Thursday, September 18, 2014

September 2014 Photography Competition::September18

This is my favorite picture that I entered:

Take a Bow

I took this pic at Hogle Zoo when we were there in May. There was a bird show going on, and this owl had done its performance, bowed, and got a treat. I was thrilled to get it as it was bowing.

For the alteration of the pic, I erased all of the background that was irrelevant and distracting, then cartoonized the owl. I adore it! I think it should be an illustration in a book :)

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This next picture is one that one of the judges liked a lot, giving it a 7 out of a 9. From the club's website: "7 – 8: Exceptional – Exhibiting very good to excellent photographic technique, composition and technical merit; however the image is lacking in a small way." 9's are virtually impossible, so I am thrilled with the judge's score of 7! If only the other judge would have felt the same way! ;)


I took this picture at the Hogle Zoo as well. I have other pictures of this bird, but I love the split lighting on its face and especially the way that the light is landing on the left eye. It is one of my favorites.

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This one fell flat at the competition. Perhaps I'll enter the original, unaltered picture next time around and see how it does then.

Breakfast to Go

This was a pic I took on my lawn (I happen to think of dandelions as children's favorite flower to pic, so I have quite a few of them on my lawn. ;) ) To photograph a bee in motion and have it come out in focus is a small miracle, so I enjoy it whenever it happens.

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I love the colors in lilacs - in fact, aside from the glorious scent they provide, the color is my favorite part. This was a macro picture I took as the lilacs were blooming. I rather like it for its simplicity and beauty, but it too fell flat at the competition. Ah well, you can't please everyone!

Color in Bloom

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There were no awards for me last night. I have to admit to a flaw I have: I am a sore loser. As soon as the competition was over, I wanted to leave, but I made myself stay put during the critiques. We stayed until 8 o'clock, and I was fortunate enough to have one of my pictures critiqued. "Hiding" was that picture, and the first judge went on to find many parts of the picture that he found distracting - he is a commercial photographer, so all of his pictures are set up and skillfully arranged; he would joke every once in a while about the fact that he wished that this or that could have been removed from the picture - unfortunately, real-life doesn't work like that (at one point he said, "You should have had that guy move his boat.") He said that I should crop it on the right to make it obey rule of thirds. The second judge offered the suggestion that I could have followed rule of thirds by cropping on the left, and said that most of the things that distracted the first judge hadn't bothered him - I am assuming he is the one that gave me the score of 7.

I intentionally didn't crop it to rule of thirds. I intentionally left it absolutely centered, which is seen as a no-no to many photographers. I have heard, and live by the adage, learn the rules and then break them if they don't suit you - but you better know why you broke it. I kept it centered because while the shot is about the bird, it is also about it hiding. It is about the bird thinking that I can't see it because it is behind a limb. I felt that if I cropped in deeper, which is what the first judge offered up too, it would be only about the bird - not about the bird's feelings about me - it is trying to hide, it is trying to be inconspicuous, it is trying to not be in my focus - anyway, all of those things went into my choice, but the even more honest answer is that I *like* it in the center.

The competition went fine, even though I didn't win, but I'll tell you my biggest beef that made me want to leave: as they were showing all of the pictures under the section of "Altered", out of 10 pictures entered, less than half were actually altered. When I saw that, I thought mine was a shoo-in! I thought that the lowest place I'd rank is Honorable Mention. Imagine my surprise (and terror!!) when a totally unaltered picture placed!

I hold in high esteem the virtue of Fairness - I felt like the entering of an unaltered pic was in poor choice (perhaps the entrant was new and didn't know better), but I felt that the point that it wasn't disqualified was unfair. I want those pictures to be disqualified unless the photographer can defend them being in the altered category. If all of the pics that were altered had won, and mine had not, I would feel disappointed, true, but this goes beyond disappointment to injustice.

Ah well, yes, I am not always a good sport, though I clapped for all of the winning pictures - they were good!

When I got home last night, I posted to facebook, "So I'm tired and grouchy. I just got home from my photography competition. Let's just say that I do better at sports competitions when I can yell, "The Ref is blind!!" You just can't do that at photography competitions. Go figure. ;) "

That about summed it up :)

♥ Melody

P.S. I went and cropped the bird pic like the 2nd judge had suggested - I'm surprised that I like it even better than the original! :) What do you think of it?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Labor Day Weekend::Monday

Okay, so better late than never, right :)

Still talking about Labor Day Weekend here:

So, on Monday Steve, Matt, Michael, Emily and I hopped into our van and met up with Amber, Karen, Grover (Karen's boyfriend), Ben and Aiden. I was after a book by Lao Tzu, and I found another that I instantly fell in love with and had to have: _Buddhism Plain and Simple_. I am LOVING it!! It is understandable and written very well. I highly recommend it.

While at Barnes and Noble, we saw my Aunt Gertie, my cousin Sherry, and her daughter, Shaurelle. We stopped and visited with them for a while: Gertie had cataract surgery a little while ago. It was one of the few time I've seen her w/o her glasses on. Cataract surgery is such a miracle surgery! Shaurelle had just started college - way to go Shaurelle! And it was great to see Sherry, though I didn't find out anything new about her life. She is one of my cousins that I grew up with, spending every summer in Utah and playing with her a lot. I love those ladies!

From there we went to McDonald's because everyone was starving.

And then it was on to the Bean Museum:

Karen carrying Matt - I think Karen might weigh 95 lbs soaking wet; she is a strong lifter for sure!

I think Matt was needing to feel like a kid again or something lol This is Amber carrying him. :) (It looks a lot different than it did 10 years ago & Amber has had to build her muscles a lot to still be carrying him! He is 5'10 1/2" and 140 lbs. He's just not a little guy anymore! lol :) )

This is Shasta the Liger. There aren't many ligers in the world because continents separate lions and tigers, so Shasta is a rare breed. She used to live at Hogle Zoo, and when she died they had her taxidermied (stuffed). They kept her at Hogle Zoo for many, many years, and just on this past visit I saw that she had been moved to the Bean Museum. It was good to see her again! What a beauty she is!

This was the whole group, minus Matt and Aiden - I love the look on Karen's face lol :)

My beautiful daughter, Amber. LOL She is a goofball :)

Steve and 2 Pumbaa's :) (You can be a big pig too, Oi!)

Amber and Bentley chasing Aiden :)

And, if anyone asks me what I did on my summer vacation, I can tell them that I was shooting wolverines - same as Napoleon Dynamite :)

After the museum we went back to McDonald's and had an ice cream cone. Aiden played and the rest of us ate and visited. It was a great day! I love these people!!

Friday, September 5, 2014

6 Minute Caramels recipe::Sept 5

I just saw this recipe on facebook. It looks delish! If you try it before I do, be sure and tell me what you think! ♥ ~ Melody

6 minute caramels

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup light Karo syrup
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

*Combine all ingredients.
*Cook 6 minutes, stirring every two minutes.
* Stir and pour into lightly greased dish. (8x8 for thick caramels, 2 batches fit
* Let cool.
* Cut ( I cut into strips with knife then used a scissors to cut into pieces),
wrap in wax paper & store in an air tight container.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Labor Day Weekend::Saturday

Many, many moons ago, I decided that we should dedicate Labor Day as our family's time to get together. In past years that has meant getting together and going camping; this year, rather than just going camping, we also visited museums.

On Friday evening, Josh, Hayley, & the kids (except Miah, who stayed home with Nana KC. she was involved in a foot race that went wrong, and she had lots and lots of scrapes. :( ), Michael, Steve, and I went up into the mountains for hot dogs and marshmallows. The plan was for Josh, Hayley and the kids to sleep up there, but Jared and Ruth brought news of a bear cub sighting not too far away, so everyone came home and slept at the house.

The next day, I offered up the suggestion of going to USU Eastern's Dinosaur Museum in Price. Everyone liked the idea, so we hit the road.

Ruth, Josh, Hayley and the kids down below looking at the dinosaurs

Jared and Matt

I don't remember if it was Aiden or Teryn who really wanted to touch this skeleton - it was a representation of early man hunting a wooley mammoth (Steve is in the background)

Everyone gathered in the kids' area when they were done looking around - it was also a nice place to take the kids when they needed a break from just looking

Michael loved this dinosaur head on the wall :)

Ben really enjoyed the sand pit filled with dinosaur bones - he also loved flinging the sand and smelling the paint brush (or was he tickling his nose with it? I don't know :)

Ben and Aiden

Aiden liked playing in the sand

Teryn took uncovering the dinosaur bones very seriously and played in the sand pit for a long time. Maybe I'll get my archaeologist yet!

Josh, Hayley, Matt and Mercedes working a puzzle (and scooting on the table :) )

Teryn and Ben - Ben kept bugging Teryn when he'd want to cover the bones back up or flip sand at Teryn. Poor Teryn just wanted to dig! And Ben just wanted to have fun!

Ruth and Jared - they helped out a lot with the little ones but would occasionally go off alone to look at stuff and talk

Steve and Mike taking a rest and waiting for everyone else to be done too

Good-bye, dinosaurs! Hope to see you again soon!

Years ago, Steve & I took a drive and wound up in Price. It was then that we discovered a cute little floral shop and this cool, dinosaur museum. I've been wanting to take the kids down for a long, long while, and I'm glad that it finally worked out where we could go!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

35/52::September 2

On Saturday we went to a dinosaur museum with the whole fam damily. Josh & Hayley +4 (Miah had gotten all scraped up when running a race, so she stayed home with Nana KC), Jared & Ruth, Matt, Michael, Steve & I all went - it was our Annual Labor Day Family Weekend :) (LOTS more pictures to come!)

This dinosaur is in the kids' room with an archeological dig already in process (dinosaur bones covered w/ sand, paintbrushes for removing sand are provided - there is also a slide going into the sandbox/dinosaur excavation area), a table for doing puzzles and coloring (and for crawling/scooting, of course :) ). Matt put his hand in the dinosaur's mouth, and Michael thought it looked like a cool idea and did it too - I think that this dinosaur was his favorite part of the museum! :)

"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2014."