Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A Walk on a Michigan Beach in January

Sunday we went to Warren Dunes State Park again. Not to walk much, but more to see if we could get down on the beach. We went last week but it was too snowy and the wind was blowing. This week there were a few cars in the car park. Some were sledding down the large dune that's there close to the car park. Hubby decided to plunge right into the snow and walk down to the beach. I decided to check if there was a 'path'. He got snow up to his knees and in his boots. I got to walk on top of the snow. The ice is building. I took mostly black and white shots. Trying to get some moody ones.

If I were to name them both they would be Solitude. Hubby was staring out looking at the large ice piles forming on the edge of the lake. 

The snow barriers at work. One we came across at St Joseph beach was almost completely buried!

I think I'm done with black and white for a while. Everything around here is grey and it's taking a little toll on my mood. I'm going to look over some summer photos to cheer me up!

Monday, January 8, 2018


Made it to the lighthouse yesterday to give Black & White another go. I'm going to give it a rest for a while after this. I do like Black & White photography but I've decided I like colour better lol.

Here are a few of South Haven Lighthouse. Black & White.

I think I like them lol. Not a lot like the photographer I chose to study for A Year with my Camera, but my own style. I suppose in the end that's what we should be looking for - our own style.

Friday, January 5, 2018

New A Year With My Camera Challenge

After completing A Year with my Camera course I've 'joined' the grads group. I admit I'm feeling a little out of my depth. Most people there seem to know A LOT more about photography than I do. I wanted a bit of a challenge though - some more projects and a chance to get outside my comfort zone. I lack confidence in most things so putting myself out there at all is a big deal for me.

The new challenge over on the group is a Black & White challenge. Most of the people seem to shoot in colour and convert their photos over in editing software. I don't know a lot about editing. To be honest I don't really know a lot about it. I'm hoping maybe we'll learn some more. I've decided to just shoot in monochrome with my camera and go from there. I'm not that good at all lol. I think I would find it easier if there was a little more contrast around. Everything here seems to be grey. I did go out and give it a go.

I don't so much mind the foreground but I would like the sky to have a little more contrast. 

This is the second lot. The first photo is about what I shot it. The second I 'played' with a little. I'm not sure which one I like the most. 

I think I'll keep trying lol. 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Year in Review

I've learned a lot about photography over this last year. This time last year I was still on auto on my camera. Hubby had bought me another Nikon - this one a Nikon D5300 and I barely knew how to use it. The dials all seemed really complicated and I hadn't got a lot of clue about what any of them meant. I had purchased a couple of beginner books but they didn't seem to help much. Sometimes I think I have a little ADD. I would try to read them but my eyes would glaze over and I couldn't read anymore. It seemed like everything was written in a foreign language.

Soon I came across a free course. A Year with my Camera. I think I'd subscribed to emails before but hadn't really had the time (or didn't think I had) to deal with them. One of my 2017 goals was learning to use my camera so I decided to resign up for the emails, join the Facebook group and take a leap. What a leap it was!

I ended up purchasing both books - not necessary to complete the course but I love them! The lessons are all so clear and written in a language that even my brain could understand. The Facebook community and Instagram community of AYWMC participants are so encouraging. I still have lessons to learn - I'd like to learn more about light, night photography, master macro photography and learn how to edit. But the things I have learned! I rarely shoot on auto anymore. I have used it less than ten photos since about April. I love Aperture Priority mode and if I don't use that I'm on manual. I know what most of the dials mean on my camera and I know how to use them and (sort of) know how they will change my photos.

I'm so excited to continue on this journey in 2018 and hopefully share my photos.

Happy New Year to all!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

More Winter Weather

It snowed more overnight. I think that by the end of winter I'll be sick of snow photos.

I love this photo. It's a little dark but I like the contrast between the trees and the snow. It was snowing like crazy and there was what looked like fog in the background but was blowing snow. It really sums up how things looked this morning out on our walk in Kalamazoo. The snow was deep enough that it was difficult to walk so we didn't go as far as we usually would - just enough to give the husky some exercise.

Another of my favourites - the die-hard fishermen out on the lake ice fishing. The wind was howling and the snow blowing yet they were there trying to catch some fish.

Shasta, my daughter's dog really loved the cold and snow. She was more than willing to stay outside when we wanted to go right back to the car!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Winter Weather Photography

We're still experiencing lots of snow here in Michigan. I am trying to take photos where the snow looks crisp and bright but so do the things around. Not always easy. From what I have learned from A Year With My Camera I know that I'm supposed to overexpose the image a little as the camera tends to want to turn everything to mid-grey. It seems to work on dull days but on bright sunny days my camera seems to do a pretty good job just in Aperture Priority mode.

I'm not a big fan of winter, but I am enjoying getting out and about and taking lots of photos. There are so many beautiful places here in Michigan to take photos of.

These were all taken at Lilian Anderson Arboretum in Kalamazoo. It's a lovely place to walk. The trees are amazing. The top photo is one of my favourites. It is of the Not-So-Magnificent-Pines part of the trail. So funny as they look pretty darn amazing to me. The walk itself is rather easy, but very snowy. To park you have to drive up a rather steep small hill. It wasn't easy in the snow! The place was completely empty when we walked, but I imagine in the Spring and Summer it would be a lot busier.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Falling Behind

I've been having some computer problems so sadly haven't been updating this blog as much as I thought I would. I'm really going to try to do better!

I have been out and about taking lots of photos. It gets harder now that the days are shorter, the light isn't so good and it's colder than blazers outside. Hubby and I have been out and about in the snow. Last year I found shooting snow pictures rather challenging. This year I am experimenting with light and exposure and see where I'm going to come up So far this is the photo I'm most proud of.

We were lucky enough to get here when the snow was fairly fresh. It was wonderful to walk through the magnificent pines and see the path ahead. I'm not a great fan of winter or of snow, but I loved this walk. This was from The Lillian Anderson Arboretum in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I took several photos here. I'm going to sort through them and do a proper post on the walk. Please be a little patient with me!

Monday, December 4, 2017


Last night was supposed to be a Supermoon. Sounded like a good chance to give moon photography another try. Last time didn't work out too well. This time I actually managed to get the tripod to its full height so I wasn't bending down and craning my neck back to actually see the moon. Sounds bad. It was. It hasn't been long since I got a tripod and the only times I had used it hubby had put the darn thing together. He had tried to show me but I swear I have a touch of ADD as it went in one ear and straight out the other. I tried to pay attention but my mind was on the shot I was planning to take once he put the tripod together. Needless to say, last time, when I tried to put the thing together I didn't realise that the legs extended twice. Hence the big mess.

This time I was better at it. When I had first looked outside there was a lot of cloud and not a lot of moon, but when I went out later to say goodbye to son there it was - the moon - clear and bright in the sky. I quickly grabbed the tripod, put it together and got myself out there. From my back porch I don't have a clear sky view. There are some high trees and I had to wait a while for the moon to get high enough to get above them. Patience paid off.

This is it. This is one of the shots I  managed to get. I had to play around a little bit. Someone else had posted on A Year With my Camera Facebook group the settings they had used f/5.9 shutter speed 1/1200 and ISO 200. I started with that and changed things up from that. This shot was 1/250 f/9 ISO 100. I'm quite pleased with it!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Warren Dunes State Park

Instead of Black Friday - and because hubby had an extra day off work - we decided to take a walk. The weather here in Michigan wasn't too bad. It was a little chilly but the sun was shining. If you know anything about Michigan then you know how quickly things can change. We can be enjoying mild weather one day and be in the middle of a snow storm the next. You have to make the most of the weather while you can.

Warren Dunes State Park is a little over an hour away. We've walked there before. Last time we were there we had barely started out on the trail before it started raining. This time the weather was in our favour. There are some lovely trails and beautiful walks. The trail we took wound up through the sand dunes, down onto the beach, along the lake shore and back up through the woods. It's a little over a 5 mile walk. Some of it is quite steeply uphill, but it is worth the walk.

I would definitely recommend a walk here. There are areas open to hunting which was a little...unnerving, but we didn't see a hunter in sight and the areas were marked. I would rate it at a moderate hike - a little hard in some places. I usually take my hiking sticks with me to help as some of the hills are quite sandy - duh, dunes (the name alone should remind me!).

There is lots to take photos of. We saw one deer but she was a little way away. We watched her for a few moments before letting her resume her dinner while we continued on our walk. I love the views of Lake Michigan. It makes for lovely photos.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Asylum Lake, Kalamazoo, Michigan

This is my go-to place to walk. I walk there almost every weekday morning. Not sure it will be quite as much when the snow comes. It is a beautiful nature preserve in the middle of the city. There are a couple of really small car parks. It can get quite packed on warm days - usually later in the day. I'm there early in the morning (before 8am) so it's not too bad. There are a lot of people walking dogs. A lot of them aren't on leashes. They are supposed to be on a leash at all times but for some reason people don't seem to think that rule applies to them. It's quite sad really as there is a lot of wildlife around there. Also in the winter there tends to be a lot of dog poo at the beginning of the trail. I'm making it sound quite terrible but it really is lovely.

It's a good place to practise taking photos. Here are a few from yesterday.

Lots to see yesterday! I was lucky enough to see a couple of bucks/stags. Really magnificent creatures. I stood and watched the larger one for as long as I could before he went bounding off. He looks quite stately.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

I will do better!

I started this blog with the intention of writing posts about my photography and my learning how to (finally) use my camera. I haven't done a lot with the blog though I have taken lots of photos. I will do better. I was out and about today and here are a few. I still need to learn about shutter speed and practise more. I have to admit that I am not very good at it! Grrr.... One thing at a time I suppose.

These are from my walk today at Asylum Lake. Things are certainly starting to look a little bare. It's sad to see everything dying, but it is all a part of the circle of life. I'm not looking forward to the long, dark winter, but will be waiting with baited breath until Spring.

 I think I scared him. We just both sort of stopped and looked at one another before he bound off. I love watching them run, they just seem to bounce away! They are such graceful creatures.

A little bit of colour in the darkness of the dreary day. I had a high ISO on this one so not the best quality photo. I need to learn how to make adjustments so that I do not need such a high ISO. It was easier when there was more sun!

Bottoms up! Still a little life around. The little part of the lake wasn't frozen this morning so the birds were out and about and eating!

It was windy this morning but at least a little sunny! Not so much  now - rain has set in. I love taking photos of this view. It's so beautiful but in the city - not too far from a main road!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Bishop's Bog, Portage, Michigan

On Saturday mornings, as long as the weather cooperates, we always try to take a walk somewhere. Because of other Saturday plans we try not to go too far. We are always on the lookout for places nearby to walk. When we first started doing these walks I looked up different places on It's a wonderful resource to find trails and reviews. It was from there that we 'discovered' Bishop's Bog trail in Schrier Park, Portage. It's only a few miles away from where we live but we've never been there before. We decided to give it a try last Saturday.

Not long after we started off on the trail we realised it probably wasn't the brightest idea we'd had. We could tell it was going to be a little wet. We've had quite a bit of rain lately.

We managed to maneuver our way around this 'puddle'. Glad to be wearing our hiking boots!

The pathway through the bog is really unique. It is made up of plastic planks that have holes in them. As you walk along through the bog the trail moves as you step on it. If the bog is really wet the trail can get covered in water. In some places the boggy water squirts up through the holes.

It was really wet the day we went and in several places the trail dipped well into the water. My boots and jeans got very wet! The water squirting up through the holes got the top of my trousers wet too. We laughed despite getting wet. We were careful not to walk too close to one another as, with extra weight, the path dipped down even lower!

This wasn't even the wettest part! I didn't dare stand still for long else my feet would be covered in water.

The 'end' of the bog trail took us to a really wet part. We had to stand on the logs using the hand rail for help to get off the path. To get back to where our car was we had to cross again!

It's a really fun, interesting walk. We're going to try it again in the spring when it's a little drier. We probably should have tried it in the summer but because of all the standing water mosquitoes are (apparently) a big problem. The walk isn't long. I think it's a little more than 3 miles there and back. Well worth a walk (if it's been dry) and you're in the area!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Grand Mere State Park, Michigan

On Sundays hubby and I always try to take a trip somewhere. We like to go hiking and Michigan has lots of state parks. We pay one price - a ridiculously low $11 - and are able to get into all the parks whenever we want for a year. What a bargain! Michigan state parks have some fantastic views and miles of walking trails.

We had planned to go up to Muskegon State Park but the forecast called for rain and it was supposed to start up there earlier in the day. In the end we decided to go to Grand Mere State Park. It's about an hours drive away from us. We have been there once before when we were checking out dog beaches in the area. This was last year when our daughter and her husky were still in the state. They've moved to Minnesota.

Last time we went to this park was in the spring. Part of the trail was under water so we had taken another trail over sand dunes down to the beach. We went that way on Sunday too. There is a lot of up and down walking but the views are well worth the walk.

We ended up down on the beach. So gorgeous!

The walk wasn't quite as long as I remembered it to be. Turned out it was 3 miles on the dot. I think last time we ended up going further as we had to go around the flooding. The path through the woods this time was actually on a paved path rather than up and over tree roots and such. It was still a nice walk. We stopped a couple of other scenic places on the way home so we didn't get back too early!

I enjoyed taking the scenery photographs. I've been shooting on Aperture Priority as I find I like the depth of field it gives me, but sometimes the colour doesn't come out quite the way I want so I've been experimenting more with shooting on manual. I am still learning so sometimes I shoot several photos and sort them out when I get home. I'm hoping to compile a little notebook of 'best settings' for me. Something to work on!