Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: A Season Sampler

Spring arrived later than usual in Iowa but lots of blooming beauties helped brush off winter's grunge and welcome warmer temperatures.

Who doesn't love summer at the lake?  This scene, taken at dusk on West Lake Okoboji, is a pleasant reminder of those dreamy days spent outdoors enjoying time with family and friends...and, just as the sun was setting, running from all the blood-thirsty mosquitos!
Everywhere you looked, loads of pumpkins for sale!  How many did you purchase and decorate for Halloween?
Brrrr!  But, despite the cold temperature, this morning Mother Nature gave us a masterpiece of frosty creations.  Just as the fog was clearing, I ventured out and spent over an hour outdoors while filling two memory cards with images of Jack Frost's originals.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Kids at Christmas

 These adorable faces bring smiles galore to all they encounter; therefore, I wanted to post their precious faces and let their warmth brighten your day.  What is more beautiful than happy children with an extra special glow in their eyes while in the company of loved ones and presents under the tree!  Throughout the past few days I was fortunate to spend time with all of them and that was the best gift of all.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Lingers

"Gifts of time and love are surely the basic
ingredients of a truly merry Christmas."
                                  --Peg Bracken

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Christmas Spirit

"I will honor Christmas in my heart,
and try to keep it all the year."
                          --Charles Dickens

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Feliz Navidad

"May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope;
The spirit of Christmas which is peace;
The heart of Christmas which is love."
                                                    --Ada V. Hendricks

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

La Noche Buena

"Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. 
But it warmed more than your body. 
It warmed your heart...filled it, too, with melody that would last forever."
                                                        -- Bess Streeter Aldrich

Monday, December 23, 2013

A Visit to Murphy Park

From late November through December, the annual "Reflections In The Park" light display in Louis Murphy Park in Dubuque, Iowa is something to see.  With numerous sponsors, all sorts of figures, characters and scenes are part of this holiday creation that you can view while remaining in your warm car.  If you haven't had a chance to see it this year, today's images include some highlights from the illuminated collection.


Friday, December 20, 2013

A Creative Combo

"Photography deals exquisitely with appearances,
but nothing is what it appears to be."
                                             --Duane Michals
What is this?  First, I started with a photo of a structure on the Atlantis property that includes an oversized turret shell placed atop a dome molded with many other shell shapes.  Since I am intrigued by seashells, this image has always been one of my favorites but I thought it needed something...hmmmm.  So, I looked at some old photo files and found a bright yellow metal flower that was part of the décor on a birdhouse.  Perfect!  Cut.  Paste.  Add a few more yellow specks and here it is. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Gull Strikes A Pose

How cute is this!  As I snapped photos of the beautiful shades of blue in the sea and sky, (notice the background) this little character was not bothered by my presence (probably thought I had food to share!)  In a very charming manner, the seagull moved its head side to side and batted its eyelids several times as I photographed it.  Usually when birds catch a glimpse of the camera/large lens, they seem alarmed and quickly fly away; hence, I was happy to have a chance to get a few shots of this creature who seemed to be hamming it up for the camera.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Balconies in Black & White

Hollywood Squares by Stephanie Funke

"People think that all cameramen do
 is point the camera at things,
but it's a heck of a lot more complicated than that!"
                                                  --Larry in Groundhog Day

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Looking a lot like Christmas

"It is Christmas
in the heart
 that puts Christmas in the air."
                                        --W.T. Ellis
"Perhaps the best Yuletide decoration
 is being wreathed in smiles."

Monday, December 16, 2013

Birthday Greetings

"Your birthday is a special time to celebrate
the gift of YOU to the world."

Warm happy birthday wishes to my wonderful husband.  Enjoy the day and another year blessed with good health and happiness -- that must mean I will try to shorten the "honey-do" lists!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Holiday Exhibit Opens

The Carnegie-Stout Public Library in Dubuque is currently hosting a holiday art exhibit that will run through January 24th.  Featured today are a couple images from the opening reception, including a shot of the library's gorgeous 18-foot Christmas tree that served as a beautiful backdrop as guests entered the building.  In addition, I want to say a special thank you to my parents, my well-behaved niece and nephew and my husband's cousin and his wife who all took time to attend this event.  And, in case you wondered, the little boy and girl in the picture with me and my photos are my 4-year-old nephew and two-year-old niece -- so cute!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Poinsettia Day

According to several online sources, the USA observes December 12th as Poinsettia Day -- news to me, too!  Anyway, greenhouses are full of these seasonal beauties and soon they will be adorning places of worship, retail outlets and possibly your dinner table.  Truly, these brightly colored bunches of leaves (they really are not petals!) are gorgeous and available in several colors besides the flaming red variety often associated with this plant.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Home for the Holidays

Last year I featured this home adorned in such unique holiday décor, and this year is no different.  However, after I knocked on the door and got the homeowner's permission to photograph his home and be on the property, I realized that last year's primary color, red, has given way to purple.  In addition, the accent color is now a shade of green along with bits of white and silver to provide extra highlights.  And, although I didn't ask, my guess is that these folks painted both the porch swing and rocking chair and added throw pillows with additional accent colors -- as beautiful as something pictured in a magazine found right here in our small town.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

In the Fog

"Derive happiness in oneself from a
good day's work,
from illuminating the fog
that surrounds us."
                     -- Henri Matisse

Monday, December 9, 2013

Sea Turtles

Recently my husband and I were fortunate to spend a little time at Atlantis on Paradise Island in the Bahamas.  And, although the weather wasn't the best, I did have time to photograph some of the wonderful aquatic life the lives throughout the many lagoons and aquariums on that property.  One of my favorite subjects, the Green Sea Turtles, are featured in today's photos.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Light Looking

With Christmas just a few weeks away, holiday lights illuminate the night as one passes through residential neighborhoods and downtown spaces.  Truly, I enjoy the variety of lights and décor that folks have so carefully arranged and always look forward to hearing what my husband deems his favorite for the year.  But, I just can't help make a reference to the "Clark Griswold" character who goes crazy stringing lights on nearly every inch of the roof -- that image makes anyone laugh!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Transformations Now Open

Gnarly Spine by Stephanie Funke

Currently at the PhotoPlace Gallery in Middlebury, Vermont, is the photography exhibit titled TRANSFORMATIONS:  THE ORDINARY MADE EXTRAORDINARY.  If you live in that vicinity, I encourage you to visit and see some wonderful images; however, since I am in Iowa and won't be traveling to that locale, I decided to share the website where you can view the selected pieces, including 40 to be in the actual gallery along with another 35 that are included in the online gallery annex.  One of my images, Gnarly Spine (shown above), was selected for the latter.  To access this interesting photo collection, click on the following:  www.vtphotoworkplace.com/id230.html

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Holiday Show Opening Reception

You are invited to attend the
Art @ Your Library
Holiday Art Show Opening Reception
Friday, December 6th
5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Featuring 23 Local Artists
The Dubuque Carnegie-Stout Public Library
360 West 11th Street
Dubuque, IA
Each artist will have a couple items on display and for sale.  If you can't attend on Friday but would still like to see the exhibit, feel free to do so during regular business hours through January 24, 2014.  On the above piece of publicity, one of my photos is shown in the upper left corner and is a scene from the bluffs along the Mississippi River overlooking the downtown and beyond.  Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Storm Clouds Brewing

This photo, Storm Clouds Brewing, I took in July while in a corn and soybean field with rather ominous clouds forming overhead. Recently it earned Special Merit in an online exhibit titled "Countryside."  To see this image and several other extraordinary scenes of the outdoor world, click on http://www.lightspacetime.com/countryside-art-exhibition-december-2013/  On that webpage scroll to and open the four different categories, including overall winners, special merit, and painting and photography awards.
                                                            Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery

Monday, December 2, 2013

That Time of the Year

 "Remember this December,
That love weighs more than gold!
                                                                --Josephine Dodge Daskam Bacon