Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

August 31, 2011

August Photo Hunt Wrap-Up

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 6:29 pm
Tags: , ,

Before August flies out the door, I thought I should get my re-cap of all your wonderful Photo Hunt submissions posted!  From what I’ve read and seen, it appeared like folks really enjoyed this particular hunt of finding a rainbow of summer photos, and it shows in the beautiful shots you’ve taken.  (I’ll admit to being just a wee bit disappointed that some of  you decided not to do the bonus shot though!)

In order of submission, here we go!

Nye was an early bird this time around, posting her hunt on August 6th!  I especially loved her humming bird photos (if you read here regularly you know I have a soft spot for those tiny cuties) and her self-portrait, posed in the garden – just perfect!

Next in was Gerry, who despite her recent frustrations with WordPress and her slow, slow dial-up internet connection, posted a beautifully refreshing collage of summer fruit.  The Cowboy did a terrific job with her portrait too! 😉  And I’m really glad it wasn’t your last post, Gerry!

Popping in third, with a rainbow he had already hinted at in an earlier post was Scott.  Scott’s selection was very manly without any of those fluffy or smelly things that Brian is always referring to; he showed us funky cars in all of the colors plus a lovely portrait of himself and his wife enjoying a river cruise.

Robin did an absolutely amazing job with the photo hunt by presenting us with a collage for each color of the rainbow!  It looks like she spent a huge amount of time on this post and the collages are just gorgeous.  Don’t make me pick a favorite, I can’t!  Even her self-portrait was extremely clever with a tinting of the picture in all six colors: bonus bonus points to Robin!

My friend Renae once again participated in the hunt with a group on Flickr.  She has a fun collection of summer items, including blue-painted toe nails!

Dawn took a unique approach to the hunt.  She presented three photos for each color: a carnival shot, a flower shot and a car shot.  I think it was pretty cool that she was able to do that for all six colors!

Carol thought she was posting last minute, but she actually got her photo hunt in a few days early.  Carol had a nice variety of color throughout her post, but my favorite had to be her silly kitty Lily lounging in a barrel planter.  Love the unique self-portrait of the typically photo-shy photographer.

Ahhh, summer – that was my thought when I saw Deb’s photo hunt.  Her lounging toes and camp chairs and refreshing self-portrait help us remember to take the time to relax in the summer.

Newcomer Ellen brought a variety of summer objects for her summer rainbow.  I loved the growing fruit, funky frog ornament, and how another dog lover managed to make the dogs part of a photo hunt!

Barbara again participated in the photo hunt, but I think got her confused at first! (sorry about that Barb!)  She was hunting for a photo that had all 6 colors in one shot rather than 6 different photos, but recovered nicely with a lovely floral collage.

New to participating in the hunt, but not new to hanging out around our blogosphere, was Holly.  Holly says she cheated because she didn’t take the photos specifically for the hunt, but I say that’s totally okay!  She managed to incorporate her two favorite photo subjects (her cute sons) and to show us a beautiful variety of summer shots, including a pretty sneaky self-portrait! 😉

My sister Jennifer gave herself a little extra challenge with her photo hunt; she decided to do flowers, but since she was on vacation on an island in Maine, she made the choice to try to add water to the background of every shot!  It wasn’t easy, but she managed it.  The pictures make me want to go take a stroll around Peak’s Island.

Brian the Funky Slug once again blew me away with his stunning variety of photos.  His bumble bee with pollen is amazing, while his picture for green is starkly beautiful.  As I was hoping, he gave us a very Funky Slug creative version of his self-portrait!

Sliding in a day late, but definitely not a dollar short, was Tracy.  Tracy featured the lovely perspective of the nature-lover that she is; from the tiny detail of a curling tendril to the sculpture in her garden it is easy to see what inspires Tracy.

If you happened to miss my own entry in the photo hunt, you can see all of my pictures, all taken in Maine, here.

Beautiful work everyone!  I really enjoyed checking out all the wonderful submissions, and if you haven’t had the chance yet, please have a look at the posts and leave our great participants some love in their comments.

Looking forward to whatever Scott Thomas has cooked up for us for September!

August 26, 2011

Rainbow of Summer… in Maine

Filed under: Photo assignments,Travel — Karma @ 10:03 am
Tags: , , ,

The posts have been pouring in for the August Photo Hunt.  There is still time to get yours in – due date is this Sunday – but I was thinking I should get mine posted today while I still have power!  What a summer it has been around here: first a tornado, then a microburst, an earthquake this past Tuesday (though I did not feel it), and now Hurricane Irene is projected to hit this area some time on Sunday.  What form it will take by the time it gets here no one really knows, but with this summer’s track record, it doesn’t look good.  At the very least, I am expecting to lose power again.

I hope my sister doesn’t think I am stealing her idea (she mentioned in the comments section of the Photo Hunt that she would find me a rainbow of colors on Peak’s Island while she was on vacation) but while I was still going through my photos from Maine, I realized I had all the rainbow colors in some of my favorite things about summer.


I eat usually 2 lobsters a year – one on vacation and one at our dear friends’ summer party, so a boiled lobster is the perfect representation of summer red.


Flower planted by the owner of the cottage where we stay  and…

a monarch along a path I walked.


These seem to be some wild snapdragons that I found on one of my walks.


wild green on an ocean-side path


Big blue sky and ocean and…

…look at all the blue I found when I looked at my family’s beach gear: bathing suits, towels, chairs, umbrella and float!


pre-dawn sky from my up-before-the-sun morning


My “selfie”- this shot was actually inspired by the picture at the end of this post by KD.  If you haven’t read this post, you really should – go read it, I’ll wait.  Like KD, in this picture I am makeupless, feeling good and very content.  I am at peace when I am at the beach, and I hope it shows in this picture.

I will continue reading your posts as long as I have power this weekend!  The worst of the hurricane is supposed to come on Sunday, and I have to return to work on Monday (kids come back to school on Tuesday), so I’m not sure when I will get the recap of all the beautiful assignments posted.  In the meantime, check out the links in the comments section of the hunt post.  People have submitted some really beautiful pictures so far.  If you haven’t posted yours yet, I hope to see it soon!

August 24, 2011


Filed under: Travel — Karma @ 2:52 pm
Tags: , , ,

On Monday of our vacation week , we got stuck with some pretty heavy-duty rain.  The day was bleak enough that we tried to go to a movie and couldn’t because it was sold out!  We ended up renting one (the re-make of “Arthur” – meh, it was just aw-ight).  Monday night the rain hammered unbelievably loudly, and Tuesday dawned drizzly and overcast.  However, by late Tuesday afternoon we were treated to:

Can you see it?  Just the faintest hint of rainbow?  I discovered this at the far end of the beach where I take my morning walks.


I saturated the color in PSE, but this still wasn’t as vivid as I’d hoped – my polarizing filter was back at the cottage and I imagine that would’ve helped bring out the color.

After I had walked back to the cottage, I spied another delightful sight!

Out by the little island with the puzzling monument on it (I can’t seem to discover the purpose or reason for that structure – it was there when I was child, and I have no idea who built it or why).  I took this shot from the sand dune in front of the cottage.  I also liked the way the sun was starting to shine on the boats in the distance.

(Remember how I mentioned how the tide goes waaaaayyyy out here? )

Rainbow with mysterious monument:


I liked how the rainbow reflected in the small tide pools left behind on the clam flats.

Speaking of rainbows, don’t forget your rainbow of summer is due this Sunday the 28th!  I’ve received links from Nye, Gerry and Scott so far – remember to add yours to the comments section of that post.

ETA: How short my memory is!  Becky discovered the mystery of the monument last year, and I even commented on her blog post that contained this link to an explanation!

August 23, 2011

This one’s for the birds

Filed under: For the Birds,Travel — Karma @ 9:44 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’ve found myself drawn to bird photography this year, and Hills Beach was no lack of opportunity for avian shots.  I think most of my photos are of fairly typical shore birds, but I’ve made a selection of some favorites whether it was the bird itself or the situation that interested me.  I can’t begin to work my way through figuring out which birds are which types of pipers or plovers and such – I’m hoping maybe Bob Zeller will pop by and give me some identification help!

First, the easy ones:

young herring gull  The typical “sea gull” found just about everywhere.  Normally I wouldn’t post a gull picture, but this guy just kind of ambled into my shot and I liked it.

On one of my walks, I watched some terns diving for fish:
diving tern

diving tern



Last year, I discovered a great blue heron making its home in a little cove.  I’d hoped to get some closer shots than I managed last year, but Mr. Heron was still playing shy:

blue heron

Did you know they have two-headed ducks in Maine?  Really! Have a look:
two headed duck! ;-)


Speaking of ducks, a pair swam up near to where I was sitting waiting for the sunrise:
sunrise ducks

They waddled up on to the beach, almost as if to say hello:
ducks say hello

“Eh, how you doin’?”

For this shot, I just have to say, “What the duck?”
strange duck

Strange one, no?

My other shore birds of unknown specific names are in that piper/plover category that I always mix up.  Be sure to speak up if you can straighten me out:


These curious little birds would shuffle their feet in the shallow water on the sand bars and stick their beaks into what they shuffled up:
shore birds shuffling feet

They look like little gulls of some sort; here’s how they compare in size to the typical sea gull:
shore birds with gull

I’m going to fly the coop now, but I’ll be watching like a hawk for your wise as an owl comments that I hope will be something to crow about…. okay, I’ll stop now! 😉

August 22, 2011

Sun and Moon

Filed under: Travel — Karma @ 8:54 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Hi everyone!  I’m back from Maine.  I took lots of pictures and have lots to say, and was having a hard time deciding where to begin.  So,  I decided to start at the beginning!  There’s an original thought, huh?  I’m still sorting through the 468 shots I took this past week, deciding what I’d like to share, but these are from my first evening at the cottage.  August 13th also happened to be the night of the full moon this month, so I wanted to be sure not to miss it this time around.  I checked the time for moon rise, and headed out about 20 minutes before that to get ready.  Luckily it was low tide, which made for plenty of room for setting up the tripod.  At Hills Beach in Biddeford, Maine, the tide goes way out:
sunset at Hills Beach

While the sunset isn’t quite over the water, it comes really close at this beach.

I waited patiently for the moon to rise while I set up my tripod and played around with different shutter and aperture settings.  Lots of folks were out walking, enjoying the warm temperatures and low tide.  One gentlemen stopped and asked me what it was that photographers are interested in in this area (he owns a house on this beach, lucky guy!)  I told him I didn’t know but I was waiting for the full moon.  He jokingly offered to “pose” for a full moon!  We ended up having a nice chat about the area – he’s owned his place for about 20 years, I’ve been vacationing there since my parents first took me as a child- and what a wonderful place it is for families.  His daughter and her children were there visiting him that day, and she showed me her lovely sunrise photos.  They were temptingly beautiful, but I am sooo not an up-before-the-sun kind of person.  I’d love sunrise shots but wasn’t sure I could drag myself up that early on vacation.

The moon finally rose above a small bank of clouds.  I took a few dozen shots at different settings and compositions.  This was my favorite of the batch:

Aug. 13 full moon over Biddeford Pool

After taking my moon shots, I turned my lens around for a few more shots of the beautiful colors left by the sun:
evening light

I had a couple more interesting “run-in’s” with the moon during the week.  On Wednesday of last week, the moon came up a bit later, but during the course of the evening the brightness was casting a gorgeous glow on the sand below.  I dragged the tripod out to the little sand dune in front of the cottage and again played with settings.  The brightness of the moon made it difficult for me to focus on, but I thought these two shots came out pretty well:

shiny moon

(10 sec., f10) The dots of light below are lights on the masts of sailboats.  I changed the settings to get a brighter shot here (30 sec., f5.0):

glowing moon

The next night, while we were down on the beach having a campfire and enjoying the distant fireworks of Old Orchard Beach, the moon rose in a bloody red color.  My family urged me, “take a picture, take a picture!!”  I knew I didn’t have the skill to capture that gorgeous color with so little light available, so I hemmed and hawed.  Finally, as we were heading back up to the cottage, it was higher in the sky, still glowing orange, so I gave it a try:
orange moon

This is but a whisper of its earlier color, and of course now I can’t help but wonder if I could’ve gotten an acceptable shot of the low, red moon.

So did I get up for a sunrise picture after all?  All week long,  I awakened around 5:30 am and took a gander out my bedroom window.  I could see the beautiful color, but I just couldn’t drag myself out of bed.  I considered taking the shot through the window, but I knew the screen in the way just wouldn’t do it justice.  On Friday when I awakened pre-dawn, I told myself it was one of my last chances, so get yourself down there.  I had no idea exactly what time sunrise was, but I walked down to my beach chair and plopped myself there and waited.  Surprisingly, I enjoyed the pre-dawn quiet – only the sea birds and gentle lapping waves making any sound.  I think for the first time in my life I actually saw the full orb of the sun creep above the horizon.  Here it is as it first peeked up:

and again as the whole orb was first visible:

sunrise, Hills Beach

Of course I played around with the settings again, not really knowing what I was doing.  I changed white balance around too, but none of the settings really gave the true view which I find curious.  The actual view surrounding the sun was more blue, and the bright color more limited to the area right in front of the sun, but nothing I tried presented that image.  I’d love to hear from anyone with sunrise-shooting experience about what settings and such worked for you, or about any thoughts you may have about why this picture didn’t show up true to my view.

I’ve got so much more to share with you over the coming days.  The start of school looms in about a week, so I hope to sort through my thoughts and images to present some more blog posts very soon!  Hope you don’t get sick of hearing about Maine!

August 13, 2011


Filed under: Travel — Karma @ 6:00 am

Piscataqua river bridge

Perhaps I will be crossing this bridge at the time you are reading this post!  We are off for our one-week family vacation to Maine today.  My internet connection will be limited to hubby’s phone, so I don’t expect to do much blog reading/commenting.  Have a wonderful week!

Clouds with filter1

(And keep working on your photo hunt! 😀 )

August 10, 2011


raindrops on grape leaves

When I went to Big Summer Potluck , I met lots of people who were interested in photography and inspiration.  Ethan from Tastes Better with Friends and Brian from A Thought for Food were inspired to create a weekly photo inspiration project called “Capture the Word.”  You can click that link for more information about the thoughts behind it, but basically it is a Flickr group that they have welcomed anyone to join.  Each Wednesday they plan to announce a new word to be captured in photography and then posted to the group by the following Monday.  You are invited to tweet a link with the hashtag #CapturetheWord so that fellow photographers can be inspired by your vision.

Interesting story behind my photo: First thing this morning, before my breakfast, before my cup of coffee, I opened the back door to let the dogs out. My grapevines have started to invade my deck and I noticed this morning after a fairly hard rain last night, that the edges of the grape leaves were dotted with individual water dropets.  To grab my camera I ran!  A few hours later, Ethan and Brian announced the Capture the Word word: refreshing.  I knew I wanted to participate, and to do so early since we are leaving for vacation (with extremely limited net access – hubby’s phone will be our only access) soon.  Then I started thinking, hey, wouldn’t water droplets glistening on leaves make a nice interpretation of “refreshing”?

So, after a frustrating afternoon with Flickr refusing to upload my photos, I finally got them posted after an excrutiatingly long upload time.

Ahhh… refreshing, aren’t they? If you’d like to participate in Capture the Word, follow my link up there and submit pictures to the group! Brian and Ethan would be happy to have you!

I’d like to take this chance to remind you about my photo hunt due August 28th.  If you missed the post, which came in mid-July to give you an early jump on finding your shots, make sure to take a look and start gathering your shots!

August 8, 2011

I ♥ Summer!

sunny sunflowers (2)

I love summer.  I’m pretty sure I’ve stated this previously on the blog, but it is worth repeating.  It isn’t just because I am a teachers’ aide and I have summers off (although that’s a great part of it!)  I love all that summer brings.   Maybe I wouldn’t be saying this if I had to endure Michaela’s temperatures, but I love days in the 80’s and 90’s (and will even take the humidity if I must) so much more than days in the teens, 20’s and 30’s.

The butterflies have returned to my butterfly bush:

Eastern black swallowtail

Summer birthdays…

…with a nice, easy, backyard BBQ and pool party.

My favorite summer treat is starting to ripen:
first tomatoes

There is nothing like the first bite of tomato straight out of your garden.

I also recently managed my first picture of the local falcon or hawk or whatever s/he is:
falcon or hawk?

My guesses for this bird are peregrine falcon or cooper’s hawk.  Any thoughts?

And okay, this really has nothing to do with summertime, except for the fact that time off allowed me to finish this quickly for a dear friend (our dance teacher) who recently had a baby girl:
quilt by me

And my most favorite part of summer?  My one week vacation to the beach with my family:
Welcome to Hills Beach

Just the four of us will head up this Saturday to the same cottage at the shore that we rented last year:


No worries for a week, freedom from the “should be’s” – my favorite week of the whole year.  I just can’t wait!

What do you love best about summer?

August 3, 2011

Flowers of Linden Hill

Gorgeous arrangement #1
On Saturday of my weekend in Pennsylvania for Big Summer Potluck, we were taken to a place called Linden Hill Gardens.  This was where all the main events of the day took place.

My first shots were of the lovely flower arrangements placed in the windows of the barn.

Gorgeous arrangement #2

When we had the chance to tour the grounds, I was fascinated by the jumbo-sized flowers on huge lily pads at the pond:
Giant Lily pad flower

They were enormous, and had these unusual centers that reminded me of shower heads:

Strange centers too!

It is hard to see the scale of these flowers in these shots.  The closest I got to showing their size is in this shot with my sister in the background:
Jennifer and lily pad flowers

I should have taken a picture with Jennifer’s head right next to a bloom, because that is about how big they were!

This next shot isn’t a flower, or perfectly focused (autofocus was arguing with me again about where to focus, so I shut him off) but I love the sparkle of the dragonfly’s wings:
Dragonfly visitor

Black-eyed susans provided a great opportunity for a fill-the-frame shot:
Endless Black-Eyed Susans

After dinner, I took an chance to slip back down toward the pond for a few more pictures in early evening light:
Dahlias in the evening

Lilac-y hydrangeas?

And one more of those unusual lily pad flowers, this time a bud:
Lily pad flower bud

but a bud the size of a large man’s fist!

A few more shots that I took of the flowers are posted in this set on Flicker.

I loved having the opportunity to take these photos, especially since the recent harsh weather in this area has done a number on my plants.  In addition to the damage done to my veggie garden that I showed you in this post, my hanging baskets of flowers are not looking very healthy either 😦 .  Sadly I will not have lots of lush flowers decorating my deck for Sarah’s birthday party this weekend.  We had another hail storm this past Monday (thankfully no power outage this time around) and I just don’t know if the flowers will be able to recover this time.  Thank goodness the tomatoes are relatively unharmed!

ETA: Michaela of The Daily Click correctly identified those lily pad flowers as lotus!  Thanks Michaela!

August 2, 2011

Fourteen Years Ago…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 6:00 am

…I looked like this:

And at 1:04 pm, Sarah looked like this:

  Happy 14th birthday, baby girl!

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