Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A little bit of this and a little bit of that

I'm taking even more photographs than ever. After two years with my new camera, I finally read the manual and I am finding that I can zoom in closer than I thought possible.That's particularly useful for shy subjects like the man in the moon and humming birds. However, there is definitely a learning curve. I can get better results if I set everything manually but it's been trial and error with plenty of missed shots.
I am thrilled that the dogwoods are beginning to change colors. They are one of the earliest trees which change where I live. Then the maple trees and lastly the oaks with lots of others in between. So far the dogwoods are the only ones that are showing very much fall color.I love this time of year, before the first hard frost, when the flowers are still abundant but changing leaves and cooler air give me a new lease on life. The birds are starting to change too. They puff out to that full look they get when the weather is cooling off. They also seem to be braver, taking longer to fly off when the sense my presence.
I used to write in a paper journal every morning but for some reason I stopped doing that. I almost never write in a journal anymore. When I've looked back on my journals the part I've found interesting were notes I made about the birds and garden. I would notice when the birds were getting up earlier and when they slept in. These patterns were apparent at different times of the year.
The emotional or personal issues of my life which I wrote in my journals didn't seem important if I glanced back on what I wrote. Those were the sections I wanted to discard, ripping them out of the journal and discarding as rubbish.
The old journal entries I was interested in years later were my notes on the birds behavior different times of year, what kept blooming past the first hard frost, what sprung up as a volunteer in a different part of my garden from where it was originally planted.
I think photography has replaced my journal in a way. I spend at least as much time taking pictures every day as I used to spend writing in spiral notebooks. If I want to look back on my life I can turn to my photo files.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Weekend Snapshot: Number 56

Whenever I go to my office in Durham (NC, USA), I pass Duke Memorial United Methodist Church. This week I was sitting at the stop light at the right spot to take a picture of this Gothic Revival style church which was started in 1907 and completed in 1912. When I was driving home a block over from the way I drive to the office, I spotted the steeple of the same church through the trees and snapped another picture.
Friday when I was getting gas on the street very near where I live in Raleigh (NC, US), I spotted the two starlings perched on the cross at Bethlehem Baptist Church.Saturday as I drove past the same church, I decided to pull in and take a full shot. I thought it was kind of interesting to contrast the different styles of churches. There isn't any information about this church online which is why I don't have any information to include about it.
Another church I photographed recently is Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church (also a school). This church and school is located at the end of the park in the neighborhood where I grew up and was founded in 1954 but was enlarged with a new church being dedicated in 1976, and a new parish office and chapel were dedicated in 1997. Part of the expansion also included a larger school.I like the way it's nestled in the woods so it's almost as if it's part of the park. It's a very contemporary design and offers yet another contrast in church design. Although it has been expanded, what I shot through the trees is much as I remember it as a child. The very fact that it was so contemporary struck me when I was growing up because it was very different than the church I attended. Below is the church I went to when I was growing up. I thought I'd throw it in although I've shown shots of it before. Christ Church (above) is located in downtown Raleigh and was established in 1821 as the first Episcopal Church in Raleigh, NC (although this church was built later). The church building was designed by Richard Upjohn (founder of the American Institute of Architects) and is the oldest example of the early Gothic Revival style in the south. The building was designed in 1848, the sanctuary was consecrated in 1854, and the tower was completed in 1861.I don't attend church anymore but I guess in a way this is still my church. I took my daughter there when she was growing up, and I think it's a very beautiful old church.

To find other weekend snapshots you can go to the home of WS where participants post on Monday or you can browse for early birds on technorati .

Friday, September 26, 2008

Photohunt: View

The photohunt theme this week is view. Since I am always showing the view from North Carolina, both the part where I live as well as the mountains to the west and the beaches to the east, I thought I'd show you a different view.For my fiftieth birthday last fall, my family gathered in New York City where one of my sisters lives. The shot above is the view from my bedroom at the Washington Square Hotel. When I'm in a city, I enjoy looking out over all the buildings, especially when there is a lot of variety as I got from this view.When we stepped out into the hall, I enjoyed viewing the elevator markers. I'm not used to elevator numbers that look like the one above.
The view across the street from the hotel includes Washington Park which is lovely. I always enjoy city parks. They are so important in the middle of the buildings and concrete. Garibaldi below has a good view of the park.
If you have time, please visit the views which SabineM and I are showing in parallel shots on Snap2Days.

To find other photohunters you can browse on technorati for early birds here and on Saturday at the home of the hunt here

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

American Tobacco Campus After Tobacco Left Town

Downtown Durham, NC used to be the home to big tobacco but that is now an historical fact, not a part of the contemporary city. It's interesting to me how, as part of revitalizing downtown Durham over the past few decades, they have preserved many of the tobacco factories and warehouses but use them in new ways.
The American Tobacco Campus has become an entertainment area as well as a place for businesses, restaurants, and the home of the new Durham Bulls athletic center. The part that I'm featuring here has water features running throughout it. I used another shot of the old train which sits in the middle of part of the water feature (below) for another post but never got around to posting other shots.
I live in Raleigh but the company I work for is in Durham and their offices are located in the historical warehouse district. As a matter of fact, part of their offices are in a restored tobacco warehouse.
I usually work from my home office but I was in Durham today. However, ironically I don't have any shots of the part of my employer's office that was a tobacco warehouse. All of these shots were taken when Bill and I went to Duke Gardens on labor day, and after that visited the American Tobacco Campus. My employer's offices are on the other part of the district 5 or 6 blocks away and we didn't go there. The lighting wasn't great for many of the water shots, but this gives an idea of the area.It really is pretty staggering the sheer amount of water. I'm not doing it justice here but I've included some representative shots. I am no lover of tobacco having fought an addiction to cigarettes a long time before I stopped smoking in 2001. However, there is no denying that historically tobacco was an important part of North Carolina.
I like to see cities use historical buildings, even if they were something as mundane as tobacco warehouses, in creative ways.
I don't like to see cities all start to look alike. There are certainly parts of the area where I live that I've seen that happen. When regional areas start to lose their individual character they lose their charm for me.I have to admit that I never in a million years would have thought of preserving tobacco warehouses and factories as something desirable. However, once they started moving along with the reuse of this part of Durham's past, I thought it was pretty inspired what they did.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mushrooms, birds and other delights

I am enjoying photographing and looking at the toadstools and mushrooms springing up throughout my garden and yard. Besides their beauty, they are also a symbol of how thoroughly we have pulled out of last year's drought.Last fall we had gone through a spring and summer with almost no rain as I frequently discussed on my blog. It wasn't until the spring of 2008 that significant rain turned the tide after close to 12 months of drought conditions.
Starting in March the tides turned and we've had regular rain since then. I'm glad that the city officials aren't forgetting how bad it got. There are still articles about how in spite of full reservoirs that it's too early to know if the ground water levels have recovered. I hope that water conservation will be a permanent part of my city's management and I think that's what has happened to an extent.I have barely scratched the surface of the multitude of mushrooms that have cropped up at my place, but I wanted to post a few other aspects of my outdoor life that delight me.The bird above (I think it's a brown thrasher) cracked me up. It kept getting deeper into the red bud tree but it was chirp chirp chirping so loudly, that is directed me towards where to photograph.I'm surprised I didn't catch it with its mouth open it was so noisy. I'm looking forward to winter when I can photograph more of the birds of bare limbs. I'm already getting the occasional shot from the tips of trees that dropped their leaves earlier than the rest. In contrast to the first signs of winter like scenes, the jungle in my back yard is another testament to drought's end.
I guess I'll end here. I am taking so many photographs lately it's really crazy.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Weekend Snapshot: Number 55

I am so excited that we are beginning to get some cooler weather where I live. There are even some early signs of fall color. The virginia creeper on the trees in the woods at Shelley Lake caught my eye this morning when I was walking.
It was an absolutely perfect morning for a walk and I'm so glad I got motivated to do it. I'm having some trouble with motivation in general.
I love this time of year with early signs of fall as well as wildflowers in abundance. I wish I had more confidence in myself. If I did I would say the shot below was a happy accident. I like the way it looks sort of like a painting, although it's a case of having the great blue heron take off right as I was trying to shoot it standing still. I can't decide if it looks like a messed up shot or a fortunate event.
Another blue heron posed for me for ages but it was in the wrong spot in terms of light. The quality isn't great but it sort of works as a black and white shot.
I think the mushroom below looks good enough to eat but I'm really not confident enough to pick wild mushrooms for food.
If I lived somewhere else, I think I would have worried that the log below was really an alligator.
The group of ducks below cracked me up. They looked like they were playing ring around the rosy with one in the middle.
Because it was such a beautiful day, there were a lot of people at the lake and I try to avoid taking photographs in the direction of people. I never know if they will be bothered by it. The boy on the bike below came speeding around the corner right when I took the picture. I think he adds to the scene although I didn't know he'd be in it. You probably can't even see him unless you click inside and enlarge the shot.
For my last shot in this rather long weekend snapshot post, I'll include a duck that was giving me the eye. I think the hope was that my camera was bread crumbs.
I hope everyone has a great week ahead. To find other participant, you can go to the home of Weekend Snapshot on Monday or browse on technorati here -