionally Granny Nanny (Grandkid #2 is expected in March 2014), clean/organize/paint inside the house and sheds (long overdue), continue involvement with community and art organizations, garden and go back to the classroom environment as a substitute teacher – look out, G-D!

Then, in my spare time, I’ll learn Spanish, how to knit/crochet, bike/hike or maybe even jog, work on songs with Randy (maybe my sister will dust off her accordion and we can hit the nursing home circuit!), read the books I haven’t had time to read and travel / hike anywhere I can, as well as visit friends and relatives.  Yep, lots to do.

Don’t worry, I’ll still blog about whatever trail I’m on or something that wanders through my mind and conjure up some “thought for the day” to amuse myself and the world from time to time.  Hey, I may even bring back “Photo Friday” with educational topics.

Thank you to all who have been on this journey with me…  It’s been a good ride.

Meet the Most Eligible Bachelor in Spain

It’s around 6 p.m. after day #1 of hiking the Camino de Santiago and we decide we are in desperate need of something to relax and medicate our sore, aching bodies and warm our wandering souls.  We find a stone building that houses a tavern and see some customers that are just leaving.  Don’t they say that a sign of a good establishment is one that has customers? Plus, Taberna del Pueblo is Spanish for village tavern so that may be just what the doctor ordered.

Spain-1030359dmvBonus points for having a broom parked outside to show that they care enough about their business to sweep. This should be worth checking out…

Spain-1030356dmvO.K., so the regulars don’t exactly greet us with shouts of joy and welcome us with open arms.  It is dry and warm in here so we decide to at least have a beverage.

Spain-1030349dmvI’ve seen some interesting bar decor in my day but this takes the cake.  This leg of a pig is featured front and center on the bar and our new friend, Damian, shaves some meat off, arranges the meat on a plate and we are offered some delicious, succulent ham as tapas to go with our drinks  (What we would call appetizers, the Spanish call tapas).  Tapas may be cheese, meats, olives, bread, etc. to snack on with your beverage of wine or beer and the first plate of tapas is often provided free with the purchase of drinks.

I’m guessing, from my research, that we were eating Jamon Serrano,  meaning literally “mountain ham.”  It is aged in the fresh mountain air of Spain for a minimum of 18 months with only natural Mediterranean Sea salt.  Most Serrano ham is made from Landrace breed pigs, or a mix of Duroc breed, Large White and Landrace. In Spain, Serrano ham is a part of life, served in bars, restaurants and found in virtually every home.  ~D’Arttagnan.com

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This member of our group is involved with the pork industry in Minnesota and is so intrigued by the pig leg adorning the counter of the bar that she soon makes herself at home and decides to try her hand at carving.  Our new friend, Damian, must be equally intrigued by this bold American and does allow her to wield a knife.  However, he does appear somewhat unsure of what he has gotten himself into tonight. Gloves and a hair net would be required to do such work at home, but when in Spain do as the Spaniards!

Spain-1030364crdmvDamian has some personal items of interest on display.  I wish I had asked if that was an old photograph of his family since we could have o-o-o-ed and ah-ah-ah-ah-ed ~  El es un nino lindo (He is a cute little boy).  On the far right are books that a friend of his has written and he was selling them in the bar in case we wanted some reading material in the albergue.  It also looks like Santa visits Damian at Christmas time, too!

Spain-1030357dmvBuen Camino!!  We raise a toast to day one.  It appears that Damian likes old movies judging by the posters on the wall.  I am standing by the bar while I take this photo so you can see that it is a very small establishment.

Spain-1030376dmvAs the evening progresses we become even more acquainted with Damian and Damian continues to be amused by this group of Americans.  He has become endeared to our hearts and I think  he was amazed that we found him to be such a cutie pie!  He may have received more than the normal amount of admiration typical of a Thursday night in the tavern.  He reveals to us that he is single, so I feel as though I need to do my part and spread the word across the world that we have discovered the most eligible bachelor in Spain.

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O.K., ladies, I know where he is so I can point the way to Damian of Rabanal, Spain!

Time to eat supper and go back to the hostel to rest up for day two of walking.  A chorus of snoring may be lulling us to sleep tonight and I hope I am in the choir and not part of the audience.

Love…in the purest form.

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A tender moment in time between a father and his newborn son.