Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

September 30, 2010

Picturing Fall

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 7:51 pm
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I’m starting a new thing tomorrow… an online phtography class called “Picture Fall.”  I added a  badge over there on the side; you can click there and check it out if you want.  Becky over at Rebecca the Housewrecka turned me on to this idea when I followed her “Picture Summer” shots this past July.  From what I understand, it is a month long class that gives you photo prompts, instructions and tips by email each morning, then you share your pictures in their gallery and at your blog, if you’d like.  I don’t know if I’ll get a shot posted here everyday, but I will definitely try to get to the prompt each day.  Come check out what I’m up to throughout October! 🙂

September 28, 2010

A Lovely Autumn Day, part 2

Filed under: Photo assignments,Travel — Karma @ 11:19 pm
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Just down the road from Quonquont Farm is the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory.  I hadn’t been for several years, and I was looking forward to getting in there with my new camera and seeing what I could get for shots.  It proved to be more difficult than I expected.  The  light indoors in this place didn’t really allow for the super-fast shutter speeds I would have liked to use to take in all the gorgeous butterflies floating frenetically around the huge greenhouse.  I had to catch them mostly at rest.  One person who had no trouble at all finding butterflies at rest was my husband.  Remember the little teaser from yesterday?


This particular type of butterfly, which we learned was a rice paper butterfly, were attracted to my husband like dogs are attracted to stink!  We thought it had to be from the apple-smushing incident in the orchard – perhaps he had sprayed himself with sweet smelling apple juice and those butterflies were licking it up!  I left him several times to photograph other butterflies, each time I returned it seemed he had more clinging to him.  He said he counted nine at one point!  Doesn’t he look like Hermes, the winged messenger in that shot with his sandals?

Meghan wasn’t quite as successful at getting one to land on her, so she “borrowed” one from her dad for this shot:

Funny story about this picture: As I was taking the picture, another very colorful butterfly dive-bombed the shot, creating a blur of red and green across Meghan’s hair and neck.  I tried my darnedest to photoshop it out because I really liked this picture, but nothing I did looked right.  So I turned to an expert – someone who actually thinks photoshopping is fun!  Brian of FS Photography did a beautiful job fixing this up so that, in his words, you’d never know that there was a “camera hogging butterfly sneaking into the shot.”  Have a look over at Brian’s page if you haven’t recently – he just had some photos published in actual magazines!  Congrats, and thank you again, Brian!  I’ll post the original if anyone is interested in seeing what he was able to get rid of for me.  You know, I think I might like this shot of Meghan even better than the one I did for my portraiture assignment for Scott’s blog. 

On to the butterflies that I did manage to chase down for some pictures.  There were so many different varieties I really can’t remember their names, except for this first one, the blue morpho.  These beauties never stopped, and  I think the only reason I was able to get this picture, is because it is obviously an older, worse-for-wear butterfly.



I think that one above is called an “owl” butterfly.




I know this one’s a bit blurred, but I just loved the color, and it was the closest I came to stopping any action. 

In addition to all the butterflies, Magic Wings is also home to some other interesting creatures:

This is Akbar, the parrot.  In addition, there was also a variety of lizards, koi fish, tortoises, and some adorable little quail who ran freely around the place.  My pictures of them did not turn out well.

It was quite the lovely autumn day.  Ready to plan a fall road trip to my little corner of the world?  Let me know, maybe we can go take pictures together! 🙂

ETA: Michaela requested a look at the “before” picture of Meghan:

September 27, 2010

A Lovely Autumn Day, part 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 5:51 pm
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As much as I mourn the passing of summer, my family and I enjoyed a beauty of an autumn day this past Saturday.  The temperatures felt more like summer – it was in the 80’s – but you can’t deny that New England foliage, which is, along with virtually everything else this year, ahead of schedule.  This scene was found in Whately, MA at a place called:

Whately is nearly an hour’s drive north from where I live.  I discovered this place last year when I missed out on picking my favorite type of apples, macouns, more locally.  It was Columbus Day weekend last year, and they had already gone by at the local orchard, so I researched “pick-your-own” farms further north, reasoning that they might still have them on the trees.  I was right!  We made a nice day last year of picking apples and heading down the road a short distance to the famous “scenter of the universe,” the flagship store for Yankee Candle.  We all enjoyed Quonquont Farm last year so we decided to head back.  Imagine my surprise arriving at the orchard this year, two weeks earlier than last year, to discover the macouns had  pretty much been picked.


The helpful woman working at the farm that day explained that they had a late frost in May this year which damaged a lot of the young apples on the lower parts of the trees.  The farm folks picked the macouns from the tops of the trees and placed them in the boxes from which people could choose.  Disappointed but not deterred, we filled a 1/2 bushel bag with macouns, then set out to fill another bag with a variety of other apples.

Some of the apples were up a little higher, like these:

..but that didn’t stop this family from getting the ones we wanted:


Sarah (above) goes after the apples with gusto!  Meghan (below) hauls part of our haul:

We paid the helpful woman for our apples (you can see her, back turned in the shot below) and headed back to the car.

As we did so, I heard my husband muttering under his breath and looking at the bottom of his shoe.  No, it wasn’t that!  He had stepped on a rotten apple while we were in the orchard, which would end up having a direct effect on his lovely autumn day, part 2.  Be sure to tune  in tomorrow to see what happened!  (And if you already know what happened after reading it on a certain social networking site, please don’t give it away! )

September 25, 2010

My Try at Portraiture

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 5:08 pm
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As I usually am with Scott Thomas’s photography assignments, I was a little nervous about what I’d get for results when Scott said the challenge this time around was portraiture.  I have two teenaged girls, I think I’ve mentioned before.  They are wonderful people, but not always happy to have the camera pointed at them!  Today, we were out doing something the whole family enjoys, apple picking (post coming on that as well), so I decided to give the portraits a shot while we were outside on an absolutely gorgeous fall day.  The timing wasn’t the best light-wise, but I gave it a go anyway.  I had them stand in the shadows of the apple trees to try to prevent squinting and harsh shadows.  It would have been the perfect opportunity to try fill-in flash as Scott has often suggested, but I forgot, dang it!  So, I looked to Photoshop Elements to give me a helping hand.

Here’s the first picture of Meghan, SOOC:


The shadows made her skin tone look sallow and highlighted the creases and undereye circles.  I consulted my PSE7 book by Scott Kelby and followed some simple steps for softening her face and improving her skin tone:

I think that’s an improvement.  I followed similar steps for Sarah’s portrait.  Here’s the original:

And after a spin through PSE:

 I think I managed to create some nice looking color out of not perfect shooting conditions.  Was this cheating, Scott?  I know the idea was to create nice conditions with your camera and light, but I’ve had some people tell me the post-processing is nearly as important as the original picture taking.  I’m not a huge fan of processing.  Most of the shots I post are SOOC except for some cropping, but I thought these subjects benefited from some tweaking.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

September 22, 2010


Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 9:26 pm
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I was wandering the yard the other day looking for excuses to use my camera photo subjects, when I stumbled upon this weed lurking in a corner, near the steps to door of the house that we never use.  Does everyone have one of those? (a door you never use, I mean, not lurking weeds.  Watch out Gerry, it could be triffids!)  It wasn’t a dandelion or milkweed, but it did have lovely fluff, lit up by the sun, floating in the breeze.


These cute little lurkers, plus Kathy’s post, got me wondering about folks who may be lurking around this blog.  On a day I’ve published a new post, I’ve noticed this blog gets about 30-60 hits.  My most popular day was around 100.  The most comments I’ve ever gotten I think is around 28 – and half of those are me, responding to your comments.  A more average number of comments is around 16 or so – again with half of those being me.  (Does everyone know that I respond to your comments? Do you come back and check?)  That seems to me that maybe an average of one fourth of the folks who have some sort of look at the blog leave a comment.  That makes the rest of you lurkers!  Lurkers, any chance you would unlurk?  I’d love to know who you are,  just to say hello!  I’m really not a scary sort, so don’t be afraid.  Say hi, as long as you are not a spammer. 

I found another lurker while I was out aimlessly wandering seriously shooting adorable balls of fluff.  It was actually another fluffball


but I suppose I can’t call Cedric a true lurker.  Although he watched the goings-on from his post in the windowsill, he’s rarely one to be without comment.


“C’mon, Mom.  Stop spending so much time playing with that camera and come in and pay attention to me!”  Cedric will never be shy about his comments.

September 19, 2010

Letting Summer Go

Filed under: What's Blooming — Karma @ 7:25 pm
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This past weekend was the last weekend of summer. **SIGH** I spent the day yesterday doing many of the things that signal the end of the season.  I cleaned the deck of the remaining remnants like forgotten bathing suits, barbeque tools and potted annuals that had already passed their prime.  I started prepping the pool for closing.  I harvested the concord grapes that grow against the back of my house:

This is how much we got:

That’s a 13 cup plastic container they are in – feels like it weighs about 2-3 pounds.  I’m thinking of trying to make some jelly since I doubt my family will eat many of them before they start to expire.  Anyone have a fool proof recipe for a fool like me?  Would I actually have to can it if I make it or could it just be stored in the fridge?

I also bought myself some flowers, those traditional New England harbingers of fall, mums.  For anyone local reading this, Randall’s Farm in Ludlow has a HUGE selection at a great price: five 8″ pots for $25.  So, of course I bought myself 5!


I planted 3 of them into my whiskey barrel planter and transferred two to hanging containers for the deck.  At least I’ll have some color for my remaining days of enjoying the deck, and to greet me as I come and go from the house.





Dear Summer,

I’m very sorry to see you go!  We really had a blast this year, didn’t we?  Thanks so much for all the bright sunshine and warm temperatures you brought with you.  I hope your cousin Autumn treats us as nicely with bright days and crisp evenings.  I will certainly enjoy our last three days together before cuz’s arrival, and I will anxiously await your return nine months from now.

Lots of love,


September 18, 2010

Not Too Proud to Beg!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 9:30 pm

Through my sister, on a link on Facebook, I found out about a couple of very cool giveaways!  First was for an Epiphanie camera bag.  Camera carrying ladies?  These look like the most awesome bags ever!  They look like a gorgeous designer purse but there is room inside for a DSLR plus all your other lady stuff!  Then it turns out the fine creator of these bags is giving away a Canon 5D body!  Whoo-hoo!  To enter the giveaway for the Canon 5D, you have to do a blog post with your picture, a confection with a birthday candle (my confection here is a cider donut!), “Happy Birthday Epiphanie” written somewhere in the shot plus a picture of one of the fabulous bags.  Only the picture of the bag can be photoshopped in – everything else has to be real.  I don’t own one of these cool bags so I tried my PS skillz and put one in the shot with me.  I think I should put one of these bags on my Christmas list!

September 17, 2010

New Assignment at Scott’s Place

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 4:23 pm
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Scott Thomas recently announced his latest photo assignment over at his blog: Portraiture.  The requirements are that it has to be a human (sorry Teddy and Daphne!) and that you explain how you do it.  This is an area in which I’d certainly like to improve.  For example:

Here’s my darlin’ girls right after getting haircuts- they wanted pictures for their Facebook profiles, so coaxing this impromptu photo session wasn’t too difficult.  We discovered quickly that they needed to get under our deck umbrella.  The bright sunshine was bleaching out their faces and making them squint.  The shot above was taken under the umbrella, but their eyes aren’t as wide open as I’d like.

I love the soft, glowing look of evening light. 

(oops, Maine snuck into my blog post once again!)  I’d love to be able to take advantage of this beautiful time of day for Scott’s assignment.  I wonder what the chances are that I’ll get nice weather with pretty light and a not-too-busy teenager in a good mood all at one time before September 29th? ( That’s Scott’s due date)   I’m thinking about the same that the Red Sox make it to the World Series this year!  😦

September 14, 2010

It was not to be

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 4:22 pm

I got the news I was waiting for today, and I am disappointed.  I interviewed for a new position within the place where I already work and another candidate, from outside, was chosen.  I’m not comfortable discussing further here, but if any of my regular readers and commenters are interested in more information, feel free to email me.   I am sad, but will be okay.  This lovely bouquet of flowers from dear hubby awaited me upon my arrival home from work today.

September 12, 2010

A Day Trip for the Family and a Lesson for Me!

Filed under: Travel,Walking the Dogs — Karma @ 5:49 pm
Tags: , , ,

Hubby had the thought a few weeks ago to pack up the kids and the dogs on Saturday the 11th for a family day trip.  With his schedule, weekend days off only turn up about every 6 weeks, so little family days need to be planned ahead of time.  He also thought it would be nice for me to get my mind off of some thoughts that have been occupying my mind this week (I’ve shared these thoughts with a few of you; I should get my answer tomorrow.)  It is a rare day indeed that all four of us can spend the day together, so we grabbed a few supplies, leashed the dogs and headed back down to the Cape Cod Canal Visitor’s Center, which I told you about in this post.

The beach at the visitor’s center is one of the few on the Cape that seems to be dog friendly.  Daphne and Teddy had never experienced an ocean beach before so we were curious to see how they would react.
Daphne and Teddy beach 1

Daphne & Teddy beach 2

teddy beach

We kept them on 16-ft. retractable leashes for a couple reasons: Teddy is not known for listening all that well when called, and we wanted to be certain they were not bothering anyone else who decided to enjoy this windy, but sunny and bright day.  Unfortunately, these are the only shots I have of the dogs near the water.  Due to my failure to 1) zero out my camera from shooting in early evening light the day before and 2) realize the camera was not in P mode, I took about the first dozen shots of the day in bright sunshine on shutter priority mode with the shutter set for 1/20 of a second!  Most of my shots of the dogs are whited out blurs of gold, black and tan fur.  In the bright sunshine and my excitement to see the dogs first experience at the beach, I failed to notice the display screen in front of my face.  So frustrating!   I realized what I had done when I went to take a picture of a crashing wave and wanted a quick shutter speed for stop action.  It didn’t occur to me to check the shots I’d already taken when I realized my mistake.  Daphne and Teddy were not overly enchanted with the beach this day, so I probably wouldn’t have gotten many more shots of them playing anyway.  It was high tide, quite windy, and their first time, so I think they may have been more nervous than excited about their surroundings.  After the beach, we took a nice long walk along the canal to help use up the energy of dogs that had been traveling in a car for 2 hours.

leaving mom behind

Canal walk/bike path

During our walk, I saw some interesting sights along the way, so I was constantly stopping to take pictures and then catch up with the rest of the family.

flower boat

Boat of flowers at the Sandwich Marina


Strange swirling vortex of water

found on 9/11

I don’t know if this little flag was placed yesterday or not, but I thought it appropriate on 9/11.

a meeting?

A crowd of cormorants


Cormorant close-up

After a good long walk and a stop for ice cream while visiting with my mother, it was time to get back in the car and head home.  The car is hubby’s Chevy Suburban, which provided leg room for the kids and a place for tired pooches to sleep their way home:

On the ride home

There are a few more pictures from our day on my Flickr page, if you want to have a look.  Go ahead, give it a click! 🙂

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