Let It Go

"Let It Go" ... © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art
“Let It Go” … © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

“Let It Go” is another in my informal “Vanishing America” series … a lovely old barn and silo discovered on a trip home from snapping eagles at Conowingo Dam in Conowingo, Maryland … captured in late November of 2014 with the Nikon D7000 and the 18-200mm VR Nikkor / Nikon lens.

I was originally going to title this one “Hard Work.” As retirement looms on the horizon for my husband and myself, my thoughts seem to go all over the place … to the life we’ve worked so hard to build for ourselves and our children, the plans we’ve made for our futures, and all the “what ifs” that have plagued men and women of a certain age down through the ages. We’re considering down-sizing … and the thoughts of leaving our home and all the work and love and care we’ve put into making it a place of beauty and comfort are bitter-sweet.

When I see something like this old barn … obviously a place that saw a lot of hard, hard work in its time, now rusting and crumbling to the ground, all those “what ifs” seem to gather like storm clouds around my head. All that hard work the farmers did here, day after day, year after year, and what did it amount to? Sickness or simple old age or something else struck … and this structure which used to bustle with activity … and hopes … is falling into dust.

And then I thought of another title for this little image. The song “Let It Go,” which is so popular right now, might be a better representative, both in name and in meaning.

Most of us are hard-working individuals. Most of us get up every morning and give life our best shot. We have good intentions, try to do the right thing by ourselves, our families and our fellow inhabitants of this good earth. Sometimes things go the way we plan, but sometimes that old “Man plans and God laughs” thing happens. All we can really do, is do our best, keep our chins up, smile with our lips, our eyes and our hearts … and “Let It Go.”

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As always, thanks for stopping by.  Clicking on the image itself will take you to my website where you can view at better resolution, size, and with a less horrendous watermark.  And as always, I’d love to hear from you.  Click on the title of this page and scroll down to find the comment box.

 

Afternoon In June

When I’ve made up my mind that an image is finished, and I mean when I am really and truly convinced that it’s “done and done,” one of a couple of things will happen.

Afternoon In June © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art
Afternoon In June © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

Usually I’m so excited with the thing that I’ll add it to my website(s) right away.  This happens most of the time, and that will be that.

Another scenario is that I’ll add the image but go back the next day (and sometimes the day after) and tweak and change and adjust … repeatedly.  Why do things always look so different the next day??  I can’t imagine what the folks in the background of the hosting sites must be thinking when I start doing that.  I have to laugh … I hope they do too!!

Sometimes I’ll work up an image and really like it, but for one reason or another decide not to add it to any of my websites.  It can be because I’m waiting for the right season … a winter landscape uploaded in winter, for example.  Or maybe I’ve been adding too many in a similar processing style and will suddenly decide I need to switch things up a bit.  With any luck, I won’t forget about the poor thing for too long.  Been known to do that!

The last reason, and this is the one I do the least, is sit on an image that I really like.  For whatever reason, if I really love an image, sometimes it’s fun to just hold onto it for a little.  It’s a bit like having something pretty to wear in the closet with the price tag still dangling.  It’s a good feeling.  The picture I added today is one of those.

This is a truly lovely old buildling, now the offices of a thriving landscaping business.  There is a tiny sign hanging from the front porch that I’m pretty sure indicates when it was constructed, around 1790, if I’m not mistaken.  I know for our British and other Old World friends, that’s nothing, but for the United States, it’s a pretty significant and honorable age.

The building has been meticulously cared for and is always a joy to view as I pass by. I can just imagine strolling through the gardens with the perfect tall glass of frosted iced tea in my hand, a slice of lemon floating lazily among the tinkling ice cubes. I’d love to feel the warmth of the sun and gentle breezes on my skin as I enjoy the beautiful gardens.

But the beauty of this image, in my humble opinion, isn’t so much the building or the gardens, or the thought of that perfect iced tea on that perfect warm day.  It’s the light.  That glorious late spring – early summer whiff of magic that means proms and a picnic with your first love … and maybe even your first kiss.

So … from the depths of a cold winter’s day, a glimpse of spring and summer.  I guarantee you … they will be here again … eventually.

As always, clicking on the pic will take you to my website where the watermark will be far less nasty.

All Good Things

It’s mid afternoon here on the East Coast of the US … the last day of 2014.  Many of you have already celebrated the end of the year and the beginning of 2015 … and many are getting ready to raise your glasses.

Whether you do so with family and friends … or whether you do so with your favorite dog or kitty by your side … or whether you’re alone in front of the tv … I’d like to wish you all, all good things in the coming year!!

Happy New Year - 2015 © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital art
Happy New Year – 2015 © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital art

Health and Happiness,

Joy and Laughter,

Inspiration and Creativity,

Prosperity and Love …

To You and Those Whom You Love!

Here’s to a Great 2015!

Oh What The Heck

It always seems a little odd to me how a picture can stick in my mind, and in my computer’s library, for years.  Just … sitting there … being quiet … not causing any trouble.   And year after year I’ll stumble over it … and sort of rediscover it.  Pass it by … thinking to myself … “I’ve got to get that one out and play with it a bit.  It has possibilities.”  But more time goes by … the seasons change and I think to myself, “well, maybe I’ll play with it later.”

It can be a perfectly lovely image.  Take this one for example.  Not a thing wrong with it right out of the camera.  (And yes, it really is right out of the camera)  Good lighting … okay composition … good detail.  I personally love the view of the mountain in the far distance.

Winter Wonder Original © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art
Winter Wonder Original © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

Like many of my images, the original was taken on top of Blue Knob Mountain in Claysburg, PA.  What made me wait from January of 2011 to December of 2014?  Was it something inside me that wanted more … or was the timing wrong?  I don’t know.  I’ve added lots of straight photography winter images to my website.  What made me hold back on this one?

Then a year or so later I hauled it out and started playing around with it.  A few tweaks … some Photoshop and Corel Painter fun … and I really liked it!  No, I really did … in fact, I still do!

Winter Wonder Art © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art
Winter Wonder Art © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

But still I held off adding it to my website.  What the heck was I waiting for?

I tripped over it again about a month or so ago and decided this time was it.  This time I’d finish it and publish it.  So, back it went to Photoshop and a few other programs for more tickling beneath the chin.  Maybe if I slapped a nice couple of textures over it … gave it a little depth … a little mystery … added some birds flying over (got those Canada Geese up at Conowingo Dam recently … one of the only decent shots I got that day!)

Winter Wonder Textured © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art
Winter Wonder Textured © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

But no … I could feel myself doing the Julia Roberts thing as she walked down the aisle in “Runaway Bride” … nope … nope.  Nope.  Turning … running … but I still liked it … I did.

As I thought about it, I realized my not putting it out there for all the world to see may not really have had anything to do with the image itself … it was more what was going on inside of me.  And at that particular infinitesimally tiny moment in time … for whatever reason … I needed something that I personally felt had some pow to it.  Call it pow … call it whatever.  I don’t know if the prehistoric guy drawing stick figures on the cave walls had this crazy thing going on inside of him or not.  Maybe this is where the expression “gilding the lily” came from … I don’t know.  But after even more messing with the thing, I finally decided it was ready for prime time.  And voila … I finally got a version that I decided to post.  I’m not saying it was the best version … but the time was finally right … a little like the crescendo in an intricate and breathtakingly beautiful symphony.

Winter Wonder © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art
Winter Wonder © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

And now for the age-old question that artists (and writers and musicians and electrical engineers, for all I know) have been asking themselves down through the ages.  Is this the best version?  After all, beauty IS in the eye of the beholder.  Not a thing wrong with any of the previous versions.   In fact (and here’s me doing my shameless self-promotion thing) if any of my devoted readers prefers one of the other versions and would like to see it hanging on their own walls (or the wall of a friend … makes a great gift) just let me know!!

Winter Wonder Blue Room © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art
Winter Wonder Blue Room © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

Or … maybe …  you know what??  Maybe it’s that I … and that cave man guy … and that kid with the first flute who played that first tune in front of his friends … just got tired of fooling around with the thing and said … “Oh what the heck.”

….

Clicking on the final version of “Winter Wonder” will take you to it’s spot on my website, just like always, and just like always, the nasty watermark will be much less intrusive there.  However, clicking on the rest of the versions won’t do that.  Sorry.  But again … if you’re interested … I could make them available … just let me know!!

Abandoned

An old log home discovered on a sunny autumn ramble through the countryside of beautiful Pennsylvania, USA, has seen a lot of years.

Though the buildings are empty now, windows broken, leaning almost imperceptibly toward each other, I have the feeling this house and barn both saw a lot of love in their time. The location of the lovely trees in the front yard, the nearness of the barn, all speak of thoughtful caring. I wanted to point out, positioned on the side of the barn is a small birdhouse … looks like a bluebird box to me. If those who lived here, loved bluebirds, then I’m sure they lived wonderful lives as bluebirds are the symbol of good luck.

Abandoned © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital ArtAbandoned © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

Original photographic image taken with the Nikon D7000 and the trusty 18-200mm vr Nikkor lens in September of 2014. Image treated to many embellishments in Photomatix for an HDR layer, a trip to Photoshop, and to Corel Painter 11 for a strong painterly feel.

I’ll share a little personal insight.  Like many photographers and digital artists of today, I started out with a pencil in one hand and crayons in the other.  Over the years (and as soon as my Mom thought I was old enough to clean up after myself) I graduated to oils and canvasses.  Those days ended … life does that sometimes … and I grew away from art for many years.  But now, as I continue to re-examine and re-explore my artsy-fartsy side, I see myself leaning more and more toward the painterly look similar to the one you see in the image above.   Don’t quite know where this is going to take me … but I’m finding a lot of joy creating images like these.  I hope you enjoy them as well!!

As always, remember to click the image to see it at a better resolution and size and with a much less nasty watermark.

 

Pride

I finally got back to Conowingo Dam, in Conowingo, Maryland this past week. The location is a well known hang-out for American Bald Eagles during the months of November and December, and since I haven’t been able to get up there the past couple of years, I was pretty excited.

DSC_1753CmRwImgnCrpVvzDdgChestclnPntTxtrMsk2CrlFx2Nme

The weather was not very cooperative.  Mostly overcast both days, flat light … and for some reason my trusty Nikon D300 camera and 150-500mm OS Sigma lens and I were at odds, so the several-hundreds of shots that I took resulted in only a few keepers.

But I’ve always wanted a shot of an eagle sitting in a tree … one without branches obscuring his face … and this one hit the mark.   I think the fish, the reason for his proud expression, was a great bonus. Seeing the activities, actually the fights, these eagles get into over the fish is very exciting. No great shots of that … not quite yet.  Maybe next year!!

As always, clicking on the image will take you to my website where the watermark is far less intrusive.  To leave me a note, make sure you’ve clicked on the title of this post, “Pride,” which will open up the comments box at the bottom.

The Change From Autumn To Winter

As we say goodbye to autumn … and with the recent record-breaking lake-effect snows in the north-east and other areas of the U.S. many of us already have  … I thought it might be fun to look back over some images that capture the changing of the seasons from fall to winter.  All were taken in and around Blue Knob State Park located between Pavia and Claysburg, Pennsylvania.

The first is autumn in all her glory.  A scene taken about halfway up Blue Knob Mountain, the brilliant colors which only last a few days seem to give a glow even to the air.

Oh Happy Day © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art
Oh Happy Day © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

Captured on top of Blue Knob Mountain,  the next image shows a crystal coating of ice and light snow which fell while the colorful autumn leaves still remained on the trees.

Change of Seasons © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art
Change of Seasons © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

And don’t you love that point where some trees are bare and some still hang onto their brilliance?   The fields in the valley are cleared, now, and wait for spring which is still months away.

Falling Into Winter © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art
Falling Into Winter © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

A break in the snow storms in late December, rare for this area, gives us a peaceful vision of farm life in the valley … the very essence of hushed waiting.

A Profession Of Hope © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art
A Profession Of Hope © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

And last but not least is Mother Nature at her most feisty as blizzard-like winds and temperatures and snow pound the mountain.

Red Shed In The Snow
Red Shed In The Snow © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

As always, to get a larger view and with a much-less objectionable watermark, just click.   Each is available for purchase as wall art, greeting cards, and phone cases.  They’re also available as tote bags, mugs, decorator pillows and more at other sites.  If interested (they make great, unique gift items!) please feel free to contact me for more info.

And also as always, I’d be delighted to hear from you.  Make sure you’ve clicked on the title of this page above to ensure you’re on this particular post and fill in the comment box.

 

 

The Beauty of Old-Fashioned Calendars

It seems all my life I’ve enjoyed looking through a new calendar and finding my one or two favorite images out of the twelve.  I’m always anxious to get to those particular months, so the prettiest images can be on display above my desk for four whole weeks.  I know a lot of us are all about the conveniences of our electronic gadgets these days.  Our smart phones, tablets and computers all have calendars right on them, and we even sync them up to each other.  Well, some of us do.  Ok, most of us.  But personally, I still love the idea of being able to look up while I’m sitting at my desk,  and seeing my monthly activities jotted down all nice and neat beneath a beautiful piece of art.

Just in time for the Holidays and the New Year Trillium Gallery has created and is offering for sale their all-new, 2015 calendar.  And guess what … there will be no waiting impatiently for a particular month to roll around to enjoy your favorite image, as each one will be your favorite, created by some of today’s finest living contemporary artists.

Even better, there is a separate calendar for photography images and one for art images!  Check ‘em out:

Trillium Gallery Photography Calendar:

Trillium Gallery Photography Calendar

Trillium Gallery Art Calendar:

Trillium Gallery Art Calendar

Clicking on either of the above will bring you to a page where you can click and see the selections in enlarged format, and where you can also scroll down to the order forms.  The first is for the Photography Calendar, the second is for Art.

And I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t indulge in a little shameless self-promotion … proud to announce that my own “Hilltop Farm” is the Art Calendar’s image for April (without a watermark, of course):

_DSC0376-4535CapNXDCmRwSclImgnVvzTxtrSkwSclProg3VvzBlndWTnmp5BlndWTpzImpClnPnt2ndImpOnLighten2VvzSkwSlightSkyNmeVvzPtchBlndCrlTxt2SMWtrmkSo if you believe the old fashioned ways are still worthwhile, maybe consider one of these spectacularly beautiful calendars as a special treat for yourself … and remember, they make great gifts, too!

 

A Celebration of Autumn

I admit it.  As each season rolls around, I’m one of those people who says THIS one’s my favorite.  Spring, summer, winter, fall.  Each one.  I really can’t imagine living anywhere that doesn’t have four distinct seasons.

But I DO love autumn.

To celebrate, I decided to include a couple of my new images, the first of which was taken at the bottom of Blue Knob Mountain, near Bedford, PA.

“The Necessary” is a story all to itself.  The term “necessary” is actually the word we used in our family for what most people call
“outhouse.”   And though I grew up in a typical suburban community with all the modern conveniences, since my grandparents’ farm didn’t have indoor plumbing or electricity, I became very familiar with the adventure a trip to a little structure like this could become.

The Necessary ... © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art
The Necessary … © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

The next is a herd of glossy black and white holstein cows tucked away in the shade for an afternoon nap near Everett, PA. The sunny rolling hills form a perfect backdrop on this peaceful, lazy Sunday-afternoon.

© Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art ... Enjoying The Autumn Shade
© Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art … Enjoying The Autumn Shade

Both images are based on my photographs, taken in October of 2014  with the Nikon D7000 and the 18-200mm vr Nikkor lens. They were treated with a bit of editing magic in Camera Raw, Photoshop CS6 and Corel Painter 11.

As always, clicking each image will take you to my website where you’ll have a much better resolution and much easier-on-the-eyes watermark.  And if you’d like to be notified of new blog entries, click the title above (to make sure you’re on this posting), scroll all the way down on this page and fill out the “notify me of new posts” form.

FaceBook’s New Route to Friend “Likes” on Fan Pages

Hey, here’s a quick heads up to anyone looking to invite friends to “like” your FaceBook business / fan page. We used to click up top right on the “building audience” tab … but that seems to be all about ads, now.

Instead … now look up at your header, where it says “Message” … then has three dots (elipses) to the immediate right. Click there and you’ll see your old “invite friends” link.

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 3.00.22 PM

Maybe I’m missing the boat, but about the only time I use this feature anymore is when someone requests me to like their page … I check to make sure they’ve liked mine and if they haven’t, I send them a request.

Turn about IS fair play!!

11/2/14 … a quick update … as of yesterday, it looks like FB has gone back to using the “building audience” tab for inviting friends to like our business pages.  And it may be that these tabs work differently from person to person.  A bit confusing!!!

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