Monthly Archives: March 2016

Playing with shutter speed

Presque Isle Waves (Erie, PA)

Presque Isle Waves (Erie, PA)

03.31.2016

I can’t believe it’s the end of March already. The first part of this year has flown by for me. My days are busy working and my evenings are fun filled with new friends and old.

It turns out my running buddy is also a photog! I enjoyed spending Wednesday hiking a bit with our cameras and getting to know her a bit better. Usually when we’re together we are both trying to get to the end of a race and there’s not much time for conversation!

So this was our second time out with the cameras and it was fun to talk about photo taking – she said I’m very focused. I laughed but that was because she was right. I had a site in mind and hunted until I found it. She was taking photos of many things but I was only looking for one thing.

I’m that way in my life as well. Very focused and I know what I want. I have plans and goals and, although I may delay things because I’m not ready or I may change my mind and take a different path, it’s my decision and that is freeing to me.

The photo above is of the waves at Presque Isle in Erie, PA. I left the shutter open for about 25 seconds so the waves would blur. I took it Wednesday when the sunset was less than spectacular. The sun did not cooperate but I didn’t let that stop me. I played with the water and I think it turned out okay.

So go with the flow . . . .

~ melissa michelle

Waterfalls

Small waterfall

Small waterfall

Closer view of falls

Closer view of falls

Different perspective of falls

Different perspective of falls

03.26.2016

Traveled just a short distance today to a waterfall in Grove City. I have photographed it before, maybe two years ago. I had forgotten how pretty it looks, especially on such a nice Spring day.

I’m sure these photos can be improved or taken differently; however, I was able to take them in manual mode – I picked all the settings and added a polarizing filter to the lens. I have certainly come a long ways in this respect. No more auto mode for me! Yay!

And now I’d like to take a moment to wish all of my readers a wonderful, blessed Easter. May you remember the true reason for the day, every day.

~ melissa michelle

Mom’s hands

Mom knitting - fingers flying!

Mom knitting – fingers flying!

03.24.2016

I had diner with my Mom this evening. It sure was delicious! Her hands have certainly prepared a lot of meals over the years. She also loves to read and knit. I wanted to capture a photo of her knitting. Sometimes it’s difficult to show action in photos but I think I got it above.

Knitting in black & white

Knitting in black & white

Here’s another one I captured and converted it to black and white. There’s no motion here – just her hands with the yarn and knitting needles.

I saw another photo showing the motion of knitting and I wanted to try it with my Mom. I think it turned out well. And, one thing about photos, they capture a moment in time, a memory. Mom has knitted long before I was born!

Don’t forget to capture moments in your life so that you have them forever.

~ melissa michelle

 

A Lighthouse

Presque Isle Lighthouse

Presque Isle Lighthouse

03.23.2016

Presque Isle Lighthouse built in 1872. I’m sure this lighthouse showed many sailors the way home. Sometimes in life I wish we had such a light, a beacon standing firm, to show us the way home. Questions like . . . .  should I stay or should I go, do I take this path or forge my own path . . . . would be so much easier if we had a light – the answer – right there in plain view for us to see.

Ah, such is life.

~ melissa michelle

Hiking for adoption

Homeward on the AT

Homeward on the AT

Homeward with beautiful nature behind him

Homeward with beautiful nature behind him

03.19.2016

Today I went for a hike at McConnells Mill with a long time friend of mine. It was a great day to be outside in nature and getting some exercise. At the same time I was out hiking, my brother was hiking on the Appalachian Trail (AT) at Shenandoah National Park. He started his adventure on February 29 and hopes to finish the entire trail around Labor Day.

In this journey he is also raising money for orphans who need forever homes. Hence one reason for his trail name, “Homeward.” You can follow him here:  https://goo.gl/4cr8vr

I’ll post other updates as his journey continues. Feel free to comment here and I can reply back personally if you have any questions.

Even if you’re not a hiker, make sure you at least step outside and look around. Nature is all around us for us to enjoy. So get out and play.

~ melissa michelle

Clearing my mind

Dramatic Sky

Dramatic Sky

03.16.2016

The weather was crazy today, all over the country. From snow to tornados to rain and sun. Here in Erie, PA we had rain, then sun, and then back to rain and we ended with this beautiful sunset.

Have you ever gone on vacation and then come back and after only just a few days it felt as though you had never been gone? That wonderful, relaxed, stress free feeling doesn’t last for very long after you get back to reality. I was able to “escape” this past weekend for a couple of days. I realized today after a very stressful work situation, that the feeling I had over the weekend sure didn’t last me very long. I fought hard to get it back this evening while walking my dog. I took a few deep breaths and calmed my inner self. I made my brain just focus on the here and now and not what I experienced earlier in the day.

I saw this sunset and immediately grabbed my camera. I didn’t focus on the beauty or the calm of the scene – my focus was on the shot, and well, on the phone conversation too. Yes, multitasking!

Sometimes you just need to take a mini-vacation in your head. Calm the “monkey brain” and clear all the thoughts and craziness. While I was walking my dog I took many deep breaths. I looked up at the sky and noticed all the stars out already in the clearing sky. The clouds were moving on and it was getting darker by the minute. When I got back home, I felt so much better for having cleared my mind and just enjoying the moment.

Now that I’ve posted this, I can go to bed with a clear mind and rest.

~ melissa michelle

20 years ago

Sunset on Lake Erie (taken 6 years ago)

Sunset on Lake Erie (taken 6 years ago)

03.10.2016

It seems like forever ago and yet not that long. The pain lessons and thankfully the good memories stay. It was like any other trip to the hospital that we had taken in the past five or so years. But this time, Dad wouldn’t come home. This time we had to say goodbye. He was only 64; I was 24. I wasn’t ready but he was – he had suffered long enough. That was 20 years ago today.

My Dad wasn’t perfect and we had our disagreements but we were very close. He expected perfection of me and always wanted the best from me. I am often hard on myself and I guess that’s where I got it from. I don’t see this as a bad thing; one should always expect the best from life.

The photo above was taken on this day six years ago. Some anniversaries are easier than others. That was a particularly hard one for me, as is today. My Dad enjoyed sunsets and would say that God made them just for us to look at and enjoy. When I gaze upon one his words always come back to me.

I’m hoping Dad is looking down and smiling at me. I’ve accomplished so much in the past 20 years. Half my life has passed since he had to leave. There are dreams that will never materialize for me – that’s just the way dreams go I suppose (sorry Dad, no MRS degree). But other things have been good and I’m content with life, although always forging ahead, demanding the best.

I take the best of you with me always, Dad.

~ melissa michelle

Spending time in nature

03.07.2016

I had a few hours to myself Sunday and spent it at Maurice K. Goddard State Park. The weather was very nice and the sun brighten my spirits a bit. I managed to photograph this juvenile eagle taking off from a branch near where I was walking (of course he saw me first and I think I startled it away):

Juvenile eagle taking off

Juvenile eagle taking off

It’s not the best photo but the point is that I had a breakthrough on this photo shoot. When I got to the park I took a few practice shots to set up my camera – totally in Manual mode. That means I set up all the parameters for shooting. I didn’t leave anything up to the camera. I’ve never been brave enough or I didn’t think I was good enough to figure it all out. Well, I proved myself wrong.

After this eagle took off, I spent a moment watching it soar to see where it would land again. But then all of a sudden I had a sense, a feeling. I slowly turned directly opposite of where I was watching the eagle and look what I saw:

Deer at Maurice K. Goddard State Park

Deer at Maurice K. Goddard State Park

I think there were half a dozen deer behind me. I think we both noticed each other at the same time. I had just a second to get the camera up and shoot this photo just as they were running away. It was an amazing capture. But I had forgotten, nor did I have time, to change my settings. However, since I was shooting in all RAW format (another new thing for me on this shoot as I normally shoot both jpg and raw), I was able to use editing software to save the photo. I lighten it up a bit and the photo shown here was the result.

I was so in awe with the fact that I sensed the deer behind me! I have learned to become more observant in nature. And it’s pretty exciting! I love all the things I’m seeing out there. Nature is a beautiful place.

My brother is spending the next 6 months in nature hiking the Appalachian Trail. What a great adventure he’s traveling and I’m so excited for him. I wish me and my camera could join him! But alas, I must live vicariously through him.

So plan a day away if you can. Observe what’s around you. One of my mantra used to be, “Sometimes you just gotta take a deep breath and look around.” My college girlfriends can attest me saying that often to them!

~ melissa michelle