Enhanced Lighting

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Last week, as the sun was setting, the outdoors took on an orange hue. It was beautiful. Everything seemed to become sharper, brighter and more beautiful. I, of course, grabbed my camera and took these amazing photographs of my flowers, my mother-in-law’s garden and the trees …

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I love how lacy and transparent the petals on this one are.

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You can see the orange hue in the air in this one …

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The light reflecting off of these trees made the bark look orange … so beautiful!

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Facing Your Fears

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My husband and I recently returned from a trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I’ve only been a couple of times, but it always feels like we are entering a different country — especially since you have to stop at a toll booth on the U.P. side of the Mackinac Bridge.

 

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I am still working on developing my photos (yes, they are digital, but I run them through a program to adjust color, crop, straighten, etc.). I took more than 100 photos on my iPhone and another 996 on my camera, so it is taking longer than I would like. Fortunately, there are some duplicates and a few that didn’t turn out that I am deleting!

IMG_1373Our plan was to photograph lighthouses, waterfall and wildlife. It turns out I have way more wildlife in my backyard than is in the U.P. But we did hike to quite a few falls and saw several lighthouses.

This is Seul Choix Point Lighthouse. It is located on the northern shores of Lake Michigan, 60 miles west of Mackinac Bridge. The name is French for “only choice,” since this harbor is the only option to get out of a storm in the area.

IMG_1352The lighthouse was once the center of a thriving fishing community, with supplies for residents coming in from the lighthouse docks. The community is now gone, but the lighthouse grounds are wonderfully maintained with all of the original buildings.

The light tower, still operating although it is now automated, is 78 feet tall and was built in 1895. The Victorian details on it are unique and magnificent and you can see for quite a distance from the top. However, it takes climbing 80 tiny, open iron steps and a ladder to get to the top. When I heard that, I declined a visit to the tower, but the guide quickly talked me into it. And there began my terrifying journey up.

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First of all, I wasn’t sure I was fit enough to make it up 90 stairs. However, since I recently lost 50 pounds through diet and exercise, I decided to give it a try. Physically, the climb was not difficult at all. But mentally was a whole different animal.

I am afraid of heights. Well, more like terrified of heights. I can’t be near the edge of a balcony, more than two steps up on a ladder or handle a shopping mall escalator. Heck, I cannot even walk up a staircase in a house if it doesn’t have a rail. And if I get stuck going up, I cannot get down without help. Needless to say, going up 90 stairs was terrifying. Several times I had to stop, refocus and push myself to get to the top. By the time I got there, my heart was pounding out of my throat, I was trembling and I was nearly hyperventilating. I had a paranormal experience on the way up, but that didn’t even hit me until I was safely back on the ground.

But, I did it — well, all except the top three ladder rungs. I just couldn’t do that. But I did get up high enough to see out the window.

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This was, quite honestly, one of the hardest things I have ever done. But, the rewards of having accomplished this are so incredible. By the end of the trip, I was climbing steep hills and getting closer to the edge of the cliffs than I ever have before — without any trace of nervousness or even realizing that I would normally be afraid at that point. No, I don’t think my fear of heights has been conquered, but I feel like I am more in control of it.

Back to crafting!

 

Through My Window

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I may live in a crowded lake subdivision, but my studio sits in front of a large picture window that overlooks a few empty lots and a small wooded patch. My in-laws allow us to garden a large portion of the area. The rest they have landscaped with numerous flowerbeds and large trees.

I will admit, I have the best view in the neighborhood! It may not be of the lake, but it is filled with songbirds, butterflies, squirrels, rabbits, hummingbirds and other wild creatures. Although I do not spend hours staring out of the window, I do look out it often enough to catch amazing moments in time.

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Take this spring day a few weeks ago … I looked up as a pair of deer wandered out of the woods and into the “park,” as my in-laws sometimes call it.

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We have noticed tracks in the garden and my mother-in-law’s tulips and lilies are often tasty treats for the deer, but we rarely ever see them — especially in the middle of the day. I quickly took a photo with my cell phone so I would have proof this happened, but I knew it would be a bad picture, since they were so far away. I wanted my real camera, which was in another room, but I was afraid to move.

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I watched for a few minutes and the deer seemed in no hurry to leave. I asked them if they would wait while I grabbed a camera. Naturally, they didn’t answer me, but they did wait for me to get my camera and change the lens and take numerous pictures before something spooked them and they ran back into the woods. These are my favorites …

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There is nothing more exciting than being able to observe wild animals in nature.

And, I am pretty impressed with my camera’s ability to take pictures through less-than-spotless windows!

 

Through my window

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It’s been a rough few weeks … I have been sick and they are still trying to determine to cause of the pain. Needless to say, there has been absolutely no crafting going on here lately.

However, I did find enough energy to photograph the birds through my window today. My husband refilled the feeders yesterday after another snowstorm. Apparently they were happy to pose while enjoying the new treats!

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Their faces are just priceless!

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Hopefully things will get better soon … the projects are stacking up and I owe videos, classes and projects to some of the companies I work with!