Top Picks of 2013 Pics

Asking a photographer to pick his or her favorite picture is like asking a parent to pick their favorite child; you love them all, but in different ways. Here are eight of my favorites from the ones I posted this year. Which is your favorite? Others posted that you like more? I will be posting my favorite unposted-in-2013 pictures in a few days.

Iris after Rain

Iris after Rain

Farmers' Market Peaches

Farmers’ Market Peaches

Tail Feathers

Tail Feathers

Waterbug

Waterbug

Spider on a Leaf

Spider on a Leaf

Amish Harvest Time

Amish Harvest Time

Bee

Bee

Iced Taillight

Iced Taillight

Ice Storm

Last weekend an ice storm hit much of lower Michigan. As I mentioned, we were in Douglas last weekend so my car did not have its usual garage comfort. When I went to check on my car, I found I had a Pontiac G6 ice cube. I did a close-up image of both my headlights and taillights. The last picture was taken near home on our ice world trip back to Spring Arbor.

G6 Headlight

G6 Headlight

Taillight

Taillight

Iced Bushes &  Trees

Iced Bushes & Trees

Douglas & Saugatuck

Douglas and Saugatuck are both on the Eastern shore of Lake Michigan. Though adjacent, they are separated by the Kalamazoo River. Last weekend we were in Douglas looking out towards Saugatuck. These three pictures were all taken from the deck in the condo we stayed in.

The first is of a seagull. This was taken with limited field of focus through a narrow window of visibility in a tree. The second is of Saugatuck across the water, at dusk. The last is essentially the same view, but a photo painting of the lights at night at a very slow (8 second) shutter speed.

Both communities are worth visiting with great hospitality, beautiful art shops/studios, and good food.

Seagull Though a Tree

Seagull Though a Tree

Saugatuck at Dusk

Saugatuck at Dusk

Photo Painting of Saugatuck Lights

Photo Painting of Saugatuck Lights

Ice and Snow

Icicles bring a sense of dread to me, similar to the Greek legend of the sword of Damocles. Perhaps my fear of these icy daggers comes from my childhood when I broke off a very large icicle. The bottom part went where I intended, but the larger upper part crashed through a six foot wide picture window. As my self-prescribed therapy I decided to try and capture some of the beauty of ice. In the process I also caught some icy hands reaching down . . . more to worry about! (What? Me worry?)

Snow also has a fearsome yet gentle beauty about it. It can be dangerous to drive in, but it also has a mystical, soothing quality. The last image is from my deck. Following that image is a poem that often comes to mind this time of year. Merry Christmas to all.

Caught Seed

Caught Seed

Icy Hands

Icy Hands

Ice and Water

Ice and Water

Ice at Night

Ice at Night

Snow and Oaks

Snow and Oaks

Midnight Snow

Falls the snow, I feel it.
Crystal candles dropping
soft hush-light on our world;
pine trees shower snow dust
from moon silhouettes
as west winds swish to ease reverie.
Deep blue midnight surrounds two.
Our steps leave memories in the snow
as warm hearts fight cold silence.
We wandered peaceful through the night,
each to each thinking on days past.
Pure Snow Brilliance would shout our guilt
but snow-wrought memories returned us to
our innocent youths
and like children
we embraced the early morning snow with frolic.
Blanketed in snow, we laughed,
but hollow echos told the truth.
It was gone
and tears grew cold upon our faces.

Life’s a Beach

I couldn’t resist taking a picture of this chair and its quirky irony. That’s Michigan!
life's a beach

P – I – Z – Z – A

One of the first words my oldest grandson learned how to spell was “pizza”. He is still a huge pizza fan and enjoys going to the place Pat and I went to after our latest shoot together. My small town is privileged to have the only wood-fired pizza place in the Jackson area. While I generally prefer Chicago-style deep dish pizza, the offerings at Slice of Spice are all delicious.

When you enter you are greeted by a classic message board with specials and soups of the day listed.
chef

The next thing to catch your eye is the 700 degree oven and the beautiful decor decked out for Chritmas.

oven

christmas

If you look closely around the corner from the oven, you can see the pizza dough prepped for topping and cooking to order.
dough

At departure – after good food and good conversation – these happy travelers above my head caught my eye. They seemed to emulate the feeling of the happy customers filled with p -i -z- z- a.
happy travelers

Woods

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

These words end the 1916 poem by Robert Frost titled The Road Less Taken. It is a thought-provoking poem about the directions our lives can take and the regret or peace we can have about our path. Some would say I have taken the road less traveled, but in reality, for me, it was the only road to travel.

When Pat and I shoot together we often take the roads less traveled. The woods at Blueberry Hill were no exception. Two roads were available to us and we chose to take the one less traveled. It was a quiet, serene journey. The coyotes, fox, deer, and turkeys that call these woods home did not come out to meet us. We each wandered in the directions our eye would take us for a couple of hours; together but on our journeys. We can photograph the same thing, but what we see and try to capture can be quite different.

These photos are some of what caught my eye. They all have one-word titles so your mind can take its own path in viewing them. I did add one picture from a different woods that I wandered into during the same week.

Seed

Seed

Moss

Moss

Birch

Birch

Feather

Feather

Photographer

Photographer

Yes, that’s Pat. Love to hear your thoughts on any paths these photos take you on.

Meet Andy

Andy is a tall, handsome red-head that loves to run . . . on all four legs. A regal bearing and friendly spirit as well as a “top dog” manner make this horse the prima donna (if he were a she) of the Blueberry Hill farm. As you will see, there is a very evident joy and abandon when Andy runs. Hope you enjoy meeting Andy.

Meet Andy

Meet Andy

Coming to Say Hi

Coming to Say Hi

Hanging Out with Friends

Hanging Out with Friends

Morning Snack

Morning Snack

Running with Joyful Abandon

Running with Joyful Abandon

Blueberry Hill

Fats Domino made the song “Blueberry Hill” a rock n’ roll hit in the 50’s; “I found my thrill on Blueberry Hill”. (Listen to the song to find out what the thrill was.)

The Blueberry Hill that good friend Pat and I visited last week is a refuge farm owned by some very caring friends. The farm is named Blueberry Hill; in honor of Fats Domino or one of the few fruits native to this county or maybe the thrill my friends found there. I call it a refuge farm because they take in animals destined for slaughter or dropped off in the middle of the night at their farm

The house sits up on a hill about one-fifth of a mile from the road. It is a beautiful home with lovely gardens, even though this day and this time of year may not show it off at its best. It is decorated for Christmas, though.

Blueberry Hill

Blueberry Hill

Barndoor

Barndoor

West of the farm is an historic farmhouse with a couple of contrasting barns.

Barns

Barns

East of the farm is a schoolhouse turned into a home.

Schoolhouse

Schoolhouse

Here is one of the owners having a face-to-face conversation with one of the residents:

Face-to-Face

Face-to-Face

Next time I’ll introduce you to the star of the farm (and he knows it). His name is Andy. No this is not Andy.
Goat Head

Night Lights

Capturing light images at night – night lights – can be difficult, especially without a tripod. After the Christmas outdoor lights were hung on gutters and in our small garden, I noticed some very pretty reflections from the lights onto the vinyl siding. Like all good photographers I decided to live on the edge. I would try to capture these terrestrial-like reflections at night without a flash or tripod; much like a trapeze artist working without a net. I set my ISO to a very high speed (3200), opened up the aperture wide, and shot at the slowest speed that I could hold reasonably steady.

The rather impressionistic images captured the beauty of the reflections well. The graininess from the high ISO added an other worldliness to the pictures. Some of the reflections suggest an angel, a dove, and maybe even a butterfly (at least to me) and others seem to match descriptions of UFOs. Hope you enjoy the admittedly strange images. Living on the edge, Julie.

UFO

UFO

Trestle Lights

Trestle Lights

Amgel and Dove

Amgel and Dove

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