Fresh From A Long Winter’s Nap

If there’s anything cuter than puppies and kittens when they’re sleeping, it’s when they’ve just awakened. Here’s a tiny Maltese puppy, fresh from a long winter’s nap. I crept up on him quietly, trying to get a shot of him asleep, but he’s got sharp little ears and must have heard me coming, because his little head popped right up.

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He’s so tangled up in the white covers and afghan, you can hardly tell his furry self from the blankets!! It’s been a long, cold winter … and I know I’ve taken my share of long winter’s naps lately, too!! Come on, spring! We’re ready!!

Image taken with the Nikon D750 and the 50mm Nikkor f/1.8, December of 2014.

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As always, clicking the image takes you to my website which gives a better resolution view with much less ridiculous watermark .

A Song Of Spring

One of my favorite things to do in spring is grab the camera and take a walk down the road to our community’s 5-acre pond. I’m never quite sure what I’ll find, but the beautiful red-winged blackbird is almost always there to greet me.

A Song Of Spring © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

I’ll usually hear him before I see him … and I invite you to visit Cornel Lab of Ornithology’s “What Bird” page to hear his song:

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/red-winged_blackbird/sounds

The Cornel lab has this to say about him:

One of the most abundant birds across North America, and one of the most boldly colored, the Red-winged Blackbird is a familiar sight atop cattails, along soggy roadsides, and on telephone wires. Glossy-black males have scarlet-and-yellow shoulder patches they can puff up or hide depending on how confident they feel. Females are a subdued, streaky brown, almost like a large, dark sparrow. In the North, their early arrival and tumbling song are happy indications of the return of spring.

This particular image was taken on a sunny April morning in 2013. I was using the Nikon D300 and the Sigma 150-500mm OS lens. I treated the image to a fun painterly effect in Photoshop CS6, and added a new sky background, also taken near my home, and a couple of lovely textures, one from Distressed Jewel and one from Two Lil Owls.

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A click on the image will take you to my website where you’ll have better resolution and a less nasty watermark.  And as always, comments and thoughts are more than welcome!

Peaceful Summer Afternoon

On a visit to the beautiful Winterthur estate, former home of the DuPont family near Wilmington, Delaware, visitors can take a ride through the extensive grounds on an open bus. If you visit, I highly recommend taking advantage of this, as you will get a wonderful sense of the size of the estate and, if you’re as lucky as we were, your guide will give you lots of interesting and fun facts that you might not hear elsewhere.

If your bus is full or nearly so, and you’re a camera-bug like myself, you may find yourself on the wrong side when passing by something pretty. That’s what happened in this shot. Normally a landscape image will be in landscape orientation, that is, wider than it is tall. But when you’re shooting between human heads, and out of the corner of your eye you catch such lovely light and color, you quickly turn your camera sideways and snap … and cross your fingers! The beautiful goldenrod and Queen Anne’s lace sprinkled all through this summery field were just too pretty not to try.

I’d have liked to take a long stroll all along this road with my camera, and hope to get back and do that some fine summer’s day. The rolling hills you see here offer wonderful views and vistas that, even as un-shy as I am, I didn’t have the heart to ask the bus driver to stop for!

Original photographic image taken in August of 2014 with the Nikon D7000 and the 18-200mm vr Nikkor lens. Lots of fun with the image in Photoshop CS6.

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As always, a click on the image will take you to my website for a view with a much nicer watermark … and … purchase options.  And as always, the image is available on other products and can be licensed. Just let me know.  Leaving your own thoughts of country lanes and summer days is always appreciated … don’t be shy … if the comment section isn’t right below here, just make sure you’ve clicked on the above title and the “comment” box will appear.

 

Good Things Come In Small Packages

We’ve all heard the saying that “good things come in small packages.” When it comes to the Maltese breed of dog, those words could never be more true. Fun-loving, gentle, loving and so smart, the Maltese is truly a bundle of joy.

Good Things Come In Small Packages  © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art
Good Things Come In Small Packages © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

This image was captured with the Nikon D7000 and the 50mm f/1.8mm Nikon / Nikkor lens. The background is a lovely field I found not far from Bedford, Pennsylvania. Both images were combined  with much editing in Photoshop CS6 and Corel Painter,  with a lovely texture from Cheryl Tarrant’s Distressed Jewell collection added.

This little darling’s name is Blush, her registered name is GCH Ecstasy’s Glowing Sensation, a finished Grand Champion. Blush was one of the lovely creatures owned by the breeder of our own Buddy, whom we took home at the end of May, 2014, and who has stolen all our hearts. Buddy will be one year old in March.

Shocking to admit, but Buddy’s image was taken with my iPhone … (I know … horrors!!) then added to a lovely field I captured in West Virginia with my Nikon D300 and the 18-200mm vr Nikon / Nikkor lens.  Added together with much editing in Photoshop CS6 and a texture from Distressed Jewell and a bit of hand painting in Corel Painter 11.

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As always, comments are welcome (I love dog stories!) … and also as always, a click on the images will take you to my website with a much nicer watermark and better resolution (and shopping suggestions!)

 

Rock On, Oh Ye Magnificent Road Warrior, Rock On

I was on another one of my many cool-barn hunts when I stumbled across this magnificent beast-that-was. Tucked away, covered in weeds and brambles, there he crouched. I could almost hear his once-proud roar … waiting, straining at the bit to eat up the highways just one more time.

Rock On Road Warrior SmWtrmk

Not a clue what happened or why he was there. He didn’t seem to be in that bad a shape, but I didn’t look too closely, preferring instead to believe that whatever unfortunate circumstance landed him where he was, all would be forgiven and he’d once more growl to life, hauling product to markets on the broad open road from the Atlantic to the Pacific again some day.

I have a true soft spot in my heart for truck drivers. I used to be a CB’er. Yes, truth time. I really was, and no, I won’t tell you my handle. But suffice it to say, I can tell you for a fact that there ARE many true gentlemen and gentle-ladies behind the wheels of those big things you see barreling down on you on the interstates. Please give them their due … give them respect.

So to my big handsome blue friend I say, rock on, buddy, rock on.

I believe this is a Diamond Reo truck … but can’t tell you the year or model. Wikipedia has this to say about him:

“Diamond Reo Trucks was an American truck manufacturer. In 1967, Diamond T and Reo Trucks were combined to form the Diamond Reo Trucks Division of the White Motor Corporation. Reo dated back to 1904 when Ransom E. Olds, founder of Oldsmobile, began building motor cars, and Diamond T dated back to 1905 when C.A. Tilt began building vehicles.

In 1971, Francis L. Cappaert of Birmingham, Alabama, bought Diamond Reo from White. And, at about the same time the Diamond Reo C-116 series was introduced, which featured Cummins NTC-335, NTC-350, NTA-370 and Detroit Diesel 12V-71N engines. Despite new model introductions and excellent reputation Diamond Reo was forced into bankruptcy on December 6, 1974.

One year later Loyal Osterlund and partner Ray Houseal bought the rights to Diamond Reo trucks and made room to continue production in their Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, facility, originally a dealership and maintenance facility. The single model C-116 Giant was continued in production with the Cummins NTC-290 diesel engine as standard power. Production for 1978 was 131 units. By 1985, the Harrisburg plant was expanded to be able to produce 10 trucks per day, although output continued at about two per day. The company continued to build about 150 Class 8 trucks annually through 1995.”

For all I know, he still waits … today, probably covered in snow and ice in addition to the itchy weeds.  Hats off to ya buddy … I’m sure you worked hard in your day and deserve your rest.

As always, clicking on the image will bring you to my website where you can see the Road Warrior in larger size, better resolution and less nasty watermark.  And as always, I’d love to hear from you.  Make sure you’ve clicked on the title of this little story and scroll down to the comments section.

And … rock on!!

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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.”

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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.

 

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