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October 2008
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December 2008

November 2008

Your dearest wish...

Monday, the night we realized we'd be moving to Atlanta right now, we got Chinese food. It seemed like the right thing to do in that moment. There were two fortune cookies. I gave one to V, and handed the other to R. Here is his fortune.

Things have to get better now 001

Right now, his dearest wish is for a good job in Atlanta. We'll keep you posted on that.

The truck is rented for Monday, November 24, and I'm hoping to be back online by Wednesday, at the latest. I don't foresee having a lot of time to blog over the next few days, what with all the packing chaos, but I'm sure I will update my Twitter here and there, so be sure to follow me if you're interested.

I don't want anyone to stop taking their b&w photos! I'm not going to stop. We'll be moving in black and white.

When I get back online, I will have a ton of photos to share, I'm sure. Please wish us a safe and smooth transition, if you have a moment. I'm also hoping to have a few moments to upload some of the photos to my flickr that I'm not going to have time to post now.

***
IMPORTANT: If you post b&w photos between now and when I'm back online, please leave the link in the comments of this post. (I was going to use Mr. Linky, but he appears to be ill at the moment) Just keep leaving your comments here; I'm going to love looking at the photos all when I get back. :)

But here are some for today: stranded in the forest from Diane, icing cookies from Sarah, an old insulator from Teresa, a palm and some flare from Shelli, dark and bright from ELK, Sadie in Black and White from Monkey's Momma, and I'm wishing Toni a happy birthday!


Snow day, of a sort

We woke to snow this morning and ran outside to play. Just look at all the snow!

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Ha. Not so much snow. But V made several snow angels anyway.

Then I took some photos of this bush. I don't know what it's called, but I remember breaking the barky stuff off the branches of bushes like this when I was a kid. I loved doing that.

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This thermometer used to be my grandfather's. I took a photo of it at the beginning of October. The temp is a little less than ideal here at the almost-end of November.

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It's just Tuesday and already this week our world has completely changed. It seems we're moving back to Atlanta, as quickly as possible. We'll just call it a family crisis, for lack of a better term. I'm hoping we'll be there in time for Thanksgiving and I won't have to worry about how to roast a turkey anymore. Whew! That's a relief! So ... wish us luck. We're going to need it. And if you know of any good sales-type or sales trainer-type jobs available (or any other good job-finding resources in Atlanta), please send me an email and you'll be my new BFF.

***
Oh at all the black and whites! Check out Teresa's son's army of snowmen, Toni's vinca vine, Alex's game night, Jen and the girls are playing outside, Liss is in need of a rescue, and visit Isabella Knox with Shelli.

It's not too late to play along. Just be sure to email me or leave a comment with your link.


Brunch

I love going to brunch.

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You get to relax for an hour, drink all the hot coffee you want, and then not clean anything up. Bliss.

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V likes to play with these pegs. We don't play the intended game yet, we just make them jump to different holes. She also likes the sugar packets, which she would love to open and just eat but we have to draw the line on that one.

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After brunch, we spend some time rocking in the rocking chairs and playing with the checkerboard. She doesn't play checkers yet either, but she loves playing with the pieces.

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It always makes me laugh how you can photograph something and it'll look pretty, but really it's just a tree in the parking lot of a chain restaurant.

cracker barrel 001

It's chilly here today and we're all sweatered up - the heat is on lowlowlow until the temperature really dips later this afternoon. Then it'll just be lowlow. I'm thinking we'll put on our coats and go outside until our noses are red, then back in for some hot chocolate and marshmallows. Or maybe we'll just stay inside and paint. Who can say?

What are you up to today?

***
Do b&w photos make your eyes happy? Then go cheer Amy up, enjoy some fall color with Toni, rock out with Kim, touch a lovely swan and hang out in her office with Shelli, have fun with Evee at Leslye's, wish Grandpa a happy 90th with Tracy, see the fall changes at Gayle's, and talk about a still life with Diane.

Want to join us? Please do - and tell all your photo-taking friends! Just be sure to email me or leave a comment with your link. Thanks!


What I'm telling myself

faith

***
For more beautiful b&ws, visit with Toni's angel and her stack of books, take a walk with Kristen, check out the R.R. Venture and more boats with Diane, enjoy Carson the cutie with Tracy and Aidan laughing by the momiji with Shelli (which has a bit of color to it, but I don't know, it works for me), tour Singapore's Boat Quay area and see a night view of the city with Howard, and then peruse the fall changes over at Gayle's.

Love taking b&w photos? Come on and join us. Just 15 days left in the month!


Greeneville, TN, Pt. 2

So, while there are many buildings to love in the downtown area of Greeneville, TN - like the Capitol Theatre ...

v Greeneville, TN 157

... there are also some amazing, inspiring churches. I mean, wow, look at this!

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Loveliness.

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Those windows!

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The sign on this church says it was built in 1780.

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And then there are the houses. This one was my first favorite. I love how the shutters are not exactly straight.

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But then I saw this one and it was my favorite. I love all the different textures.

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And then I saw this one and I just got confused. They're all my favorites!

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There is always charm in the disarray of an old Southern home.

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And if you believe that too, you'd be particularly charmed by my house - but that's another story.

Anyway. This house got me - the lace curtains, the gingerbread details. I could care less about the gutter. Seriously. If I lived in this house, I would serve tea every afternoon.

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Do you think the people who live here can hang out on their roof? I've always wondered that. From down below, it looks like you could have a party up there.

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I believe that window above the door is called a fanlight. So cool.

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Even the not-quite-so-ornate homes have gorgeous details.

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I turned down one or two of the side streets and was floored by the number of beautiful old homes. I didn't even see half of what's there before it was time to go home.

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Can't wait to go back.

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I have 31 photos in my Greeneville set on flickr, if you care to see them all, and I will probably add some more to them in a few days. And I have 90 photos in my black and whites set. Not all of them have made it onto the blog, so check them out if you're interested. I kinda like seeing them all together like that.

Happy weekend!

***

Are you loving the b&ws as much as I am? Then head over to Alex's for wacky hair day, to Shelli's for blocks, to Gayle's to wait for the school bus, to Jean's to see a few old barn silos, to Toni's to see liddle lamzy divey, to Jessica's to wish her a happy birthday on Saturday, to ELK's to see her to-do list for the weekend, to Liss' where she's braved a walk on a cantilever (wow!), and to Elizabeth's for a self-portrait.

If you want to participate, please be sure to email me the link to your post or leave it in the comments!


Greeneville, TN, Pt. 1

Kind of a rainy, gray day, so what better way to pass the afternoon than to drive to a lovely little Southern town and take pictures?

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Ok, so that first picture might not strike you as lovely, but I have a thing for neglected buildings.

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There, that's better.

Oops, here comes another down-on-her-luck building. Sorry, I can't help it. I love buildings that make you wonder what possibly could've happened to them. This one is an old tobacco warehouse that was being renovated to be used as an antique car museum when there was a fire this past July. Heartbreaking. There were piles of bricks inside, and I hope that they can afford to rebuild what is left.

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There's a ton of history in and around Greeneville, a town of about 16,000 people (more or less). It was founded in 1783.

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Davy Crockett was born in the area.

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And President Andrew Johnson began his political career here.

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I loved this particular building lots and lots. I wish I could take pictures inside.

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The sign above says, "FEDERAL AND INSURANCE REGULATIONS PROHIBIT CUSTOMERS IN SHOP AREA." Technically I'm not a customer, but I don't think that'd make a difference to the federal and insurance regulators. Drat.

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The one above is the second floor of a shop downtown. How much would I love to be able to go up there and take pictures? Very, very much. Once, when I was in college, the woman I worked for was looking to relocate her shop. She tried to rent one that used to be an old theater. She had me come with her to check out the space. It was awesome. Unfortunately, it didn't work out. The owner was an elderly woman who had a requirement that whoever rented it should be of a certain religion/ethnic heritage (I won't say which, but it might surprise you) and my boss didn't fit the bill. Weird.

Anyway. Speaking of old theaters, this is the Capitol Theatre. I'll have a photo of the marquee tomorrow. The website says that the theater is being forclosed (sigh), but from the sign below, it looks like they're trying to save it. I hope they're successful.

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In part 2, I'll have some of the homes that surround the downtown Greeneville area. They're something else! And if you want to see more of the small towns I've been to in Tennessee, you can see my other small town excursions.

***

For more b&w photos, see Gayle's post-Halloween yuckiness and her heart for Love Thursday, Rachel's photo of a playground, Shelli's pic of V's favorite dog Banjo, Toni's bedding, Elizabeth's weimaraner (my favorite kind of dog), Kristen's fabulous holiday gift ideas for kids, Alexis' photos from around the house, and a fairy tale from Monkey's Momma.

And remember, there's still plenty of time to join us if you'd like!


Pathways

What to do with all those leaves in the yard? Hmmmm...

V was running around outside the other day in the wet leaves and I didn't want her to slip, so I decided to rake several pathways through the leaves for her. I made two big piles of leaves too, for her jumping enjoyment.

what we did with all those leaves 1

I'm sure that these pictures don't work as well in b&w as they would have in color, but I did the best I could. 

what we did with all those leaves 2

The paths kept us occupied for a long, long time.

running!

Then we went on safari, where we saw an elephant.

elephant

And a friendly giraffe.

giraffe 2

Then, once we were sufficiently chilled to the bone, we came inside for some hot chocolate. It was a good day.

***
For more fun b&w photos, please visit Toni's granite that's waiting for just the right inspiration, Cloudscome's pine tree, Kristen's family's circus practice (so cool!), Shelli's boy and pup, Kate's cutie all bundled up, Elizabeth's pretty petals., and Liss' lovely photo of a wedding kiss!

If you want to join in, please do - just remember to email me or leave a comment with your link. That helps me lots!


Brobee sad, Brobee happy

And V always happy.

brobee sad

We love our Yo Gabba Gabba around here, yes we do. We even follow the YGG production blog (because I'm a geek like that).

brobee happy

My name is V, and I like to dance!

***
For more fantastic b&ws, see Sheri's kids, kitty, and there are toes!, Sarah has two lovely photos that are full of texture, Monkey's Momma is trying out her new Nikon D60 (Go Team Nikon!), Toni has another beautiful picture of her aspen tree, Kristen's is black and white and a bit of green, Shelli has a sweet photo of her kitty Sophie, Jen has the demise of a bagel, ELK has photos from her front porch, and Tracey has a cool photo of her rearview mirror.

And a big thank you to Shutter Sisters for linking to all this November b&w fabulousness in their sidebar! Love you guys! I read you every day.

Are you loving these b&ws as much as I am? If you want to participate, consider yourself invited.


Thanks

These are from my personal collection. I got these photos from a junk shop. They were from an estate sale of the gentleman that took the photos. From what I can tell, they were taken aboard the USS Intrepid.

The first photo is not dated.

before

This photo says 18 April 1945, on the back. Handwritten, it says, "Burial service for men killed in action of April 16, 1945." About this date, Wikipedia says:

16 April: During an air raid, a Japanese aircraft dived into Intrepid's flight deck forcing the engine and part of her fuselage right on through, killing 8 men and wounding 21. In less than an hour the flaming gasoline had been extinguished, and only 3 hours after the crash, aircraft were again landing on the carrier.

after

Thank you to all our veterans and your families for your time, for your bravery, for your sacrifices.


Jealousy

Two cats, contentedly looking out the window. Human walks in and sits down.

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Wylie, all of a sudden, I would prefer it if you were not here.

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Whatever.

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<doubt begins to creep in. low self-confidence rears its ugly head.>

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Perhaps if I move closer to the human and begin purring, she will pet me and I can forget about Miss Fussy Pants over there.

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If I could just get in front of you here, Wylie, that'd be great. Yeah, thanks buddy.

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He'd better run.

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Who needs him anyway?

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Three minutes go by. Wylie comes back and stretches out near the window.

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As long as he stays over there, I guess that's ok with me.

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For now.

***

For more b&w photos, check out Shelli's son in his swing, Cloudscome's leaky faucet, Toni's autumn mums and beautiful aspen, Howard's walk down Waterloo Street, and Teresa's game night and lovely altar cloth.

Love b&w pictures? Then, please, join us!


Moody and grey

Ok, it seems I can't stay away from my blog for an entire weekend. I tried. I really did. But R is working today, the living room and kitchen are just about as clean as they ever get, and V is playing happily with her Baby Chloe - so what's a girl to do?

While V was jumping into piles of leaves the other day, I found this leaf on the ground.

cocoon

It had a cocoon in the curve of the back of it. I set it down to rest under a bush.

You might remember the poor, old crabapple tree from this summer. Well, here's what she looks like in November.

crabapple tree 1

There are only a few apples left, rotting beneath the tree. But the crazycool knots are still there.

crabapple tree 2

And the woodpecker lovebites.

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Looks very different now with all its leaves gone.

crabapple tree 3

She's moody and grey. She's mean and she's restless. Five dollars if you can tell me the name of that song.

Ok, not five dollars. But definitely a wow, I thought I'd be the only one.

***
For more beautiful black and whites, see Liss' lovely flower in her starting-from-scratch garden, yellow-leaved trees and such a big boy! from Shelli, Keri gives us shadows, Elizabeth shares some heavy machinery, Cloudscome has a motorcycle and the light of life, and Toni's photo is set to a Longfellow poem.

Have you been posting your black and white photos but not seeing them here? Maybe you forgot to email me (or leave a comment) with the link! Let me know and I'll link to yours ASAP.

And if you'd like to join in, there are still 21 days left in November. Plenty of time.


V & Cottontail

As I'm sitting here, I become aware of V saying, "I love you, Cottontail. You're so sweet." That's my clue to get out my camera...

V & Cottontail 1

"Snuggle up with me, Cottontail."

V & Cottontail 2

"Goodnight Cottontail. Sweet dreams."

V & Cottontail 3

Is it Friday already? Thank goodness! I'm taking the weekend off but I'll be back on Monday, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Or at least full of coffee. Take care and be sure to snuggle up with someone you love this weekend.

***
Here are some more awesome b&w photos: Two sweet dogs from Toni, another sweet dog from Gayle, a trick-or-treating photo from Shelli, cool junk from Keri (I want that typewriter!), stunning Queen Anne's Lace from Jessica, pictures from the skating rink from Kristen, a variety of sweet b&w's from Shaye (including a slideshow), and here's a photo of Sheri's adorable son (I want to pinch those cheeks!). I'm adding a second one from Kristen because I don't want to go the whole weekend without showing them off. They're gorgeous!

Love to take b&w photos? Want to participate? Here's the info.


It's going well

Let me tell you what V and I are having for lunch today.

Yesterday I made this buttermilk bread (recipe at the end) and it is pretty darn good. I'll spare you the pictures - I haven't yet found a way to make food look appetizing in black and white. But Sunday I made buttermilk pancakes, and so I had about 2 cups of buttermilk left over. I've been wanting to bake some bread for a while now, so I looked for a recipe and found a good one. I can't say it's very healthy, but it is tasty. Both the crust and the bread are very, very soft. I can't taste the buttermilk, but R says that he can tell it's there.

So for lunch, I sliced us each a piece of buttermilk bread, put a tiny bit of mayo, broke up into bite-sized pieces some of our leftover chicken from the other day, then balanced halves of red seedless grapes on top, and added some shredded mild cheddar cheese (V's favorite) to the top of everything to glue it into place as the cheese melted in the oven. Add a side of carrots and that's lunch. Tasty treat!

In other news, V has discovered the joy of online kids' games. She is burning up the bandwidth at Nick, Jr. and Sesame Street. She can do just about all of it by herself and that has given me some happy mama time during the day to knit without fear of hearing, "Is that for me? Can I try it on? Is that mine?" every 30 seconds. Don't want to dampen her enthusiasm, but it's nice to have some quiet.

I'd say the knitting is going well.

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I'm really enjoying myself and already beginning to wonder what project I should try next. Maybe socks. Or a hat. Since I've done a scarf for V and this one is for me, I'd like to make something for R next. I think he'd like that. Recently he asked me why anyone would want to wear hand-knitted socks (I think he thinks they'll be too bulky), so maybe I'll make some for him so he can figure that out and tell me. I think I can win him over. I'm already dreaming of some sort of pretty tote bag or something to keep my knitting in. The plastic grocery bag I'm using is poked full of holes and split up the side! Maybe I'll put that in my letter to Santa this year, which I'll be sure to send along with a pair of knitted socks.

***

Want to see more b&w photos? Check Michelle's cool still life pics, Gayle has some glorious guitar love going on, Jen has the cutest pictures of my favorite Bean, Cloudscome gives us autumn leaves and a Bible verse, Toni's photo looks how she feels today, Shelli has some great lines and depth of focus in this one, Mama Voss has a guilty-looking pup, and Alexis tells us that the party is over! Poor little pumpkins!

Want to participate? It's not too late...

***
Now here's that recipe:


Buttermilk bread

  • 1-1/2 cups buttermilk (I used fat free)
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup butter (or whatever healthy/non-healthy alternative you normally bake with)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 5-1/2 cups bread flour (I didn't have bread flour. I'm not sure what kind of flour mine is, but I used it anyway)

Then...

  1. Proof the yeast in warm water.
  2. Place the butter and buttermilk in a saucepan on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until butter has melted. Let it cool a bit.
  3. Place sugar, salt, baking soda, buttermilk mixture, and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Add 3 cups flour, one cup at a time, and mix with the dough hook attachment of an electric mixer. Gradually add the remaining flour while continuing to mix. When dough is not sticky, turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for several minutes, until the dough is soft and smooth. Place in a greased bowl, and turn once. Allow to rise until doubled in size. (I don't have a dough hook attachment for my mixer, so I just stirred it until I couldn't anymore and then I kneaded it for about 12 minutes)
  4. Punch down the dough. Divide and shape into two loaves. Place in two well-greased 8x4-inch loaf pans. Let rise until dough has risen one inch above pans. (At this point, I put half the dough in the freezer for another day.)
  5. Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Loaves are done when nicely brown and hollow sounding when thumped. (My oven heats too hot! So I put it in at 325° and it was done after 25 minutes.)

Unstructured play

We spent an hour or so outside today, puttering around. The weather is perfect today! I've been shooting in manual for a while and I'll tell you, it's really hard to shoot in b&w and in manual mode when the sun is bright and the shade is dark!

After exploring a bit,

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 and throwing leaves on each other,

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we built a little fairy house.

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It's not designed for wintertime, but I think it'll do for this evening. She might need to build a little fire though. I hope she's careful! Maybe I'll just knit her a tiny wool blanket instead.

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Then we relaxed in the grass a bit.

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Now I think we might bake some buttermilk bread, just for fun.

***
I've got two beautiful b&w photos from Shelli today, Jessica is showing b&w vs. color, here are two from Cloudscome, I especially love the first one of these from ELK, Liss has a lovely picture from Hobart, Tasmania, and Teresa's son stayed up to listen to Obama's acceptance speech. If you're participating, please be sure to either email me your link or leave it in the comments. And if I forget you, I promise it's not intentional so please remind me and I will add you. Thanks!


We have a winner!

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With just 9 entries to choose from, I let V pick the winner of the contest to guess the artist/title of the song in my banner - and she picked Amy of commonplace. The song is called "Winter" and it's by Tori Amos - it's one of my favorite songs on my playlist.com player in my sidebar.

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Congratulations to Amy!

I may not do a contest every month, but I'm sure I will do it again soon, so if you didn't win but wish you had, be sure to come back and visit - you never know when the mood will strike me.


The Gray Fossil Museum

Sunday we went to the Gray Fossil Museum to see some old bones. The site was discovered in May 2000 and is the largest-ever tapir fossil find.

This is a fossilized tapir noggin. Tapirs don't look nearly so big on Go, Diego, Go!

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And this is V giving the tapir a smooch.

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Unfortunately, it was right around this time that V decided she needed to run through the museum at break-neck speed and check the quality of the echoes in the emptier rooms.

But I stopped and took a photo of the red panda fossil on our way out. Angry looking little fellow, isn't he?

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So we hung out by the fountain outside so that it might feel like we'd actually done something with our time. Didn't work, but at least we tried.

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And V had a chance to expend some of that boundless energy of hers.

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And play with some turtles.

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Which is really all she wanted to do anyway.

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***

I'm taking all black and white photos in November and you're welcome to join me! For more lovely b&w photos, visit Alexis for what must be lower calorie cakes, Kristen for a beautiful dandelion and more,  Gayle for pinecones and a sweet childhood memory, Toni for a boy and his mom, Cloudscome's kitty cat, and Howard for two photos of alleys in Singapore's Little India.


Shutter Sisters / Superhero Challenge

I read Shutter Sisters every day and so I always see the superhero photo challenge, but I almost never go out and take the photo. When I saw the latest challenge on Friday - to take a picture of a leaf from the leaf's perspective - I thought it'd be great to do because of the whole black & white thing. I was a little worried that I couldn't take a picture of leaves on the ground in b&w and have it turn out looking like leaves, so it sounded like a good challenge to me.

Out of about 40 photos I took, here are the two that I liked the most.

leaves in b&w 1

I did what Maiz suggested in the comments of this post and used a few different adjustment layers, including the hue/saturation layer to give it a very slight green tone. Can you see it?

leaves in b&w 2

I think they look like leaves. What do you think? I really like the crazy shadows of the grass and the funky sunspot at the bottom in the second picture.

***
If you'd like to see more lovely b&w photos, check out Sarah's photos from the park, Alex's sweet little kitty cat, Kristen's gorgeous leaves and reflections, Toni's not-quite-b&w-but-close-enough photo of Lake Coeur d'Alene. Wonderful photos! Y'all are really inspiring me. Anyone else want to join in? Feel free - just let me know!


Lazy Sunday

This is Grace. She's a plush lapcat extraordinaire.

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This is how I feel today. Like sleeping all day.

lazy sunday grace 007

I'm sure perk up after some coffee (which R just brought me a nice, big mug of. ah!) and the best buttermilk pancakes I know how to make.

***

For more beautiful black and white photos, go with Cloudscome on a walk through the neighborhood, say good morning to ELK's shadow, or spend a moment in remembrance with Robin.


I forgot my mittens

Check the new header - see it up there? There's a quote from a song in it. From now until November 3rd at 10pm EST, you can email me at springtreeroad (at) yahoo (dot) com with your guess as to the title and artist of the song. I'll choose one at random out of all the correct entries and the winner can have an 8x10 print of your choice of any photo from my flickr photostream (with the exception of any pictures of my family). On Tuesday, go vote (if you live in the US) and then check with me here where I'll announce the winner.

Now, if you're playing along with the November in black & white project, whenever you post a photo on your blog that is in b&w, leave me a comment on my most current post, or email me, with a link to your post. I will post a link to your post in my next post. Please have fun with it! This shouldn't cause you any stress or strife in this holiday season! Maybe you've had an idea for a b&w photo for a while - now's your chance to make it happen. Maybe you just wonder what a certain subject would look like in b&w, like green peppers or candlelight - explore that! And people in b&w? Awesome!

Here are my first three b&ws for the month. I took these all on my trip to Georgia, just to get a feel for what this month is going to be like (though any other photos I post here this month will be taken in this month). 

At the gas station:

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I was shooting in color and getting some fun bokeh through the rainy windshield of our car from the lights at the gas station next door, so I decided to see what it would look like in black and white.

A thicket at my dad's house:

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I like the contrast between the trees at the front and all the growth in the back. Looks so much more serious and moody than it did in color.

Leaves:

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This one is my favorite. The leaves were a really dark green and it had been raining so they were still a little wet - makes them look almost metallic.

For each of these photos, I opened them in Photoshop CS and adjusted the levels to make them more dramatic. Beyond that, I wasn't sure what to do with them. If anyone has any good tips or finds a good tutorial on processing b&w photos in Photoshop (or whatever software you use), please let me know and I'll post that too. I've been meaning to look for some info myself, but haven't had time yet.

Happy November! It's my favorite month of the year - it's my birthday month, which is on Thanksgiving Day this year. Yay! I love it when my whole family has the day off for my birthday.

I hope we all have some fun with this and that next month, colors seem even more vibrant than before.