Saturday, December 8, 2007

Crunch Time

I'm getting to that point in the year when I have to weigh my options and ask the question; is it best to restock "the shelves" and maintain a full inventory in all of the galleries or should I let my work "sell down" so that my inventory will be less during the leaner months that are sure to come after the first of the year? Each year I wrestle with this bookkeeping practice knowing that I can't sell what isn't there AND that the check book will look better if I don't spend any more money on material between now and those lean times I mentioned. Since each year is different in it's makeup, like children and their personalities who cry out to be treated as individuals, the decisions I make change with the times. The decision hasn't been made on this year, yet.

Last week, we received about 8 inches of snow, enough to make the ground white and give the trees a seasonal overcoat, but not enough for me to haul out my tripod for those beautiful wintry holiday images I've been needing to take. In fact, it snowed every day this week, just an inch or two here and there, enough so you had to clean off the car each morning or sweep the steps to keep the accumulation down. It's what I call a nuisance shower. And, there's a promise for more fluffy inches on Sunday or Monday. I don't usually pay too much attention to the weather forecast because it's just about the only job you can be wrong 70% of the time and still remain employed.

It's just that I need good travel weather on Monday because my printer has decided this is the time of year it will break down and the repair shop is 120 miles from my house. Does the timing for this event strike anyone else as being bad?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Only 24 More Shopping Days

I can't believe it but my holiday shopping is almost completed. Wrapping is another matter entirely. It's just after midnight and I've put the finishing touches on 12 dozen cookies for the Lisbon ARTS Gallery Christmas Fair cookie walk. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this concept, I'll explain. You purchase a festively decorated coffee tin, either the one pound or three pound size and wander down the length of tables filled with all sorts of confections. Choose the cookies you want and stuff them into the can. Pay the attendant and go home with a tin full of home baked goodies to enjoy yourself or to give as gifts. The gallery has it's members saving coffee cans throughout the year and just before the event we all are slaves to the oven. It has proven to be an excellent way to subsidise our treasury. While I'm at the Rocks, Carl will be cooking up a storm at the gallery craft fair. He has caused quite a commotion among the vendors attending our annual event with his version of an "egg mcmuffin" handed to the crafters at no charge while they are getting their displays ready for the public. And as the heading of this post suggests, the Christmas countdown has begun. I only hope we receive an appreciable amount of snow before the holiday decorations disappear for another year. For the past few years, the Lion and The Rose Bed and Breakfast has asked me to take photos of their Victorian Inn with all it's Yuletide finery in place. The sad part is the snow hasn't been there for the dazzling image I have in my head, leaving me with the photo you see here, taken of the establishment during warmer weather. Maybe this is the year, Chris and Roger !

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Techie, I'm Not

The coolest thing happened a couple of days ago. I was in kind of a rush to get out the door and made a very quick post about when my readers might find me over the next couple of weeks. The post referred to the local Christmas tree farm in Bethlehem, NH and several other places both in NH and VT. What I wasn't prepared for was how truly remarkable technology can be. I received an e-mail from the photography editor of the very organization that I had mentioned in my previous post. She wrote how her computer had alerted her to my blog entry when I mentioned the state managed farm and wanted to know if I was interested in providing them with photos for their quarterly magazine. This is a great opportunity for me to showcase my work and more than 25,000 subscribers will have that magazine in their hands. But, my head hurts when I think of the kind of programs there are out there scanning the Internet for all kinds of information, entries in blogs, e-mails sent and received and so on. If there's a lesson to be learned here it's be careful! Be careful what you write, who you send to and where you allow your credit card information to be given out. Most of the time, this caution isn't necessary and knowledge gained from the Internet is a wonderful thing. Just remember, all I did was make a remark about a craft fair location and someone in Concord, NH was notified about my post. In the meantime, the holiday season is in full swing and I, totally in need of having my head examined, have just gone into a new cooperative venture in Lancaster, NH. The shop is called "Birds Of A Feather" and will feature the talents of local artisans. I'll pay a monthly rent and need to staff the store one day each month as I do in Lisbon and Campton, NH. May this store be as successful!!!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Season Is Almost Over

For the next three weekends, I'll be exhibiting my work at The Rocks, a Christmas tree farm in Bethlehem, NH which is part of the Society For The Protection Of NH Forests lands. It's a beautiful place with hundreds of acres to roam in all seasons and I do hope you can come by and visit with me. You can also see my work in Lancaster, NH on November 29th and in St. Johnsbury,VT at the Green Mountain Mall on December 20th-22nd.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Blessings Of The Season

Today is Thanksgiving, a day when we should be reflecting on how fortunate we are and giving praise to the Lord for what we have been given. This is not a sermon and while I consider myself a person of belief, I have many faults which are not the purpose behind this post. So today, before I began to enjoy my buffet dinner prepared by Warner's Gallery in Wells River, Vt. with my husband and mother, instead of being sad because I was not able to be with my children or other members of my family, I thought about what makes this day special for me. I have my health, plenty to eat and the love of family and friends around me. I have been blessed with a talent that I use to allow people to view nature the way I've been able to experience it and I enjoy listening to people say how beautiful my images are. Of course, filled with self doubt the way I am, I look at the work of others and feel so inadequate. This day, I am thankful for my children and their health and the blessings of grandchildren is no small thing either. So, when you read this post, even long after Thanksgiving, please take a moment, close your eyes and give thanks for the things that you have. Try not to dwell on what you are lacking. My guess is your life is full and rich and you aren't even aware of it.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

It Was Inevitable

The weather has been too mild to be considered the beginning of the holiday season but there it is right there on my calendar. I tried to begin my Christmas shopping yesterday and wasn't in the mood. I even walked by an azalea bush with a few blossoms on it. talk about being confused. But, there was something different about the air when I left the mall. Call it a hunch or whatever but I could smell the snow coming. The air had a crisp almost fresh quality about it. It was like being out in the middle of the wilderness, miles from any road or factory, at dawn. The air becomes clean, unspoiled, almost new, as if all of the pollution had been filtered out overnight. It's hard to explain exactly what that type of air smells like and my family has, in the past, thought me nuts when I've mentioned that I could smell rain coming. They are always surprised when the rain begins to fall a few minutes later. So, I don't know why I found myself in that same condition when the flakes began to filter down from the heavens. The wind picked up with a fresh earnest and suddenly it was winter. Well, almost. The traffic slowed and everyone became cautious of the way they walked down the sidewalk. And so the transformation from late autumn to early winter had become complete. And i was dressed for late autumn.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A Note About Sun Dogs

Today, I had a small amount of vindication. My husband and I were headed down Rte 91 towards Lebanon, NH when I spotted a "sun dog". It may be called something else in other parts of the country but there it was, as plain as day, encircling the late afternoon sun. It wasn't as well defined as the one I had seen in Jackson, NH last year but, hey, a natural phenomenon is never the same twice. Each event is unique. Now, I'm not sure exactly what it is that causes the circular rainbow but I suspect it's ice crystals that are suspended high up in the atmosphere which the sunlight refracts through. If anyone knows the real deal, please leave a comment. Now I started this post with a mention about vindication. When I arrived at the Lebanon Art and Crafts Association Holiday Store to set up my exhibit, I asked another photographer if he had seen... Well, you know the rest of the story, right?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Does This Happen To You?

Have you ever been chatting with friends when the conversation swings around to a question being asked such as " Did you see that sunset last night?" or "How about those northern lights last evening?" ? If you've been in a situation like this, no matter what the question was, you have to wonder about these friends of yours. Did any of them call you, knowing that sunset would have been picture perfect? Did just one of them give you a call or drop an e-mail to let you know about those spectacular lights in the night sky that you've been dying to capture for years? The answer is always "NO". This happens to me quite frequently. And each time I ask the inevitable, "So, why didn't you give me a call?" The answer is always inevitable, as well. They didn't think about it until long after. Then, I ask where their photos are of the event in question and again I get a predictable answer that they didn't have their camera handy. I'm not sure which causes more frustration for me, being told about that incredible event or not being able to confront the hard evidence. In any case, let this post be a wake up call to all of you out there. The next time you witness something breathtaking, call a friend or even me, whoever is closest so they can enjoy nature's spectacular variety. We'll be in Lincoln, NH this weekend for a two day event so come on by and see some of my latest work.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What A Weekend And More Coming

I don't get much sleep from September through Christmas because I'm a huge Red Sox fan and because of my show schedule. And this year is no exception. With the national television coverage of the world series games starting an hour later than normal east coast broadcasts, it made the ending of these games that much later. So, I sat like much of "Red Sox Nation", sleep deprived and deliriously happy about Sunday night's outcome. The celebration was much deserved. The team set records and showed America that 2004 was no fluke. They are a team to be reckoned with. Now, I can get back to other matters such as dentist appointments and gallery staffing. Today is one of those days. But tomorrow I'll be a starving artist once more, working in the studio to prepare for this weekend's shows at the Littleton, NH Elks Club and the Concord, VT High School. These are two small community shows which have excellent town response, especially in Concord where everyone participates by either baking or cooking or just coming out to the show to spend money on the Scholastic Book Sale, vendor's items or the Chinese Raffle. We are between the seasons that most of the country recognises, autumn and winter. We, here in the North Country of New Hampshire have an in between season called "mud" where it rains all the time and the ground just can't absorb any more water. Everything is brown and depressing because the leaves have fallen and snow hasn't arrived to cover up the gloom. This season occurs twice, blessing us with despair again between winter and spring. Aren't we lucky?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Go, Sox !!!!!!!

Congratulations to my Red Sox for the manner in which they have carried themselves. Never once has their success caused them to be anything less than cautiously optimistic about their progress or gracious when talking about their opponents with the media. And as a lifelong devout fan, I 'm beside myself with every pitch that takes us deeper into the post season. My faith in their abilities never wavered even when they were down 3 games to 1 with Cleveland. Now, I'm not saying that I believe in curses or even the proverbial "Gowdy" when talking about some one's hitting streak or the tossing of the all too rare no hitter, but I'm just superstitious enough not to say the words... What I will say is that I have really enjoyed the first two games of the World Series and will be sitting next to the radio in our camper on Saturday night to listen to game three. The pop up will be at the Friendly Beaver Campground in New Boston because we'll be doing a show at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester on Saturday. It's the last "away game" of the season for us and the last camping expedition for the season, as well. Play well, Guys!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ogunquit In The Fall

We had a marvelous camping weekend with our granddaughter and spent a full day with camera in hand. There are so many opportunities and beautiful scenery to point my camera lens at in Maine and I wanted to take advantage of the beautiful autumn weather while we had it. Steph was there with her camera as well. At times, I feel sorry for my husband who is inevitably left holding the camera "bag", literally. Does anyone have suggestions on how I can include him while I'm lost in the moment? We spent an entire afternoon exploring the Rachel Carson Reserve, a beautiful marsh area nestled between the forests and the ocean. Self guided walking tours with informational pamphlets explain the need and importance of these wet lands, not only as homes to all sorts of marine animals but also how they act as a buffer against serious weather such as hurricanes. The resource acts as a filter for pollutants and a nursery for hatch lings. Later, we had a night of campfires and cooking hot dogs and toasting marshmallows for s'mores. The next morning, we found ourselves at Perkins Cove, a picturesque but working fishing harbor, and we included a walk along the Marginal Way, a mile long path that follows the rocky coastline and offers breathtaking views of nature's beauty and power. Then all too soon, it was time to head home by way of my favorite Mt. Chocorua which never disappoints in the way of splendor.

My apologies for not posting photos in the last few posts. I've been making entries from other computers but I promise, in the next week or so, the problem will be remedied and I'll add a few images to older post so check back, please.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Schedule Calls For Fun

This weekend is reserved for our granddaughter, Stephanie. We're going camping. Of course, it's a working holiday in that I will be taking photos during the weekend. The plan is to head to Ogunquit, ME and find some sleepy little fishing cove to remind people of what it used to be like up and down the entire coastline before the tourists became the mainstay. I'll let you know how that turns out.

This is also the beginning of the ALCS and I am a RED SOX FAN. So, with the campfire crackling away and Steph roasting marshmallows, I will be quietly cheering for the boys of summer to take the Angels out in quick fashion so they can move on up the ladder of success. Even though I choose to be out among nature and beauty, I also choose to follow baseball and either watch or listen to every game. There are few exceptions, like being at 30,000 feet in an airplane or in a foreign country ( Hawaii sometimes qualifies ). When the season is over, I'm lost.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Please Bear With Me...

As the days get shorter, so does the amount of time that I have to accomplish things. My week is filled with meetings, gallery staffing and preparing for shows which leaves precious little time to get out among the subjects that I love to photograph never mind the energy to fight with technology. This, however, seems to be the hand I've been dealt. we continue to have connectivity issues so my postings are not as regular as I would like. Don't become disinterested with this blog. We will prevail and solve these problems.

Friday, September 28, 2007

When Things Don't Work

I've been off line for a few days. Some would call it technical difficulties. First we thought our connection issues were caused by static on the line so we replaced connections. Then, we thought the issue was too much information flowing through our DSL line into our home over too great a distance so my husband changed our service to the more narrow band width. After being convinced that our connection troubles were modem related, we bought a new one which also didn't work so my husband finally called Verizon to complain that we hadn't been able to connect during the last week. The lady at customer service had him go to web sites that only "techies" know about to reinstall a password that apparently erased itself. Now, we're back on but only my computer because we have wireless issues to solve. Isn't technology wonderful when it works. And doesn't it cause a great deal of stress when it isn't working. Take our case in point.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Finding Balance

It's something I struggle with every year at this time. We've just come through a long hot dry summer with revenue from events being similar to a world class roller coaster. Even the activity at my web site was "sitting in the shade relaxing". But, when the foliage begins to turn, so does the emphasis and earnestness, if you will, on my patrons. It's like someone threw a switch and now, they can see a need to purchase for their favorite brother in Colorado or daughter whose gone off to college. Whether it's a Christmas gift or for some other special occasion, it doesn't matter. What it does mean is now, when I want to get out and enjoy Mother Nature's final and fantastic collage of color, I get busy. I've seen it happen every year and no matter how I approach this time of year, with whatever meticulous amount of planning, I always get caught short. In fact, just last night I had a call from a lady who visited my exhibit in Dublin this past weekend. She was kicking herself because she hadn't made a purchase and was now calling to order my "Dream" collage, a four seasons collection of images of the Old Man Of The Mountains. I told her I would be happy to fill her order just as soon as I became restocked with that type of mat. I knew it was going to happen. I could see it coming and I still let myself get too low on stock. This goes for the paper that I use, the foam core to back the images and even my frames are at an all time low. More on this subject later. The lady was all smiles and will happily wait for her new photograph. I will survive this sudden rush as I have done other years, but, wouldn't it be nice if I could figure out a way to balance everything out and be able to enjoy this year's fall extravaganza. It should be brilliant!

Monday, September 10, 2007


When I was a child, our family took camping vacations. It was a fun time for all of us. The necessary closeness that a family derives from all sleeping in the same "room" can develop bonds that last a lifetime and nurture feelings for the outdoors that you'll want to pass on to your children when the time comes. It's also a relatively inexpensive way to get that vacation for the parents. Nowadays, things have changed somewhat. Kids take off on bikes, seclude themselves beneath a tree to play video games and sometimes will have their own curtained area in their RV. The rates have gone up considerably for a night in a campground, as well. There are, of course, lots more amenities such as hot tubs, Wi-Fi, game rooms and water and electric included at each campsite. During the Meredith show, we stayed at Twin Tamarack on Rte 106 in New Hampton. It was a great family oriented place that was having a Halloween Party for the horde of children in "residence". A strictly enforced speed limit and noise curfew added to the family atmosphere. The place was clean, well kept and relatively inexpensive at $32.00 per night. We will be planning to stay there next year. On the other side of the coin would be Seven Maples in Hancock. This quiet out of the way place was also reasonably priced at $30.00 per night but the facilities have seen better days and the pool had already been closed. Our campsite smelled of dog manure and when it rained ( boy, did it rain ) our entire site became a small lake which drowned our cache of firewood and ruined my chance for a romantic evening beside a quickly snapping fire. Now, the owners aren't responsible for the rain but their lack of grading and upkeep certainly are to blame for my not having a fire that evening and even though the staff, in the office, were pleasantly outgoing and helpful in getting us directions, we most likely will not stay there next year. And, completely in the other direction, we have the event coordinators at Quechee Gorge Village who allow anyone with a camper to stay in their overflow parking area at no charge, with no hook ups and no amenities. There's a lot to be said for free.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Change Of Seasons

Sometimes, while sitting for hours at an event, there’s nothing to do while other times, things happen with surprising rapidity. Take this weekend at Quechee, VT. It was the middle day of a three day event and it was really hot. The vendor next to us called out to me and asked if I had my camera handy because there was something in the tree across the parking lot. It was a Peregrine Falcon perched high in a Pine Tree overhead. That was fun. Later, a lady walked by and I heard that same neighbor call out to grab my camera. There, in front of my exhibit area was a little girl, no more than three years old, trying to walk with two of the largest baskets I’d ever seen. I just couldn’t resist! That night, the temperature changed from summertime to autumn and dropped to 37 degrees. And, as luck would have it, the heater wouldn't work in the camper.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Great Outdoors

For better or worse, we just bought a pop up camper and now it seems the suitcase will be packed more often. It’s not that I have lots of leisure time on my hands. In fact, it’s just the opposite. The camper is meant to save money when we travel some distance from our house to do shows. For instance, this weekend is the two day event in Meredith, NH. Instead of spending more than $100 each night to be near the venue, we spent a fraction of that in a campground. That’s the plus side of our new purchase. The down side is extra prep work before we leave, extra setup and tear down time during the event and we have to make sure the canvas is dry when we pack up for the trip home. Oh, there’s one more plus side to sleeping out of doors. It’s listening to the rain tapping on the canvas above our heads.

Friday, August 10, 2007


While waiting in Honolulu for our plane to Dallas, which was delayed ( go figure ), I happened to notice that it was getting dark outside. I glanced out the window “mauka” which means towards the mountains and noticed a double rainbow. Sadly, I couldn’t get outside to take what would have been a gorgeous photo and had to settle for trying to take the photo through the dirty waiting area windows. Still, it gives you the idea.

The Peace Of A Garden

Travel day. Everything is in the car and we have hours to kill before arriving at the airport so we head down Banyan Drive which is aptly named and made famous because famous people have been coming to this part of Hawaii for more than one hundred years to plant these trees. We drove this road because at the very end of the road is a beautiful park named after Queen Liliokialani. Everywhere is evidence of strong Oriental influence with gazebos shaped like pagodas, graceful winding streams with stone arched bridges and topiary shrubs. Even the palm trees have been shaped to resemble bonsai. It is an exquisite place to loose ones self in contemplation or just to have a picnic. We spent more than an hour waiting for this one bridge to be clear of people. Everyone, including me, wanted a photo here. But, unlike me, those people wanted a photo of themselves on the bridge. I just liked the bridge.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Vacation Nearly Done

The Big Island, also named Hawaii, has many botanical gardens and they all boast of being the most beautiful or having the most numerous specimens. Some even claim the largest number of acres under horticultural care but there is one that is unique. The World Botanical Gardens are fairly new and could use a few more staff members to keep the more invasive plants in line but the mesmerizing beauty of the triple falls know as Uma Uma make up for what the cultivated beds may lack. Theses delicate veils of white gently cascade over time worn lava and gather into shallow pools before continuing the journey oceanward. Carl and I observed the lighting change as the sun played hide and seek with the inevitable cloud cover that gathers over the interior of the island each day. This play of light changes the mood of the pools along with the surrounding cliff side vegetation. There are several carp in the more distant pools and from our perch, high above the valley floor, we could see just one meander along the surface of the lowest of these basins. How he ( or she ) got there is uncertain. It is possible that when the water was high, this Oriental symbol of fortune was washed away from his brethren. Without intervention, this unfortunate one is destined to spend the remainder of its’ days alone. If you get a chance to visit the World Botanical Gardens, you should know there is an admission fee for the self guided tour and viewing of these beautiful falls. I can’t say if it’s worth the price of admission but I can tell you that after meandering through the rest of the gardens we went back to photograph the falls a second time. Enough said!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

End Of The Earth

About ten years ago, Carl and I spent a week in Kailua-Kona. Both of us are scuba divers and the area boasted a type of night dive unlike any other, a chance to observe manta rays feeding up close and personal. Our dive boat took us a short distance from the harbor and we anchored just off shore from this beautiful resort, the Kona Reef, where they shine huge spot lights into the water. The light attracts plankton and the plankton attracts the manta rays which in turn attract divers. It was an incredible experience, one not easily forgotten, to watch these massive but graceful creatures glide through the water in a sort of ballet while their gaping mouths gather the tiniest of sea creatures as their meal. We can only try to be that agile in their world. The ironic part- the hotel we stayed at last evening was that same hotel of ten years earlier. The name and ownership had been changed but each evening the light still shines in the harbor, the boats still anchor, the divers still watch in awe from the murky bottom and the rays still gather to do their dance. Our trip back to Volcano should have been quick, with only a planned stop or two for the occasional photo opportunity. It was nothing of the sort because along the way there were numerous reasons to stop, lunch, free samples of coffee and mac nuts and a detour to the southern most point in the United States. What’s that? You say we’re in Hawaii and not the Florida Keys. You’re right. The geographical southern most point in the whole United States is South Point, Hawaii and it is a rugged windswept cliff that is constantly pounded by waves. It also happens to be some of the best fishing on the island according to the locals.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Rest And Relaxation

The northern route around the Big Island covers a great distance and encompasses scenery which ranges from beautiful black coastlines with white waves crashing against them to a barren dried up wasteland along the flanks of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. Originally, our route was to take us up to the Waipi’o Valley and then to continue through the Parker Ranch and returning to Hilo by way of the Saddle Road, a windy narrow twisty path hastily installed in the shadow of the two great volcanoes by the military as a means of getting from one side of the island to the other quickly. We’ve driven this road before and there’s nothing quick about it. It’s a test of man and machine, of nerves and mechanics, and at the last minute Carl decided once was enough. So the route was re figured to take us to Kailua-Kona instead. By the way, Kona is the place made more or less famous by the Iron Man Triathlon, and is exactly opposite Hilo with more than one hundred miles between them. The long and pretty much straight road takes you through miles of nothing but lava and just when you think you’ve seen it all, there is more. Off in the distance, large fancy hotel complexes began to spring up, fancy to the tune of $400-$1,000 per night. We drove past these palaces and headed for the other side of town where the rents were a bit more reasonable. Carl had been driving for eight hours and we decided the Sheraton Keahou Resort was just fine. A light supper and an adult beverage was followed by observing a beautiful sunset from just beyond the pool and then we retired for the night. Only sunrises are possible from Hilo and up in Volcano, altitude 3,500 feet, there is usually clouds and evening rain.

Monday, August 6, 2007


The word, “freebies”, has a cheap sort of connotation. We didn’t think of it quite that way. Rather it was more like experiencing a taste of what the area had to offer. We started of the day with a very informative guided walk through the Rain Forest. For just over an hour, our guide, J J was a pleasant mixture of gabby and chatty and seemed to know a lot about more than just the native flora. The Nialahue Center continues to reclaim several acres from the onslaught of invasive species being introduced and in turn gives visitors a glimpse of what Paradise was like before we began introducing our “ornamentals”. Every third Thursday a group of volunteers wanders through their little parcel of heaven to rip out what doesn’t belong. Then it was off to the Volcano Winery to sample six of the local varieties which included a Macadamia Honey wine which was tasty enough to convince us that we just had to have a couple bottles along with a couple more of their Symphony Mele ( which means Merry in Hawaiian). The sampling gave us quite a buzz on an empty stomach so the next stop was to the Hilo Coffee Mill where they treated us to samples of three different roasts along with a very informative narration about the growth, harvest and care of the “cherries” from tree to the grind. We watched as a freshly roasted batch of beans came out of the oven into the cooling pan. What an aroma filled the place. Our hostess felt the smell was similar to a burnt batch of cookies and I could almost understand why. The beans are at just over 400 degrees when they are dumped onto a room temperature stainless steel tray and stirred ( not shaken ) for five minutes. The snap and crackle could be heard way across the room. Having learned much about our morning brew, we then headed off to the Pana’ewa Rain Forest Zoo. Sadly, the zoo and it’s exhibits had seen better days so we didn’t stay long. I’m glad we didn’t pay to be this disappointed. The bright spot of the place was a mature Peacock which we spotted as we were leaving.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

At The End Of The Rainbow

Yesterday was many hours and few miles with lots of stops for photos. Today was just the opposite, long miles and fewer hours. We drove to several more black sand beaches and worked our way back up the coast towards Chain of Craters Road in Volcano National Park. Kilauea sits on the side of Mauna Loa and has been the source of most of the eruptions over the past two hundred years. The Chain of Craters Road is shorter now by eight miles thanks to the Pu’U O’o vent that has been erupting in some manor since January of 1983, making it the longest continuous volcanic event in history. It had been active just a few weeks before we arrived. There’s a beautiful rock formation created by the pounding waves called the Holei Sea Arch which also happens to signal the current end of the road. We walked the last ¾ mile under warning signs placed by the park to assure people they were about to put themselves in harm’s way. There’s no end to the dangers in this area. Earthquakes can occur and open gaping chasms in the cooled lava, vents could erupt at your feet spewing noxious fumes, tephra or even lava into the air, a sudden belch of ash would turn day into night and there is even danger in the hike itself. People going that extra distance are warned to have proper footwear, plenty of water, long pants and even flash lights. No one paid any attention to those warnings, including us. At the end of the trail, we saw only the destruction that had gone before, no sign of oozing lava or even steam as it entered the ocean. It was, however, worth the trip to walk over newly formed ground and look out over the newest parts of Hawaii. As we began to drive back out of the area, it began to mist and we were treated to a 270 degree rainbow.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

A Land In Distress

We chose this day to stay in and around Hilo, an easy day I thought. So, we visited and hiked into three of the local waterfalls; Rainbow, Wai’ale and Pe’e Pe’e . It was 11 in the morning and already the temperature climbing out over the black pahoehoe lava was incredible. I had misjudged the amount of energy I was putting out as well. Eventually after pushing a lot of water and having an early lunch, I felt refreshed enough to continue to the area called Puna where there are lava trees, gigantic monkey pod trees and miles on single lane roads that twist and turn their way through a variety of scenery. Along the coastline there are naturally heated pools where superheated water from the earth’s crust has mingled with the ocean sea water. The water temperature ranges from 91-95 degrees depending on the tide. Since Carl does all the driving, we took a few minutes to let him soak his tired muscles. The road finally ended, cut off by a lava flow from the eruption of 1990. We walked a ¼ mile, across a vast area of pahoehoe, silvery, black, glasslike lava that flows similar to a thick cake batter, to find a new black sand beach called Kaimu. Locals have been bringing cocoanut trees to repair and rebuild the area into some semblance of what it used to be. The old beach, Kahena, and the town of Kalapana now sit under anywhere from 8 to 75 feet of solid volcanic rock. In the distance we could see a green metal roof now at ground level. Back at the parking area we noticed the Hawaiian state flag fluttering in the stiff wind, upside down. This is apparently someone’s attempt at humor as if to say the state is in need of help. Madame Pele takes what she wants.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

General Update

It was just as crazy as I thought it would be. Our bags had arrived in Lihue, as they should have, on Friday evening. We arrived Saturday morning to find out there was no one in the American Airlines Baggage Area and they wouldn’t be until sometime that night. We picked up our rental car, grabbed some groceries and headed to the Lawaii Beach Resort which was to be our home for the next week. It’s a beautiful resort across from an equally beautiful sandy beach. It’s a favorite of the snorkel crowd as well as a hangout for local surfers. From our lanai we get to watch all of the action only a couple hundred feet away. After waiting all day Saturday and Sunday, we realized no one was going to bring us those bags so we headed back to the airport only to find there had been some minor damage to the bags. AA says they’re not responsible even though the bags were in there care the entire time. It’s the job of Hawaiian Airlines to compensate us for the damage even though we only flew with them from Honolulu to Lihue and they never handled our bags. So remember, when traveling with two or more airlines, it’s always your arrival carrier that is responsible. This is an FAA regulation which isn’t fair but what can I do. After two days of waiting for the bags, I was able to do laundry and we had two more days of waiting until the package arrived with my new camera. We charged up the battery and then drove up the street to the Botanical Garden to practice. The photo is of the fragrant plumeria also known as frangiapani which is used in traditional Hawaiian lei making.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

I Don't Sleep On Planes

Leaving Seattle, we flew between Mt. Rainier and Mt St Helens. It was the best visibility of the whole trip and I can finally appreciate how really high Rainier is. We were climbing through 15,000 feet when the co-pilot came over the intercom to draw our attention to the massive snow capped peak. We’ll save some time on our next trip to get up close and personal with more of this natural beauty. That trip, only in the talking stages, already sounds like another full agenda. Our itinerary for Friday was to travel from Seattle to Dallas to Los Angeles to Lihue. Yes, I know, that’s not a direct route. We were at the Los Angeles Airport about to embark upon the third and final leg of our trip to Lihue, Kauai when the lady at the counter made an announcement about being way oversold and they needed volunteers to give up their seats. We’ve done this in the past. It’s called a bump. The airlines takes your seats, puts you on the next flight to your destination and gives you some sort of compensation. Here’s what we got: They put us on the next flight to Honolulu which was leaving in five minutes, gave us an $800 travel credit good for a year, put us up in a hotel in Honolulu for the night, gave us a $20 dinner credit, a $10 breakfast credit and booked us on a plane to Lihue for early the next morning. So, here I sit, very early on Saturday morning in the Honolulu airport waiting for our flight to Lihue. We haven’t had more than a few hours sleep over the past 24, traveled thousands of miles crammed into a space smaller than a phone booth and we’ve been eating airport food . It’s hard to say which has bothered me more but I keep telling myself the perks were worth it. Carl has found a used newspaper to browse while I tap out the keys to keep everyone updated. When we finally arrive in Lihue, there are issues still facing us. Where is our luggage and will our rental car still be available? I have to say that it’s much easier to find a place that you only visit every other year during daylight hours.

Flown Coup

We hit the pavement one last time to find those elusive eagles. It didn’t happen but it certainly wasn’t for lack of trying on our hosts’ part. We did see a couple way off in the distance perched on a rock during low tide or riding the air currents high over our head. I’ll just have to return in January for the first of the salmon runs on the nearby rivers. Then we headed to an area called Whatcum Falls, a nearby park and green space, in the middle of town. There is a lovely stone bridge over the creek which drains the Whatcum Lake reservoir. Sadly, at the end of our week’s stay in Bellingham, we had two minor casualties, my camera and my husband both were injured during a fall into Whatcum Creek. My new Nikon D200 has been ordered from my local photography shop back home. The staff at the Foto Factory are great and will be shipping it to me from more than 3,000 miles away. I’ll have that new camera in a day or two but my husbands’ shin and knee will take a week or more to heal.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Invisible Peaks

The northwest portion of Washington boasts some impressive mountains, Rainier, Hood, St Helens, Adams, Baker, most of them volcanic. My dad kept telling us that we should be seeing these snow capped peaks during the first few days of our trip but the weather and low ceilings kept them hidden. Tuesday evening we got our first real look at Rainier, all 14,000 plus feet of it. We were more than 60 miles away and still it dominated the skyline. This morning, however, was a time to enjoy the beauty of the Hood Canal and Walker Mountain. The Hood Canal is not really a canal because it is closed at one end. Still, it’s narrow enough so that you can enjoy the beauty of both shorelines in many places. A low fog bank helped to increase the early morning “moody” atmosphere for my camera. After leaving the canal, Adena transformed the car into a billy goat and we climbed up the narrow and steep four mile road to the overlook on Walker Mountain. From there we had a great view of Rainier to the south and Baker and Shuksan to the north. We arrived back in Bellingham just in time to visit the local microbrewery to sample the good stuff. Then it was back to my dad’s house to do some laundry and start packing. Thursday is a get away day for us.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Emotions Run High

This was a very special and emotion packed day. We were headed to Mt. St Helens and, finally, the sun was out. Even the few clouds in the area gave way. As we approached the blast area, the signs began to read “monument”. This entire area is not a state park or national forest any more. In fact, more than 27 years later much of the area is still buried under many feet of ash, pumice and mud. We arrived at Johnston Ridge Observatory which is approximately five miles from the mountain. The ridge got it’s name from a vulcanologist named David Johnston who was checking instruments on the morning of May 18, 1980 when the entire side of the mountain was jarred loose by a 5.1 magnitude earthquake which triggered the ultimate eruption. He died just seconds after alerting Vancouver about the eruption. From the Observatory, we looked directly into the horseshoe shaped crater formed by the blast. A new lava dome called “the Bulge” is forming and scientists believe this new dome may eventually replace the more than 2,000 vertical feet that was dislodged with the blast. The area before us was almost completely devoid of life. Not a single tree remained. Behind us was evidence of what was once a lush old growth forest that spread out over rugged terrain for more than 17 miles; all gone in seconds. The trees were either incinerated, uprooted or flattened by the pyroclastic flow. Huge stumps and pieces of two foot diameter logs still remain. It was truly an awe inspiring landscape. David Johnston wasn’t the only person to loose his life that day. In all, twenty two people were lost. It could have been much worse. A light plume of steam came from the top of the bulge; evidence that St Helens is still uneasy and should be respected. Click here for an up to date web cam image taken from Johnston Ridge.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Misty Mountains

After traveling for hours, we arrived at the base of Mt Rainier and drove higher and higher through old growth forests and past pristine waterfalls only to stop amongst thick stands of moss draped trees which created a canopy for the lush ferns growing at their feet. The sun played with us most of the way to where we were headed; a place called and aptly named Paradise, the highest drivable point on the mountain. We stopped at a trail crossing for the Nisqualy River, a fast moving glacial runoff which had a log bridge place over one of the narrow channels. We could hear boulders being tossed about in the milky green water just below our feet. When we finally arrived at Paradise, the mountain seemed to be playing cat and mouse with us. First we could see the lower slopes and then they disappeared in the mist. The decision was made to wait a bit in hopes the weather would clear but a few minutes later, the clouds rolled in and visibility was dropped to about 50 feet. We knew the mountain had won and we descended through Stevens Pass and on to our hotel for the night.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Rainy Days And Sundays...

Our hosts, Dad and Adena, drove to every spot they could think of to satisfy my request for eagles, but to no avail. We did see ruggedly handsome coastlines and mist shrouded old growth forests but the eagles kept to their airy realm. Oh, we did see one or two high above our heads but not one single bird came within the reach of my camera's lens. We had to satisfy ourselves with a couple of blue herons in the marshy areas off Samish Island. Then, we walked along lush wooded paths down to a rock strewn beach with massive hunks of driftwood. We'll keep looking for the elusive prize.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Cross This Off My List

The shear power of these marine mammals is difficult to explain. They move through the waters off San Juan Island like a warm knife through butter. The orca watch we went on was totally successful. We had the pleasure of seeing members from two of the three resident pods, more than forty killer whales in all. And, in the distance, most likely, was the third. I'll have one or two images in production when we return home. We could see lots of activity, whales spy hopping and breaching, near other boats. Other highlights of the trip included a sighting of a beautiful mature bald eagle high up in a tree, impressive specimens of the red barked Madrona trees and harbor seals "sunning" themselves on a rocky shoreline. The joke's on them because we didn't see the sun for the first three days of our visit to Bellingham, WA. That didn't stop us from enjoying the company we were with and I got to scratch another item off my list; to see wild orcas at play. I hope I can do this again real soon.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Thoughts From The Plane

I’ve never been able to figure how airlines really plot their routes and here’s a prime example. We’re traveling to Seattle today for a week’s visit with my father and his wife. Boston to Seattle is a fairly long flight made much longer by the stop we have to make in Dallas. Okay, we’re flying American Airlines and Dallas is a hub city for them. This, I understand but when we leave Seattle and head for Hawaii, we have to go back to Dallas before going to Los Angeles and then on to Lihue, Kauai. Does this make sense to anyone? During the next three weeks, I’ll be making frequent entries here so check back often. My plan is to upload some of the great images I’ll be capturing of the Pacific Northwest, both it’s cultural heritage and it’s magnificent splendor. I’m told the rainforests are lush, the mountains rugged and snowcapped and the wildlife unspoiled. I have two photographic goals. The first is to add a magnificent bald eagle to my animal images. I’m told by my father this is an achievable goal. The next is to view and hopefully photograph the resident pods of Orcas ( killer whales ) in the area. They are one of my favorite marine animals. My favorite is the dolphin and since Orcas are a member of the dolphin family, I don’t feel disloyal in the lease. Everyone should have a list of things he or she wants to accomplish before their time on this earth comes to an end. I am slowly crossing these things off mine. I learned to scuba dive because I grew up loving the Cousteau Chronicles and when I went snorkeling, I wanted to stay longer and go deeper. I’ve been to the Holy Land in a time when the region was fairly quiet and travel was considered safe. I swam with a pod of wild dolphins who approached the dive master and myself. Granted, they didn’t stay long because we, as humans, are so awkward in their home and provide such little entertainment. I’ve had the opportunity to ride in helicopters and hot air balloons, not at the same time, mind you. I’ve been to Australia and will go back. What I still have on my list to do: Paris on a warm spring evening, View the Lippizanners at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, go to the Moon. There are others but I don’t want to drag on. In fact, maybe I should apologize now for the length if this post and others to come. I was cautioned that I should keep my entries to a minimum and I try really hard to limit my posting to a couple of paragraphs but sometimes the subject just can’t be adequately covered with a couple hundred well chosen words.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Nearing Take Off

The suitcases became officially open today. With the amount of traveling that we do, there is always a certain amount of stuff in them at all times, things like sewing kits, sandals, sun block, hats and bathing suits. Today is the first day of packing. It's a tremendous task to plan for three climates along with three pastimes. Water, cold and heat combine with ocean life, mountains and the tropics to provide the ultimate in photographic, sightseeing and vacation experiences so here is the dilemma; to pack the appropriate amount of gear for all possibilities while limiting both suitcases and weight. I begin with "lists" of things needed and end up with a list of my lists. Don't laugh because until the time we actually land in Seattle, I will have this nagging feeling that I've forgotten something. Carl is always telling me that we aren’t going to be in the middle of the ocean or on the moon and whatever we’ve forgotten ( meaning me ) we can always find a place to buy it. Travel time is almost upon us. In fact, there are so many things to do before we can leave that I’ve been trying to plan each day to it’s maximum. Today is a travel day, to the banks, to stock up on groceries and to the office supply store for stuff we’ve run out of. I need to pay a few bills along the way as well as dropping of some art at one of the galleries I’m exhibiting in.

Friday, July 6, 2007

A Hectic Week

Right now, I can't find where I put ... Well, it doesn't matter what it was. I'm in the middle of preparing for a reception in Waterville Valley this evening, a show in Franconia on Saturday and a show in Whitefield on Sunday. I have a pile of new work in the studio to go to the ARTS Gallery in Lisbon on Monday and another pile beginning to grow for the new location at the Thyme To Heal Holistic Center in Bath which will open while Carl and I are touring the Pacific Northwest. Carl is out on the deck putting a coat of polyurethane on an accent table which is being auctioned off to benefit the Caregiver's of NH later this fall. He did a granite and tile mosaic on the top before staining the oak table to look as if it were walnut. The first coat of poly darkened it in a very nice way. I've been so busy I haven't even had time to take any photos. I'm beginning to pack for our trip but I really can't think about it seriously until I get through this next week. So, wish me luck. I'll get through this rush of activity but when I do, I'll really need the guided tour service that I volunteered my father for. I sure hope he takes his vitamins and gets lots of sleep.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Uniqueness Of Nature

I had an unusual opportunity while we were dismantling our booth in Sugar Hill on Sunday. A Luna moth flew by and perched on the tree branch over my head. While they are not rare, it is rare to see them in the full light of day because they are nocturnal. One must look in the shadows to find them resting. This one had secreted it's location inside a cardboard box and when the vendor picked up the box to begin packing, it was slightly damaged and flew away to the nearest shade it could find, my tree. Since picking up my camera professionally, I've never had the chance to capture one which of course is a figure of speech. Sadly, the moth was at the end of its' life cycle and fell to the ground moments later. I will continue my search for these beautiful creatures, but for now, this image of the moth resting in the shade of a maple tree will have to do.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A New Venture

I'm always on the lookout for ways to further my business and expose more patrons to my work so when I was asked to participate in the "Thyme To Heal Wellness Center", I was eager for the opportunity. Within the next couple of weeks, several positive care givers will come together to provide people with a place to go for comfort and healing. I know this sounds like new age gibberish but as time goes on, the concept will become more clear. Massage therapists, herbalists and a few select artisans will be housed in a restored nineteenth century Victorian house in the quaint village of Bath, NH. The theory is to enrich the body and mind as well as the spirit. I'm fortunate to have been asked to collaborate with such a talented group of practitioners. My photographic art will be for sale in the retail area, called Thymeless Essentials, and some of my work will also be on display in other areas of the building to provide a meditative and serene environment. This harmonious venture will be available for all of our clients to experience and the general public will also be able to purchase items from the retail area. As more information becomes available, I'll share it here with you.

Monday, June 18, 2007


The plans are in motion for our trip to the Pacific Northwest at the end of July. It's a part of the country that I haven't had a chance to experience. It's also where my father, Bob and his wife Adena live. We'll be spending time with them, based in Bellingham, as we tour the beautiful but rugged landscape of the Cascades. I'm sure I'll have tons of new images to share when I return. The act of reminiscing serves to remind us of past escapades, forgotten essentials and bright spots in an otherwise average agenda. We had one such moment in Central America while on tour at a Botanical Exhibit. Our native guide took a moment from his narrative to point out this delicate hummingbird atop her tiny nest. The entire structure was no more than two inches across and while the garden was teaming with people, she just sat there, stone still, giving warmth and shelter to her eggs. Even the intrusion of camera lenses didn't send her away.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The "Bear" Facts

A constant theme among visitors to my exhibit last weekend was how prevalent the opportunity to see and photograph bears had become. In fact, several visitors even had images to show me on their digital cameras or cell phones (never thought I'd use that word while talking about photography). It turned out to be one of those days where I felt conflicted. On the one hand, I was looking at some wonderful opportunities captured by enthusiastic viewers and on the other hand, I was tent bound at an event designed to sell my work. In hindsight, I can't say I would have preferred to be out in the woods waiting for such an encounter. Several years ago, I came to the realization that in order to be successful in my business venture, I would have to self promote. I do that by meeting and greeting the public to show them my work, answer questions and generally be an ambassador for the craft I've chosen to practice. It means long hours of smiling (that comes easy) under less than ideal conditions, (heat, cold, rain, wind and even a snow flurry or two) while visitors wander through to view my work. It's all worth it, though, even replying to the occasional odd comments that make me shake my head. I often tell people how there are three elements to a good image; right place, right time and have camera. This means the camera should be on the seat and turned on at all times. I didn't follow my own advice yesterday when a bear walked casually across the road in front of my truck. By the time I stopped, unzipped the camera case, turned on the camera and began to focus, he was inside the tree line. So, here is my latest animal image. This bear wasn't going any where.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Lupines And Other Beauty

In spite of the unseasonable, cold, gray, rainy and just plain miserable weather we've been having, mother nature has put herself back on schedule. By that, I mean the flowers that should be blooming at this time of the year, lupines and lady slippers, are in fact blooming as we speak. This is good news because, first and foremost, this is my favorite time of year to get out and shoot. The weather is warm and the grass smells ever so sweet when I decide that kneeling or even sitting doesn't give me just that perfect approach to my subject. Secondly, and far less noble, it's time for the Lupine Festival in Sugar Hill, NH which begins on June 8th and runs through the 24th. For all three weekends of the Festival, I will be set up in a "Crafter's Village" at Harman's Cheese. It's a well known country store in the area famous for it's incredible assortment of cheeses and other delights. By village, I mean there will be more than 20 artisans set up representing a wide variety of work. Just down the road on the first weekend, at the Meeting House, will be the 6th Annual Fields Of Lupines Art Show with an additional 20 artisans exhibiting their skills. The lupines bloom for an extended period of time but past experience has taught me that they never last the entire three weeks so if you're going out for that perfect shot, go early. Mother Nature can take her bounty away as quickly as she brings it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Soldier's View

These are Carl's thoughts about our recent visit to The Wall.

Strange how things affect a person. My wife and I spent 3 days visiting Washington DC. We spent some time at Arlington National Cemetery, The Jefferson Memorial, The FRD Memorial, The Lincoln Memorial, The WWII Memorial, and The Korean War Memorial. Maybe because I served in Viet Nam that I had trouble speaking when we approached the Viet Nam War Memorial. For some reason, for me this simple Wall with so many names on it gave each person a place of honor in history. All I could think about was how thankful I was to be standing next to my wife, and how grateful I was that she was not standing there with our grandchildren, pointing to my NAME. I can only imagine the grief that must overcome those who stand and look at the name of a loved one.~Carl Hill~

Saturday, May 26, 2007

In Memoriam

There have been pages upon pages of words written in tribute to our soldiers, both fallen and veteran, so I'm not going to even try to compete with these great testimonials. What I will do is to tell you what an unbelievably moving experience our trip to The Wall was. The Wall I'm referring to is the Viet Nam Memorial . When you approach, there is this hushed reverence that overtakes everyone. Some stand back, in awe, trying to absorb the magnitude of the highly polished gray marble. It can't be done. Others stroll by each panel, glancing to their left or right, as they read a few of the more than 58,000 names engraved there. 58,000 names, each of them representing a life lost to further the cause of Freedom. Each of them died doing what they knew to be right. Each of them left loved ones behind. My husband and I walked quietly, pausing before many of the panels, glad in our hearts that none of our friends' names are there. It doesn't matter. We remember them all.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Home, Sweet Home

We returned home last night from the Home, Garden and Flower Show in Fryeburg, ME with mixed emotions. Sure, it's always good to be home where the beds are familiar and you can get comfortable by lounging around the house in your bath robe. But, there's a lot to be said for being on the road as well. For instance, we talked with hundreds of enthusiastic viewers during the three day event. So many of them had kind words for my work and I talked with several camera enthusiasts who asked for tips about purchasing new equipment, what kind of software I use and even where they might go to have film developed. Do people still use film? The answer is YES and I always recommend they go to a reputable camera shop to have their images brought to light. Let's face it, people. You truly get what you pay for and the one hour " shop while we zip your film through our handy machine " places are not treating your images with quality and respect. It does matter! A camera shop will take the necessary time with your raw film and won't short change you when it comes to the exposures. The Fryeburg show was a great experience and I'm looking forward to exhibiting there again next year. We talked with a number of other vendors who say that the wet weather we experienced ( it rained most of the weekend ) only dampened the clothing of the people there. The spirit was still there. There is one drawback to returning home, however. I have a mountain of laundry to do and the suitcase needs to be repacked for our next adventure. We leave on Thursday evening for Washington, DC ( remember the aborted trip from six weeks ago when we got the Nor'easter? )

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Come To The Fair!

I 'm currently at the house to load the truck for our 3 day exhibit in Fryeburg, ME. We'll be there on the 18th, 19th and 20th for the 6th Annual Home, Garden and Flower Show so if you are able, come visit us. The weather doesn't sound too good for the weekend so I figure an exhibit like this can lift a person's spirits. The art show is in Expo1 near the main gate and I understand that's where the "Meet The Chefs" cooking demonstrations will be held. One thing I've learned from doing these shows is that wherever there is food, there are always people. The other day, while visiting Sabbaday falls, I happened upon one of the first flowers that bloom in spring, a trillium. It gave me hope that the rest of the season would be along shortly. Oh, I know, six weeks ago, the weather acted as if spring had arrived but we all know how false that was. Now, I can see it in the multitude of rushing waters, in every tree that rushes to grow it's leaves and even in the urgency of the birds looking for nesting materials.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Weather Woes

Over the years, I've come to terms with the fact that I cannot control the weather. Even when I consult the experts, my plans sometimes need to be put on hold. This is one of those days when the gloomy skies have turned against me and the mirrored glass like surface of rain puddles dance with droplets. On Sunday, the weather was perfect. We headed off to hike into Champney Falls but when we arrived at the trailhead, the parking area was alive with activity. I should have expected it. The weather was cool and those miserable little black flies haven't woken up yet. When they do, their appetite will be voracious. Anyway, The types of photos that I wanted didn't include dozens of hikers and we didn't have the time to wait for the area to clear. I had to be at Artistic Roots in Campton for 2:00. Our next stop was Sabbaday Falls, a short and very scenic walk into a narrow gorge filled with a fast moving waterfall that takes an abrupt 90 degree turn mid flow. A sign tells of a basalt dike against the right side of the gorge that prevents it's erosion. At the base of the falls is a naturally formed bowl or basin that has been carved over time by the force of the water. Here, in the shadows of the steep rock walls, there is still ice. It has the look of decaying flesh, rotting and imperfect. The warmth of summer will eventually claim it's victory and the ice will vanish, adding it's water to the torrents. Still, it's there, for now, and provides a chill to the air. The walk is relaxing and there were few other visitors to be kept safely on the path by heavy railings. One of these days, I may muster up enough nerve to cross these barriers to get an unobstructed image, one that the average visitor won't have.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Packing Is A Thankless Job

My sleep was interrupted this morning by a fight with my former boss. There ought to be a law against previous employers invading your dreams, don't you think? By the time I got through reading him the riot act, I was too awake to fall back to sleep. Instead, my thoughts turned to the very long list (yes, I'm back at it again) of things I have to accomplish today. Normally, there wouldn't be much of a rush but today I have to get my husband's car serviced and pack for a few days away. It isn't anything exotic this time, just a short week in North Conway. Still, the suitcase needs to come out of the closet after having only been there just a few days. While in North Conway, my husband will still travel back and forth to work and I will have a different sort of scenery to wander through in hopes of capturing that perfect image. Anyone who knows North Conway in May isn't getting too excited about that happening. The buds on most trees are just barely swelling and the only leaves that have begun to show their true colors are the Poplars. There are traces of green in the woods, a few ferns and the slightest hint of what will become trillium and lady slippers. I did spot some trout lilies blooming on my way back from Campton yesterday. So that's the photo of the day.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

It's A Matter Of Perspective

Tickets to the game:$48.00
Tickets for bull riding:$240.00
Hotel and food for the weekend:$350.00
Fun with the grandchildren: Priceless

Okay, so maybe I went over the top with the analogy but we did have a great weekend. Sometimes, we tend to take life's experiences for granted but change or add just one thing, two grandchildren, and everything is different. I mean, I've been to a dozen baseball games and I'm always watching the action, who's about to steal, how many outs there are and who's on deck. This time, I looked at the whole experience through my six year old grand daughter's eyes. Could she see everything, was she enjoying herself, did she have enough to eat, was she getting too much sun???? As I'm writing this, I realize that's what grandmothers are supposed to do. I wasn't there as a photographer to grab the action or make a record of the up and comers who were playing the game. So, I didn't take too many images. I only took pictures of and for the kids, the mascot-Fungo, even the fun and games between innings. Go figure! I am here to report, however, that the NH Fisher Cats have a great stadium on the banks of the Amoskeag River and the facility is clean, safe and reasonably priced. The quality of the game was professional and we had great seats. All together the weekend was a huge success. I can't wait to do it all over again real soon.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Flu-Like Symptoms

Our weekend to St. Albans, VT started out with an unremarkable trip to the northwestern part of the state. During the first two days of the exhibit, we visited with hundreds of people who stopped to admire my work. Even our hotel room at the Econo Lodge was comfortable. Yes, everything was going according to plans. That is, until I woke up Sunday morning not feeling very well. I felt worse as the morning wore on and by lunch time all I wanted to do was crawl into bed. Carl stayed to greet potential customers and I climbed between the sheets to take turns shivering and sweating until the show ended later that afternoon. All I can say is that day was a blur and I'm really glad I wasn't alone. I've already marked my calendar for us to attend the 43rd Annual Maple Festival in 2008. I'm still not one hundred percent but this weekend is devoted to two of my other passions, the grandchildren and baseball. We'll be spending the weekend in Manchester, NH, where we'll enjoy two nights of pro bull riding and cheer for the Fisher Cats at an afternoon game. The newly formed single A franchise is an affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. The photo of my grandson was taken in August of 2005 while we were catching a couple of Paw Sox games. And yes, that is THE 2004 WORLD SERIES TROPHY he's touching. It was a major high to be able to have our photos taken with the symbol of an 86 year long struggle to achieve Baseball's highest honor. We all, as Red Sox fans, have loved ones who died before seeing the events of October 27th, 2004. I, for one, will never forget those games.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

"All My Bags Are Packed.."

I woke up, this morning, humming the words of that Peter, Paul and Mary tune and thinking how corny it sounded. But part of it is true in a way. I suppose it could have just as easily been the words, " On The Road Again". In fact, the suitcase is packed. The racks, mats, framed pieces and every thing else I need to exhibit my work are in the truck which is pointed towards the driveway. Even the cooler is ready for travel. It would seem that everything is under control so why is it I have this nagging feeling that I've forgotten something important? Actually, this isn't a new feeling. I get it every time we travel. The feeling this morning is a good thing. It would be a bad sign for me to be completely confident that everything is ready and all is under control. Still, it makes me wonder. Have I done everything I can to be ready for this first show of the season? It's a long event; three days and it's a fair distance from the house; St. Albans,VT. I have a few hours to sit and obsess about it and perhaps I'll even think of a couple of minor things to toss into the bag before it's stowed in the back of the truck. When all is said and done, everything will turn out just fine. Nothing important will be left behind and in the event that I have forgotten something, there are stores to shop in where we are going. St. Albans is not the end of the world, after all, but you can see it from there.

This post had been completed when my husband called from his place by the dining room window to tell me of the two deer that were grazing just a few feet from the house. I went into stealth mode and headed for the camera. Unfortunately, we didn't see their three companion sentinels on the other side of the house and all five bolted when I opened the living room door. I do, however, have a plan in motion. The photo was not taken on my front lawn.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

When The Lights Go Out

It's been a very long three days! I was working at my computer on Monday, the day of the April Nor'easter, when a tremendous roaring began outside. I brushed the curtains aside near my desk in time to see the evergreen trees behind my studio lay over as if a massive hand had pushed them aside. This happened over and over, each gust of wind seeming to be stronger than the previous one. I could hear limbs snapping and the rain was driven sideways into the windows of the house. As the intensity of the storm grew, so did the damage outside. The small broken trees of just an hour before were being quickly surpassed by trees of more substance. It was then that the lights went out. They didn't come back on until Thursday afternoon. It was three full days of burning candles, worrying about the meat in our freezer, wondering if the electric crew forgot us and pacing the floors because every time I remembered something I needed to do, it took electricity to make it happen. We have become so dependant upon the almighty wall socket, we become as disconnected as the wires do from our homes. That first night there was an unnatural quiet. No hum from the computer, refrigerator or florescent light bulbs. The three of us sat in silence until, out of boredom, I began to play solitaire, badly. My husband and grown son joined me and for two hours, we played rummy and laughed, but more importantly, we talked. Not the "did you take out the trash?" kind of dialog. It was more like three friends that haven't been together for a while. If you ask me, I say loosing the electricity did us a world of good.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Fickle Finger

I'm posting this from a hotel room in MA. Our travel plans have been postponed for this weekend. The threat of a massive ice storm, airport delays, turbulence, then more bad weather, no cherry blooms left, drenching rains, a nor'easter and more airport delays and turbulence just was too much for us to chance. In our younger days, we would have thrown caution to the wind. In our younger days, we wouldn't have listened to that little voice inside. We are older and, it is hoped, wiser so we have rescheduled the trip for Memorial Day in hopes the weather will be kinder. It will be a different trip, a different experience at the Vietnam Memorial and it will provide for a totally different type of photo opportunity. Those elusive cherry blossoms will have to wait for another year. There has been one positive for this expedition. I'm posting this from the road due to technology called a wireless network interface. In other words, I'm able to use some one's Internet provider ( the hotel where we're staying ) without being plugged into their mainframe. I purchased a network interface card (NIC), plugged in and logged on. I don't know why I haven't done this on other trips because now, I can check and send e-mails, make blog entries and even upload "hot off the presses" photos, when I can actually take them, that is.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Forty Years Of Waiting

Next week, we are traveling to Washington,DC and I'm really thrilled. I've been to this city which is rich with history, culture and politics three times. During each of my visits, I was able to experience much of what makes this city so unique. When I was 13, our church group stayed in the basement of a host church, visited our state senator, sat in on a session of congress, absorbed the ceremonial and somber attitude of Arlington National Cemetery and marveled at the marble likenesses of Lincoln and Jefferson. At 16, my experience was centered around the many buildings of the Smithsonian and visiting friends in a nearby suburb. My best memory of that vacation had to be the landing on the moon. All of Washington paled after Armstrong and Aldrin gave that most memorable of performances from a quarter million miles away. And as a young mother of 20, we stayed at Quantico Marine Base where a high school friend and her husband were stationed, while visiting a frigid Washington Monument. This time it was a different experience at the Cemetery. That one brilliant flickering flame at the Kennedy graves has been burned into my mind ever since. Still, there is an air of excitement for this trip. This time, it's the cherry blossoms that will have my attention. These flowering trees were a gift from a Japanese city in 1912. We responded with flowering dogwoods in a splendid show of hospitality and to promote the idea of one world. This time, my husband and I will stand with others in hushed reverence at The Wall to commit to memory some of the 58,000 names that we'll find there. It will be a good trip.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Lists Can Make You Crazy

The list I mentioned was getting smaller. Items were getting scratched off each day, sometimes a couple of them. I began feeling really good about myself and then, just when I was about to see the bottom of the list, I had to start adding things once more. For instance, today I finished this season's spring and summer card selection for two of the five galleries that I exhibit in. And I delivered a CD with some images to the production team at WREN which stand for the Women's Rural Entrepreneurial Network. It's an organization that helps small cottage industries to thrive and grow with sound business practices and help from people who've been there. Anyway, they needed some photographs for an upcoming issue of their magazine and several of my images were just what they were looking for. Sorry, got sidetracked there for a minute. Now, I've been asked to exhibit some of my work in a storefront on Main Street in downtown Littleton. WOW! People pass this window by the hundreds every day and I get to have the space for three weeks. It's a great opportunity to get my work seen by loads of people, but I wasn't planning on the extra framing and production just now. I'll need to come up with around eight pieces in the next day or two. This charming little girl is my granddaughter, Stephanie who is trying to convince the little dog that she is the boss.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ahhh, New Zealand !

A very good friend of mine brought to my attention that while mentioning our month long trip to Australia last year, I didn't do justice to our all to short stay in beautiful New Zealand and rightly so. Although our visit was a mere five days, all of them gray and drizzly, and restricted to the North Island, our trip though the pastoral splendor that makes up half this country was anything but ordinary. We planned and drove a rather large loop which began and ended in Auckland. We stayed in bed and breakfast facilities enabling us to sample the marvelous hospitality and get to know our truly genuine hosts. We visited wonderful places along the way, stopping at the fragrant Hamilton Gardens, the Maori Arts Institute in Rotorua, the Pohutu geysers of Te Whakarewarewa, serene Lake Taupo, the wild Huka River with it's shotover jet boat ride, the hushed world of the glow worm grotto of Waitomo and the graceful falling vapors of Mt. Damper Falls. The experience of driving the Lost Highway, a single lane dirt road up over two mountain passes, over countless rivers and through several tunnels chiseled through solid rock gave us some of the more spectacular memories of the trip and gave us some sense of how well the rugged land is being used. Throughout our drive, we found every imaginable variety of grazing animals, well fed and content. And while I really haven't done justice to the whole New Zealand experience, I have fully documented our limited exposure in my travel journal and we are already planning to return, devoting much more time to this beautiful and varied landscape where people make you feel as if you're part of their extended family.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Decidedly Spring Like

While the calendar has decided that spring is finally here, there are no outward signs around us. There are no bursts of color on an otherwise drab and uninteresting landscape. There are no brilliant hues waving gracefully in the warm afternoon sunlight. In point of fact, there's very little warm afternoon sunlight. I haven't even seen a robin, yet. So, you can imagine my delight when I passed by this store window in downtown Littleton. I applaud the store keeper for the vision it must have taken on some bleary cold day in February to set these tulips on their way to stardom. It's that kind of spirit that sets people in the north country apart. There are positive signs that Spring is making it's way north, however. Over the past few days, I've seen sap buckets on trees and sugar houses with steam pouring from open windows, both signs that the annual sweetness extravaganza called sugaring has begun. It's a very short season when trees can be tapped to collect what will become that amber confection so craved for pancakes, waffles and baked beans.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Do You Have A "Things To Do" List?

Like most people, I tend to make lists of things to do. Slowly, I'll work my way through the least objectionable of them before I tire of this and throw the list away. It isn't too long before I've made another list. I can't help myself. Just before one of our big trips, I can't remember which one, I made several lists like what to pack, what to buy, documents needed and so forth. It is a fact that I had so many lists I needed a list of my lists. True Story!
Anyway, today is like that. I need to begin a list of things to get accomplished before my show season starts the end of April. I have mentioned how I have a slow time when I have lots of time to get things done but, in reality, with 5 galleries and a retail store to keep up with, some weeks have turned out to be a bit of a blur. So number one on my list for today is to get out into the studio and remove some older images, that for whatever reason haven't sold, from the perfectly good frames they have been occupying. This will give me a good idea of where I stand before I have to order new ones. My framer has recently moved and now it's going to cost more to get the frames to me. They still require me to order a minimum of six dozen frames which ads up to somewhere around $1600. You can see why I need an accurate picture of my inventory before I jump in.
The photo for today reminds me of myself, just sitting around and waiting for something. I don't know what but when it happens, I'll know. The truck, in Bethlehem, NH is a 1930 something Dodge but the plates on it say 1989. Any bets on if it was running in 1989?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

And So It Begins...

My web site has been up and running without any major change for three years. It's time to dust things off and make them new again. Call it spring cleaning. So, I've spent the last week deciding which images should be replaced and which should be added. I've reworked my bio and artist statement, lowered my prices and adjusted the shipping rates. All in all, I hope I've made it more professional and more attractive to the buying public. It was a job that needed doing and unfortunately, the delay in my completing the task was a monetary thing.
While that project was a labor of necessity, the next was a labor of love. I've rented new gallery space at a high visibility place on Main Street in Littleton, NH. It's called the ArtWorks, a custom framing shop that has a cozy downstairs. I'm hoping the monthly rental fee will be absorbed by the sales of my work. But, with anything in life, this, too is a gamble.
These tasks are just the beginning of what I call my busy season. Soon, most of my time will be spent in the studio preparing for the weekend exhibits or show schedule. It doesn't stop until just after the Christmas holiday. This is the time of year that I enjoy the most. It's the down time that makes me sad.
Today's image is from Hawaii a couple of years ago. My husband and I find our quality time coincides with some of the best photo opportunities, that of sunrises and sunsets. This image was taken on Honolulu's most famous beach, Waikiki.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Why The Suitcase

My posts have covered a lot of ground but they do share two common threads, my love of travel and photography. My portfolio includes photos shot in Australia, Hawaii, many islands of the Caribbean, Egypt, Holland, Mexico and Fanning Island and while it's true that my husband, Carl, and I are fortunate to have traveled over the world, it's Carl who is fond of saying that he has visited 6 of 7 continents, just lacking Antarctica. There are no current plans for this trip.
There are lots of suitcases involved when we travel but not all of them have clothes inside. Most carry tripods, battery chargers, external Cd burner, power converters, extension cords, jump drives and anything else I can think of that I might need on the trip. Granted, most of the time, there are camera shops within a few hour's drive but I hate to go unprepared.
I don't take a suitcase filled with gear when we travel nearby but there is still a lot of stuff that gets loaded into the truck for a short outing, things like my laptop, power converter, tripod and lots of spare batteries.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

It's A Gas

People are always asking me if I have any hot air balloon images when I do my shows. So, we investigated the best spot to get these beautiful photos. Without hesitation, it had to be Albuquerque, NM. There are countless other places but this one is the largest gathering of aerial enthusiasts in the United States. During our research, we discovered the next Fiesta was in three weeks so we began pulling all of the elements together to make it happen. My husband worked on plane, hotel and car reservations while I made sure the suitcases were packed, the camera gear was ready and admission to the massive event was secured. It doesn't sound like I had much to do but we were going to the high desert where temperatures can go below freezing in the early hours and rise to over 70 degrees in a matter of hours. Several changes of clothes would be needed. Batteries charged, laptop ready to travel and memory cards cleared, we took off for a fast paced four day photo shoot. There were over 900 registered balloons and I have 700 images to prove it. There's a heartwarming story that goes along with the bumblebee image. E-mail me if you'd like to hear about them or see more images from Albuquerque.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Dirty Words Are Not Always Four Letters

Few words evoke a lack of enthusiasm quite like Mud Season, nine letters that really mess with a north country photographer's head. And like it or not, here we are. For those of you reading this who might not look at a change of seasons in quite the same way, here are the facts. Each year, pristine mounds of snow give way to rotting, decayed shadows of their former selves. A bleak brown harshness emerges from under soft sparkling blankets of quiet. The earth warms and once frozen ground becomes a quagmire of mush. There is virtually nothing worthy of a photographer's talents or efforts, nothing to capture that might lift a spirit or place a smile on someones face. Or is there? Birds return, sap flows and nature seems to know when our spirits need a boost. Just when we think we can't stand another mud puddle, new life breaks free.