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Friday, December 30, 2011

Annual Christmas Picture

I have so many things I want to post about! I don't know where to start!! We had a quiet Christmas Day. We went to church and had lunch with my dad, mom, and sister. My children, their spouses and our grandchildren came on Monday. We had the most enjoyable Christmas!!

I'll think I'll just post about a tradition that makes me smile!! Our annual picture of the grandsons in front of the Christmas tree. It is such an adventure trying to get them all to sit down and smile and look in the general direction of the camera!  We always to get to laughing as we line up with our cameras and make every conceivable motion and  say anything we can to get their attention. We've sang and been silly, but, none of it seems to work. They are usually so excited they can't sit still. But, you know, I wouldn't trade my photos  for the perfect photo. I'll leave that to the professionals! I love the way their personalities stand out in my photos.

To get them to sit in front of the tree,
we gave them jingle bells.
Looks like we have two checking out their bells,
one ready to have this over with,
and a shy one not happy to be there!!

After several shots from three cameras;
one has his eyes closed,
one is ready to make a break,
one is doing what he should, great smile,
and one is still not happy to be there!!

Yep, one escaped.
Two are ringing their bells,
and the oldest one is being very patient!!

One has been totally exhausted,
one is still giving us great smiles,
one still checking out his bell,
and one is totally missing!!

Here we go, the best one.
All sitting still, all looking forward.
This photo really makes my heart sing!!
They're very precious boys!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Picture The Holidays - Days 22, 23, & 24

This Holiday Season has been so enjoyable. Made so by the wonderful prompts from Picture The Holidays!  Each day I took a break, grabbed my camera and found a picture to fulfill the prompt. My camera is my stress reliever and my joy!!

Day 22 - You're Getting Sleepy
As we rush through the holidays we all need to take a break now and then. I love to curl up with a good Christmas book! Have to brag a little! I finished this quilt last year. It was exciting to be able to put it on the bed. Half the blocks are pieced and half are embroidered with things related to snow.

Day 23 - Life Is Sweet
I just started my Christmas baking!
 I can't bake early, I would eat it all and have to bake again!!
 I like to wait and fill the house with the smell of Christmas baking!
These are Snowball Cookies.
Lots of butter and a little nutmeg
give them a wonderful flavor!!
I also made my favorite cookies,
Soft Oatmeal Raisin.
Yep, I'm one of the few who like raisins!!


Day 24 - Enchantment
So many things during the Christmas season are enchanting and magical!  I am enchanted with the story "The Night Before Christmas."  Many years ago, I began to read this book to my children on Christmas Eve. Now, it's being read to my grandchildren. I'm always looking for copies of the story by different illustrators.  Right after Christmas I usually get them half-price!  I now have 16 copies. I'm fascinated with the artwork in each book. If you'd like to see inside some of the books and see a sample of the artwork visit my last year's post The Night Before Christmas.


I hope your Christmas was a joyful one!


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas


Hoping that your Holiday is filled with lots of joy and love!

Have a Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas
When all through the house
Not a creature was stirring,
not even a mouse...


Happy Christmas to all,
and to all a good night!

Creative Holiday Lights

If I had to pick one sign of the holiday season that I like the most, it would have to be holiday lights!  I love them. I probably have close to 800 multi-colored lights on my tree. I weave them around the branches all the way to the center. I have lights on top of my hutch, my bookshelf, three other small trees, and wrapped around a teddy bear sitting in a chair. Outside there are lights on my bushes, around the porch and along a rock wall. I love the traditional multi-colored lights. I love the nostalgic feeling I get whenever I look at them. And, as you can guess, I take many, many pictures of them! 

The latest Exploring With A Camera over at Kat Eye View Of The World is about creatively capturing holiday lights. One of the new techniques I tried was setting the camera on a slow shutter speed and zooming out as the picture was taken. This leads to some pretty psychedelic photos. You need to visit her post here and see the photos she took. They are amazing!
This is the first one I took of my Christmas tree. It's hand held, therefore you have the squiggles. I love the neon look it has!


These are the lights along a rock wall. I used my tripod this time which made the lines sharper.

On this one, I focused in closer on a couple of Santa ornaments. As I zoomed out it gave more short burst of color.
I was finally able to create heart shapes with the Christmas tree lights. This took a lot of practice. Using a slow shutter speed, you move the camera like you're drawing. But, it's hard to draw and reconnect the heart when you can't see it!! And you're drawing upside down!!

This was a fun experiment! I was taking zoom pictures of everything! 

Hope you have a Bright and Merry Christmas!!!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Picture The Holidays Days 20, 21 and Mortal Muses

Picture The Holidays - Day 20
All Wrapped Up
My presents are all wrapped and under the tree.
For me this is early, I'm usually still wrapping on Christmas Eve!!

Picture The Holidays - Day 21
Attitude Adjustment
There's a story behind this depiction of attitude adjustment. Yesterday, I was in a very unpleasant, negative situation that I couldn’t avoid. I came home with bad attitude and vented to poor Mr. H.  This morning Mr. H. laughingly says “don’t get in the same situation today.”   OK, I can avoid it today!!  I turned on the computer and read the prompt from Picture The Holidays. Who was spying on me and knew I needed an attitude adjustment???  As I sat thinking about the prompt I looked over at the piano, there sat this little angel bear with her paws together in prayer! I laughed out loud at her pleading look. “Please be kind” she seemed to say! “Please don’t have a bad attitude today!” Now, I will fold my hands in prayer and ask for forgiveness!! It’s not funny, my attitude; but, she makes me smile every time I look at her!!!

Big Picture Classes


Moral Muses
Cozy
I thought of lots of ways to picture "cozy".
 But, then I spotted these three snowmen all cozy in a bucket waiting for snow!!


  Mortal Muses - Peace
Snow falling at night is so peaceful and quiet.

Many Muses Musing

Monday, December 19, 2011

Picture The Holidays - Days 18, 19 and Mortal Muses

Day 18 -  Recharge

busy season
much to do
take a moment
just for you!!



Day 19 - Make A List
The most important list,
 is the list of "Good Little Boys"
for Santa to see on my Christmas tree!!
I'm putting in a good word from my grandsons!!


I've also posted a couple of days on Mortal Muses.
They have a prompt and giveaway each day.
I'm not lucky at all, but who knows,
maybe it will be my turn to win something!

 Wonder
How does this small little tendril hold up so much snow, I wonder.

Hope
Hope - to cherish a desire with anticipation
I hope for each of you a wonderful holiday season
and New Year!
Many Muses Musing


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Picture The Holidays - Days 16 and 17

We've reached the halfway point in December. It's so hard to believe; the time is just flying. I am so enjoying Picture The Holidays and their wonderful daily prompts. It has made this holiday season special as I spent time each day...just me and my camera. It's just great!!


Day 16 - The Season Of Lights

I got to practice shooting lights again!!  There are all kinds of Christmas lights, but I keep returning to my Christmas tree. I really enjoy the many colors of the lights and the fact that they make pretty bokeh! This tall, lanky Santa is one of my favorites from Boyd's Bear. I love that he's carrying his own little light with the tree lights behind him.


Day 17 - Warm Glow

There's something so soft and magical about a candle's glow. It brings peace and a moment of quietness.

I hope your holidays are warm and glowing!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Picture The Holidays - Days 12, 13, 14, and 15

I'm late on my daily photos for Picture The Holidays. I was working on a project that needed to be finished. In keeping with my attempt to keep this season simpler, I chose to wait until today to catch up. It was a productive day, I finished my holiday decorating, got all the decoration boxes back in their closet, and began wrapping presents.

Day 12 - A Whole Lot Of Happy
We were to capture a happy face.
This glass ornament always makes me smile!


Day 13 - Simply Divine
The definition of divine is:  of, relating to, or proceeding directly from God   The ultimate gift of love was when God sent his son to earth as a baby. Angels were sent directly from God to sing the glory of his birth.
This angel sits on top of  small tree in my extra bedroom. The tree is filled with sweet, feminine things; tiny hat boxes and hats, shoes and purses, and beads and miniature glass balls. I looked a long time to find a really pretty angel.


 
Day 14 - Sincerely Yours
We have become so used to our Internet, cell phones, iPads and other electronic gizmos that we rarely send or receive handwritten notes or cards. Christmas time is different though.
I look forward to mailing my Christmas cards to friends and family and receiving greetings from them. I was sorting through my old Christmas cards, about 43 years worth,  when I found several cards that were sent to us by my Grandfather.  Looking back through them, I realized he signed his name different ways; Papa Culps, Papaw Culps, A. F. Culps, Pop Culps, Dad Culps, and Pop C. To me he was always, Papaw Culps. I noticed his handwriting became more shaky as he reached his late 80's and early 90's. I made the ornament  in the picture from one of his cards. I hesitated cutting it up, but now I'm so glad I did. Every year this hangs on my tree in honor of my Grandfather.

I posted two photos on this day. This old card and envelope are about ten years old. A friend of mine had all her cards mailed from Santa Claus Station in Santa Claus, Indiana. I knew you could do this, but this was the first time I had seen one. You mail your cards in a large envelope to the postmaster and they will hand cancel the stamp with their  beautiful postmark.  I want to do this, but Christmas cards are always last on my list. Maybe I should do them in September and have them ready next year!!!



Day 15 - Got Gifts?
The prompt was to make a tag from one of our photos. Since my printer is about out of ink, that wasn't possible, so, I just took a picture of a gift.
 
I had to wrap some presents today in order to photograph one for the prompt. I'm having fun setting up these little photo shoots. It's beginning to come a little easier. Of course, part of the credit goes to the lovely ladies I share classes and galleries with. They are a constant source of inspiration.

I'm feeling pretty good about the holidays now, things seem to be coming together nicely!!

 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Lights Of Christmas

I just finished putting our Christmas lights on the outside of our home.  I use multi-colored lights inside and out. White lights are beautiful and elegant. But, I'm old-fashioned and multi-colored lights bring a feeling of nostalgia and Christmases of the past.

I began to think about Christmas lights and wondered when they were invented. I wasn't surprised to learn that electric Christmas lights were connected to Thomas Edison. During the season in 1880, Edison, who had invented the incandescent bulb the previous year, hung strings of lights outside his laboratory in New Jersey.  The first known electrically illuminated Christmas tree was the creation of Edward H. Johnson, an associate of Edison.  He had Christmas tree light bulbs especially made for himself. He displayed his tree which was hand-wired with 80 red, white, and blue lights the size of walnuts. By 1990, businesses started stringing up Christmas lights in their windows. Lights were too expensive for the average person; so electric lights for Christmas trees did not become popular until 1930.

Now, that you have a history lesson, let me show you a few lights I've captured. I'm still learning how to take night and inside pictures with my camera. For the first two pictures inside, I propped the camera up and when I was outside, I used my tripod to prevent camera shake.

To achieve this first image, I put the camera on manual. I focused on my Christmas tree and then slightly unfocused, creating these little round circles.

You can also create what is know as "bokeh" by placing an object a few feet away from the background. This will cause the camera to focus on the object in the foreground and blur the background.

To get this unusual image of my Christmas tree lights, as I snapped the camera, I slightly twisted the camera. I like the way the lights seem to be in motion.

This image was a fun to capture. I was trying to make a heart-shape with the lights, by using a slow shutter speed as I moved the camera in the shape of a heart. It totally didn't work out. But, when I rotated the image I found these candy canes. You can see that my Christmas tree is upside down!  It's fun to experiment and play with the camera. You never know what'll you get!

Now let's move outside. I love the old-fashioned big lights in my bushes.

Here's a picture of my home. There are lights on the bushes and around the porch. The lights on the right are on a rock wall by the driveway. I guess I was taking these during the Blue Hour, because the sky is such a pretty blue.

I have a few other photos, with outside lights. My sister and I attended a living "walk through Bethlehem" this weekend. I was intrigued by the lanterns that were hung lighting the way.

The above photo is of the tanner's shop that we passed by. It was like a play that we were part of. The acting was well done and each scene was amazing. There were a few times that my sister and I even jumped when the Roman soldiers yelled for everyone to clear the streets! 

The journey ended with the Baby Jesus in the manger. That's a live donkey back there. There were also sheep and camels. This just reemphasized my desire to slow down and bring Christ back into our Christmas celebration.


Lastly, a couple of shots of our State Capitol.

I think this is my favorite; I like the trees in the foreground.

I've linked these Christmas lights to Kat Eye View Of The World and her Exploring With The Camera. She has many helpful hints on her blog to help you capture beautiful Christmas light photos.