Last Horse Show of the Season

The last events for the day's horse show didn't start until after 5pm as the sunlight faded. I don't recall any of the previous show that finished up so late, but I liked the light coupled with the autumn scenery. The Girl and her horse did a great job.

Test Run

The barn adorned the jumping gates with scarecrows and ghouls! Something new to "freak out" the horses. But it didn't bother these two - and I love that she's smiling.
1/4 The Approach

For the end of the season, the barn tallies up the scores for each division. Last year, she took 3rd place in the Low Working Hunter Division, where the poles are set to 2'3" - 2'6" high. This year, she took 2nd (Reserve) in the Hunter Division, where the poles are 2'6" - 2'9" high. This is the highest division for this course.

Reserve Champs for the Summer Season! #equestrian #Horse #appaloosa

She's also riding with the college club team, and will participate in shows where she won't ride her own horse, but will draw a random horse before riding. This should give her new experiences and challenges. I know she is looking forward to it.


October 2015 Desktop Calendar - Scarecrow

A little bit of Halloween fun for this month's desk calendar - a scary scarecrow to set the mood for the end of the month.

To download the October 2015 calendar for free at, click on the link:
Free October 2015 Calendar - Scarecrow


The Bloodmoon Supermoon Eclipse

Yeah, I know the Internet has exploded with photos of Sunday's Harvest moon, Super moon, Eclipse and Blood moon all rolled into one. Since this post will be published Tuesday, I am sorely late with my images since many started popping up almost in real time. For me, two days later is as fast as it gets!

I spent most of Sunday up in Chicago, enjoying a day of shopping with my daughter and with overcast skies lingering as we drove home, I wasn't expecting to see much of anything in the sky. But I caught a glimpse of a silver glow through the new bathroom window (something new, since we recently upgraded from obscure glass block to real windows) and found that the clouds had parted away to a crystal clear prairie sky. A full moon was in the sky, the center of the night's show.

Initially, I went outside to casually watch the shadow make its way across, slowly consuming the bright orb. At the request of my daughter, I tried to take a photo with my iPhone (big fail), then decided to get the DSLR out. Then I got out the tripod and spent the next hour and a half in the cul-de-sac taking photos.

The BloodMoon Phases
Photos processed in Lightroom, combined into the composite photo using Photoshop Elements

The close ups are not tack sharp, as I had exceeded the limits of available light, but these were the best I could do with my equipment. It would be nice if hubby had more experience with the telescope and I had experience taking photos through the telescope, but those are learnings for a future time.

Overall, it was a very nice way to spend an evening - under the blood red moon. I feel fortunate to have experienced it all.


Back to Kauai - Boogie Boards and Luau

On day 2 of our vacation, we relaxed and hung out around the resort. The time difference of five hours behind means I'm getting up early, even for vacation, and of course, before the rest of my family. It just means I get to view some spectacular sunrises and enjoy the rhythmic waves in solitude. This morning I enjoyed a sunrise morning yoga class, held outside under the backdrop of the palm trees and the thundering surf.
Sunrise Yoga Class

The kids awoke and I took them up the cliff walk.
By the Sea

Cliff Walking

We found a "sand wall" filled with carvings. Brian added his initials to the mix.

Brian and Scott made use of the boogie boards (Poi Pounders).
Beach Bums

Or maybe, the surf "used" them and spit them out.

The "excursion" of the day - the traditional Hawaiian Luau, held on the Hyatt grounds. The luau, as cliche as is may seem, must be experienced once while visiting the Islands.
Grand Hyatt Luau

23 years ago, Scott and I attended a Luau in Maui. They brought us and the several other honeymooning couples on stage.
Grand Hyatt Luau

The climax of the evening - the traditional fire dance - stunning under the inky skies.
Playing With Fire

Playing With Fire

Of course, there was plenty of food and drink consumed. We really enjoyed the Kalua roasted pork, which is cooked in an underground pit by the ocean. The recipe for the smoky roast is quite simply - pork shoulder, salt (Hawaiian salt if you can get it), water and liquid smoke. After our trip, I've reproduced the pork at home. I admit the pit cooked / smoked / ti leave wrapped meat is better, but when you can't be in Hawaii, you can try to emulate it as best you can.


Back to Kauai - Arrival and Exploration

I figure three months late is better than never at all....

Somewhat fitting, as Scott and I celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary last weekend and with that, acknowledged the 23rd anniversary of Hurricane Iniki, which destroyed much of Kauai, days before we were scheduled to honeymoon there. Our honeymoon plans were altered - swapping in Maui's Ka'anapali coast for the southern point of Kauai. It would take us nearly 23 years to finally make it to Kauai, so a three month delay in recounting our trip seems appropriate.

Fortunately, I rely upon technology and vacation downtime to record snippets as the events are happening, or else I simply forget the details. Most of today's post was written while we were on vacation, capturing the real time essence of our experience.

We arrived late Tuesday night after a full day of travel - there's no easy / direct way to get to Hawaii from the Midwest. Still, it was a perfect day to fly and all our flights were on time or early. The worst wait was for the rental car - 45 minutes too long. I should have learned from our trip to Italy not to rent from Dollar rental car and need to remember that for the future.

We checked in around 10pm, which is like 3am CDT, so needless to say, we were Zombie city. It was difficult to find our room, and when we did, we all collapsed into bed. Except for the Boy, who was hungry. He ordered a full meal from room service and ate the entire thing while the rest of us slept. I didn't find out until the next morning when I found the remnants outside our room.
I awoke around 7am with my stomach grumbling. Quietly tip toeing out of the room in search of coffee and something to eat, I stopped abruptly after rounding the corner - this was my first daylight view of paradise:
First Glimpse
All I could think was "wow", we passed by all this last night, oblivious to it all...

I found the Starbucks, located at the Seaside terrace, an open air space in overlooking the ocean, flanked by palm trees waving in the ocean breeze. Most of the Grand Hyatt common spaces are open air, open roof, and beautifully landscaped to maximize the connection to nature and the sea - the warm, fresh air, the sound of the surf, the faint scent of plumeria in the air. The resort sits along the ocean, with swaths of sandy beach cut among the black lava rocks, aptly named Shipwrecks beach. To the east, the Mahauluepu heritage trail weaves high along the coast, providing spectacular vistas.
Grand Hyatt Kauai


Feeling Blue

We spent the rest of the day exploring grounds of the resort - with its multitude of pools, paths, restaurants and spaces. We hiked up to the eastern cliff, Maka-wehi point, before waking up the kids for lunch. We enjoyed lunch at the Iliana restaurant, where a pair of white swans glide in the lagoon next to the terrace. We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing by the salt water lagoon. I brought Brian to the beach, with the pounding surf and we had fun just letting the waves hit our feet and more..

The experience whetted the boys' appetite for adventure, so after dinner (Hamura’s Saimin Stand in Lihue), we bought Boogie boards to use.

A local favorite - Saimin, an upscale Ramen

It was certainly a wonderful start of our vacation. 23 years later, we finally arrived.


Wave after Wave - Along the Coast of Kauai

What feels like eons ago (ie, two months ago), we had the most amazing vacation in Kauai and I am just now getting to the photos I took.

The upside to my tardiness is I get to enjoy the memories all over again and marvel at the vistas we were so privileged to experience.

The Fisherman #kauai #poipu #hawaii #coastal
Taken along the cliffside path - on the Maha'ulepu Heritage Trail in Poipu, Kauai
Can you see the fisherman?

Wave After Wave #kauai #poipu #hawaii #coastal
In the summer months, the constant display of the red "danger" flag at the beaches remind us the pounding waves exert much power, even as their rhythmic sounds, white froth and graceful curves hypnotize us.

Sand Stones

Have a quick look and listen:

Wishing you a most wonderful Friday and for those in the US, a great Labor Day!


September 2015 Desktop Calendar - Autumn Sunrise

The unique fact about this photo - it was taken with my iPhone 4s a year ago. I am constantly amazed by the high quality photos I get out of my camera phone, so much so, that for "all purpose" photography, I prefer its use over my big DSLR.

The change of season and associated weather fluxes often gives us these brilliant sunrises. The crimson and magenta quickly fade as the sun climbs, so you have to enjoy the colors while they last.

To download the September 2015 calendar for free at, click on the link:
Free September 2015 Calendar - Autumn Sunrise

I hope to be back to a regular blogging schedule now that the kids are back in school. Between various projects, sending my firstborn off to college, increasing my running mileage and general summer "laziness", I've been ignoring the blog. I'm currently working the backlog of Kauai photos and a yoga studio shoot, so will have those to share soon.

Happy Fall!



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All images on this blog (unless stated) are the intellectual property and copyright of Shirley LeMay Photography and Shirley Behind the Lens (© 2005-2014). Do not steal, borrow or pirate the images here.

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code. and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act) prohibits the use of digital property to be used without the consent of its owner.

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