You can capture winter with your mobile device.

We all know from the previous blogs that living in the Southern Pacific Northwest requires seasons.  Something we really didn’t have much of in Southern California.

Some also might remember, I am not a fan of the fluffy white stuff called snow.  Well, driving in it.  I think it’s beautiful.  And it is a much needed evil for everyone!  It allows our rivers, lakes, streams, refuges, and ground water to replenish.  As of today we are above our 100%  snow pack.   For this, I give thanks!

The pictures I will post were all taken with my smart phone. To show that you can have awesome winter photographs with your phone!

Honestly it seems that winter has been 7 months long, when in reality, it only started the end of November. The first blast of winter arrived over night on November 30. Just in time for the December 1st (and the first) craft fair of the season! 12 1 01

It wasn’t really as bad as it could have been, it snowed Friday night, and the roads to work were clear on Monday morning. Just the way I prefer.

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The day after the snow storm is one of my favorites, if the sun comes out! 12 02 01

Off and on the month of December it wasn’t as bad as previous years.  And then someone decided to start dreaming of a White Christmas and that seems to be the beginning of the long winter! We all know that January will be colder, and then February will bring much hope for spring. Maybe an early spring if the little groundhog is correct.

01 18 01                                                                January 18, 2019

Well, the rodent lied.  Making February the snowiest on record for most of the United States.  Breaking records over and over again.

02 04 01                                                          My drive on February 4, 2019

Winter at work can be challenging, meaning the drive can just really get you down. But there is an understanding to just go slow and make it to work safely.  Thanks Boss!

The cool thing about being one of the first ones at work, is you get to hear and see pretty cool things.  Many of which won’t be found in the hustle and bustle of a city.  I for one choose nature over the city.

I was walking up the sidewalk and noticed deer tracks and…. Cat Tracks.  These cat tracks were not from your house cat!  I got into work showed the boss after she got there, and she suggested I follow them to see where they came from. So I reversed the way the cat walked across the sidewalk and found that it had come from across the street. Sat down, so it could jump a 3 foot retaining wall, and most likely headed to a den to nap the chilly snowy day away, and avoid us humans.

Snow Tracks

The other nifty thing February brought us was cold.  It was freezing fog cold, which gave us some hoar frost.  So beautiful. Even if it was cold!

The day before Valentines day however was an adventure.  It was indeed a “snow day” a good day to stay at home from work.

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02 13 02                      2/13/2019, the hubby and his pile of plowed snow. It’s  still growing.

Dearest February just did not want to let go.   On the 26th it was an adventure driving to work.  We did not have near the snow at home as we did at work.

When snow falls _signed

Yet, two days later we had a totally different view.

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We are now into March and yes, it still keeps snowing off and on.  I prefer the days when there are just a few random snow flakes fluttering around and accumulating into nothing.  March brings hope of spring and warmer days!  This past week it warmed up enough to rain, a lot.

When I look out the window, all I still see is white and mud.  But spring is going to be here soon, I can just feel it. Or is this wishful thinking?

At time of writing this, I have layers of clothes, socks and slippers and a blanket on me, because of the cooties the hubby brought home from where ever he was.  Do I really need to get sick on my three day weekend?  I will lay low for a couple days and hope Sunday is the better day.

I have many family and friends in the other cold tundra of America.  I wish them warmth and sunshine and blooming flowers soon.

So, March, do us a favor and LET GO…  We all know, In Like a Lion  Out Like A Lamb… Please.

Stay warm and healthy!

Blessings to you all.

Tracy Lynn

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Black and White

“The world is black, the world is white, it turns the day and then by night” sung by Three Dog Night.

Black and White photography has been around forever! It’s dramatic, it’s hypnotic, it’s amazing.  It’s what you need to do to get out of your automatic colored box!

Many of your DSLR’s and Point and Shoot cameras have a “creative zone” that allows you to change your settings to capture monochrome or black and white.  What is monochrome?

1. a photography or picture developed or executed in black and white or in varying tones of only one color. 2. (of a photograph or picture or a television screen) consisting of or displaying images in black and white or varying tones of only one color.

Thank you Mr. Webster.

Do you “shoot” in black and white? Or do you change your photographs on the computer?  I am guilty of the second.  I have a plug in program called Black and White Effects that I use in Photoshop, or I just take away my color saturation and create the black and white.  I also use Sepia.  Some pictures just need to be in black and white.

Old buildings seem to be a must for sepia or black and white. Landscapes with clouds, deserve to be in black and white. Channel your inner Ansel Adams! Multnomah b w signed

My inner Ansel Adams, loves Multnomah Falls in Black and White!

One thing I missed out on for sure was learning how to develop film in the high school dark room.  Something I always wanted to learn. I was very active in taking the pictures for the high school year book, but I wasn’t the privileged that got to “develop” them.  Either way, photoshop and other applications for your computers or smart phones make it way easy to change your pictures!

A Road Not Taken

Sometimes the results are amazing. I for one, wouldn’t want to walk this dark dreary forest alone.

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When I see an old barn, building, or shack, I think of the simpler times when there was only black and white pictures.  The tin pictures were awesome!  Could you just imagine? I mean how did they develop them on tin?  Now you can upload a picture to your favorite picture ordering site and you can get it on tin. Even on glass. Hmmmm.  The choices you have!

I still love the “olden” days of black and white.  There are even programs for yours smart phone or computer that add scratches, and textures to make your pictures look even older.

Mels Drive In Sherman Oaks CA copy copy

If it weren’t for the fact that the cars are modern and the description on the side of the wall has espresso and cappuccino, how would you know that Mel’s Drive In on Ventura Blvd in Sherman Oaks, wasn’t around along time ago?

As I have stated in the past, I do not change all my pictures, and I only convert the ones I think need to have an added something.  Manipulated photos are not for everyone, and I hear this time and time again from many people.  Yes you can go overboard!  I get that, but I seriously try not to go overboard and over process when I do.  Sometimes, I will totally change the look of a photograph, and those are the times the hubby kind of gives the picture and me a “look” and I know he hates it!  But that just brings about my point of, its not for everyone!

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And it isn’t for everything or type 0f picture either.  I added the vignette and black and white to this eagle, because the sky was just very blue and no clouds in sight.  I could have added the clouds, but no, I wanted the majestic one to be different.

Smokey Trees

These trees with the smoke, ended up being one of my most surprised best sellers  to people I knew!  One of my friends sent me a picture of her baby girl, staring at the trees in the frame. She said she always likes to stare at it!  I felt and still feel very honored! This picture resides on the East Coast in Virginia now!  It’s also in southern California as well.
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This picture to me, represents a very cold windy nasty winters day!  And it was in October, but yes, it was cold and nasty.  Could you capture the same feeling in color?
To be honest, there wasn’t much color in this one to begin with, so that is why I chose it to become more dreary than it was.
Experiment with your photos! Don’t be afraid to change the “looks” of a picture. Take a step back in time.  Most of all have fun with it!
Remember to always work (adjust) on a “copy” of your photo!  You don’t want to change something that you can’t get back!  I know the iPhone has a way you can duplicate the original picture, which is what I do, and then I play around with the copy!
Don’t be afraid to try something new!
Have a Blessed day!

Tracy Lynn

What Does Music Look Like

Classical, New Age, Country, Classic Rock, Rock N Roll,  Gospel, Acoustic etc…  We all know what music sounds like, but what does it look like?

One of my favorite music movies to watch is August Rush.  August talks about the music “being all around us.”  This young little musical genius (my words) creates an amazing symphony all based on what you see and hear around you.  The trees blowing in the wind, the grasses moving in the wind, the water, the sky, the sounds of a city, everything.  It is a very heartfelt movie.  

So that brings me to, what does music look like?  If you know it’s all around you.  What does that awesome blue sky with the puffy white clouds sound like?  Can you imagine it?  

I love music, I have always been around it.  I can read it, play it, and sometimes sing it. (depends on who you ask) Some of my best memories are of listening to my brothers play the guitar.  I love a good old fashioned acoustic guitar.  One of my brothers could totally rock The Ventures Pipeline, while one would nail country, and my youngest older brother would make up songs, or sing The Troggs, or Bob Dylan.  I was introduced to music at a young age.  

I would sneak into my youngest older brothers room, and grab the electric guitar and strum until I had a blister on my thumb.  (insert Beatles “I Have Blisters on my Fingers” In that wonderful english accent) I still have that guitar. It belonged to two of my brothers.  Something I will always cherish! 

My sister and I would hold concerts in our bedrooms and sing to the #1 Hits of the 60’s.  I still love to listen to her sing.  

What type of symphony would you create if you could with your pictures?  Would you choose the rush of living in the city? Or would you scale it down and choose the country?  Would you create your life as living and working on a farm? We all know what that would look like!  Putting them all together, you can see what it should sound like!  At least that’s what I think.  I could write a song about Montana with my pictures, as well as Oregon, or any other place I have visited or lived.  Where would you choose to write your song with pictures?  The beach?  The mountains? Or just spending time with family?  All of them could make a wonderful song.  Try it!  

My symphony would be titled My Montana. 

I grew up on both sides of the state. The far east side in the Badlands of Montana, then in the beautiful Bitterroot Valley of Western Montana.  The best of both worlds in my opinion.

As a child I really didn’t appreciate it like I do now as an adult.  There were chores to do growing up, and now that we only plan “vacations” to go “home” it’s a lot different.  As an adult I haven’t been able to see as much of Montana as I would like.  I would love for hubby and I to go back and explore Western Montana.  There is so much to see, and so much I would love to share with him.

So to sum it up. Create your symphony. 

To you, I give “My Montana”

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Glndive 02 copyGlendive 01 copyBNSF copyBlack bridge copyGlendive 03 copyKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAGusthauf copy copyMontana sky copyKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAIntake copyPleasant view copyRosebud copyYellowstone 01 copyKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERARiver in Missoula copyFLorence 01 copyCarolne lane copyBitterroot valley 01 copyBitterroot River copyBitterroot Valley 03 copy

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As you can see, My Montana is a symphony of beauty.  One of memories of growing up in the best of both sides of the state.  I relate Montana to always being home.  No matter where I live, it always calls to me.

Find your symphony.  Perhaps you may find it in your children, your animals, your place of worship.  It’s out there.  Its up to you to create it.

Don’t be afraid to embrace the music.  It really is “all around us”

Blessings to you all.

Tracy Lynn

 

Flag in Glendive copy

Birds Of A Feather…

You know the rest of the saying!

I never ever in my life imagined I would be so “into” photographing birds.

I am NOT a “birder“.

Not all birders are bad.

Definition of birder

1: a catcher or hunter of birds especially for market
2: a person who birds

 

I have met birders.

And I do not fit into the category of a birder.   For one I am considerate of others when driving (well, hubby is).  He goes slow, as not to raise dust, he pulls over to the shoulder as far as he can without freaking me out by thinking we’re headed into the marsh,  and we will close the dang truck door if we get out so if someone does drive by, they can get past.

Okay,  now that I have gotten that out of my system, shall we continue?

I have learned things this year while roaming the Refuge.  #1, you are never ever to old to learn! It keeps the mind growing!  I had absolutely no idea that Egrets and Herons nested in trees. Why did I think they were ground nesters? Because you always see them next to the bank of water right?  Ya, not so much!  The only thing I knew was Herons are bluish-gray and Egrets are white.  I know that both are skittish as all get out, when you try to photograph them on the bank, poof, they’re in the air.  Did you know that their wingspan can be up to 5.6 feet?  Pretty cool.  Egrets also fly at 25mph.

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Egrets nest in colonies.  The male is the nest builder, he tries to attract the female, so he builds her a nest for their young. (Pretty presumptuous I think)  Hey, wanna come to my nest?  Thats an opening line if I’ve ever heard one!  Mr. Egret likes to get to the colony first so he can get the best spot.  However, they also nest with other birds. Herons and Cormorants and more.  At this location Mr. Heron was at the top of the tree, so I think Mr. Egret wasn’t the first this year.

The colony

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Egrets are monogamous during the season.  It is not known if they are for life or not.

So, here is the reason of why I know these things.  Google haha…  well, hubby and I were out taking pictures, (okay I was) and we saw a Heron in the top of the tree.  So I had to partake in the moment!  When I got home I noticed a little tiny Heron head peeking out of the nest.  I was hooked.  So, that said, it became our weekend ritual!  Since we head that way every Saturday anyway, we made it a point to go through the Refuge and see what we could find to shoot.

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Yep, I was totally hooked.

Back to more fun facts.  During breeding season, long feathery plumes grow from it’s back.  They are called aigrettes, which they hold up during courtship displays.  The sad thing is, they were almost pushed to extinction because people in the “olden” days, wanted the plumes.  Boo Hiss for those people. Now I know where those feathers came from on those silly looking hats!

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Both parents feed their young.  The babies climb out of the nest around 3 weeks old and begin to fly at 6-7 weeks. And when this happens, I will become sad, because shortly there after I will have an empty nest until next year.  I am already sad thinking about it.

Egret baby 01

My advice for you all is this; find a road along a marsh or a wetland.  Something with some tall trees perhaps.  And visit it often.  You never know what might show up.  I really enjoyed learning about these beauties this year!  And I totally loved capturing them in their natural state!

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Enjoy the rest of your summer!  It’s gotten to the hot part of the year on our mountain in the Southern Pacific Northwest, and I am not a fan.  However, I have many fans going in my house!

Empty Nest

 

 

 

Be Nice Humans!!

Happy Shooting

Tracy Lynn

 

 

The Ones That Got Away

When we moved to the southern pacific northwest, never did I imagine I would start photographing birds.  Then, someone gave me a bird book, and I have been learning how to identify them.  How did this happen? This just wasn’t me.  Where we lived in the high desert of Southern California, there would be ravens, pigeons, sparrows, finches, and an occasional hawk.  It was cool when the hawk would land on the tree.  But it wasn’t often.  Nothing super exciting to take pictures of.  I did the hummingbirds and the house birds, but that was simply because there wasn’t anything else to shoot at. (with the camera)

Fast forward, moving where the Pacific Flyway is.  I remember researching what it was.  I didn’t know there was such a thing. I knew birds migrated.  I remember as a kid in Montana, being outside and hearing the Canada Geese before you could see them high in the sky heading for the warmer climate!

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Such great memories!

Now here we are,  we love to do our Saturday drives on the Refuge and Sunday drives on the side roads.  You never know what you will see.

Last week we were driving the side roads and there were hundreds of White Fronted Geese in the fields and canals.  This week, no more geese.  It’s interesting how one species leaves and another comes in.

White Fronted 02

      White Fronted Geese

The last couple weeks the White Face Ibis started coming in, and this week  by the hundreds.  A very unique bird.  They are colorful in the sunshine and have a crooked beak.   They are pretty good formation flyers too!

Ibis 01

  White Faced Ibis

As you all know, I have a great love for the eagles and hawks.  I think it’s just that they are so majestic.  We are noticing less eagles and hawks this time of year.  They are hopefully sitting on their nests!  Every now and then they can be seen sitting on the power poles, or in the fields.  Hubby will stop the truck if they are on the poles, and I will sneak out (like you can sneak up on an eagle) and then I will start photographing them, inching closer and closer.  I can shoot the same bird 20-30 times, with the chance of getting close enough to get the  detail on the beaks, talons, or feathers.  And eventually they will take flight because of the annoying red-headed lady holding up something and pointing it at them.  So I smile, thank the bird (honestly I do) and happily walk back to the truck.

But not every photo turns out.  That’s just a part of learning.  Yep, I have tried flight pictures and they aren’t pretty.  I get half of something, or the whole thing is blurry.  I am still trying to be more patient with the in flight birds.

All that said,I wanted to share with you, the get aways….  Yes they are blurry and I am not ashamed to share that with you!  It happens to all of us!  Some more than others I am sure.  Ducks 01

Ducks 02

Ducks are one of the flightiest birds I have seen.  They must still be shell shocked from hunting season.

Egret 01

Heron 01

Blue Herons and White Egrets aren’t easy either.  They can be so still, and as soon as you get up on them whoosh….  they’re gone!

Hawk 02

     Hawks are fun.  They keep me on my toes.

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   At least the feet are in focus!

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   Hello Majestic Eagle

Eagle 01

    Good bye Majestic Eagle

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Not quite sure what this was. I think it was an eagle. but its a nice foot and wing!

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This is by far, the stuff that bad dreams are made of!  Kind of eerie if you ask me!!!

While you are viewing these photos, you are wondering… WHY do I keep these blurry photos?  Well, of course to share with all of you!  I guess maybe someday I will go through the files and delete them.  Or Not.  What if I need that perfect get away blurry shot?  Well, it could happen!

Enjoy your day!  Go outside and enjoy spring!  Shoot some pictures, try new things and don’t be afraid of the blurry ones!  I’m not!

Happy Shooting

T Lynn

The Ends

High Dynamic Range – HDR

According to Wikipedia, “HDR is a technique used in imaging and photography to reproduce a greater dynamic range of luminosity than is possible with standard digital imaging or photographic techniques.  The aim is to present a similar range of luminance to be experienced through the human visual system.  

HDR images can represent a greater range of luminance levels that can be achieved using more traditional methods such as real-world scenes containing very bright, direct sunlight to extreme shade.  This is often achieved by capturing and combining several different exposures of the same subject matter.”  

In my lesser technical world,  HDR can be shot using 3 pictures on up to however many you decide.  My cameras will allow me to shoot 3 shot HDR photos.

The series is this; one at normal settings, one at a step up to capture the highlights, and one a step down to capture the shadows.  You are shooting the same photo composition 3 times.  It may sound silly, but sometimes you can get more depth, or feeling in a photo that has more shadows or detail.  IMG_5813

Normal Photo

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1 Stop down to capture the shadows

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1 Stop up to capture the light

 

Photomatix

Three shot HDR, processed using Photomatix

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Three shot HDR, processed using Aurora HDR

Yes, you need specific software to “merge” or “layer” your images.  I use mostly a software called Photomatix.  When I first discovered it, I had a fun time learning.  Yes some of the photos were a bit over processed, but it was still fun. You can indeed take one photo (instead of 3) and run it thought the gauntlet so to speak, and make it a new image to you.  This is a photo you may have taken 10 years ago!  It’s all about learning and trying new things for your old photos, and of course your current photos.

I use two programs.  Photomatix, as stated above and Aurora HDR.  I am still learning the Aurora HDR, and I find it a bit qwerky, but I guess it’s all in the learning process.  Photomatix was my first, and I do believe it was one of the first HDR programs.  Used by many photographers,  the Aurora HDR was created by an amazing photographer Trey Ratcliff, who I learned alot from watching his Photomatix video tutorials.  I think (but don’t quote me)  Aurora HDR was first created strictly for Mac computers.

How did I get into the world of HDR?  I used to be big into digital scrapbooking, and one of the guru’s that made all kinds of neat things for that hobby, was also a photographer.  He did some awesome amazing HDR of Montana, close to where I lived in Western Montana.  I followed his processes, and bought a few books.  Then I discovered Trey and took a course of his and thats how I got hooked.

There is something in HDR that is called “Ghosting” and sometimes this gets the best of me.  If you are like me and take mostly hand held photos, there is going to be some movement.

When you take the three picture HDR, there are great chances if you are not using a tripod, you will have movement.  So when your pictures are merging they also need to line up.  So if they don’t line up properly, you get “ghost” effects on your photos, it can be pretty ugly, and no amount of adjustments, will take away the failed photo merge. I know this because I have given up on trying to merge the three photo set numerous times.

I do not claim, nor will I ever claim to be an expert on HDR photography and processing. Because once you claim you are an expert, you quit learning.  I learn something new every time I process photos.  Once I really like the outcome of the HDR process, its time to step into the studio so to speak, I will remove any unsightly power lines, or spots that are on my sensor that come through. I will also remove signs, if I find them annoying.  The bottom line digital footprint is still there, but I am merely enhancing my photo.  It’s not for everyone!  And I don’t do it to all my photos.  Most of what I post online are “SOOC”  Straight Out of the Camera.

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Normal Photo

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1 Stop Down

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1 Stop Up

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3 Photo HDR

In this final photograph, I removed most of the power lines, removed buckets and trash, and cleaned up any other distracting objects that I felt were not beneficial to the photo. As a side note, this particular photo I entered into the local county fair in the Digital Manipulation category, and I am happy and proud to say, that it took Best of Show!  I was/am a very happy girl!

You can indeed as stated above, turn a one photo shot, into an HDR, similar photo.  I have done it many times just to give it a “pop”.

I have friends and family that don’t like the “digital manipulation” and that’s OK!  They’re entitled to like what they like.  They like the real stuff.  So do I, but sometimes a photo straight out of the camera just needs a punch of something.

School

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The world of HDR isn’t just for color photos either!!!!  While you process them the same, they can really make a Black and White Photo really pop as well.

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3 Photo  HDR Black and White

If you notice the signature in the above black and white, it is my husbands signature, with my camera of course.  He loves to shoot in HDR but refuses to learn the processing part.  That’s okay.  I give him credit, but the photo belongs to Tracy Lynn Hart Photography.  In case you are wondering why he was taking these,  I have a fear of all things ticks.  AND…  this was a field, in eastern Montana, with tall weeds, so I refused to go beyond the gravel road.  He was the one that took the shots for me!  Good job honey! You had a great teacher!!!

While HDR seems to be used in mostly landscape photography, I sometimes play around and use it for flowers, still life, and whatever else I think might work. If it works great, if not, there is that lovely delete key that will move the stuff to my trash can!

My advice to anyone wanting to try HDR. DO IT! You can download free trials of the programs, that is what I did in the beginning. You will need to learn your camera settings. Most DSLR’s have a custom setting where you can program it to take the 3 shots. Or however many your camera will take.  Read your manual, google it, find out how to make it work for you.

Experiment! It’s all about finding what you as a photographer like!

Alot of your cell phones now have an HDR feature, I know mine does, and I think it works okay, but it’s not what I am used to.

I spend hours in the studio, mostly when the weather is bad or early in the morning.  I would rather be outside taking photos or just being outside, instead of being cooped up inside.
It’s all a learning process and curve. I feel fortunate to have done as well as I have with my HDR processes.  I have done alot of research, watched videos, and took a course online.  I refuse to put alot of money into something that I don’t know if I will like. That is why the trial versions of the programs are a huge help!

Try something different! Be brave! Step out of that box!!!

Most of all, Enjoy!

Be Happy!

 

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Abandoned Homestead in Eastern Montana along Highway 200

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Abandoned Homestead in Eastern Montana along Highway 200

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Historic Hotel Meade, Bannack Montana

 

Happy Shooting!

Tracy Lynn

 

12 Months 12 Photos

Season’s Greetings to you all!  I hope you all had an amazing Christmas and I wish the best for you in the coming year!

The 12th month of 2017 is nearing its end.  So hard to believe another year has gone.

What were your favorite parts of 2017?  Did you accomplish all that you set out to?  As for me, I don’t make resolutions.  Mainly because I don’t want to set myself up for failure, so to speak.  I don’t want to tell everyone my resolutions and then come February 1st I get asked about my resolutions.  I don’t need that stress! (ha) So I merely make a mental list of things I would like to accomplish in the new year.  Some I do, some I don’t.

One thing I do though, is take more pictures than the previous year.  Not sure my computer is happy with that.  Guess that is why there are two external hard drives attached plus a reliable back up system.  I am trying to teach myself that it’s okay to delete a photo that didn’t work!  It’s not an easy task!  Baby steps I guess!

I decided this month to share with you 12 months of  iPhone pictures.  I almost always have my phone with me, because you just never know when you might need it.  Besides, what if I saw someone famous and no one would believe me if I wasn’t able to get a picture right?   Doubtful there would be anyone famous where I live, but hey, one can dream!

01 Jan                                             This is January.  January wasn’t very nice.

January brought about one heck of a snow storm. I think we had more than one good storm, but this one was volumes.  We even got a snow day from work.  For which I was thankful.  I don’t remember when I last experienced the joy of a heavy snow fall like this. I am thinking 1982 or 83 in Eastern Montana.  Either way, once the skies cleared, and we were able to make paths outside, it was beautiful to photograph!  May as well turn it into a photographic event!

02 Feb                                            Something new for me to learn in February

With the first experience of seeing the bald eagles up close this year, hubby and I decided it was time for that new lens.  I was ecstatic!  I still am!  But it’s been a learning curve.  It is an amazing lens.  One that only lets you shoot manual focus if you put the doubler on it.  I learned two important things.  I need to practice patience, and I needed an eye exam.  I am still working on the patience! There are still things to learn and I need to sit down and read about the lens and let it teach me.  I’ll get back to you on that!  I am learning little things.  I know that between my lens and my camera it weighs over 10 pounds and walking over a mile hurts my arms!  And I am learning the tripod is my new best friend.

03 Mar copy                                                       A hope for spring in March!

I did’t know there was such a thing as miniature daffodils, but there is. Either that, or my soil is bad enough that they decide to stay small.  March brought about hopes of spring and warmer days.  The new beginnings after a long cold winter.  Flowers, birds, deer, bugs, all those things you love about spring.  Searching for warmer days and nights!

 

04 Apr copy

April kind of reminded us that March was only kidding.  We had various snow storms through out April.  Winter just did not want to go away.  It actually started to get a little old.  However on the plus side, some of the spring flowers looked quite nice with snow capped buds.  But by the end of April, we were out of the snow zone.

 

05-May-copy

May brought about new hopes of a nice calm spring, green grass and new planters. One thing I love to do is get my hands dirty with flowers and plants.  I have learned that things don’t bloom as early on the mountain as they do on the lower lands.  The first year we moved up here, I was reminded that it still freezes at the end of April and those pretty geraniums you bought for the back deck? Ya, they would die… I should have really remembered that from growing up in Western Montana. But I didn’t.  And now I think it’s more fun to plant the seeds than it is to buy the flowers. Unless of course, it’s a basket full of petunias!  Our spring lasted maybe 3 weeks before the heat of summer began to creep in and steal the season!

06 Jun copy

Hello June, hello summer.  Hello summer skies.  June was beautiful.  The thunderstorms, the rainbows, the beautiful clouds.  Time to plan the rest of the summer.  Plan a vacation, go fishing, take a road trip.  Of which we did one of those.  We planned our vacation.  Most of my cloud scenes were again, taken while driving to and from work.  I really need to take the good camera with me more often.  Guess I would also need to leave for work earlier and plan to get home later!  There are just so many cool things to shoot most days. From calves to birds to clouds!  The sky is literally the limit!

07 Jul copy                                                               My Montana Sky!

July brought us home.  Vacation from here to South Dakota and back.  Time to see family and friends.  Hubby and I hadn’t been on a vacation since 2013.  It was time.  We did a lot of miles in a short time and realized we didn’t give ourselves enough time to decompress after each travel day.  We were going all the time.  We were able to see a few things we wanted, but mostly we were just on the go to our next destination.  There were still many pictures taken.  Not all were out of the front windshield like the above one was!

 

08 Aug copy

August brought about the hint that fall wasn’t  far behind.  I had some amazing sunrises on the way to work.  I wasn’t even late!  We enjoyed what summer has to bring us on the mountain.  Long evenings on the deck, BBQ’s in the front yard,  watching the baby deer run around.  And enjoying those seeds I planted that bloomed into pretty summer flowers!

09 Sep copy

September was a busy Monarch Butterfly time at work.   We had a late start to our season this year, by about a full month. The weather wasn’t cooperating at all this spring.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a lot of butterfly pictures with the big camera.  Mainly because I was at work and we were moving caterpillars, and chrysalis, and observing our butterfly season.  I do love this majestic Monarch.  And we are doing our little part to help them along.  Incidentally this is a male Monarch.  And if I remember right, the day this was taken, was his birthday.

10 Oct copy

October brought us fall, the end of our butterfly season at work, and our first snow.  At work we were able to enjoy nice fall day walks.  The days were warm enough you didn’t need  a sweater.  The deer were abundant and the way they were always bunched up you would think they really did know something we didn’t.  Like snow was on the way.   Walking at work is always a plus anyway, and the phone is most always with me.  These deer were enjoying the shade of the warm day. They didn’t want to move along to fast either!  So we slowed down and enjoyed them.

11 Nov copy

November brought us more snow and cold weather, and awesome sunsets and sunrises.  I will admit, I was later than normal getting home a few days.  This stretch of road I travel is a straight 7 miles of agriculture fields.  Potatoes, alfalfa, wheat, and I don’t know what else they plant.  But after the harvest, the fields are flooded and the migrating water fowl start enjoying the seeds and water.  This was one of the last fields that hadn’t iced over yet.  Tundra Swan, Canada Geese and lots of ducks I couldn’t identify were taking in the last rays of Gods light!  The skies were changing so fast I couldn’t keep up.  I did safely pull over the truck to take the pictures.  If you call stopping in the middle of the road safe.  I made sure no one was around.  Remember I don’t live in a city!  Traffic is sparse on this road!

12 Dec copy

December is always a busy month for most.  The hustle and bustle of the holidays, getting together with family and friends, and a shopping day with a friend.

Last year I had done a few craft fairs and sold mostly ornaments, centerpieces and my photo coasters.  This year I focused on my photography.  I was pleased with the success.  I met many wonderful people and heard a lot of encouraging words about my work.  I was happy.  I am still happy.  I have a great cheering section. My husband and my co-worker, who did the craft fair as well.  Between the two of them I branched out.  The greeting cards were a good fit.  My coasters sold faster than I thought, and we’ve come up with some ideas for next year.  I can’t wait to get started.  But first I must clean up all my messes from the garage so the husband can have his work bench back.  I hear rumblings.

My thoughts about next year for you.  Take pictures.  And at the end of each month, pick your favorites.  Print them out or put them in a special folder on your computer or tablet.  At the end of the year you will have a wonderful re-cap of your year.  There are so many affordable sources for photo books and memory type books that you could print a nice book out for yourself!  Of all those favorite photos, pick 12 and make a calendar for the next year!!!

Enjoy every day.  Capture it on your camera.  Don’t be upset that every picture doesn’t turn out.  And delete the bad ones!  (A note to myself)

There is something to take a picture of every day.  I would love to do a photo challenge but I am not sure I would post every day. (Just being honest)  Step out of the box!  Learn something new!

Do what makes you Happy!!

Blessings to you all in the coming new year!

Happy Shooting

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