photography and digital scrapbooking


Fall Nature Walk and Border Collie Puppy Photos

Sometimes it is fun to take my point and shoot on a casual walk and not worry about settings. I snapped a few photos this week and chose easy editing with quick Instagram-like Photoshop actions. I hope you enjoy the photos!

The Encore azalea photo shows about one third of our display. It has been lovely this year and really brightens up the view in our back yard. The hanging baskets are hanging in there, but slowly losing flowers and gaining fallen leaves in and around the stems. We have a few tomatoes trying to ripen at this late stage of the season. I miss having a ready supply of tomatoes and my thoughts often drift to planting seeds in about four months.

The bridge on our nature trail got a new coat of paint this fall. It is a nice place to pause and look over the edge for fish and animal tracks in the mud. With a typical daytime temperature of 80 degrees, we still have a lot of green leaves on the trees, but slowly the golds and reds are showing up. We see deer often now when we walk the trail! Some neighbors have set up feeding stations and the deer gather in late afternoon for snacks.

My friend, Cheryl, has a Border Collie puppy! Little Ally comes to visit us occasionally and we enjoy her so much! She is growing fast and quickly picking up on Cheryl’s training program. Cheryl is following Cesar Milan’s book for training puppies. Training for good manners is not easy. A Border Collie puppy is so full of energy and strongly driven by instinct to jump and try herding activity. But Ally is doing great at age 6 months. Cheryl will gradually introduce Ally to the opportunity to herd and practice agility courses. We are certainly having fun as “Aunt” and “Uncle” to Ally!


Autumn Winged Things

Changes are in the air and the winged things are even more delightful to watch. Hummingbirds are frantically active; chattering and fighting over the feeders we provide for them. They are molting at this time of year. We sometimes see tiny feathers fall as they hover near the feeders. I found one and saved it.

Carpenter bees are desperate to find the last grains of pollen. They especially like the sedum and basil flowers. This female worker was aware of my presence and constantly adjusted her position to face me and stay a comfortable distance. Persistence on my part paid off when she let down her guard for a moment.

Yellow leaves have already begun floating into the yard. We will have a lot to rake or blow into piles and bag. But I don’t mind. I like the exercise and being outside in the cool autumn air.

Numerous butterflies were a constant and welcome sight this summer. They are still visiting the butterfly bush from early morning until almost dark.

Summer went by quickly. But autumn is my favorite season, so I am welcoming it and getting ready to make some changes myself. Enjoy your week and remember to peek at the little winged things if you have them nearby!


Doing What I Love

It all started with a magazine. I had recently discovered scrapbooking and adored creating layouts of all types with paper and adhesive. I was eagerly reading everything I could find on the subject and happened to spot information about digital scrapbooking. The layouts amazed me. The embellishments looked dimensional and I saw photo techniques I never imagined. I barely knew how to use my old computer, but wanted to do what was necessary to take my creativity in this direction. Working in Photoshop, I taught myself the skills I needed. Almost six years later, I am still learning new techniques and have upgraded my computer, camera, and Photoshop. Over the years, I created hundreds of layouts and have been fortunate to have some accepted for print and online publication.

Recently my life has happily changed due to a new venture in digital scrapbook product design. I have been warmly welcomed as part of the talented design team at Happy to Create. Working intently over the past six weeks, I now have five new products offered in the Happy To Create store.

My blog, Visioning, will be as important to me as ever. My work is essentially about photos, so I will continue my photo shoots and post here, as always. Blogging has allowed me to become online friends with many kind, talented people. I greatly appreciate those of you who view my photos and comment. And I love reading your stories and seeing your wonderful photos.

On this Thanksgiving weekend, I’m feeling thankful for friends near and far and for my new opportunity to do what I love! I hope you are also doing what you love and will share some of the ways you have found happiness through work and hobbies.

My new layouts and products shown below. Happy To Create products used for my layouts listed under the gallery.

“Delicious Autumn” digital scrapbooking layout uses: Eclectic Autumn Maxi Kit; Chalk Talk Font

“Autumn Exercise” digital scrapbooking layout uses: Eclectic Autumn Maxi Kit; ScrapHappy Brushes Maxi: Paint Mess

“Young Visitor” digital scrapbooking layout uses: ScrapHappy Paper Templates: Grunge Patterns; Eclectic Autumn Maxi Kit; ScrapHappy Shapes: Centers MA01; ScrapHappy Shapes: Flowers MA02; SH_Shapes: Flowers MA03

“Meeting Mallory” digital scrapbooking layout uses: Maxi Embellishments Botanicals Autumn1; Maxi Embellishments Botanicals Autumn3; Maxi Embellishments: BotanicalsAutumn2; American Quilt Maxi Kit; Eclectic Autumn Maxi Kit; ScrapHappy Paper Templates: Woven Textures; Font Quirky

“Colorful Autumn” digital scrapbooking layout uses: Maxi Embellishments: Botanicals Autumn 2; Eclectic Autumn Maxi Kit;  Maxi Embellishments: BotanicalsAutumn1; Maxi Embellishments: Botanicals Autumn 3; ScrapHappy Dynamic Brushes Midi: Leaves VR01; ScrapHappy Brushes Mini: Bees; ScrapHappy Brushes Maxi: Colors Of Fall 2; Font Friendly

“Mr & Mrs” digital scrapbooking layout uses: Maxi Embellishments: Botanicals Autumn 3; Maxi Embellishments: Botanicals Autumn1; Maxi Embellishments: Botanicals Autumn 2; ScrapHappy Paper Templates: Grunge Patterns; EclecticAutumn Maxi Kit; Midi Embellishments: Just Frames


Old Made Older

A theme from my recent visit to Ohio was old buildings. Some photos did not fit neatly into my previous posts, so I decided to have some fun with them and process in Color Efex 4. The worn quality of the structures became more pronounced by adding several filters. It was fun and I hope you enjoy seeing some very old buildings!


Sweetwater Creek in Autumn

We spent an afternoon at Sweetwater Creek State Park last week. We always enjoy the hiking trails, sense of history, and the soothing sound of water splashing in the rocky creek. I like the trail that leads to the ruins of the New Manchester Textile Mill. This structure was burned during the Civil War to hamper production of Confederate uniforms. Holes for windows and crumbling bricks create a haunting sight along the shadowy trail.

I used my least favorite lens that day;  an older Tamron 18-270mm. It gives me some trouble with a loose focus ring and other problems, but I knew I would need the wide focal length for shots of the creek and wooded areas. I used RAW format and expected to work on the processing quite a bit. However, these files were more desaturated than expected. Not even close to the color I saw that day. So I adjusted basic tonality, clarity, and vibrance settings in Lightroom. Then applied some Nik filters mostly for saturation, tonal range, and in some cases a gentle high key filter. I quickly discovered that processing autumn landscapes is not easy! The challenge was to reveal the range of colors while keeping them natural. I hope you enjoy these and please let me know if you have any tips for processing autumn tree photos!

All photos: Canon 60D, handheld.

Click on the first photo to open the new WordPress photo carousel.


Small Town Charm

Our recent visit to Ashland, Ohio included a walk through lovely city streets and the campus of Ashland University. The charm of this town (and many others in the area) is best enjoyed in person. But I hope these photos and my brief captions communicates some of the natural beauty of this midwestern town.

Click on the first photo to open the photo carousel. All photos, Canon 60D.


Enjoying Nature on My Birthday

Yesterday was my birthday, so it was the perfect excuse to take a break and spend some time outside. We decided to drive to Kennesaw Mountain for a leisurely afternoon of hiking. The weather was warm and the yellow autumn leaves were bright and beautiful in the sunlight. I enjoyed taking some photos on the trails, then we spotted a few deer near the base of the mountain. After a few minutes, one curious little doe broke away from the others to investigate a rake that was left near a pile of gravel. She approached it very timidly, sniffed, then quickly trotted back to the cover of the woods. I love deer and seeing them is always a great event for me! It was a happy day and just what I needed to relax and refresh my spirit.

All photos Canon 60D


Amish Farm Scenes

Amish farms are found throughout Ashland County, Ohio. Typically, Amish farmland and buildings are well maintained, even though residents do not use electricity from the grid or own motor vehicles. Power for the household is generated by windmills and gasoline generators. Teams of horses pull wagons and equipment for planting and harvesting crops.

My goal for this set of photos is to explore the beauty of the farms and to respectfully meditate on this antiquated farming community. I was careful not to overtly photograph the faces of the Amish, since they adhere to the scriptural admonition to avoid “graven images”. And they simply do not want to draw attention to themselves by posing for photos. How the Amish live and conduct themselves interests me, but I neither idealize nor judge their lifestyle.

All photos: Canon 60D.

Click on each photo to enlarge and see details.

amish farmhouse


Amish farmhouses are usually large and have an early 1900’s look. A row of rhubarb plants can be seen in the foreground.

amish farmer harvesting crops

ISO 640, 50mm, f/13, 1/640.

This Amish farmer is harvesting corn by hand; bundling the stalks and stacking them neatly. His young children are along for the ride.

amish house and long lane

ISO 500, 100mm, f/18, 1/125.

This plain house with rustic fence posts made a lovely setting when viewed from the road.

amish milk cans

ISO 500, 100mm, f/18, 1/125.

I found these milk cans at the end of a narrow lane. Amish dairy farm practices are definitely old-style.

amish signs at mailbox

ISO 640, 100mm, f/18, 1/160.

I enjoyed seeing the charming display of  hand-lettered signs! (I altered the address on the mailbox to respect the resident’s privacy.)

amish laundry on clothesline

ISO 640, 100mm, f/18, 1/200.

Hand sewn Amish clothing carefully hung to dry in the sun. Plain styles and colors are traditional.

amish produce stand

ISO 100, 50mm, f/6.3, 1/320.

A charming produce stand next to a township road. We selected some items and drove down the lane to deliver the money. We saw five or six smiling children working in the garden. They were all carrying baskets full of vegetables!

amish for sale signs

ISO 400, 100mm, f/18, 1/125.

Interesting to see the items and services for sale at this Amish residence.

amish horse and buggy

ISO 100, 50mm, f/7.1, 1/400.

A young woman and child enjoying a ride in the autumn sunshine.


Ohio Farms: Antique Barns and Landscapes

The plentiful antique barns in north central Ohio are fun to photograph. Some are restored and others abandoned, but I find all of them interesting. Most of the barns were painted white in years past. Red paint is now more common and I think the color adds to the charm.

I took these photos in the area where I grew up. Even as a young child, I appreciated the landscape views of valleys, hills, and grain fields. You might have guessed – I miss this rural area where the pace of life is slower and the beauty of nature abounds.

All photos: Canon 60D.


Antique Windows

We made a spur-of-the-moment trip last week. I wanted to help my parents with some tasks around the house and shoot photos in the rural areas of north central Ohio. The landscape there is full of interesting things to photograph:  farms scattered in gently rolling hills, Amish culture, antique homes and barns, wildflowers, quaint villages, ancient cemeteries, and wetlands. I now have many photos to enjoy and categorize, so look for Ohio-theme blog posts in the weeks to come. We enjoyed every minute of our visit and hope to return soon!

While traveling around the countryside, I was drawn to the windows of old buildings. I decided to start a series of window photos and was able to get nine examples. I especially liked seeing the landscape reflected in windows, or curtains that hinted of a simple decor from decades ago.

All photos: Canon 60D.

Click on the horizontal photos to enlarge.

vintage window and door

ISO 800, 100mm, f/18, 1/20.

This abandoned house in Savannah, Ohio had a mystery door next to one of the windows!

window in antique red barn

ISO 640, 50mm, f/13, 1/800.

Small window on a barn built in 1880. The window and texture of the painted wood were the features I found most interesting.

ancient window in abandoned house

ISO 640, 25mm, f/18, 1/100.

This window is from an abandoned farmhouse in a wide valley. I like seeing the reflection of grain fields and sky.

four windows in an old house

ISO 500, 100mm, f/18, 1/80.

I found this house in a small Ohio town. The lovely designs under the soffit and over the windows are still pretty after many years in the elements.

handcrafted window in restored brick church

ISO 640, 100mm, f/18, 1/40.

This handcrafted window is one of many in a restored brick church near Ashland, Ohio. Hints of the perfect autumn day reflect in the glass. (A future post will include more photos of this building, which is now a residence.)

old storage shed windows

ISO 800, 100mm, f/18, 1/80.

I found this old storage shed in a small town. The windows displayed a plethora of items and pride in the state of Ohio.

diamond window in old brick church

ISO 320, 100mm, f/18, 1/250.

This little diamond window is on the west side of an ancient church. Light from the setting sun illuminated the strong focal point.

country town post office window

ISO 800, 100mm, f/18 1/640.

The wall of windows on the front of this post office face a busy road. Taking the photo from the side was my only option, but this angle provided interest as well.

tall window in antique house

 500, 100mm, f/18, 1/15.

This fancy window hints of a once elegant brick house.