Friday Flowers

Nature always wears the colors of the spirit. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

by Debra

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Tulips, hyacinth, and bright colors! Can you feel the happiness in my photo today.  The weather warmed up a bit here in NJ this week and people seemed to be happier and lighter.  As I approached my driveway yesterday, I was greeted by these beautiful colors in my front yard. It only seemed fair to share them with all of my friends.

I cut a few tulips and a piece of the purple hyacinth, which if you are not familiar with, is extremely fragrant.  I played around with a few different vases, but this mason jar seemed to have the feel I was looking for.  The jars were used for my daughter’s engagement party, hence the heart and bow.  Once I arranged the flowers, I couldn’t help but think, how simple and beautiful! It all just seemed to work almost as if the flowers knew what was in their future before I did.

As the warm weather approaches, the air if filled with fragrant scents, the grass is a vibrant green and the clouds and sky appear to be smiling down on us.  What is it about spring and summer that brings out the best moods in people? Warm weather and sunshine is such a simple recipe, and so welcomed after a long, bare winter.  As I’m writing this, I am listening to Thomas Rhett singing “Die a Happy Man”, the wedding song for my daughter and son-in-law last year.  Such a happy time and song, which makes me feel even happier.  Happiness can be infectious, I hope you were able to grab a piece from my photo today, if not, go pick some tulips of your own and see how they brighten your day.

For more of my work, please stop by my Instagram page, until next time … Debra

by Carolyn

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A bucket of white roses … how simple is that. A photograph with just one item can really grab my attention. It gives me the feeling of peace and quiet … a couple of things I long for in my life. Although nights like last night are ones to treasure … we had a sleepover with the grandchildren. We have 9 and they were all involved in the sleepover. They range in age from 13 to to 15 months. Each one is so special! It was definitely not a night of peace and quiet!

So, back to peace and quiet …. in this busy world today, those two things can be hard to find. Sometimes they come in large chunks of time, but for me they are in moments. I have found that I just need to take my life in in the way it comes. I can’t stress about things not being how I might think it ought to be or how I see someone else’s life playing out.

My peace and quiet is found early in the morning … like right now. It’s 5:38 a.m. I can hear heavy breathing behind me from some of those adorable grandchildren … this is my time to quieten my own soul. Time to stop and think … to read … to ponder … to plan my day. Do you get time for that in your busy schedule? I hope you’ll plan some if you don’t have it already.

Peace to you on this lovely Friday ….

If you’d like to join in on some of my quiet moments you can follow me on Instagram.


Camera Settings: 50mm, 1/180, f/4.5, ISO 250

Photography from East to West

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Our home these days seems larger than we need.  It’s just my husband and me now, not that the one extra person made that much of a difference, but it did in a way.  We have an open floor plan which encompasses our kitchen, family room and the sun room.  It’s a large space and at the same time, very inviting.  As I’ve mentioned before, the sun room is without a doubt, my favorite room in our home.  It’s very light and peaceful, we enjoy entertaining or just sitting with a morning coffee here.

I photographed our tree from outside our home on Friday’s blog, so I thought I would show you the inside where we sit and enjoy the beauty of the room and our Christmas tree.  Of course, our home would not be home without McKenzie.  She is a very large part of our lives and, in a sense, has become our child, since our daughter moved out.  Living in NJ this time of year, it’s cold, bare and very bleak.  Today was no exception, we had some snow overnight which left a bit of an icy layer on everything this morning.  I tried to capture the warmth of the room and the cold of the outside in this photograph to show the comparison of outside to the warm inside.  Christmas will soon be upon us and I wish all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season.

If you are interested in more of my work please visit my website.  Until next time … Deb

This time of year there are so many stops at the store to Christmas shop. This trip was to Michaels Arts & Crafts. We do a pirate gift exchange just for fun with our daughters and son in laws. This year we’re adding in our nephew and his wife since they’ll be spending the holidays with us. I’m actually a terrible shopper … I always find something for me … and that’s exactly what this shopping trip produced! The teal vase with the chipped paint was something I just couldn’t resist! Especially with the 40% off coupon. The hydrangeas were a Thanksgiving gift from our cousin. My drying technique didn’t work quite like I thought it would, but the result with the flowers drooped over adds character. By the way … I didn’t find anything for a gift! 

There is a little corner in my dining room that gets great morning light and that’s where I set up my shot. I like a little softness in my photos and that’s why I added this scarf-like piece of fabric. For my camera settings, I used my 50mm lens at 1/125 sec, f/2.5 and ISO 500. The higher depth of field created a nice soft blur to the fabric. I chose to keep my white balance a little creamier so that it matched the color of the flowers and gave it a bit of a vintage look. 

To see more of what I’ve done in Still Life, you can find my Pinterest board here

Thank you for looking!


What I See Around Me – Week 2

Week two of what Carolyn and I see in our respective towns.  This time of year is very festive and lights are everywhere.  We are anticipating the Christmas celebration with much excitement.  I hope you and your family find joy and excitement too!

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“Christmas is a togethery kind of holiday.” said Pooh.  “That’s my favorite kind.” said Piglet.

February 2001 I met my husband.  At the time I had been divorced for quite some time, and it was me and my daughter for so long, I was very leery of allowing another person into our very guarded life.  After going through such a terrible experience, I shielded both of us from anymore pain.  Then I met the one person who I felt could bring joy into both of our lives.  Fast forward to May 2002, Brian and I were married.  My daughter was eleven at the time and we both felt secure in my decision.  At the time Brian was in the Coast Guard and he was stationed in Bayonne, NJ.  He had been recently promoted and this promotion is what brought us to our current home.  The move brought much anguish since we lived close to my family and my daughter and I were very close with them.  My sister and her family were like an extension of who we both were.  They were there for her and for me when we needed their support and love the most.  Needless to say, this move was difficult but it was inevitable.

Fourteen years later, we call Smithville our home.  We have all made a new life here, new friends, new jobs and for my daughter, she met the love of her life and married him this past summer.  Smithville is a small section in Galloway Township,  it is well known for the Shoppes at the Village, which is where my photo was taken for today’s post.  This area is known for events such as the Mayfest, Oktoberfest, Christmas tree lighting and for the Christmas tree light show on the lake.  My photo today was taken during the light show one night last week.  The weather was extremely warm for a December night in NJ, and there were kids and families enjoying Christmas cheer.  The excitement of the children enjoying the lights, the talking Christmas tree, carousel and train ride could be felt everywhere.  The train was crowded with visitors enjoying a ride around the Village to view all of the many lights, the restaurants were equally crowded with families enjoying Sunday dinner.  The trees on the lake are synchronized to Christmas music which blink on and off.  It’s quite a challenge to capture the trees all lit at one time, but I gave it a try.  I hope you enjoy my capture and a small piece of where I live. If you are visiting this part of NJ please stop by this fun and festive area for a walk around, enjoy the rides and stop in for a bite to eat.

If you would like to see more of my work please visit me here.  If you woud like to sign up for our newsletter to be part of our journey please click here.  Until next time … Deb

‘Place of Much Water’ is the meaning of Atascadero … my town*. The rain has been sparce in California as a whole for many years, so this definition carries little meaning to locals. Regardless of the lack of water, this little town with its tall oaks and quiet streets is a cozy and pretty place to live or visit.

This photo of the Pavillion on the Lake was taken several years ago in August 2010. When the lake is full, the lights on the water create a beautiful reflection, which you see here. The path that surrounds the lake generally always has a trail of walkers, joggers, friends chatting and some walking in peace on their own. It is a place where the community gathers.

Thank you for stopping by and for reading. We always appreciate it! Click here to see my work or to follow me for photography tips and more.

Camera Settings: Canon 50d, f/9.0, ISO 250

*Actually, my home is in Creston about 15 miles to the east but I consider Atascadero my town because that is where I live my life.